What’s it all about?:
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… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted ‘Queen of Teen’ author James Dawson.
What did I think?:
This was the first book of James Dawson’s that I read although I know he is becoming very popular in the Young Adult sector, and now I can see why! Many thanks must go to Lunas Little Library for kindly letting me read an advance copy of this great Young Adult thriller. Say Her Name has all the classic elements of the Point Horror fiction that I used to devour as a teenager – we have a boarding school, a bit of romance and a spooky game to invoke the ghost of Bloody Mary which funnily enough, I used to play also at my own boarding school. Unlike the teenagers in this story however, I was never able to complete the game before fleeing the bathroom with terrified squeals and was so petrified that same evening that my house-mistress had to come in and say a prayer for me. Oh dear. While spending a bookish holiday with Luna and my sister Chrissi Reads, she also made us watch the infamous Supernatural Bloody Mary episode which was also completely terrifying but which I do recommend.
Our main character in this novel is Roberta/Bobbie Rowe who is spending Halloween evening with a few friends from the school and several local boys telling ghost stories and generally trying to scare each other as you do at that age! Then the party descends into a game of dares where they encourage each other to play “Bloody Mary,” with only candles for light in the schools bathrooms. Bobbie definitely does not want to lose face, especially in front of cute local boy Caine who she has a bit of a crush on so agrees to the game and is one of the few teenagers who is able to complete saying her name five times. Nothing seems to happen until the next day when Bobbie finds a chilling message on her bathroom mirror – “FIVE DAYS.” It then becomes a race against time for Bobbie, her best friend Naya and Caine to explore the strange and frightening events that happen to each teenager both present and in the past that have evoked the ghost of Bloody Mary. Five days really isn’t a long time to try and solve the mystery of who exactly Bloody Mary was and why she continues to haunt everyone who ever says her name and it is also becoming exceedingly more dangerous for Bobbie as the power of Mary seems to becoming stronger and more frightening.
It’s really brilliant to read a story about a childhood game that I used to participate in myself and James Dawson elegantly weaves a chilling yet completely gripping tale that I literally couldn’t put down. Actually, I think the prologue might be one of the creepiest things I have ever read and that is in comparison to some adult horror fiction! I had to vet this book before my sister Chrissi Reads read it as this kind of thing really freaks her out (she ALSO played the Bloody Mary game at school), and after just the prologue I was raising my eyebrows, unsure if she could take it (sorry Chrissi!). Luckily like me she read it and loved it so that was a relief. The characters were beautifully drawn and both authentic and appealing to young adults in my opinion and the action and drama sequences just kept coming. With a James Dawson book I’ve realised I’m never bored or disappointed and I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Say Her Name is published on June 5h by Hot Key Books so what are you waiting for? Go grab a copy!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):