One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.
Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.
Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.
Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.
Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.
|Publisher:||Margaret K. McElderry Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor, essay and short story writer, and the author of The Beast Is an Animal. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is at work on her third novel. Visit her at PeternellevanArsdale.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE COLD IS IN HER BONES is a heartbreaking read of bitterness, vengeance, friendship, and one girl's will to lift a curse. A beautiful piece of storytelling with some grit and plenty of heart. Recommended to young adult fantasy fans. This story had a lyrical feel to it from the beginning when the curse comes about and then continues as Milla's story unfolds. There was also a strong feminist current, but one that many girls and women could probably relate to if they've ever felt like they were undervalued, belittled, or should keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves in order to conform to someone else's ideal or expectations. What I enjoyed most about this story, though, was how Milla comes into her own and how she remains loyal to those she loves. I also admired her bravery in the face of something terrifying as she tries to save those dear to her and right a wrong. I also appreciated that the author showed different views of this storybook world and the people in it―those who were loving, those who were not, and shades in between. For those who prefer their stories without romance, there wasn't much to speak of in this story. I had a minor issue with a part towards the end because it felt inconsistent with the rest of the story, but that would be my only complaint. In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall thought provoking read, and one that I enjoyed. Content: Some mature subject matter, violence, abuse. Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher through Jean BookNerd Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much! All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. WARNING: If you don’t like snakes...then you may not like this book very much, because there are a lot of them! Content Warning: Curses, Death, Emotional Abuse "And this anger became bitterness, and this bitterness turned her into a monster. And the monster that she became wanted to hurt everyone that had hurt her. So she did. She punished everyone until there was no one left to punish. No one at all." Yet another hauntingly beautiful tale by Peternelle van Arsdale. I believe this author has captured my attention wholly when it comes to writing style and character building (and setting and plot and...you get the picture). There are elements in both of her novels, The Beast is an Animal and The Cold is in Her Bones that are so unlike anything I’ve ever read. There is an otherworldliness accompanied with twisted reality which makes these tales familiar, yet very, very foreign. The Cold is in Her Bones is a loose Medusa retelling. While yes, I see the correlations, I also see a lot of differences between this tale and the mythological one. That doesn’t really matter to me, as I read this book as its own story. I’d say that if you are looking for a hardcore, follows-along-the-same-tale type of retelling of Medusa mythology, I don’t feel like this quite fits that bill. I wouldn’t write it off just for that reason, though! This story is stunning, and mixes the twisted, beautiful, mysterious, and whimsical. A brief, yet, very effective Prologue gives a look into the story of Hulda, introducing the lifestyles of the characters, setting, and snakes. It then shifts to Milla’s perspective for the rest of the story. The plot itself isn’t overdone, which is another element of this author’s writing that I admire. Not everything is fully explained, and it allows room for the reader to imagine. I feel that if more was explained, then it would take away from the message this story is conveying. Very strong themes based on feelings resonate throughout the plot. Themes such as anger, forgiveness, vengeance, and regret. Milla dances with most, if not all touched upon. The Cold Is In Her Skin speaks loudly about how if anger is left unchecked it turns into vengeance.The metaphorical is taken literally and feelings materialize. Another theme that stands out is facing your demons. "...I made messes for you, and you can’t wish your messes away. I’m here, Mamma. A big mess. And I’m taking you to your other big mess. And you will apologize, and you will make this right." The only thing I wished that had more explanation was the ending. I felt it ended rather abruptly, and could have been fleshed out further. Otherwise, I loved everything else about this story. Vulgarity: None. Sexual Content: None. Violence: Some. Certain scenes are more eerie than anything. My Rating: ★★★★1/2
This beautifully written, haunting story was an emotional read for me. I knew I was in trouble when the prologue had me in tears. Of course I cried for the snakes. As a lover of all animals I was appalled and disturbed by their treatment but it was really Hulda I cared for. I may never have snakes whispering their names to me but Hulda’s feelings were so relatable. Haven’t we all felt less than, not enough, and a failure in comparison to others? While this has always existed, it is especially pronounced in the present day with social media promoting those shining, golden girls who make us feel like a hot mess because we’re not as together as they are. The encompassing theme of this book reminded me of an old movie which compared puberty to becoming a werewolf. After being bitten the teen girl becomes wild, wilful and a sexual being. Friends and family don’t recognize her as the good girl they knew. She becomes something else, something incomprehensible, something “other.” Milla’s family has a similar reaction when she begins to question the status quo and rebel against it. The adults in these stories believe that teen girls are not to be trusted. They are unpredictable, dangerous, and sometimes downright monstrous. When you add in an isolated environment, religious zealotry and a general lack of information/education things truly become a horror show. Being a teenager is hard. Being a teen girl who doesn’t fit into the very small box and very small life deemed acceptable by society can be disastrous. These bigger issues are what make this book truly remarkable but of course it has all the elements of a great story. There are interesting, well developed characters, villains who are complicated and a plot that seems pulled from a dark fairy-tale. It was a suspenseful and quick read with a satisfying ending. Is there a happily ever after? You’ll have to read to find out! Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
A dark fairytale about girls who don't conform and curses, The Cold in in her Bones is different and refreshing in its plot, but as far as the writing goes, it didn't hold my attention. When Milla's new friend and to-be-sister-in-law gets taken by the curse that plagues the girls of the village closest to her family's farm, she sets out to save her. She herself has been kept ignorant of the curse and life limited to the farm and its environs, but as the curse starts to affect her, too, in a very different way, she starts to question the origin of the curse. I really thought it would have Medusa references, but aside from a couple of snakes growing out of her head, Milla is pretty much a regular girl who has been lied to by her parents, her brother, and her neighbors. She sympathizes with the cursed girls, which is why she tries to free them from the villagers (there is a bit of witch hunting like scenario going on, with them getting rid of every slightly disobedient girl this way - which I feel could have been explored better to round out the plot), and then tries to start a new life. However, the curse will linger until its broken, so she has to face it. I felt it took too long to get to that point, and built a lot up, but then the climactic scene was meh? The bonus is there is no romantic subplot to distract from the story, so that is good. Overall, it is a good read but not something that kept me ensnared.