By: Marianna Baer
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Psychological Thriller/Suspense/Paranormal/?
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours
Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost house, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological… well, which answer would let you sleep at night?
Frost is one scary book. It’s the kind of scary that takes you back to younger days when you were sure there were monsters in your closet and under your bed, when every gust of wind and creak in your house was some nefarious being out to get you. When half the fear came from actual nervousness and the other half came from you psyching yourself out so much that you just sat in bed, terrified to move, with your back against the wall and the covers up to your chin.
That kind of fear is the beauty of Frost. Everything begins normally enough, with seemingly logical explanations for the little things that seem strange and out of place, and it feels like there’s no reason to think any differently. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that things aren’t necessarily what they seem, and that characters we thought we understood may or may not be completely reliable. The depth and characterization of these people, and of Frost House itself, is fantastic, with some of them walking the line between sane and possibly mentally unstable, between haunted and not haunted. Trying to figure out which is which and what is actually going on will leave you completely clueless and constantly second-guessing yourself.
Marianna Baer does an incredible job of setting the tone for Frost and making it so deliciously dark and creepy. I had to sleep with the light on because I was so freaked out. Dark hallways suddenly took on a whole new menace. Baer’s plot progression and storytelling is great, and everything felt very believable. The weirdness factor just unfolded so naturally; it was extremely unsettling.
Frost is an excellent Halloween-time read, and definitely one to add to the list of exceptionally well-done, crap-your-pants ghost stories. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for chills up your spine.
*Thanks so much to Cindy from Around the World ARC Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. :)