Sunday, November 23, 2008

BLISS by Lauren Myracle

Bliss is a child of the hippie culture. Raised on a commune, she is now living with her straight-laced grandmother in a small southern town. Her parents have escaped to the wilds of Canada to avoid participation in the Vietnam War.

Life as the new girl at Crestview Academy is difficult at first. Everything is a bit strange when you've been raised away from modern-day society. But Bliss is a friendly soul and soon makes friends with a nice group of girls. They show patience as they help her learn the ways of everyday southern life. However, life on the commune didn't prepare Bliss for the prejudice and sometimes mean-spirited nature of the south. She likes her new friends, but often doesn't understand their hateful treatment of others.

After a strange encounter on the deserted third floor of the possibly haunted Hamilton Hall, Bliss develops an unusual friendship with Sandy, the school outcast. Thinking Sandy represents something different and rebellious is at first a welcome attraction for Bliss. However, she soon begins to wonder if Sandy is different in a more dangerous way. Could there be a connection between Sandy's odd behavior and the voices Bliss hears when she comes too close to Hamilton Hall?

Set in 1969, BLISS is filled with late 60's references. Everything from Andy Griffith show quotes to the horrors of the Charles Manson murders are slipped in on eerie black inserts between the chapters. The book is a fast read and creates disturbing images that make it a real chiller that will capture readers on the very first page.

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