Snow is the second instalment in the Animal Allies series by Australian author Ondine Sherman and if you loved Sky, the first in the series, you won’t be disappointed with this new offering. The Animal Allies series looks at animal welfare and encourages conversations around this important topic. As the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute, author Ondine Sherman is perfectly placed to send an important message to teens about our animal friends.
In Snow we once again meet up with Sky who is on her way to Alaska where she plans to meet her father, Adam for the first time. She’s travelling with family friend Melody, who is finally being supportive after disappearing not long after Sky lost her mother to cancer. If you’re yet to read the first book in the series then you’ll need to know that Sky went to live with her Aunt Paula and Uncle Dave in a small country town in outback Australia. After trying to balance being popular with her strong beliefs about animals and the environment, Sky had a lot to consider, such as how she wanted to live her life and what values were important to her.
During this time, she was also drawn to the idea of finding her father, a father that she believed had abandoned her and her mother many years ago. You can read our review of Sky here.
Sky has now left boyfriend Oliver, best friend Lucy, Aunt Paula and Uncle Dave and all that has become familiar and important in her new life to get to know her father, Adam. It’s risky but she needs to know once and for all if there’s a chance of a relationship with him.
When Adam meets Melody and Sky at the airport he seems like a nice guy. He’s even gone to the trouble of stocking up on vegan food. But when Jaxon – a local teen who Adam looks out for – discovers that his father is missing, Sky misses out on the time alone she had planned on. Aside from knowing so little about his life in Alaska there’s also the fact that Sky has been led to believe her father didn’t want to be a part of her life. However, as time goes on, she finds it difficult to reconcile the father that she is meeting now and the one that she has been told about by her mother.
Sky loves so many things about Alaska, especially the wildlife and when she discovers that Jaxon is researching wolves a bond forms between them. Just when Sky and her father think they’ll get some time together, things escalate with Jaxon’s father. Add to that, her father has been elusive about what he does for work and when she presses him for details, he avoids the topic. What is it that he really does and why won’t he share more about himself?
Will Sky find it in her heart to trust her father and salvage a relationship with him? Will she also manage to stay true to her own values this time?
This is a wonderful series that not only explores issues around animal welfare but also standing up for your values, the importance of family and trust and loyalty to those you love. Ondine Sherman also manages to tell a compelling coming of age story and teens will be able to relate to the issues around friendships and relationships with parents. Many books for teens explore dark issues and while this series does place Sky in difficult circumstances the plots are hopeful and thoughtful and ultimately uplifting. They are also relatively fast paced so should hold the attention of teens who have so many other options vying for their attention.
Ondine is the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute. She is a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. Ondine holds a BA in Communications and MA in Environmental Studies. She is an ambassador for Action for Dolphins and director of conservation NGO This is My Earth (TiME), and writes regularly about animal protection in the media.
Ondine grew up in Sydney and now lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children. Her mischievous street cats, loyal dogs and ex-battery chickens all keep her extraordinarily entertained.