Cold by Mariko Tamaki is a ghost story meant to draw emotion and make you feel unnerved. When Todd’s body is found, Georgia suddenly finds herself concerned about who may have killed him.
This is the story of a boy who died—and a girl who wants to know why.
Todd Mayer is dead. Now he’s some sort of ghost, hovering over his body, which has just been found in the town park, naked and frozen in the snow. As detectives investigate Todd’s homicide, talking to the very people who are responsible for how he died, Todd replays the events that lead him to his end in the park.
Georgia didn’t know Todd. But she can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe because they’re both outcasts at their school, or because they’re both queer. It might also be because Georgia has a feeling she’s seen Todd somewhere before, somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be.
In the vein of The Lovely Bones, this dual narrative is told through the voices of Todd in his afterlife and Georgia as she uncovers the truth behind his death, resulting in an immersive, emotional, and provocative read.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
“And, really, most of the time I feel like I am lost, and all I want to do is ask questions.”
Cold was an interesting thriller, in that the POV writing was a bit unique. We transitioned from the first and third person, depending on the chapter. Our third-person writing was from the ghost perspective, and I’ve personally never seen this done before. With this story specifically, when this worked it really worked, and when it didn’t…it was bad. Tamaki’s prose is incredible, and it really shows from the ghost perspective. However, from Georgia’s perspective, some of this prose feels detached from the character’s personality. Not that we really even get to understand much of her personality, to begin with.
“Todd was a ghost and no longer had any money to bet.”
For a ghost story, unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly scary or even sad. I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters, and the mystery was an easily solvable one. Everything was very surface level, and I think with more in-depth character development, I would have been able to feel a bit more about the whole thing. This wasn’t the case, though, and thus the 3-star rating.
“Maybe there was a certain kind of ghost who dies that way. With love a whirr- fluttering like a trapped monarch in your chest as a heart beats its last accompanying beats.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.