Coldhearted by Melanie Matthews


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In Matthews’ debut supernatural YA novel, a teenage Southern belle attempts to fit into a new environment—but she still stands out for one menacing soul.
After her mother and father die in a gruesome car accident, Edie St. John goes to live with her uncle Landon, a famous horror novelist in the small town of Grimsby. Driving to her first day of school, she gets lost and pulls over at a mansion in the woods. After seeing a figure walking past one of the windows, she knocks and asks for help; no one answers, so Edie lets herself in. Suddenly, she sees flashes and hears noises that seem to be hallucinations, and the door locks behind her. After a wicked, disembodied voice harasses her, she frantically tries to escape the manor, until the front door unlocks on its own. A dreamy classmate named Mason, sent by the principal, escorts Edie to school, and sparks fly between them. But although Edie is free from the mansion, it later becomes clear that she’s also freed something else. During her first day of classes, Edie’s English instructor seemingly has a panic attack, and her male psychology instructor seems shamelessly enamored of her. She soon realizes that a spirit from the estate is influencing the people around her. But just as Edie begins to make this connection, the spirit shows himself as a handsome, well-groomed young man. It turns out that he attached himself to Edie as she left the mansion and has since been watching her every move. Thanks to this fact, he’s becoming stronger and more corporeal. As his infatuation grows, so does the potential danger facing Edie’s peers, including her darling Mason. The plot begins well, with the potential for compelling twists. However, it soon escalates into chaos, particularly as ghosts’ restrictions and limitations seem like afterthoughts. Certain spirits cannot communicate with others, for example, or are restricted to specific areas, which often comes off as more convenient than mysterious. Meanwhile, the narrative unnecessarily repeats some details, such as the fact that Edie is always cold. Such repetitions seem amateurish, as they hinder readers’ imaginations.
An occasionally endearing but largely unfocused YA ghost story.
Pub Date: April 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1499285772
Page count: 582pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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