Release Date ~ June 5, 2014
Hot Key Books ~ Penguin Canada
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review
Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?
Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before... A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted 'Queen of Teen' author James Dawson.
I'm always in the mood for a good horror story, and Say Her Name struck me as having a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the fear factor just wasn't there for me nor was the story particularly compelling.
- A new spin on an old legend:
I really liked how James Dawson used the Bloody Mary legend (which most of us have heard one variant of or another) and then built on it. He used its notoriety to help develop his own story, and he added an explanation and back story to the myth. That's a really great way to use this legend and it was particularly effective because there was a reason for each included detail.
Now, as much as I liked that there was an explanation for all the creepy events and scenes... it also kind of detracted from the scary factor for me.
The problem is that when I pick up a horror book, I want to be scared at some point. And I truly didn't experience that with Say Her Name. That was the main reason for my disappointment. This book felt more like a mystery thriller to me than horror, because while parts of it are clearly disturbing it didn't quite reach the level of horror for me. And those scenes are rather brief.
I probably could have enjoyed this book had I enjoyed the plot more than I did. The characters didn't feel fully developed to me, and nearly all of them came across as caricatures. They were stereotypical teenagers, and rather one-dimensional.