Author: Lauren Myracle
Type: Young Adult
Tea: Swiss Vervaine Melange, has many components, but all are required for the overall effect
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
*Warning! Here be spoilers!*
What to say about this novel. Well first off I read the book Rhymes with Witches, also by Lauren Myracle, to which Bliss is a prequel, which I didn't know, but thank you Goodreads members for informing me! So now onto Bliss.
Bliss is the story of Bliss in the Morning Dew (yes, that's her name and yes, her parents are hippies). Bliss is unceremoniously deposited at her grandmother's doorstep in the South (Atlanta, to be exact) while her parents flee to Canada away from Nixon and his policies. I like the idea that Ms. Myracle has of bringing in an outsider into this world of prep, money and...blood magic.
Bliss, even though she was not raised in typical society, notices things quickly. But she is also guided by the mysterious vision her friend, Flying V, had for her transition to private school. The first part of the book is your fairly typical new girl scenario, meeting new people, deciding who she wants to be friends with, should I be nice to the weird girl? But tossed in there is a creepy voice talking to her about blood. Frankly if I heard that at my school I'd hightail it out of there or find myself an exorcist.
Bliss makes a group of three friends: DeeDee, Jolene and Thelma. She also befriends the weird, loner girl, Sandy, despite everyone's warnings. There is also Sarah Lynn, always around, the perfect, popular girl.
So weird stuff starts happening at Crestview (the school). It used to be a convent, where a girl supposedly killed herself. Bliss is drawn to the mysterious third floor of one of the school buildings where she finds a blocked off corridor with creepy, old, shut up rooms. One has a dove and a key in the door, which attempts to posses her to open it. She manages to tear herself away and tries to forget about it. But the strange isn't over with yet.
Safe to say everyone's warnings about Sandy were not unfounded. Yes, she's a little off. But it's much more than that. She has all the markings of a young serial killer. She's possessive, creepily so. She hears voices telling her what to do and how to gain ultimate power. She's mean and angry and often lashes out. She also tortures animals.
Sandy and Bliss's relationship eventually culminates to the creepiest sleepover ever, where everything finally registers in Bliss's head. She sees Sandy slowly unraveling and decides to have nothing to do with her anymore. After this time she befriends Sarah Lynn, who we learn isn't the mean girl she's made out to be, she was actually afraid of Sandy and had to do what she did to be free of her.
The book reaches is climax with a deranged Sandy looking for a blood sacrifice, Bliss refusing her and Sarah Lynn, unwittingly, becoming the sacrifice. Many people were upset with the ending as it seems to just end and life goes on. I think that was the point. It was her way of showing how power shifts and can change people. It shows how the power Sandy has now gained and all the attention she gets overshadows even the most popular of people and the loss of them.
Placed throughout the novel are quotes from Andy Griffith, the only show Bliss's grandmother allows her to watch; quotes from the Charles Manson trial, the disturbing backdrop to Sandy's disturbing downward spiral; and racial discrimination. Ms. Myracle brings all of these together very well and makes it cohesive.
Now that I've read this I'm going to read Rhymes with Witches again so I can see how this one relates.
If you're looking for a creepy book with some pretty decent twists and turns, check Bliss out!