Last December I was lucky enough to read A Million Little Snowflakes by Logan Byrne. It was one of those books I never wanted to stop reading and I described it as a book which should have a cult following.
In August 2014 Logan Byrne made the decision to re-release A Million Little Snowflakes with a new cover in the hope of reaching out to a wider audience, although he has made no change to the brilliant plot.
This is the September 2013 release:
This is the August 2014 release:
Although I can see that the new cover possibly appeals to a new adult reader, I personally prefer the intimacy of the original cover . . .What do you think?
Oliver Hurst has always been abnormally normal.
His grades are horrible, his best friend just left for Utah, and he’s depressed. His overly religious parents don’t help, especially since they control every facet of his life. One stupid sentence said in desperation gets Oliver tossed in an adolescent psych ward, where his depression and fears become even more of a reality.
When Oliver meets snide, tough girl Lacey Waters he doesn’t think his life could get any better, that is, until she becomes the ray of sunshine he has desperately needed on his cloudiest of days.
I recently interviewed Logan Byrne on his re-release decision, the story and himself.
1. Why did you decide to re-release A Million Little Snowflakes?
I decided to re-release A Million Little Snowflakes because I felt as though it never got the attention it truly deserved. I always make a point to advertise and market all of my books, but Snowflakes seems to be one that got through the cracks, even though I think it’s the book that has made the biggest impact not only in my life, but also in the life of my readers. I also wanted to give it a fresh new look in terms of the cover, and felt that I might as well re-release it and make sure people know about it this time around!
2. What inspired you to write the story?
Well, the story is based around Oliver, a seventeen-year-old boy from the Chicago area who, after saying some choice words about wanting to kill himself at a family dinner, is admitted to an adolescent psych ward in a hospital by his parents. The book was loosely based on me when I was fourteen, as I had problems with depression and social anxiety and ended up getting admitted to a local hospital’s adolescent psych ward by my mother for talks of wanting to end my own life. In the book, the sights, sounds, and overall feel of the ward is based on my own experiences, exactly how I saw them and how everything was designed. The activities they also do in the book were based off of my own experiences. The only thing that didn’t happen was a romance (how I so would’ve wished at the time), and a certain door or area that Oliver and Lacey get access to. That was made up to progress the story. So, when readers read this book, I want them to try and paint a vivid image of the ward based off of the description. That’s how it really was.
3. The ending of the book is one of the most powerful in any book I have read . . . .had you planned this from the beginning?
Yes, I had planned it before I had even written it or had a name for the book, but I don’t think I had necessarily planned it the way it came out. It really came as I was writing it, and as my fingers tapped against they keyboard with ferocious speed and agility, the ending was written within a few minutes and never touched again. I did think about changing it at one point, after it was published, as sort of a alternate ending like they do in movies, but decided against it. Too often I think that books and movies always have typical endings that you can see from a mile away. I won’t say much more because I don’t want to give away the ending to those who haven’t had the chance to read the book, but most people say it’s an ending you won’t forget anytime soon.
4. Use three words to describe the book . .
Realistic. Hopeful. Angst.
5. Which 4 authors (living or dead) would you invite for dinner?
Oh boy, that’s a hard one. The first one would definitely be J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter universe is one that I love dearly, and I feel as though she had a great impact on me starting to write, since I was a young boy when the first book came out. I still remember being home from school sick and having the first three books given to me so that I’d have something to do.
The second would be John Green. I feel as though The Fault in Our Stars and A Million Little Snowflakes have something in common, not only with a sickness (cancer vs. mental illness), but also with the sense of teen love and what it means to be a teen in today’s world.
The third would be J.D. Salinger. He was sort of a recluse, like I am, and The Catcher in the Rye was the first book I read in high school, which many know to be the point in your general schooling where you get to start reading the better stuff, so to speak. I wasn’t much of a reader before getting that book for an assignment, but I whizzed through it and devoured the book so fast my eyes couldn’t keep up!
The final person would be F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also received The Great Gatsby early in my high school career, and feel as though it made an impact on me, just like Catcher above did. I think it would be great to pick the mind and just be around somebody who wrote an American classic.
6. About you .. .
This is my original review for A Million Little Snowflakes published on Blogger on 4th December 2013. .
This book left me reeling, so much so that when my response to the story fully registered I had to wake my husband up to talk to him about it!
The way A Million Little Snowflakes honestly and openly delves into Oliver’s emotions surrounding his depression it should have a cult following, like The Catcher in The Rye. Oliver is an unlikely hero, but one whose life Logan Byrne compels us to read about nonetheless. He feels he disappoints his parents by not being the ‘perfect’ son at home, school and church; he compares himself to his younger sister who he feels is loved more; he admits his feelings of depression to his mother but she says he is ‘possessed’. When Oliver says out loud, “I want to kill myself” it is clear to see that this is just an outlet of emotion and anger, but still Oliver does not understand that even the thought of this is a dangerous sign of depression.
Although I was initially interested in reading this book because of its plot, I think it is Logan Byrne’s characters which make the story so original, strong and moving. The author ensures that all of the individuals he creates, whether they have a minor or major role in the story, all have meaningful and relevant input. The best examples of this are Esther, Charles and Tucker. Esther and Charles are two adult patients who Lacey, Oliver and Marcus meet whilst eating in the dining room. Esther and Charles see further into Lacey and Oliver’s relationship than either of them have admitted,
“Like I told you, youngin’, life is too short to mess around, and if you don’t live for now you might be blown away by the hands of time,” Esther said with a smile before her and Charles got up and left the table, leaving us the weird yet insightful wisdom.”
The romance between Lacey and Oliver is touching and gentle, each of them opening up to the other about their depression and anxiety. Oliver and Lacey support each other, not only by talking, but by being there with a look or gesture during group time.
There is a strong message in this book; Oliver enters the Psych ward judging his fellow patients on sight but soon learns that like the snowflakes in Lacey’s book, everyone suffers in a different way and we are all unique.
A Million Little Snowflakes is a story I wanted to climb inside so I could hug the characters and at that moment I knew things had changed, yell ‘STOP!” Logan Byrne is an author now firmly on my favourites list and this book has a special place in my heart forever.
I hope that A Million Little Snowflakes is a book I have inspired you to read . . but this story comes a strong tissue warning!!
I would like to thank Logan Byrne for his support and help in creating this post xx