Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cold Light; Jenn Ashworth

Title: Cold Light
Author: Jenn Ashworth
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Edition: eBook

Source: Amazon Kindle  
Setting: UK
Date Completed: March-2013
Rating: 3/5 
Recommend: no

Having fallen in love with Jenn Ashworth's debut novel, A Kind of Intimacy, I've been anxious to try her follow-up novel, Cold Light. In my opinion, this one just did not measure up. 

The story is a dark one about teenage friendships, the kind of friendship among girls, that sometimes do more harm to teens than good.  In an unnamed town somewhere in the UK, three teenage girls, Chloe, Emma and Lola were fourteen in the late 80's. Trying to grow up too fast, they engage in some risky behaviors, pressured by their leader, Chloe Chloe and Lola, at one time had been the closest of friends, until Emma entered the scene, then things changed.

 In the first few pages the reader learns that Chloe, along with her much older boyfriend, had died and the deaths  are called a "tragedy".  It happened on Valentines Day in 1998. Later we learn that suicide is suspected but no one talks about that much, in fact it appears that not many people knew the real, shallow and manipulative, Chole. Now, (10) years later, the town is having a ground breaking ceremony which is televised to memorialize Chloe. 

The narrative alternates between the present and the past, and continues with Lola (a.k.a Laura) and Emma's interactions now ten years later at the age of 24. The two girls, share specifics of their days as teens.  The reader learns about some incidents leading up to the "tragedy", and what exactly had happened on the day Chloe died.  The reader also gets a glimpse in to the family life of the girls. Lola, had an especially difficult childhood, her parents were much older, her family had to worry about money, and her father suffered from mental illness.

As the story unfolds, I was curious about how it might end, but still, I never felt fully invested in this one. The fact that it's a dark story didn't bother me, but the unlikeable characters did. I also did not care for the way the story jumped from past to present and back again, and I know it's a work of fiction, but I find it hard to believe that in the UK, they construct memorials a teen has died.   Some readers clearly had a better experience with this book than I did, so I think it's one you have to read for yourself and decide.  For me, it was just hard not to compare this one to her first novel which I loved and would definitely reread.


  1. Aw, too bad. Hopefully it's just a case of sophomore slump.

  2. I am curious about all the secrets, and the things that the girls did, but it sounds as if all this was poorly executed. I am going to have to think about this one before jumping. Perhaps I will try her first book.

  3. I didn't care for any of the characters in this one but she has a knack for setting the scene although the back and forth between the past and present day was a bit disjointed.

  4. That's a bummer that this one didn't work for you. I might read her debut book that you really enjoyed but if this one didn't work for you, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work for me.


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