Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by Matt Quin, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she 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 thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demon's plan before someone else close to her winds up dead - or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.
How would I describe this book to you? Creepy and suspenseful - and bloody brilliant of course! I followed Gretchen McNeil for a while since the YouTube channel group called YA Rebels started up and she's pretty hilarious and when I found out her book POSSESS - originally titled Banish - was coming out this year, I knew straight away that it was my type of book and a must read for all paranormal lovers. I mean, look at its cover! It's absolutely beautiful and not to mention haunting compared to most YA covers. Within this tale you have a sassy, intelligent, and very witty heroine, along with some wicked scenes of demon possession, and a lot of unexpected things lurking within the dark shadows. It was needless to say . . . a thrilling debut novel from Gretchen McNeil!
Now let's talk about Bridget Liu, the main protagonist. I've come across a lot of female heroines in my time with a smart-mouth, but I really, really loved - no, adored - Bridget as a character and if Nancy Drew and Buffy had a baby together - not like it's possible or anything but you get the idea - then Bridget would be it! Still struggling in grief over her father's murder, trying to deal with her mother dating again, and watching over her little brother Sammy, she was a character with the right amount of snark, wit and vulnerability, and I loved every moment of her on each and every page.
Personally for me, her interaction with her friend Hector was a real delight throughout the book and not to mention her interaction with gorgeous Matt - the person Bridget least expected to fall for. Ah, how I loved Matt and his greatness. Their relationship alone never sidetracked the overall storyline (thank God because a lot of romances distract me from the inital plot) but you still felt attached to these two teens and what was going on with them. Same goes with Bridget's relationship with her brother, Sammy, who was such a wicked kid by the way! I loved the way Bridget wanted to protect him and her family and friends . . . it felt real and honest. And of course, we must not forget Bridget's new powers like . . . whoa. The demon kick-butting scenes were the best part of the book and I felt Bridget was really growing as a character, one you can't help but love.
From what I understand, POSSESS has a sequel in the works and I'm definitely looking forward to more Bridget adventures and more Matt-loving! But what I love most about this book is that it could quite easily be a standalone and not many young adult books can be written like that - having a clearly explained novel from start, middle and end. So to those wondering whether they should read it or not, I recommend this book to anyone who loves some good evilness with not-so-trusting priests, demonic exorcisms and some really damn scary possessions. But this tale could not have been successful without a refreshing female heroine and some beautiful friendships all round. If you love any of those elements that I've mentioned above, then POSSESS is your book for sure! It has a little something for everyone who likes a good scare! Trust me here . . . you too will be possessed by this book! By the way - don't trust the priest!