I don’t often read stand-alone books. If I become enthralled with a book, I want more: more of the world, and more of the characters I’ve fallen in love with. Despite that, I was intrigued by the summary of Amy Garvey’s stand-alone YA novel Cold Kiss, and I’m glad I decided to read it. Garvey tells a deep and heartbreaking tale of love and loss which kept me captivated to the very last page.
Our protagonist Wren has the special ability to make things happen. This skill is something that runs in her family, and even though her mom refuses to talk about it, Wren’s abilities have developed on their own. She decides to push the boundaries of her talent when her boyfriend Danny suddenly dies in a car accident, and before she can reason through her grief, Danny is back. Even though he knows Wren, he’s not the same vibrant boy Wren fell in love with. She still hopes things will improve though, and chooses to ignore that nagging warning in her head. Then she meets Gabriel, and as their friendship develops towards something more, Wren must decide who she really loves, and what this outcome might mean.
There were a lot of things I loved about this book. Even though this had the typical YA love triangle, it was so different than normal, with Danny being dead and a shell of the old him. Watching Wren interact with him out of guilt and to see her moving on when Danny was stuck in the same place mentally was extremely interesting to watch as the story panned out. Essentially he’s a zombie, but that didn’t once cross my mind when reading it, because of the wonderful way that the character development was written. Danny was a lost soul who slowly starts to realize what happened to him. As the truth hits him, things definitely get more interesting, and Garvey handles the interactions with intrigue and grace.
The best part though was the way that Garvey internalized Wren’s struggle over what she did and the way it conflicted with her growing feelings for Gabriel. It was beautifully done, and I was completely sucked into the story. The relationship development with Gabriel felt real and believable, as did the guilt over Danny and the logic behind her choice. I know it was wrong, but I empathized with Wren in her pain.
One thing I didn’t like was the Twilight feel of some things (Danny being cold and hard, Gabriel being able to read thoughts), but whether Garvey was inspired by that series or if it is just a coincidence, I cannot say. However, these were just little twitches, and there was no overwhelming urge to groan with the familiarity. I noticed, and I moved on, because the story as it stood was interesting enough to propel me forward.
It was nice to read a stand-alone story, something I haven’t done in I can’t remember how long. I think fans of YA with romantic elements will like this book, especially because of the unique feel and the strong character development. And the fact that it is by itself means no long-term commitment. Pick it up, read it, and enjoy!
Cold Kiss hit the shelves on September 20th, 2011