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.
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