Frost Review

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Title: Frost
Author: Marianna Baer
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: September 13, 2011
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—eccentric Celeste Lazar.

As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House: frames falling off walls, doors locking themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And although Leena strives to be the peacekeeper, soon the eerie happenings in the dorm, an intense romance between Leena and Celeste’s brother, David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind…or in Frost House itself?

Senior Year at Barcroft Academy was meant to be a dream for Leena. She and her best friend Viv have scored residence in a cozy corner of the campus - Frost House. But circumstances change when an eccentric roommate, Celeste, is thrust into their living space and thing start to take a turn for the worst. Frost House seems to have a mind of its own as chairs fall, picture frames tilt and crash and the locked doors become ominous and foreboding. But as Leena's personal life becomes more chaotic and confusing, she finds herself withdrawing further into Frost House until she very might well lose her mind because she's no longer sure anymore - is there something wrong with the house, or is something wrong with her?

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of twisted stories. There's something about being sent on a spellbinding tale that resonates those things that go bump in the night. Frost does that and more. Walking a fine line between a pyschological thriller and a paranormal tale, Frost delicately balances between genres and promises a fulfilling tale for all. Author Marianna Baer has crafted a haunting debut that's mesmerizing, confusing and haunting, allowing the reader to escape into a world where darkness is undefined and every twist and turn has you guessing what's really going on at Frost House. With a fluid style and sinister tone, Frost is sure to delight readers who have a thing for the dark and mysterious.

The true beauty of Frost lies within the bones of the novel - the writing. Mysteries aren't easy to write. If you tell too much, the reader gets bored, but if you tell too little, the reader grows impatient. Frost walked a tightrope of ambiguity, giving the reader enough information to keep them turning pages and continuing guessing, but never giving anything away too soon. Moody and atmospheric, tumultuous and nerve-wracking, Frost messes with your perceptions, captivating you with a realistic MC and then sending your mind spinning on a psycholgoical tale. Leena, like I said, was a great protagonist. There was something believable and accessible about her. While she was a strong girl, there was a sense of vulnerability about her, and as her confusing grew, her mindset lent a creepy vibe to Frost. The more chaotic her thoughts were, the more suspenseful the story grew. Likewise, the relationship between David and Leena only fostered the humanity of the story, which could have easily been lost in the plot. Celeste, though a vivid and prominent secondary character, never stole the spotlight from Leena and added a tenuous sense of peace to the story, but remained precariously close to sending Frost spiraling into a veritable pandemonium. The ending was satisfying, but it was the only sort of flat element for me. I don't like ribbons and bows, but I don't like to feel like I'm still guessing. Frost balanced between the two, only offering a semblance of an answer to the mysteries within its pages.

Overall though, Frost was a dynamic, creepy debut from an author that's sure to deliver many more powerful novels to the genre in the future. I give it a strong 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy YA, especially mysteries and psychological thrillers.

I received this ARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Yay! I had a feeling you'd like this one. :) Creepy stories really appeal to me, too. Fantastic review, Melissa!

  2. So glad you liked this. It sounds fabulous. Reminds me of an old fashioned ghost story, even though it's not. Glad it's well written.

  3. Sounds like a great book! I've got this on order for the library, so I'll be keeping an eye out for it.

  4. Oh I won this one and I can't wait! I'm so glad it was this one I picked. Sweet!!!! If it gets lost in the mail, I'm ordering it.

  5. Oh yeah, another creepy book. This one sounds really interesting. Thanks for the great review, I'll have to check this one out.

  6. This sounds really interesting! I like a good creep factor in books! I'm putting this on my wishlist! :) Great review!

  7. I'm totally intrigued by this one. I'm glad you liked it -- I'll definitely have to check it out! The creepy twisty-turny atmosphere definitely appeals to me.

  8. True, tell me too little and I just arghhh, tell me too much and why bother even reading it

  9. Ooh, can't wait to read this one. I love a good creepy story (but not so scary that I have to sleep with the lights on) and Frost sounds like it fits the bill. Thanks!
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  10. I so love the look of this one - I love the creepy vibe it gives off and the fact it messes with your perceptions. Can't wait to read it!

  11. Really great review and I will admit, I was hesitant to if I wanted to read it but now I will!

  12. This sounds like the perfect, creepy fall read! I haven't read a good mystery in a while. Thanks for the awesome review!

  13. You know how much I love twisted and creepy. This one sounds like a perfect mix of the two. Mysteries are definitely a hard piece of fiction to write. It sounds like this one was well done, save the ending. Sometimes I like the happiness of an ending, but sometimes bittersweet makes it a little better...I can appreciate the good much much more that way. Loved this review, Melissa!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  14. I felt the same way about the book! Very good writing in keeping the reader in suspense! Nice review!

  15. Nice review. I've read others that didn't like it quite as much as you, but knowing how discerning your tastes are, now I'm thinking I might like this one. ARGH! Just what I need is another book. Like that will ever stop. But I really liked the premise of this book when I originally read it. You're killing my wallet Melissa!


  16. I've read this one is super creepy and good! I can't wait to read it. Great review.

  17. I just picked this one up and can't wait to read it! Fab review! :)

  18. Nice review! This sounds like such an eerily wonderful mystery/thriller. I'll have to check it out! :)


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