The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This book was written well, I enjoyed the author's style and unique voice. The storyline was enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed chapters written from Hannah's POV and Imogen's a little less - as this was written in 3rd person. I would have preferred to have both written in the same person. I was a little confused about the timelines. It's like Hannah's chapters are occurring in real time, and Imogen's in the past - this could have been made a bit clearer in the book. I'm adamant as to whether I liked the "Instagram post" things before each chapter. They were quite clever, but after a while I stopped caring about them. The main theme of the book was well explored in the first half of the book - the effect of social media on young people. I feel like the author has lost this focus in the second part, where the "YA mystery" genre kicks in. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to the genre chosen and it was quite predictable. What was meant to be a "twist" did not make a big impression on me. However, I still enjoyed reading this and would recommend to all YA loving friends!
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Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells its story from two points of view, that of Imogen and Hannah, two teenagers with surprisingly developed career experience. Hannah has been sent to Iceland to live with her father after the death of her mother and Imogen is a popular social media influencer. I thought Imogen was the more strongly written and complex character of the two but don't expect any Elizabeth Bennets or Jane Eyres here.

This book starts pretty well and I was hooked into the story however it quickly descends into an extremely hammy plot with soap opera-esque dialogue. Despite that, I found it to be quite a page turner despite everything. 

My real issue with it was that it simply tried to cram in too much. We've got the main plot point of a (frankly ridiculous) murder but also commentary about the pressures of social media, fake news, a nod to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Russian media interference, journalistic integrity, fake news and sexual abuse. There's also a rather tepid romance thrown in for good measure. The Russian slant was particularly cringe and borderline offensive.  I also really didn't like Hannah as a character and it's difficult to fully enjoy a book when you can't gel with a key character. 

Overall, mildly entertaining but I had too many issues with it to really get much out of it.
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Didn't really enjoy this. I felt it tried too hard to make a particular point and did so at the expense of believable characters or proper plot resolution. It also didn't entirely succeed at making the point it was trying to make, and the pacing felt off, and all in all I kind of resented the amount of time I spent reading it. 

Part of the problem is that having villains lambast characters for being brainless millennials is all very well... but at seventeen and nineteen, I'm pretty sure both characters are actually Gen Z. And therein lay a lot of the problem. As characters, they might have been more believable if they were in their 20s, especially as a lot of the plot revolves around jobs and early career decisions and trying to prove themselves in a career setting rather than a school setting; it felt like they'd been artificially aged down to squash into a YA setting. The only real reason for the younger MC to be 17 was so that she'd have to live with her father; other than that, literally nothing in the plot supported her being this young, and the whole "millennial snowflake" thing seemed extra forced given that neither of the characters were really actually millennials... Maybe if NA was an actual genre, we could've had had a more convincing book about early 20-somethings, and it would have been more effective. Instead we got something that didn't entirely feel YA but was trying to be. 

(For those who haven't read it, the author is *criticising* that anti-millennial viewpoint, I think, and trying to argue that social media can be a positive force as well as a highly negative one -- I don't want my review to be misleading there. Though to be honest, that latter point wasn't really made by the plot, just by the narration. There were other directions the plot could've gone that would have supported that idea more, and it ... didn't.)

Maybe I'm being particularly hard to please at the moment, but I also felt that the book tried to deal with some heavy themes (like sexual assault) in a way that just... didn't have the subtlety to do them emotional justice. It kept bludgeoning you with what the characters were feeling, but never really showed it, just told you repeatedly what they felt -- in terms that felt a little worn and unconvincing. Like I said above, the pacing felt off; several key things were resolved towards the end with new characters (or at least, very minor characters) appearing as if from nowhere, plus a couple of plot twists that completely failed to win me over emotionally. 

This book wanted me to feel a lot of things. I didn't feel them, and began to get fed up with it repeatedly telling me what I *should* be feeling. I don't know. I just... didn't get on with this, at all.
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I dnfed this at almost 50% not because it was not good, but simply because it did not hold my interest as much, not invested anymore in the characters. I did enjoy the social commentaries and the unique perspective mixing a social influencer, murder and mystery, but unfortunately it did not do much for me and I do not see the point in continuing.
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Imogen is a glamorous social media influencer, Hannah a teenager grieving for her recently deceased mother. Their paths cross in Iceland when a dead body is found - Hannah wants to cover the case as part of her internship on a newspaper, and Imogen is arrested as the prime suspect.
This book tries to pack in a lot - sexual assault and it’s aftermath, mental illness, family issues, the ethics of journalism AND some fledgling romance. The writing isn’t brilliant but it did initially grip, and I especially liked the Instagram captions as a window into the characters’ thoughts. Iceland itself is the most vividly depicted part of the book, rather overshadowing the characters.
However, the pacing was a bit off and the story lost its way a bit half-way through, and the reveal of the murderer felt rushed. Their motive was also quite flimsy, and the ending seemed a bit unbelievable. The above-mentioned issues were similarly rushed, with there not being enough time to address them fully.
Overall this is a decent pulp thriller with a good sense of place and a slightly disappointing reveal. It’s fine to fill out murder-mystery collections but not a must-have.
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5 Words: Family, secrets, conspiracy, influence, belonging.

Content Warnings: Sexual assault.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first picked up The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake by Sif Sigmarsdóttir. All I knew was that I was picking up a Nordic mystery with a stunning cover.

Once I started reading The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake I couldn't put it down. I loved this book and I loved the characters. I couldn't help but pick out quotes while I was reading.

Both Imogen and Hannah, vastly different characters, resonated with me. I could relate to them both and I loved that. Their voices were so distinct that I knew instantly who was narrating.

I really enjoyed the social media aspect of this story. It was necessary to the story, and I loved how self-worth and validation was explored through the medium. And social media wasn't vilified, it wasn't an "evil" in the story. I liked how each of the characters projected different images, how they acknowledged that what they put out wasn't necessarily quite true.

The ending. Wow, the ending. I loved it, the way everything came together. Ish. I'd happily read more set in this version of Iceland, with the same intrigues as this story, and the ending of The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake left it kind of open to that possibility.

I will absolutely read more by this author, The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake by Sif Sigmarsdóttir was excellent.
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I really dislike the term ‘snowflake’ and it’s of people not coping with life’s events. In this instance, the snowflake definitely shows its sharp edges.
Imogen Collins is a social media influencer. She’s also someone who had to abandon her degree studies as she struggled to adjust to life after a sexual assault. Caught up in her own plan to bring down the man who was responsible, she ends up embroiled in some very dubious events.
Hannah is determined to be a journalist and fed up that she has to go and live with her father in Iceland. On the day she arrives their journey home is disrupted by the sight of the police collecting a dead body that was dumped in a ravine.
Naturally, the two girls’ stories merge and we get a pretty tense thriller.
The setting was interesting, though there were elements of the characters/story that didn’t quite pull together for me.
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this prior to publication.
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Trigger warnings: Sexual assault, violence, murder, mental health.

I am really into YA Crime/Thrillers at the moment so I was instantly intrigued by The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake. Despite it not being very action packed, it was, quite a rollercoaster of a book that had me gripped for the most part. It does bring to light some important topics such as sexual assault, violence and social media. All of which were given the right amount of respect and not glossed over. 

The plot, I found, to be rather thrilling although a little bit slow at times. It took a while for the action to kick in, but it was worth the wait for certain. I also really enjoyed how different topics such as family dynamics, journalism, sexual abuse and mental health were all neatly woven into the plot as well as the murder mystery. It added a whole new depth to the story as a whole and I feel that it was one of the main reasons that I continued reading. With regards to the murder mystery aspect of the book I found it to be pretty standard and the reveal of the murderer was somewhat of a disappointment. I am usually shocked when reading crime when the culprit is revealed, but with this one I felt indifferent. The ending was also something I had a problem with. It just ended so strangely and abruptly and I don't feel like the story had been wrapped up properly. I was left feeling confused and deflated at the end.

The topic of social media was one that was prominent throughout the book and one that I found extremely interesting to read about. The notion that we put a different version of ourselves up on our social media profiles is one that is highly true in today's society. Someone could be posting about their incredible life, when in reality they are facing hardships, just like Imogen in The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake. Also, the instagram posts that feature at the start of each chapter were genius! It was such a great idea of put the caption that was posted, as well as what that caption really should have been. It brought a very unique twist onto the entire book and was definitely a stand out point.

Hannah and Imogen as characters both had lots of depth that we discovered as the story progressed. Hannah's worries about fitting in with her new family and her mental health are very much relatable. I found her drive and determination admirable and her way of telling a story was inspiring. Imogen, at first glance you would think she was going to be your typical diva, but as you discover more about her past you become attached to her. I felt sorry for her during most of the book and I really just wanted her to have a somewhat happy ending. 

The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake overall, was an enjoyable read for the most part. It was well written and did have you wanting to read on at times. The topic of social media was probably the stand out point for me. However, the lacklustre mystery and confusing ending did bring it down a peg for me.
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Thank you to Hachette’s Children’s Group and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book sounded really interesting so I was excited when I got accepted for an arc of this book. Though I do have to say I have mixed opinions about the story.

This book sounded so interesting and we got to see the story unfold from both Hannah and Imogen’s point of view. So we get to see more than what the characters around them know. We see how appearances can be deceptive and not everyone is who they seem.

Even though the book seemed like it would be really intriguing I have to admit I was a little bored at times. I had issues with the pacing of the story and felt it dragged in the middle. I also found the different points of view a little confusing to keep track of who’s point of view I was reading at first though it did become clearer as the story went on.

I did really enjoy the setting, it’s set in Iceland and it was really atmospheric and gave that dark vibe that really went with the story. It also sounded really beautiful and made me want to visit even more!

Another thing I really loved was the Instagram posts that were included with the captions. What the captions actually say and what they were actually thinking about when posting it. The difference between what they actually write and what they are thinking and feeling was really great to see. Especially as social media is such a big part of many people, especially young people’s lives. What you post and what you say in your post can be seen by everyone and it makes people want to seem “perfect” at all times in the public.

There was quite a few themes in the story, from effects of social media, ethics of journalism, sexual assault, family and murder being among them. I really liked that they were included and spoken about especially how social media can influence people and the ethics of what journalists write as they are also influencing people’s views. Sexual assault was also a pretty big theme in the story and affected how Imogen was throughout the book and you can see the toll it takes on her yet she is blamed. And you can see the parallels in real life society currently, with everything happening in the media lately.

I did feel however that as the story is pretty short there was a lot of themes covered but not enough time dedicated to delving deeper into them. I wish we had gotten more conversation about the sexual assault and how social media affects people’s lives.

I think my biggest disappointment in the book was the ending. I felt underwhelmed with the ending and who actually turned out to be the murderer. I felt that it came out of nowhere and I just felt a little confused as to why this person decided to murder the man. I wish there was more build up and we got a bit more at the end to explain better the persons motives, especially as we barely see this person throughout the book.

Overall I did enjoy this book and thought there was some interesting themes explored in the book but I was a little disappointed by the ending.
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I enjoyed this tense thriller set in Iceland. It is told from the perspective of two young women - Hannah and Imogen. It was an interesting reflection on the power of social media particularly the manipulation of people’s views and thoughts. 

I was a tad frustrated by the ending - although not altogether surprised.

It was face paced and will be an addition to my library in due course.
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This is a fast paced, twisty YA thriller set in Iceland. It's a location I always wanted to go, but didn't find the chance. So, it was really interesting to read this book. 
I read this book really fast to find out the end as it hooked me from the beginning. It was well written, and I think the writer has a distinct style, which I liked. 
I'd recommend this book to YA thriller lovers. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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"Imogen Collins is everything I expected her to be: beautiful, stylish, elegant, and a total cow."

* * *
3 / 5

Reading The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake was a much better experience than the other book that I had read by this author - I Am Traitor. Snowflake is a contemporary murder mystery with heavy themes of sexual assault, family, and social media.

"A piece of the puzzle is missing. Who is Imogen Collins?"

First off, I loved the setting. I've never been to Iceland but I'd love to go - the long dark nights with clear skies, the perpetual snow, the sense of a hard, tight-knit community set against the harshness of the landscape. All this really came across in the book and definitely made it feel different.

To the plot! Hannah is half-Icelandic, sent to live with her father after the death of her ill mother. Imogen is all English and a social media influencer, in Iceland on business. I liked Imogen. She's good-looking and she makes the most of it via Instagram, but she's also sensible, recognising that these kind of jobs are short-lived and has flourishing career in the psychology of advertising using data. Interesting stuff. Their lives intersect when a man is murdered in Iceland; Hannah is working for the paper writing about the crime and Imogen is arrested as the prime suspect.

"she is seen, she is heard, she is loved. The feeling is more invigorating than coffee. And just as addictive"

What did I like? I liked the two women, tenacious and difficult and troubled in their own ways. I liked how the author dipped into different topics as she wove together the story of a murder - the role of family, the ethics of journalism, etc. A big part of the plot revolves around Imogen being sexually assaulted at work at never reporting it; I felt like this topic was handled maturely and respectfully.

What didn't I like? I found the actual 'answer' to the mystery to be entirely underwhelming, confusing, and a little bit far-fetched. I thought the book suffered from a lack of focus; Sigmarsdóttir tries to pack a lot into what is really quite a small book - sexual assault, a murder, family, mental illness, change, social media, the ethics of journalism, etc. There isn't room to adequately discuss and resolve all of these topics. I also found myself a little confused quite often; when each girl arrives in Iceland they are 'paired up' with an Icelandic boy, both of whom are pretty similar. I often got them confused.

Overall, The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake is a mature, thoughtful read. It had a lot to say and even though it had a few flaws, I did enjoy it.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book.
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A really good YA mystery/thriller, set in Iceland and has a lot of take on social media.

The story is told between view points of two young girls, Imogen and Hannah.

Hannah is a teenager that's recently left London to move in with his dad in Iceland, but his dad has another family, and she struggles to fit in to both Iceland and the family- although she's been there a lot through out the years she feels homesick.

Imogen is an Instagram celebrity, she has the perfect life on her feed, but in reality she's constantly miserable and have her own demons hiding in closet.

A man is found dead, and this murder crosses the paths of these two girls!

This was an enjoyable read, not an action-packed but a well written psychological thriller. I especially enjoyed the Instagram parts where Sigmarsdottir told the real and the optional captions!
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A fast paced, twisty YA thriller that will have you turning the pages faster and faster to find out what happens next. I read this in two sittings but only because I had to make myself put the book down in order to go to work. This has a very different feel and outlook to most YA thrillers while still hitting the major tropes in a satisfying way. Thoroughly enjoyed.
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Appearances can be deceptive, particularly so in this YA Nordic Noir.
A dual narrative with the story also switching between past and present events, it's a pacy read that you'll want to get through in one sitting to see if your suspicions were correct.
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