- Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce
Best friends since they were kids, Kai and Ginny have big plans now at seventeen to make their way to New York, where Kai can study music and Ginny … well, Ginny can just hang around and love and support Kai. Those plans are put on hold, however, when Kai’s eccentric grandmother dies and a mysterious girl shows up, seducing Kai, who then breaks up with Ginny and takes off in the middle of a snowstorm with the other girl. The last words of Kai’s grandmother lead Ginny to believe that this isn’t simply a case of Kai’s feelings changing, and she sets off after him, following a series of clues that lead her into a world where monsters disguise themselves as men, girls lose their souls at the bottom of the sea, and a queen with a heart of ice lies at the center of it all. While not part of a chronological series, this is the fourth of Pearce’s books set in a world where Fenris, wolf-like men, prey on young girls, and with each installment, the mythology behind the monsters grows increasingly complex and fascinating. Striking a balance between the bloody action of Sisters Red (BCCB 9/10) and the melancholy contemplation of Fathomless (BCCB 11/12), Ginny’s quest to find Kai is at times terrifying (especially when the creepy Fenris show up) and emotionally resonant—the search for a lost childhood friend will likely ring true for more than a few teens. Unfortunately, Ginny’s transformation from talentless hanger-on to butt-kicking heroine isn’t convincing, especially as she often waits helplessly as other stock secondary characters swoop in to save her. Regardless, the reappearance of familiar faces and references to their offstage activities will likely keep fans invested enough in this world to see what happens here next.