Title: Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2016
Genre: YA Fairy Tale Retelling, YA Fantasy
Nah, I’m just being melodramatic. It wasn’t that bad, really. It felt like Paige was warming up, sketching a world as she went, and she was just in too much of a hurry to give us the details up front that we so required.
My best comparison? Stealing Snow was like a traditional soap opera: you sit down to watch it one day, knowing a couple minutes in that it’s going to be horrible. Next thing you know, you are sitting on the couch, waiting for “your stories” to come on so you can find out if Janice marries her boyfriend’s dad’s evil twin brother who lies in a coma.
Yeah, it was like that. But let me elaborate a bit on the plot first. Don’t want to get ahead of myself here…
And don’t worry: I won’t be giving any real spoilers that aren’t already on the Goodreads blurb. Want to save you the fun. 😉
Snow (yes, her name is Snow. That kind of irritated me right from the start. Not a nickname, a real name) sits at Whittaker Institute, a mental hospital in upstate New York. All we know is that she tried to walk into a mirror at five and has the scars to show for it. She loves a boy named Bale, who happens to be a firebug. Big ol’ pyro. We know what he’s in there for, but we really only know that Snow has some anger issues and bad dreams. They’ve both been locked up for 11 years.
Now I got a little confused because she nicknames her pills after the Seven Dwarfs (sleepy, grumpy, happy, etc), and I originally thought this was a Snow White retelling. I mean, her name is Snow, and there’s a reference to the dwarves…but that’s it. Apparently, it is actually a Snow Queen retelling, which I know nothing about. So thought I would also get that out of the way, too. Okay, back to the mental hospital.
Bale and Snow are separated after they kiss and he breaks her wrist. (Well, he is in a mental institution so it’s not surprising), and Snow blames herself. One night, while sneaking in to see him, she sees a pair of arms pull him into the mirror. Bale is gone, but no one is going to believe Snow…she’s in a mental hospital. One night a boy named Jagger sneaks in and tells her to stop taking her pills and gives her the means to escape. She manages to slip out of this maximum security institution and meets Jagger in the forest. When he shows her another mirror carved into a tree, they end up in the snow-covered land of Algid.
So, at this point, and after this a bit, I was losing interest. The writing was dull and I couldn’t picture anything. But I gave it the old college try and continued on.
Snow loses Jagger and meets a witch that says she will train her. Snow is part of a prophecy: she really is the daughter of an evil king, and she has the power of snow inside her. (I guess it’s fortunate she was named Snow and not…well, you get the idea…). Despite Snow loving Bale, she starts to develop feelings for Kai, a boy in employ to the witch training her. He hates anything related to magic, so he instantly doesn’t like Snow.
Good thing there’s Jagger. Who’s also handsome and thrilling, and not to be trusted.
She is on a mission to save Bale and get back home, but have Kai and Jagger also stolen Snow’s heart? (Yes, we have a love tetrahedron! Jk, but a love square) Will her magical father try to kill her like the prophecy says? Will more things happen that make this book so much like a soap opera that you can’t stop reading and you want to read more…just to see what happens next? Oh, there’s so much drama I’m leaving out, and mainly because I don’t want to spoil it for those who still plan on reading it. But you’ll see what I mean. You’ll see. (Oh, I wish I could tell you: the cliché of ALL soap operas! Argh!)
Is It Classroom Appropriate?
Yes, but no. Not bringing this into my classroom. I can’t do it. That’s all I’ll say about that.
So, despite how mega-popular this book is, it’s NOT on Lexile.com. Hmm. Wonder why? Anyway, there’s noting terrible in it: no sex, but there is a couple of “shit”s in there. Not too many. I would suggest 13 and up. They might like the writing better anyway. I’m not saying Paige’s writing is bad…but it took me over 60% of the book to actually get into a flow for the story.
So I didn’t hate it. I thought I would, and if I had DNF’d it like I wanted to, I probably would rate it so much lower. But because I was eventually able to get into the story, if even just for the soap opera-y parts, I rate Stealing Snow ★★★☆☆. But I will warn you: the writing is mediocre. At best. This book takes patience. A lot of it. Is the payoff worth it? Probably not. Am I going to read the sequel? Eventually. Only because the same thing happened to me with Court of Fives (I hated the protagonist so much that I couldn’t enjoy the story), but once I read the sequel I started to like the book better. Maybe the sequel can redeem this series. I don’t know. I won’t be first in line for it, though. And I do advise you to read everything in your book arsenal, TBR, and wish list first before reading this. This is time you’ll NEVER GET BACK. So be prepared.
I do this for you. I do this so you won’t have to. Only read Stealing Snow if after this review, you STILL want to read it. Then the book might be for you.