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Literary Friday: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good morning!  It's a balmy 14 degrees here with a wind-chill of about 5.  :/   So methinks it's appropriate that I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black this week.  I also read the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, but it deserves its own post.  :D

My daughter Shanley read this book first, and she brought it home from Tuscaloosa for me to read last weekend because she enjoyed it so much. She told me that I would need to rewrite my Best of 2013 book list after reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.  Of course I was very intrigued because I've read many of Holly Black's books for middle grades and young adults and I wanted to see what she'd make of vampires.  Well, I certainly wasn't disappointed in the story and her very unique take on vampires, but it is a very, very gory book.  I winced.  Often.  But I should have been prepared for it because I think that Shanley's homepage is Bloody Disgusting.  :/  

Tana probably should have known better than attending a party where she was sure to run into her charming ex-boyfriend Aidan, especially without her best friend for backup who's away at drama camp.  She wakes up in the wee hours of the morning in the bathtub at the party host's home (never a good sign), and she thinks she's the first one up, but in actuality she's the only one awake because almost all of her friends are dead.  Vampires are in the house, and Tana is unsure how that happened.  Since the world has gone "cold," or since vampirism is no longer fantasy but real, and ancient vampires are out of the closet due to a rogue vampire infecting thousands of unsuspecting humans, Coldtowns were formed in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease.  In these Coldtowns, vampires and humans exist in a precarious balance of supply and demand.  Humans enter in the hopes of being turned and gaining eternity, but if all are turned, then there's no more blood supply. Once a human enters a Coldtown, he or she can't leave unless they have a special hard to get marker. One of my only issues with the book is that Coldtowns should be unsustainable, very much like healthcare reform: The young and healthy are required to "sign-up" or there's a "death spiral."   ;P

One of my favorite quotes from the book

While Tana is making her getaway, she notices Aidan restrained on a bed, and he has been infected.  There's a vampire beside him in chains, and Tana decides to rescue both of them before the other vampires rise from the basement at sundown to finish them off.  They decide to go to one of the oldest Coldtowns which happens to be near Tana's hometown.  Tana realizes early during the trip that Gavriel just isn't right, but she can't help her attraction to the vampire.  I must say that Gavriel is one of my favorite vampires because he quotes Shakespeare, he's fearless, and he truly has a very endearing personality.  I even enjoyed reading about his background.

I couldn't help but think that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is social satire.  The live feeds from Coldtown (especially the scenes from the never-ending Eternal Ball) and the celebrity status of some of the vampires make our reality TV pale in comparison.  And of course bloggers are all over the place making names for themselves in posting about their contacts on the inside and advice on what to do upon entering Coldtown.  

I couldn't put this book down.  Holly Black has yet again proven why she's one of the best YA writers. Although the story is intense, there is romance, tons of action, quirky three-dimensional characters, and a unique dystopian world.  I would love to read a sequel, but I don't know that one is in the works. I still have a few questions about the main characters although most of the major questions are answered.  I adore Tana:  She's beyond brave, and she is loyal almost to a fault.  I do not think this book is appropriate for young teens at all due to the violence and gore.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown book trailer

"The cabins weren't lakeside- the trees shielded them from the water- but the lake was nonetheless a palpable presence.  Like heat from a fire, the closer to water you are, the stronger you will feel it."

from pg. 57 Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
(Page 56 was blank!)

Literary Friday is a linky, so please share your books here!

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I can't wait to read Lost Lake! I know it will be great! Enjoy your day my friend! I'm linked! YAY!!! Hugs!

  2. I haven't read a Holly Black, sounds like I need to try it out. Is this one your favorite? Great Review.


  3. I love when Libba Bray does social satire, so I'm thinking Holly Black social satire would be ehexcellent. :)
    I'd be all about "how did the vampires get out of Coldtown???" because social contract only works if all parties respect the rules (otherwise: chaos). And also....undead....ick. Now I really want to read this one! Thanks :D

  4. "One of my only issues with the book is that Coldtowns should be unsustainable, very much like healthcare reform: The young and healthy are required to "sign-up" or there's a "death spiral." ;P"

    -chuckle- I love the way you like this problem, to the silly and unsustainable Obama Care. But he thinks, that if he keeps saying; "Everything is OK"... We will swallow it.

    Too bad Obama Care isn't YA fiction.


    1. Actually, I'm repeating what Democrats are saying about healthcare. They are concerned about the low numbers of healthy young people who've signed-up for it so far, and that the program won't work without them, just like Coldtown cannot sustain itself without a continued influx of young and healthy citizens. I am not saying that Holly Black is making that comparison, but I can't help but think she is a bit tongue in cheek about the reality TV shows and live streams from Coldtown.

  5. I like the 56! I would definitely pick it up!

    Here is my post

  6. It definitely sounds like an interesting take on vampires! One of the good things about vampires becoming more popular is that there are authors who explore different aspects of their myth. But, living in Europe, I have to say I think Obamacare would be rather sustainable since I'm used to a healthcare similar to that! Here's my Friday post and I hope you have a good weekend :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  7. Lost Lake sounds like a good story that I'd enjoy. I like your Friday56 selection. However, since I don't like blood and gore, Coldest Girl is one I'll skip. Thanks for posting about both books.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: PICTURING PERFECT.

  8. Both books look amazing to me.

    Happy weekend!

  9. I did not have time to write my post this week. I will make sure I have one next week.

    The trailer plus your review makes me want to run out and check out a copy of this book. Well done RJ!

  10. Sounds interesting RJ. I'm not familiar with this author. I'm off to check out the book trailer. Have a Happy Sunday.......

  11. I'm not a YA reader, but I have to say this one has me intrigued! Great review, RJ.

    P.S. I can't wait to get my hands on Lost Lake. I ♥ Sarah.

  12. I appreciate the effort it must have taken to read this book and be supportive of your daughter, but I just cannot do vampires, witches, etc. They give me nightmares!

  13. I definitely want to read this! I have been a horrible blogger lately, but will be linking up again starting next week!

  14. Hi Ricki!
    I LOVE Holly's Work... I remember reading her when I was a teenager... I LOVED her book Tithe especially because it takes place in Red Bank, NJ... being a fellow Jersey girl myself, it was fun to imagine her fairyish creatures gallavanting around the town causing all sorts of mischief! I haven't read any of her newer stuff, but you have caught my interest!

    Garden Spells is my FAVORITE... and I have started reading the Sugar Queen, which I must finish!

    Thanks for the lovely post :-) See ya round!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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