Title: A Million Little Snowflakes
Author: Logan Byrne
Publication Date: September 14, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Oliver Hurst has always been abnormally normal.
His grades are horrible, his best friend just left for Utah, and he’s depressed. His overly religious parents don’t help, especially since they control every facet of his life. One stupid sentence said in desperation gets Oliver tossed in an adolescent psych ward, where his depression and fears become even more of a reality.
When Oliver meets snide, tough girl Lacey Waters he doesn’t think his life could get any better, that is, until she becomes the ray of sunshine he has desperately needed on his cloudiest of days.
As with many book I’ve read recently, this book was both hot and cold for me. While I enjoyed the plot (overall), as well as the characters, there were parts of the writing that just bothered me beyond reason. Maybe I’m being nit-picky, but there were a few things that Byrne repeated did throughout the novel that just grated at my nerves and made me want to bash my head on a desk.
The first was his excessive use of the word ‘for’. I’m not talking about ‘for’, as in, “I need this for something,” but, “This thing, for it cannot be that thing.” Last I checked, seventeen year olds don’t speak like that unless they’re mocking Shakespeare, though even then it’s questionable. Maybe I’ll write it in an essay every now and then, but honestly, very few people use the word ‘for’ in that manner. And the fact that he used it at least twice in each chapter, I cried a little inside whenever I saw it. It struck a chord the first time, but by the end of the book, I just wanted to chuck my cell phone (which is what I read on) at a wall, I was just so done.
I might as well have been Voldemort, for my name was never spoken.
-Narration, page 5
We really didn’t want to go back to our rooms, for the time we just spent together was the only chance of normalcy all of us have has since we were admitted.
-Narration, page 130
After sifting through the book just now, I found out that he used that about 76 times throughout the book. SEVENTY-SIX TIMES. Like this rant, it’s a tad bit excessive, don’t you think?
Another thing was the fact that it was very much a ‘tell first’ kind of book. I wouldn’t get to see how what someone said affected him, instead, I’d get to hear about it as he broke it down for me in the narration. That’s okay some times, but again, it was a little excessive. Like if they just said something that hit you hard, you could just say that it hit you hard. There is no need to re-hash everything they just said and tell me that it hit you hard. I got it the first time, thanks. In short, the narration was pretty repetitive, both repeating itself and the preceding dialogue.
Stepping away from those things though, the book was actually pretty good. I liked that, aside from the overuse of the word ‘for,’ the narration really made me feel like I was in the head of a guy. Each statement was short and sweet (even if the thought in itself wasn’t) and the voice wasn’t (overly) mushy. Oliver’s voice was extremely clear and different from all the other male characters, and I liked getting into his head. I appreciated that each character was unique, and even if it wasn’t mentioned outright, you could usually get a gist of who was talking or who Oliver was observing.
Two characters I particularly loved were Esther and Charles. They were fun and quirky characters, though I’m still wondering what they were in the ward for, they were a great addition to the story. Lacey also was a character that really grew on me. She was unique and her character wasn’t totally compromised when her and Oliver became attracted to each other. While I would’ve liked to learn more about her family and her past, I really enjoyed getting to know her character.
This book’s character development was something else that I thought was really well done. Throughout the novel, we got to see each character grow and change, moving past whatever mental obstacle they faced. It was great seeing the change in Oliver’s thoughts and in the general demeanor of all the other characters. Byrne strung this part together really well, making the changes very gradual and almost unnoticeable within the story, and yet obvious by the end. Really well done.
Overall, while I felt that the end was a little abrupt and seriously unexpected (and again, over analyzed), but it somehow worked with the book, and I left surprised, yet satisfied with the story, I enjoyed this book. While the writing was a big obstacle for me to get over, I thought it was really well done and overall the plot and execution was extremely well done.
GoodReads Rating: 3.45/5
eBook provided by Logan Byrne via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.