Stealing Snow. Book Review

STEALING SNOW by Danielle Paige
Bloomsbury. p/b. 384pp. £7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

When she was five years old, Snow tried to walk through a mirror. Now she wears the scars of what she did, what she has lived through, and what she is, on the inside as well as the outside. Since that day Snow has never left the psychiatric hospital. This is how her life is. But everything changes when her only friend sees something in her that drives a terrible wedge between them.

The only time she sees Bale now is in her dreams, and even then he is not always there. Confined, scared at the changes coming over her and at how she feels, confused and terrified by the other things she sees in her dreams, she has no choice but to leave the asylum, and life as she has known it for so long, behind.

Before there is time to come to terms with all that Snow has learned in such a small space of time, or with what she has experienced since leaving the asylum, it is time for her to face the River Witch’s first test.

Stealing Snow is an adaptation/re-telling of the classic fairytale The Snow Queen. The original story is dark and tragic, and those cores of the story are transferred to Snow’s story in this book, but the whole feel is modernised and at times seems to lose those principal focuses. There are multiple love interests and for this reader too much page time is spent with the main character concentrating on those, leaving the far greater threats and tragic elements of Snow’s story to play second fiddle.

The majority of chapters in this book are extremely short, breaking the narrative – which is otherwise very steady and linear – into small pieces. Action, progression and even key emotional moments are separated into short bursts/scenes/locations/dramatic moments or pauses. Whilst this can be a really strong device in fiction, here it begins to feel overused and almost breaks the flow of the story up too much. That said, there are some wonderful and poignant one-liners which sit at the end of chapters and work well to make impact or connect the reader with Snow.

Paige delivers some beautiful writing at times, and as a piece of young adult fiction, with the focus very much on the young reader, delivers a narrative that, from what is a strong beginning, does eventually explain Snow’s circumstances and conclude the story. There is drama and there are the trials of a young girl, but more tension would perhaps have benefitted this offering.