young adult book reviews & more

Frost by Marianna Baer

FrostSenior year at Barcroft Academy is not turning out the way Leena Thomas planned it. She and her best friends Abby and Viv were supposed to have Frost House all to themselves, their very own private corner of campus. But all because of a broken leg, their sanctuary has been invaded by Celeste Lazar, an eccentric girl Leena is now forced to call roommate. Leena is willing to get over what she sees as an unfair intrusion and make nice with Celeste, but keeping the peace becomes more difficult with all the strange things starting to happen around Frost House. At first, Leena is fine writing off the fallen picture frames, toppled furniture, and locked doors as just strange, but Celeste is convinced that there’s something sinister inhabiting the house. As the year progresses, the stress of class and personal insecurities cause Leena to withdraw further into Frost House and become more entangled in its mystery until she no longer knows if the mystery is all in her head—or if there’s something actually seriously wrong with the one place she feels totally safe in.

Frost is one of those novels that walks the line between the psychological and the fantastical. I am always intrigued by stories like these, because there is something so alluring about the possibilities in each of these explanations, but often I end up disappointed. I am happy to say that debut author Baer’s novel was not disappointing in the least. I was so impressed by Baer’s ability to get inside the sometimes confusing mind of protagonist Leena. In addition, her fluid writing and attention to detail combined with a well paced and intriguing plot made Frost so enthralling to read. However, the real reason why Baer succeeded in my mind where other writers failed is because of the ending of her book. This is one of those stories fueled by ambiguity, but I am the type of reader who is irritated when ambiguity is all that remains at the end, as in Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Baer doesn’t necessarily give an absolute explanation for the mysterious events that transpire in her story, but she gives enough to work with so that readers can pick one of the explanations, psychological or fantastical, and feel secure that there is enough evidence within the story to back their opinions. This is what made Frost so much more satisfying to me than other stories like it. I applaud Baer for a lovely and wonderfully written novel and the beginning of a very promising writing career.

Frost will be enjoyed by fans of Tighter by Adele Griffin, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from BEA

1 munch(es) :

Leigh Purtill said...

If you like this, Rachael, you MUST read Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House." This sounds really terrific too...I love books that toe that line you speak of...in fact, am working on one right now. :)

Post a Comment

Let the munching begin.