Review of Cold

Cold Cold
by Mariko Tamaki
High School    Roaring Brook    240 pp.    g
2/22    978-1-62672-273-6    $18.99

Teens Georgia and Todd would seem to have little in common, especially given that Todd is, well, dead. But when Todd’s nude, frozen body is discovered in a local park, Georgia is intrigued by the mystery. She interrogates those around her until the answers begin pointing to suspects shockingly close to home. Meanwhile, Todd’s ghost hovers nearby, watching and remembering. A brutal confrontation with the killer leads Georgia to an unsettling conclusion. But in solving the mystery of Todd’s death and realizing how she and he are connected, Georgia, who’s “felt lost for so long,” can finally assert, “I know where I am.” Tamaki (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, rev. 7/19) skillfully weaves issues of power, vulnerability, and sexual orientation into the teen-ghost trope. The strong contrast between the two narrative strands—self-conscious Georgia’s raw, immediate first-person voice and loner Todd’s more distant third-person perspective—makes for a deeply engaging read. Georgia and Todd coalesce into fully formed characters through authentically rendered dialogue and compact yet substantial sentences that are impressive in their precision. A tightly constructed page-turner that poses big questions about character, morality, and truth.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

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