Frost by Marianna Baer has an extremely intriguing synopsis. Take a boarding school, add in a mixture of haunting and psychological thriller, and you’ve got me hooked! Unfortunately – once the story got going, it became way too overpoweringly bizarre and weird for me…to the point that I stopped even being interested. Still, that being said, it had things going for it that might make others like it more than I did.
Leena becomes entranced by the Frost House boarding home on her high school campus – it is an old Victorian house that only holds four students so she thinks it’ll be the perfect retreat for her and her friends. Unfortunately, at the last minute, they get roped into hosting an extra roommate. Celeste, known school-wide for being weird and extremely difficult to deal with, has a broken leg so special accommodations had to be made. This does turn out something positive for Leena at least – Celeste’s brother David, who she quickly develops a relationship with.
There wasn’t a ton of development, but Leena and David didn’t have insta-love either. I thought it was a pretty typical high school relationship, so I was satisfied there. What really freaked me out was that, once Leena started suffering from the weirds, she kept making all these references to some kind of incestuous thing between David and Celeste. And truth be told, he was a little too into taking care of Celeste. The whole thing was just bizarre though, because it didn’t really go anywhere. Leena kept turning it over in her mind and noticing what she felt were weird interactions between the siblings but nothing came of it. So what was the point? It didn’t really add anything to the story except turning me off of the characters BIG TIME.
Also, Leena ends up alienating her friends and making everyone (except David) basically hate her. That was never really resolved that well either. In fact – absolutely nothing was resolved. The mystery of whether there was some kind of weird haunting or if Leena had a legit mental problem was never fully answered – but I actually did like that being left sorta up in the air. I don’t think the plot as a whole was developed that well though – it all remained more odd and confusing than anything else.
So, even though I thought the book sounded awesome, I ended up pretty disappointed. Neither the characterization or the plot were handled with much skill – I feel mean saying it, but I kinda wish a different author had handled it. I think someone else might have been able to immerse the story in an atmospheric haunting vibe better.