Possess

( 24 )

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her over-protective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can 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 ...

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Possess

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her over-protective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can 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 ever thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demons’ plan before someone else close to her winds up dead—or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.

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Editorial Reviews

Kimberly Derting
“With demons, secrets, and a butt-kicking heroine, POSSESS is a whole lotta dark and twisted fun!”
Courtney Allison Moulton
“A dark, unique, and intelligent novel with frightening twists around every corner that left me breathless.”
ALA Booklist
“McNeil strikes a fine balance between outright scares and sarcastic humor…[a] light, entertaining read.”
VOYA - Pam Carlson
Fifteen-year-old Bridget has a gift she is desperate to return: the ability to hear, converse with, and banish demons. Monsignor Renault is her instructor in developing this "talent," providing her with the mantras of "Show No Pity" and "They Lie." She tells no one, not even her closest friends—how could she ever explain happenings like dolls that come alive and speak to her? Also weighing on her is the recent murder of her psychologist father during one of his sessions, and her mom's fledgling relationships with two of his friends. Who can she trust: the priest sent by the Vatican to observe the exorcisms, new boyfriend Matt Quinn, who claims to want to protect her, the Monsignor who seems just a bit too eager for more banishments, or only herself? When it appears that the demon king Amaymon has chosen someone in her family to possess, Bridget is forced to use her power as never before. Creepiness fills the story, especially in the scenes with the demons. People and events are not what they seem to be. First time author Gretchen McNeil compels readers to be caught up in serious religious mysteries, but also in the everyday conflicts of coping with mean girls and needy friends, even as they anticipate the final confrontation when Bridget instinctively accepts all that she is. Reviewer: Pam Carlson
Kirkus Reviews
Debut author McNeil redefines the fallen-from-grace tradition in this paranormal tale of warring angels, demonic possessions and first loves.

In the wake of her father's murder, Bridget Liu hears the voices of departed souls and performs exorcisms with two of the priests from her parochial high school. Porcelain figurines thrash about and shatter under the influence of otherworldly entities in a doll shop, where Bridget begins to understand benevolent spirits are trying to reach her amid a cacophony of evil. The unlikely assistance of her 8-year-old brother sheds light on the muddled messages they transmit, and even tougher to believe is the ease with which Bridget scores a visit with her father's killer, a schizophrenic psych-ward inmate to whom the specters direct her. Their convoluted warnings about the ill intentions of a priest don't leave much room for surprise, despite a planted red herring. Weak character development among supporting cast members such as Bridget's school friends undermines any sense of loss when one turns up dead, though Bridget's blossoming romance with a baseball player from another school flutters the heartstrings appropriately.

Readers for whom spooky encounters and brushes with violence suffice in the absence of rich characterization and fool-proof logistics will race through the pages. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A fantastic YA debut. Bridget Liu's father was killed during an interview he was conducting with a schizophrenic man who the police believe was to blame for a break-in and theft at a local church. Shortly after his murder, Bridget, 15, becomes aware that she can see and hear things that other people can not. The monsignor at her Catholic high school asks her to accompany him and assist in conducting exorcisms. Bridget has known Matt Quinn for years, though they don't exactly run with the same crowds; he is super popular and her circle is decidedly smaller: nerdy Peter, who is desperately in love with her, and Hector, her gay best friend. Since Matt's father is indirectly responsible for her dad's murder, the Quinns have renewed their presence in the Lius' lives. Matt seems ready for love, but Bridget is having a hard time deciding who she can trust. This tale of possession, duplicity, angels, and demons is set in foggy San Francisco and is a wonderful addition to the field of paranormal romance. It's also a mystery and a tale of teenage outcasts and bullies, and loss of a parent. While some of the story is predictable, the humor and occasional twists will keep fans of the genre hooked and wanting to finish this book in one sitting.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062060716
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 838,658
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gretchen McNeil

Gretchen McNeil is the author of Ten and Possess. She is also a former coloratura soprano, is the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys, and currently sings with the L.A.-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She is a founding member of vlog group the YARebels—where she can be seen as "Monday"—and is an active member of the Enchanted Inkpot, a group blog of YA and middle-grade fantasy writers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    I thought it was a cute story!

    I thought it was a cute story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    I enjoyed the book very much. Bridget's sense of humor I liked v

    I enjoyed the book very much. Bridget's sense of humor I liked very much and as a teenager my self I felt that the author was dead on. I find the book suspenseful (which I love <3) and funny a the same time. I often found myself laughing. The story flowed well and the author didn't waste time of pointless side stories which I liked very much, considering my past experience with many other books. I also very much appreciated the fact that Bridget's and Matt's romance was not rushed and fell into place.

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  • Posted March 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget Liu can hear voices - demonic, eerie voices that posses

    Bridget Liu can hear voices - demonic, eerie voices that posses other being and objects. As if that wasn't enough of a problem, she is also dealing with the recent death of her father, her mother's new found dating life, and two boys who may, or may not, have a crush on her.

    Bridet Liu is also one feisty chick. I don't think I've ever encountered a teen heroine who so closely mirrors how teenagers act and talk. I also don't think I've ever encountered a teen heroine who reminds me so much of myself when I was that age. :P Gretchen McNeil totally nailed the dialogue and relationships between Bridget and her friends and family. You totally get that sense of eye-rolling indifference, but not in an annoying way that makes you say "Oh shut the hell up!"

    The pacing of this novel was also really great. Right along with the main character, you watch the mysteries of the possessions unravel and learn who can and cannot be trusted. There were definite times when it was absolutely freaky to be reading about some of the demonic communications and behaviors, but not to the point where it was gory and forced. Everything flowed really well together and kept me hungry for more.

    I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a spooky, yet fun read. "Possess" also touches on Biblical myth a lot so if that's your cup of tea (as it is mine), then I'd absolutely tell you to go, go, go and get this awesome book!! A solid 4-star read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Great !

    This is a great book a must read could not put it!

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great, couldn't put it down

    Very different and interesting book. Well written, took me 2 days to finish it, I didn't want to put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Chilling

    Beautifully imagined and well written. Sure to make you question what goes bump in the night.

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  • Posted January 4, 2012

    Had to read during daylight

    I loved this book. As a San Francisco resident I was drawn to the setting of the story and the fabulous cover (which indicated to me it would be creepy and full of suspense) for Possess. Not only were the details of the city spot-on, but it did not let me down in the scary/suspense department. I normally find the time to read for fun at the end of the day, but I quickly realized that this was not a smart thing to do with this book. I finally found a Saturday afternoon (full of daylight) where I was able to finish this thrilling novel. We all know someone like Bridget Liu, and I'm sure some of you are lucky enough to actually be like her.

    Definitely looking forward to a sequel. Come on, Ms. McNeil and Balzer + Bray, tell me there will be a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Loved it

    I thought Bridget was fantastic and I cant wait for a sequel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Awsome!!

    It is beautifully written, a great story line , great characters, and best of all, it was full of suspense.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

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    Dark, unique & captivating!

    I'd describe Possess as Buffy the Exorcist. The Exorcist part is obvious and the reason I think of Buffy is because like her, Bridget was always fated to this battle against demons and other forces of darkness. Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches and trains her. Bridget has San Francisco's Monsignor Renault and keeps her extracurricular activities a secret while going about her everyday life.

    Possess isn't like anything I've ever read ¿ which is very refreshing to say. Bridget is definitely not the shy type that wants to be rescued. She's a tough, independent and enjoys the feeling of power her ability gives her while fearing what having it makes her at the same time.

    I really enjoyed the fact Bridget was the one being pursed by Matt, her former childhood friend who recently moved back to San Francisco and has taken on the role of protector for both her and younger brother Sammy. Unlike Bridget with her combat boots and friends she can count on one hand, Matt is very popular. It was obviously Matt liked her and despite sarcastic remarks and giving him the cold shoulder that Bridget liked him too. I always root for the childhood friends that now have the possibility of being more.

    Possess< is a dark, unique and captivating fast-paced story. I enjoyed the unsettling feeling I got reading it. The vivid descriptions helped me picture every scene effortlessly in my mind and the unpredictable plot kept me in a constant state of suspense that only increased from page to page. The first thought I had when I turn the last page was that I want more of this world Gretchen McNeil created. I really hope this isn't the last I hear of Bridget and Matt.

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  • Posted November 11, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended

    When I came upon Gretchen McNeil¿s Possess, I was immediately drawn by its cover. It led me to believe that it would be a dark and creepy adventure and it couldn¿t be truer as I got myself in between the pages. All of my expectations from this genre as most paranormal YA is normally dominated by vampires, faeries, angels, ghosts, and witches were absent. It was entirely different than what I thought it was going to be. Possessions by demons are not new but very refreshing with the current fad of today¿s paranormal YA. I am happy it turned out that way because I absolutely loved it. The main character, Bridget Liu, is very likeable and just seems normal. Aside from her gift, she¿s not overly smart, sarcastic, or anything that makes her extraordinary. McNeil created this character perfectly as she is very easy to relate to. The book progresses emotionally without being over-the-top. Although Bridget experiences inner turmoil as she discovers all of the secrets of her past, she was not portrayed as being too much of a depressed character. Although there are scenes of exorcising demons and other dark events, the story is more about Bridget¿s great effort of figuring out who she is, and what her new powers meant. I absolutely loved the adventure that Bridget takes you on as she ultimately meets her faith and becomes who she was meant to be. Her journey to discovering all of the secrets of her past is just half of the excitement. All of the ingredients of this book were a perfect combination. The plot was mysterious and it progressed quickly. Elements of intense creepiness and suspense only helped to how awesome the story was. The book was so creepy that there were times I had stop reading to remind myself that it was just a story. As soon as I realized it wasn¿t real, I immediately placed myself back into the story because every page was entirely captivating. Gretchen McNeil¿s story-telling is absolutely amazing and I recommend Possess to anyone that likes creepiness in YA. It has everything that will satisfy all audiences. Possessions, murder, mysteries, and hidden family secrets are all there. And let¿s not forget that it also has romance. If you enjoy reading creepy books and tired of your average paranormal book, Possess will not disappoint you.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Fantastic book

    This must be the second book about possessions that I've read in my entire life, the first being the exorsist... yes sad really. But as I didn't really enjoy the exorcist I was somewhat reclutant to pick up this one, it just isn't my type of book, or that's what I thought.
    Possess isn't your typical possession book. The main character is Bridget Liu, half chinese-half irish (amazing combination... and I thought I had a weird one I'm part english part spanish part irish and part morrocan...) and she's also a exorcist, well kind of, she's got the power to listen to the demons but has to follow five simple rules, which I have to say she doesn't really follow (you tell them girl!!) Bridget also has a smart mouth and some amazing friends :) That's always important right??
    And then you have the love interest: Matt Quinn, the local policemans son who's father also happens to be seeing her mother, sort of.
    I love how for Matt and Bridget it isn't love at first sight, as they were friends, and then they kinda fell apart only to find each other once more.
    Father Santos is a great character who isn't all that he appears, and Bridget's stalkerish friend gave me the creeps.
    But my favourite character and the one that had me in tears of joy and sadness was Sammy, Bridget's eight year old brother, who is a genius and is soo cute :)
    Sometimes Bridget can be inmature, but we have to remember that she's only 15.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Live To Read

    Gretchen McNeil's novel Possess had me hooked from page one. This is book you read in two hours and then wonder where the time went. Bridget Liu is a wry high school student who happens to be an exorcist and the sidekick to the Priest who is the principal of her school. Although working hard in every aspect of her life, Bridget cannot catch a break. When she finally begins to get a handle on her newly found powers, a new priest arrives from the Vatican because of the strange number of possessions in her area. Unfortunately, Bridget's principal and mentor does not trust this newcomer and tells Bridget she should be suspicious of him. In addition to this weirdness, and old friend is showing an interest in her. But thisisn't just any friend, he is the son of the police officer who solved Bridget'sfather's murder. Bridget Liu's life is anything but ordinary and is great to read about. This is the perfect book for a teen girl who is looking for excitement. Possess is written from Bridget's point of view, so it is hilarious and sarcastic. This book earned five out of five stars.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A fierce heroine in an eerie world

    In Possess, debut author Gretchen McNeil blends ancient legend with unearthly horror to create a striking demonic mythology -- a fresh look at the other side of the angel coin. Bridget's adventures in exorcism are spine-tingling, and every chilling encounter will leave readers trembling -- especially the particularly hair-raising scene in a doll shop (shudder). Her strange new powers and a string of unnerving warnings from demonic messengers give the novel a streak of mystery, and readers will eagerly piece together the puzzle -- trying to stay one step ahead of Bridget as she learns the truth about the legions of Hell.

    Bridget is an admirably independent heroine, determined to fight her own battles and carry her own crosses. Though she's more than a little damaged by the loss of her father and the discovery of her alarming new abilities, her flaws give her an honest, raw edge that will resonate with readers. Many of her relationships are rough around the edges, but the mutual adoration between Bridget and her little brother Sammy jumps off the page. Bridget is like a mother to Sammy, and her never-ending patience with his 8-year-old antics is endearing -- showing a softer side to balance her usual tough-as-nails veneer. Bridget tends to be one of the guys, and I would have loved to see more attention given to her best friend Hector, who is the perfect storm of sass and snark and insecurity.

    This paranormal horror story is part murder mystery, part romance -- but unfortunately, the romance falls a little flat. Matt is a nice enough guy, if a little cliche -- the All-American, popular jock who falls for the school outsider. Yet, his constant "caretaker" attitude is cringe-inducing, especially since Bridget can clearly hold her own (probably better than Matt can). The fact that Bridget finds his overbearing behavior appealing is rather disappointing after her robust determination to remain a lone wolf. If ever there was a heroine who didn't need a hero, it's Bridget Liu. There is something not quite right about Matt -- but only time will tell if this is intentional foreshadowing by the author, or just a lackluster love interest.

    Possess is a dark and edgy paranormal thriller, and McNeil doesn't shy away from creepy blood rituals or crazed demonic victims. There are clearly unknown depths to explore in this eerie new world, and readers will be eager for more of its infernal history and lore.

    ~Review from thebookishtype[.]blogspot[.]com

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    best books review

    I have wanted to read this book from the very first time I saw it, and I was not disappointed.

    The book follows the story of Bridget Liu, who life seems to have been taking a really weird turn since her father murder. She can talk to demons who linger in-house or take over the bodies of the living. She is spending most of her time with a priest who is showing her how to control her so called gift but things are starting to take weird turns when more and more demons seem to be showing up. Bridget needs to find out what really going on and were her gift really comes from.

    The book is full of action and lots of scares and excitement. I loved what Bridget could do it was different and made for a really wicked book that never had a boring moment. There was such life in the book so amazing moments that really did stick into your mind. After reading this book you start to wonder what's that noise I hear did that shadow just move the book really does stick with you, in a dramatic way.

    While this book was more of a young adult light horror and as a big fan of horror's I really like the twists that locked you into this book. There was just so much jammed into the book with demon's right' around every corner and the phantom cat that walks the halls at the dead of night making noises, after this you're going to have to sleep with the light on.

    4 stars

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hobbitsies Reviews: Creepily Awesome

    I love me a good ghost story. And while I was a bit worried that Possess would be too much like The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (paranormal sensing girl with a priest as a mentor), Possess takes a totally different and original and badass turn.

    Let me start with Bridget. I've actually been saying this a lot lately, but I am very, very pleased with the amount of strong protagonists in YA right now. There is nothing I love more than opening a book and finding a character who is strong from the start. I love watching characters grow into themselves, but I've had too much of that lately. Bridget, although she's very resisting of her "gift," is undeniably independent and tough, but she's also loyal to her brother and her friends and we would totally be best friends.

    And Matt! I loved him. He was just so refreshingly normal. There was nothing mysterious or dangerous about him, he was just a perfectly normal guy who liked Bridget. He's charming and protective and he'll eat dinner with her strange family.

    The first half of Possess scared the beejeebus out of me. I do not recommend reading it when you're home alone at one in the morning. But I loved all the demonic possession and exorcism stuff, and figuring out what Bridget is as she figures it out. It was awesome how the second half of Possess turned a bit less creepy and more mystery-solving-ish without it seeming like a totally different book.

    There were a few loose ends that I wish had been wrapped up, mostly side character stuff, but overall, I loved Possess. It was creepy and awesome and definitely satisfied my ghost-exorcism-demon-loving brain. Definitely go pick up Possess, if not for the awesome story, then for the awesome and pretty shiny cover.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

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    Great book

    I really enjoyed reading this book. The book has completely different paranormal elements that left me excited to read more. It is not as scary as everyone thinks. I think the way Ms. McNeil wrote the book is perfect!
    One things I enjoyed about this book is the great characters. Bridget is not the girl that I thought that she would be. She is strong and feisty! She knows what she wants. She doesn't play games, but is real. Ms. Neil really did a great job on capturing two different types of characters that I never thought I see together. It's amazing and completely unique.

    The love interest in the book had me at hello! I loved that Bridget dissed him! It made me laugh but also it was fun to read. With all the dark elements of the book, this one made the book balance out and complete it. Bridget is an easy character to fall into her shoes and see things from her point of view.

    The last thing is loved in the exorcism performed by Bridget and the paranormal twist in it. I must say that I was in shock to learn the heavy secret that Bridget unveils. But also, I loved how Ms. Neil took this element and made it of her own. It's nicely done, very surprising indeed.

    A dark and beautiful debut, I like this book. Ok, I admit, I read it during the day! LOL. Still, I loved how Ms. McNeil is able to capture the reader from the very beginning and hook them in. The plot pacing is perfect with every page turn. Even the minor characters play bigger parts that I thought. I can't wait to see what Ms. McNeil writes next!

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    Fun and creepy

    Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu has a rare gift. She is able to speak with demons. She spends a lot of her free time helping out the Monsignor of her private school exorcise these demons from homes around San Francisco. Bridget feels like a freak. She'd rather not have this gift. She just wants to be left alone: By her mother, the cute son of the police officer that worked on the case surrounding her father's murder, and the mean girl who apparently has it in for her. When Bridget is called to help out with a possession of an actual person, things change. Not only can she hear the demons, but they are now speaking directly to her. Soon, Bridget realizes that she isn't just dealing with the average, annoying demon. There's a larger power at play, and it wants her.

    To go into any more detail about this book would ruin the experience for the reader. I enjoyed this book immensely. The pacing was perfect, and Bridget was a total kick-ass character who deserves a place on the "cool paranormal girls who kick demon butt" wall, right next to Buffy. Ms. McNeil's writing is fluid and most of the possession stories gave me chills - especially the particular event that takes place in a doll shop. As many of my regular followers know, it takes a lot to creep me out, and this book definitely had its moments for me. The book is a quick and easy read, and though I'd figured out the story about midway through, I still enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    Angels and demons vs. high school = hells' a poppin!

    The cover drew me in immediately and when I read the synopis and saw that the book had a teen exorcist, well what's not to like! (Especially since I read The Exorcist as a 13 year old.) Bridget has blue almond shaped eyes, brown curly hair and freckles, not the typical image of a Chinese/Irish Catholic shool girl, and certainly not anyone's idea of a demon-banisher. But God works in mysterious ways; Bridget just wished she wasn't the mystery. Recruited to work on exorcisms by her school chaplin Monsignor Renault with little more training than the 5 rules (don't show fear; don't show pity; don't engage; don't let your guard down; and remember, demons lie), Bridget has begun to use her ability to hear demonic voices to cast them out. But the sudden arrival of a new priest has irked the Monsignor's old school ways. Father Santos wants to make sure that Bridget knows what she's up against, and also that she's volunteering her powers, not being forced into it. But when certain demons seem to be helping Bridget with a warning, she'll need all the help she can get to cast the BIG BAD out and protect her friends and family before all hell can break loose. Gretchen McNeil has written a great mix of snarky humor, teen angst and romance, and some pretty scary demonic fireworks which is effective enough to hopefully call up a second volume.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

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    Creepy Good - Highly Recommended!

    Creepy good. Those are the two words I'll use to describe Gretchen McNeil's debut. With an awesome butt-kicking heroine (who just so happens to be half-Chinese half-Irish) and an action-packed plot, what's not to like about Possess?


    Bridget Liu is tired of everyone having control over her life. Everyone except her, that is.

    Ever since the murder of her father, Bridget has had the ability to hear demons, and banish them. With the help of two priests, she strengthens her abilities. But is she strong enough?


    Traitor, traitor, traitor, the demons sing when they see her. Not only that, they're also giving her messages, weird puzzles of words meant for her to decipher. But the rules say they lie. So should she trust her heart, or the teachings of a priest?


    Written in the third-person POV, Possess was unlike any other. However, although I loved how strong Bridget was in the face of danger, I sometimes felt that she was too strong, too brave when doors start slamming in her empty house. But that aspect was easy to forget when you dive into the plot.


    And dolls. There are creepy dolls with eyes that follow you around, mouths that curve into evil smiles. I highly suggest you do not read this at night! All in all, Gretchen McNeil's debut was awesome, and I definitely can't wait for her next book!

    *Please note: this review was written based on an uncorrected proof provided by the publisher for IceyBooks Blog*

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