Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cold is in Her Bones” as Want to Read:
The Cold is in Her Bones
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cold is in Her Bones

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  192 reviews
One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla's whole world is her family's farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is he
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 7th 2019 by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (first published January 22nd 2019)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  451 ratings  ·  192 reviews

Sort order
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale is a young adult fantasy novel that is inspired by the myth of Medusa. One young girl needs to find the strength to break a curse upon her family and friends before the curse takes her too.

Young Milla has never known anyone other than her immediate family and sometimes that isolation of their remote farm can become overwhelmingly lonely. When Milla’s parents agree to let another older couple stay and help them run the farm Milla never expected t
This is going to be short because I just don't want to waste any more time on this experience. I did sorta like the opening chapter/first part of THE COLD IS IN HER BONES. I was intrigued as to where and how this Medusa retelling was going to go. But everything after it was a total snooze-fest of weird without answers or direction. As of 60%, however, things just got.. messy and weird and batshit no.

Would not recommend.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchan
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
3.5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for granting my wish and sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

Who can resist a tale that is inspired by the Medusa myth? I certainly couldn't and was from the very first page lost in this dark mesmerizing tale. The Cold is in Her Bones is all about the bonds between siblings, friendship, young women finding themselves, and vengenance too. I feel that this is a novel that will appeal to both YA and adult audiences, even if snakes aren't your thing.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have started this multiple times and deleted every one. I don't know how to talk about this book in a way which will convey how beautiful and haunting and meaningful it is.

This is a fairy tale, yes, but it is more than that. It is the story of a girl who is not beautiful nor plucky; a girl who is not always good or kind or obedient, though she is very good at pretending to be all of those things; this is not the story of a girl who finds her prince (or kind woodsman or farm boy) and lives Happ
Rosamund Hodge
I am normally a very, very hard sell on stories with the premise "girl is raised in an oppressively sexist, vaguely Christian-coded society." But this one captured me from the start, first with elegant prose and then with its note-perfect depiction of Milla, an extremely isolated girl who grows up never allowed to leave her farm, unloved by her mother and father, loving her brother Niklas but not being loved quite as much in return—and whose life is transformed when Niklas's future wife Iris com ...more
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.


Something slithery this way comes.


Gather ‘round my cunning Slytherins!

I’ve got a retelling of our dear mummy dearest:


If Milla knows anything, it is that she must be a good girl. She must do her chores efficiently, must always stay clean and tidy, mustn’t ask questions that do not deserve answers, and must always pray to keep the demons away. But Mil
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing: 3.5 stars
Story/characters: 3 stars

Overall rating: 3.25 stars I guess?

Similarity to Medusa: might be just me but I didn't see much in common with the original but, it may be just me.

Not a totally absorbing tale for me but it was good enough to keep my interest and to see what happens next. It also helped me to relax and de-stress from work and being sick yet again (mother nature, make up your mind!) so it gets points for that as well.

The pace is steady for most of the tale so keep tha
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

You’d think the snakes on the cover would have clued me in, but the truth is, I didn’t find out that The Cold is in Her Bones was supposed to be inspired by the myth of Medusa until the day I started it. And in some ways, I wish I had remained blissfully unaware. For you see, knowing leads to expectations—expectations that weren’t quite met. It wasn’t the story or the characters that put me off, exactly; it was the fact th
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Medusa-inspired tale is captivating! I felt for Milla, feeling all alone and kept apart from everyone... But when the story unfolds, we understand why and oh the fantasy of it!

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Vicky Who Reads
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
4.5 stars

This was so amazing and lush, I’m absolutely astounded! I know I liked van Arsdale’s more lush, literary writing style from reading her debut, The Beast Is An Animal, but The Cold Is In Her Bones had a much more interesting and meaningful storyline to me, and now I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book from van Arsdale!

Not only is this book lush and gorgeous with its sort of village feel (think The Beloved Wild by Melissa Ostrom), but the snakes and the imagery is lush without being ov
'... inspired by the myth of Medusa.'

sign me up


Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this stunningly brilliant book. Bravo to author van Arsdale for this feminist fantasy/horror tale that's loosely based on the story of medusa (and let me just say that the two snakes growing from Milla's head, Sverd & Selv, are some of the best & best-named fantasy characters since Calcifer). This is a boldly subversive, complex, psychologically labyrinthine tale that I'll be thinking about for a long time to come. This author is an auto-buy for me ever since I read her i ...more
Sheila Goicea
See this full review on my blog along with others at:

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much! All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.


WARNING: If you don’t like snakes...then you may not like this book very much, because there are a lot of them!

Content Warning: Curses, Death, Emotional Abuse
And this anger became bitterness, and this bitterness turned her into a
Jay G
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

Milla has always been told to be obedient to keep the demons at bay. Once a girl steps out of line, the demon Hulda will possess them and take over their minds. Milla lives in solitude on her family farm with her mother, father and brother, Niklas. She is not allowed to go to the village where the curse
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though not a perfect book for me, this dark fable was strangely compelling.

Much of what happens in the book is bizarre - it also touches a bit on feminism and how women have been and continue to be discounted in this world.

Overall, I liked it, but it's a slow and methodical storytelling that may lose a few readers before they reach the point where they get trapped in the dark story.

Honestly, still thinking on this one, but would read the author again.
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
curses!! love!! revenge!! inspired the myth of medusa!!!!!
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Read more of my reviews at!

*Review to come!*
Austine (NovelKnight)
This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I came for the Medusa re-telling and stayed for the serpentining story of female empowerment.

The Cold is In Her Bones is one of those books where I wasn't quite sure what I read but I liked it anyway. It doesn't follow the Medusa tale like you would expect, and honestly there are so many differences that I hesitate to call it a re-telling, but some of the themes are there. Young w
Julia (ten_thousand_books)

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, Peternelle van Arsdale and Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.


Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe. Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a sec
Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)
Man this book surprised me! This tale, inspired by the myth of Medusa, has themes of feeling different, female suppression, friendship, loneliness and child neglect/abandonment and family issues. Milla was a great character that I think many people could relate to her in one way or another. The creepy element of the demon possessing girls is a great parallel for girls feeling misunderstood and out of place for feeling different. The pacing was perfect, creating a subtle yet persistent building o ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a wonderful Medusa-inspired story! The prologue was a straight-up fairytale, and most of the rest of the story was very fairytale-like. Friendship and forgiveness lay at the heart of this book, and those are my favorite themes to read. Don't let the cold of vengeance make a home in your bones!
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly wanted to love this story. It's a retelling of Medusa and it's all about female friendship, I was sure to love it! But, unfortunately, the actual book turned out to be kind of a mess. I appreciated the overall message that girls are, by definition of our societies' standards, never enough. That no matter what you do or say or even think, someone out there can and
Jess at Such a Novel Idea
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This was a really cool, atmospheric book that was different from a lot of stuff I’ve read. I am a sucker for books that take myths and fairy tales and weave them into something new and intriguing, so when I found out this was a retelling of the story of Medusa, I was ecstatic.

The book centers on a girl, Milla, who is about as isolated in the w
Warnings: body horror, abuse, ophiophobia

A dark fairytale about girls who don't conform and curses, The Cold in in her Bones is different and refreshing in its plot, but as far as the writing goes, it didn't hold my attention. When Milla's new friend and to-be-sister-in-law gets taken by the curse that plagues the girls of the village closest to her family's farm, she sets out to save her. She herself has been kept ignorant of the curse and life limited to the farm and its environs, but as the c
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
...inspired by the myth of Medusa... Yup, I'm in! Even if I dislike the cover lol
Jen Ryland
Beautifully written - read sort of like a folktale or dark fairy tale fantasy. Not my usual type of read but I did enjoy it. Longer RTC!

Read more of my reviews on! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
I’m torn between 2.5 and 3 stars. I liked the writing which made the book a fast read but I did feel a certain disconnect from the characters. Part 4 is when it really found its stride and I began to care about Milla, Iris and her family and their dynamic with one another.
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
This was an interesting Medusa story but I felt it was lacking something...

I'll gather my thoughts and post a review soon.

**HUGE thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.**


Full review can be found here:

When the blurb of this book mentioned “Medusa retelling”, I knew I would need this in my life. Who wouldn’t love a story like that? Sadly this fell flat for me. I wanted to love it, I tried so hard to love i
Jessica (a GREAT read)
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Peternelle van Arsdale’s latest release, The Cold is in Her Bones is an intriguing story that ties in the origins or possible origins, of Medusa! Medusa was the gorgon from Greek mythology with snakes for hair and if you were to meet her gaze, you’d turn into stone. While that is the basis of the origin character, that’s not the story here. Instead, we open the story
All Things Urban Fantasy
I was immediately drawn to THE COLD IS IN HER BONES because of its evocative title and lovely cover. Even better, the novel is a beautifully written retelling of Medusa. It stuck its fangs into me on page one and never let go.

In THE COLD IS IN HER BONES, women are forced to take up as little space as possible. Milla has never left her home, never seen the village, and is only allowed to cook and clean. Her anger and confusion is understandable. And that same anger is what drove the village to be
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Echo North
  • House of Salt and Sorrows
  • Rocket Raccoon FCBD
  • The White Road of The Moon
  • Dealing in Dreams
  • True North (Undertow, #3)
  • The Polar Bear Piper (Disney Frozen: Anna & Elsa, #5)
  • The Thea Sisters and the Mystery at Sea (Thea Stilton Graphic Novels #6)
  • In Your Light
  • The Lost Codex (The Collectors' Society, #4)
  • Belle's Discovery (Disney Princess Beginnings, #2)
  • Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2)
  • What Monstrous Gods
  • Fable Comics
  • Before the Broken Star
  • Touched by Fire
  • Rise of the Dragon Moon
  • Cyber-Thief Showdown (Geronimo Stilton #68)
Peternelle van Arsdale is a young adult novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Her first novel, THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL, is being developed for a feature film by Amazon Studios, produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and directed by Bert & Bertie. Her second novel, THE COLD IS IN HER BONES has been described as a "dark, magic-infused story lit by bravery and hope." (Booklist) She lives in B ...more