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THE COLDEST TOUCH by Isabel Sterling


by Isabel Sterling

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-35043-0
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

A 16-year-old who predicts death teams up with a vampire to learn more about her powers.

When her skin touches another’s, Elise Beaumont visualizes and feels the manner of that person’s death. This began five months ago when she foresaw her brother’s imminent drowning. She desperately wants to be rid of this ability until vampire Claire Montgomery tells her that, as the Death Oracle, Elise can change people’s fates. Meanwhile, Claire hates being permanently 17 and a vampire. She agreed to complete one final case as a shepherd for the Veil, so now she’s responsible for teaching Elise and getting her to come work for them. Claire hopes that once she succeeds in this task, the leaders of the Veil will help her finally get the revenge she seeks against Rose, who made her what she is. The mission becomes complicated, though, with an unknown killer on the loose in town and Claire developing romantic feelings for Elise. The girls’ alternating first-person narratives aren’t terribly distinct, but they succeed in expressing their emotions realistically as they grieve, yearn, and grow. Heartfelt friendships with lovable side characters add lightness and charm. The pace is brisk throughout with plenty of thrilling action, even while the romance is a slow burn. Worldbuilding happens naturally, and the paranormal mythos is easy to understand. Elise and Claire are White and queer; side characters are diverse in terms of race, sexuality, and gender identity.

Exciting and endearing.

(Paranormal. 13-18)