Say Her Name - James Dawson

Genre: YA/Horror
Synopsis: Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They summon 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But nothing happens. Or does it?  Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called, 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...


Review: I was in the mood for a fairly light, not-too-scary read when I picked this one up, and it fit the bill perfectly. A full-length novel based around the infamous Bloody Mary story - I suspect partially inspired by the Supernatual episode, given the references to it - which draws neatly on the classic aspects of the tale, while adding a few original creepy twists. While I personally didn't find it too scary - I don't scare easily when it comes to books - there was more than one moment that had me frantically scanning the pages to see what was going to happen next. One particular moment involving a mirror inside a closet makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it...

Although I can't honestly say I became particularly attached to the characters (Bobbie was okay), the mystery surrounding Mary herself was definitely interesting enough to carry the story. There is nothing pioneering in the relation of her origins, but given that the novel is building on a fairly thin fireside scare story they're sufficiently fleshed out. Her background does a great job of humanizing a figure thought of as little more than a spooky spirit with nothing better to do than haunt mirrors and silly teenagers.

Well written and an easy page-turner, it's a perfect spooky read for a rainy night by the fire, which shouldn't leave you with nightmares (but don't blame me if it does!) I'll definitely be checking out more by this author.

Rating: 4/5

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