Snap: A Novel



Delicate story of impending death of a loved one.

What parents need to know

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is about a child dealing with the impending death of her best friend's grandmother, who has raised her. Her death doesn't happen in the book, but its inevitability hangs over it.

What's the story?

Edwina, called Eddie, likes to make lists, and she wears different colored rubber bands on her arm, which she snaps to remind herself of habits she wants to change: storing food in her cheeks, leaning back in her chair, and so on. She wants to keep the world tidy and organized. But the reason for the purple rubber band she keeps secret.

Her best friend is Sally, who lives with her grandmother, Willie. And Willie is dying. Willie knows it, Eddie knows it, and Sally knows it too. But Sally deals with it by turning away, by purposefully forgetting and rewriting her past. Eddie is a good friend, and she wants to help, but she doesn't know how. The world just refuses to stay simple and neat.

Is it any good?


For all the grimness of the subject, this is a lovely, quiet story, simply told. And it's most notable for all the things it isn't: no villains, no suspense, no tearjerking, no clueless adults, no deathbed scene -- in fact, no death. This isn't Willie's story, though she is the catalyst. It's the story of two friends trying to come to terms with grief and waiting for the inevitable changes that come to every life.

Despite its short length and simple language, it's a story of complexity: Nothing in life is as simple as we might like it to be, and every character, major and secondary, is three-dimensional. Eddie's mom chooses always to tell Eddie the truth, as hard as that sometimes can be, but she really pays attention when she tells it. Each character is, in her own way, unresolved, as is the story, which ends before the end. This is all just a not-so-simple way of saying this isn't just a story -- it's real.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about coping with the loss of a loved one. Compare how Sally and Eddie each react to Willie's decline. How does Eddie's mother's honesty help her come to terms with what's happening? What do you think happens after the book ends?

Book details

Author:Alison McGhee
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:August 22, 2005
Number of pages:129
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of Snap: A Novel was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Boy seeks something to remember his grandmother.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old December 9, 2008


Snap is a good book!
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

ok this book was like the sweetest book ever!!!

This book was my most favorite book so far. It is like the best thing to read for advice I accually just finished it so its freshin my mind. This story touched me,because I too like Sally when i was reading this book had just lost the closes thing to grandmother. This book was a great book and a wonderfull example of change I really liked the end when Edwina took the braclettes of her hand and put them in Sally's hair.This was a wonder book.
Adult Written byTiana Martin May 17, 2011


It sucks! My daughter was crying because she was fearful her grandmother would pass away and she would end up like Sally! Do not buy this book!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide