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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Addiction Reviews
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...
Published on August 24, 2011 by flamingo1325

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, if a little flawed
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...
Published on October 15, 2011 by Ashleigh


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Addiction Reviews, August 24, 2011
This review is from: Possess (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. With both options, from the reader's side, being the predictable stereotype with valid reasons against both, McNeil has smoothly weaved a potent mystery playing heavily on trust.

The plot itself has a steady pace, kicking up the action not only when Bridget is performing a banishment but in regards to the building mystery as well. With plenty of gentler moments to let not only the readers but Bridget have a break, yet never letting these last too long, McNeil will keep readers engaged and intrigued throughout. Giving enough clues to allow the reader to make some predictions, yet not being mundane and predictable overall, this one throws some new elements and twists.

McNeil's writing has a smooth flow, written in third person but keeping a focus on Bridget and never mind jumping. From Bridget's natural wit to her sarcastic come backs, the voice is bold and noticeable. The descriptions are fantastic, bringing alive not only the places but the events that Bridget finds herself in. Never going too far to bore readers or pull them out of the storyline, the description is just enough to be basically perfect.

Not only is this one a supernatural, wading deep into the world of demons, but it's a mystery as well and McNeil has blended these two elements perfectly. Holding very strong roots into realism and a contemporary setting that any reader can understand, imagine, and insert themselves into, Possess is a book that a range of fans will enjoy. With the new story line, intriguing and fleshed out characters, and creeptastic scenes, Possess is a stellar debut with plenty to offer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Creepy, November 20, 2014
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This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, unique & captivating!, December 6, 2011
This review is from: Possess (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, if a little flawed, October 15, 2011
By 
Ashleigh (Jacksonville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Possess (Kindle Edition)
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.(And Kira darling, if you ever read this: The book gives credit to Semyaza as leader of the Watchers. For serious. It's a one-line thing, but it's better than some books do, right?)

The book positively flew by thanks to great pacing, smooth writing, and how overall enjoyable it was despite the little issues I had with it. I devoured large chunks of the book in single sittings and had the book finished in about three days. There were a few plot-related stumbles that really through me out of the groove, though. One was a plot point about another character that was brought up around halfway through the book, completely forgotten about, and only brought up again in the final chapter. Then Matt and Bridget are searching her house for the key to stopping Amaymon from coming and what do they have? A makeout break! Just as bad as the sex breaks of adult books but with fewer pages consumed and less sex (usually).

Now that all the set-up work is done and readers are familiar with the mythology of the world, I look forward to seeing where the sequel can take us. Definitely recommended (unless shaming girls for having sex makes you spazz out in the bad way, in which case proceed with caution)!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great horror for teens, March 13, 2012
By 
C. Aleo (Rochester, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
Possess features one of the most assertive and kick-butt female characters I've read in young adult fiction. Unlike your Bella Swan-type character, Bridget goes out and kicks butt without needing a boy to help her, although if one is wiling, that's okay, too. Still, she's at the forefront of every scene, and the onus is always on her to get through everything using her own talents and powers.

The only thing that kept me from giving this five stars was the romance angle: I know that it seems like every teen novel has to have a romance angle in it, but this one felt too much like it was taking away from the real plot, and was too rushed as a result. My daughter, however, disagrees with me, so that might just be my desire to see one book where they don't need boys at all.

P.S. If you have a cat, read this during the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freaked Out!, January 29, 2012
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: This story is perfect for anyone who loves ghosts and suspense-and doesn't mind being more than a little freaked out! The characters are amazing and the plot is the perfect high-school-meets-the-exorcist story.

Opening Sentence: Bridget stared at the clock on the wall and cursed its painfully slow progression towards three fifteen.

The Review:

I am hard pressed to think of something I didn't like about this book. The narrator, despite being fifteen, is the perfect combination of smart a$$ and smart. Bridget goes to a Catholic school in San Francisco, and demonaic possessions and infestations have been rising in the last few weeks. One night while babysitting, a demon enters the house and goes after the twins there. Worse, Bridget can hear them talking to each other, whether they've manifested in a body or not. And they seem to be coming to find her.

Monsigor Renault gives her the five rules of banishment. As the world around her begins to flip upside down, her mentor's mantra become words to live by. Amaymon, one of the demon kings, is gathering his servants in Hell, and his minions on earth are beginning the ritual that will bring him to life. Then there's Father Santos, the babysitter sent by the Vatican to make sure Monsignor is doing his job. The rise in infestations has left the church worried and Father Santos isn't being forthcoming about what's going on.

Soon ancient biblical scripture comes crashing into Bridget's life and everything she knows about herself is turned around. The demons are calling to her, but can she trust them? And what does her father's murder-only eight months prior to the beginning of the novel-have to do with all this? If she can't figure out what the demons' plans are, more people are going to die. Or worse, more demons will come to earth.

This isn't a religious novel, so don't be scared off by all the Catholicism! It's about banishing and exorcising demons, not a church sermon. In my experience people have been turned off by any mention of a priest in a story blurb but please don't be! The priests are characters, not preachers. They are the source of Bridget's information about what's going on, about who she is and what she has to do to keep her family and the world safe.

Then there's Matt Quinn. He's basically perfect. He helps coach her younger brother at baseball, he doesn't take any of Bridget's crap, and he's also really hot. I love the way this romance develops, because it isn't any of the love-at-first-sight nonsense you read in a lot of young adult books. In fact, she really hates Matt-or at the very least resents him and his dad for barging into the Liu family's life. It's annoying, the way they're so overprotective. But eventually, as a reader you realize just how much protection the family might need. Matt's a great romantic subplot, because he and Bridget work so well together with their sarcastic, smart a$$ senses of humor. Notice I say subplot-Matt isn't a lead character, and the romance takes a back seat throughout the story.

McNeil does the perfect job of balancing the aspects of suspense and horror. I couldn't put this book down until I was sure all of my favorite characters were going to end up all right. After all, she'd killed off the father, and I was scared who'd be next. I couldn't get the pages turned fast enough. Bridget is an absorbing, light hearted narrator despite the subject matter.

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Possess. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Brilliant, November 28, 2011
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
"The fog was everywhere: in her eyes, in her mouth, seeping into her tights and the deep pleats of her uniform skirt. She felt heavy, weighted, like the fog was trying to pull her down the stairs, away from the house, away from what lay inside."

McNeil definitely put her own special twist on William Peter Blatty's classic horror, The Exorcist. The characters might not have sent green pea nastiness flying across the room, but there were many moments that put me in awe of McNeil's horror storytelling. The voices of the demons that possess this novel were masterfully created, and they easily rose from the pages as if they were on the silver screen. How can a horror junkie pass up a read like this? Simple...you can't!

There are rules with all horror stories; rules that can keep you safe and breathing. Gretchen stays true to form, giving this tantalizingly awesome YA horror an adult feel that is sure to make you look at the shadowy areas of your room differently.

Fans of masters of horror like Stephen King and William Blatty will fall head-over-heels in love with Gretchen and the bad-ass heroine, Bridget Liu. Possess is aptly named, as it has the power to possess not only with its gorgeous cover, but with the demons that call out from within.

Begone, readers! Return to your favorite bookstore and grab Possess today!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live To Read, November 2, 2011
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
Gretchen McNeil's novel Possess had me hooked from page one. This is book you read in two hours and then wonder where the time went. Bridget Liu is a wry high school student who happens to be an exorcist and the sidekick to the Priest who is the principal of her school. Although working hard in every aspect of her life, Bridget cannot catch a break. When she finally begins to get a handle on her newly found powers, a new priest arrives from the Vatican because of the strange number of possessions in her area. Unfortunately, Bridget's principal and mentor does not trust this newcomer and tells Bridget she should be suspicious of him. In addition to this weirdness, and old friend is showing an interest in her. But thisisn't just any friend, he is the son of the police officer who solved Bridget'sfather's murder. Bridget Liu's life is anything but ordinary and is great to read about. This is the perfect book for a teen girl who is looking for excitement. Possess is written from Bridget's point of view, so it is hilarious and sarcastic. This book earned five out of five stars.

*Complimentary copy received for this review, does not affect my opinion in any way*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and creepy, August 30, 2011
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu has a rare gift. She is able to speak with demons. She spends a lot of her free time helping out the Monsignor of her private school exorcise these demons from homes around San Francisco. Bridget feels like a freak. She'd rather not have this gift. She just wants to be left alone: By her mother, the cute son of the police officer that worked on the case surrounding her father's murder, and the bitchy mean girl who apparently has it in for her. When Bridget is called to help out with a possession of an actual person, things change. Not only can she hear the demons, but they are now speaking directly to her. Soon, Bridget realizes that she isn't just dealing with the average, annoying demon. There's a larger power at play, and it wants her.

To go into any more detail about this book would ruin the experience for the reader. I enjoyed this book immensely. The pacing was perfect, and Bridget was a total kick-ass character who deserves a place on the "cool paranormal girls who kick demon butt" wall, right next to Buffy. Ms. McNeil's writing is fluid and most of the possession stories gave me chills - especially the particular event that takes place in a doll shop. As many of my regular followers know, it takes a lot to creep me out, and this book definitely had its moments for me. The book is a quick and easy read, and though I'd figured out the story about midway through, I still enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part Horror, Part Mystery, Part Romance, All Good!, August 30, 2011
This review is from: Possess (Hardcover)
Let me just start this review by saying that I wasn't expecting to like this book.

I don't know why. I just wasn't. I think it might have something to do with "the cute son of a local police sergeant" in the summary. That made me think that the story was going to be all about her and the perfect love interest. And I hate perfect. Now that I have actually read the book, reading the summary doesn't put me off as it once did, so I don't know what I was thinking.

I just thought I'd mention that just in case there's anyone else out there who shares my distaste in perfect love interests (because I remember high school...perfection does not exist there) and thought "the cute son of a local police sergeant" raised a red flag.

Trust me, Matt, the love interest, is actually a really nice guy who actually genuinely likes Bridget, and the evolution of their relationship is slow and adorable. I liked it a lot.

But unlike a lot of the paranormal YA out there, the romance isn't the point. Bridget is the point. She's gifted. She has the power to banish demons and detect ghosts and all sorts of amazing stuff. And she's getting pretty sick of it. Because, really, that's a lot to take on while she's still reeling from the death of her father and her mother's dual new love interests. Not to mention the fact that her little brother starts seeing ghosts too.

So Bridget's had about enough, and is ready to give up demon-banishing when she finds out that there might be a connection between the demons and her father's death, and her entire world gets turned upside down, and she's left trying to figure everything out while not knowing who to trust.

This book is part horror, part mystery, and part romance and all good. I enjoyed it so much!

Does anyone know if there's going to be a sequel?

I need to know!

-geekgirl
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Possess
Possess by Gretchen McNeil (Hardcover - August 23, 2011)
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