Book Review: Frost by Marianna Baer

FROST by Marianna Baer
Publication Date: September 13th 2011 by Balzer & Bray
Rating: |

Summary: Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

Review Overview:

  • A psychological thriller
  • Too much high school drama at times, which is a turn-off for me
  • Ending was anti-climactic but open for interpretation

I was not quite expecting FROST to be so psychological or so scary. There’s a reason why I wasn’t sorted into Gryffindor. I lack courage. FROST was one of those books I just couldn’t read at night. I know that fear is a very psychological emotion, and Baer was able to trigger my illogical fear just as well as she had with her characters Leena and Celeste.

Leena and I would probably not get along if I knew her in real life. Her character just rubbed me the wrong way. It is pointed out by the Dean that Leena is sometimes skewed with her beliefs and opinions. She gives advice as if she thinks Leena Knows All, and the Dean shuts her down by saying that sometimes what Leena thinks is best is not the best for everyone. I guess her know-it-all mentality and constant urge to meddle with other people’s – ahem, Celeste’s – business just didn’t agree with me.

I love David Lazar and it is completely understandable how Leena can take an instant liking to him. I love that he cares deeply for his family and he would go out of his way to help out his sister. I love some of his quirks such as his obsession with spoons. David was a refreshing love interest to me. He actually felt like a guy that I could meet in real life. He’s not a one-dimensional love interest, which made it frustrating to me at times that Leena increasingly grew neurotic. He probably could do a lot better, and it drove me crazy to see Leena doubt his affections or character.

I would have loved this book more if it wasn’t riddled with so much high school drama. It’s one of the main reasons why I loved my nontraditional high school setting; I escaped unnecessary cat fights for four years. I was not jumping for joy when Leena’s drama with her friends were stirred up. Mostly it comes back to the fact that I know that Leena was at fault and I failed to sympathize with her. She would complain about how her life is a mess, but most of it was her fault to begin with. On the other hand, I feel like drama is inevitable in stories that are set in a boarding school. Still, I wish that there was less of it, even if I can see that it’s important for the development of Leena’s character. FROST would have been stronger minus the excess drama and more focused on the supernatural aspects.

Is this a ghost story? Funny how I can’t exactly answer that. FROST leaves off a little anti-climactic because it fails to answer this question. After 400 pages, I still don’t quite know what happened at the Frost House, and I doubt the characters know either. The ending is open for interpretation so if you like that kind of ending, you’ll probably end the book on a better note than I did.

Other Reviews:
365 Days of Reading
The Book Muncher
Ivy Reads

About the Author

Marianna Baer received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in art from Oberlin College. She also attended boarding school, where she lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House, the inspiration for her first novel, Frost. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads


  1. Interesting! This almost sounds a little like Tighter by Adele Griffin. Especially the part about the open ending.

    I’m with you though–it’s a deal breaker for me if I can’t sympathize with the MC. It’s so frustrating then to read about their “plight” when I want to scream at them “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

    I’m still on the fence about this, but after having read your review, I think I’ll give it a shot but DNF early on if I don’t click with the MC. Thanks!

    1. Oooh, I’ve been meaning to check out Tighter. Good to know that this one sounds a bit similar.

      Yep, it’s quite unfortunate that I couldn’t connect. ;/

      Glad to hear I helped a bit. Looking forward to what you think.

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