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Review: 7 Souls
7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando. Random House. 2010. Review copy from publisher.
The Plot: Mary Shayne’s seventeenth birthday begins with her lying naked in a strange bed with the worst hangover she’s ever had. Turns out, that strange bed is in the display window of Crate & Barrel in Greenwich Village. Looking back, that just may be the highpoint of her day, since it’s the day Mary Shayne is killed. Once she dies, she comes back, again and again, reliving parts of her last day as seen through the eyes of other people. If Mary begins thinking, “who would want to kill me,” she ends up thinking, “who wouldn’t” as she discovers she’s not as well-loved as she thought.
The Good: Love, love, love. I was so deliciously creeped out by this book.
Mary’s day truly is horrible. Even seen through her own eyes, the reader realizes well before Mary does that Mary can be a bit casually cruel and selfish. As her day starts, it all seems a little big Gossip Girl meets Mean Girls, as Mary goes to her private school, worries about the right clothes and parties and friends, thinks about how pretty and popular she is. Because we’ve been told from the beginning of the book that Mary is going to die, at various times the authors tease with several “okay, this must be the big moment” scenes. Suddenly, the story shifts, from rich popular kids to a heart-pounding scene out of a horror movie, and Mary isn’t the only one in danger. I was reading and thinking, “wait, what? that just happened?!? really?!”
Mary dies. And now she’s in someone else’s head and body, seeing a fragment of her life through another’s eyes, including accessing part of their memory. Memories of her. Mary begins to figure out just how and why she died, and she slowly begins to realize who did it and why. She sees herself through other people’s eyes, and no, it isn’t always pretty. But is it reason enough for someone to want her dead?
Especially once the horror kicked in, and Mary begins entering other people’s bodies, I was on the edge of my seat to see what happened next. The authors kept me guessing as to motive and what was really going on. The narrative as I (and Mary) knew it kept changing with each person she temporarily possesses. The ending creeped me out. Which is a great ending for a horror tale such as this!
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About Elizabeth Burns
Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is email@example.com.
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