Say Her Name by James Dawson
Published: June 5th 2014
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.
First off, I need to mention how many strange reactions I received when I shared that, ‘Say Her Name is such a good book’ many of my friends thought my reading tastes had suddenly taken a drastic change :p That offered up quite a few laughs when I explained the premise of the book.
Bloody Mary is absolutely terrifying. Every interpretation of the folk story, urban legend, myth–whatever you want to call it, is horrifying. Imagine, chanting a name in a mirror and then being haunted by a mirror? No thanks!
There has been a trend in recent years of resurrecting the Bloody Mary character for chilling new stories. I loved her appearance in Supernatural and other YA novels, (which I won’t name because Say Her Name kicks their butts!)
I absolutely loved the atmosphere in Say Her Name. The novel opens with a flashback scene and transitions to the present. A boarding school in the UK on Halloween night— the perfect recipe for chills and thrills.
The back story of this version of the legend is presented palpably and is one of the most horrifying renditions of Mary I’ve encountered in my many years of being a horror junkie. After being summoned, the foolish ones that called out to Mary live through five-days of terror before meeting their demise.
In most horror stories it is very hard to like the characters. Often as reader we just question their intelligence and why they continuously do the ridiculous things they do to taunt the entity/spirit/demon/ghoul etc. Say Her Name was a breath of fresh air, I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters story lines. The protagonist was likeable and wasn’t the typical damsel in distress.
The story springs to life from the pages and you’ll find it impossible to put this book down…and a bit impossible to glance at mirrors without feeling a bit of unease.