THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN
By Holly Black
Little, Brown and Company
Tana is one of those teens who don't think too much about their futures because their pasts are so disturbing to them. In a world where vampires exist, and have now been cordoned off into Coldtowns to try to contain the infection, she believes she has nothing to lose.
That's because her mother was infected by a vampire when Tana was little. Her father didn't follow the law but tried to do the right thing. He locked Mom in the basement to see if she would be able to fight off the infection, and the overwhelming urge for blood. Mom talked Tana into unlocking the basement door and coming downstairs. Dad chopped off Mom's head before she could do more than scrape Tana's arm.
But that's backstory. When we first meet Tana, she's waking up at a nihilistic teen party where drinking and sex are the norm. Her ex-boyfriend, Adrian, tried to capture her attention yet again. He's tied up on a bed with a vampire chained in the room. Everyone else has been killed.
After Tana gets them out alive, before other vampires behind the door can get to them, they have little choice. They have to get to the nearest Coldtown. That's where vampires, those who are Cold -- have been infected but may or may not turn vampire -- and thrillseekers go. Tana will never see her still grieving, still heavy drinking father or younger sister again.
The vampire chained in the room with Adrian is a famous old vampire and stone-cold assassin. He and Tana are, of course, drawn to each other. But Gavriel, the second son of minor Russian aristocracy, has a great backstory as well.
With the level of violence and sex, this is easily an older teen book. It also is a very well-written horror novel of characters who feel they have nothing to lose, with the themes of betrayal and trying to do the right thing regardless of the circumstances.
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