Title: Cold Kiss
Author: Amy Garvey
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Cold Kiss (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 006199622X (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0061996221 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
Synopsis: It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.
But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.
Quick & Dirty: This novel has a new take on zombies and forces the reader to see all sides of love — as well as what it can cost, but unfortunately lacks tension or a good climax.
Opening Sentence: I wasn’t thinking of falling in love the day I met Danny Greer
Wren uses her secret magic powers to bring her first love back from the dead. After Danny died in a car crash she started researching some spells and actually pulled it off. So not only does Wren now have an undead boyfriend to keep a secret, but she’s way more powerful than she thought. Let me start out by saying that I like the living Danny. From Wren’s memories of him and comparing the old Danny to his new zombie counterpart, he seems like he used to be a great boyfriend. It’s really sad when Wren remembers when he used to be alive, because even though Danny isn’t your typical zombie — he has the full gambit of emotions, for one thing, he’s still cold. But undead Danny needs Wren for everything, his dependence on her means not only that her grades are dropping but she’s neglecting her family and friends. Enter Gabriel, the new, gorgeous student who can’t seem to stop staring at Wren. He can feel her power — both the fact that she’s powerful and that she’s hiding something. With his help Wren learns what needs to be done to undo undead Danny.
Garvey really connects the reader to Wren’s emotions. Her narrative voice is really sad and heartbreaking. It also overwhelms the plot. To the point where the story was dragging under the weight of this depression. The book devolves into a diary of her rants, which is not only painful to the reader but inhibits any character development. Getting her to let go of Danny was hard, but a big part of the problem was that it’s clear the author was already planning for a sequel. I understand that she blames herself for bringing Danny back, but there was so much more going on in this story that Garvey should’ve been exploring. Like why the women in her family have magic and why Wren is so powerful and why her mom won’t discuss magic no matter how much Wren needs her guidance. Those were really important questions to me that never got answered.
Now I like Gabriel, but I’m not sure his character was really necessary. Not that Wren doesn’t deserve to have another love interest, just that Gabriel’s insights didn’t add anything to the story. Their relationship made me uncomfortable when Wren began to neglect Danny more and more, particularly when our characters reach a certain point. I wish this book had focused on letting go after grieving and didn’t try to add in these other elements. The love interest was forced and this book would have been heart-wrenching without him.
I will say that bad decisions can lead to great stories, and Cold Kiss had that potential. Wren clearly never saw Practical Magic or she would’ve known bringing back loved ones never ends well.
Gabriel’s watching me, and he puts his apple core down on the table before he speaks. “It’s not what you’re thinking,” he says, so low I have to lean forward a little bit. “I can’t hear your thoughts, not word for word, not unless I really try, and even then it’s not really accurate. You were trying to tell me something before, right? I don’t know what it was, but I could feel you sort of…poking at me.”
I must make a face, because he shrugs. “It’s more that sensations sort of come at me? Sometimes images. Like, say someone’s across from me on the bus, thinking really hard about her sister. I might get the feeling of worn cotton, or certain colors, or a scent first, and then maybe a memory of them hiding together under the covers, looking at a book, or fighting over the last pancake or whatever, so I know it’s her sister and not her mother she’s thinking of. See?”
The Cold Kiss Series:
1. Cold Kiss
2. Glass Heart
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Cold Kiss. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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