Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review of Cold Kiss, by Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss

“It seemed so right. Danny was mine, I was his, and that wasn’t going to work if he was dead. So I would make him not dead, not anymore. I didn’t think any further than what it would feel like to kiss him again, to wrap my arms around him and bury my head against his shoulder.
That was my first mistake. It also turned out to be the biggest.”

When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart.

Amy Garvey’s transcendent teen debut is perfect for fans of Shiver and Beautiful Creatures. Wren’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned. (From GoodReads)

My Review

How do you write a review for a book you barely have words for? For a story that has me choked up just considering the emotional depths it plundered? No matter how emphatically I proclaim the beauty of Cold Kiss, I won’t be able to do the book justice.

Cold Kiss is the story of a beautiful life cut short and a love gone tragically too soon.  The lengths Wren is willing to go to in order to fill the hole left after her Danny has died. And sadly, what happens when you don’t stop to consider what comes after.

Author Amy Garvey perfectly set the tone of the book in the prologue. The opening of the book is beautiful, wistful and drew me in completely. When I read it, I thought “Oh. Cold Kiss is going to be that book.” The kind book that leaves you undone, emotionally spent. But in the most cathartic sense. 
I know I’m not dealing out a spoiler when I say that Wren brings Danny back from the dead. And while that’s the impetus for the story, it is not the main idea. Cold Kiss is Wren coming to terms with Danny’s death. After Danny dies, Wren’s spirit is broken, her desperation overwhelming. The author did an exemplary job conveying the emotional havoc Wren experienced. She gives pieces of Danny and Wren’s time together. Enough so that you understand the “big-ness” of their love.  It is a love so consuming, she is left gaping when it is gone. And while what Wren did sounds unbelievably stupid, you get why she tried. Because who amongst us hasn’t bargained and pleaded to bring back someone they’ve loved and lost. If I lost the man I love, I would be willing to do anything to bring him back me.

The characters of Cold Kiss are written to brilliant perfection. Wren is a ball of pent-up energy. As she continues to deal with the consequences of bringing Danny back, she slowly unravels emotionally. And you can’t help but wonder, when is she going to blow wide open? Wren continually expounds on the selfishness, the rashness of what she did. You have to respect her as a character, because she takes ownership of her actions and what it will take to fix it. When Wren meets Gabriel, he immediately senses what she’s done and questions her about it. I loved that the author gave Wren that outlet, someone to share her secret with.  Gabriel is exactly the person Wren needs at this time. He doesn’t judge her harshly. He isn’t jealous the love she feels for Danny, he doesn’t belittle it. And while Wren and Gabriel have an instant bond, it doesn’t feel forced. It’s quiet and peaceful. Even though Wren feels attraction to Gabriel, she never loses focus of Danny, of righting her wrong. And she knows it’s a journey she’ll have to take on her own. The Danny that Wren brings back isn’t quite a character. He is a sad, confused shell of the boy she loved. Who you can’t help but mourn for when Garvey takes you back to the boy Wren fell in love with.

Looking at this review, I get that I might seem overdramatic. But it’s this book! Cold Kiss hit me in such a visceral way, when I wasn’t expecting it. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t to be sucker punched in the gut with raw emotion.  It hit a deep part of me that I don’t stay in too close contact with because I’m afraid to feel emotional pain. My eyes are welling up at just thinking how hard I cried during the last few chapters of the book. I try to avoid “the ugly cry” at all costs. Cold Kiss got me there. It was a beautiful, tragic, and ultimately cathartic story that I am so happy I read. I expect Cold Kiss to stay with me for a long, long time.

Favorite Quotes:

“But love like that can be too big, too. It can be something you shouldn’t be trusted to hold when you’re the kind of person who drops the eggs and breaks the remote control.”

“What I wanted was to blow a hole in the sky, explode a star, let the burning embers scorch me and everything they touched.”

“Love doesn’t break easily, I found. But people do.”

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 20th 2011 by HarperTeen
You can find Cold Kiss at:
GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & NobleBook Depository
You can find Amy Garvey at her blog.

* I received Cold Kiss from Harper Teen, in exchange for an honest review. *


  1. Wow! What a GREAT review, Andrea! I have seen many reviews of this book, but have never felt that "Wow! I NEED to read this book!", but you just did that. I think I'm gonna go buy this book now. Thanks hun! Well done!

  2. Angeline,

    Maybe it's just me. I started crying at my computer yesterday when I was writing the review. Something about this book just slayed me.
    Thanks so much, sweets!

  3. My reaction to this novel is the same as yours. It was a beautiful told story full of emotional depth and Wren was an amazing character to tell it. I loved every minute of this book and I agree that it's something that will stay with me forever. Great review!

  4. Amber~
    That makes me SO happy to see that you loved Cold Kiss,too! I'm always afraid that I'm an anomaly. So happy that I've been validated. I'll have to check out your review.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  5. OhMyGosh! I had this on Netgalley and it expired before I downloaded it! I was so upset! I really want to read it.

  6. Mindy~
    I've done that more than a few times! You should definitely read Cold Kiss. If you still want to read it, you can borrow my ARC when it frees up.


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