Leen Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?
From the creepy, ominous opening through the very last lines of the book, Frost is a haunting, thought-provoking read. Author Marianna Baer did a magnificent job of setting the tone. Frost is the perfect "mood book"; obviously can be read anytime, but perfect for a gloomy, rainy day.
The way Frost is told, with Leena looking back at the events that occured at Frost House, the sense of impending doom is palpable.
When Frost opens, main character Leena seems like a girl who has her life in order. Determined to make her senior year a success, Leena seems unstoppable. But as the story unfolds, Leena reveals little pieces of her inner self, the broken girl on the inside. Haunted by her roommate, her personal demons or the house itself, Leena is a girl who is slowly unraveling. She becomes isolated from the outside world, taking refuge in Frost House.
Leena's new roommate Celeste is quirky and exceedingly fragile. But strangely enough, I found Celeste likeable in her genuine nature. Although she may seem odd, her eccentricites made her endearing. The wild card, for me, was David, Celeste's brother and Leena's love interest. He's smart, sweet, handsome and has a deep, abiding love for his family, especially Celeste. But... his attentiveness to his family seemingly goes to unhealthy extremes.
David and Leena's preoccupation with each other continually veers towards troubling, leaving their motives in question. Could David be behind the scary goings-on at Frost House? Is he trying to terrify Celeste, Leena or both? Or are he and Celeste acting together to "gaslight" Leena. And why? The most looming, troubling question of all: Are all of the dramatic happenings a result of Leena's increasingly fragile mental state? The possibilites left me racking my brain, mulling all the theories behind the mystery of Frost.
In truth, maybe Frost House is the star of the book. With her words, Baer literally filled each nook and cranny of the home with a spooky quality. The slants of light through a window, the creak of the floor boards, they all served to increase the dread within Leena, and the reader. And the closet. Oh, wow. The closet is best left to be discovered by the reader.
Frost chilled me to the core. Never overtly scary, this story managed to dig itself into the little (or big) paranoid, panicky part of my brain, leaving me antsy and unsettled. Frost proves that the scariest scenarios are the mind games we play on ourselves.
"We held eyes for a minute. Something had shifted; the connection between us had changed.We had stripped something away, like when you strip away layers of lumpy paint and get down to the smooth, original wood."
"His smell of coffee and warm boy skin filled my lungs and melted through my limbs."
You can find Frost at:
Find Marianna Baer at her website.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 13th 2011 by Balzer & Bray
* I received Frost from the publisher, Harper Teen, in exchange for an honest review. *