The William C. Morris Award celebrates new writers in young adult literature by honoring outstanding works by authors who are writing for teens for the first time. S.D. Crockett’s After the Snow is rightfully one of this year’s finalists.
After the Snow takes place in a future ravaged by climate change. The melting polar ice caps have cooled the oceans, changing the currents and plunging the world into a kind of eternal winter. The winters are astonishingly brutal and last nine months out of the year. Society as we know it has devolved, and the West has disintegrated. China and Russia are now the dominant world powers, and those who once lived in a world of air conditioning and supermarkets now have to learn to live without electricity, running water, or modern conveniences.
Most now live in extreme poverty in cities clenched tightly by the fascist hand of the government. But some choose to live illegally and off the grid in the wilderness, relearning how to hunt, grow food, and live off the land. Willo is part of one such family — until he comes back from a hunt one day to find his entire family gone.
Willo’s search for his family and the truth behind what happened to him takes him on a long adventure across mountains and to the city and through valleys and out to the ocean. Below is my attempt at creating a map of the world that Willo travels through on his journey. The book’s language and signifiers indicate that the story takes place in a future version of the United Kingdom. The town and landmark names pinpoint the wilderness even more specifically as being in and around Snowdonia National Park in Wales and the city as being northeast in Manchester, England.
If this book has one weakness, it’s that it’s hard to keep a map in your head of where Willo is on his journey while you’re reading it. Perhaps in the next printing, the publisher will include a map, but in the meantime, this one should help you navigate the beautiful world in After the Snow.
— Annie Schutte, currently reading Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson