Review: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

by Gretchen McNeil;
Editions: ebook, hardcover, paperback (preorder)
Published August 23rd 2011 by HarperCollins, Inc.
Source: own copy
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by the hunky son of the police officer who got her father killed, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Turns out the voices are demons – the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind – and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them.San Francisco’s senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget’s help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession. But when one of Bridget’s oldest friends turns up dead in a ritualistic sacrifice that mirrors her father’s murder, Bridget realizes she can’t trust anyone. An interview with her father’s murderer reveals a link between Bridget and the Emim: a race of part-demons intent on raising their forefathers to the earth in human form. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the Emim’s plan before someone else close to her winds up dead, or worse – the human vessel for a Demon King.~ Goodreads Blurb

1. What were your thoughts on the world-building?

Catholic school, wow. Wouldn’t have imagined I’d get too much of a kick from reading something set in that kind of setting. And yet I did so enjoy reading this!
I had a lot of fun with this book’s world, or better said I was very interested in it. It had that air of mystery and possible doom these exorcism-related worlds always seem to have. Good stuff.

2. Did you feel you could relate to the characters and connect with them? Had a favorite?

Surprisingly, I related really well to the characters. Though they were pretty young they didn’t feel at all kiddish, I really loved reading about them.
Bridget was my favorite, of course. But I also very much loved Hector, and Matt was cool too. I had mixed feelings about Peter and at some point I was proved I had good instinct about him, though I was sad about the way things turned out. You’ll see what I mean when your read the book or if you did already. I mean, Peter was sort of freaky in that puppy-love stalkerish kind of way. Those stories always end up with some bleh factor.
The one character that annoyed me was Bridget’s mom, but then again moms in YA novels don’t always fall into the cool category. She seemed sort of absentee and I didn’t like that about here. I don’t think moms of teens should ever be intrusive about their teen kids lives, but she was way to wrapped up in herself for my personal liking. But maybe that’s just me. I really liked Bridget’s dad, though he was more of ghostly appearance since he’s dead in the story, but he seemed like a really cool dad. This tells me, and you as well, that I was very in tune with Bridget’s feelings while reading the book. 🙂

3. What did you think of the plot?

Cool with the creepy factor. Creepy enough to be intriguing and engaging, but not as much as becoming overwhelming. The major twists and turns weren’t entirely shocking, but not really foreseeable either. There was enough space to keep you wondering, give you clues and surprise you in the end, so I quite loved it all in all.
If I were more of a church fan I might find this plot somewhat unsettling, I can’t tell you why or I’ll spoil the read, but sufficient to say if I were Team Priests I’d feel sort of cringy here and there. But I’m not either a church fan or Team Priests, so to me that whole angle was neither here nor there.
Cool plotting, a good mix of romantic juvenile elements, diversity and mystery. I always love that in a plot!

4. How did you feel about the writing?

Really loved it. The dialogue flowed very well, the characters voices were well defined and the imagery was vivid and catchy. I loved the tone of book overall and I think it’s a great talent to make fifteen year old characters really pop out for me since one of my major difficulties in reading YA is characters coming off as not very believable.
The mystery of the whole story was very well paced and sprinkled into scenes, and the rhythm of action was awesomely paced. I was 100% into the read at all times, my interest didn’t flop at any point.

5. What was the strong point of the book, for you? What about the weak point?

Strong point would be writing, since it engaged me considerably more then I would have expected it to. The plot was also really interesting and quite unique, I really loved that. I guess the weak point would be despite all other aspects being done very, very well, I still can’t get excited about a character this young. Would Bridget have been something like 4 years older, and the events being age-appropriate to that age, I would have been excited about this.
As things were, I was really entertained, very interested, but not overly excited (though it came really really close).

6. On a scale of 1 to 5, what would you rate this book?

On all accounts this a 4 and something butterflies read, really close to a 5 but quite there.
It’s original, intriguing, with a high sense of mystery to the plot, some juvenile romantic elements, all in all a really good read especially if you like exorcism-related stories.
I’d say it’s well worth your time and you should read it if you haven’t already.

Read it already? What did you think of it? Do you like exorcism-related stories?
P.S.: From this point on, post the links to your RAWBL reviews in the comments area if you do a review of the book this week. Cool? Thanks 🙂

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