Published on October 7, 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Brit Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants; but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there and in uncovering this, she may become the killer's next target. But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?
If you know me at all, then you know that I am a diehard Becca Fitzpatrick fan. I've been a faithful reader of hers since I read her first series Hush, Hush, a paranormal romance about fallen angels. So when I heard that she would be releasing a new contemporary / suspense / romance novel in 2014, I all but waited patiently to get my hands on it.
Black Ice focuses on Britt Pheiffer, a senior in high school that has chosen to backpack the Teton Range with her best friend and her ex-boyfriend (who coincidentally happens to be her best friend's brother) during her spring break. Everything goes awry when Britt and her best friend become stranded during an unexpected blizzard. Forced to look for nearby shelter in the mountains, they come across a cabin currently being occupied by two handsome strangers. This coincidental "blessing" quickly turns into a never-ending nightmare when these two men become their captors. During a time when several murders have been left unsolved and girls have been reported missing, Britt is forced to decide who she can trust and how far she's willing to go to stay alive.
I loved the dynamic of Britt and Mason's relationship. It was dark and tense and made the interactions between them all the sexier. I wasn't really sure what to think of Mason when I began the novel. He was cold, quiet, and seemed to be holding a lot more secrets than any of the other characters were. Through small gestures he'd made on behalf of Britt, he grew on me. In fact, I found myself comparing him to Patch from Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. Something that definitely let me know that wherever Fitzpatrick was going with Black Ice, I was going to like it.
The complex mystery that continued to unravel as I read on and the beautifully crafted setting that Fitzpatrick brought to life with her detailed prose made for an unforgettable read. The ending, for one, left me completely and utterly satisfied. I am all for happy endings, but what I love more are happy endings that are plausible and don't completely defy the laws of physics to bring two people who have separated back together.
“They say that when you're about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. They never tell you that when you watch someone you once loved dying, hovering between this life and the next, it's twice as painful, because you're reliving two lives that traveled one road together.”
While I did thoroughly enjoy Black Ice, there were two aspects of the novel that stuck a needle in my side and continued to irritate me throughout the novel's course. Let's talk predictability, because it's become a problem I've recently encountered with many of the young adult novels I've read lately. Within two chapters of having been "officially" kidnapped, I'd figured out how the mystery was going to be solved, who the actual perpetrator behind these series of murders was, and 99 reasons why I wanted to shoot Britt's best friend in the face. I found that for the remaining ten plus chapters, I was forced to watch what I already knew was going to happen play out. Kind of like watching a movie you've already seen again.
The only other aspect that irked me was Britt and her best friend's initial reaction to finding shelter in the most random of cabins during this blizzard. Oh, you feel safe, do you? In the mountains. During a blizzard. At night. With two handsome strangers. When your phones don't work. This entire chapter of the novel snowballed into a huge boulder of confusion that seemed to pick up speed as the novel progressed.
I was a bit worried when I began Black Ice, because of how different this realm of young adult was from what Fitzpatrick was used to writing. I didn't think Black Ice would live up to the high expectations I'd developed for it, having read her Hush, Hush series (Not including Finale. We won't get into the reasons why I didn't.) But with a dramatic plot, powerful characters, and a whirlwind twist that'll leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, Black Ice wouldn't be the worst novel to end the year with.