Friday, 11 July 2014

Review for Say Her Name by James Dawson

Say Her Name by James Dawson
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release: 5th June 2014
Genre: UKYA, Horror, Paranormal
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear...But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror...five days...but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before..."

Say Her Name is James Dawson’s modern YA take on the infamous legend of Bloody Mary. As you’d expect it’s creepy and mysterious but to my surprise it was also incredibly touching as James brings Mary to life not only as a ghost but as a character with a tragic past. Say Her Name offers something different in YA and I enjoyed it so much that I think that James Dawson should branch out and write more modern YA stories for all of the famous ghosts and ghouls!

The story centres around Bobbie, Caine and Naya who call upon Bloody Mary on Halloween night at Bobbie’s historic boarding school. Legend has it that they have five days until Mary comes for them and as dark and disturbing occurrences begin to happen to all three characters they realize that there may be a sinister truth to the old myth. But is Mary the evil essence that people believe her to be? Or, like all ghosts, is there unfinished business and a story to the girl dripping in blood? Bobbie and her friends have only five days to find out.

James Dawson really goes all out in creating the perfect YA horror story. There’s a gothic boarding school, dripping taps, Halloween, a graveyard and an asylum altogether creating the atmosphere and backdrop for Mary’s story. I’m not one who’s easily scared when it comes to supernatural horror and although overall I found Say Her Name more creepy than scary I definitely had my moments with this one. Bridget’s story in particular really creeped me out.

Hands down my favourite thing about this book was Mary and her backstory. I loved how James not only brought her ghost but also the girl she was to life. I found this take on Mary’s legend really interesting and there was a real sense of mystery to Mary’s story that held me captivated. Mary was actually my favourite character in the book one minute I’d be terrified of her and the next feel really sorry for her.

The end of the book was also fantastic. The whole plot came together in a really clever way and the last page left me with this uneasy sense of foreboding which was the perfect note to end the book on. Overall Say Her Name is perfect for anyone who used to stay up way too late pouring over Goosebumps and will introduce a new generation to the thrills and chills of horror.

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