This is one of those times when I find myself really, really liking a book for reasons I can't entirely explain. One thing I can tell you for sure is that this is a young adult novel that takes it's audience seriously.
All of her life, Sophie has lived in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with her father. The story opens with the police coming into the house to arrest her father for shooting a young man, and discovering that Sophie is a long lost victim of a much publicized missing child case. From that point on, the story is divided between the story of Sophie and that of her parents, and we slowly learn the details of her life and the curse hanging over her head.
With a relatively simple story structure, this book examines a multitude of complex issues. It does so subtly, with thought and respect. We are shown the story from different perspectives, with each character perceiving things differently. On one hand, Sophie's father seems abusive and insane. On the other hand, he's the hero of his own tragic love story. To one character, religion and curses are superstition, while to others they are absolute reality. Even as a reader, you find yourself questioning what is right and true, gaining clarity only as Sophie herself does.
I liked that there was no real villain. We are made to understand Sophie's father, to a point where his disturbing behavior is rendered almost logical.
The characters are written with a brutal honesty that makes them real. Oddly, Sophie is the character that I felt the least connected to, and yet even she struck me as life like. I could understand how her life so far would render her so uncertain of herself, and at times unable to cope in the larger world. It's rewarding to see her find her place.
The pace is a bit slow. You'll connect the plot dots for yourself early on, but have to wait for the book to explain it all to you anyway. Personally, I found this to be a minor flaw, because I really enjoyed the deeper examination of how the story unfolded.
This is a dramatic contemporary young adult novel that would easily appeal to an adult audience as well. It's light on the romance, and at times actually a bit depressing. But if you want a serious book, and a very smart book, this one is a keeper. 4.5 stars.
To purchase a copy, click here: The Color of Snow