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The Blessed Hardcover – September 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-This first installment in a planned trilogy features modern characters inspired by the lives of three martyred Catholic saints. It has a promising premise but is dragged down by a slow-moving plot and self-consciously hip language. Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy all find themselves in Brooklyn's Perpetual Help emergency room Halloween night. Agnes, a Catholic schoolgirl, tried to commit suicide; Cecilia, a gifted indie musician, almost drowned in a puddle; and Lucy, a media-obsessed socialite, overdosed at a club. The three teens don't know one another, but they have in common a sense of unhappiness with their lives. Sebastian, a breathtakingly beautiful young man who was also at the hospital that fateful night, bestows upon each girl a gift of a jeweled chaplet bracelet. On the eve of a cataclysmic three-day storm, the girls end up seeking refuge at the decimated Church of the Precious Blood where they find Sebastian. Over the course of the storm and its aftermath, they learn that they are the namesakes of virgin saints from the third and fourth centuries. As it turns out, Sebastian has escaped from a mental institution and is being pursued by the authorities, in particular by an evil psychiatrist who intends to destroy him and the girls. The violence that erupts in the final chapters is over-the-top and surprising. By the end of the book, readers are still in the dark about the girls' calling and the motivations behind their evil pursuers. Hopefully Hurley will redeem Blessed in the second book and the promising story of the saints will be realized.-Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Three teens visit the ER one Saturday night: Agnes has attempted suicide; Cecilia, an on-her-own musician, passed out and almost drowned in an inch of street water; and Lucy, New York’s It girl, ingested something in a club that needs to be pumped out. At the hospital, each girl is given an extraordinary antique bracelet from a mysterious young man. Let the strange happenings begin. Drenched in Catholic legend and the history of the saints, this mixes the trials and tribulations of four young people with the assignment they’ve been given from above. While overwritten, the novel does keep the reader’s interest as the trio of girls tries to make sense of what is happening to them and attempts to figure out who handsome Sebastian really is. This is only the first in a series, so mysteries remain. Hurley, author of the ghostgirl series, provides a number of evocative descriptions, especially when the foursome is in a deserted church, trying to ride out an otherworldly storm. Those who like their paranormal with a religious sheen will appreciate this. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Series: The Blessed
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442429518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442429512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

New York Times bestselling ghostgirl author, Tonya Hurley, has credits spanning all platforms of teen entertainment including: creating, writing and producing two hit TV series, writing and directing several acclaimed independent films, developing a ground-breaking collection of video games and board games and creating award-winning websites. Hurley's films have premiered in film festivals around the world including TriBeca, LA Independent, and Edinburgh and her work has been featured on ABC, IFC and PBS. She was nominated for the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Award in film.

Her first novel, ghostgirl, which is now also available in paperback, was an instant best-seller and has received starred reviews from the literary publications Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, VOYA and School Library Journal. Her second book in the series, ghostgirl Homecoming, was featured on Ace of Cakes along with Harry Potter and was released July 1, 2009. ghostgirl Lovesick, the third book in teh series, will be released July 12, 2010. The ghostgirl audiobooks, narrated by Parker Posey with original music by Vince Clarke, are available for digital download at

Ms. Hurley lives in New York with her husband and daughter. Her Web site is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sir Reads Alot on June 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished Precious Blood!!! If you are familiar with Tonya Hurley's other books and liked them, this will blow your mind!!! Three girls on a journey that they will never forget. Lucy, Agnes and Cecilia have never met before, but What brings them together? Is it an angel?A devil? A saint? Can't wait for the sequel to see how these girls handle the situation they've been thrown into! GET THIS BOOK!!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Quirky Girl VINE VOICE on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow. This is a very dark depressing book. The lead characters are bullies, there is graphic violence, but I could have overlooked all of it, had the book not gone from character viewpoint to character viewpoint to character viewpoint IN THE SAME CHAPTER.
This was a jumbled heap of disjointed anger and sadness.
I felt like I needed a few showers after reading and needed to read something SANE and had characters I could sympathize with.
I have a feeling people will be attracted by the cover (I love the cover - it's quite brilliant) - but the story is horrible, hard to follow, and so disjointed.
Hated it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By OutlawPoet TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When three self-destructive girls find themselves in the same hospital on the same night, they meet Sebastian, a mysterious boy who seems to know more about them than anyone ever could. Will he help them find their true selves? Or lead them into the darkest pits of Hell?


First, I'm going to do something that I rarely do. I'm going to wax poetic about the cover for a minute. I'm a Kindle reader. At least 90% of what I read is strictly e-books. However, in this case, get the book - the actual hardcover book with the jacket. This book is simply gorgeous. There are also illustrated pages inside that aren't to be missed, however, the cover is a jewel. I'm not a book collector, but this one is going on a place of honor where people can see it.

Now, the other part is that the jacket for the book does its part to enhance the reading experience for you. It adds to this luscious, yet edgy, atmosphere that's pervasive throughout the book.

Of course, the jacket can't carry it alone. You need story, and boy do you get it!

Now, I confess that I am a horror lover, and yes, this book is horror. I'm not sure if the author describes it that way, but if I had to pick a genre, it would be horror. Sub-genre might be religious horror. I'm also Catholic, so Saints + Horror is always an interesting combination to me.

The book is not for everyone. It's got hardcore gore and all of the characters are very damaged. All three of the girls are terribly self-destructive in different ways. You wouldn't want to be friends with them, but they are a blast to read about. One of the girls, Lucy, seemed to be a bit too directly based on a certain Hollywood Party Girl, but the other two were a bit more original.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I heard mixed reviews of THE BLESSED before reading the book, but I never quite understood what it was about. But there's something intriguing about books that people either love or hate. And based on my experiences with Tonya Hurley's debut series, there was still a 50-50 chance for me.

But, y'know, I didn't love or hate THE BLESSED.

(And I'm still not entirely sure what it's about.)

One fateful night in Brooklyn, three young women - Agnes, CeCe, and Lucy - end up in the hospital. They have little in common. Agnes is a typical teen who attempted suicide. CeCe is a musician who drowned in a pothole. Lucy is a celebutante who overdosed. But by the time they leave, they all have something in common. The three girls each leave with an expensive antique chaplet. (All of them know what a chaplet is, despite the fact that only one of them is a Catholic school girl. I had to look it up.) Only CeCe saw Sebastian, the boy who left them behind. But soon enough all four of them are drawn to Our Lady of Perpetual Blood during a fierce three-day storm. That's when things get weird.

I liked that THE BLESSED doesn't stick to one interpretation of events. It gets inside the head of many of the characters, including the possibly villainous psychiatrist Dr. Frey and the paparazzo Jesse, who is sometimes Lucy's ally. All of the characters have their own agendas and their own ways of seeing the world, and the truth lies somewhere between how the individuals present it. That doesn't mean I've figured out the truth.

I don't know what I think. THE BLESSED is a fever dream of a book, jumbling rock and roll, celebrity, and religious iconography together with abandon. But I know I'll be back for the second book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon (Scott Reads It!) on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Slight spoilers to follow in this review!

The Blessed is an extremely problematic book that I struggled to read. Thank you Simon & Schuster for repackaging this book with a different cover. My ARC's cover is absolutely dreadful and reminds of a possessed Amanda Seyfried. It's kind of ironic that I decided to read this book based on it's horrific cover. Honestly I decided to read this book because of the horrific reviews and the putrid cover, I really wanted to give The Blessed the benefit of the doubt. People say "What's on the inside is what counts" but The Blessed isn't any better on the inside with it's ridiculous plot and unlikeable, shallow characters.

The Blessed is the story of how Cecilia, Agnes, and Lucy became saints in this modern retelling of the classic biblical stories. All 3 girls' paths cross with the mysterious Sebastian who claims he is trying to help them. During a storm, all 3 girls feel an urge to go to the church and they find Sebastian there waiting for them. Cecilia, Agnes, and Lucy may have powers within that they never knew about.

Honestly all of the characters in The Blessed are extremely shallow, unlikeable and just plain ridiculous. Throughout the entire book, I hated reading about these petulant characters and it made reading this book a chore. They weren't likeable at all, despite the fact that the author tried to make the reader empathize with them. I couldn't even distinguish any of the 3 female protagonists, their character arcs were developed poorly. At one point in the novel, one of the girls suggested that they hold a fashion show in the Church and have the altar act as a catwalk. They wanted to model the Priest's robes because they were bored. Please tell me, why would anyone suggest doing that?
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