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Friday, September 8, 2017

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars Possess by Gretchen McNeil @GretchenMcNeil @BalzerandBray #ripxii

TITLE: Possess
AUTHOR: Gretchen McNeil
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: August 23, 2011
FORMAT: Hardcover, Autographed
LENGTH: 382 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, Horror
ISBN: 9780062060716
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, the voices are demons - and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Literally.

Terrified to tell her friends or family about this new power, Bridget confides in San Francisco's senior exorcist, Monsignor Renault. The monsignor enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession, but just as she is starting to come to terms with her freakish new role, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. And when one of her oldest friends is killed, Bridget realizes she's in deeper than she ever thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone else close to her winds up dead - or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.

What a debut! I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read this author!!

Right from the start of the story, McNeil pulled me in. Teenage Bridget Liu attends a Catholic school in San Francisco. The Monsignor summons Bridget to meet him at an address, and she assists him with an exorcism. Bridget recently developed a special talent for sensing demons. She can communicate with them and, most importantly, can banish them from this earth. The Vatican has sent Father Santos to San Francisco to work at the school and to accompany the Monsignor on these exorcisms, and they have concerns about the increase in demonic possessions in the area. Bridget has yet to fully understand her ability and how it works, but it came about after the murder of her father approximately nine months prior and since the rise in demonic activity in the area.

I thought that Bridget was a great character, the type of girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. After getting into a fight with one of the girls in the school, she became a bit of a social pariah. She has two BFFs: Peter who happens to have a crush on her, and Hector who is gay and has a crush on a popular jock-type (Brad) who sometimes hangs out with them. Bridget’s inner dialog is so snarky and fun, and I just loved that about her! I also love how protective she is towards her little brother, Sammy. She’s a great big sister! There is a bit of a romance between Bridget and a former childhood friend, Matt. It’s sweet and innocent, which is what a teen’s first love should be!

McNeil had me fascinated with the Biblical angels’ second fall from grace, which is found in the Apocryphal Book of Enoch. I had actually never heard of this before! She describes how a group of angels, led by Semyaza, went to earth and had sex with human women. Their offspring were giants known as Nephilim, giant half-breeds. The angels, known as Watchers, were banished from heaven. Some of the Watchers were remorseful for their sins, and God took pity on their children by giving them the ability to have control over the unrepentant fallen angels known as Emim. McNeil weaves this background into modern-day San Francisco, and the result is an eerie paranormal story with other-worldly creatures that had me riveted from start to finish!

McNeil is one of my favourite new-to-me authors that I have discovered in 2017! I have Ten on my bookshelf, and I plan to read that one soon.


5 stars!! It was superb, and I will likely read it again! Highly recommend if you enjoy YA paranormal/horror.

This book qualifies as:


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