Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Black Ice Review

I sped read this one for half a day and I'm sorry I spent so much time on it. At first I thought it was kind of awesomely terrible, in a pulp fiction kind of way, but then it just became completely awful.

The story is a lurid one.  It follows teenager Britt Pheiffer, who decides to go backpacking in the Grand Teton Mountains during her spring break.  No matter that several young girls have gone missing in the area recently.  Only, when she and her friend, Korbie, are driving up into the mountains, a vicious snow storm stalls their car on the road.  They leave the car and hike until they find a cabin, but the occupants, two young men, take them hostage. (!!!)  And. One or both of them could be a serial killer!!!

Now, I'm not immune to such drama.  I wanted to read this book precisely because the plot was so out-there.  I think I would have enjoyed it too, if not for Becca Fitzpatrick's writing.

I've never read a Becca Fitzpatrick book before, but I'm well aware that her series Hush, Hush is widely considered by respected reviewers to be a travesty of young adult fiction.  The work of this author has received a lot of scorn.  But, I guess I had to find out for myself. The results are in, and yikes.

The immediate phrase that comes to mind is dumb girl. How can I have any respect for such an immature character?  Girl, you've been stranded, held hostage at gunpoint, dead bodies are every-which-a-way and you're checking out your kidnapper's abs?! No, girl!

Yes, yes, I know that Britt Pheiffer is a character — a construction.  I guess I should heap the incredulity and blame upon Fitzpatrick.  What kind of example is she setting for young readers, romanticizing such shitty men?  The romantic hero vacillates between wounded puppy and criminal asshole, as if the former makes up for the latter. And then there's the cheesiness of the prose and stereotypical characterizations... I think I officially gave up on the book as soon as I read a line that waxed over the "deep pain in his eyes." Barf.  The book would have been better with no romance at all, and this is coming from a reader who loves a good romantic element.

As for the plot, for the most part it was solid.   It was a creepy one, if predictable.  The setting was ideal.  The bitter cold, driving snow, and bleak isolation made for a great backdrop.  This book was not without promise!  Unfortunately, I think the issue with the book resides at the core of Fitzpatrick's writing style.  I don't think I'll be checking out any more of her books, no matter how lurid the synopsis.

One out of five north stars.


  1. Ew. No. Dumb girl is right! Ugh. That's about as coherent as I can get.