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The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls by John…
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The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls (edition 2012)

by John Lekich

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3612313,489 (3.47)None
Jadesbooks's review
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This books was fun. From the first pages, I wanted to keep reading to see how everything turns out for Henry Holloway. Henry is a confessed theif, he used to steal small things to afford to bring culture into his life, and later he stole only to survive and to stay out of foster care. Unlike most theifs, he has a lot of compassion for those around him and is not always able to follow through with his devious plans. This compassion is what leads him to getting caught and sent to a reform program in Snowflake Falls to the Wingate family. Here is where we see the true potential that Harry has at being in a real family, with relationships with people that care and depend on him. It was a great journey, and I loved all the little twists and turns. ( )
  Jadesbooks | Apr 27, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 12 of 12
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I let one of my students read this before I brought it back home to read this summer. I didn’t know why they felt the kid was stupid. When I asked their reasoning all they would say was that no “real” crook had a conscience. I do hope he wasn’t speaking from experience. When I picked up the book I understood a little of what my student was talking about. Henry was forced into a life of crime simply by living with his uncle Andy. Later he continues just to survive. However, he cleans up after himself, never takes too much and tries to help out in other ways. This is not your normal criminal. When he is caught he gets sent to Snowflake Falls to live with a family that is extremely different. That is all I will say about this. I think more of my students will find a place in their reading lives for this book, especially since I teach sixth grade and they will be able to identify with Henry in some ways. This was not one of my favorite books, but it was still a good book.
I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing. ( )
  skstiles612 | Jul 1, 2014 |
This coming-of age story is about a young boy named Henry Holloway, who is being raised by his Uncle Andy. Problem is, Uncle Andy is a small-time crook and spends a great deal of the novel as a guest of Corrections Canada. Exceptionally bright, Henry has picked-up an impressive range of B&E skills. Henry is no ordinary burglar. He steals responsibly and even goes so far as to clean houses and contribute to the birthday gift fund of one of his victims. Trouble eventually finds Henry and he is sent to a Second Chance program in the small community of Snowflake Falls. The book is sweet-tempered and hugely enjoyable.
  vplprl | Nov 15, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Henry Holloway lives by himself in a treehouse in an old lady's back yard. He is on his own because his sole guardian, Uncle Andy, is currently in jail. Uncle Andy has taught the bright young man the tools of his trade, breaking and entering. Henry has his own moral code, which helps him deal with his conscience. For example, he'll often clean up after taking a bit of money or food from a house that needs it. At at the home of one of his "victims," Henry found an envelope the man was using to save up for a gift for his daughter, so Henry added to the stash instead of taking from it! Can Henry fly under the radar and keep himself fed long enough to get by? What would become of him if he gets caught while Uncle Andy is away?
Although this is marketed as a young adult title and the character is a teen, it reads like a juvenile fiction book. This isn't a bad thing, but definitely skews to the younger end of the YA set. I enjoyed the quirky character and the story, though it took me longer than usual to get invested. I also felt that the "Snowflake Falls" part of the book might not have been significant enough to rate a place in the title, as it seemed to be a smaller portion of the total plot and only came at the last part of the book.

All in all, it was a fun read, and would be great for those kids who are fans of Gordon Korman.
  acajjou | Oct 21, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Boys will love this funny and resourceful main character. ( )
  kimpiddington | Sep 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Fun and quick read. Henry Holloway is a very likeable character. His narration throughout the story is relatable, and I couldn't help but feel for him during all of his troubles. The story leading up to Henry's stay in Snowflake Falls took a bit to get through - however, his time at Snowflake Falls was humorous and enlightening. I loved the Wingate family. Although Oscar could be a heathen, I couldn't help but want to give him a hug. Henry's lessons in life are bittersweet, and you can't help but like him. My only grievance with the story was that the ending felt very abrupt. ( )
  librarianolivia | Jul 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Henry Holloway, 15, is living in a tree house. His mother is dead of lung cancer—she was a jazz pianist in smoke-filled bars; Uncle Andy, Henry’s guardian, whose life has been dedicated to burglary, is now in jail, confident that his nephew is being cared for by a family called the Hendersons. Before Andy went to jail, Henry managed to learn a lot from him and his cronies. Henry knows how to survive by expertly picking locks and by removing food as surreptitiously as possible from the homes of “patrons”. He’s careful not to overdo it, though, so that the supply chain won’t be interrupted. Furthermore, Henry is a thoughtful thief, who has been known to do housework, make beds, and even contribute to a father’s fund for his teenaged daughter.

When Uncle Andy grows suspicious of Henry’s whereabouts and sends out a felon friend to check up on the boy, Henry’s previously careful stealing becomes incautious. Concerned that his uncle not find out that there really are no Hendersons, Henry plans to put on a show for the one checking up on him. This involves moving food from the house of a man supposedly away on a business trip into a home that he has led the friend to believe is the Hendersons’. Oh, and Henry needs to bathe, too! Unfortunately for Henry, he is caught in the house of the businessman who has returned early. Ultimately, Henry is sent by a social minded judge to live and be rehabilitated by a very odd family in the quirky little town of Snowflake Falls. Considerable humor arises from Henry’s experiences there with his foster family, particularly with their odd children.

The power of Lekich’s book is in Henry’s distinctive voice, but in the end, even that can’t carry quite enough weight to make the book fully succeed. For one thing the main action—being sent to the “Falls” of the title—occurs too late in the book, almost halfway through. Henry’s arrival there seems almost anticlimactic. While the narrative tension in the first half of the story revolved around the possibility of Henry getting caught while on a residential food foray, the tension in the second part of the book never fully builds.

[SPOILER ALERT]
Friends of Henry’s uncle arrive in Snowflake Falls and set up a home security business aimed at finding out enough about possessions, floor plans and exit routes to relieve the locals of their valuables. Henry has to make a choice: whether or not to help these thieves or take a moral stand based on his increasing attachment to the townsfolk. Unfortunately, burglary appears to be too deeply bred in the bone for there to be any real question of Henry reforming. He never seems to feel a great deal of internal conflict about abandoning his ways, and as a result, there are no great surprises. It is true that Henry’s reformation would have been a bit too predictable, but his opting for continued criminal activity doesn’t make for a truly satisfying narrative either.
In the final assessment The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls is a comedic young adult tale that had lots of potential but whose potential was not fully realized because of an insufficiently imaginative plot. It is solidly written and a pleasant enough way to while away an afternoon, but disappointing. Some middle school boys and girls may enjoy the novel. However, I suspect many kids I know wouldn’t stay with the book because the main action takes too long to arrive and when it does there aren’t enough surprises.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance reading copy of this book. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Jun 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
First let me say, don't judge this book by its cover. I think the cover is awful! Mr. Lekich does a wonderful job of fleshing out his main character Henry. We get to know his back story, and his relationship with his uncle. But the story begins to break down after he gets to Snowflake Falls. I almost wish there were two stories. One about his life leading up to his stay in the tree house and then a sequel that brings us to Snowflake Falls. That way the author would have more time to develop the intriguing characters from Snowflake Falls in more detail. I finished the book wanting to know more about Harley's background. How did he get so rich? I want to know if Oscar starts to talk more. I want to know if Theodora suspected her husband's background and what made her decide to marry him... I'm left with far too many questions, which means the ending was not very satisfying. I know there's the old saying "Leave'em wanting more" but in this case there was too much left unsaid. That being said the author did succeed in making me care about the characters. The story was fast paced and would definitely appeal to both boys and girls. ( )
1 vote asomers | May 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This books was fun. From the first pages, I wanted to keep reading to see how everything turns out for Henry Holloway. Henry is a confessed theif, he used to steal small things to afford to bring culture into his life, and later he stole only to survive and to stay out of foster care. Unlike most theifs, he has a lot of compassion for those around him and is not always able to follow through with his devious plans. This compassion is what leads him to getting caught and sent to a reform program in Snowflake Falls to the Wingate family. Here is where we see the true potential that Harry has at being in a real family, with relationships with people that care and depend on him. It was a great journey, and I loved all the little twists and turns. ( )
  Jadesbooks | Apr 27, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
With a quirky flavor reminiscent of Daniel Pinkwater, this first person narrative is from the point of view of Henry, an inveterate bteenage thief. An orphan, Henry has been living with his beloved burglar uncle, but when Uncle Andy is incarcerated Henry tries to live on his own in a tree house. After he is caught in turn, he is sent to live with an unusual family in Snowflake Falls, where his situation presents many unexpected challenges. As might be expected, this arrangement gives Henry a new view of things as he develops friendships and a new kind of family.
The first section of the book sets the stage for the Snowflake Falls story, and it could have been streamlined considerably. The second half of the book definitely moved along at a more rapid and interesting pace. ( )
  sleahey | Apr 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book, the story of a young man who is basically raising himself by "borrowing/liberating" items from other people's houses. At the beginning of the book, Henry is living in a tree house while his uncle (and guardian) is serving a sentence in jail. Henry is not your typical thief, though. Because he feels guilty about what he is doing, he often leaves his target's houses a little neater than he finds them, or ends up not taking anything, or sometimes even leaves something behind. Henry is a good kid, despite his unconventional living arrangements. So when he is finally caught and sent to Snowflake Falls as part of his rehabilitation, he actually fits in pretty well with the host family and community - despite his first impressions.

The characters and descriptions in this book are very enjoyable and amusing. It was fast paced and even the frequent flashbacks did not cause too much confusion. Even though Henry is 15, there is nothing inappropriate about this book, which makes it a good fit for ages 11 and up. ( )
1 vote elizardkwik | Apr 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Henry Holloway's mother passed away when he was nine and Henry's uncle Andy became his guardian. For the past six years Andy and his buddies have been giving Henry a crash course in burglary and other nefarious deeds. When the law finally caught up with Andy, Henry was left living with Andy's girlfriend Cindy. But soon enough Cindy runs off to Vegas and Henry makes his home an abandoned tree house sneaking food and essentials from homes of his "customers".

Things are tough when you're a burglar who feels guilty about stealing from the houses you break into and Henry makes up for some of his bad deeds by cleaning up the mess he makes and then some. After almost being caught by someone being home unexpectedly, Henry makes a narrow escape and breaks into yet another house to clean and patch himself up. But this time he dozes off and is actually caught. Now he's been sent to live with the Wingates in Snowflake Falls and he just might be worse off, not rehabilitated.

The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls was more of a children's book than a YA read but it was a super cute story that had Henry redeeming himself in the end. I enjoyed his antics in the beginning of the story and thought the relationship with his uncle Andy was truly well done. I recommend this one for kids 11-15. ( )
1 vote 24girl | Apr 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Budding thief Henry Halloway, thanks to an uncle in prison and a series of unfortunate events, is living on his own in a treehouse. The problem? The owner of the treehouse doesn't know he has taken up residence. She also doesn't know that he has been liberating her of food items and spare change from her sofa cushions. He makes little hits on all the houses in the area, so it's no surprise when he is caught, wearing his victim's bathrobe and taking a nap. Unlucky Henry is sent to the town of Snowflake Falls to start his rehabilitation.

The pros: I found the story to be an engaging, quick read with nice character development and a good bit of humor. The story was interesting and the voice of a 15 year old precocious boy read as genuine. It's easy to like Henry, despite his shady past and the back story with his mother and uncle helps to flesh him out and feel like a real person. I thought the Wingate family was hilarious and Henry's developing relationship rang true. In general, I would recommend this book to any reluctant reader.

The cons: What didn't ring true for me was the portrayal of Henry's "thief family." His uncle and his cronies were very two-dimensional and fell really flat. These are criminals, and while I don't have a problem with portraying them as a sort of good bad guy, I did have a problem with their speech. Not a contraction in sight. Their sentences are full of "I have not done such and such," or "Let us go and do this." Literally. Every time they speak. Not even an average person speaks like that all the time. You feel like they are all at high tea and raised in the finest finishing schools. These men were in prison for goodness sake! Let's take the shine off of them a bit, hmm? The other thing that bombed for me was the ending. I felt like the author could have done SO much more here and it really was a let-down for me. I don't want to give away spoilers but the ending was a rush-job, wrapped up in about 7 pages and you sort of wanted to go, "Wait.. wait... really? That's... sorta sucky." I wish more time was taken with things because I felt the ending could have been a really powerful redemptive thing. Not saying that everything needs to be all happy and neat. But this was just a C- ending for me. ( )
2 vote TZacek | Apr 17, 2012 |
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