By the time this book even starts, Kit has had an interesting life. As an orphan, he was picked up by a traveling circus and was known for his show riding before his age hit the double digits. Times changed though and Kit gave up the circus circuit for a more stable life as a servant to a nobleman. Life is uneventful until one night, when his master comes back to the house late at night, bleeding out from bullet wounds. As it turns out, the kind man that Kit thought was a relatively normal fellow is actually one of the most notorious highwayman in the country. In an attempt to go and seek help, Kit dons the clothes his master, Whistling Jack, grabs his French Bulldog, Demon and flees on his horse, Midnight. Jack instructed Kit to go and find a witch in the woods right before scrawling out an indecipherable will. After a daring escape that nearly gets Kit killed, he manages to stumble upon the very woman he was supposed to find. The witch informs him that he must now finish his master’s quest, which involves a number of fantastical beings whose existence was previously unknown to Kit. Kit tries to refuse, but since not completely the quest will end in his death, Kit has no real choice to but to comply. The quest? To rescue a fairy princess who is betrothed to the King of England. Finding the princess is easy. Getting her to cooperate is another matter altogether. Dodging both human and fairy enemies, Kit and Princess Morgana have little more than their wits to rely on as they seek safe passage to neutral territory.
This swashbuckling adventure story is a little bit slow to start with, but picks up steam as the main characters reveal themselves. The plot is very involved and the pacing is a bit quirky. Real historical details add a realistic edge to an otherwise whimsical tale. The occasional footnote provides clarifications primarily of the historical nature. Throughout are illustrations of various scenes and characters. The timing of the illustrations can be disruptive from time to time, but they’re a nice overall addition. There’s a lot of clever wordplay, though some of the vernacular may confuse younger readers. Fans of fantasy or historical adventure won’t be disappointed.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Fairest by Marissa Meyer , 222 pages, read by Angie, on 02/04/2015

Fairest is Queen Levana’s story and what a story it is. While this doesn’t really change my opinion of the evil queen it does explain a bit about how she got to where she is. Basically Luna royalty is messed up. Levana and her sister Channery aren’t even sad when their parents are murdered. Channery becomes queen and just wants to sleep with every guy she is attracted to, doesn’t care about politics and loves tormenting her little sister. The torment began very early when Channery forced Levana into a fire that horribly disfigured her. This caused Levana to become really good at glamour so no one can see what she really looks like. Levana becomes obsessed with one of the royal guards and tricks him into sleeping with her and then marrying her basically by taking on the glamour of his dead wife. Levana is a pretty twisted character and does a lot of things that make you doubt her sanity. But crazy is often exciting to read about. This doesn’t really give a lot of info about the other books in the series but we do get glimpse of Cinder and Winter’s beginnings and of course how Levana became fixated on Earth.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber, 196 pages, read by Brian, on 02/05/2015

vampireRaven, a 16 year old girl, who lives in Dullsville, maybe the most boring place on earth.  Until a new family moves into a creepy old mansion.  The family never comes out of the mansion and creepy butler does all the shopping.  Raven is a dedicated goth and the fact the people of the town jokingly calls this new family vampires, peaks her interest even more.  After seeing the son, Alexander, out a night, she instantly falls in love.  Raven, really wants a vampire kiss and will do anything to find out if this is a family of vamps.

 

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland by Jinsei Kataoka, 224 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/13/2015

After the failure of their last attempt at getting a data chip out of Deadman Wonderland, Scar Chain regroups and tries again.  Ganta decides to try training and Shiro remains…well, Shiro.  DMW remains one of the darker and more intriguing manga series I’ve come across in recent memory.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt, 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/04/2015

Nell and Layla have always been close. They were born scarcely over 9 months apart and were so intertwined as kids that Nell called herself “Nellalya”. Now they’re in high school, Layla a junior and Nell a freshman. Their relationship is starting to strain as Layla becomes more secretive and begins pulling away from Nell. Nell still looks up to her sister and eventually discovers that reason for Layla’s recent behavior. Layla is involved in a romantic relationship with her art teacher. Rumors have been circulating about the relationship, but since the teacher is young and handsome, it’s not the first time such rumors have gone around. This may, however, be the first time the rumors were actually true. Nell is torn between wanting to tell someone about this relationship and keeping her sister’s secret. What’s a good sister to do?
While the plot mostly centers on Nell’s obsession with her sister, We Are the Goldens is really more about Nell coming of age. Nell is learning some very serious lessons while she’s trying to figure out what’s going on with her sister. Prior to high school, Nell’s identity is tied to her sisters and it is only when she realizes her sister’s judgement is skewed that Nell begins to learn who she is as a person. Nell makes some terrible choices too, but she at least learns from them and uses them to inform her decision-making process when Layla’s secrets appear to be getting out of control. Overall, a good read for fans of realistic fiction and family drama. The short length and brisk pacing means this can be read in a single afternoon.

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kristy, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, 355 pages, read by Kristy, on 01/29/2015

TheYoungElites.jpgAfter the blood fever, an often deadly sickness, spreads through the land, many infected died a painful death. The ones who don’t die are left with peculiar markings. Some of the survivors develop magical powers, including the protagonist of the novel, Adelina Amouteru.  When Adelina escapes from her cruel father, she finds herself in the midst of the Young Elites, a group of magical youth who seek to take the throne.

The Young Elites is a dark, sexy young adult novel that never has a dull moment. I loved watching Adelina develop her dark powers and her relationship with Enzo (the leader of the young elites).

04. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Poetry, Teen Books

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann, 114 pages, read by Angie, on 02/03/2015

Poetry is not something I pick up and read very often. I don’t have anything against poetry I just like prose more. I am always glad to be introduced to interesting poetry however. I heard about Poisoned Apples through School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books and decided to give it a try. I am glad I did. The poems are a mix of contemporary and fairy tale themes. They deal with the things women have had to deal with forever: sex, body image, a male-dominated world, etc. They speak of things that are not always spoken about. These are not happy, light poems but dark and disturbing at times. They are beautiful in both their message and their words.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), 320 pages, read by Angie, on 02/02/2015

Rose and her family spend every summer at the beach. There she has her summer beach friend Windy. This summer the girls are somewhere between being kids and turning into teenagers. Rose’s family is also having a difficult time this summer. Her parents are fighting and her mom is not acting like she usually does. Rose gets irritated with her mom throughout the summer. There is a also a teen boy that Rose has a crush on. He works at the store where the girls go to get candy and horror movies. Unfortunately the teen boy has gotten his girlfriend pregnant and this is causing all kinds of drama with the kids at the beach and jealousy from Rose.

First of all this is a beautifully drawn book. I love the fact that it is not in your traditional black and white but colored in shades of blue and purple. I love that there are a variety of panels to tell the story depending on what is needed at the time. The story itself was a bit boring to tell the truth. There is drama and some interesting bits, but it is mostly Rose and Windy hanging out and talking about things like boys and boobs and babies and parents and such. It is exactly what two preteen girls would probably talk about, but it doesn’t make for exciting reading. There are a couple of bigger issues going on with the teen pregnancy and the mom’s miscarriage but they weren’t the focus of the story. I really wanted more growth from Rose and Windy. They seemed like the same immature girls at the end of the summer that they were at the beginning.

02. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, 422 pages, read by Angie, on 02/01/2015

Meira is one of only eight surviving people of Winter who are not enslaved in the work camps of Spring. Sixteen years ago Spring’s evil ruler Angra destroyed winter and enslaved its people. Meira and the others are determined to free the people and get back Winter’s magic. Meira was just a baby when Winter fell and along with the future king Mather have been raised by Winter’s general William who Meira calls Sir. In order to restore their magic they have to find Winter’s conduit, a locket broken in two by Angra. Their quest will take them across the land as they search for allies and find enemies. It will also take them into the heart of Spring and Angra’s evil rule. Meira has to decide what is really important, her happiness or the future of Winter. Her destiny is revealed during her greatest hardship. The battle for Winter has just begun.

I love fantasy books like this. Raasch has created a world like no other. Primoria is a land of magic controlled by royal conduits. It is a land of balance with four Seasons and four Rhythm kingdoms. It is a land with four female and four male conduits. I really liked the idea of the Season kingdoms. Their climates don’t change from their season. Winter is perpetually winter and its people are built for the cold and the ice. They have pale skin and white hair. The other Seasons are likewise designed. Meira joins the ranks of strong female characters who can kick butt just like the boys. The revelation of her destiny was not that big of a surprise but it was interesting. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

26. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake, 464 pages, read by Angie, on 01/24/2015

Shelby Cooper tells us from the beginning what is going to happen to her. We know she will get hit by a car. What we don’t know is why or what will happen as a result. She gets hit by a car because she is deaf and did not hear it coming. What happens is that she and her mom go on the run and are chased by the FBI across Arizona. There is also a whole thing where Shelby has waking dreams where she is in “The Dreaming”, a Native American type spirit walk where she has to kill the crone and save the child. She has a spirit guide in Coyote, who also happens to be the cute boy Mark she meets at the library. The dreaming helps her come to terms with her life in the real world.

I am not sure what I think about this book. Part of me was really frustrated with the whole dreaming bits and how they kept pulling me out of the story. The other part of me really kind of enjoyed the real bits of the story. While I might not have liked Shelby as a character, she is sarcastic and rude and has definite body image problems. I did like the path her story took. I never knew what was coming next in this crazy ride Nick Lake created. I know his big thing is dual storylines (In Darkness), but I don’t think it was really necessary in this case. I didn’t believe the dreaming like I thought I was intended to and I just wanted those parts to end so we could get back to the real story. It was a compelling read however and I really couldn’t put it down.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

26. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, 301 pages, read by Angie, on 01/23/2015

This is one of those books that stays with you. Even days after I finished reading it I am still thinking about it and the world Lelye Walton created. I generally don’t like magical realism books; they just aren’t my thing, but there was something about this one that got its hooks into me and wouldn’t let go. The title is misleading; this is not just a book about Ava Lavender, the girl born with wings. It is the tragic story of her entire family going back generations. It starts with her great-grandfather moving the family to New York. New York is not gentle with the Roux family. All of them suffer for love and die, all except Emilienne who flees New York, marries a baker and moves to the house on Pinnacle Lane. Her husband dies early leaving her with neighbors who think she is a witch, a young Viviane to raise and a bakery. Viviane too has her troubles with love. She ends us broken hearted with two young children: Henry who barely speaks and sees things others cannot and Ava with her glorious wings. She sequestered them in the house on Pinnacle Lane but even that cannot stop the tragedy that seems to follow the family.

This is not a happy book in any way. There is death and loss and rape and people turning into birds. It is like a dark fairy tale told to scare children and warn them about the dangers of love. The entire time you are reading it you know terrible things are just around the corner. You want to warn the characters but you can’t. There is a lot that can’t be explained but you realize you don’t need an explanation. You can just believe that this is the way the world works in Walton’s mind. This is not a book for everybody but those that get lost in the story will have a hard time finding themselves again.

21. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel by Melissa Marr, 245 pages, read by Brian, on 01/21/2015

desertThis a companion novel to the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.  This novel takes place in the Mojave Desert where Rika (human and now fairy) chose to live.  Rika, didn’t really belong with the desert fey.  She basically lives in solitude.  Ritka meets a human who is kind and a romance begins, so maybe, just maybe, fey can come out of hiding from the humans.

 

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Katy, Teen Books

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, 170 pages, read by Katy, on 01/16/2015

2954411“Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared. Once upon a time, my name was not Alice. Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was. When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends: her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget”–Book flap.

 

This book was disturbing. The plot kept getting worse but it was hard to put it down. If you’re in the mood for a sad, dark story this is it.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Teen Books

Grimm Memories by Janna Jennings, 262 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Andi, Quinn, Dylan and Frederick are back in the real world after their adventures in Elorium. They starting having nightmares and decide it is time to go back and try to rescue Jack. Quinn’s brother Max gets sucked along for the ride. Elorium is not how they left it though. People are disappearing and others are having nightmares as well. This just makes the gang that much more determined to find Jack and figure out what is going on. There is a lot of adventure and excitement, a couple of people almost die, and there are a few other fairytales added to the mix.

I liked this second book in the Grimm Tales series. The story seemed a bit more cohesive than the first as we didn’t have to introduce characters and their stories all over again. There is plenty of action and intrigue as the group travels across Elorium to find Jack. I enjoyed the developing relationships between the boys and girls and the fact that the girls were awesome. Andi and Quinn pretty much ruled the adventure. They showed that girls can be smart, prepared and kick-butt as well.

Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this book!

11. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, 328 pages, read by Kira, on 01/08/2015

What a wonderful read!  Fast paced, emotionally gripping.  A love story – Not a romance.  I’m going to have to devour everything else Rainbow Rowell has written.

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08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin, 256 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/20/2015

Addison was the most promising artist of her generation. Her death, a fall from a bridge, is a crushing blow to everyone who knew her. The prologue explains that the author, Griffin, was intrigued by Addison and thus began interviewing a wide variety of friends, family, exes, teachers, family acquaintances, etc. to gain a better understanding of who Addison was and what led to her death. Did she slip and fall? Was it intentional on her behalf? Did someone want her dead? Accounts of Addison vary depending on who is being asked, though everyone seems to agree that she was a phenomenal artist with some serious mental health issues. The narrative of the book is entirely commentary from the people in Addison’s life and begins more or less at the beginning with Addison’s early elementary school years. Also included are examples of Addison’s artwork and photos of Addison throughout her life.
We may never really know what caused Addison’s fatal slip, but we do get a much better idea of who she was and what brought her up on that bridge. Addison comes across as the quintessential “manic-pixie-dream-girl”. Everyone seems to want to know her, but she’s frequently aloof. Her art is clearly the most important part of her life, so much so that people, even those she cares about, come in at a distant second. Those who don’t like her come across as jealous of her magnetism and talent. She was clearly not the easiest person to be friends with; being her friend involved a lot of work.
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I don’t really get into books that have this many different narrators. It’s incredibly difficult for me to warm up to any of the peripheral characters as we only know them through their relation to Addison and not on their own terms. While I felt like I learned a lot about Addison, I never felt like I knew her as a person, which was likely the intent. This is, however, an interesting experiment in form. There were a lot of themes at play here: the cult of celebrity, the connection between mental illness and creative genius, the effects of being precocious in a city like New York… As a thought experiment, the novel works, but I didn’t really love it.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/13/2015

It began as a day much like any other. Tariq Johnson was walking home after a trip to the local market, something he had done dozens of times before. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a car pulls up. A white man gets out of the car and shoots Tariq. Tariq is dead by the time the EMTs arrive. The community, which is predominantly black, is thrown into an uproar. Violence is nothing new to the gang-ridden neighborhood, but this shooting is different. Tariq was only 16 years old and he was, by many accounts, unarmed. As the news picks up the story, it becomes apparent that this act of violence was about far more than just the two individuals involved. The incident quickly becomes national news and the lives of everyone connected with Tariq and his shooter are changed forever.
Tariq’s story is told from multiple perspectives, including his best friend, his family members, old friends, local gang members, the store clerk, the shooter’s friend who lives down the street, the girl who tried to give Tariq CPR…the list goes on. There’s even an Al Sharpton-type character in the mix. It becomes abundantly clear from early on that the narrative of the day’s events shifts significantly depending on who is doing the talking. The gang members want to believe that Tariq did have a gun and that he was planning on joining up with them, so his death signals an act of war to them. Tariq’s best friend wasn’t there, but can’t wrap his head around the idea of Tariq carrying a gun. The friend of the shooter swore up and down that he saw a gun in Tariq’s hand. Others are sure they didn’t see a gun; that Tariq had a Snickers bar in his hand instead. How It Went Down certainly feels timely and does much to emphasize patterns of racism, both conscious and subconscious. As with many other incidents like this (that were not captured on film), what actually happened is difficult to discern. Each narrator has a very specific point of view shaped by their perceptions not only of Tariq himself, but of the neighborhood and the stereotypes associated with young black men in living in poor areas like Tariq’s. Ultimately, there are only two people who have any real answers – the shooter and the shot- and neither one is talking. This is a great novel to teach the ways in which our preconceived notions can shape our interpretation of events, but it’s not the most literary of novels out there. It’s an important read, but only if the reader is willing and able to sort through a very large number of narrators only to find that there aren’t any “real” answers. In the end, I felt that it might have been better to develop fewer characters rather than confuse the issue further with so many individual points of view.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Teen Books

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, 287 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/08/2015

Once upon a time, magic ruled the world. Now, however, magic is fading and is used more for unclogging drains than battling evil. Jennifer Strange works at Kazam, an employment agency for magicians. She herself is not magical, but she has a certain knack for managing magical people. Things are getting strange though. Feats of magic that shouldn’t have been possible are being accomplished and Jennifer is having some very strange visions. These visions indicate that Big Magic is coming, which will either re-infuse the world with magic or wipe it out all together. It all hinges on the last dragon and the last Dragonslayer. Dragons have been living on their own lands for centuries, in accordance with the Dragonpact. Unless a dragon breaks the pact by causing damage to human life or property, they cannot be slain. If however, they do happen to break the pact, only the Dragonslayer can cross into their territory to kill the dragon. Imagine Jennifer’s surprise when she is told that she is now the last Dragonslayer. Everyone wants her to kill the dragon, but the pact hasn’t been broken for as long as anyone can remember and Jennifer can find no good reason to take the dragon’s life. In fact, the dragon appears quite amicable, if a bit lonely. What’s a girl and her Quarkbeast to do?
The Last Dragonslayer starts off slow, but winds up wonderful. There’s a lot of clever stuff going on here. The world is very much like ours, but with magic. For instance, as the world finds out that Jennifer is the last Dragonslayer, she finds herself inundated with endorsement offers from soft drink companies and marriage proposals from random suitors. The public has gathered at the border of the dragon’s land with the intention of staking a claim on some of the land that will be freed up upon the dragon’s death (for now, crossing the border for anyone other than the dragonslayer and those working for him/her means certain death). Much of the action is informed by the motivations that drive real life people – greed, jealousy, etc. This provides fertile ground for Fforde’s brand of satirical humor. An unexpected ending makes for a delightful and mostly self-contained read, though there are now three books in this series. I read this one with my middle-schoolers for this month’s book club. They all loved it, but agreed that it took some time to get into. Also, we all loved, loved, loved the Quarkbeast. It takes a certain amount of talent to create a character that is described as terrifying to behold but utterly endearing to read about and says only one thing: “Quark.” You know you’ve found a book that your tweens love when they make plans to walk around saying “Quark” at their upcoming orchestra concert.
08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho, 366 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/05/2015

Althea and Oliver have been best friends ever since Althea moved in down the street from Oliver at the tender young age of six. Now in their senior year of high school, they are still inseparable, but complications are arising in their usually-easy friendship. Althea is starting to develop a romantic interest in Oliver. Oliver, while not adverse to the prospect of advancing his relationship with Althea, is busy dealing with a strange illness that causes him to fall asleep for weeks, even months, on end. Althea has been helping him through many of his episodes, but finds herself flailing in the meantime. She literally doesn’t know how to live her life without Oliver by her side. Oliver, on the other hand, is profoundly disturbed by the fact that he is missing vast chunks of his life. Even when he wakes up in the midst of a sleeping episode, he has no recollection of what has happened during his semi-conscious state. Right before one of Oliver’s episodes, he and Althea finally become physical. Then, of course, he loses consciousness and they are unable to even discuss what has just happened or what the next step will be. While Oliver is out, Althea does something that she knows she will regret, something that might ruin her relationship with Oliver forever. When Oliver eventually finds out, he is furious and attempts to cut Althea out of his life altogether. He decides to participate in a two-month sleep study in New York for those who have the same disease: Kleine Levin Syndrome, or KLS. When Althea figures out that Oliver has left town, she packs up her old Camry and heads off to New York to apologize and attempt to salvage her friendship.
Althea and Oliver’s story is completely unique. It’s easy to go into this book thinking that you know where it will end up, but this story never seems to go quite where you think it will. It’s not exactly a romance or a love story, but there’s a ton of heart. Althea isn’t always the most likeable of characters, but she’s absolutely relatable and her growth as a person is one of the highlights of this fantastic novel. Oliver’s development comes in fits and spurts, as could be expected for someone who literally loses months of his life at a time. The impact that Oliver’s illness has on Althea is almost as heartbreaking as its effect on Oliver, though I would hesitate to say that the novel is about Oliver’s KLS. In fact, it takes over half of the book to even get Oliver to the sleep study. In the meantime, Althea is learning to live her life on her own terms and not as Oliver’s counterpart. In New York, she makes friends of her own for the first time in her life and begins to realize that it might be possible for her to exist outside of Oliver’s shadow. Oliver begins to learn how to move forward in spite of an exceedingly uncertain future. Moracho takes some major risks with both of these characters, but they come out all the more realistic for it. Nothing is sugar-coated here. Althea and Oliver’s relationship is consuming, messy and complicated, much like real-life. Their story is simultaneously a train-wreck and a heartfelt bildungsroman. It’s not for every reader, but for the right readers, it’s utterly perfect.

08. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Horror, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, 419 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/01/2015

Tana didn’t want to go to the party in the first place, especially since there was a really good chance of running into her ex, Aiden. When she wakes up in the tub the morning after the party, she’s more than a little embarrassed. Embarrassment, however, turns to horror as she walks out of the bathroom to discover that everyone who had been at the party with her is now dead; their blood soaking into the carpets. The only other survivors are the ex that she didn’t want to see in the first place and a trussed-up vampire. Realizing that what killed her friends is likely still around the house, she begins to panic. Fortunately for Aiden and Gavriel (the bound-up vampire), Tana can’t stomach the idea of leaving them to a similar violent fate and helps them escape from the house. The only place she can think of to go to is the nearby Coldtown, a quarantined area for vampires and those who are obsessed with vampires. It is obvious that Aiden has been bitten, so he’ll need to go to the Coldtown for sure. Tana gets scraped by a vampire’s tooth and might have gone “cold” (infected with whatever it is that causes vampirism) as well. The vampire Gavriel? Well, no one really seems to know where he came from, but it would appear that someone is out to kill him and he seems like a nice, albeit odd, fellow, so why not help him? The strange trio makes their way to Coldtown, but not without some difficulty along the way. Things in Coldtown aren’t likely to be any easier, but at least if Tana goes cold while she’s there, she won’t be worried about accidentally killing her father or little sister.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a ton of fun and a smart spin on the vampire genre. This is a world where vampires are known to exist and Coldtowns have cropped up all over the place in an effort to contain them. Since vampires aren’t allowed to leave a Coldtown, they’ve turned them into a giant, nocturnal party scene. Live streams and vlogs keep the general public intrigued by showcasing the most decadent of their parties while the humans who have chosen to live in Coldtowns willingly offer up their blood to feed their vampire hosts. Tana’s journey is a bloody and dangerous one. She has no desire to become a vampire; honestly, she just wants her life to get back to normal. Or what passes for normal for a girl who is now motherless thanks to a rogue vampire. There’s a surprising amount of character development for a person in Tana’s position, which is another refreshing change of pace in this novel. Other characters are diverse and well-written. The story moves fast and it’s not even a series, so there’s really no reason not to spend a bit of time with this one. It doesn’t even matter if you’re still burnt out on the relatively recent glut of vampire novels; this one’s a winner.