Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

It’s 1969 and Bliss has made a major change in her life. She has lived most of her life in a hippy commune with her parents to living in genteel Atlanta with her grandmother after her parents flee to Canada. She doesn’t know social etiquette, doesn’t understand typical idioms (ie letting the pigeon out of the coop) and has never been to high school.
When her grandmother enrolls her in Crestview, Bliss is blissfully unaware of what really goes on in a high school. She doesn’t understand or know about social divide and so dives right into her first day. One thing she thinks she understands is the nature of people and those that are mean-spirited…or at least she thinks she does.
Bliss begins to make friends and enjoys her life, but there’s something about the school that doesn’t sit well with her, and it’s emanating from the third floor of Hamilton Hall….
Her life take a sudden change when an accident occurs and Bliss takes up for the underdog, Sandy. Sandy is overweight, smells bad, and has a reputation for being “unnatural” but Bliss puts that behind her and begins to eat lunch with her, spend time with her, and befriends her but also continues her friendships with her other girlfriends to achieve balance.
But there is something to the truth of rumors about Sandy…she is a little off. But Bliss is beginning to be very happy with her life, especially when the boy of her dreams, Mitchell takes notice of her. But her happiness becomes short-lived when she realizes that Sandy is changing into someone she wasn’t, and Bliss now cannot get away from her.
Sandy is intrigued with Hamilton Hall, especially room 313, and insists Bliss becomes a part of her assimilation with the entity that haunts this rooms, but Bliss will not comply…she not only fears this ghost, but is beginning to fear for herself. Although she tries to shun Sandy, it doesn’t work and things explode the night of the Winter Formal.

This is historical fiction very rarely seen, with a mix of fantasy thrown in with a theme of the supernatural a major part of the story. I’d call it historical fantasy fiction. With a touch of Stephen King (think “Carrie”) Myracle takes the era of free-love and brings to the forefront the macabre through plot, diary entries, and blurbs from 1960’s television as well as quotes and court documents from and about Charles Manson. It is a tightly woven novel of suspense, the supernatural, and teen high school experiences. Published by Amulet Books, Release date: September 2008.

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