Skip to main content

Snowflake by Louise Nealon


The Characters

There are some really interesting characters in this story and it is the characters that make this book so unique.

Snowflake is the story of Debbie White who has just turned eighteen . Debbie has now left school and she is about to go to college. She is about to find that going to college is a lot different to the life that she has been used to for the past eighteen years and many things come as a shock to her throughout the story.


Debbie is not like your average eighteen year old because she has a rather strange home life. She lives on a dairy farm with her mother Maeve and her uncle Billy. Debbie never knew her father but she knows that her mother had her while still only young herself. While still a child, Debbie suffered several traumas including dreaming about an accident that happened on the road outside their farm. She grew up wondering if the accident was her fault because she had dreamed about it as it happened. She also lost the tops of two of her fingers in an accident that was caused by her mother.

Debbie was always thought of as being a bit of a loner and she left school without making any proper friends. In fact she spent most of her time with her mother, uncle and the young men who were brought in to help on their farm . Her only experience of having a social life was to go to the local pub with her mother and her uncle.

So when she started college, she knew that life would be much different and she would have a few surprises in store. She was never really popular in college but she did manage to make one good friend.

Xanthe (Santy)

Xanthe met Debbie on the day they had to go and register for college, they got chatting through another student who was starting at the same time. Unfortunately Debbie did not read the instructions properly and she did not have the right papers with her on the day. This is how Xanthe remebered Debbie out of all the other faces that she met on that day.

Xanthe is a bit older than Debbie , and at the start of their friendship , Debbie looked up to her because she thought that Xanthe would be so much more experienced than her. However, as the friendship progressed, Debbie found out that there was more to Xanthe than she thought.

It turned out the Xanthe had problems with her mental health and she also had problems with her own family. When she got involved with a boy who lived near Debbie (who also turned out to be Debbie`s teenage crush) she went to the town where Debbie lives and met Debbie`s mum and uncle.She was fascinated by them because they were so much different to her own family.


Maeve White is Debbie`s mother. She is a single woman in her thirties and at the start of the story she is in a relationship with a young man in his early twenties who sometimes works on the farm. She is unemployed, although she calls herself a writer because she has been writing a book about Dreams for the last eighteen years. There is something of a new age hippy about Maeve and she has been known to run naked in a field of stinging nettles because she thinks it will be good for her.

Throughout the story we see Maeve`s character deteriorate due to her ongoing mental health problems.


Billy is Debbie`s uncle and Maeve`s brother . He is unmarried and he lives in a caravan on the family farm. Billy seems to be a very heavy drinker, but apart from that he is a hard working dairy farmer and he seems to be responsible for the running of the farm. It is Billy who holds the purse strings and it is he who encourages Debbie to try to get a better life for herself by going to college.

Book details

Snowflake by Louise Nealon was published by Manilla who are part of the Bonnier Publishing Group.

This book comes under the genre of Contemporary Fiction.

ISBN 9781786580702

My first impression of this book

The first thing that I noticed about Snowflake was how much I liked the design of the book cover. It is minimalist with nice, subtle but eye catching colours which compliment each other well. The title and author`s name are easy to read in a no nonsense sort of way. It is very modern in appearance and is visually very pleasing.

This is a story about a young woman growing up in the modern world after having a somewhat unconventional childhood. Many readers will identify with what this girl is having to go through because all of us have to grow up at some time and venture out into the big wide world. I can certainly remember this stage of my own life even though it was many decades ago now. As children, we sort of think that every family is the same as our own because we do not know anything else and it is only when we leave home that we realise that most families are different in many ways.


About the Author

Louise Nealon is a young writer from Ireland. Snowflake is her debut novel and she got her inspiration for it after waking up one night after having a strange dream.

After reading Snowflake I will be looking out for more of her books in the future.

More books by Louise Nealon

Snowflake is Louise Nealon`s third book, her other books are;

  • What Feminism Is
  • The Globe and Scales

Related Articles