Series: Cold Kiss #1
Author Amy Garvey
Release Date: September 11, 2011
Page Count: 292
Summary from Goodreads:
It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants--what she "must" do--is to bring Danny back.
But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her--and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought--even if it means breaking her heart all over again.
Wren is hiding the zombie remains of her boyfriend in the neighbor’s garage. She resurrected him because, after Danny died in a car crash, she couldn’t move on past her grief. But he’s not the same anymore—he’s not alive like he was, even though he’s not dead. And some way or another, Wren’s going to have to figure out how to make things right, even if it means letting Danny go for good.
As far as YA paranormal romance and zombie fiction and teen love go, Cold Kiss comes out of left field and does its own thing. Instead of dealing with new love and the beginning of a relationship, Amy Garvey writes about the end of one, about letting go and moving on even if it hurts. In that, I think this book is much more heartfelt and touching than is the norm for this genre or subject.
Wren definitely stole my heart in the end, proving herself to be a protagonist worthy of my esteem. She stood up for herself, she didn’t take crap from anyone (especially her mom), she made mistakes but owned up to them and did her best to make amends, and in the end she did the right thing even though she didn’t want to. At the same time, I would have liked to see a bit more depth from her, but what Garvey supplied I was more than willing to take. And there’s a sequel, which I’m expecting will expand on Wren’s personality a bit more, hopefully.
Inter-family relationships also play a role in Cold Kiss, which was fabulous—more books need to realize that most teens have some kind of “family” or support system. Wren had her mother and sister, both of whom also had magical powers (I guess you could call them witches if you want). Wren’s mother tries to pretend the magic doesn’t exist, and it’s created a huge barrier between them, especially since Wren’s dad walked out ten years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. In that context, it’s not at all surprising that Wren attached herself to Danny in the way she did, that she was unable to let him go.
I was also impressed with the romantic relationships Garvey presented in this novel. New boy in town, Gabriel, plays a somewhat important role in the plot. He also has supernatural powers—mind reading—and he knows something wrong in Wren’s world. At the end of the book they’ve only known each other for a week, and though they’ve formed a bond that’s definitely not platonic, they don’t declare undying love for each other or act in any way silly or unrealistic. And though Cold Kiss is mostly about Wren and Danny’s relationship coming to a close, Garvey does give the reader glimpses into the initial stages of their love as well.
“It wasn’t love right away, because nothing ever is, no matter what the songs say, but it was the start of it. A beginning in one way, and the end in another. I think that might always be true of love” (pg. 6).
Thank goodness for a YA author with her head screwed on right!
Sad to say, though, that as much as I loved Cold Kiss as a whole, I did have some issues. In general I feel like this book only scraped the surface of its potential. Amy Garvey could have done so much more—deeper emotion, broader themes, etc. That she didn’t was disappointing, as I can’t help but feel like there’s a piece missing from this novel to make it truly wonderful.
But overall, Cold Kiss the type of paranormal novel I love to read and tend to look desperately for but almost always end up not finding. I’m extremely impressed with both this novel and Amy Garvey’s ability to relate a unique story. This author has talent, and this book has real merit. Cold Kiss is a great novel for those looking for an out of the ordinary experience.