Book Review: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte (Red Eye)

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Release Date: 1st October 2014 (Kindle) 5th January 2015 (Paperback)
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
Rating:
fc

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We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

Frozen Charlotte is one of the first of two Young Adult books to be published in the Red Eye series by Stripes Publishing.

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Sophie can’t believe that her best friend Jay has downloaded a Ouija-board app. It’s not as if something like that could possibly work, is it!? Going along with the ‘game’ to keep Jay happy the pair decide to try and contact Sophie’s dead cousin, Rebecca. However, they get more than they bargained for when Sophie fears that they’ve released Rebecca’s spirit into the world.
When a series of tragic and spooky events occur, Sophie decides to visit The Isle of Skye where seven year old Rebecca died under mysterious circumstances to see if she can piece together what’s really going on.
Whilst staying with her uncle and cousins Piper, Cameron and Lilias, Sophie soon discovers many hidden secrets surrounding the creepy converted school house where they live. Weird things start happening and as for her three cousins? Well, they’re even weirder. However the strangest thing in the house has got to be Rebecca’s set of Frozen Charlotte dolls. There’s something about those dolls that Sophie doesn’t like and it’s not long before things take a terrifying turn for the worse for Sophie and the other occupants of the house…

This novel should come with two warnings. One, it is actually a VERY scary read. Two, it’s also an extremely addictive read, and once you pick this novel up you won’t be putting it down until you’ve discovered exactly what’s going on.

I was drawn to this novel from the moment I set eyes upon it. It sounded like a seriously scary read with an intriguing plot line and as for that cover…tantalisingly terrifying.
I loved the idea of a Ouija-board app. It’s something that has been at the centre of so many horror stories and having it in an app format gave the story a modern day twist that will no doubt be highly appealing to teenagers. (These kinds of apps don’t actually exist do they? I think I’m too scared to Google it…)
I was hooked right from the off as the spookiness starts pretty much straight away when Sophie and Jay start messing around with the app and fear that the spirit of Rebecca has been released. I knew then that this wasn’t going to be some mild, kind-of scary story but a full on spook-fest.
The action doesn’t stop there as more and more creepy things start to happen – and then when Sophie goes to stay with her uncle and cousins at the house in The Isle of Skye I was practically hiding under the bed. Piper, Cameron and Lilias were fantastic characters who did a great job of freaking me out at first; Lilias has a phobia of bones (she’s tried to cut out her own collarbone…) Cameron has a weird scar on his hand and clearly doesn’t want Sophie there and Piper seems…well…perfect. (Too perfect??)
However my opinion was completely turned on its head as the story progresses about who you could trust and who was just that little bit too strange. You’re in for a shocker!
There is such a strong sense of foreboding throughout the story. I was almost reading with my hands in front of my face, because I just knew that something was going to happen but I didn’t know what or when. Alex Bell is great at writing suspense because I was constantly on edge through the whole of Frozen Charlotte.
In fact, Alex Bell’s writing throughout proved to be concise, addictive, massively creepy and wholly engaging. This story quite simply consumed me.
I love how she brought her characters to life; they were realistic and even the creepy ones were not overly-creepy in the sense that you wouldn’t be able to believe in them and the things that they got up to.
The way that Alex describes the former school house that Sophie’s uncle and cousins now live in is sheer perfection. I can picture it in my mind as clear as day; the stairs that you could ‘break your neck on’ the former stage, Cameron’s Grand Piano, Rebecca’s bedroom, the photographs on the wall of the former pupils – even the way that the wind howls around the building.
Of course, this is a Young Adult novel so there’s nothing overly disturbing or pushing the creepiness-factor that bit too far, but there are still some pretty horrific things in this novel (some that made me cringe involving needles and eyes. ICK, ICK, ICK!) It seems to be the smaller things that Alex Bell plays up to give the impression of something more sinister. For example when Sophie hears a manic voice in the house downstairs at night but it turns out to just be the parrot, Dark Tom. My tendency to get carried away was completely played on in scenes like that but I absolutely loved it!
Horrific and slightly grizzly, this is one of the most addictive, exciting and brilliantly paced novels I had read in a while. I am massively excited about reading more in the Red Eye series of novels by Stripes Publishing, but in the meantime I can’t recommend this book enough. Full of plot twists and turns and creepiness by the barrel full, if you like a read that will keep you guessing and get your heart racing – you’ve found it…oh, and you’ll never look at a porcelain doll in the same way again. EVER.

 

A huge thank you to Stripes Publishing, Jennifer Cooper and Do YA Read Me for sending me a copy of Frozen Charlotte to review & for having me on the blog tour. 

 

Don’t forget to visit http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.co.uk tomorrow for the next stop on the tour…

 

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Alex Bell was born in 1986.  She always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans to ensure she didn’t end up in the poor house first. For some years these ranged from dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.

To that end she eagerly started a Law degree. Whilst at university, she wrote a grand total of six complete novels (admittedly there was not much of a social life during this time). The second book got her an agent with Carolyn Whitaker of London Independent Books but, unfortunately, not a publisher. The third book, written during her first summer holidays off from university, found a home with Gollancz. The Ninth Circle came out in April 2008 with possibly the most beautiful cover ever created. Since then she has published novels and short stories for both adults and young adults.

After deciding to use her Law degree for good, instead of for evil, she also works as an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau. Most of her spare time consists of catering to the whims of her Siamese cat.

Alex Bell   | Website  | Twitter  |  Goodreads  |


 

 Dare you read a Red Eye?

 The highly anticipated new horror series for teens

January 2015 is guaranteed to be a scream

Featuring award-winning authors and rising stars, Red Eye is the killer new YA series from Stripes Publishing. A fusion of pop culture, violence and technology, Red Eye gives horror a frighteningly contemporary makeover that teen readers will love. For fans of all things gruesome and ghastly – prepare to be scared out of your wits….

 


A further two new titles in the Red Eye series will be available in 2015. Flesh and Blood from Simon Cheshire, the award-winning author of the Saxby Smart and Jeremy Brown series, will be published in March and Bad Bones from Graham Marks, the children’s publishing guru and award-winning author, will be published in May 2015. And watch this space for more spine-chilling titles in the series…

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