Horror is such a fun genre that is perfect for reading all year – not just during the Halloween season! Frozen Charlotte is a great horror read that would be perfect for reading at any time of the year, and it is sure to send chills down your spine no matter when you pick this one up!
Frozen Charlotte, to me, is The Shining meets Dolls. It’s a story about creepy dolls, a secluded islan, and a bit of a psychological thriller that will keep you on edge (and probably have you keeping your lights on when you go to bed).
“‘What are you doing?’ the schoolmistress said.
The girls looked up at her. ‘We’re holding a funeral for the Frozen Charlottes, Miss Grayson.’
‘Well, stop it at once,’ the teacher replied. ‘I never heard of anything so ghoulish.’
‘But, miss,’ one of the girls said, ‘they like being dead. They told us.'”
The beginning (I’m talking like the first two pages) of this book did a lot to set the creepy tone for this book, and it only gets better from there. The beginning of the book, which is set in the early 1900’s, has a bunch of small girls playing with Frozen Charlotte dolls at their school – small dolls that were popular during the Victorian era. The girls are holding a funeral for the dolls, who have informed them that they enjoy being dead.
Fast forward to present day, where Sophie and her best friend Jay are sitting in a diner playing with a Ouija board app on his phone. While Sophie isn’t too keen on the idea, she goes along with it to satisfy Jay’s curiosity, and while doing so, something creepy happens – the lights in the diner go off, Sophie swears she can see a girl standing on a table, and creepy music starts to play. The next morning, Sophie is informed that Jay died in an accident while riding his bike home. Crushed with grief and not understanding how this happened, Sophie decides to go on a trip to see her cousins and her uncle on the Isle of Skye. Thinking that this will help her process her grief and spend time with family she hasn’t seen in years, it’s something that she starts looking forward to.
However, when she gets there, that all changes. Sophie meets her cousins – Piper, who is upbeat, happy, and seemingly perfect, Cameron, who is a reclusive musician and who has a horribly scarred hand from a fire, and Lilias, who is afraid of everything – especially her sister’s Rebecca’s room. Rebecca died in an accident years ago, and now Lilias swears she can hear her dolls talking in the middle of the night – making her stay far away from that room.
The house where Sophia’s uncle and cousins live is the old school that we read about in the beginning of the book. The school with the Frozen Charlotte dolls, which are still there. In fact, Rebecca used to love to play with them before she died, and now they are all locked up in a cabinet in her room. While Lilias swears that they are alive and she can hear them in the night, everyone else says that they are just dolls. But the mysterious events that occurred around the dolls over the years are way too much for it to be a coincidence, right? And when Sophie begins hearing and seeing strange things in her uncle’s house, there has to be a logical explanation to them…or are the dolls really alive, and is Rebecca’s ghost really haunting them?
Dolls scare the absolute daylights out of me at the best of times…so much so that I can’t even have any of my daughters’ dolls even looking at me without freaking out. I never liked dolls (probably because of my love for the movie Dolls, which is where I’m pretty sure this aversion came from), and that hasn’t changed since I got older, either. They just always creeped me out…the way they stare at you…nope, not my thing. At all. Which is probably why this book scared me so much.
This book is absolutely fantastic as far as horror novels go, and I’ll be the first to admit that I had to put it down multiple times because I was too spooked to keep reading (I refused to even read this book before bed because I was so creeped out). It definitely had plenty of scary stuff going on, so if that’s your thing, it’s on you won’t want to miss out on.
I loved Sophie’s character a lot – she wasn’t one to sit back and let things happen, instead she takes charge to get to the bottom of things and figure out what’s really going on. The whole time things are getting weird and downright terrifying, she isn’t cowering in her room, but she’s actually trying to get to the bottom of things. All of the characters in this book have plenty of depth – such as Cameron – he has had plenty of things happen to him over the years, and the relationship between him and his sister, Piper, is definitely a troubled one.
The only character who lacked any kind of personality was probably Sophie’s uncle…he really didn’t add much to the story and I think for the most part it would have been the same with or without him around.
The mysteries around the school itself begin to come to light when Sophie sets out to uncover what is really going on here. I found myself asking during the duration of the time I spend reading this book, whether or not the dolls were actually alive and scary as hell. I mean, there had to be some kind of explanation, right? You would think so…
Anyway, if you love horror, especially the gem that is YA horror, do not skip over this book!