Review: Possess by Gretchen McNeil

From Hicklebee’s: 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.

When I started reading Possess I saw myself becoming more and more judgmental in the early chapters. I thought “oh egads Pam this book about half way through is going to be full of entirely too much trope for you to handle.” Well it wasn’t! And I am glad because the story really could only go one of two ways:

Super-king-kong-mega-douchey or Super-king-kong-mega-awesome. I am beyond elated to report the latter. Where I thought Possess was going to be weakest it was strongest. Where I predicted things I thought were obvious a whole new complicated sub-plot line erupted.

In short Possess was everything I thought it wouldn’t be. It was fun, fast-moving, complex and a virtual thrill-ride through Catholic Demon myth and legend.

The characters were incredibly well thought out and fleshed out. Bridget has so much going on in her world and I think she dealt with everything thrown at her with grace and teenage street smarts. She didn’t want to just jump into being a demon hunter prodigy she wanted what all teens want; to be normal.

Bridget’s mom is dating again a year after her dad passed on. He was murdered bloody by a patient during a session and Bridget really just hasn’t accepted the loss. Couple that stress with two boys who are interested in you and you aren’t romantically interested in either one, add on the demon hunter prodigy and Bridget has more on her plate than most can handle.

McNeil’s choice of words were very teen-centric and a joy to read. Also bonus points for using the word ‘douchebag’ more than once in a sentence and sexytimes.

If you have been craving a smart, well-thought-out, believable YA Paranormal then I promise Possess is for you.

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