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Say Her Name by James Dawson
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Say Her Name

by James Dawson

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Read this review, and many more on my blog October Tune!

I was incredibly creeped out by the Supernatural episode about Bloody Mary, and I didn't dare look in a mirror for several days afterwards. Then, I found out about this book. I read the summary and the first two chapters (or the prologue and the first chapter at least) and I was both creeped out and very intrigued. So when the book was released, I immediately ordered it. And boy was it exciting!

I have to admit, just like with Anna Dressed in Blood, I loved the idea behind the story and I had been hoping for a super creepy story that would keep me up at night. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my sleeping schedule) this book wasn't that creepy. There were parts that made me want to go downstairs to sit with my mum for the rest of the evening, but it was not a lot. [spoiler]There was one particular part, where Bobbie was lying in bed and she felt her best friend Naya coming to lie next to her (which she does a lot when she's having nightmares). But then, she hears a sound coming from the other side of the room, where Naya's bed is. And she finds out that whatever is lying in her bed, is not Naya. AND THIS FREAKED ME OUT SO MUCH BECAUSE IT REMINDED ME OF THAT SCENE FROM THE GRUDGE.[/spoiler]

I really liked both Bobbie and Naya, and eventually Caine started to grow on me. The only problem was that in the Gone series, there is also a character named Caine, and I thought of him the entire time I was reading about him. I wasn't a big fan of any of the other characters, mainly because they were not very kind to Bobbie, and if you're not kind to the main character of a book I usually dislike you without even knowing you.

There was a subtle mention of the Supernatural episode about Bloody Mary, which I liked, and to Lord of the Rings, because a character 'returned to her den like Gollum'. Also Naya and Bobbie once dressed up as Bellatrix and Dobby, yes yes three of my favourite things mentioned in one book!

We find out more about Mary's past as the story goes on, and I really liked the way we find out. In the end, I must say I was surprised by what happened, but I really liked the way the story went and I probably would have been a bit mad if it had happened in a different way. [spoiler]I mean I remember writing in my notes that I would throw the book against the wall if a certain character died, and I almost did, until I read on and found out the truth.[/spoiler]

The writing was very nice, I enjoyed reading the book and I loved it so much I actually finished it within a day. I had finished The Enchantress Returns that morning, and decided to start Say Her Name. Within a couple of hours, I had finished the book, and I was thinking about covering up my mirror. Actually, after finishing the book, I didn't look into any mirror for a full day. Yes, I am paranoid like that.

In the end, I really enjoyed Say Her Name; I loved this version of the Bloody Mary story, and if you like creepy stories about an ancient legend, I definitely recommend Bloody Mary (but just to be safe, don't read it at night, like I did). ( )
  october.tune | Nov 15, 2017 |
This had all the makings of a classic horror story - a group of teens at a boarding school, a creepy dare, and a scary ghost, and I wondered how well it would work in the hands of a YA writer. And I have to say, it works very well indeed!

Whilst there are a lot of classic elements in the story, James stays away from making it too cliched, and there were plenty of surprises. Bobby, Naya and Caine are all persuaded to chant 'Bloody Mary' five times in front of the mirror, but of course nothing happens. Except that the following day, some strange things do start to happen, and Bobby soon realises that the curse is very real, and she has very little time to do something about it.

James has managed to write a YA book which is genuinely scary, whilst avoiding the pitfalls of 'adult' books.. there's no need for over-the-top descriptions or gore, because the chills are right there, waiting for you. At the same time, the book keeps a fresh, modern feel, the characters are are real enough that you start to be frightened for them, and there's even a touch of romance sneaked in!

As with his previous novel, Cruel Summer, this is for older teens upwards.. it's another 'cross-over' book which lots of ages will enjoy. Don't be put off by the fact that it's set in a boarding school, and is about teens - not only will the excellent writing keep you reading, but it will also make you view your bathroom in a completely new way!
  michelle_bcf | Jul 20, 2014 |
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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...This is a truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted 'Queen of Teen' author James Dawson.… (more)

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