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“With the right kind of encouragement, a good leader and their team can overcome any obstacle,” Mrs. Dowling. –Snowhook


by Jo Storm

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Fourteen-year-old Hannah isn’t thrilled about spending time in her family’s remote Alaskan cabin. She’d rather hang out with her friends or spend time at the mall. Instead, she’s learning survival skills that she doesn’t think she’ll ever need. Then, a massive ice storm traps her family, and Hannah’s mom is desperately low on insulin. With no power and no way to contact the outside world, Hannah decides to take matters into her own hands. Hannah sneaks away with the family’s four dogs and an old dogsled.

Hannah only plans to go as far as the nearest neighbor, who should have a working phone. But unexpected events lead her into the wilderness with a boy who disagrees with her at every turn. As the two teens fight worsening weather, Hannah must use all her skills to get help for her family before they all freeze to death in the wilderness.

Surviving the wilderness in the middle of a blizzard should lead to exciting events; however, Snowhook will only leave the reader frustrated. Hannah wants to be a hero, but instead, she comes off as an ungrateful, whiny brat who spends most of her time complaining. When her neighbor Peter joins her, the two spend almost all of their time yelling at each other. Even though the two are able to survive some dangerous situations, luck plays a bigger role in their survival than skill.

In addition to the two unlikable characters, there are many unanswered questions. For instance, Hannah and Peter must run from Peter’s aunt who has PTSD from being in the army; however, after they escape the aunt’s story is never told. In addition, Peter and Hannah have a strange argument about immigrants, Peter hints that he hates his father, and he is also clearly afraid of dogs. But in the end, none of these issues are discussed or resolved. Instead, once the two get to town, the story abruptly ends with no real closure.

Snowhook’s slow pace, difficult vocabulary, and argumentative characters make the story as difficult as walking through a snowdrift. Readers interested in cold weather survival stories should leave Snowhook on the shelf, and choose instead Not if I Save You First by Ally Carter or Trapped by Michael Northrop.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • When Hannah pounds on a neighbor’s door, the neighbor hits her in the chest with the butt of a rifle. “Hannah turned to see who had finally opened the door and immediately felt a hot, stinging sensation in her chest. Then she was lying on her back in the snow, unable to breathe.” Later Hannah learns that the woman was suffering from PTSD and often believed she was back in Afghanistan. The woman’s nephew, Peter, helps Hannah escape.
  • When Hannah and Peter leave the house, the woman shoots at them.
  • When Peter calls Hannah’s sister weird, “Hannah launched herself at him. His bent-over head and rounded shoulders received the brunt of her shove, and he landed with a whomp in the soft snow on the trailside.”
  • Hannah’s sled dogs fight. “Rudy was on top of Bogey for a long time, growling and screaming, tearing at Bogey’s face and ears, trying to roll over him. Bogey crouched, digging his paws into the ground and using his powerful legs to keep him upright, protecting his throat and trying to bite at whatever part of Rudy came near him. . . In a split second, Bogey was up. His whole mouth dripped blood and phlegm and spit, and his ears were flat against his head, with the crest of his skull puffed up twice its normal size.” The fight was described over three pages and the dogs are not seriously injured.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Hannah’s mom has diabetes and has to give herself an insulin injection.
  • When Peter is injured, Hannah gives him Tylenol for the pain.


  • Profanity is used occasionally and includes asshole, bullshit, holy crap, crap, goddamn, damn, hell, jackass, shit.
  • Throughout the story, Hannah and Peter argue and call each other names including idiot, jerk, asshole, pansy-ass, shithead, chicken, and jackass.
  • One of the characters uses “Jesus” as an exclamation. For example, “By the Jesus, it’s cold.”
  • Peters says his dad is “chickenshit.”
  • Peter and Hannah argue and Peter calls Hannah an “idiot.” In return, Hannah calls Peter a “jackass.” In one fight Peter tells Hannah, “You’re just a snotty little city girl. Go to hell.”
  • When Hannah and Peter try to find safety, Peter yells, “If you hadn’t brought those goddamn dogs, if you hadn’t yelled and banged on the door, then everything would have been okay!”


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None


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“With the right kind of encouragement, a good leader and their team can overcome any obstacle,” Mrs. Dowling. –Snowhook

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