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Possess Hardcover – August 23, 2011

75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A fantastic YA debut …. the humor and occasional twists will keep fans of the genre hooked and wanting to finish this book in one sitting.” (School Library Journal)

“McNeil strikes a fine balance between outright scares and sarcastic humor…[a] light, entertaining read.” (ALA Booklist)

“With demons, secrets, and a butt-kicking heroine, POSSESS is a whole lotta dark and twisted fun!” (Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series)

“A dark, unique, and intelligent novel with frightening twists around every corner that left me breathless.” (Courtney Allison Moulton, author of ANGELFIRE)

About the Author

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, a writer, and a clown. She is also the author of Get Even as well as Ten, which was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and an ALA Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth and was nominated for Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012 by Romantic Times. Gretchen blogs with the Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062060716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062060716
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gretchen McNeil is the author of the standalone YA horror novels POSSESS, TEN (a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, a finalist for Washington state's 2015 Evergreen Young Adult Book Award and Vermont's 2014-2015 Green Mountain Book Award, and was nominated for "Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012″ by Romantic Times) and 3:59, as well as GET EVEN and GET DIRTY, part of her mystery/suspense series Don't Get Mad, all with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins. In 2016, Gretchen will publish two novels: RELIC, a YA horror novel, with HarperCollins/EpicReads Impulse on March 8, 2016, and in the fall, I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, her first YA contemporary, with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By flamingo1325 VINE VOICE on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Short Version:
Creepy, twisted and engaging, Possess puts a brilliant new spin on the Nephilim and the good vs. evil battle. With a witty and sarcastic main character, a well developed supporting cast, and some fantastically described scenes that hold nothing back, this one will grab readers from page one and not let go. Strongly paced plot and a well put together mystery make this a book for fans across many genres.

The Extended Version:
Bridget is sassy and intelligent, vivid in nature with plenty of humorous one-liners and an outward toughness that harbors a softer inside. Unafraid to show fear, and doubting herself even at seemingly important times, yet never simply giving up, Bridget is a very well developed character that readers will want to root for. She goes through tremendous character growth, not just in relationship to her new abilities but with her family and friends as well, pulling in a very realistic element to the book overall.

Matt is classically charming and attractive, yet endearingly devoted and sweet, particularly to Bridget. Perceptive about some things but very boyishly oblivious in regards to others, he adds a lot to not only Bridget's development but the plot as well without taking the spotlight. Determined and far from self-centered, Matt makes for a perfect love interest far beyond a melting smile.

The rest of the cast is developed enough for their purpose, with the reader seeing more insight into some characters than others. One factor, however, that really makes this book stand out is the way McNeil toys with reader's opinions of characters throughout the book. Centered on two specific characters, both readers and Bridget have to figure out who to trust.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon-Kunde on December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'd describe Possess as Buffy the Exorcist. The Exorcist part is obvious and the reason I think of Buffy is because like her, Bridget was always fated to this battle against demons and other forces of darkness. Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches and trains her. Bridget has San Francisco's Monsignor Renault and keeps her extracurricular activities a secret while going about her everyday life.

Possess isn't like anything I've ever read - which is very refreshing to say. Bridget is definitely not the shy type that wants to be rescued. She's a tough, independent and enjoys the feeling of power her ability gives her while fearing what having it makes her at the same time.

I really enjoyed the fact Bridget was the one being pursed by Matt, her former childhood friend who recently moved back to San Francisco and has taken on the role of protector for both her and younger brother Sammy. Unlike Bridget with her combat boots and friends she can count on one hand, Matt is very popular. It was obviously Matt liked her and despite sarcastic remarks and giving him the cold shoulder that Bridget liked him too. I always root for the childhood friends that now have the possibility of being more.

Possess< is a dark, unique and captivating fast-paced story. I enjoyed the unsettling feeling I got reading it. The vivid descriptions helped me picture every scene effortlessly in my mind and the unpredictable plot kept me in a constant state of suspense that only increased from page to page. The first thought I had when I turn the last page was that I want more of this world Gretchen McNeil created. I really hope this isn't the last I hear of Bridget and Matt.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Book Flame on November 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was expecting a completely creepy read I mean look at the cover and the title, demons and exorcisms screams horrifying but what I wasn't expecting was quite a few funny moments which actually made me enjoy Possess that much more.

Bridget is a pretty amazing girl, to wake up one day and learn you can banish demons is pretty crazy but the girl was strong and did her thing when it came to getting rid of the demons. I'm glad that the author gave us an explanation on why she was able to banish demons and there was a back story to it instead of her just being blessed with the gift or something.

There was romance but believe me when I say it was the furthest thing from any sort of insta love, like etc. Bridget literally wanted to be left alone by everyone including Matt who was a childhood friend of hers, which is why when she finally did fall for him it just made it that much sweeter.

I do have to say that there were some aspects of Possess that was predictable which is what kept me from giving it a full five star rating but the plot was fast paced and a lot of interesting things happened along the way.

Overall Possess was full of demons, exorcisms, possessed dolls, priests with hidden agendas, mystery, romance and a spunky heroine and if your looking for a book with all that then I highly recommend Possess.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paige VINE VOICE on October 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.

Growing up is hard enough as it is after the murder of her father a year ago, but Bridget Liu has an extra problem on top of that: she's an exorcist that can hear demons. A warning given to her by a demon during her first exorcism sets her on edge; could the demons be lying as Monsignor Renault has taught her they do or are they really trying to get a message across? More messages, all along the lines that something is coming and she must beware, lead her to a horrible discovery: someone is going to attempt to summon the demon king Amaymon and someone close to Bridget may becomes his vessel.

While I loved Bridget and her sense of humor (and that she was POC because we need more great POC heroines--winkwinkwinknudgenudgenudge), I wasn't keen on any of the other characters, particularly Matt and Alexa. Matt didn't quite win my approval as Bridget's love interest; I thought he was a little condescending and pushy. Possess showed such promise and this is why is made me very sad that Alexa's character had to be that of a stereotype mean girl and she had to be shamed for having sex and enjoying it. She will no doubt play a bigger role in the sequel (tentatively scheduled for fall 2013) and I can only hope she will be given more depth then.

The exorcism element of the novel was fantastic and McNeil wrote some very good and very, very creepy scenes. If only some of the scenes I wrote could turn out as well as the scene in the doll shop! The mythology got more right than most angel/demon/etc. books currently published and popular. A few things were off about it, though, and I'll excuse those for the sake of creative license. Liberties get taken sometimes.
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