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BLISS by Lauren Myracle Kirkus Star

BLISS

By Lauren Myracle

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7071-7
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Socio-historical details revitalize classic horror conventions in this suspenseful thriller. Bright 14-year-old Bliss has been deposited at the Atlanta residence of her uptight grandmother by her hippie parents after they split from their commune, seeking refuge from Nixon’s political policies in Canada. Attending an exclusive private school is very nearly a cross-cultural experience for Bliss, and she is deeply disturbed by both the generally catty nature of her peers and their persistent racism. She also is plagued by terrifying ghostlike voices from the moment she sets foot on campus, and is quickly enveloped into a troubling mystery surrounding a student’s death many years prior. Against a backdrop that vividly illustrates the 1969-70 time period, including the Tate-LaBianca murders and subsequent Manson murder trial, Bliss is drawn into a disturbing friendship with an outcast and into a legacy of occult happenings at her school. Myracle effectively pairs these supernatural elements with the real-life horror of racial hatred within an insular community, and Bliss’s gentle and witty narrative voice provides just the right balancing tone. (Horror. YA)