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Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth
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Cold Light (edition 2011)

by Jenn Ashworth

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1263095,586 (3.04)7
Member:nicole
Title:Cold Light
Authors:Jenn Ashworth
Info:Sceptre (2011), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

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A dark and compelling portrayal of lives gone astray. Ashworth is a gifted writer. I was especially impressed by the way the plot unfolded. Just as we think we understand what is going on, something new is revealed. Recommended. ( )
  DowntownLibrarian | Dec 28, 2013 |
Ashworth successfully elucidates the girls’ lives – especially Lola’s. They are fraught with the tensions and allure of dangerous older men, the peril of a flasher – whose crimes are escalating- on the loose, and their own semi-abusive treatment of one another. Lola’s life is further complicated by the delusions of her elderly father, hostile relationship with her mother, and a harsh mixture of guilt and defiance concerning her own actions the year Chloe died. With the mystery of the newly uncovered body in the woods, all the pieces are carefully placed for a tense read as the true nature of Chloe’s death is revealed. However the pacing is off, and the meandering plot of the novel exceeds plausibility, and proves too problematic to overcome. The transitions between past and present are frequently abrupt and confusing when overlapping each other. As interesting as the girls’ stories could have been, the sprawling narrative and numerous plot lines diffused interest in the fates of all involved. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When deciding if this was a book I wanted to read or not, I was torn, more than I've ever been before about adding to the To Be Read pile. The description promised an ominous tale of mysterious deaths in the recent past, told ten years later from the point of view of one of the survivors. Now that I've finally completed the book I'd categorize it as a dark young adult tale.

Had I known it was going to read like a young adult novel, I probably would have passed. I have no patience for the machinations and social cliques of self-absorbed teenage girls. Perhaps that says more about me as a reader than it does about this book, but I've clearly determined this is not a genre I can make myself care about.

Our narrator, Lola, is in her mid-twenties, watching the groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial to two of her friends who died ten years ago in what was determined to be a dual suicide pact. At 14 Lola was a social outcast - from a lower-middle class family whose parents had her late in life, thus making them much older than her friends' parents. Her father is losing his sanity, becoming obsessed with various projects he takes up then abandons. Her mother is devoid of any emotion.

When new-to-the-school Chloe befriends Lola, Lola's social prospects brighten. Chloe pretty and possesses a cocksure attitude which tends to get her anything she wants. Including a 19-year old boyfriend who is obsessed with photographing Chloe in various states of undress.

Pregnancy scares, pedophilia, flashers - all the tropes of those things your mother warned you about are here. Along with a rival for Chloe's attention who soon relegates Lola to the fringes of the school's social pecking order.

In the end, the mystery wasn't much of a mystery - you'll know whose body is found, you'll figure out what happened to the two dead lovers and you won't care about any of it because the characters are so off-putting, so narcissistic, that you'll find yourself wishing the surviving characters meet the same fate. ( )
  TheTwoDs | Jun 15, 2013 |
I received this book as a Goodreads ARC giveaway. This was a great book and I really enjoy it ( )
  slvoight | Mar 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was not at all what I was expecting. Laura is an adult watching the memorial for her friends who died years before. When the mayor starts to dig and then stops abruptly, only Laura knows why. It's because he found a body, and only Laura knows who it is and how they got there. The story goes back and forth between the present and the past, back to the summer where Laura's friends died. Secrets come to light and we learn the truth about the dead person buried.

I would love to say that this book blew me away, but unfortunately, it didn't. In fact, I'm not sure why I kept on reading other than I wanted to know about the body. Laura was a very unlikable character, a follower, constantly complaining and with no redeeming qualities. Her friends were even worse. They were rude, snotty, pretentious little jerks and I just didn't understand why Laura didn't tell them to screw off and be done with them. I guess that's why I didn't like her. Laura's mother was a horrible, horrible person and I wanted nothing more than to jump through the pages and strangle her myself.

Other than the rotten characters, the writing itself was not my favorite style. It seemed to drag on forever and focus on little things that ultimately didn't really matter in the end. It took forever to come to the climax, and even then I was let down. I suppose the "twist" ending might do the job for some people. but I saw it coming and was not impressed.

So sadly, this book just wasn't for me. Don't let that deter you though, perhaps I am just an anxious reader and was desperate for the story to unfold. If you like slower, meatier reads, then give this one a shot. ( )
1 vote jaidahsmommy | Jan 22, 2013 |
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"Lola's on the sofa, watching Chloe's family and the TV crews grouped round the pond. It's been ten years since Chloe and her boyfriend died, and they've finally decided what the memorial will be. The Mayor has a spade decked out in pink and white ribbon, and he's started to dig. She can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong, that a celebration has turned into something else entirely. But she's the only person who can be sure it's a body. She's the only one who knows straightaway who it is. Everyone thought Chloe's death was a tragedy, and they were right, it was a tragedy, but it wasn't as simple as that. Lola and Chloe were best friends. Lola knew everything about her. At least she thought she did..."--From publisher description.… (more)

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