Frost, by Marianna Baer
Leena Thomas is excited to move into Frost House for her senior year, along with a couple of her friends. But since her best friend is out of the country for first semester, Leena is assigned another roommate – the socially awkward and odd Celeste Lazar. But the one highlight about living with Celeste is that her attractive brother David is around a lot. Leena tries to make the best of the situation, but when bad things keep happening to Celeste, it’s soon obvious that someone has it in for her. It could all be in Celeste’s mind, or something she’s doing for attention. Or is it Frost House itself that wants Celeste gone?
Leena is immediately likeable, though not without her own failings. Her growing chemistry with David is pushed along by Celeste, in hopes that Celeste can have more freedom. It’s immediately clear that something is wrong with Frost House. Celeste hates the house, but Leena is so drawn to it that it becomes a drug to her. Leena goes through quite a bit drama and heartache with her friends and school life, which begins to take a toll on her and her sanity.
Sanity and emotional stability is the main focus of the story. Though there are several spooky occurrences with the house, it’s more of a drama than horror novel. The story follows Leena the entire time, and since she feels nothing but warmth and comfort from the home, I didn’t really get a sense of foreboding that accompanies most haunted-house type stories. Instead, Leena’s darkness and struggles stems from her failing relationships and hidden dependencies. The novel might have had more impact if we followed Celeste’s path as well and experienced her attacks, rather than just third hand and detached. Still, the novel works as a psychological thriller, from the standpoint of Leena. The gradual drama and suspense unfolds to a climactic ending. The characters were completely engaging. I certainly wanted to see more. The romance and psychological drama are more than enough to attract the young adult audience.