Review: Frost

Frost by Marianna Baer will be released in the U.S. on September 13, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by Balzer + Bray, a division of Harper Collins, the print edition is 400 pages.

Frost is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

Goodreads description:

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself.

Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?


Moving into Frost House for senior year wasn’t just a curiosity it was more like a compulsion for Leena Thomas.

The fact that Leena would be among the first female residents of the previously all-boys dorm meant little to her. Frost House, from the moment she saw it, drew her in. It was home. A safe haven.

It was an old house. There were bound to be quirks. A cold breeze, a musty scent, the feeling that someone was watching – all were explainable phenomenon. As were the broken vase, torn skirt and the erratic knocking. Anyway, why should she believe her roommate, Celeste, that it was something more? Celeste was the eccentric one, it was probably just her imagination.

And just because everything in Leena’s life was beginning to fall apart didn’t mean it was the house’s fault. Frost House was the only thing that made her feel safe, reminding her of a time in her childhood when things were okay.

When she was curled in the corner of her closet, breathing in the comforting scent that wafted through the grating, permeating her senses, there was nowhere she’d rather be. She could think much clearer when she was tucked away in its depths. And the voice she heard was just her own subconscious, even though it didn’t always sound like her.

She just had to be patient. Things looked bad now but everything would be all right in the end. And no matter what anyone said she would not leave Frost House. She would not leave her home. No matter what the cost.


Frost is the thrilling, ominous and definitely spooky, nail-biting debut novel from author Marianna Baer. Right from the start, readers know that there is something not quite right about Frost House, but just what is wrong is left until the very end to be revealed.

The author drops in bits of information, building the mystery, suspense and sense of foreboding, while at the same time slowly breaking apart the main character’s life. And as Leena’s life begins to fracture, readers will be left wondering what the real cause is – the house? Celeste? David, Celeste’s overprotective brother? Is it all just a prank to get Celeste to move out? Or is it Leena?

On first glance, Leena appears to be confident, a leader and a good student with an active role in school activities. She is hard-working and seeks to help better the school and herself by forming a peer counseling group. She decided to put a moratorium on dating and focus on her schoolwork until she is assured of a place at a college of her choosing.

And for her senior year she thought it would be great for her and her friends to move into Frost House. But when she gets the surprise news that she’ll be rooming with Celeste Lazar, a more than slightly eccentric and potentially unstable girl, her perfectly envisioned senior year is destroyed.

From the very start things begin to fall apart. And as Leena tries to keep the peace between her housemates she only seems to make matters worse. She soon finds herself isolated from the people she had called her friends since her first year at Barcroft Academy, with only Celeste and David to keep her company. But she’s not sure just how much she can trust either of them.

As Leena fights desperately to keep everything together, she doesn’t know what to believe, as secrets about Celeste and David’s family history come to light and a rumor surfaces about something dark that happened in Frost House a long time ago.

Frost will keep readers in suspense as to what is really happening until the last moment. And with each dark turn in the story, as more pieces of the puzzle are revealed, the more there is to question.

Author Marianna Baer does a fantastic job of setting the dark tone of this story, which makes itself known from the very first words – Before I lived there, before any of this happened, I imagined Frost House as a sanctuary.

And as it progresses, the darkness grows and completely envelops the story and the main character. Frost is eerie without being frightening and mysterious without being confusing. It will keep readers glued to the story as the events unfold, always wondering what will happen next and when the final blow will hit.

As a standalone novel, Frost really delivers, leaving no loose ends. It is a definite recommended read for fans of stories about haunted or possessed houses, ghost stories or paranormal mysteries with a psychological component.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

I wanted to read Frost ever since I saw the cover and so I had to request it for review. I absolutely loved reading this book and I could not put it down. Just knowing right from the beginning that things were going to go terribly wrong had me completely hooked.

I was immediately pulled into the story by the dark and foreboding feeling the author created. And she kept that feeling going throughout the story as things just kept getting worse and worse for her main character.

Even though, as a huge horror fan, I’ve read a ton of books about mental breakdowns, ghosts and possessed or haunted houses, I was completely entertained by this book. I didn’t have that “yeah, yeah, this again” attitude I so often have when reading these types of stories.

I am always one to blame ghosts, rather than any of the more rational explanations, but this wasn’t quite so clear-cut and even at the story’s end I still wasn’t completely sure what to believe. Which for me is a really, really good thing.

While there is a lot left to the imagination, especially Leena’s backstory and the history of Frost House itself, enough was revealed to keep me intrigued and make me want to keep guessing.

I’m not sure how much I liked Leena, but I don’t believe she was supposed to be completely likable. Half the time I sympathized with her and the rest of the time I either thought she was completely blind to what was going on or was maybe just a little bit crazy.

I really loved Celeste. I thought she was a unique and very interesting character and really kept this story off-balance, which is a must for me.

I would have loved it if the book had ended prior to the last two chapters, but then again I don’t mind an ending which leaves everything a mystery in these types of books. I can’t say too much or it will completely spoil the story, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself and see if you feel the same way.

It didn’t take away from the story for me, at all. I will definitely re-read this one day, and plan on adding the finished copy to my collection, but there were some ideas about one of the characters that were brought into the story at the end that felt just a bit out-of-character for them.

I am so glad that I asked for a copy for review. I was very happily surprised by this book. I knew from the description it would be a story I’d enjoy but I didn’t expect to get as caught up in it as I did. And it’s nice to read a standalone supernatural book every once in a while.

And I can’t wait to see what Marianna Baer’s sophomore effort will be.


Frost is a standalone novel. To listen to a podcast of the author talking about, and reading from, her book on HarperTeen’s website, CLICK HERE.

Marianna Baer’s next YA novel, which will be published in 2012, is called Immaculate.

This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for an honest review.

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