Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.
Rory and Liv…
...the best of friends, and yet…
This book had so much darkness to get through, so much guilt to shed, so much light to let in, and yet, we reach some of those points, but not all...and THAT’S OKAY. It’s okay to not have the perfect life. It’s okay to have things to work through. It’s okay to need others, ask for help, and let people in. It’s okay even if you don’t just so long as you don't let yourself get so lost you miss out on LIVING. Loss hits everyone differently for various reasons, but it hits hard nonetheless.
I appreciated seeing Rory's journey from the inside (before the accident) and the outside (afterwards). It gave a new perspective for those that haven't been as closely touched by tragedy, while making it easier to relate to for those that have yet allowing them to also see that falling down doesn't mean you stop trying to get back up. Aside from the heartache, there were other "me too" moments for readers. From the hallowed experience of high school to the triumphs and challenges of discovering just who you are, who you love, and where you fit in, there's something that everyone can touch with a modicum of understanding... making it a surprisingly powerful read!
Thank you to NetGalley and Flux for the opportunity to review this book.
Where do I start? The story is told in two main parts; pre and post the main event. The story is written from an 18 year olds point of view so as expected we have the usual teenage angst amongst other dramas. Rory is trying to deal with survivors guilt from a family that keep a watchful eye on her due to previous experiences.
I do enjoy stories turbulent stories that drag the reader back and forth and there’s no denying that this lives up to this expectation. Some of the dialogue does sound forced, there are background characters that don’t really add anything to the story and some bits that feel missing with regards to the story itself. However, none of that took away from this emotional rollercoaster and Cold Girls is still my YA 2023 favourite read. The soundtrack to this book is also fantastic
I am not entirely sure what I am feeling about this story as it left me feeling rather incomplete, like parts are missing. Maybe I just need more details and was hoping for more.
Rory is a rather quiet and shy teenager until she meets Liv. Well, she's still shy but Liv makes her feel seen and appreciated like no one else has ever before. Liv is sort of her opposite, loud and present.
This story is divided in chapters before the accident and chapters after the accident leading up to 'that night' all changed for Liv and Rory.
We get a glimpse of two years in Rory's life with her family and friends and Liv and we see little bits of Liv in the story Rory tells us. But for me it did not come through. I did not feel it. I expected to feel torn when I came to the part where 'that night' happened but I did not. I had no connection to the girls. Yeah, it was sad and understandable but the dialogue often felt too forced to be 'teen speak' and I just could not 'feel' it as I thought I would.
Some parts were relatable as I was once a teenage girl myself but mostly a lot of it felt forced.
An ARC was provided to me via Netgalley in return of an honest review.
First of all, I want to thank Flux and NetGalley for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. Now let's get into this, shall we?
OMG! This was my favorite YA book of 2023, because let's be honest wow, I cried so much uh.
Oof, this book hurts. You know the song "Hurts like hell"? Well, this is the summary of this book. In the story, we have two timelines: the past, before the "Worst Night" and the present, months after the "Worst Night". And we follow Rory and her friendship with Liv, as they become friends, and while Rory catches romantic feelings toward Liv.
At first, when I was reading the before I was like "Ugh this looks like a Jon Green book, and they are so not like the other girls", but the "after" kept me reading. And, yes they might not be like the other girls, especially Rory (she just wants to be someone), but it is more complicated, They both are more complicated and complex. The characters are touching, but most importantly they have flaws, and it shows during the story.
This is a book with good characters, and that will hit you right in the feels. It deals, a lot, with mental health, friendship, love, family, grief, and death... A lot of heavy topics, that made me cry. And Rory, falling for your best friend? Yeah, I get the feeling, but come on.
So yes, this book made me cry, like I had to stop myself reading it in the metro, and it was my first read for Sapphic September, I think it's a good choice right?
So please, go read this book.
Also, a funny thing: now that I'm not a teenager anymore, I can totally understand and/or relate to the parents (even if they can be wrong in their actions).
PS: Bonus point for the dedication that also made me tear up.
Cold Girls is a YA contemporary novel about grief. It focuses on two timelines, the friendship between Rory and Liv in the past and the Rory in the aftermath of Liv's death following a car accident they were both in. This novel did such a great job at pulling you into the life and friendship between these two girls and the heartbreak following Liv's death. I think Maxine Rae did a great job at making you feel the same grief that Rory was feeling and how Rory dealt with that over the following year. At times I felt like Liv could be a bit of a caricature but I think the end of the book did a better job of really fleshing her character out. You could also argue that since we only see Liv through Rory's eyes she would always be idolized and put on a pedestal until Rory realized that she wasn't perfect. A bit too many pop culture references for my liking and some of the dialogue felt a little cringe (e.g. 'Word.'). But then I remember what I was like as a teenager and it was definitely cringe.
"Cold Girls" tells a youthful story that handles the themes of grief and family relationships very well. It's a sensitive tale about a girl, Rory, who loses her best friend and must confront the guilt consuming her in order to move forward with her life. The book is a quick read, and despite addressing heavy themes, it feels light due to its straightforward narration and relatable nature.
The downside of this story, in my opinion, is that I read it expecting a sapphic romance, perhaps influenced by the synopsis and cover. Despite both protagonists being queer, there is no romantic involvement between them. Instead, the focus is on the friendship, with hints that there might be feelings beyond friendship, especially on one side, but it's not the central theme.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I received this book for free for an honest unbiased review from Netgalley.
Very sweet although predictable. But I liked it.
I wasn't sure about this book at first. The characters cussed so much, it was distracting, and I found the main character annoying. However, by the end, I see that this book is a really good reflection on what grief is, how it's felt, and the impact it has on the people involved through the course of a year.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
**Thank you to Netgalley for the e-copy in exchange for an honest review**
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)
"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!
Cold Girls by Maxine Rae.
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.”