Bliss by Lauren Myracle | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Bliss

Bliss

3.8 94
by Lauren Myracle
     
 

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Lauren Myracle brings her keen understanding of teen dynamics to a hypnotic horror story of twisted friendship.

When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naïve Bliss has to her new environment is

Overview

Lauren Myracle brings her keen understanding of teen dynamics to a hypnotic horror story of twisted friendship.

When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naïve Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted, naïve Bliss is happy to be friends with anyone. That’s not the way it has ever worked at Crestview, and soon Bliss is at the center of a struggle for power between three girls—two living and one long dead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Catering to teens with a taste for horror, this carefully plotted occult thriller set in 1969-1970 combines genre staples with creepy period particulars. Raised on a commune, 14-year-old Bliss Inthemorningdew has been dumped by her hippie parents with her grandmother, a disapproving Atlanta matriarch who promptly enrolls her at the prestigious Crestview Academy. As Bliss watches The Andy Griffith Show for its insights into conventional interactions (dialogue from the show and other ephemera separate the book's short chapters), she observes the social scene with fascination and confusion, understanding neither the pull of the most popular girl nor the taboos against the class pariah (fans of Rhymes with Witches will recognize one of the girls). Meanwhile, she keeps receiving extrasensory messages from spirits. Interspersed with Bliss's first-person narrative are sinister journal entries from a student identified only by her initials, and these eventually dovetail with rumors about a long-ago suicide or murder at Crestview. Myracle throws in the Charles Manson Family murders, racism, ghosts, blood sacrifices and prom queens-and, remarkably, supports this outré mix with clever timing and well-placed red herrings. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

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Children's Literature - Jennifer Wood
Bliss In the Morning Dew is a free-thinking daughter of hippie parents, and when they leave their daughter with her Southern grandmother in order to ensure her safety while the couple dodge the draft in Canada, Bliss is not sure what to expect. In addition to Bliss's unfamiliarity with teenage life after years at the small commune, her grandmother lives in an actual mansion and has enrolled Bliss at Crestview Academy. Soon Bliss is befriended by a small group of girls who try to teach her about navigating the complicated politics of both their teenaged world and the charged climate of Atlanta in the late 1960s. To further complicate matters, Bliss begins sensing a dangerous presence calling to her from the school's past, a threat which grows increasingly more powerful and violent. While the novel's historical setting is neither strictly accurate nor quickly established, Myracle's blend of the counter, pop, and Southern cultures is fascinating and well crafted. The tension of Bliss's world is nicely mirrored by the references to both Mayberry and the Manson Family which frame and inform nearly every chapter. The novel presents serious concepts. The nature of power, interracial dating in the midst of Klansmen, and the search for true individuality all feature prominently in often beautiful language that should satisfy teen readers, their educators, and their families alike. Reviewer: Jennifer Wood
VOYA - Anna Welch
Bliss moves to a new town and ends up being part of a larger, secret plan that brings her a breath away from death by sacrifice. This book is a romance hidden within a thriller that kept me reading all through the night. It's geared toward a mature audience of readers who are strong in what they believe. Reviewer: Anna Welch, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Jennifer Miskec
Life on a commune has not prepared Bliss for the demands of the exclusive private high school in which her grandmother has enrolled her. There is the typical social hierarchy she must navigate in addition to learning what it means to be an ordinary teenager in 1969. Adding even more complication to her new life in the mainstream is the troubled ghost of a girl who communicates with Bliss in an attempt to control her. Just when Bliss thinks she has everything she desires-a strengthening relationship with her grandmother, a boyfriend, a group of friends, and most important, a silent ghost-a disturbed classmate who is obsessed with the dead girl brings Bliss's new life crashing down around her. Part horror, part social commentary, this novel is simultaneously creepy and smart. Readers will find both unsettling and intriguing how easily Bliss slips into her new life in high society despite the ideological ugliness, how the "good guy" does not win, how unreliable Bliss' perspective is, how no character is who she first appears to be, and how unresolved the book is overall. Although there are some plot issues, Myracle's character development is better here than in her previous novels, and fans will be happy to note that her penchant for making readers squirm is in full force. Readers will also be left wondering about the similarities to Rhymes with Witches (Amulet/Harry N. Abrams, 2005/VOYA August 2005). Does this novel explain the Bitches' power? Reviewer: Jennifer Miskec
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

In the summer of 1969, hippie teenager Bliss in the Morning Dew sees her whole world turn upside down. One day, she is unceremoniously dropped at her grandmother's house in Atlanta after her parents decide to leave their commune and move to Canada. Now, not only does she need to get to know her grandmother, but she also has to learn the ways of the society she now inhabits. That includes attending the exclusive Crestview Academy. This might sound like a typical story of a girl getting to know a long-lost family member, but it's not. This story is straight-up horror-with Bliss right in the center of the storm. The nice, polite, nonjudgmental teen has been singled out by one girl at school-a girl whose obsession with blood rituals borders on insanity. Lilliana was once a student at Crestview, but her mysterious death has long haunted the school. Yet, one girl believes that Lilliana can and must be brought back from the dead, and there's only one student who can help-Bliss. However, the protagonist has some secrets of her own, and she's not going to let Lilliana return without a fight. Myracle also works in period references, including the "The Andy Griffith Show" and the Manson Family murders. Although the story drags a bit in the middle and Bliss seems a bit too forgiving of a new friend, this novel is sure to cause goose bumps all the way to the dramatic and surprising end.-Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR

Kirkus Reviews
Socio-historical details revitalize classic horror conventions in this suspenseful thriller. Bright 14-year-old Bliss has been deposited at the Atlanta residence of her uptight grandmother by her hippie parents after they split from their commune, seeking refuge from Nixon's political policies in Canada. Attending an exclusive private school is very nearly a cross-cultural experience for Bliss, and she is deeply disturbed by both the generally catty nature of her peers and their persistent racism. She also is plagued by terrifying ghostlike voices from the moment she sets foot on campus, and is quickly enveloped into a troubling mystery surrounding a student's death many years prior. Against a backdrop that vividly illustrates the 1969-70 time period, including the Tate-LaBianca murders and subsequent Manson murder trial, Bliss is drawn into a disturbing friendship with an outcast and into a legacy of occult happenings at her school. Myracle effectively pairs these supernatural elements with the real-life horror of racial hatred within an insular community, and Bliss's gentle and witty narrative voice provides just the right balancing tone. (Horror. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810940727
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
608,725
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Lauren Myracle is the author of the New York Times bestselling Internet Girls series (ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r), Rhymes with Witches, and the Luv Ya Bunches series, among many other books. She is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in writing for children and young adults, and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her family. Visit her online at www.laurenmyracle.com.

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