Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

The Trailer
A review of Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

"This is the tale of two fourteen-year-old girls, best friends, and one terrible summer when lies, secrets, jealousy, and perversion ended in tragedy more tangled and evil than a tight-knit community can possibly believe.

A dark tale with a surreal edge, Jenn Ashworth's gripping novel captures the intensity of girls' friendships and the dangers of a predatory adult world they are just grown up enough to think they can handle. And it shows just how far that world will go, sacrificing truth in the name of innocence."

Upon receipt of this book, I was immediately turned off. As you may have noticed, there have been an unnecessary and overwhelming surge of books with a female lead that would make Jane Austen cry. After reading the back cover and taking a moment to study the cover photo, I opened the book prepared to read about the challenges of being a teenager and the never-ending battle for a boy.

In a way, I was right. This story is about Lola, also known as "Laura", whose life is changed drastically and dramatically over the course of a season. Featuring the standard elements of teenage drama, including but not limited to underage smoking and drinking, Ashworth's portrayal of the challenges of a teenage girl were nearly spot on, but unfortunately this isn’t the story she was writing.

This is the story of a young woman forced to grow up after a series of horrific and tragic events changes her life in a split second. It's the story of three teenage girls in a constant competition to grow up too fast. It's the story of a town plagued by the constant threat of a serial flasher growing more confident with each new victim. It’s a story that reflects your worst fears and makes you realize how easily they could come true.

What Ashworth captured in Cold Light is a behind-the-scenes look at what you don't know about the stories you see on the news. Had this been reality, it would have been a blurb on the news you vaguely remember. Ashworth’s tale shows us how Lola becomes more and more involved in a crime that she didn’t have to be involved in at all. It left me wondering: what would I do?

Cold Light gives the reader a challenging situation and makes you question how you would have reacted. It makes you consider your family and friends, your social position, and your morals. And after thinking about it, I think that anyone who has been a teenage girl would find herself making the same decisions.

One particularly great thing about this novel is the way the events unfold. Rather than using a standard linear timeline, Ashworth flashes between three different periods in Lola’s life. This is a great way to leave the reader on the edge of their seat, and even I found myself with my little red booklight trying to fight off sleep while indulging in Cold Light.

 Cold Light will be re-released on October 16th.
For more information about Jenn Ashworth,
please visit her website at

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