Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Source: Received for review from the publisher.
Genre: Teen Paranormal
Location: Er…near enough to New York City to drive there?
Other Info: Frost is Baer’s debut. She’s got another book coming out in 2013 called Immaculate. It’s a “YA novel about a 15-year old girl in Brooklyn who is pregnant, but claims to be a virgin.” I think I may just have to read it.
Description (from Goodreads):
I have so many issues with this book it’s not even funny. I’m also really struggling with a way to start this review. It’s not that I thought Frost was a bad book so much as I really, really disliked the narrator. The whole thing is meant to be an examination into psychosis as well as the supernatural, but I was completely distracted by the heroine and her many, many issues.
The basic story is that Leena and her friends have scored Frost House for their senior year of high school. Leena has masterminded the whole arrangement; it’s particularly important to her because, ever since her parents’ divorce, school has been her home. Unfortunately, Leena’s idyllic senior year is disrupted by the fact that she’s going to have an unexpected roommate. Worse–one that she considers unstable. Moving in together doesn’t improve the impression, and soon Leena’s home situation is untenable–to say the least. And when bizarre stuff starts happening, Leena starts to think that Celeste isn’t just unstable–she might just be psychotic.
I never warmed to Leena, which was a problem because she narrated the story. There’s an incident in the book that basically symbolizes my feelings for her, so I’ll tell you about it: One of the bizarre things that happens in Frost House is that Celeste gets a burn on her back when the water coming out of the bathroom faucet turns boiling hot. Leena tends to Celeste’s wound by applying antibiotic ointment and putting a bandage on it. Now, maybe it’s because I just took a CPR/First Aid class for work, but this part really bothered me. You’re not supposed to put anything on that kind of burn–just run cool water over it.
This is one of many signs that Leena, while well-intentioned, is acting without important knowledge. The more I learned about her, the more amazed I became that anyone let her be a peer counselor. I think the readers are supposed to think this, but I don’t think it was meant to keep readers from liking/relating to Leena. For me, it did. She came across as that girl who insists that she knows better than you, and that she’s right and you’re wrong. I wanted to hit her.
While there was room in my stone-cold heart to feel for Leena–her parents are neglectful idiots, I fail to understand Dean Shepard’s appeal, and her friends drop her cold despite three years of closeness–I mostly just wanted to tell her to stop trying to counsel people. You know the saying–therapy begins at home. Though I suppose fixing others is easier than fixing yourself. If this had been the message of the novel, I think I would have liked Leena more. And I would have been more understanding about her mental health issues. As it was, the end was kind of anti-climactic and the paranormal element took away from the more serious problems of Leena’s self-prescribing, the fact that she tried to kill herself when she was thirteen and hasn’t, apparently, seen a counselor since, and her isolation from her peers.
I would also like to point out that I considered, at several times throughout the novel, that Leena was exhibiting classic warning signs for a depressed/suicidal teen. With her history, it flabbergasted me that no one ever expressed concern in that respect. I suppose it’s possible that Leena’s friends don’t know her history, but I would expect Dean Shepard to.
All in all, a flawed book. Too flawed for me to enjoy. Please check out these other reviews:
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