The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale: A Lush Medusa-Inspired Story About Monsters and Girls (+INTL Giveaway!)


I liked Peternelle van Arsdale’s Beauty and the Beast like debut, but The Cold Is In Her Bones just blew my socks off. Because Y’ALL it is so lush and amazing?

It’s about this girl Milla who lives with her family on their farm, and when a girl Iris comes to live with them, Milla learns that the town is cursed by a demon who possesses girls randomly, and Iris is next.

To save her friend, Milla does what she’s never done before: leave her home and go to try and stop the curse. But along the way, she’ll discover secrets about herself, monsters, and the history of the village.

This book is so lush and amazing and if you liked novels like The Light Between Worlds, I defintiely suggest you check this out! But first, I have this awesome guest post from Peternelle talking about why YOU’LL fall in love with The Cold Is In Her Bones! (And an INTL giveaway at the end . . .)

Top Ten Reasons Why You’ll Fall in Love with The Cold Is In Her Bones

from Peternelle van Arsdale

It’s spooky.

It’s original.

It’s surprising.

If you have a brother or a sister you’re close to but whom you also struggle to understand sometimes, it will speak to you.

If you have a friend whom you can’t imagine living without it will speak to you.

If you’ve ever felt misunderstood by your parents it will speak to you.

It’s feminist.

It’s got an awesome witch.

Also demons.

And snakes. ☺

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 overwhelming or purple-prose-like.

The atmosphere was just really well-developed–not necessarily through the words that are used, but the way they’re being used. The cadence of van Arsdale’s sentences. The way this story almost pulsates with its hidden secrets, and I love the way it lulls you into somehow reading more pages than you intended to read for more time than you thought you’d be reading.

This story just sucks you in–both with the lush writing, but also with the plot and mystery. I absolutely adored the mystery in this novel and I found it to be really interesting how you sort of uncover the secrets to the curse. It’s not a mystery in a traditional sense, but there’s a mysterious element and there’s a lot to discover, which I had enjoyed reading this and what Milla learns as she goes on her journey to save her friend.

And the plot is so interesting–both in its premise and its Medusa-inspired story, but also in the way it sort of dissects the society it is taking place in and critiques our own world along with it.

Which brings me to my very favorite part of this novel: the deep and meaningful subtext.

I know subtext is really a hit-or-miss with me (sometimes I just…do not get it) but this one really resonated with me, and although I haven’t had enough time to digest all the meaning of the story, I find it incredible.

Like, I’m not even halfway done thinking about this novel yet the commentary about society and the way it creates monsters is really interesting. The faults of society made this monster that manifested in a physical way through the growth of snakes and exhibition of demon-like traits within Milla and the other girls, and this book is taking over my thoughts.

Plus, it holds one of the most memorable prologues ever and I think van Arsdale did a wonderful job with that element! It really set up the story well and wasn’t like, randomly placed and confusing with no relevance to the actual story.

I did take off the half star because I do think that the beginning dragged a little bit without actually giving as much development to Milla and Iris’ friendship as I wanted? But that is a bit off a small thing to quibble over, but I think I was still missing a tiny tiny bit of that click with the story.

Overall, I had a really enjoyable time reading and definitely recommend you pick this up if you’re looking for something a little more subtle, a little more soft, and yet carrying the same amount of weight. Great for fans of books like The Light Between Worlds and The Price Guide to the Occult!

I’ll be looking forward to what van Arsdale writes next.

More About the Book


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 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 secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.  

Amazon*| Barnes & Noble*| Book Depository*

*These contain affiliate links for Jean Book Nerd.


“A dark and enchanting tale about friendship, pain, revenge, and the power of love, The Cold Is in Her Bones is the perfect read for Greek mythology fans and YA readers alike.” ―Bustle

“Fiercely written and beautifully feminist, The Cold is in Her Bones reminds us of the power of loyalty and love in the face of ignorance and fear. I loved this tale of dangerous girls with wild hair and tangled hearts.” ―Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician

“A fresh, eerily compelling tale of betrayal, revenge, and the ties that bind. When van Arsdale paints a world, you can feel the fog against your skin.” ―Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Frostblood Saga  

More About the Author

Peternelle van Arsdale grew up in Newark, New Jersey, where she attended public school through the eighth grade. After that she attended three high schools in three different towns in four years, was deeply unpopular, and counted the seconds until graduation. She majored in English literature at Bryn Mawr College, and then landed in book publishing, thinking it was a good way to be paid to do what she liked to do anyway (she was only partly wrong). She worked her way up from editorial assistant to executive editor of adult fiction and nonfiction, and eventually struck out on her own as an independent editor.

Her first young adult novel, The Beast Is an Animal, is being developed by Amazon Studios for a feature film produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and directed by Bert & Bertie. Her essays have been published by LitHub,, and Culturefly, and her short fiction has been published by The Whitefish Review.

Her second novel, The Cold is in Her Bones , will be published in January 2019. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she continues to edit and is at work on her third novel.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram


Want to try your luck at winning both of Peternelle’s books? (Better watch out though–you might hear some whispers…) Check out the Rafflecopter link below where one lucky winner will receive a copy of The Beast Is An Animal and The Cold Is In Her Bones! (13+, INTL)

Or, if you don’t want to leave it to chance, check out the buy links under “More About this Book” to purchase your own copy!

Thank you so much to Jean Book Nerd and Simon & Schuster for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops below!


Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW & The Avid Reader EXCERPT
BookHounds YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW & Booknerdchelcie REVIEW
Bibliobibuli YA INTERVIEW & Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW
Wishful Endings REVIEW & Book Birds INTERVIEW
Casia’s Corner REVIEW & Introvert Booklover EXCERPT 


Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW & RhythmicBooktrovert REVIEW
Bri’s Book Nook REVIEW
JeanBookNerd GUEST POST & Such a Novel Idea REVIEW & PLAYLIST
Ohana Reads REVIEW & EXCERPT & Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews REVIEW & TENS LIST
A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW & EXCERPT & Vicky Who Reads REVIEW & TENS LIST 

Have you read any of van Arsdale’s work? I enjoyed her debut a lot!

9 thoughts on “The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale: A Lush Medusa-Inspired Story About Monsters and Girls (+INTL Giveaway!)

    1. yes!!!!! and omg I am horrible I sound like a broken record but this book was so well-developed and atmospheric and you should totally read it!!! <333

      Liked by 1 person

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