A Perfect Snow by Nora Martin


A Perfect Snow by Nora Martin

Since moving to Lodgette, Montana, Ben Campbell has fallen in with a local hate group. They convince Ben, his brother and their father that violence and discrimination will resolve life's frustrations. With the help of new friends who challenge his thinking, Ben eventually realizes how misguided these ideas are and he begins to distance himself from this criminal group. At last, Ben manages to save himself and open his father's eyes to the truth, but it may be too late for his brother David. The novel ends on a hopeful note with a wiser and more mature Ben hoping for a second chance with his family and friends.


17-year-old Ben Campbell always looks out for his younger brother David, who has the knack of making himself a victim. The Campbells are the new kids on the block. Dad is an out of work rancher and they have to live in a trailer park. Ben and David feel they are despised by the richer students at their new school and so are keen to join the society of older working boys and men that their father has met. The leader of this group, self-styled preacher Lonn, is clearly a white supremacist. Unfortunately Dad Campbell and the boys see only a man who wants to right the injustices of the poor. When Ben is invited to take part in politically inspired vandalism he is happy to take revenge on people he sees as enemies. However, when David is keen to join in the violence too Ben has second thoughts. He sees his own actions mirrored in David's sadistic pleasure. Then he discovers a new interest as he rescues new girl Eden Taylor from a snowdrift and she sees him as her hero. The story progresses through Ben's coming to terms with his own anger. As he becomes more responsible David's behaviour becomes less acceptable. This novel deals with resentment and the way it can lead to antisocial behaviour. Lonn leads what looks like a socially concerned pressure group but which in fact encourages anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia. It takes all the bravery that Ben can muster to inform against his brother and his father's friends. Eventually the Campbell family learn to start to sharing feelings instead of hiding them and the novel ends on a note of hope for the family. Set is small-town America, this is a compelling but disturbing story. Despite the brevity of the book the reader is skilfully drawn to Ben and to his friends Eden and Jason. Nora Martin's message is to show how horrifically easy it is to con the dispossessed into doing the dirty work of the politically dangerous. The language is clear and undemanding and less motivated readers in their teens will enjoy the action and discussion. Ages 13+ (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Nora Martin has written two other young adult novels, 'The Stone Dancers' and 'The Eagle's Shadow', which was listed as a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year and noted as an ALA Best Trade Book for Social Studies. She is a school librarian in rural Montana.

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Book Info


144 pages


Nora Martin
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Publication date

6th January 2003



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