Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review of Bliss by Lauren Myracle

When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naïve Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted, naïve Bliss is happy to be friends with anyone. That’s not the way it has ever worked at Crestview, and soon Bliss is at the center of a struggle for power between three girls—two living and one long dead.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

I first heard of Bliss when I saw it on Cassandra Clare's (author of The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series) recommended reading list. I bumped it up my TBR list when I saw an upcoming title of her's (Shine; May 1, 2011) on NetGalley and wanted to see if it was worth requesting. After reading Bliss, I definitely say I have high expectations for it.

Bliss Inthemorningdew, of hippie heritage (thus her name), is dumped on her straight-edged and wholesome grandmother in Atlanta and enrolled at Crestview Academy. Desperate for friends, she doesn't think twice about Sandy's strange and morbid behavior until it's too late.

Bliss is definitely one of the more dark books I've read. It's chilling and creepy, and that tone is only emphasized by the story's backdrop of the Tate-LaBianca murders and trials. The excerpts from Sandy's journals about blood magic and  the dead ex-Crestview Academy student who wants the power of it back allowed the reader to understand what was going on even as Bliss didn't.

Bliss was an intriguing character with a personality relevant to her background. She had a naivety and sweetness about her character that made her realistic, but not weak.

Lauren Myracle's writing style was engaging, and had me reading frantically until the very end.

Though I liked the bittersweet ending, it felt almost anti-climactic. There was a lot of build-up to the book's climax that was over quickly and not as dramatic as I thought it would be.

I give Bliss a 4 out of 5.