Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine
Release Date - September 1, 2020
Winter is here to stay. Because spring never arrived in the Appalachians in Ohio, 19-year-old Wylodine has been running her family's marijuana farm single-handedly since her mother and her mother's boyfriend left for California. It's hard work, but Wyl's been taught well and is good at what she does. When winter never turns into spring for a year and then continues into a second, Wyl realizes it's time to follow them with what's left of their thriving farm. Her friend left long ago and the town is quickly becoming a ghost town.
She takes seeds, her grow lights, and whatever else she needs and gets ready to set off. She ends up with a teen boy who's close to her age. They pick up a second guy their age and end up running into every obstacle they could possibly face. If they make it to California alive, it's going to take some incredible wisdom, strength, and determination.
As a teen, I loved Stephen King's The Stand. That and Earth Abides by George R. Stewart are books I've ready time and time again. Post-apocalyptic fiction is a passion of mine. I expected to love Road Out of Winter for that reason, but I never felt the same level of engagement with the characters. Some I found too predictable, while others didn't seem to have the hindsight they should have gained as winter continued.
The writing and descriptions are exceptional. If you can't feel the biting cold while reading about Wyl's experiences, I'd be surprised. The plot moved slowly. My biggest issue comes down to the ending. I can't give spoilers though. The bottom line is that after a slow moving plot, the final portion of the book seems so rushed that I felt cheated.