Sunday, December 18, 2011
Review: Frost by Marianna Baer
Author: Marianna Baer
Genre: Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, Harper Collins
Release: September 13, 2011
Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—eccentric Celeste Lazar.
What Celeste lacks in social grace, however, her brother, David, a recent transfer student, makes up for in good looks and charm. But while he and Leena hit it off immediately, Leena finds herself struggling to balance her growing attraction with her fear of getting hurt.
As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House: frames falling off walls, doors locking themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And although Leena strives to be the peacekeeper, soon the eerie happenings in the dorm, an intense romance between Leena and Celeste’s brother, David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind…or in Frost House itself?
Frost is a stunning and surprising tale of suspense from debut author Marianna Baer.
Leena Thomas was looking forward to living her senior year in Frost House with her best friends, but a classmate's unfortunate accident caused her to be assigned to Frost House, too. Celeste Lazar is known for her eccentricities. While collecting a bird's nest for a project, Celeste broke her leg causing her to need a first floor room and was assigned to Frost House as Leena's roommate. When Leena goes to check out her room she meets David Lazar, Celeste's brother, while he was setting up Celeste's side of the room. David recently transferred to Barcroft and he immediately hits it off with Leena. As strange things begin happening in Frost House; stress, jealousy, and fear put an strain on the relationships of the dorm residents and those around them.
At the core of the story, the theme of Frost is fear. Each character is driven by their fear of events happening around them. Leena's fear of being hurt and the stress of Celeste's situation cause her to take drastic measures to calm down. Celeste fears Frost House itself and the strange things happening there and to herself. This fear causes her behavior to become even more erratic. David fears what people will think of his sister and himself considering their family's history of psychosis. To prevent that and protect his sister, David plans something potentially dangerous to get her moved out of Frost House.
Whether these fears are caused by something supernatural or psychological, the outcomes are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Told from Leena's point of view, Frost takes us through her first semester of senior year and the strange happenings at Frost House. We never really find out whether the cause of the events is supernatural, psychological, or some other factor. Some could argue that it was the ghost of the woman who died there trying to get Celeste to leave and Leena to stay. Or some could argue that it was totally psychological and their minds were playing tricks on them. Frost keeps you guessing well after the last page.
Frost House is an old Victorian house that was later converted into a boy's dorm. After feeling a need to live there, Leena talked to the dean to see if her and her friends could be assigned to live there their senior year. Permission was granted and Frost House was changed to a girl's dorm, but they also got an unexpected roommate in Celeste.
For Leena, Frost House is a refuge. She feels comfortable and safe there.The place she's most drawn to in Frost House is the closet in her room. The smell and feel bring feelings of nostalgia; memories of a better, happier time.
For Celeste, Frost House is hell on earth. She's tortured and abused by unknown forces. It gets to the point where she feels she'll die if she stays and believes the house is haunted by the woman who had died there so long ago.
For one girl, Frost House brings peace and safety, for the other it brings only fear and torment.
My Final Thoughts:
I like how we are left to come to our own conclusion on what was really causing the events in Frost House. We are never told one way or the other. I think it was a little of both: part supernatural, part psychological, with a little help from some carbon monoxide. I think the CO weakened Leena and Celeste's minds so much that it opened a doorway for the ghost to communicate. But that's just my opinion.
Chapter 42, Page 396
Part of me is still there, I believe. In that way, Frost House will always be my home. But not the rest of me.
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