Review – Say Her Name By Juno Dawson
Drip…drip…drip…In five days, she will come…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…
Publisher – Hot Keys Books
Date Published – 5th June 2014
Pages – 240 pages
Format – Paperback
Category – UKYA
Source – Bought
** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**
I read this book back in June 2014 upon it’s release and have recently re-read as a Halloween challange set by the author herself Juno Dawson on her twitter account. The challenge was to start the book on Halloween and read a day each day. The book is classed for the Young Adult reader, but is just as enjoyable for an adult reader too.
The story is basically Juno’s modern twist on the Bloody Mary urban legend and is broken down into days and chapters. The legend states that if you stand in front of a candlelit mirror and say Bloody Mary three times (In Juno’s book its five times) Bloody Mary will appear and come for you! I have fond memories of sleepovers at friends houses daring each other to say Bloody Mary and I’m sure I have a memory of my older brother scaring me and my younger sister with urban legend stories including the legend of Bloody Mary! Terrifying!
The opening pages of the book, set thirteen years before the main story, sets up the legend nicely and really sets the tone and atmosphere of the story to come giving a sense of what reading Say Her Name is going to bring to the reader.
The story begins on Halloween night, day zero, and is told from the main character, Bobbie Rowe’s, point of view who basically gets roped into a Halloween dare with her friend Naya and a hunky male character called Caine who Juno says is based on a guy she fancied in school (from the description of Caine I can imagine exactly why). The dare is to say Bloody Mary five times in a candlelit mirror in the bathroom of the boarding school for young ladies, Pipers Hall where a young lady called Mary Worthington used to attend many years before. What persues is what happens to Bobbie and her friends following summoning the Bloody Mary and the obstacles they need to overcome to find the truth! Is Bloody Mary real? What will happen to Bobbie, Naya and Caine? Is someone playing a nasty trick? Will they survive?
As well as Bobbie, Naya and Caine the book offers us a “mean girls” style character in the form of Grace (who reminded me very much of a girl who was the popular, pretty mean girl at my school), Sadie who initiates the dare and the fabulous character of Dr Price who is the head teacher at Pipers Hall. With the exception of Bobbie, Dr Price was by far my favourite character in the book. So stern and to the point and such a stand out, stand alone character. Juno always does such a fantastic job in all of her books of making you feel like you have known her characters all your life and Dr Price is no exception. At a recent book event Junorevealed that her character of Dr Price was written very much with the actress Tilda Swinton in mind and I have to say this sums the character and her presence in the book up perfectly.
I really loved this book. I am a big Juno Dawson fan and this book, for me, is a great addition to her fiction work. The feel of the book reminded me a bit of the Point Horror series from when I was younger, but obviously updated and following re-reads of the Point Horror series so much better and scarier. On my initial read back in June and my re-read this October I was left chilled and definitely looking at my mirror that sits at the end of my bed with fear! I loved the whole back story also that Jauno provides in the book and the setting of Pipers Hall is chillingly perfect.
For me there are some truly scary moments in this book, which as I don’t like to give spoilers away I can only call mirror, bed and bath (if you have read the book you will know EXACTLY what I am referring to here) but I guess it would depend on what the reader finds scary. I like to let my imagination run wild and enjoy being scared and scared I was especially reading late at night with the wind and rain outside! This is a great addition to the UKYA and horror genre and for me is a perfect scary ghost read. I would (and have) recommended this to readers who love a scary ghost story, but have also managed to convince of couple of readers who would never read a scary ghost story to give it a try as its that good. If you are a fan of Juno Dawson’s work also then it is a must read as Juno’s works her writing magic again with this book and its scarily brilliant.
On a side note there is a sneaky reference to a fictional TV programme called Satanville that I found in this book on the re-read following hearing a reference to Satanville at a recent book event with Juno. Look out for this as it will all make sense in the New Year or so Juno tells us…..Satanville is coming….
I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books
You can buy this book here
Find out more about Juno and her books here
Have you read Say Her Name? What did you think? Do you believe in Bloody Mary? Have you ever dared to say her name in the mirror? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !