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Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Take a break from your dystopias and come to the darker side with Holly Black and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Something vampires and social media have in common: they never sleep…

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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the coldest girl in coldtown holly black

Title & Author: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Genre: YA Fantasy- Vampires, Paranormal

Release Date: September 3, 2013

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: ARC via Publisher


“Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.”

Hottest New YA Release

Holly Black is one of my all-time favorite authors, so when I heard she was coming out with a YA vampire book I knew I had to have it. If it was going to be anything like the Curse Worker series, then I knew I’d be ecstatic.

As I was reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, a few big things stuck out to me:

1Incredible world building– How Black builds her modern day world with vampires is wholly unique. It’s like what would happen if RIGHT NOW, we discovered the existence of vampires. There would political and governmental implications. People would freak out and fear infection…and the Internet would explode. That’s one thing that pulled me into Tana and Gavriel’s story – the use of social media.

People are live-blogging living in Coldtowns (where vampires are segregated to avoid infecting others) and streaming video of Eternal Ball vampires parties. They’re texting and tweeting and everything we do right now. The use of a media that I’m currently addicted to make the story feel more authentic and believable. Like, wow, what would I actually do if vampires were discovered tomorrow?!

2Storytelling through anecdotes – There are chapters in between the live action of the book that are like little side notes to readers. They share anecdotes from the characters lives and provide important background information. I loved the extra insight they added and liked the sort of flashback feel they created. It’s like an Instagram photo in a book.

3Violence playing an important storytelling role– Early acts of violence mark and scar a few of the main characters. Essentially who they are is shaped in large part due to these horrific moments in their lives. I was surprised by how much violence was embraced in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Because throughout the whole novel, very violent and gruesome scenes are played out.

Black’s other books haven’t been as graphic, so I wasn’t expecting it here. I will say that it does play a key role in how the plot progresses and how characters react to certain things. What I’m saying is that it wasn’t there to be gratuitous, it was there to paint a picture of what America plus vampires looks like.

Surprise, Surprise

I’m not sure if you can relate, but after reading tons of stories, things can become extremely predictable. Usually my hunches about whodunit are 99 percent accurate. What I LOVED about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is that I genuinely gasped in surprise a few times. As in more than once!! It’s such a refreshing experience.

Plus, not only did the plot surprise me, but the romance did as well. I expected to swoon a bit, but what I was not anticipating was to feel as invested as I was in Tana’s life and her feelings. Swooning is an understatement with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.


Between the fantasy realism, the realistic look at vampires existing today and the sizzling romance, I was sold. This is a YA vampire book unlike one you’ve ever read. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is dark, interesting and surprising – excellent.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.