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April 8, 2012

Review: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.
Possess was one of those books that had caught my eye very early on. Spurred by the premise and the positive comments I'd heard from other bloggers/reviewers, I quickly seized the first opportunity presented to get a copy. As expected, Gretchen McNeil's take on demons did not disappoint in any way, shape, or form.

Bridget Liu is a fifteen-year-old with the ability to banish demons--no big deal, right? Wrong. As local demonic activity begins to increase, Bridget becomes more and more in tune with the paranormal world while also trying to hide her newly discovered power from everyone she knows, including her mother, her friends, and of course, the boy who just might become a love interest. Chaos ensues, leaving Bridget desperate to find a manageable balance between the two very different sides of the life she leads.

One of the aspects I adored most about Possess was the fact it starts in the middle of the action. Bridget already knows who she is and what she is capable of. From beginning to end, there is no reprieve from the intensity and suspense. It's impossible to predict what lurks around the next corner. This book was another one of those that, though capable of creeping into my subconscious mind and invading my nightmares, kept me hooked and unable to put down. As I stated in my Anna Dressed in Blood review last year, it's truly amazing when a writer has the ability to bring a story to life with only words (yes, this is a reference to the infamous doll shop scene in particular). I was repeatedly left in awe--not to mention scared out of my wits--by the events in the novel.

I appreciated the absence of a cliffhanger at the end of Possess. Though the novel is nicely tied together with no loose ends, there is certainly room for a sequel and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for any information on that. Fans of YA paranormal and horror, make sure to add Possess to your to-read list if you haven't already done so!

Rating: 5/5 stars

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