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Danny Says We’ve Gotta Go (Or: Don’t You Reanimate Me)

Amy Garvey's Cold Kiss has swoon aplenty to make Meghan overlook its dubious premise (zombie boyfriend!).

Danny Says We’ve Gotta Go (Or: Don’t You Reanimate Me)

BOOK REPORT for Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Cover Story: Double Ugh
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Emotional Roller Coaster
Bonus Factors: Willow, Slumber Parties, Stars Hollow
Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

Cover Story: Double Ugh

Giant lips! Frost! It looks like a Winterfresh gum ad. And it's dumb, not just because it's weird and ugly, but because it's not really representative of the book at all. The dead person's the boyfriend, not the girl, so HIS lips are the cold ones. Duh! But I do like the typeface, so yay?

The Deal:

Wren's boyfriend Danny is killed in a car crash, and she's so heartbroken, she brings him back to life. But Wren doesn't know much about her powers, since her mother refuses to admit they run in the family, and didn't stop to think about the consequences of the spell. Danny's not the real Danny, but an empty shell of the boy she loved, and he's quickly getting out of control -- and she can't let anyone know he exists. As if struggling to figure out how to fix her immense mistake and handle the double loss of her first love wasn't complicated enough, she meets Gabriel, a gorgeous -- and living -- boy who knows some of her secrets.

BFF Charm: Yay

Wren has two fantastic bffs, Jess and Darcia, but obvs they're not good enough because they never sat her down and made her watch season 6 of Buffy. If they had, she'd know that when you bring someone back, they're going to be changed, and you probably also jerked them out of heaven, so it's really not cool. But they didn't, and Wren's been so angry since Danny died she's pushed her girls away and she wouldn't have listened to them anyway. She wouldn't want a new bff, and wouldn't listen to me anyway, is what I'm saying. But I love the girl, rage and all. She's wickedly sarcastic and tough and smaht and loyal, and she's the type who will walk through hell and come out stronger and better for it.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

What makes Danny so terrifying isn't rotting flesh or a craving for brains (he's not that kind of zombie, anyway), it's getting inside Wren and knowing just how MUCH she loved him and how much she misses him. It's knowing what he was like alive that makes the dead Danny's dependence and lack of autonomy so chilling. There's no swoon there, because right next to the glowing memories of living Danny is his cold, dead shell, but right next to THAT burns Gabriel, the new boy in Wren's life. And nothing starts panty fires like secrets, rampant emotions and danger, wrapped up in a tall, grey-eyed, sandy-haired package.

Talky Talk: Emotional Roller Coaster

Garvey really captures the crazy range of Wren's emotions, from rage to wrung-out emptiness, giddy new love to guilt. Grief is one of the most confusing, horrible, exhausting experiences because it's not just one emotion, it's all of them, all at once -- it's MUST FEEL ALL THE THINGS. I was exhausted just reading. I wanted more closure to Wren's relationship with her mother, whose silence on that pesky magic thing left Wren solo, carrying the guilt and shame of the biggest screw up EVER on top of all that grief, but life's not neat and tidy, so I appreciated feeling a little unsatisfied.

"She's never talked to me about it." I stop pacing and stand still, letting my head fall forward. I'm so tired. It probably sounds like everything is simply spilling out of me, but it feels like I'm dragging it out bit by bit, all of it heavy and awkward, bumping and scraping against my heart as I release it. "She's got just as much power as I do but she refuses to use it most of the time."

Bonus Factor: Willow

Wren's magic is less Charmed (though I do love Charmed, especially the Shannen Doherty days) and more Buffy-seasons-6-and-7 Willow, aka my favorite post-high-school Willow.

Bonus Factor: Slumber Parties

Before Danny died, Wren and her bffs Jess and Darcia had some epic slumber parties. This isn't a happy, cheery book at all, so it was a nice break to have at least the memory of good times. I can't wait for them to grow up so I can introduce them to the magic of champ cans!

Bonus Factor: Stars Hollow

I keep referencing TV shows, but it's because I'm culturally lowbrow, not because the book is a mashup of my favorite television -- honest! Anyway, Wren lives in this cute little New England town, where she can walk everywhere and there's a downtown with a coffeeshop and a movie theater and bookstore, and she knows everyone and they all smile and wave and I'm sure are kooky-but-friendly. Please don't tell me small-town New England isn't really like this, because it'll dash all my dreams of moving there some day.

Casting Call:

Lindsey Shaw as Wren

Wren is supposed to be short, and it's a big part of her personality, but I just can't help casting Lindsey anyway. She totally has Kat's Wren's sneer and rage down. I couldn't think of a blonde who could pull off the chemistry between her and Gabriel as well as FYA's one true love, Ethan Peck.

Ethan Peck as Gabriel

Funny, intense and smoldering? Check, check and check.

Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

I'll be the first to tell you I was incredibly dubious about this book. Zombie boyfriend? Are you freals? But by the third page, I was so wrapped up the book, I'd completely forgotten how nerdy I thought it was when we first met. We stayed up late talking on the phone every night, and my friends were starting to get pissy because I wasn't hanging out with them anymore. There's been drama, and passion, and a little heartbreak, and I want to keep the relationship going as long as I can before the flame cools off.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from HarperCollins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Cold Kiss will be available September 20.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.