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“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
Summary: Sandyland was NOT Hawaii. That's where Madison Sabatini and her parents were supposed to go on vacation this summer. Some vacation! They left for the beach in such a hurry that Madison only had one change of clothes. At least she had her camera ... until she dropped it. Madison winds up at Psychic Photo, the only camera store around, where she crosses paths with Delilah, Leo, and Duncan, who become her summer friends. Though Madison considers the three beach friends only temporary fill-ins for her friends back home. Delilah, with her pink hair, is nothing like Madison's friends at home. Plus, she worked in a store where her mom offered "transformational experiences." How weird is that? Not as weird as taking pictures of people who weren't in your shot. The mystery of her camera’s power to capture ghost-like images forges an unbreakable bond between them. First Madison takes a picture of a woman killed in a car accident. Then she sees a woman who is dying in her viewfinder. No one - not even Delilah's mom - could explain it. When Madison saw her new friend Duncan in that viewfinder, she freaked. What was going to happen to him? This young adult novel offers a realistic fantasy. It has potential as a high interest / low readability book.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: I loved every word of Carol Snow’s novel. Madison’s situation is relatable for anyone who has had to move to a new place as a teenager, anyone who is learning the ropes of their first romantic relationship, and anyone who has experienced happenings that can only be explained in the realm of energy fields. I recommend Snap for every teenage girl, and think boys will enjoy it too. I wish I knew what happens in Madison’s life next!
Teen 2: Snap differs from other books I've read. Even though the ending was predictable, it was an interesting read. The characters and setting are well developed, as well as the story dynamics. I enjoyed Snap, but I wouldn’t read it again. It was a quick paced and told an interesting story, but was chock-full of cliches and boring at time. Overall, it is a relatable and exciting story for young teens to read.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is gripping and fun. Madison is a character you want to cheer for and yell at, sometimes all at once. She has so much depth, but can also be shallow - which allows the readers to make choices for themselves. Madison's parents and the other adults in the story are genuine; not at all over-the-top or stereotypical. Given the cover and blurb on the back I was expecting something eerier. Even so, I wasn't disappointed. This is a great book.
Pros: Fully developed characters and realism add depth to a story with a "fantastic" subplot.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a fabulous story definitely worth reading.
Educational Themes: Because of the breadth and depth of the realistic elements of the story, there are lots of themes to explore: stereotyping, change, dramatic life events, friendship (and judging friends). Snap would make an exceptional choice for a young adult or mother-daughter book club.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, friendship, growing up
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2014, September 2014, March 2016
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.