Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"A good read about accepting consequences of one's own behavior."
"[A] fast-paced story that will resonate with young readers because of its relevant themes. Dylan's guilty conscience and fear of exposure heighten the story's drama…Reluctant readers will appreciate the captivating plot, and the short, low-vocab design of the novel ensures it will be accessible to those reading below grade level."
"Deals with contemporary issues in a concise, clear manner, and even though the reading level is lower, there is excellent use of new language that will create opportunities for expanding the reader's vocabulary…This book is full of teachable moments, most notably the idea that you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person…Recommended."
"Loughead is especially good at depicting Dylan's physical turmoil...The snowball metaphor—how a single lie grows increasingly large—is also well handled…[An] intelligent drama."
Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
Dylan is a teenager who likes to hang out with his three friends Garrett, Cory, and Matteven though he doesn't always like what they do. But it is tough for Dylan to say "no" to friends, especially when he is made to look like a wimp. When Garrett gets the group to throw snowballs with rocks inside at passing cars, the guys cause a car accident. Dylan's conscious gets the better of him and he goes to check on the driver to make sure she is okay. When the press hears about Dylan's good deed, they tout him as a hero. Even with Garrett pressuring him to keep quiet, Dylan struggles with the positive attention that he doesn't deserve. This story doesn't just talk about the choices Dylan must make about what to do about his actions; it also shows the various relationships that Dylan has with his mother, grandmother, friends, and even his friends' parents. This book isn't just about right and wrong, this is a story about relationships. The short page length and older subject matter makes this a great new addition to the "high interest, low level" genre. Reviewer: Joella Peterson
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—A tightly packed tale about the effects of peer pressure. Dylan likes hanging out with the guys, but he isn't always comfortable with Garrett's ideas. When Garrett suggests that they throw snowballs at passing cars, he reluctantly goes along. Then his friend decides to up the ante and packs rocks in the snowballs. Dylan chickens out but Garrett's snowball cracks the windshield of a passing car, causing an accident. When the rest of the guys run off, Dylan is torn between fleeing the scene and checking on the driver. He fabricates a story that allows him to be at the crash site but not involved in the accident. One lie escalates to another as he is hailed as a hero for aiding the crash victim. But Garrett's threats to tell the truth, along with Dylan's own guilt, make him feel sick. He eventually comes clean to a reporter who prints the corrected story, and the community backlash only makes the teen feel worse. It's not until he takes ownership of his responsibility in the accident, makes amends with the victim, and confronts Garrett that Dylan reverses "the snowball effect." Loughead creates a very realistic teen dilemma. Though the dialogue feels artificial at times, reluctant readers will keep plowing through simply to see if Dylan can undo all the damage he has caused.—H. H. Henderson, Heritage Middle School, Deltona, FL
Read an Excerpt
"Oh, don't be such sucks, you guys. It's just gonna scare them, that's all," Matt told us. Cory and I stood there watching Garrett and Matt work their tightly packed balls of snow. We'd never used a rock inside a snowball before.