Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

SUMMARY: 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.


The Short Version:
Creepy, twisted and engaging, Possess puts a brilliant new spin on the Nephilim and the good vs. evil battle. With a witty and sarcastic main character, a well developed supporting cast, and some fantastically described scenes that hold nothing back, this one will grab readers from page one and not let go. Strongly paced plot and a well put together mystery make this a book for fans across many genres.

The Extended Version:
Bridget is sassy and intelligent, vivid in nature with plenty of humorous one-liners and an outward toughness that harbors a softer inside. Unafraid to show fear, and doubting herself even at seemingly important times, yet never simply giving up, Bridget is a very well developed character that readers will want to root for. She goes through tremendous character growth, not just in relationship to her new abilities but with her family and friends as well, pulling in a very realistic element to the book overall.

Matt is classically charming and attractive, yet endearingly devoted and sweet, particularly to Bridget. Perceptive about some things but very boyishly oblivious in regards to others, he adds a lot to not only Bridget’s development but the plot as well without taking the spotlight. Determined and far from self-centered, Matt makes for a perfect love interest far beyond a melting smile.

The rest of the cast is developed enough for their purpose, with the reader seeing more insight into some characters than others. One factor, however, that really makes this book stand out is the way McNeil toys with reader’s opinions of characters throughout the book. Centered on two specific characters, both readers and Bridget have to figure out who to trust. With both options, from the reader’s side, being the predictable stereotype with valid reasons against both, McNeil has smoothly weaved a potent mystery playing heavily on trust.

The plot itself has a steady pace, kicking up the action not only when Bridget is performing a banishment but in regards to the building mystery as well. With plenty of gentler moments to let not only the readers but Bridget have a break, yet never letting these last too long, McNeil will keep readers engaged and intrigued throughout. Giving enough clues to allow the reader to make some predictions, yet not being mundane and predictable overall, this one throws some new elements and twists.

McNeil’s writing has a smooth flow, written in third person but keeping a focus on Bridget and never mind jumping. From Bridget’s natural wit to her sarcastic come backs, the voice is bold and noticeable. The descriptions are fantastic, bringing alive not only the places but the events that Bridget finds herself in. Never going too far to bore readers or pull them out of the storyline, the description is just enough to be basically perfect.

Not only is this one a supernatural, wading deep into the world of demons, but it’s a mystery as well and McNeil has blended these two elements perfectly. Holding very strong roots into realism and a contemporary setting that any reader can understand, imagine, and insert themselves into, Possess is a book that a range of fans will enjoy. With the new story line, intriguing and fleshed out characters, and creeptastic scenes, Possess is a stellar debut with plenty to offer.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 23, 2011


  1. I'm really excited about this one, seems like a book I'll love. Thanks for the review! :)

  2. I love creepy books. Possess sounds like a good one NOT to read right before bed!

  3. Just picked this one up and can't wait to read it! Sounds like one helluva read. Thanks for the review!


  4. I'm happy to know that the book delivered! I was SO excited when I first heard about it since the premise is so unique. And YAY for a brilliant new spin on the Nephilim. Great review :)