By Jenn Ashworth
(William Morrow & Company, Paperback, 9780062076038, October 2012, 352pp.)
The Short of It:
As the title suggests, the light that falls upon these characters is a harsh, unrelenting light. It seeps in where it’s not welcome and leaves its chilling aftermath behind.
The Rest of It:
It has taken me WEEKS to write this review. Not to actually write it, but to ponder WHAT I’d actually write about once I finally sat down to do it. It’s not that it was a difficult book to read. It wasn’t. It’s not that I couldn’t get into the characters, because I did. I think it had to do with the fact that when I finished it, I was like…”Hmmm. Interesting.” Then a week later, I was like…”Hmmm. It was so dark!” Then each day after that, I continued to think about it and it dawned on me, that what I thought was a book that fell into the YA category, really wasn’t that at all.
That made me ponder it some more.
There are no likable characters to speak of. No one in the book would ever be my friend. Lola is like any other fourteen-year-old in that she wants to fit in and when she hooks up with Chloe, she finds that niche, that “in” if you will. Chloe is pretty and popular and really, very into herself. She is the classic bad girl. She drinks and smokes and steals things and she gets Lola to do the same. But it’s obvious from the beginning that Lola has a lot going on in her head. Her family is dysfunctional and her dad, although too smart for his britches has some issues, as well as her mother.
After Chloe hooks up with a real loser of a guy, things begin to go downhill for Lola. She’s not Chloe’s center anymore and often takes a backseat to Chloe’s boyfriend but when something happens to Chloe and her boyfriend, the town paints a very different picture of the girl Lola knew.
Ten years later, when the town decides to build a monument in Chloe’s honor, Lola finds herself revisiting her past and what really happened that fateful night.
Cold Light is a quiet mystery that hits you over the head long after you’ve closed the book. It took awhile for me to digest the ending but after much thought, the ending was perfect and quite fitting given what I knew about the characters. I know that getting hit over the head does not sound like a good thing but for me, it was. It was a departure from what I expected it to be and I am always impressed when a book surprises me in some way.
Ashworth does a beautiful job of capturing just how obsessive teenage friendships can be without preaching about the dangers of mixing with the wrong crowd. It’s suspenseful and well-paced and not necessarily for the YA crowd although I can see them reading it as well.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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