Friday, September 26, 2014

Novel Review: The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2010
Spoilers?: Not really.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Powells.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to know about the people in her family just by letting you know how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother; well, Lainey's mother hanged herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation. Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan and her estranged older sister is moving back home to be his guardian. Meanwhile, Lainey's boyfriend is thinking about having a family of their own, and her best friends are always asking the wrong sorts of questions and giving advice Lainey doesn't want to hear. As she tries to pull away from everything familiar, Lainey meets an intriguing new guy who, through a series of Slurpees, burgers, and snowballs, helps her to make peace with a parent she never understood.

The Cover:

This cove is all right. The image isn't too bad, I actually kind of like it--the colors work, and the image of the cups stacked and falling is nice--but I'm just not too sure how well the whole picture (or the title) represents the book. It also looks a little unfinished to me, a little not-as-professionally, including the font and placement of the title and author's name.


  • "When someone wants to talk to you in person instead of over the phone, your mind immediately goes to the worst possible scenario. I guess it’s some sort of coping mechanism—if you’re expecting the worst possible thing, then whatever it really is won’t seem that bad.” (ARC, pg. 2)
  • "Some people expected an infinite number of chances to disappoint you, and it just wasn’t fair.” (Pg. 61)
  • "And in that moment I realized that nothing that mattered to me meant anything to either of them.” (Pg. 109)
  • "'If everything turns out right in the end, then everything that happened until then was leading up to that point in time. Therefore everything that happened had to happen.’” (Pg. 228)
  • "But how was I supposed to know what I really felt about something, when my feelings changed every time I thought about it?” […] “My feelings didn’t change on a day-to-day basis. They changed hourly. They changed every minute.” (Pg. 229)


I was warned when I started this that it was heavy on the grief. And honestly, I didn’t quite feel that.
Grief, and dealing with it, was definitely a main focus in the book. But it wasn’t really that Lainey was depressed, or even that she felt numb. I mean, I think she felt a little numb, but she mostly seemed to focus that into anger. And, honestly, I wasn’t convinced that she didn’t act like that on a normal basis, although maybe it was worse with grief.
Lainey was very bitchy. She bitches about everything, she bitches to her boyfriend, she doesn’t want to have to take care of her little brother. She just doesn’t want to do anything, at this point. Her life is messed up now that her mother killed herself, and now she doesn’t want to do anything.
I enjoyed this book, don’t get me wrong. The humor was dark, but pretty good. I found the story, and even the characters, pretty interesting. But at the end of the book, I wasn’t really satisfied.
I thought that by the end of the book, Lainey would have picked herself up from what had happened, of the way she’d been acting, and finally make a choice about what she wanted to do. But it felt like, instead, she just went back with Riley because she thought that she should. It didn’t really feel like she felt any differently about anything. And while I do think that Riley is the way she should have chosen, I’m not convinced that she felt that way.
The book left me feeling like she was in pretty much the same position as at the beginning of the book, and like she never really chose that because she wanted it or felt that it was right. She just did it.
I enjoyed this book, but it’s left me a little unsatisfied.

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