After the Snow by S. D. Crockett
This YA dystopia novel is set in a future of constant winter. Willo, the narrator, and his family live in the country, hunting and living off the land, while others who have the proper papers live in miserable cities. It’s unclear exactly what has happened to cause this state of affairs, besides environmental disaster. The action begins when Willo’s family disappears, kidnapped or killed by police/soldiers, and he is left to fend for himself.
This is a voice- and language-driven novel. Willo speaks and thinks in a very idiosyncratic way, with lots of folksy idioms. Sometimes the language is cute or sweet or lyrical, and sometimes it’s just annoying. It’s implied at one point that Willo may be mentally challenged. He has visions or delusions of a wild dog talking to him, telling him to look out for number one. It’s almost like a religion for him. His main conflict is how much he should try to help others, versus focusing only on saving himself.
I wasn’t thrilled with what I considered too much coincidence in the ending, or a strange choice Willo made at that point. I would have liked to know more about the novel’s politics and the reasons why the society is the way it is. It’s not my favorite dystopia of this year, but then Pure, Wither, Partials, and Delirium are hard to beat.