20 September 2011

(ARC) YA Book Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Release Date: 20 September 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Goodreads description:
When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart.
My Thoughts...

Cold Kiss surprised me, to say the least. I started this book expecting a rather straightforward paranormal romance type of book, complete with the love triangle and teenage angst I've almost come to expect with these "types" of novels.  However, what I got was a refreshing paranormal read that focuses in on emotional growth, specifically the grieving process and the pain of losing someone that you love.

When the book opens, the paranormal event has already taken place. Wren, consumed by her grief, has used the powers that she has to bring her boyfriend, Danny, back from the dead. While he's not the same as he was before the accident, Wren takes all the comfort she can in the fact that at least now he's not dead. But hat is he really? And what will happen if/when Danny begins to remember the past? What happens Wren's grip on Danny begins to slip?

Wren's journey is one that many readers can identify with.  She's reeling in the loss of her first love--the first person that she gave her heart and soul to. She dealing with the death of her boyfriend/best friend. The grieving process and the emotional roller coaster that people deal with when experiencing these things is well-portrayed in Cold Kiss. Wren's coping mechanism is, of course, different than most people, but if it wasn't, this wouldn't be a paranormal zombie book. I think Wren's innocence and naivete make her relateable and connect you with her character, despite the initial strangeness of her decision and resulting situation.

However, Wren's journey isn't just about grieving and dealing with Danny--it's also about the process of moving on. Enter Gabriel--a new "man of mystery" at Wren's school who understands and supports her in surprising ways. While Gabriel brings yet another supernatural element to the story, the focus of this book remains more emotional than paranormal.  Gabriel is, of course, attractive, but it's his surprising understanding of her situation and his ability to guide Wren through this difficult time that really endears you to his character. There's a lot about him that makes him appealing, but overall, I think readers will fall for his loyal personality that helps others even when it's immensely difficult for him. By the end, I felt like I really only had the first tastes of who Gabriel could develop into as a character, and I hope that maybe we'll see some more of him in the future!

This story is really about Wren's emotional development--the plot is very character driven versus action driven, which makes it stand out among many YA paranormal books.  I'd quickly recommend this to fans of both paranormal and contemporary reads because I think it offers something for readers of both "camps." Overall, this is a quick-paced book that many readers will devour in a single sitting. The mysteries that remain at the finish of this book will leave you thinking and hoping that Ms. Garvey will give us more!

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