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As Simple as Snow

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,918 ratings  ·  319 reviews
A mesmerizing labyrinth of art, magic, cryptic codes, and young love that sparks the imagination and teases the mind-an arresting first novel about a young man's quest to unravel the puzzle his missing girlfriend may (or may not) have left behind.

Anastasia (Anna) Cayne is a complicated high school girl with a penchant for riddles and affectionate mind games, who spends m...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 by Putnam Adult (first published March 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This was a real shit-show. A bland high school dude falls in love with this goth chick who has all these obscure interests she forces on him, and long story short, she disappears and you have to try and figure out if she was murdered, committed suicide, or ran away. There are a bunch of so-called "clues" throughout the book that are actually all red herrings and the book concludes with no resolution. That didn't bother me so much as the fact that the road to nowhere was boring. I would only reco...more
Unlike everyone else in the world, I hated this book. Should have liked it: YA, numerous literary and musical references, etc. But the characters were flat, flat, flat. And unrealistic. It was like the author sat down and wrote what he wished had happened to him in high school with the benefit of years of reading and listening to music - which is my fantasy/style of YA writing too, which is why my writing sucks. Kind of feels like he got his MFA and read somewhere that YA novels were selling so...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen Himes
I love this book.

I read this book nearly ten years ago and I can honestly say that it is a book that I think about all the time. Looking at the reviews for As Simple as Snow, I feel that readers generally fall into one of two camps: the lovers or the haters. There is no middle ground.

And that's because you either get it or you don't.

And by 'get it' I don't mean you've figured out Anna's riddles or solved her many mysteries. I mean that you get the narrator. You either get what it feels like t...more
Michelle L
Oct 27, 2008 Michelle L rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good mystery.
As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway is a novel about a normal teenager whose life changes dramatically when he meets Anna Cayne. This boy (his name is never told to the readers) narrates the story and takes the readers back to when he first meets Anna and their romance. Then Anna suddenly disappears and leaves behind a black dress in a hole in the snow and unanswered questions of what happened to her that the narrator takes upon himself to solve. The author Gregory Galloway has a MFA from the...more
I read this because John Green said that As Simple as Snow inspired him in part to write Looking for Alaska, and boy, that influence is apparent. I actually had to remind myself a few times that this was not, in fact, a John Green novel (interestingly enough, this was written as an adult novel, but has been adopted by the YA community with gusto).

I very much enjoyed this book. It was bleak, with a manic pixie dream girl and a boy who's lacking personality (and a name! I always find that frustrat...more
I guess this is a mystery; a main character disappears in the middle of the story, leaving the narrator to try and work out what happened to her. Yet, this is not a whodunnit story. The book is more interested in exploring the narrator's sense of self and how others define/do not define it. The character who disappears is equally self-absorbed. She drops names of famous or obscure artists/musicians/writers/performers constantly, as though these, plus her Goth attire, define her. She also has a p...more
Jun 08, 2011 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: breezy
I finished this book back in October. At the time I gave it 3 stars because I felt, as did many others according to the comments, that it was too unresolved and too unsure of its own genre for a 4.
However, lately I have been thinking back to the characters. I've been mulling over the mystery of the plot, and feel tempted to pick the book back up again and go over it for clues I may have missed.
Possibly I won't find the answer, and in this way I am to be just as frustrated as the narrator. This...more
To be perfectly honest, I am giving this book such a high rating because it pissed me off and I couldn't get it out of my head. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading the book. The reason I was so obsessed and angry after finishing it was all the unanswered questions. For starters, you never even learn the main character's name (and this is the least of the mysteries). Then there is the eccentric goth girl he falls for that has more secrets than she has appearances in the book. To top it off, h...more
I'll be honest, I really wanted to like this book. And for the first half or so, I did. Anna was an original sort of character, and despite the blandness of the narrator, I liked the way that the two interacted with each other. The plot promised to become even more interesting, and to be honest, I was all set to give this book five stars.

Then I read the second half, and things started to go downhill.

I'll start by saying this- if you're like me, and like books with a real conclusion that ties up...more
Sarah B.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2009 Nicola added it
Shelves: fiction, teen, unfinished
Apparently, Galloway has an MFA. I know this from this book jacket blurb, but the clues are also in his style of writing. As Simple As Snow, a bleak little adolescent love-story-turned-mystery, reads like a clumsy creative writing dissertation. Most of the first dozen chapters are simply vignettes describing the novel’s major characters. They’re not integrated into the story in any way – they’re just there, as if copied&pasted from a homework assignment to write 1,000 words about a single ch...more
It's kind of a shame this got pigeonholed as YA - it's rare that I find adult literature that leaves so many mysteries unsolved. Of course, some authors leave things unresolved and it feels like a cop-out, but in this case, it was nice! This book definitely gets better after the manic pixie dream girl goes missing. She's a little too kookily mysterious/spontaneous/culturally aware, but maybe she actually has modeled herself after some manic pixie dream girls a la Garden State Natalie Portman and...more
YA Book Recommendations
My reaction in one gif:

Full review:
Yes, this book really was an inspiration for John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

And I can see it. However, before coming across his statement on his tumblr, I would have expected him to say “I really wanted to make the story GOOD" and not "one of the best books you’ll ever read.”

Because for me, it really, really wasn’t. Not even close.

You have the narrator (not named—one of my pet peeves unless it’s actually necessary) who is a blank sheet of paper. Really. He act...more
The book As Simple As Snow was written by Gregory Galloway. While reading this book I thought to myself that even though I have never lived anywhere besides my hometown this book made me feel like I was there with the characters. The author made me feel this way because while I was reading I thought that I was the characters and I was living their life instead of living my own life.
The one character that made me love this book and not want to put it down was Anna. She was that one character fo...more
A "Young Adult" book that could only be called such because the characters are high school age. Yes, it explores many "coming of age" themes but not sophomorically. Very thought provoking, with memorable characters, a bit of mystery, some heavy elements, and a wee bit of humor. Later, I discovered there was a whole thing going on with people trying to figure out the story. Google the title, visit the author's website, get totally involved, or just enjoy a good read.
Doreen Fritz
One of those young adult novels that tries to reel you in through the "out there" characters, but this one left me wanting so much more than it delivered. The narrator gets involved with Anna Cayne more through her efforts than his own. He was so passive, but followed along through her many games. The fact that we readers never even learn the narrator's name feels like another game - or just a writer's gimmick. Anna moves to town in August, and by the next spring she has disappeared, or maybe sh...more
I should probably write a lengthy review for this, but I'm tired and really the best description I can give is the one my librarian gave me: It's a better version of Paper Towns.
bland, whiny, trite... there were three or four moments in this book where i became interested, but they passed within a paragraph. what were you thinking, Alex Awards?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
i have fond memories of reading this book on the beach in valencia, spain. unfortunately, the beach was waaaay better than the book. frustrating and silly.
Great (complex) characters; great writing.
Not every sentence was beautiful, but there were definitely a few that sparkled - and it was always engaging.
Kept me guessing right up until the end -- AND ALL OF MY THEORIES WERE WRONG. (This may be frustrating for some).
Know that you know nothing.
Don't expect things to be handed to you in a neat little package, wrapped up with a bow.
Do expect to be introduced to musicians and poets that you may not know about and have your artistic world enriched - by...more
Abby Moore
Gah! The ending.... This book is very similar to Paper Towns by John Green. I liked it, but like I said, Gah! the ending.
Everardo garza
Dec 18, 2011 Everardo garza is currently reading it
A quote that i found and loved is "but if love is true and still leaves you lonely. what good does it do?"(gallooway,3) 3
Katrina Bergherm
I found it a bit dull and dragging, but my 15-year-old daughter thought it was just great. Who can account for taste?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thought it was going to be an interesting subtle thriller but there was never really a point and just boring.
Will Walton
It will hit you smack in the gut and leave you breathless. There, I said it. I feel that strongly about it.
I think it's a real challenge to have a bland protagonist, and it's one that, for me, Galloway fails to overome. I never found the male narrator interesting; as a result, instead of thinking profound humanistic questions about what it means to live and whether it's possible to be a ghost while you're still alive, etc.--which this book could easily have led to--I found myself wondering why the author didn't add any real introspection or sense of curiosity to the narrator's character. I'd recommen...more
This book heavily relied on dramatic topics, such as drinking, parental problems, drugs, cliques etc. to try and make it interesting. And while this was the inspiration for Looking for Alaska, John Green clearly did a better job with this story than the original writer. The beginning was fairly dull and predictable, and picked up slightly after Anna's disappearance. Most of the characters were flat and the cliff hanger at the ending did nothing for the story. It was as if the author could not fi...more
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Gregory Galloway received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His first novel, As Simple As Snow, was a recipient of the Alex Award.
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“I know absolutely nothing about where I'm going. I'm fine with that. I'm happy about it. Before, I had nothing. I had no life, no friends, and no family really, and I didn't really care. I had nothing, and nothing to lose, and then I knew loss. What I cared about was gone; it was all lost. Now I have everything to gain; everything is a clean slate. It's all blank pages waiting to be written on. It's all about going forward. It's all about uncertainty and possibilities.” 57 likes
“It seems like it’s all just remembering and forgetting. Things happen so fast, and then they’re gone before you notice them. Events ambush you from out of nowhere, blindside you, and then you have to spend the time afterward trying to remember or forget what the hell it all was to begin with. The more you think about it, the more the events crumble, crack, breakdown, or refuse to change at all. They’re either pieces of ice in your hand, changing shape and melting away until they’re nothing like what they were to begin with, or pieces of glass. Sharp and irritating, unchanging reminders of pain and unpleasantness - or happiness.” 16 likes
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