In Winn’s debut paranormal YA romance, a demonic force haunts a 16-year-old and threatens to destroy everyone she loves.
In the story’s opening scene, Mason “May” Krieg; her boyfriend, Cay; and the school heartthrob, Jack, are attempting to fulfill a school assignment by verifying local legends of graveyard hauntings and satanic rituals. The trio’s ghost hunt becomes real when Mason falls down a mine shaft, and an indistinguishable dark force knocks her unconscious. After she returns home from the nightmarish ordeal, the shadowy presence, which turns out to be a demon, continues to haunt her. To add insult to Mason’s injury, Cay confesses a secret that ends their relationship. However, Mason, like most heroines of this genre, is still desired by nearly every young man she meets. She’s a self-described “drama-dance nerd,” and what she lacks in conventional popularity and designer clothes, she makes up for with her sassy intelligence. As a result, she not only has to contend with a demon, but also with the leering advances of every male classmate. Several plot twists come Mason’s way, and she weathers the challenges with remarkable, if sometimes unbelievable, maturity. Like Stephenie Meyer’s Bella Swan, she’s unwittingly thrown into a paranormal conflict, and like Stephen King’s Carrie, she possesses frightening supernatural power within herself. Things become truly bizarre, though, when the demon, a Fabio-like being with leather pants and luxurious long hair, begins haunting her with sexually charged dreams. Readers may find the love-hate romance between Mason and sensitive jock Jack to be a guilty pleasure, even if it’s sometimes a little clichéd. That said, this novel isn’t recommended for younger teens, as it contains scenes of rape and violence. Other readers, however, will eagerly accept this fast-paced story of biblical demons and teenage lust.
A strange but enrapturing read that may leave teenagers (and some adults) anticipating the next installment.