Cover Image: Cold Girls

Cold Girls

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to get to this one, as it seemed interesting. This was requested when I first found out about NetGalley and I had requested so many ARCs that I could not get to all of them before they were archived. If I can find this somewhere for a reasonable price, I will try to get it!
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Cold Girls by Maxine Rae was one of the most powerful books I've read this year. It was sad and beautiful and also hopeful and healing. Rory is the epitome of a teenage girl full of more questions than answers about who she is and what she will become. Faced with an unthinkable tragedy she is trying to figure out how to move forward but that requires her to examine and accept her past. Her relationship with Liv shows how quickly people can move into our hearts and become irreplaceable. The present and past flashbacks of the story make each revelation and healing moment more poignant and important and the way the author handles mental health, ptsd, and depression and suicidal ideation is done in a mature and informed way. I loved this book and will be recommending it to anyone and everyone!
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The only reason that I kept putting this book down was because of how connected I felt with the main character so her pain felt like it was my pain. I loved this book from the start to the end and its one you read because you want to know what happened in the worst night ever but also what happens after. I liked that this book goes back and forth in time and you get to know our main character before Liv's death and after.
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I was graciously given an ARC by the publishers for participating in the books cover reveal, (Gorgeous cover by the way, I adore it!) which was tons of fun and I was so happy to be included in it, but unfortunately I don't think this book is for me right now. I am about 15% into it and Im not sure when or if I'll continue it. I read for characters first, thats the very first thing I'll love about any story and i'm not really loving the characters in this one, among a few other things. This is entirely a me problem and more personal preference over anything wrong with the book itself. However I love and am so happy that so many readers have been able to connect with and appreciate the way Cold Girls deals with and talks about grief, loss, mental health issues, etc, it's wonderful really to see. I still might come back to this book in the future, but please do still pick up this book if it sounds like something you'd love! This book deserves to find its right audience, even if that isn't me. Again truly thank you so much to the publisher and author for the early copy!
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This was a beautiful book. I really enjoyed reading it, and I think it could be very popular among high school girls. It talks about mental health struggles and the characters are described very well. I didn't expect to cry but i did, it was a very emotional read!
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This is a story about how a young girl struggles to fit in with the people around her, all to realize her true potential when the right person enters her life. 

Roo finally understand that fitting in wasn't about conforming to others' expectations but about finding people who appreciated her for who she was. Until she met Lily, her best friend. Lily had shown her that true friendship was a treasure, and when you find the right person, it can unlock your hidden strengths and passions.

After lily’s death, Roo struggling alive without blaming herself for the death of her best friend. A inspirational and powerful story to read
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Rory, a shy and awkward senior at a new school, meets Liv, the manic pixie no-fucks-given cool girl next to her in choir. They are soulmates- they fit perfectly into each other's lives and are always together, including the night when a distracted driver hits them head-on, killing Liv.

We follow Rory throughout her friendship with Liv and the aftermath of dealing with survivor's guilt and PTSD. This is a SAD read. I don't typically seek these out, but it was done well and I cried a lot. Not only for the loss of Liv, but for Rory and her family relationships, for Liv's parents, for the friends Rory lost when losing Liv. This was well executed, though the first third feels a bit longer than needed. I enjoyed Rory's queer journey and mental health journey as someone who is queer and has PTSD. There are so many details I really enjoyed, especially relating to Rory's mom and their relationship. This felt like a more grown-up, evolved version of the car crash/death of a friend trope that we saw a lot in YA in the early 2010s. It takes all of those aspects and makes them better.

You would love Cold Girls if...
- You enjoy books that make you cry
- You like books that talk realistically about mental health
- You love music and/or books with playlists, especially Maggie Rogers, Mitski, and Florence + the Machine

The trigger warnings are VERY important to pay attention to, so I advise you read them several times before picking up Cold Girls. I received a free advanced reader's copy from Netgalley and Flex and am voluntarily reviewing it with my honest opinion.
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If this is your debut, Maxine Rae, I cannot wait to see what you do next. Cold Girls is the story about best friends. Like the ride or die, can't live life without them, you make each other better kind of best friends. It's also a story about grief, mental health and trying to figure out who you are, who you like and what you want from life. It's about how to navigate everyday life after the biggest loss of your life. The world goes on and you are left trying to pick up the pieces of this tragedy while everyone else just goes about their day.

Grab some tissues and a comfy blanket. And maybe have your BFF on standby when you need to call them to tell them how much you love them.

Thank you so much to Flux Books for the finished copy of this incredibly moving story. Keep publishing these amazing stories.
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**Thank you to Netgalley for the e-copy in exchange for an honest review**

5 ⭐️

don't mind me casually crying my heart out at 2am because this book wrecked me.

when I saw this book on netgalley I knew it would be sad but I didn't expect it to touch me so deeply. It took a long time for me to read because of life but honestly every time I went back to it I plunged IN. This is such an easy book to get into, it's so well and beautifully written and I'd really like to thank the author for it. 

Cold Girls tells the story of friendship, of love, of youth, with a soundtrack so beautiful you will cry. I don't want to say much about this plot honestly like just read the damn book please and thank you.

slight note but important for me, this is one of the best representation of anxiety, panic attacks, and emotional/physical self harm I've read and it really touched me, thank you for making this honest and real. (also do really check the trigger warnings at the beginning of the book, take care)
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"I'd give you the sky, but that wouldn't be enough."

CW: Drugs, Alcohol/Underage drinking, Car Accident, Death, Death of a friend, Grieving, attempted suicide (not intentional), panic attacks, counselling, PTSD.

I would just like to say a big, wholehearted fuck you to Maxine Rae for making me bawl my absolute eyes out while reading this book. I mean this from deep down within my heart... I'll be sending you my therapy bills for what your beautiful, masterpiece of a book did to me.

I didn't expect a lot out of this book. I thought the cover was pretty and when I saw the LGBT+ tag and read the blurb, I quickly applied for an arc, and I am so grateful to have received it. 

The intimacy that is shown between Rory and Liv is so realistically beautiful. They are there for each other through the best and worst times until... they're not. 

Rory wished it was her driving that night. But even through that, she swears she didn't mean to overdose on pills. She just wanted to sleep and forget. 

She needed to forget. 

In a masterful juggling between events before and after the 'Wost Night' occurred, Maxine Rae unravels this tale of tragedy, friendship, love and so much more. 

I am genuinely speechless and have sat here for a while, thinking of how to properly express my love for this book, but no words would be enough. 

Please, go buy (or go to your local library) and read this book if you are in the mental space to do so!
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Cold Girls by Maxine Rae.
4.5/5 stars. 

This is a story about how a young girl struggles to fit in with the people around her, all to realize her true potential when the right person enters her life. When Liv comes along, our main character, Rory, embarks on a journey full of discoveries, of love and identity. She finally found her person, her soulmate and true friend. Until one night, everything is taken away from her, in the blink of an eye. Now Rory feels more alone and displaced in this world than she ever did before. Will she ever find her way back to herself? 

If you want a fast-paced, queer contemporary novel with lovable characters, this is it. I loved this story. I found that I could relate to a lot of the ways Rory dealt with trauma and pain. Maxine Rae did a great job capturing the way trauma affects the body and the way we function in everyday life. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars, is because of how she wrote a lot of the dialogue. Rae used the word “like” way too much, which broke the flow for me and would in some cases downplay the emotions of a scene. Other than that, the story is deep, honest and raw. I highly recommend you read this. The book is finally out, so go check it out!

A quote that hit me:
“She knows that I took up less space, that I had fewer words. That there was less of me to lose. If I died, the hole in the world could be stitched up fast. Nothing like the gaping trench she left. It should have been me.”
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Oh my lawd. This had me on an emotional roller coaster. So this book has A LOT of triggers, including teen death, teenage drinking/drugs, attempted suicide, depression, PTSD, and S/A. But if you are okay with all that, and want a book that makes you cry, and is so raw and real, then this is the book for you.

This is a well-written book about what it is like to lose your best friend/first crush in a tragic accident that you survived. The story goes between before and after the Worst Night, and you get a feel for Rory and how her friendship evolved with Liv. You get to see how she adjusts to life after the Worst Night and how she copes with her grief.

It is real and emotional, and hard to put down because you want to know how Liv died. You want to know if Rory's questioning sexuality is explored, and how she feels about it all. You want to know if everything works out for her in the end. It's engaging, heartbreaking, and just beautiful.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flux Books for the copy of the ebook. This review is left voluntarily.
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I am honestly conflicted about this one.. I thought I could deal with all the pop culture references in this until the author mentioned a "vintage silver iPod". I guess technically iPods are vintage now, but not the silver one. This book does tend to be written for only today's YA generation. 

I liked a lot of this book but there were some cringey things. 
- What Rory's mom says to her after saying she could see her boobs on Thanksgiving... Gross. It was unnecessary and completely took me out of the story. 
- The shortening of the word vomit. 
- All the talk about going to the bathroom. I get mentioning it once but it was A LOT. 

There were times when the author wrote these really great, lyrical moments and then many times when she didn't out as much care into it. It broke the story up. The ending of the book was written so nicely that is solidified my opinion of the author's writing. 
She was absolutely capable of writing something big and beautiful but this was almost that. There were so many truly good parts in this book  but there was just too much for me to really feel like it was done right. 
I do think I would read more from this author in the future if she branched into adult fiction but her YA work might just not be for me. I could just be really picky or too old for this one.  If you're a YA reader, or you feel like lot of pop culture references won't bug you, check this one out.

(Thank you to Netgalley and North Star Editions for this ARC.)
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Maxine Rae gives readers an intimate look into what happens after your best friend dies. It is a lot more complicated than that one sentence makes it as it is in real life. I will give readers a heads up that there is suicidal ideation, attempts, non-consent sexual activities, drug use, and peer bullying. Being a teenager isn’t easy and Rae does not shy away from all of the pressures they face today.

I have to admit that when I first started reading Cold Girls that I wasn’t a fan of the editing layout of the story. It took awhile for me to get into the groove of it. At the end of the book I still wasn’t a fan of it because even though the chapters are labeled you have to readjust and think okay what has happened and what hasn’t happened yet. I understand the thought process behind laying out the chapters this way, I’m just not a fan of it.

There are so many lies and secrets in this book. I was face palming many times (chuckle). Rae definitely takes us to the dark side and let’s us sit in it. I do wish there had been a bit of expansion with Saige’s experience as it is mentioned throughout the story and I assumed it was due to the impact of Rory’s incidents and decisions. Rory does have an intimate moment with her other sister, but Saige is also on a downward spiral and I wish there had been more closure there.

Cold Girls can get intense, but it is supposed to be intense. Losing your best friend is. I don’t want to give anything else away about the story, but Rae nails the emotional impact. Be prepared, but definitely take the ride down the rabbit hole with Rory.
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It's a nice book, with diverse and queer characters and plenty of mental health rep. It's an easy, enjoyable, but emotional read. I liked the switch between the before and after of the Worst Night. It really builds up the story. The PTSD representation was well done. I did find it a little difficult to connect to the fmc, which means her detachment to the world around her was very wel written. 

There are unfortunately also things I didn't like, which brings the overall rating down to 3. Which for me means that I liked the book and that I see it's potential, but some things could have been handled better. 

* The WOC love interest felt sometimes stereotypically written by a white author. Sometimes Liv was used as a mouthpiece to address social and/or racial injustices. Often without there being a real conversation about those issues. This definitely could have been done better. 
* The numbered tattoo on the wrist; this is a huge nope for me. I know it's supposed to be a reference to Stranger Things, but the show got their inspiration somewhere to. It's give holocaust vibes and that's not for me. It's also something I feel could easily be changed.
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“It's not my fault for being the one who survived”

Written by Maxine Rae, Cold Girls is a story about grief that follows a teenager named Rory before and after the night her best friend Liv died.
What I particularly enjoyed about the book is the way it was narrated: By using flashbacks, the reader can make a parallelism between Rory's life before and after the accident, getting an insight of the main character's feelings. As a consequence, it is possible to have an understanding of her reactions and decisions. What is more, the author's writing style makes the reading more smoothly.
Were I to change something of this book, it would be the way it is advertised. This novel is not a romance, it's a story about grief, friendship and self-discovery.
All in all, I highly recommend this novel. However, it's important to check the content warnings before reading the book.

CW: death, self-harm, panic attacks, PTSD, car accident, alcohol, drugs, assault

Thank you Flux Books and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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*Thanks Netgalley, I received a free arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

What. A. Plot.

I really like the way the author was able to write the p.o.v. of the characters, it was an immersive book for me. It was really rough in some parts, especially dealing with the guilt of what happened and how she became self-destructive. Though, as hard as it was, it was a necessary evil for the storyline, so I get it. 

I tend to get a little irritated with books that jump back and forth between timelines, but the way this book was written, made it an easy transition for me, that it didn't bother me much. I would reread this book at a later date if i felt like crying, especially towards the end.
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This is so… emotionally heavy. Consider yourselves warned!! 😭 It took me quite a while to finish it, but every second I spent reading this book was absolutely worth it!!

𝘊𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭𝘴 is a genuine and poignant tale about loss, friendship, family and sexuality. It follows an 18-year-old girl named Rory as she goes through the turmoil that comes with surviving from the same accident that killed her best friend, Liv. 

In this debut novel, Rae offered a realistic glimpse into what it’s like to deal with loss and trauma. Rory’s experience with grief and mental health issues was represented in a way that is free from any romanticization— it was messy, honest, and utterly gut-wrenching. I admire how the author depicted survivor’s guilt and PTSD with a balance of both factuality and sensitivity. 🤗

Besides that, I appreciate how the protagonist's recovery was written in a manner that is true to life. The healing process is not always linear for most people dealing with psychological trauma. Unlike other YA contemporary novels about mental health, Rory's condition was not magically cured by "romance" which is so refreshing to read. 

The book presented therapy in a positive light as well. Psychotherapy is a two-way street. No matter how much psychologists want to help their client, it's no use if the client is not willing to accept help. Treatment requires the participation of both the therapist and the client. I was so worried about how mental health services are going to be portrayed, but this novel did not disappoint!! Maxine Rae captured that exactly and beautifully!! 👏🏻

I also adored the character dynamics in this book, especially the mother-daughter relationship and Rory’s friendship with Stoff and Jem. The alternating narrative from the past and present is such a fitting way to tell this story. I liked the ending— it was impactful and it wrapped everything up nicely. 

While this book has its many strengths, I still have a few issues with it. The way this novel was written feels like it’s too young for the young adult demographic. It sounds more like a middle-grade book with heavier and more mature themes. This threw me off so much more than the pop culture references. I didn’t mind the references, but I kind of hoped that they were at least more subtle. 😫 I struggled to fully immerse myself in the story because of that!! 

One of my biggest problems is Liv’s character. Liv was introduced as a half-Filipinx character, but I don’t think this aspect of her character was well-represented. Aside from a few mentions of things from Filipino culture, Liv has no traits that made me feel she was of Filipino descent. In fact, I wished she was more fleshed out in general. Liv was portrayed as a classic manic pixie dream girl, and since the story was told from Rory’s perspective, we only got to see the idealized version of her. Besides that, there’s… nothing more to her character. 

Nevertheless, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, so I will definitely look forward to more of Maxine Rae's future works. Cold Girls is an authentic, heartbreaking, yet astonishingly life-affirming novel that is bound to bring you tears. Thank you so much NetGalley and North Star Editions for this ARC!! 😍

[This review will also be posted on my bookstagram account by August 10] 

cw: grief, alcohol and drug use, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), survivor’s guilt, self-harm, drug overdose, sexual assault
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DNF (did not finish) 
- I thought this book showed a great realistic approach to survivors guilt. I loved reading this part of the story and I felt like it was a big reason why I tried to continue reading. There were just too many things I did not like to continue reading. I will be following this author to see what else they write. 
- Now onto the things I did not like.
    1. Liv was very Manic pixie dream girl. I don’t like the “I’m not like other girls” trope and I find it to be very overused and annoying.
    2. I did not like all the popular culture references. I think it is just my personal ick.
    3. The stranger things tattoo, please get rid of this in the final draft. Or replace it with something else. The number tattoo is very insensitive and isn’t necessary.  
- thank you Net Gallery and North Star Editions for the opportunity to read this arc.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me an e-ARC of this book to review. Sad YA books are my jam and this book didn't disappoint. I loved the flashback chapters intermingled with present day scenes format and the ending felt appropriate for a book aimed at teens.
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