When Rain Turns to Snow
Jane Godwin
Publisher: Hachette Australia
ISBN: 9780734420053
Awards Year: 2021
Category: The Book of the Year: Older Readers
Judge's Critique
This book is a wonderful example of a compelling and page-turning mystery that could be enjoyed by readers in the whole age range, from 13-18 years. Set in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the reader is given a real sense of the iciness of winter. Issa is a relatable girl dealing with loneliness and toxic relationships on several fronts from her family and her friends. The added mystery of Reed, and why he has turned up with a baby, makes for a highly compelling story. Godwin handles the added element of cyber bullying with care, while not sounding as though she is lecturing the reader on the dangers of social media. This is an excellent addition to the lower end of the Older Readers category, perfect for early teens/tweens who are ready for more than many middle grade books have to offer but are not quite ready for some of the themes present in older YA books. The voice of Lissa is wholly authentic – a rare example of a young character who does not sound older than her age; while the pop culture/social media references and dialogue serve to enhance the relatability rather than detract from it. While Godwin covers many big themes, there are moments of genuine humour and hope that lead to a satisfying conclusion. This book is a joy to read.