Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell.
Frozen Charlotte follows the protagonist, Sophie, when she goes to stay with her cousins over the summer in search for answers following her best friend’s death. When she arrives, she immediately notices that something is wrong – and is surprised to see her dead cousin, Rebecca, there, too. It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong and Sophie to regret visiting…
Before I get into this review, I’d like to quickly say that I didn’t realise this was aimed at the younger side of YA, which is probably why I didn’t enjoy it too much. I would still definitely encourage people in the right age group to give it a go, although please be sure to check the content warnings before, which can be found at the bottom of this review.
Honestly, something about this book just missed the mark for me. I was super excited to read it after a member of staff in Waterstones commended me for my choice but I feel like Frozen Charlotte was a bit of a let down. The plot had so much potential and, as much as I wanted to love it, something just wasn’t there for me.
I think one of the things which contributed to this was definitely how predictable the book was. I’m not sure if this was just me, but I could guess what was going to happen at the end and I was really hoping for more twists. It just seemed a little too simple and, for once, I was actually hoping that my predictions were wrong because it just seemed way too easy.
The unanswered questions also really annoyed me. The whole point of Sophie visiting her cousins was to uncover what happened to her best friend, Jay, but she seemed to completely forget that about two thirds of the way in. I understand that other events might have led her mind elsewhere, but I still really wanted to know who was behind Jay’s death, and I feel like Bell could’ve worked that in somewhere, even if it wasn’t a major detail.
I also didn’t like the inconsistencies with the characters, the most notable one being Rebecca. There were times when she was being very evil and frightening, but also times when she seemed like she was trying to help the others. It was certainly very confusing to read and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her character.
Of course, Rebecca wasn’t the only character who confused me – Uncle James also baffled me. I didn’t understand how he could be so blind and incompetent to what was going on in his house. I couldn’t believe he could be so stupid and it definitely left me with a lot of questions over why he was always so absent, especially whilst he had a visitor.
The hints between what was going on with Callum and Sophie were also really weird. Although they were step-cousins, I still found it really odd that Bell was developing a relationship between the two (although luckily it was never explicit). If she wanted a romance, she could’ve at least made Sophie a family friend!
However, despite all of that, there were definitely some good aspects of the book. The ease of readability was very well done, and I found myself whizzing through the pages. Bell’s writing style was very easy to digest and it made for a quick read which I managed to finish in just a few hours. Of course, this could be partially due to it being aimed at a younger audience, but I still think they would have no trouble with this book.
There were also some creepy moments. Admittedly, it didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would, but that’s not to say that there weren’t some creepy moments. The thing with the dolls was definitely very interesting as well as Rebecca’s ghost. I’m not a huge reader of horror but I think the aspects which were there were very mild so even if you’re not big on horror I would still suggest giving it a go!
Overall, I would recommend Frozen Charlotte to younger readers beginning to explore the horror genre. Although it wasn’t too creepy, lots of classic horror elements were still there, and this was an enjoyable read. I would also recommend it for someone looking to get into the right reading mode for Halloween – this is perfect for the spooky season!
However, please be mindful that this has lots of content warnings: death, suicide, ouiji boards (app), evil dolls, demonic spirits, and hauntings, so please do not read if you feel uncomfortable with any of those.
I hope you enjoyed this review!