Freeze Frame is written by Heidi Ayarbe. It was published in 2008 by HarperTeen. It is Ayarbe’s first novel. Ayarbe’s website can be found here.
Genre: Realistic, Tough Read, Young Adult
“No matter how many times Kyle rewrites the scene, he can’t get it right. He tries it in the style of Hitchcock, Tarantino, Eastwood, all of his favorite directors—but regardless of the style, he can’t remember what happened that day in the shed. The day Jason died. And until he can, there is one question that keeps haunting Kyle: Did he kill his best friend on purpose?”
Igor raised his left eyebrow. “Did you aim the gun at Jason?”
Did I? Did I point and aim and shoot and kill? I squeezed my eyes shut, only to see the red lens and a pool of blood.
“Can you tell us who taught you how to shoot a gun?” Gollum smiled. His lips stretched thin across yellowed teeth.
“I—I—I never—” I stuttered. “I don’t know.” I didn’t even know I had shot the gun.
“So, Mr. Caroll, I think our trial period went well. I’ll expect you here very day after school as well as at lunch. On time.”
Our trial period? Every day? On time? What about Chase?
“Uh, Mr. Cordoba. I can’t.”
“You can’t what, Mr. Caroll?”
“I, um, I can’t be on time.”
Mr. Cordoba arched his eyebrows and cracked his knuckles. “Because?”
Because I stand behind a Dumpster to watch out for my dead best friend’s brother. Too weird. I didn’t want to sound like a stalker. “I just need a half hour.”
Warnings: Death, attempted suicide, swearing
Recommended Age Range: 16+
What I Liked:
This book just messes with your emotions. If you don’t cry at least once while reading it, then…well, you’re a lot tougher than I am. This book will tear your insides out and then jam them back into your body. Several times over. Sorry for that gross imagery.
I love Kyle’s developing relationship with Mr. Cordoba and how Mr. Cordoba helps him out, I like Kyle’s friendship with Kohana, I like the tension and the emotions that run high all throughout the book until the very end. Ayarbe did a fantastic job with this book. Wanted was written better, but this one tugs at your heartstrings more. Also, I loved, loved, loved the ending.
Oh! And Kyle being the Orange Dragon/bodyguard to Chase and Mike was great, too. This book was just great. It’s a very heavy, dark subject that it’s dealing with, but it’s handled really well. Things do get worse before they get better, but it ends on a hopeful/happy note.
What I Didn’t Like:
This is more of a warning than an actual dislike, but there is intense material dealt with in this book.
Freeze Frame is still my favorite Ayarbe novel, despite the fact that the topic is extremely heavy. Ayarbe expresses Kyle’s emotions and thoughts really well through the text, and she also handles the material very realistically in regards to process, conflict, and all the rest. Don’t read it if you don’t like heavy content or don’t like crying while reading books.
Coming Up Next: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken