Friday 5 August 2022

The Snow Laundry

The Snow Laundry by Mette Jakobsen (Harper Collins) RRP $19.99 (PB) ISBN 9781460762080

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

In a city where things have gone seriously wrong, seventeen-year-old Ally is working in a hotel laundry, after being ‘saved’ from living in the tunnels by the charismatic leader, Elenore Maslin. Along with many others of her age, including her boyfriend Bon, Ally is now under strict surveillance and is basically a prisoner. There is also talk of beatings and disappearances, so when Bon goes missing Ally fears the worst. When she finds out what the authorities have in store for her and her companions, she has no choice but to join the rebellion against those in charge. 

The world of the snow laundry is full of inequality where the very rich call Ally and her friends ‘rats’ as if they’re not even human beings. The exception seems to be ‘ONE’, who is also among the wealthy but apparently had humble beginnings (although it’s uncertain whether this is true). Guards supervise the teenagers, and they are often cruel, particularly one called Teeth, who had a past altercation with Ally and Bon. All in all, it’s a life of hard work, restrictions, and terrible food. Ally uses her art to escape from this and sketches in what spare time she has. She also has good friends around her who she can trust.

There’s action, danger, and violence during the story. Ally herself is almost raped and almost blown up but manages to escape both, with injuries. At first Ally doesn’t seem like a natural rebel and takes some convincing to go against the Administration. It is her loyalty to her friends that initially sways her to take the risk, but ultimately it is her decision to be courageous. On the final page are the words to be concluded. The second book, the conclusion, is due out in April 2023.

The Snow Laundry is described as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale, Divergent and The Darkest Minds. It is the author Mette Jakobson’s first young adult novel. 

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