IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL, WARM SUMMER DAY, THE DAY DANNY DIED.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants – what she must do – is to bring Danny back.
But the Danny who returns is just the shell of a boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her – and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought – even if it means breaking her heart all over again.
Cold Kiss is such an absorbing, moving story about losing a first love and learning to let go. But the idea here is that Wren couldn’t let go and so messed with the laws of nature, used her magic, brought her boyfriend back from the dead and now bears the repercussions of her action. Anyone can comprehend the devastation of losing a loved one, so while the magnitude of Wren’s “blunder” is spectacular, there's still room to be sympathetic towards her.
Throughout the book, Wren wrestles with what to do with Danny – something she admits to not having thought through before she resurrected him. As the flaws in her plan become more apparent to her, you get just as apprehensive as she does about the impending moment when things come to a head.
Keeping this secret has meant that she has detached herself from her friends and has had to resort to lying to everyone. She's slowly unraveling until Gabriel comes into her life. Turns out he has a special gift of his own and becomes the one person she can confide in. Of all the things in this book, the one moment that made me shudder most was when Gabriel said, “Wren, what did you do?”. With that said aloud, the fog is lifted and there’s no more running away. And it’s a relief that after all the self-imposed isolation and intense scrutiny that she has received from her friends, she finally has someone she can lean on – even if it’s begrudgingly.
Garvey does a marvelous job of showing Wren's emotional distress. Aside from Danny, she’s also dealing with past abandonment issues, the guilt over her lies and her desperate longing to connect with her mom about the magical powers she possesses. I like how Garvey gives just enough details about certain intimate moments between Wren and Danny when he was alive and leaves the rest to the reader’s imagination. They're powerful and tender moments that show how deeply they loved each other. Then there's also Wren moving forward. Making a connection with Gabriel is a reminder that not all was lost with Danny's death but she still has to find it within herself to make that one final act of letting go.
Cold Kiss is so many things at once – creepy, uncomfortable, sweet, suspenseful, romantic – unorthodox, yes – but nevertheless romantic. I was emotionally spent but it's well worth the read!