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The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls
By author: John Lekich
Selling Points: "Family, independence, friendship, honesty, crime"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2012
Pages: 280
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $12.95
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Ever since I was a kid, being even a little bit hungry has given me bad dreams. The past couple of nights I've dreamed that a police car was taking me away in handcuffs. Both times I've woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. This is so upsetting that I have to calm myself down by closing my eyes and visualizing the inner workings of various locks. This is a talent I learned during my advance training at the Walter Gurski School of Lock Picking. I find it very soothing during times of stress.

Fifteen-year-old Henry Holloway isn't immoral, he's just hungry. His mother died when he was nine, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Andy and his friends, all amiable small-time crooks. When Uncle Andy is sent to prison, Henry takes up residence in an abandoned tree house in order to escape the notice of Social Services. His mission? To survive on his own while preserving his cherished independence. Fortunately, Henry possesses all the skills it takes to be a successful house burglar.

Henry is an unusually resourceful and considerate burglar—often tidying up the places he robs—until he's caught. The terms of his probation? He must live with the Wingates, a strange family in a small town called Snowflake Falls.

Henry is just getting used to his temporary family when the newly liberated Uncle Andy and his criminal friends draw him into a plan to rob the citizens of Snowflake Falls. Will Henry be loyal to his uncle or will he break with the past and do the right thing?
Nikki Tate-Stratton, CBC All Points West - March 12, 2013
"Full of humour, compassion, love and commitment to family. The characters are charming, funny and surprisingly complicated."
NJ Youth Services - October 18, 2012
"Henry is a likeable character, and readers will root for him to redeem himself."
Resource Links - October 1, 2012
"The Wingate family and the whole town of Snowflake Falls is as refreshingly quirky as the band of criminals Henry grew up with and helps keep the tone light...[Readers] will be thoroughly charmed by Henry's antics and the wacky cast of characters that populate Snowflake falls."
Vancouver Public Library, Staff Fiction Picks - September 1, 2012
"Sweet-tempered and hugely enjoyable."
Tri State YA Book Review Committee - September 1, 2012
"With his impeccable writing skills, author John Lekich has created an antagonist who is also a protagonist. Despite his foibles, Henry is both comical and pitiful, lovable and enviable...There is not a 'cutsie' ending to this story. It is authentic, unpredictable and humorous. Young readers as well as old will enjoy Henry's character, the Wingates' antics, Lekich's descriptions of small-town life, and the overall message of the book."
Jane on Books blog - June 30, 2012
"An excellent read—funny, witty, and perfect for the young adult group...Recommended for any YA or high school library."
Sal's Fiction Addiction blog - June 17, 2012
"What a voice! With wit and a wondrous imagination John Lekich has crafted a character I will long remember and admire...As readers we meet an incredibly diverse slate of characters, unconventional and wise, empathetic to Henry's plight and gullibly welcoming to all visitors. Henry comes in contact with people who have an impact on the decisions he makes, and he is averse to hurting them. You don't want to miss meeting any of them."
CanLit for Little Canadians blog - June 10, 2012
"Lekich's characters in The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls are the treasures that readers look for in great fiction. They are unique and true to themselves, good or bad, and evolving."
VOYA - June 1, 2012
"This amiable tale of misadventure is a sweet, entertaining read with a good moral compass. The author has a delightful sense of playfulness and imagery, and provides many feel-good moments. The tone is light and the story sprinkled with all the usual teen angst plus that which is felt by a surprisingly moral fifteen-year-old thief."
Booklist Online - May 29, 2012
"Lekich has created a character worth caring about...For those who enjoy quirky characters and stories of redemption, this is a good bet."
School Library Journal - May 1, 2012
"There are plenty of amusing parts and the playful and Runyon-esque...This is a charming, funny coming-of-age story with terrific writing, characters to root for, and a completely satisfying ending to a silly caper." - April 9, 2012
"A book rich with simple complexities and deadpan one-liners that brilliant comics will wish they had written...This is fiction that I wish were targeted to adults. Not because the book might tempt youth to glamorize crime or emulate Holloway, but because it takes certain experience and perspective to fully appreciate its deeper meaning and elegant writing. Lekich is a writer's writer. No question....The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls reverberates with the genuine, essential stuff. Stuff that (unlike all that's mean and wrong with the world) never makes the evening news. Profound meaning can be found in the smallest gesture. Echoes of the ages resound in the philosophical, social and moral ideas...Every character is flawed but inherently noble."
CM Magazine - April 6, 2012
"It is almost impossible not to like Henry Hollaway...Lekich has provided Henry with an engaging story and a powerful voice. He has created a novel that has both a retro feel and contemporary issues...Lekich encourages us to think we can predict what will happen and then always surprises us. While we are left unsure of Henry's next steps, we feel confident that he has a bright and happy future. Recommended."
Canadian Children's Book News - April 1, 2012
"Henry has a gift for understated humour and the plot is full of surprising twists and turns, sometimes solemn and sometimes very funny. Even the quirky characters—and the Wingates, in particular, are extraordinarily odd—have a refreshingly different quirkiness to them. Readers will be engaged by Henry's predicaments, his honesty (when crime isn't involved) and his unique moral code. They will certainly laugh and they might even pick up the odd security tip."
The Toronto Star - March 31, 2012
"Dry humour, a slightly insane imagination and a highly personable hero make Lekich's new novel wholly refreshing...This crime comedy is made all the more entertaining by its cast of eccentric characters, but none is more winsome than Henry—who steals cars only so he can organize his thoughts; tidies the houses of those he robs; and brings a clever, comical bemusement to his own story. Delightful."


CCBC Best Books starred selection, commended  CA  2012
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize nominee, short-listed  CA  2013
TriState YA Review Group Book of Note, commended  US  2013
Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2013
Stellar Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2014

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