(BOOK REVIEW) A modern-day climate thriller meets think piece, Snowflake chronicles the journal entries of Ben Wallace, a brilliant high school senior who sees the world beyond his years.
Some might say he’s an “old soul,” while others dismiss him as a bleeding heart vegan liberal due to his progressive views on climate change, eating meat, hunting, factory farming, pollution, species conservation, and overpopulation.
Often called a “snowflake” or “Soy Boy” (as one school bully nicknames him), Ben must constantly defend himself in an out-of-touch gen-Z world consumed with Instagram, selfies, memes, and TikTok.
As a gifted student who obsessively reads scientific papers, Ben is all too familiar with the present-day attacks on our environment and frequently experiences what he refers to as “obsessive climate spirals”–often triggered by horrifyingly authentic tweets, quotes, and news headlines (i.e. “Humans Speeding Extinction, Altering Natural World at Unprecedented Pace” & “Worldwide, 7 Million People A Year Die from Air Pollution”).
Presented with these terrifying truths regarding “climate chaos” and the fate of the world, Ben predicts a looming environmental catastrophe–humanity’s imminent self-extinction.
He recognizes how this impending ecological disaster is provoked by the current President of the United States, who not only passes policies without any consideration for climate change, but denies that it exists altogether–putting the entire globe at risk.
After a profound mind-altering experience and two nearly fatal family tragedies, Ben experiences a spiritual awakening as he recognizes how all life is connected and that we’re all simply animals fighting to survive.
Radicalized by humanity’s downfall (and perhaps his skipped anxiety meds and therapy sessions), while simultaneously guided by his love of animals, philosophy, and moral justice, Ben pledges to take action in pursuit of his grand “Idea,”as he calls it–to assassinate the president in an ultimate act of environmental defense.
“To save my generation and defend our planet, the president must die.”
This becomes Ben’s daily mantra for six weeks leading up to his grand scheme.
Ben recognizes, “If you keep letting something go, it never ends.” Confronted with daily media headlines like “A Species Goes Extinct Every 20 Minutes, Over 26,000 A Year,” Ben can’t simply ignore the grim state of the world and “wait for the broken machinery of our system to repair itself.”
After all, “What future do any of us have in the face of such destruction?”
But no matter how enraged, this vegan 18-year-old activist makes a rather unlikely assassin as even he feels remorse over the accidental killing of a silverfish. Because of this, he struggles daily with the philosophical, practical, and moral reasons that render his actions not only justified, but necessary.
This may seem like a heady mixture, but it’s all wrapped up in a fast-paced and compelling thriller that keeps the pages turning. You’ll find yourself effortlessly consuming information about real world issues, without feeling like you’re stuck in a classroom.
No doubt, Snowflake is bursting at the seams with facts and inspiration, empowering readers with the knowledge and gall to hopefully take action themselves against environmental injustices.
Ultimately Ben envisions a better world and maps out the steps to get there in what eventually becomes a modern-day manifesto, inspiring future generations to come.