Snowglobe (Book Review)

Written by Michelle Watson

April 16, 2024

You’ll love it if
Squid Game + The Hunger Games sounds like a thrill-filled funtime

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By Soyoung Park
Translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort

Plot & Pacing
Writing Craft
Moral Value

Another YA dystopia—is it worthy?

I think that, like most YA dystopias, you’ll either love this or hate it.

Years from now, the world is frozen, and everyone works in power plants to provide the population with the electricity required to sustain life. Everyone works for the power plants, except residents of Snowglobe, a ritzy community sheltered from sub-zero temps by a dome. How can you become one of the chosen few who get to live there? By agreeing to act on TV. Your life is recorded and made into a TV show for the world to see.

If you worked day in and day out at a power plant (riding a bicycle to produce energy) and you got the chance to become a Snowglobe actor, would you take it?

That’s basically what happens to Chobahm, our teenage girl protagonist. But the catch? She’s asked to take the place of a megastar who died. She looks nearly identical to an actress named Goh Haeri, who has achieved Taylor Swift-level fame in Snowglobe. If Chobahm agrees, then her family will receive extra compensation, and she may even get a shot at attaining her lifelong dream of getting accepted to Snowglobe’s famed film school to become a director.

It’s a Faustian bargain with all the teenage trappings that make this book appealing to its target audience. It checks all the boxes for what I hoped to see—mystery, twists, and action.

I did feel like the book could’ve been tighter. I really enjoyed it, but the first and second half were a bit disjointed, with characters from the first half who faded into the background to make way for new characters who took the stage in the second half. I listened on audio, which was a lifesaver for name pronunciation, but I confess that I did have a hard time keeping the characters straight.

Overall, this was a solid YA read, and it was interesting to read this genre set in what I assume is a futuristic South Korea, but I’m not sure I’ll come back for book 2.

Content Warnings (with spoilers): Here are some things that you may want to know before handing this to your teen (or reading it yourself). There is discussion of cloning and its moral implications. There are scenes of violence, but nothing gory or over the top. One character is revealed to be in a same-sex relationship with another character, but this isn’t central to the plot and (I think) becomes more central in the sequel. There are some whiffs of romance for the protagonist, Chobahm, but nothing graphic and no sex scenes.


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