Sunday, March 19, 2006

As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway

This isn't a run-of-the-mill mystery, nor a cautionary tale. It's a story about a boy, a girl, a town, a code. It's a story about that time in your life when you realize nothing is as simple as it seems. Once you realize that, you can't go back, no matter how hard you try. You can only go forward.

"As Simple as Snow" will be haunting me for a long, long time. Some say that all stories can be narrowed down to one of two plots. This story employs the "new person moves to town" plot - but it's far more complex than that. Anna, a high school student, is more than what she seems. She likes to write obituaries for people who are still alive - for every person in town, even though she's just moved there with her parents. She wears black clothes, black boots, dark makeup, offsetting her blond hair. She loves Lovecraft, making mix CDs, and discussing the codes Houdini and his wife shared. She can argue both sides of a debate with equal passion and knowledge, thus making it unclear which side she herself would support. She insists that people call her Anastasia. The narrator calls her Anna. He's a high school student as well. His name is unknown; it is unimportant. What is important is their relationship. He finds himself intrigued with Anna, despite her status as a "Goth," and the two begin dating. Her ideas challenge him; her intelligence impresses him; and, seven months later, her disappearance baffles him. Author Gregory Galloway has created a stunning and haunting tale. Just as Anna herself, this book is hard to categorize. Many would call "As Simple as Snow" a mystery, but just as many might refer to it as a coming-of-age story. The writing is engrossing, placing the reader on the same page (no pun intended) as the narrator, trying to figure out Anna herself as well the codes she used. Readers will be looking for clues in the grand design while falling for this strong, willful character and wondering why she left. It even has an appropriately creepy website, where you may download the mix CDs Anna created and watch a unique trailer for the book. If the trailer doesn't make you want to read the book immediately, I don't know what will.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10
Reviewer Age: 23
Reviewer City, State and Country: , California USA