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Frozen Beauty

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Everyone in Devil’s Lake knows the three golden Malloy sisters—but one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out….

No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.

But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.

Told in lush, haunting prose, Frozen Beauty is a story of the intoxicating power of first love, the deep bonds of sisterhood, and a shocking death that will forever change the living.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published March 17, 2020

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About the author

Lexa Hillyer

6 books544 followers
Hello! I'm the author of the YA fantasy duology Spindle Fire & Winter Glass, YA speculative contemporary Proof of Forever, and the upcoming YA contemporary Frozen Beauty. I also wrote the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold, which won the 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Award. I'm one of the founders, and President of Publishing, at creative development company Glasstown Entertainment. I live in Carroll Gardens with my husband, daughter, and a very skinny orange tree. Follow me on instagram @ProofOfLex and twitter @Lexa_Hillyer !

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 137 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,469 reviews19.1k followers
April 15, 2020
If I'm being honest, this was pretty unremarkable. If I didn't have an ARC, I probably wouldn't have bothered finishing it. Bummer because the cover is STUNNING.
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,087 reviews304 followers
June 21, 2020
First off, this book does NOT deserve this cover. I'd get this cover tattooed on my body, but I just want to pretend I didn't read this book.
Lilly was obnoxious, Kit was bland, and Tessa even blander. The blurb calls Tessa a tomboy, but she's really not? She's just boring. Patrick's POV had no purpose, Dar (the only queer character in the book) is written out halfway through and is then irrelevant. Lilly and Mel read like middle schoolers as opposed to sophomores.
The worst part was definitely the ending.
It was incredibly dumb and this book was a waste of time.
Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
208 reviews128 followers
March 11, 2020
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, HarperTeen, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

“…it’s your life, your being alive. It was supposed to be yours.

But then, one day, it isn’t.”

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“Secrets. Secrets.”

The Malloy sisters are well-known in Devil’s Lake for their contrasting personalities and unique beauty. They are thick as thieves and have always shared a close bond with each other, and their neighbor and best friend Boyd. But the three sisters also have secrets. Deep, dark and lovely secrets that they keep hidden from one another. And it isn’t until the eldest sister, Kit, is found half-naked and frozen to death, that the secrets finally start to unravel. And when Lilly comes forward with information about seeing Boyd and Kit out in the snow that very night, arguing and kissing, Boyd is taken into custody. But Tessa can’t believe that Boyd, their best friend and her crush, could hurt any of them. So she begins to dig deeper, but what the sisters uncover is more twisted than anything they could have imagined…

description

“Lilly: the unpredictable one, the selfish one, the baby of the family – all brawl and tears and flash and fire…

Kit: the good girl, the oldest, the one to whom everyone turned in a time of crisis.

Tessa: known for tripping on her own feet, a clumsy shadow in Kit’s wake. Not a shadow…but a negative, all bleached out and odd to look at.”

Frozen Beauty is a beautifully written story about the relationships between three sisters in close age to one another, but who are vastly different in looks and personalities. It portrays the competitive nature between the girls, the yearning to be seen, the desire to be confided in, and the secrets that each of them kept hidden – unsure if they could share them with each other. The sisters love one another deeply and spend a lot of their time together, along with Boyd, but the distances between them are vast once the layers begin to fall away.

This story is told between the two remaining sisters, Lily and Tessa, as they begin to navigate a life without their older sister Kit. The story flips back and forth between the days leading up to Kit’s death, and present time. So as we get to know these two sisters, it is quickly shown how different the girls are and how much they actually keep their lives separate from one another. Tessa is in the same grade as their neighbor Boyd, who is like a brother to the girls, and she is kind of quirky and nerdy but in a relaxed cool kind of way. Lilly, however, is a spunky fifteen-year-old who is the typical young teenage girl – obsessed with clothes, loves attention, and is drastically trying to make herself seem older. But Lilly is also beyond hilarious and drops curse words like a seasoned vet, and I loved her for every sassy sentence she delivered.

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But the real story centers on Kit, and the WHY and HOW of her sudden death.

“That early Saturday morning, only two days later, Kit’s body would be found, bruised and frozen, in the back of Boyd’s truck.”

Early on in the book, there is a “before” scene of when Lilly sneaks out of her friend’s house after waking up and seeing her friend is no longer there. She sneaks out onto the road when she sees headlights, and comes upon her sister and Boyd arguing in the snow, and eventually kissing. Not wanting to intrude, Lilly goes back to her friend’s house…but finds out the next day that her sister never ends up leaving that spot. So she goes to police and tells them that Boyd was there that night, and that he must have had something to do with it.

“A cry of guilt –

A wolf in the forest of falsehoods that we built.

And now, winter whispers: deny, deny,

Silencing me with its little white lies.

I open my mouth and it fills with snow.

The end’s a blur – I can’t see where to go.”

Secrets obviously play a huge role in this story, and not just between the sisters. EVERY character seems to be dealing with some heavy stuff or hiding a dark secret. Lilly’s best friends are no exception. One is shrinking into thin air and drowning in oversized clothing to compensate for her frail frame, while the girls don’t even mention anything about it. And the other girl begins acting frazzled and says the most indecipherable sentences and phrases…I swear, my brain was in overload trying to figure out what was going on!

description

As far as suspects go…this author really lays out the possibilities for you! She introduces countless characters who act vague, spout cryptic statements and just act incredibly suspicious. Boyd, who has grown up with the Malloy sisters and acts as their protector, comes off as this great guy at first but it’s not hard to be swayed into a corner of believing him to be obsessive over the girls. Then there is Patrick. A mysterious, new bad boy with rumors of violence and criminal activity following him through the school halls.

But how this story actually turns out was…well, it was alright. My mind wasn’t blown or anything, but it was still a twisty tale that I couldn’t figure out until the end. I definitely didn’t see THAT coming, but it wasn’t the kind of surprise that had me gasping for air and wanting to scream dramatically. Another story I had read last year had a similar outcome, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t as satisfied with the ending as I could have been.

I think I was expecting a bit more from this story. At times the writing was really beautiful and poetic, but other times it felt very forced and awkward. Dialogue was where things would get a little cringey for me, like when the author tries making Patrick seem like this super mysterious and cool guy…but just ends up making him look like he can’t form a sentence? There was a lot of odd comparisons that didn’t make sense, and the connections to the characters just wasn’t really there. I was wanting to get gut-punched with emotions and loss from Kit’s death, but I found myself in a state of not really caring for her at all.

It was a decent story and a good mystery, but I wanted a little more substance and feeling. However, I do like the themes of how secrets can both strengthen and ruin a bond, and the emphasis on sisterly dynamics. I think the author perfectly captured the essence and intricacies that make up the bonds of sisterhood. There is competition, fighting, envy and being left out. But there is also a deep and unbreakable love, and a compassion for one another that is deeply rooted.

I came for the mystery, but I stayed for the sistership.

description

“And sisters are the hardest – they are mirrors of you; they are competition, opponents in everything…They’re a reflection of your best and worst self, and yet strangers always on the brink of going their separate ways and leaving you, or being left by you – a shadow in the doorway, falling across the carpet. A hug that lasts the length it takes to snap a photo, before it turns into a shove.

They have the power to undo you. And, maybe, to save you.

That’s a terrifying kind of love…”
Profile Image for Fanna.
979 reviews490 followers
September 27, 2020
May 11, 2020: Frozen Beauty is a silent storm of an emotional loss, secret revelations, a mystery waiting to unfold, and a sisterly bond that is vividly contrasting and yet strong. After the death of an elder sister among three, the family and younger sisters are devastated but the aftermath of a witness testifying and consequential placement of the good neighbour boy behind bars is tough and doesn't bring closure at all. The mystery around what happened, on a dark night in the woods, to a perfectyoung girl—daughter, sister & friend—ensues. While the thrill isn't a persistent vibe, the snow-clad setting creates a great atmosphere to paint a saddening yet hopeful picture. There is a certain enigma spread throughout the split timelines and with a splendid writing narrating the story in a mysterious voice, this YA contemporary slightly inspired by Red Riding Hood can certainly impress.

March 24, 2020: Such a gem. Absolutely loved the mystery-thrill, multiple POVs, emotions, and split timelines. The snowy winter setting and a subtle inspiration from Sleeping Beauty & Little Red Riding Hood, an really good read.

- sisters bond over a lush prose
- romance with boy next door + bad boy
- tragedy meets mystery
- narration over a split timeline

February 19: 2020 So happy to be a part of the blog tour for this! Received a digital review copy via Edelweiss!
Profile Image for Elizabeth Aguilar.
560 reviews56 followers
April 1, 2020
Review: https://jinxedreviews.com/2020/03/24/...

I received an eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Frozen Beauty follows the Malloy sisters-- Kit, Tessa, and Lilly-- before and after Kit's death in a dual perspective.

Despite not having Kit's perspective, we actually do get to know her quite well. We piece a lot together from what her sisters think about her, dialogue, and Kit's poems. I really loved that Frozen Beauty incorporated poems "written" by Kit. It gave the author a chance to showcase more of her lyrical writing, while also further developing Kit as the poet she was said to be. I appreciate that this book made me invested in seeing what happened to her, even if I knew she died.

One unique thing that Frozen Beauty did was having the mystery be the main plot, while also sort of keeping it in the background. This was easily accomplished due to the dual perspective. Tessa is focused on finding her sister's killer. Meanwhile, Lilly' s chapters focus on the general occurrences of the Fall and early Winter, which place a bigger emphasis on love and secrets. 

I was drawn to Frozen Beauty because of the promise of secrets and sisterly bonds-- which it definitely delivered. Yet I was surprised by how first love is a huge theme in all three Malloy sister's stories-- although to differing degrees. Yet it is with these threads of first love that we really see secrets being told and these bonds being tested. Due to how tightly-knit the sisters are, their interactions with first love is when we see them being themselves. Not as the molds that others place each of them. While I didn't love all the characters-- mainly Lilly and Kit since they grew on me-- I did understand them, their roles, and motivations. 

The mystery aspect of the story was incredibly executed. Hillyer plainly lays outs all the suspects, motives, and situations, while still managing to keep you guessing. Seeing Tessa look for clues about her sister's death, while also grappling with not having realized her sister kept secrets and her sister's loss, intensified the mystery. You'll desperately want to know, even though it won't change the outcome. The dual perspective amped up the mystery since it allows us to see characters' development, while also providing some key clues (though we don't know it at first). 

This is the first book I have read by Lexa Hillyer but I was blown away by her writing. Hillyer's prose is poignant and haunting in its simplicity. Similarly, the secrets are simpler than expected, yet more compelling, because of it. While I really didn't solve the mystery, I was satisfied with it. It made sense. It fit.

Unfortunately, despite all these amazing aspects of Frozen Beauty, I did not love it. There was one thing that just did not work for me that did kind of sour my enjoyment. That is: Tessa seemed to rely on her chimerism too much. I understand why Hillyer included it. Tessa leaned into this aspect of herself to feel connected to Kit. It did explain their relationship. I appreciated that Tessa did stop to question certain things she did and wonder how much was her. I appreciate what Hillyer tried to do with Tessa's chimerism, it didn't work for me. It could have been a really interesting conversation about what makes us, us. It could have been thematically relevant. Instead, it fell flat and repetitive.

There wasn't much that was unique about Tessa-- ironically despite her two different eye colors. I can't even remember how she was characterized other than liking biology. The chimerism robbed her of embracing herself, instead of questioning which part is her and which part is her sister. I wanted Tessa to embrace her own person. I just felt cheated out of character growth with her. The other characters exhibited it, even if it was minor.

The ending further cemented my perspective on Tessa's chimerism since it was used to explain what happened the knight Kit died. While I understand that another revelation would have had to be told versus shown OR shown through Kit's perspective, thereby breaking the organization of the book, the ending that was used felt like a cop out. It added a layer of magical realism or at least something "other" that is not otherwise there.

Frozen Beauty is not your standard mystery thriller. At its core, Frozen beauty is about the bonds between sisters. It is about not believing everything you are told. It is a story about loss, love, and secrets. 
Profile Image for Emma.
892 reviews873 followers
March 24, 2021
I'm not a reader who usually goes for mystery stories, but something about this book drew me in since I first read the plot last year. I'm very glad to say that my instinct was right and that I liked this novel quite a lot.

The Malloy sisters are three normal sisters and I believe that this is exactly their strong point and what makes them so interesting in the end and also in some aspects relatable. Their bond and the things they share are classic aspects of siblings behaviour and that's why it hurts so much when one of them is no longer part of the trio. Tessa's anguish, her desperate need to find answers because she literally cannot rest until she knows what happened to her sister Kit are what glued me to the pages of this novel. I needed to know just as much as Tessa did. And through flashbacks the story of these three sisters and the secrets they were keeping are slowly revealed to the reader.

This was a very good YA mystery and in the future I will be definitely reading more by this author.
Profile Image for Renata.
415 reviews278 followers
April 25, 2020
Sadly the mystery wasn’t actually a thing, the drama send me off many times and I feel there were too many chapters that could have been shorter or explain more things and I didn’t liked how everything was resumed in the last two chapters and may I add they were extremely short compared to others?
I was really excited for this since the cover is so beautiful and the summary made me hope this was going to be an amazing one, but I guess it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Isabella.
99 reviews10 followers
December 1, 2020
Huge thanks to Glasstown Entertainment (@glasstownent) and Lexa Hillyer (@proofoflex) for the ARC!

Since this isn't YA Fantasy, I won't be giving the usual organized reviews that I've started doing recently. In fact, seeing as this is one of my favorite books I've read in the past few months, this review will be quite short:

Read it.

Do yourself a favor, and read FROZEN BEAUTY.

This is an ARC, so while there was the very VERY occasional minor typo or plot inconsistency, pretty much every aspect of this book was phenomenal. I think all readers that are fans of murder mysteries and such will fall in love with this book as I have.

There were some things I wasn't much of a fan of, though the suspense and tension building up to the climax were masterfully crafted. I wanted more of that underlying current of tension between Patrick and Lilly before their relationship took off. It would have made it so much more heart-wrenching. I also wanted more build-up to the revelation of the murderer. The suspense and tension, as I said, were there. Nevertheless, I feel the killer should have been a bit more of a prominent character before everything clicked on Tessa's mind.

That being said, every other part of this book was stellar in its entirety. A must read for mystery lovers.

Final grade: 5/5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Brenna Clark.
192 reviews4 followers
September 1, 2019
Thank you so much to Edelweiss for this advanced copy of a thrilling murder mystery! I was hooked from the synopsis itself, having been the daughter to a single mom with two sisters herself, so the mostly female cast of characters felt so familiar to me; like home. I love a story with good twists and turns, and although I don’t see myself as a very good sleuth in the slightest, I still don’t think anyone with more honed observation skills would have predicted the end of this one!

We enter the broken lives of the Malloy sisters after one of them, Kit, is found dead. She suffered from hypothermia and a head wound, and was found in the back of her childhood friend’s truck. The narrative goes back and forth from the remaining sisters trying to figure out how to pick up their lives and live again to flashes of the past as we slowly piece together who Kit really was. It’s always scary to think how much you don’t know about a person; especially when you’ve grown up beside them. Everyone has their secrets, and the Malloy family is no stranger to that. The familial bond is tested more than once as Boyd, their friend, is put on trial for the murder and Tessa does everything in her power to prove her innocent, while Lily is figuring out who she is in the wake of Kit’s passing and encountering growing concern about her two best friends who are falling apart before her very eyes.

I liked how, past the tragic end of a girl who had her whole life in front of her, this was also a story about the end of childhood and faerie tales, and the beginning of young adulthood and the dangers and anxiety that follows. Too often we are deceived into thinking that there’s a pattern we must follow. If you haven’t had sex, you’re a prude. If you haven’t tried drugs or alcohol, you’re not cool. If you haven’t lined your while future out in front of you, you’re a slacker. Even now, I appreciate reminders that life isn’t a race, and your life is your own. This shined brightest in Tessa, who felt extremely close to Kit in a way that made her feel like a lesser copy. We also see it in Lily as she combats being the younger sister who feels invisible most of the time.

This book has its fair share of romance, intrigue, heart, and tragedy that I really believe lends the narrative to being for any reader. It’s engaging and I loved the usage of poetry in Kit’s diary entries that showcased the author’s background in writing. It was also mixed media of sorts, which is something I actively seek out in books; having not only the aforementioned diary entries but also text and phone conversations. All in all, it was a beautiful and heartbreaking read that made me want to hold the women in my family a little closer.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,071 reviews218 followers
May 10, 2020
Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tik Tok | You can find my review here.

Secrets, secrets, secrets... Oh, there are so many haunting secrets in our lives. And it is the big source of this novel. If you were curious: Frozen Beauty is one of the most sincere explorations of this fact. It is a true coming of age story, centered around tragedy and its aftermath. It captures girlhood, and sisterhood, beautifully and complexly--just as good literature is meant to.

There was a moment, at the start, where I felt as though Frozen Beauty may venture into The Virgin Suicides territory in terms of plot-twists and observations. While there are moments when the novel's atmosphere feels strikingly familiar in its bleak honesty, Frozen Beauty is entirely a story of its own and hits all the right marks.

The hum of mystery hits you fast when it comes to Frozen Beauty. It's impossible not to be drawn into the web of it all and wonder what it is, exactly, that happened the night that Kit died. As we pull ourselves to the core of the story, and witness the past and present though the eyes of both Tessa and Lily, we can't help but to be chilled to the bone. One thing is absolutely positive in Frozen Beauty and that is the fact that you're invested in these characters, in this mystery, for the long haul.

Lexa Hillyer has crafted something truly moving in Frozen Beauty. It's subtle in its unraveled truths. Each secret pulls apart a new layer, but Frozen Beauty, at its core, is proof that sometimes even the most complicated and tragic outcomes came from the most simple path.

Many topics of importance are tackled in Frozen Beauty. Hillyer approaches them with an equal nod to honesty and sensitivity. Most importantly, she never underestimates her audience and is fully authentic in her writing.

Ultimately, this was a heartbreaking and stunning novel that tackled grief beautifully. There were plenty of moments that felt so emotionally charged, a part of me felt as though I was intruded on someone's life. Frozen Beauty is exactly the type of book I can't help but to fall in love with.
Profile Image for 여리고.
71 reviews216 followers
August 15, 2019
Extending my deepest gratitude to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm starting this today and it looks like this book and I are going to be probably in for the most stirring ride I may have yet to experience.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

4.5 frozen stars! FRTC.

I am still in need of gathering cohesive thoughts on this one. Yes, you saw that right. I am indeed reeling from intense shock, sheer repugnance and overwhelming grief and I do not know when these feelings will end. I will probably think about this book all night. Thanks, Ms. Hillyer, for destroying me up to the hilt.
Profile Image for Erik McManus.
293 reviews293 followers
September 30, 2021
I was sent this book by Harper Collins in physical format in exchange for an honest review. I think this book is perfect for people wanting to get into thrillers. It’s chilling but not too scary….see what I did there :P.

This was a very atmospheric book and I was loving the wintery setting. I enjoyed that it would switch POV’s a lot which made it feel like you are slowly putting a puzzle together. The teenage characters were written very realistically and actually acted like a teenager would.

The ending of the book touched on a positive message and I was happy about that. I also really enjoyed the portrayal of family and how important it is.

If you want a quick read that will keep you on your toes trying to figure out what happened then this is a good book for you.
Profile Image for moriske.
16 reviews
March 24, 2020
Середняк. Ничего выдающегося, но и особых рвотных позывов нет. Однако, разгадать тайну можно было и без галлюцинаций на почве химеризма.

P.S. Не представляю кем надо быть, чтобы спокойно жить в месте под названием Озеро Дьявола.
Profile Image for Kajree Gautom.
564 reviews
August 22, 2020
GOODNESS I LOVED THIS BOOK SO SO MUCH!!!
RIGHT FROM FIRST PAGE TO THE LAST!!!
IT'S SUPERB!!
imma write a full review soon eep
Profile Image for Elyse (ElyseReadsandSpeaks).
754 reviews44 followers
October 5, 2020
I was definitely duped by this cover. It's so beautiful and I was hoping for a good mystery that I would just lose myself in. Instead, I didn't care about any of the characters, the mystery and resolution were kind of lame, and I found myself losing interest repeatedly. I was back and forth between 1 and 2 stars. Even as I write this, I'm flipping back and forth between the two. I think I'm just so annoyed that such a gorgeous cover had such a lackluster and boring story that I'm opting for 1 out of spite. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Profile Image for Sofi.
195 reviews22 followers
May 10, 2021
The cover is so beautiful, but the story was so bland and confusing that it ended up falling flat and I regretted falling for the pretty cover. After I finished, I couldn't even really remember what I had read because I kept spacing out. It felt like nothing was happening, but the story was hiding behind poetic language and characters that didn't feel real or developed enough.
Profile Image for Nia •ShadesOfPaper•.
799 reviews107 followers
June 10, 2020
You can find this review on my blog Shades of Paper.

Ever since I knew about Frozen Beauty I knew I had to pick it up, because I’m always looking for good mystery/thriller stories, and this sounded really great and right up my alley, but unfortunately I just wasn’t the biggest fan of this novel, and it ended up being such an unremarkable book to me.

My main issue was that the plot wasn’t as mysterious as I would have loved. It was more a suspense novel with a little bit of a mystery, but I just wasn’t engaged with the story at no point of the book, which is sad to say, but that was what happened. The plot dragged a lot throughout the novel, and the pacing was a bit off and sometimes there were a lot of things happening at once (mostly towards the ending) and other times literally nothing was happening (most of the novel).

Also, there was a lot of drama going on that took away that mystery the synopsis promised us, and the interactions between the characters were just so cringy and juvenile that it was pretty hard for the reader not only to empathize with our protagonist but also to understand them. The relationship between the sisters, which I thought was going to be explored throughout the story was barely addressed and we didn’t get to see that sisterhood between them or what was going on.

The ending was pretty predictable to me, and it was a bit anticlimactic. I was expecting to be al least a bit surprised, but once we reached that point I felt so disconnected with the story and the characters that not only I knew who the killer was beforehand, but also I didn’t care when everything was solved.

Overall, I had such high expectations and thought I was going to enjoy Frozen Beauty, but I ended up not liking it as much as I thought, and not only the characters were bland and childish, but there were two perspectives, and one of them didn’t add much to the plot, and I think things could have been solved way before they did.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

Thank you HarperCollins and HarperTeen for the ARC.

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | BlogLovin’
Profile Image for karli.
285 reviews173 followers
December 29, 2019
4/5 stars!

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review

Frozen Beauty is a gripping story about sisters, high school, first loves, and commentary on the fear women feel everyday. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book, I even read it in a day. The dueling timelines really added to the mystery. I think some of the diary writing was cringey, but I understood what the author was trying to do with the characterization. I would definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Uma    | Books.Bags.Burgers.
259 reviews154 followers
March 23, 2020
(A huge thank you to the the author for the physical ARC of the book and thank you to FFBC tours for including me in the blog tour.)

Actual Rating - 4.5

You know how when we read a book and we try to explain our thoughts about it, we think about the plot and how good the twists were and all these technical things? But every now and then you read a book and when you try to explain to someone what you thought of the book, all you can coherently say is that it made you feel. That's how I feel about this book. I got interested in the book for the mystery but now that I finished reading it, I think I can safely say I stayed for the feelings.

~3 THINGS THE BOOK MADE ME FEEL~

~Pining for a sisterhood connection~

As an only child I've missed out on the whole sibling connection (but thank god for my soul sisters and found families) and this book made me miss it on a whole new level. Kit, Tessa and Lilly have this unsaid competition between them regarding some things, there is envy, the fear of being left out as the younger one, but there's also the deep seated feeling of togetherness and knowing that at the end of the day, your sister is on your side even if the world is against you. And the author writes it SO well that it made me physically feel this need for sisters like that. she writes the complex relationships between the sisters so well, the intricacies that come with being seen together; as a triad, the closeness that comes with living under the same room and how despite that you have your own personalities and secrets that your sisters don't know.

Can you understand from my rambling just how much these three sisters made me feel?

'As the youngest of three, this was the story of her life: this winter coldness, this left-out-ness, this butt-out-and-don't-complain-or-you'll-sound-like-a-whiny-bany-ness'


~The realization that you never really know a person fully~

This story is character driven. The plot might not always be character driven but the things in the story that made me have emotions and feel a deep connection were the characters and the relationships between them. And as the story progresses each of the character realizes in their own way that they didn't really know the person they share the house with/ go out with/ see everyday/ had a close moment with.

In their own ways each character realizes that they didn't really know Kit and each other and it's a realization that hits us just as much as it hits the characters. Tessa struggles with the knowledge that Kit is dead and Tessa didn't know everything about her when she was alive and I felt that helplessness, desperation and loss that Tessa feels as she realizes that she no longer has a chance to get to know her sister better.

~Knowing the truth wrecks you as much as it builds you up~

Tessa searches for answers throughout the book and when she finds them, they're not what she expected but more importantly the answers didn't miraculously make her pain and loss disappear. In some ways the truth made her feel them more acutely. Knowing the truth gives Tessa both relief and a sense of dread and I think that's the case with most hard truths.

'She should probably be crying now, but her eyes remained a stinging dry and her chest tight, trapped under a thick layer of ice. All she could think was how weird this felt, everyone staring at her.'


~Final thoughts~

I wouldn't necessarily call it a murder mystery even though that's what the story is built around. As a matter of fact, the reveal at the end felt a bit rushed as compared to the rest of the story and quite sudden. It was the only part I had a quibble with.

Do not go in expecting a fast paced thriller. Go in knowing that it's the story of three sisters and what happens when one of them is gone. The story is about the murder investigation but more about what happens with the people left behind, how to they cope. It's beautiful and atmospheric and will give the readers so many emotions that they weren't expecting.

“Death had always seemed like that to Tessa: anonymous and abrupt, crude in its specificity. It happened in the open but was smothered in silence, stifling as a hot day in August. It came without any good reason.”

Profile Image for Steff Fox.
1,183 reviews149 followers
April 24, 2020
| Reader Fox Blog |


Lexa Hillyer's Frozen Beauty is marketed with references to poetic and lyrical prose. As it tells the tale of two sisters in alternating timelines as the truth of their eldest sister's secrets and eventual death is slowly revealed, I'd say this description is decently accurate. Readers follow the youngest, Lilly, in the past as she navigates through her life and the realization that Kit is keeping something from everyone. Then they follow the middle sister, Tessa, as she struggles through how to find the truth of what lead to Kit's frozen body found in the back of the boy next door, Boyd's truck.

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I ended Frozen Beauty with mixed feelings.

A very subtle retelling of Sleeping Beauty, this novel presents a genuinely interesting tale about the relationship between three sisters. Lilly and Tessa tell their separate stories, one girl in the past and the other in the present, slowly revealing how their lives intertwine with the boy next door, the main suspect in their elder sister's death.

Though beautiful on occasion, I found the so described lyrical prose distracting at times. With many sentences impossibly long--one even taking place of an entire lengthy paragraph!--I found myself, on several occasions, needing to reread it.

I loved Lilly the most. In so many ways, her storytelling and personality really pulled the novel along. She was, wonderfully, a force of nature herself. I found Tessa's chapters lacking in their ability to build and keep my interest. And this, I think, is where Hillyer struggled most. As Tessa's tale slowly came to a close it quickly became the part of the story I disliked most. The way in which the truth behind Kit's death was revealed was, frankly, awful.

Deus ex machina.

The resolution to the mystery was both too obvious and too vague. I was easily able to ascertain the who behind everything. In other instances, certain characters were revealed too late in the story, playing major roles later on when they were barely introduced enough to recall in the beginning. I have found myself, generally, to be quite adept at solving what is meant to be a mystery and therefore a shock within films and novels, so neither of these things really bothered me. That said, I think it was more obvious than most.

The worst thing, however, by far about this novel was the fact that the end came alongside an irritating deus ex machina by way of chimerism and a dream. It was too convenient and, to me, too unrealistic.

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book.

Frozen Beauty is by no means a bad novel. It touches on some important messages and does manage to be what it set out to be: a depiction of sisterhood. The characters were each superbly developed and written, so much to the point that I am certain the main reason I do kind of love it is because of the depth of the characters themselves. Could the end have used some work? Yeah.

But all in all? I liked it.

I was sent an advanced reader copy of this book; I was not asked to review.

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April 8, 2020
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club, Edelweiss, and HarperTeen for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

This premise reminds me of another book that dealt with death between girls, except in this novel, these girls are actually sisters. The other girls were sisters at heart, and it makes me wonder which of those types of sisters is more loyal in the end. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick the friends you call your sister.

Then you have novels like this where one of the crucial people in this unit – familial or friendship – gets murdered and the secrets start to crawl their way out of the holes in the lies that were told long ago. By the time the real murderer is caught, you don’t even know how you would have gotten to that answer with all the “fake clues” in place.

It’s sad when it’s the seemingly perfect one in the group that gets murdered or killed. People always want to know “how could anyone want to hurt that beautiful angel of a person.” But are the perfect ones in the group always as straightforward as they seem, or are they perfect for a reason?

Because THAT’s what you end up getting in a book like this, and trust me. You won’t see that ending coming. Unless you’re hella smarter than me and I just refuse to try to figure out the mystery ahead of the main character. I like being surprised right when they are. I thin it makes it more fun that way, you know?



Don’t worry. I’ll never tell.

Profile Image for Silly Goose.
237 reviews10 followers
December 20, 2020
Frozen Beauty: ★★★★.5

Oh. My. Word.

Oh my word. Wait. What? Hold up. What?

This book, how do I explain it? Every element is so well thought-out, well-planned, well-written...
I kept thinking, well obviously he did it, no wait it's her, oh actually I think it's him and then BAM.
Last seventeen pages and the whole world COMES CRASHING DOWN.

This book is as pretty and tragic as the cover makes it look, which might be a first? The cover actually suiting the book??

Anyways, this is a story that is gonna keep me up at night for years to come and I HAVE ZERO PROBLEM WITH THAT.

Book that this book reminded me of:
- Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky
- Ten by Gretchen McNeill
- What Light by Jay Asher
Profile Image for Gayatri Saikia   | per_fictionist .
472 reviews70 followers
April 8, 2020
frozen beauty was goooooood!!!
i like it a lot but did i love it? well that depends! it's one of those books where the mystery and the emotional angle moves forward side by side and if you are into that you are gonna love it, i am sure. buuuuuut since i expected more twists and revelations i was a bit underwhelmed,i guess.

also, uhmmm unrealistic plot a bit?? idk might just be my opinion tho!

but hillyer's writing was amazing and i am definitely going to pick up her next books
Profile Image for Margrethe.
238 reviews23 followers
May 6, 2020
I liked this. It has a mystery that I was quite intrigued by. But it didn't blow me away or anything. However, I liked the way this book was built up by the multiple POVs and alternating timelines. It does include some heavy themes, that I wished it would have spent more time on.

This scored 6.43 on CAWPILE. That makes it one middle three-star mark.
Profile Image for Lauren  (TheBookishTwins) .
447 reviews204 followers
April 2, 2020
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you kindly to HarperTeen for my review copy.

I absolutely adore books about sisters, including tragic ones. This one is definitely a tragic one. In Devil’s Lake, everyone knows the Malloy sisters: Kit, the studious one, who is perfect and good; Tessa, the one with a special connection to Kit; and Lilly, the baby of the family whose tired of living in the shadow of her sisters. When Kit is found in the woods, frozen to death, both sisters find that Kit had secrets that go deeper than any of them realised. When the boy next door, Boyd, is accused of the murder, Tessa knows deep down he’s innocent, and she sets out to prove it.

“Most fairy tales are told in threes. Three parts: beginning, middle, and end. Three suitors, three wishes, three nights. Three sisters.”


Frozen Beauty was an intense murder mystery that had you guessing until the very last page. It explores first loves, the complexities of growing up and growing apart, and lastly — the fears that women endure every day (trigger warnings: sexual assault, grooming).

At the heart of Frozen Beauty is sisterhood. The aspect that I really connected with, and adored, was the sibling dynamic. I have two sisters myself, one of whom is my identical twin sister. Their relationship was done fantastically – particularly the co-dependence Tessa feels, and the jealously Lilly feels. What follows after Kit’s death is indescribable grief, and difficulty coming to terms with the secrets they uncover.

A large focus of Frozen Beauty is also about growing up. Leaving behind the fallacies of childhood and coming to terms with the fact that there is no pattern we must follow. Fairy tales aren’t real, and adulthood is a dangerous place.

“Little Red Riding Hood ravaged by the wolf.”


If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, or books with a large focus on sisterhood, you’ll enjoy Frozen Beauty.
Profile Image for Clara ✨.
576 reviews45 followers
May 30, 2020
[...] arguing and getting angry and resenting each other like sisters do . . . because you don’t choose to love your family. You’re stuck with them. And sisters are the hardest—they are mirrors of you [...]

This book has a combination of several things I love, so let me list them for you:

💨 Real and flawed characters - they are jealous, annoying at times, make several mistakes and, at the same, they are caring with each other.

💨 Cold atmospheric setting - I felt cold in my bones with the descriptions of the snow and the dark forest. It helped create a mysterious vibe.

💨 An intriguing mystery - I never lost interest on discovering what had happened before Kat died. The information we gathered kept me on the edge on the seat, though they felt a bit superficiais at times. The solving of the mystery also touches on a very delicate yet relevant topic .

💨 Relationships - I loved how the author was able to create very realistic relationships taking into consideration the characters were in high school - like showing they were dramatic sometimes. She talked about first love, friendships and, specially, the dynamics between sisters (what it’s like being the middle sister, the youngest and the oldest).

Overall, great YA mystery! I recommend it, if you’re interested.
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