Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey, Book Review

“It seemed so right. Danny was mine, I was his, and that wasn’t going to work if he was dead. So I would make him not dead, not anymore. I didn’t think any further than what it would feel like to kiss him again, to wrap my arms around him and bury my head against his shoulder.
That was my first mistake. It also turned out to be the biggest.”
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.

Amy Garvey’s transcendent teen debut is perfect for fans of Shiver and Beautiful Creatures. Wren’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Title: Cold Kiss
Author: Amy Garvey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC

Rating: 5/5

*I received a review copy of Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for a 100% honest review.

Amazing. Powerful. Beautiful. Haunting. Heart-breaking. Enchanting. Captivating. Enticing. Magical. All of those words describe Cold Kiss--and even then, those words cannot live up to the amazing, powerful book written by debut author Amy Garvey.

When I first heard about Cold Kiss, my interest was piqued and I wanted to know more. After further research and examination, I knew that I wanted to read it and it looked pretty good. My expectations for Cold Kiss were normal, average...a fairly good young adult novel. I was tremendously wrong. After the first chapter--no, the prologue--I knew Cold Kiss would be amazing, and I was right. Amy Garvey set the tone for the entire book in the prologue and I instantly knew that Cold Kiss was going to be that book--the book that leaves you in a snotty, teary mess with a gaping hole in your chest. Cold Kiss blew me off my feet with a force so strong that I had so sit and just ponder the book long after finishing it.

Even after the last page of Cold Kiss is turned, you are eerily haunted and plagued by the beautiful imagery expressed in the book.

Cold Kiss tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl named Wren, living in New England (even though her exact location was never specified, you knew she lived in New England and based on the rich, thriving imagery and descriptions, I was 99.9% sure that the book took place in New York City, New York) with her mother and younger sister, Robin. A few months prior to the time that the novel takes place, Wren's loving boyfriend, Danny, dies in a tragic car crash and she is so overcome with pain and agony that she uses the magical powers that every woman in her family possesses to bring him back to life. However, he is only an empty shell of the boy she loved and he is more like a mindless zombie (a cold, hard gorgeous zombie) who sits in a neighbor's garage and waits by the window for Wren's daily visit. Danny--or his physical shell, anyway--is obsessed with Wren and the more time she spends with a new boy named Gabriel, the more Danny becomes jealous and possessive. While the plot of the book is Wren bringing her dead boyfriend back to life, the underlying plot/theme, in my opinion, was Wren dealing with the emotional havoc that losing Danny caused her, and dealing with the consequences of love and loss.

As Wren and Gabriel become closer and closer, Wren's captive heart becomes wild and free and she returns to the girl she used to be before Danny's untimely demise and I found the transition from pessimistic and depressed to optimistic and alive to be very interesting. Throughout the novel, Wren and Gabriel's relationship unfurls like a delicate flower and by the end, I felt as if the flower had bloomed into a bond so strong, a force so powerful, that nothing could break it.

I loved the magic in this book. At first, you're wondering why and how Wren managed to resurrect Danny, but as the book continues, you're left with what is Wren. She seems to be a normal, teenage girl who fights with her mom often and has an annoying little sister but Wren is so much more than that. She has thoughts and emotions far beyond her years and I loved how Wren managed to overcome many things that were currently happening in her life. The concept of witchcraft is often speculated in the book, but Wren promptly denies calling herself a witch.

I thought that the characters were amazing. I have never read a book with characters that felt so real that they could just pop out from the pages and shake your hand. Every single character had individual personalities and continuously developed throughout the book. Wren was a strong, independent heroine who harnessed the magic, bravery, courage, and acceptance within and managed to "save the day" in a sense. Wren often has flashbacks of her time with Danny when he was alive and well, and in those scenes, you got a taste of who Danny was and I could completely understand why Wren loved him so much and was willing to risk so much just to have him back; Danny was sensitive, kind, and caring and I couldn't help but find my heart aching for both Danny and Wren. Gabriel, at first, seemed like a platonic void but page after page, he began to transform into something more--something more romantic, and you feel the instant chemistry between Wren and Gabriel from the start. I thought that, for "supporting characters" Robin and Mom helped support the foundation of the novel and I found myself wanting to know more about them.

As the story unravels, Wren, a ball of pent-up energy, begins to release excess amounts of emotional luggage and magic harvested within her veins. You may think Wren was stupid for bringing Danny back to life, but who hasn't bargained something in our lives to bring back or keep hold of something--or someone--that we love? I know that if I lost the man I loved, I'd do anything and everything in my power to bring him back to life.

I think that one of the main things that makes Cold Kiss such a phenomenon is the writing style. For a debut author, Garvey sure knew exactly what she was doing and where she wanted to go with the story. Throughout the entire book, Garvey never lost sight of who she was or the voice she was using to write Cold Kiss. I thought that the prose-like writing in Cold Kiss was melodic, harmonious, beautiful, haunting, and poetic. The writing was raw and drug out emotions straight from the human soul.
All in all, this book was utterly amazing and touched a part of me that I will never forget, or loose sight of. Cold Kiss made me laugh, cry, fall in love, and get angry; the book tore me apart--and I loved every minute of it.

Cold Kiss was a beautiful, tragic love story and I know that it will stay with me forever.

“Love doesn’t break easily, I found. But people do.”

-Amy Garvey, Cold Kiss
Up next: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

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