The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
High School Little, Brown 422 pp.
9/13 978-0-316-21310-3 $19.00
In an alternate here-and-now, vampires are sequestered in “Coldtowns” guarded by barbed wire and Homeland Security. Live feeds from inside the Coldtowns broadcast the glamorous Eternal Ball with its celebrity vampire hosts, attracting thrill-seekers who are welcomed inside but can never leave. After losing her mother to vampirism, Tana keeps her distance, until she wakes up from a party one morning to a house littered with the drained corpses of her friends. The only other survivors are her charming but cheating ex-boyfriend Aidan, left infected and tied to a bed, and beautiful, mysterious vampire-guy Gavriel, chained beside him. Fighting her instinct to run, Tana compels herself to help them get to the nearest Coldtown. Inside, the town is more ghetto than glamour, and Tana becomes entangled in a deadly vampire feud. Black’s compelling prose, descriptive yet direct, conjures a modern gothic world populated by cruel immortals, desperate humans offering themselves as food, and a few hardscrabble survivors. Tana is a winning heroine, by turns staking killer vampires and giving herself over to Gavriel’s deep, smoldering kisses. As in previous works (The Poison Eaters & Other Stories, rev. 5/10; the Good Neighbors books, rev. 1/10, 1/09), Black displays her gift for channeling the dark side, seeming to wake the very shadows around us.