Book: Snow Burn by Joel Arnold
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Suspense / Young AdultHow Did I Get This Book: Received from author, for reviewFirst Line: “For the sake of argument let’s say – You’ve just escaped a sinking ship.”Description: Seventeen-year old Tommy Connell knows he's in trouble when he goes winter camping with his friend Vince Nguyen without telling his folks. But when they're caught in a sudden blizzard, and the man they rescue from freezing to death turns out to be an escaped convict, Tommy's troubles are only beginning. Now Tommy and Vince must not only survive the blizzard, but also find a way to keep Quinn - who'll stop at nothing to stay out of prison - from killing them.
I haven't read that many suspense novels, but it is a genre that I enjoy. Snow Burn was a rather quick read that evoked a surprising amount of emotion and internal debate.
Both of the main characters (Tommy and Vince) are surprisingly well developed for a 70+ page story. True, they sometimes seem one-dimensional, but honestly, you cannot expect perfect characterization here. Like I said before, this is an extremely quick read and it is suppose to be a suspense novel. It simply would not work if the author was to drone on about the characters for pages at a time, it would mess up entire feel of the story.
The character of Tommy easy to relate to, I was the kid in high school that never really did anything. I wasn’t as extreme of a case as Tommy, but I definitely followed the rules. Tommy has lived an incredibly sheltered life and always does what he is told. He worries about everything and wants to spend his weekend of freedom in the safety of Vince's house. He wants to stay up all night, watch old scary movies and drink tons of pop. I would have been right there next to Tommy watching a horror movie marathon. No house parties in sight, no crazy shenanigans, nothing that could get me in a lot of trouble.That being said, I much preferred the character of Vince; Tommys best friend and partner in crime. He certainly isn’t perfect, in fact he is always the one to get the boys in trouble, but he is undeniably interesting. There were plenty of times I wanted to smack him upside the head, but I was always waiting to see what he would do, or say next.
As far as the dialogue goes – it seemed realistic enough to me. It is what I always pictured teenage boys sounding like, right down to the hot mom comments.
There were a few elements of Snow Burn that I wasn’t crazy about. First of all, I wish Tommy would have shown a little bit of backbone. I do not know if teenage boys usually do things this – camping out in the dead of winter in a closed state park, but red flags were immediately going up for me. Tommy knew Vince’s plan was insane, but Vince easily talked him into it. I am sorry, nothing and no one would ever make me do something like that. Sure, I can see my seventeen year-old self being talked into a lot of things, but never something like that. If teenage boys are really that stupid, I really, truly fear for their safety and sanity.
Also, the suspense was rather slow to build.The story isn’t that long and the portion of it that really deals with the heavy stuff is rather short; the majority of the plot is build-up. Granted, I wouldn't say that the pacing was slow, I just would have preferred to have more action.
Snow Burn is a story that makes you think. It makes you consider some extremely difficult questions about yourself. Nobody really knows how they would react in a situation like this – you can pretend you would always do the right thing, but you can’t really be sure.
“my B.S. detector was on heightened alert."
“The only way to overcome evil is through acts of goodness. Not through acts of revenge."
“My folks just didn’t seem to get that there was more to life than school, work, television and a good pot roast."
“The temperature dropped. The wind whistled through the trees. The snowflakes lost their charm, instead of being fat and lazy, they’d become tiny pellets that stung my cheeks.”
“My parents never bet me, never spanked me, hardly ever even gave me a time out. I watch too much TV. I still eat Peanut Butter Crunch for breakfast. I’ll pretend I’m sick at least three days a quarter just so I can stay in my pajamas all day long and read the newest Stephen King novel or watch moves on TCM. I am soft. I’ve always been soft.”
“Sometimes you gotta take a few chances if life’s going to be worth living."
“The snow tried to pull us down. The wind tried to push us over. The branches of trees tried to beat us into submission. But we kept going. Soon, my body was on automatic pilot. It knew it had to keep moving, so it moved.”