I know reading a book about a dystopian book about an endless winter can seem like a lot. But what I loved about Road Out of Winter was the hope running throughout the book. There is this unending cold – which given my current heat wave I wouldn’t mind a smidge of – but there’s also pockets of hope. Keep reading this book review to see if this dystopian is right for you!
In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope
Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented extreme winter.
With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wylodine and her small group of exiles become a target for its volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.
Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Road Out of Winter felt almost like something pulled from the depths of my dreams. From that moment at the end of a season when you think, what if it just doesn’t stop? Or is that just me? A season that starts and never stops, holding us tightly in its clutches reminding us our world is built on change. Because too much of anything can have disastrous consequences.
What I loved about Road Out of Winter not only was that the MC is bisexual, but also that Stine seems to ask the readers, through the book, what we think we would owe to each other at the end of the world. Would we be able to band together? Find solace and strength? Or would we resort to a society of everyone for themselves? And what Stine seems to offer is a middle ground that never feels compromised. I think that’s what strikes me the most about the book, as it progresses.
There are deals we make at the end of the world, supplies that turn out to be worth more than gold, and values we have when nothing else is certain. But through it all, Wil has this steadfast determination to keep going and to not fall into the illusions of community or comfort. Stine also never covers up the unique danger being a woman is in this world of pirates and scavengers. There’s a heavy current of introspection woven throughout the book, despite it’s action. Questions of wondering if the world was always this damaged, if people had these seeds within them the whole time. If before we were just covering up this intensity, or if the end of the world as we know it just inspires this drive.
Road Out of Winter is a fast paced story with an amazing dystopian setting. It is a story that not only asks what happens when our life is over, what we think of as our life, but also what happens next. Road Out of Winter ends up being a story about resilience and where, and with whom, we choose to be at the end of the day.
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About the Author
ALISON STINE lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.