You know how sometimes you read a book at the wrong time and just cannot get into it, so you set the book aside to read at a later date and end up enjoying it immensely? This was the case for me with Possess by Gretchen McNeil. I could not get into it during August, but when I picked it up in December after middle grade burn out, I found 15 year old main character Bridget Liu’s voice very refreshing.
Bridget Liu’s father was murdered by one of his patients. Her mother has a revolving door between a police officer and Hugh Darlington, one of her dad’s former associates and father of Bridget’s nemesis queen bee Alexa. Bridget has many demands on her attention, even though she just wants to be left in peace. Her Catholic school priests make Bridget assist with exorcisms. YEAH BUDDY, like demon Linda Blair type exorcisms, that’s what’s up. Also there’s this boy Matt whose father may be indirectly responsible for Bridget’s dad’s death is really into Bridget even though she’s not into him. Possess by Gretchen McNeil has tangled webs, y’all.
Anyways, a really evil demon is coming and it falls on Bridget, your average angsty with an attitude teenage girl to fix it. And yes, Bridget is totally crotchety and I LOVE THAT. I mean, girl has so much on her plate, I don’t blame her for wanting people to just get off her case.
I really admire Gretchen McNeil’s writing style. She nails teen dialogue without peppering with with like as every other word or using weird slang. You know when grown ups try to sound hip but it just comes off as being square. Instead, the teenagers use swears and it is AWESOME. As a full supporter of cussing, I loved Possess. Don’t get me twisted though, every other word is not a swear, but there are swears.
Just one thing niggled at me while reading Possess. The slut shaming of villainous Alexa Darlington – who is sweet looking but evil on the inside. She is described as sleeping with most of the football team, then going on the basketball team, I think. There’s sort of a virgin-whore dynamic between Bridget and Alexa and I thought there could be better ways to show that Alex is evil than her sexual activity. That was pretty much my only real problem with Possess.
I thought Possess by Gretchen McNeil was out of the norm for a young adult paranormal read. There are no sexy vampires. You wouldn’t want to ‘do’ these demons. Possess is a captivating debut with fascinating mythology. PLUS THE CHURCH! Which I am so interested in despite not being religious. I like all the traditions and such. If you are in the mood for a little exorcism in your day, get your hands on Possess by Gretchen McNeil.
Disclosure: Received for review over the summer but purchased at a signing in November.