This feminist retelling of the Medusa legend brims with raw emotion and offers adult crossover appeal. Lush with detail and symbolism and filled with strong characters who defy basic labels, the tale brings into sharp relief the experiences of the disenfranchised, the angry, and the powerless. Van Arsdale unrolls an artfully constructed series of events that will engage, frighten, and delight.
Publishers Weekly
Van Arsdale coils tension within her prose, winding it tighter. Strongly informed by sibling bonds, friendship, and themes of vengeance and forgiveness, [THE COLD IS IN HER BONES is a] dark, magic-infused story lit by bravery and hope.


Cover design by Sonia Chaghatzbanian. Cover art by Miranda Meeks.
Click image to download.

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.

To Protect Your Home from Demons:

1.  If you see a snake, kill it. Then burn it.
2.  Pour salt where the air comes in—sills, thresholds, hearths.
3.  Stay inside after dark. Lock tight doors and windows.
4.  Pray.


PRE-ORDER Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | Books-A-Million




Unsettling and thought-provoking, this powerful novel confronts the stifling expectations placed on young women, the toxicity of patriarchal systems and internalized misogyny, and the damage caused by transgenerational trauma; in its exploration of the revolutionary power of women’s anger and the strength of sisterhood, it overs hope and beauty as well.
Horn Book Magazine
The novel explores the personal cost of vengeance while avoiding reductive messages of forgiveness. The depiction of steadfast female friendship anchors layers of artfully wrought gender commentary. . . . Van Arsdale’s lovely, pitch-perfect prose conjures a dark, angry fairy tale.
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
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
Milla is every girl who chafes against society’s expectations; every girl who has ever been told or made to feel that she is not enough—in short, Milla is Every Girl.
— Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books
The premise? Awesome. And the execution? Unreal.
— Romy Griepp, Once Upon a Time Bookstore
Living as a woman in a closed-minded town can feel like a constant scream caught in your throat—a feeling Peternelle van Arsdale so beautifully articulates.
— Sami Thomason, Square Books
The myth of Medusa is revisited in this haunting retelling. Part fairy tale and part allegory, the story pits serpents, witches, and demons against seemingly powerless female characters who must learn to speak up for themselves. The author has created a cautionary tale that warns against ignorance and shines a spotlight on feminism.
School Library Journal
Written with compassion for the deplorable situation of girls in a strange world, THE COLD IS IN HER BONES is very relevant and not so strange for young readers, who must contend with demons all the time in today’s reality.
— Jack Zipes, author of The Irresistible Fairy Tale