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Bliss by Lauren Myracle

September 12, 2008

Bliss is the new girl at Crestview Academy. Her hippie parents left her with her wealthy grandmother so they could head to Canada, where her father can avoid the draft. At fourteen, Bliss has never attended a real school and worries about fitting in with her classmates, particularly since Crestview is “the most prestigious private school in the South.”

Before it became a school, Crestview was a convent, and school legend has it that Hamilton Hall is haunted. Bliss can sense its ominous history and hear the voice of a spirit trying to persuade Bliss to do her bidding. Bliss is determined not to, but one of her classmates is obsessed with the death that occurred at Hamilton Hall and realizes that Bliss is the key she needs to gain the power she and the spirit both desire.

What makes Bliss work so well is the overall package. It’s not just Lauren Myracle‘s writing and the stunner of a climax, it’s also the design of the book (assuming it remains the same as the ARC I read). Each chapter is preceded by two-page spreads, either black pages with quotes in gray and white text or excerpts, sometimes longer than two pages, from the journal of the disturbed S.L.L., on lined pages and complete with blood spatters. The design also makes Bliss a much faster read than the length would seem to imply, so if a teen is intimidated by the size of Bliss, encourage them to read it anyway.

Because the story? So good! Bliss is likable, which is necessary for the story to work effectively, and she’s such a kind, innocent character that the events that occur become even creepier and more horrifying. The tension builds, slowly at first, as S.L.L’s journal gets more erratic and Bliss realizes how troubled her classmate is. As the story neared the end, I began to read faster, with equal parts anticipation and dread, wanting to know what would happen. I consider Bliss a horror novel, but it’s more subtle and more firmly rooted in, well, reality than some other YA horror titles out there (e.g., The Demonata, some early ’90s horror). I’m not sure it has enough outright thrills and chills to please diehard horror fans, since it takes a while before the horror really gets going, but Bliss has a lot of widespread appeal regardless.

Lots and lots of reviews of Bliss, among them: Bookshelves of Doom, Oops…Wrong Cookie, The Reading Zone, and ReadSpace.

Bliss will be published on September 23.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2008 1:11 pm

    I really want to read this book. I was upset when the wrong color of blood was printed on the covers so they pulled all the copies. Do you want to do a link exchange?

  2. September 17, 2008 2:10 pm

    I really liked Bliss. Bliss is such a likeable character. But I have to say Sandy was my favorite.

    ***SPOILER***She suckled her cat!!! That was just about the grosses thing i’ve ever read. And actually the description of her house was equally horrifying. I thought the development of her character’s slip into madness was extremely well done.

  3. October 25, 2008 3:47 pm

    Reading this now (requested it largely because of your review – I’m not a Myracle fan by default so I wasn’t thinking about reading this, but your review definitely piqued my interest.) Now call me stupid but I can’t find this anywhere – is it true this is a prequel to Rhymes With Witches? That was the only Myracle book I started and finished and thought it was very “Meh…”

    Steph

  4. paige permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:53 am

    SPOILER!

    I agree with Patti…the cat thing was weird, and oddly, the description of S.L.L.’s house was the scariest part of the book for me! I enjoyed the novel but found the ending a little too abrupt…

  5. sara permalink
    March 8, 2009 10:39 am

    im reading it and i just finnished the part where bliss fell asleep at sandys house.SPOILER!- sandy is super scary i think when she uses the key to the room lilian is going to escape weird prediction i know

  6. April 23, 2009 1:57 pm

    I have so say I aboslutely love Bliss and Sarah
    Lynn. But Sandy freaked me out in a good way,
    so I liked her.

  7. Alyssa permalink
    July 7, 2009 3:29 pm

    hey girl this book is like so frrkn awesome.. i loved it truely i think it is better than all the twilight books.. but really i think there should a movie about it it will be so cool. i want to see what they really look like..

  8. July 11, 2009 8:08 am

    I loved this book. I had it on my book shelf for a few months (my dad bought it for me and I didn’t think it looked interesting) and one day I was bored and decided to read it. I LOVED IT.

    I loved Sandy in the begginging. She was so funny, and slightly insane enough to know that shes cool. But she started getting really weird and possesive. It kind of creeped me out, but I still loved her charactor….kinda.

    Lurl the Pearl made me mad. I hated her. And I hated how everyone forgot Sarah Lynn. Wasn’t she their idol? How could they have forgotten her in nothing but a few months?! A kid died at my school two years ago and everyone still talks about him and lapse into silence a moment after. I didn’t think the descritption of that was real. But of course Lurl was there. The new Sarah Lynn.

    I almost barfed at how Sandy treated her cat. It was disgusting! Poor Regular.

    I loved Mitchel. He was s funny, and cute, and just -girlish fangirl scream-. I would have Mitchels babies!!!!!

    The ending confused me so much. What happned to everyone?! I mean, did Mitchel ever talk to Bliss again? Did Lurl the Pearl ever kill anyone? Did Lawerance ever find love again, or did Sara Lynns daddy hunt him down and lynch him? Did Bliss ever go to find her parents? Did Sara Lynn ever become all evil and thirst for blood?

    I NEED to know. I really hope Lauren comes out witha sequal. This is my all time favorite book now.
    <3 Mitchel! RIP Sara Lynn. Sorry Lawrance! Lurl, get voer yourself. Sandy COME BACK!

  9. Samantha permalink
    October 18, 2009 10:54 am

    Hey. I read Rhymes With Witches and it’s supposedly the sequel to Bliss even though Bliss came out after I think. Should I read Bliss? Is it scary? I thought Rhymes With Witches was freaky. Especially with the whole Lurl of Purl thing. And how she turned into a weirdo.

  10. veronica Murphy permalink
    December 28, 2009 4:48 pm

    this book was well put together and eerily entertaining. it really makes you think. the only thing i found disappointing was the ending. I’m a fan of happy endings

  11. Amber permalink
    February 17, 2010 10:59 pm

    I was in the library and since I never know what I want to read, I browse the shelves and look at covers until one catches my eye. Boy did this catch my eye!

    *Kinda Spoiler*
    I was kinda confused at first and I was talking to my english teacher about it and was like-oh my gosh I just realized S.L.L could be Sarah Lynn because at the time she was the only person in the story that had the double ‘L’ last name…to my knowledge. It is definitely a creepy read because I have vowed not to read the book at night since I get so into them I dream about them sometimes and I don’t want that blood voice in my head. So I haven’t finished it but I am more than half way done. The quotes on black paper are really cool, I think. Plus, I love how she changes back and forth between that and a journal entry by S.L.L.

    I loved Sandy at first because she was out there and didn’t conform, but once the went to the nursing home and even before that when she started getting possessive of Bliss I kinda started to not like her as much. And her creepy obsession with Liliana is unsettling. I can’t wait to finish the book and from the looks of other reviews I might need to read “Rhymes With Witches” since it’s supposedly the sequel. I was actually going to read it anyway because the title was just do funny.

  12. October 17, 2011 2:50 pm

    Amber, SLL is definitely Sandy. Sandra Lurlene Lear. That’s her full name, and her cat’s name is Regular. Also, Sarah Lynn did not know about Lilianna.

Trackbacks

  1. 3 on Thursday: Books I Want « Shelf Elf: read, write, rave.
  2. Along for the Ride and Bad Girls Don’t Die (finally) « The YA YA YAs
  3. The Literary Horizon: My Mother the Cheerleader, Bliss « The Literary Omnivore
  4. YA Connection - The Story Siren

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