Review: POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil

Gretchen McNeil
379 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: August 23rd,  2011
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons’ plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

   Creepy good. Those are the two words I’ll use to describe Gretchen McNeil’s debut. With an awesome butt-kicking heroine (who just so happens to be half-Chinese half-Irish) and an action-packed plot, what’s not to like about Possess?

   Bridget Liu is tired of everyone having control over her life. Everyone except her, that is.

   Ever since the murder of her father, Bridget has had the ability to hear demons, and banish them. With the help of two priests, she strengthens her abilities. But is she strong enough?

   Traitor, traitor, traitor, the demons sing when they see her. Not only that, they’re also giving her messages, weird puzzles of words meant for her to decipher. But the rules say they lie. So should she trust her heart, or the teachings of a priest?

   Written in the third-person POV, Possess was unlike any other. However, although I loved how strong Bridget was in the face of danger, I sometimes felt that she was too strong, too brave when doors start slamming in her empty house. But that aspect was easy to forget when you dive into the plot.

   And dolls. There are creepy dolls with eyes that follow you around, mouths that curve into evil smiles. I highly suggest you do not read this at night! All in all, Gretchen McNeil’s debut was awesome, and I definitely can’t wait for her next book!

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

August 3, 2011



  1. Reply


    August 4, 2011

    So excited for this one even though I'm a complete wimp and will probably get freaked out. If ever a dolls eyes started to follow me I would probably pass out from fear:) Nice review!

  2. Reply


    August 4, 2011

    Dolls? *shudder* Dolls creep me out big-time. Yahoo for creepiness in a book — hard to write, hard to find.
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  3. Reply


    August 4, 2011

    I just read this one the other day! I totally agree about the creep factor! Those dolls were something from your nightmares!
    I think I picked it apart a bit more and pointed out a few more things I didn't like (though my review started sounding more negative then I meant) but I still really liked it.
    Great review!

  4. Reply


    August 4, 2011

    Oooh this one sounds really creepy yet good. This is actually next in my TBR pile. =)

  5. Reply

    Lauren M

    August 4, 2011

    I loved Possess! I didn't find Bridget to be overly strong, but we all have opinions. :)
    I definitely agree with you about the dolls! *shudder*

  6. Reply

    Liz. R

    August 4, 2011

    I really want to read Possess! I love the creepy vibe and it sounds like something I'd definitely enjoy. Love the cover too! Glad you enjoyed it, I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review :).

  7. Reply


    August 5, 2011

    It sounded so good until you told me about the dolls. I'm not really into creepy stories, I like my pretty romantic ones lol. Thanks for the great review though. :)

  8. Reply


    August 5, 2011

    Oh no- creepy dolls! Definitely not one to read at night. I'll keep this book in mind for reading around Halloween. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

  9. Reply

    Alyssa@Teens Read and Write

    August 5, 2011

    Yay for the awesome creepy cover matching the content! Creepy dolls? Yikes! All that's missing is a few clowns and I'd run away screaming!

  10. Reply

    Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    August 6, 2011

    Oh gosh, dolls!! So scary! That's one thing that totally freaks me out. Oh and clown dolls are even worse. Not sure if I'm too wimpy for this one, but it sounds great!

  11. Reply

    A Canadian Girl

    August 6, 2011

    I've got this one on my wishlist and was already planning to read it in the bright daylight since the cover itself is kind of creepy :) Dolls with eyes that follow you around just makes it sound even scarier!

  12. Reply

    Arianne Cruz

    October 30, 2011

    Oh my gosh… Scary review. I just received this book from winning a giveaway a month ago, it sounds like something that would keep me up at night with the light on.

  13. Reply


    February 5, 2012

    WOW! I haven't heard about this book at all and it sounds fantastic. I love a good creepy read…thanks so much for the awesome review. I will be putting this in my TBR pile for sure :-D

  14. Reply


    February 29, 2012

    I have been wondering if I should read this book, your review tells me yes. This will be on my next Amazon order!

  15. Reply


    January 14, 2013

    I did like this one. It was rather refreshing. Definitely will check out this author in the future.