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Author: Genre: (, ) Length: Novel

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Every Christmas story told to children features magic and miracles and a happy holiday ending for one and all. Once we grow up, it’s harder to believe in all of that.

When Reese builds a snowman to keep him company through the winter, the snowman begins chronicling the stories of a quiet little suburban neighborhood for us to witness along with him. Though naturally cheery, hopeful and full of Christmas spirit, this snowman is challenged to maintain that disposition as he watches families that seem broken and situations that seem hopeless.

My Winter with Reese is perhaps the first book written from the perspective of a snowman that’s actually intended for adults. In a world full of so much fear and heartache, is there room for childlike wonder? Can a simple snowman built by an imaginative child actually have any sort of impact on real world situations?

Like he’s done with the thriller genre in The Cassie Trilogy books, Mark Gray takes a child’s Christmas fable and turns it on its head. With My Winter with Reese, he weaves an unexpected holiday tale that is both full of wonder and grounded in realism. What if the Christmas specials we watched growing up actually took place in a world full of regret, sickness and evil? Would it be possible for hope to persevere in such conditions?

Funny, fast-paced and full of surprises, My Winter with Reese is the perfect book to curl up with this holiday season.

Bargain on 4th Dec 16
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Reviews:

"This thought provoking and sometimes moving story is likely to appeal to readers of literary fiction, drama and even Young Adult. "

Reviewer: .


When Reese built his snowman in November he never imagined that in April it would still be standing, unmelted by the 75 degree heat. The unusual snowman draws the press, and over the course of the next few months the secrets and problems of Surrey Lane are revealed - and healed. In a world where a snowman doesn't melt with the coming of spring, miracles can happen.

Told from the point of view of the snowman, with a young teen's language and vocabulary, this is strangely enough not a children's book. This isn't about the snowman itself, more its views as it watches time pass and the people of the neighbourhood. Roger and Autumn, struggling with cancer, Claire her children and her missing husband, and even the problems in Reese's own family, everything is dragged out by the press drawn by the snowman.

The residents of Surrey Lane, even as seen entirely through a snowman's eyes, are life-like. Starting as vaguely drawn, almost cardboard cutout, individuals, as he and we learn more about them, each gains depth and complexity. We get to know them as he does, and this progression is one of the book's big strengths. The discussions between him and the other snowman are bittersweet, until they end - as they must - with the coming of hot weather. The snowman himself develops and matures throughout the book as he lives and learns an entire lifetime in a few short months.

The end doesn't close all the plot threads, but it isn't meant to and the open-ended nature of it works for the book. These people didn't get miraculous solutions, just the miracle of a second chance. It is up to them what they do with their futures.

There's little to pick at here. Formatting, grammar and spelling are almost entirely good. There are a few typos e.g. "read a book a book about" on page one, but these are few and far between. The cover is a little basic, but then the picture of the snowman fits the book's description of him perfectly. The only reason this is not a five is because it does have a very slow start and I nearly put the book down before I got to the best bits. It is well worth sticking with.

This is definitely not a children's book - not only would they miss some references but certain scenes would have tears before bedtime. On the other hand, its likely to have a broader appeal than the genre would suggest.

This thought provoking and sometimes moving story is likely to appeal to readers of literary fiction, drama and even Young Adult. Once you're past the start, it is very good.

Rating: 4



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Discussion

jessica (3 January 2016)
It made me cry. Twice. You could have warned me!

atry (5 January 2016)
It's got a really slow start, but I really liked it. Probably wouldn't have stuck with it if I hadn't been warned though.

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