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Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, the voices are demons - the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind - and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Literally.

Terrified to tell her friends or family about this new power, Bridget confides in San Francisco's senior exorcist, Monsignor Renault. The monsignor enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession, but just as she is starting to come to terms with her freakish new role, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. And when one of her oldest friends is killed, Bridget realizes she's in deeper than she ever thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone else close to her winds up dead - or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.

379 pages, Hardcover

First published August 23, 2011

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About the author

Gretchen McNeil

32 books1,986 followers
Gretchen McNeil is the author of the YA horror/suspense novels POSSESS, 3:59, RELIC, GET EVEN, GET DIRTY, and TEN (a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth) all with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins. Gretchen’s first YA contemporary I’M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, also with Balzer + Bray, hit shelves in 2016, and her next novel will be the horror-comedy #MURDERTRENDING for Disney/Freeform in August 2018.

Gretchen’s novels have been published internationally in Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, and Czech. The film adaptation of TEN starring China Anne McClain (Descendants 2, Black Lightning), Rome Flynn (The Bold and the Beautiful), and Callan McAuliffe (Flipped, I Am Number Four), directed by Chris Robert for Rain Maker Films, premiered on Lifetime on September 16, 2017.

Gretchen is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd. You can find Gretchen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

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5 stars
1,227 (33%)
4 stars
1,074 (29%)
3 stars
865 (23%)
2 stars
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185 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 541 reviews
Profile Image for cEe beE.
546 reviews61 followers
November 20, 2012
The high ratings for this book baffle me. It tried to be a mystery, and action filled paranormal book but it is so unoriginal, it's a repeat of books and films seen many times before. There were gaping plot holes and I guessed who the bad guy was long before the character did. There are superior Nancy Drew mysteries than this.

What really annoys me is the depiction of Bridget Liu as half Chinese. Why bother making her half Asian when she doesn't remotely resemble one - the author keeps emphasizing her very curly hair, blue eyes and being half Irish. The other half of her ethnicity was like an accessory she wore. It was not part of her identity as a character, nor did it add depth or relevance to the story. There's even a stereotypical Asian nerd, whom the character ignores and feels sorry for.

Is the author trying to be multi-cultural? If she did, she failed. Epically. She should just have stuck to her own roots, and just made Bridget all Anglo.

Attention authors; listen closely, if you are going for diversity in your books, try to have some first hand knowledge of the culture you're going to write about. Didn't they tell you at writing class to write about what you know best?

There were all sorts of wrong with this book and I could rant more but that is just exhausting.

ZERO stars.
Profile Image for caren.
520 reviews103 followers
July 20, 2013
How much did I love this book? Let me count the ways… Okay, I know, cheesy. But seriously… I’ve been in such a rut the past few weeks that I was discouraged. I didn’t want to start anything because I was afraid I’d be disappointed with how it turned out.

And after a string of meh-so-so books, this was a complete turn-around. It had everything I like in a book: a main character that didn’t annoy me, humor, cute boys, romance and a kickass story. Which I wasn’t sure about at first… Though I’ve always been a huge fan of supernatural paranormally type stuff, especially when it comes to Angels and Demons and possession, I had yet to find one that actually interested or intrigued me. When I was a kid, my brother and I had a huge love for horror films and even though most times they scared the crap out of me, I still wanted more. That’s what this book was for me. It wasn’t particularly frightening, but there were some seriously creepy moments that definitely had me looking into dark corners looking for shadows. Or talking dolls…

Let me tell you a little about what happens. Our MC, Bridget, is still reeling from the death of her father when she discovers she has the ability to communicate with ghosts. Specifically: demons. After learning about her ‘ability,’ she sets off on a journey of discovery: about her power, about herself, about love… and about what really happened the night her father died.

There are a few moments that are a bit predictable. There are a few points where Bridget’s immaturity shines through (but come on, she’s fifteen for goodness sake), but there were so many other highlights for me that it didn’t even matter. I enjoyed the ride and I didn’t want it to end. Sadly… it did, but it ended well. No cliffhangers! No questions! A real life beginning, middle and end! I’ve started to think authors don’t know what those are anymore… Of course, the possibility for a second novel was left open (which makes me happyhappyhappy), but I’d be fine if there wasn’t one. (Even though I would love to see more demon buttkicking and of Bridget and Matt together)

Bridget was a little badass with a sharp tongue and great wit, she had me laughing and crying and cheering her on. There’s one line in the status updates I posted that still owns me right now. It was seriously perfect.

And the boy… Matt Quinn. God, he was sweet. And I still can’t get the picture of him in the fedora out of my head. What is it about a damn fedora that’s so appealing? His feelings felt genuine and real, and I may have swooned more than once at his persistence for Bridget’s attention (definitely need more closet time in book 2, just throwing that out there).

It wasn’t just them, though. There were so many great characters in this book. Sammy, Bridget’s little brother. Hector, her gay best friend. Sergeant Quinn, Matt’s father. Fumbly little Father Santos. Poor, poor Peter Kim with the crush. Loved them all.

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown out the five-star rating, and in this case, I feel the book deserved it. If for nothing else than it really renewed my love for young-adult fiction at a time when I didn’t think there was a book left out there that would have everything I wanted in it. I hope you decide to give it a chance and read, and even if you disagree with how much I loved it, I’ll be happy if you take the chance.
Profile Image for Lindy.
146 reviews
November 10, 2011
I was so disappointed with this book. I had high hopes based on the cover blurb and the cover design itself. The premise sounded fairly unique--something different and interesting. But I really don't have anything good to say about it after reading it.

The plot was completely transparent--I knew the ending very soon into the book. The characters had no depth, and the relationships between them were not well developed, especially not in a believable way. One of your best friends since childhood is brutally murdered, you discover the body, and you barely spare him a second thought? I don't think so.

The protag, in particular, just got on my nerves with her bad attitude and the constant use of teenage catchphrases and pop culture references. Not to mention the fact that it was really hard for me to believe that a teenage girl would choose a priest as her closest confidante--her mentor. To top it all off, the ending was super cheesy.
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 37 books8,965 followers
February 7, 2017
Ms. McNeil is a master at who-done-its. She gets me every time. I loved this heroine and her love interest. She's smart and sassy. Favorite scene was at the end which I won't describe since spoilers. Also liked her shopping for a dress with her best friend and that she went for purple. Me, I always go black. Brave color choice my girl.
Profile Image for Jill Myles.
Author 40 books1,625 followers
July 29, 2010
I got to read an early version. It was all kinds of BADASS. Scary and awesome all at once. Keep this one on your radar because it's going to be BIG. There's a scene in a doll store that will make you pee your pants. :)
June 2, 2011
If you scare easily, do not read this book at night. You have no idea how serious I am about this. I read it in the morning and was still seriously freaked out at times--although Possess was so freaking amazing that I had to keep reading. That's the thing about Possess, it doesn't slow down and you will be glued to the page.

Bridget lives in San Francisco, a city that has been seeing an usually high level of demonic activity lately, and attends St. Michael's Prep--yes, a Catholic school. With her unique gift, she'll learn to kick some demonic butt and banish them to Hell with the help of a certain priest. However, things aren't quite that simple. A cryptic note given to her by demons reveals that someone near her might not be working for the greater good. But demons lie, right? It's what she's been told--one of the supposed rules of banishment--although perhaps it would be best to keep an eye on the persons in question. After all, what if they're right? Someone has been trying to summon one of the kings of Hell into their world and it'll be up to Bridget to put a stop to their plans.

Bridget Liu is half Chinese, half Irish, and really hopes that her ability will go away so that she can be normal again. She hangs out with two guys (occasionally a third) and her best friend, Hector, is gay. There's also Peter Kim, a boy who has been crushing on Bridget forever and it's been reaching stalker levels lately. Part of me feels terrible for Peter, but the other half of me really wanted Bridget to tell him off. Alexa is Bridget's archenemy of sorts at St. Michael's Prep and I hope Bridget goes head to head with sometime in the future--as it didn't happen in Possess. Lastly there's Matt, Bridget's love interest, son of a cop, and all around good guy. She's been avoiding him and he's been worrying about her (as well as trying to talk to her). Favorite characters? Bridget and Hector, hands down. Bridget's younger brother Sammy admittedly wasn't my favorite person in the world--but I'm pretty sure that's because I couldn't imagine dealing with my younger brother at age eight again. But that's family for you; you've got to love them regardless.

I really loved that Possess has a constant pacing to it. Once things pick up, they don't slow down until you get to the ending--at which point, I found myself completely in love with Gretchen McNeil's writing style. I wouldn't call the ending a cliffhanger, but it certainly left off in such a manner that I suspect--and seriously hope--that there will be another book. You have no idea how much I want to gush about Possess and am refraining from saying because they things I want to tell you about are spoilers. Let's just say that the demons are seriously interesting and that Mr. Moppet is more than just a cat with an interesting name.

Possess really is a book that I'd recommend to you. It's a page turner, involves demons and excorsists, and has just the right amount of romance. But again, if you scare easily, consider yourself warned. As much as I want to tell you what freaked me out in Possess, I think it'd be better for you to read it and see. ;)
Profile Image for Rebecca.
Author 13 books20 followers
September 10, 2011
I didn't like this as much as I expected to. I liked the idea a lot -- teenage girl has the ability to banish demons -- but the execution left me cold. For starters, there were no surprises. I spotted the bad guy on page 5.

Bridget Liu is an interesting character, daughter of a Chinese psychiatrist and Irish school teacher who has always attended Catholic school, but I didn't like her much. Devestated by her father's murder, Bridget is prickly. She doesn't get along with anyone, only socializing with a few select boys at her school, one of whom, Peter, is basically stalking her and the other 2 seem to be gay. Not that I care about that, but Bridget isn't that nice to these few friends either. When Peter is murdered, Bridget feels bad about it for all of a page and a half and then immediately moves on. She also doesn't get on well with her mother, standard for a teenage girl with issues but the fact that she couldn't have a positive relationship with SOMEBODY really bugged me.

Of course, Bridget was fond of her 8 year old brother, Sammy, who's a genius but, when about to be sacrificed to a demon by a priest, comes off as incredibly clueless. I mean, the kid is stuck in a church at midnight with black candles everywhere and Satanic symbols all over the floor and he's whining "You said you'd give me ice cream" to the demented nutcase in the clerical collar.

I think teenage readers will enjoy this book but, for anyone who's read a lot of YA, they'll realize they've seen this story before. There just wasn't anything original in it.
Profile Image for ChristaCarol.
Author 2 books13 followers
July 31, 2010
I read an earlier version of this and it kicks total ass (and so does the heroine). The creepy spookiness and interesting mystery of what's behind Bridget (the MC) is written perfectly, not to mention a yummy romantic interest. This is a must read for any YA lover!
Profile Image for Colette.
562 reviews51 followers
March 10, 2015
I never pictured myself as a horror fan, but Possess by Gretchen McNeil converted me into a YA horror novel lover! Overall 5/5 stars; next up is Ten by Gretchen McNeil!
Profile Image for Dena Landon.
Author 1 book18 followers
August 28, 2011
I didn't read this book - I devoured it in one afternoon, only putting it down to take potty breaks. Possess grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the last Hallelujah.

Bridget Liu is your typical Catholic high schooler - in steel toed boots, and with an attitude to match. She's just trying to survive high school as social outcast, with only her gay best friend Hector and her creepy-stalker friend Peter for company. She wants to be normal, but that's not what she's going to get. In the first two chapters we find out that Bridget can hear demons. Not only can she hear them, she can cast them out of demoniac's (people possessed by demons). Monsigneur wants her to embrace her destiny and help him fight off the powers of darkness, Bridget just doesn't want to flunk show choir. But there have been a rash of possessions around San Francisco, so many that the Vatican has sent a new priest to investigate, and the spirits aren't going to let Bridget ignore them for long.

McNeil's writing has a breezy, light style with humorous tones that lends itself well to her main character's smart-ass thoughts. But Bridget isn't just a smart-ass, she genuinely cares about her little brother, worries about how her mother is handling her father's murder, and doesn't like that cute boy who keeps hanging around. Really, she doesn't. As someone with only a passing familiarity with Catholicism I was able to follow McNeil's explanations of the demons and how to fight them, and enjoyed the mythology that she reveals over the course of the book.

Possess is a fun, entertaining YA novel with lots of plotty goodness that I think teens will enjoy. I look forward to the next book by this author.
Profile Image for Veronica Morfi.
Author 3 books400 followers
April 12, 2014
Rating: 4/5

Possess is the second book by Gretchen McNeil I've read and it was much different. This book has demons, exorcists, angels, Nephilim and everything in between. In Possess 15-year-old Bridget discovers she can hear and banish demons after her dad is murdered. With the help of two priests she starts taking up exorcisting job. But the possessions in her town are becoming more and more frequent. And the demons are warning her about a King of Hell that is about to rise.

Possess was really good. I loved all the action and creepy exorcist moments, and trust me there were a lot of them in the first half of the book. Then there is the main character, Bridget, she is so sarcastic and kind of kick-ass that I couldn't help but adore her. Also, I loved the lore about angels and Nephilim, Watchers and Emim, the Order of St. Michael, it made the story really come to life and I'd love to see another book set in the same world as Possess.

The second half of the book was more about the mystery behind Bridget's father's murder and who is the man conjuring the King of Hell. The outcome wasn't really socking. Gretchen McNeil gave us a lot of clues to figure out who was the bad guy and everything else, but still the story flew really well. I would have loved for a big twist at the end, but it never came. Still, I did enjoy that the romance in the second half of the book progressed. It was so cute and adorable.

All in all, this was a great, fast paced book. With an exorcist MC who can kick some demon ass and find some great come back lines in the process. I am really enjoying McNeil's books and can't wait to read more.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
July 4, 2015
I read two of Gretchen's other books (Ten and 3:59) and I really enjoyed both. I had Possess on my shelf for a really long time and I finally for around to it. I didn't like it as much as Ten or 3:59 but it was still pretty good.

I didn't feel like Possess was really original, it was just normal demons and exorcist stuff, and the characters were not bad. I didn't really like them but I didn't hate them either.
Something that did bug me was how Bridget was half Chinese but it was completely ignored the whole book. I love diversity in YA and I think there needs to be more but it also needs to be done right. Bridget was written to be half Chinese but she had none of the traits. The author keep talking about her blue eyes and extremely curly hair. About her being half Irish. It was a little frustrating to me.

Overall, Possess was an okay book. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. I wish I could change somethings about it and I wasn't really scared by this book like a lot of other people have said. I'm glad I read it but I doubt I'll be rereading.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,650 followers
April 21, 2012
Bridget Liu is a whiner. Seriously. She's one of those heroine's that's all 'waaah, I have a special power, but I just want to be normal.' Just get over it! I mean, yeah, of all the powers out there being able to exorcize people wouldn't exactly be my power of choice, but you've got it, so you might as well deal with it instead of complaining about it.

That's the thing, though, Bridget's pretty unhappy with pretty much everything in her life, and she whines about it constantly. However, she makes little to no effort to change any of these things. She doesn't want to help people with her powers, but she comes running to help whenever the priests ask her too. She doesn't like her mom dating so soon after her dad's death, but instead of calmly discussing it with her she ignores it and then throws temper tantrums. She claims to dislike Matt Quinn, who I am affectionately calling 'Hottie Stalker,' yet she continues to agree to hang out with him, all the while bemoaning the circumstances that brought her there (namely, her choosing to be there with him), in between fits of swooning mentally about how hot he is.

Even worse than her perpetual plaintive protestations, though, is the fact that they all take place next to her thoughts about what a badass she is. If you just heard her internal monologue, except for the part where she melts into a puddle of goo when super sexy Matt does anything, you might think this heroine was a tough, take no prisoners, straight up biatch. Seriously, she even called herself a badass in her thoughts, only a few pages after she congratulated herself on having strong Matt to protect her now. UGH!

You may be wondering about my moniker for Matt that I mentioned earlier. He is constantly showing up where she is, inquiring about where she's been, and talking to her mom (both in person and on the phone). They may have been childhood friends, and they may sort of be close now, but that's weird. In addition to Hottie Stalker, there's also Awkward Stalker. Bad luck, right? She has two freaking stalkers. The other one is one of her two best friends, Peter Kim. Peter's been obsessed with her for years, and, apparently, despite being friends for so long, she can't talk to him about anything because he'll interrupt her to repeatedly say how much he loves her. He's constantly getting jealous about her relationship with Matt and seems to know things about her he shouldn't. Yet, they are still friends.

The Peter Kim thing bothered me from the very beginning. He has the most pathetic crush on Bridget, which is fine, except that this apparently has to mean he becomes a creepy stalker. Part of the problem could be how wishy-washy Bridget is, although I think he still should have figured it out by now, but, in real life, most guys would just hide their crush. Plus, the third person in their friend group, sassy gay friend Hector, just makes everything worse. He constantly forces the conversation back to the Bridget-Peter drama. Who does that? These people just did not feel at all like real friends, or real people really.

The fantasy elements were a bit off-putting to me as well. Here's the things: the book came across as very religious. I mean, obviously that's a danger with a topic like demons/angels, but it can be done less heavy-handedly than this. Of the angel/demon books I've read, this one definitely seemed to be the most religion-oriented, which may be because of the creepy priests telling her what to do all of the time or who knows what. Maybe it's just me. I also found the plot trite and predictable; the writing weak.

Obviously, I did not care for this one. However, I do intend to give McNeil's new novel Ten a try, because the plot sounds very And Then There Were None. Anyway, I do think people who enjoy the novels of Kimberly Derting and Courtney Alison Moulton, both who offered blurbs for the back cover of the book, might enjoy Possess.
35 reviews
April 10, 2011
Possess by Gretchen McNeil was a book I have been anticipating for a long time. When I finally got my hands on it, I was not disappointed.

Possess follows Bridget Liu, a 15 year old girl who’s father was recently murdered. Before long, she discovers that she has the power to banish demons back to Hell. I was amazed with the story. It was all that I was expecting, and more. There was plenty of action. The demon mythology and the rest of the mythology in the book were extremely well developed, and it all tied together nicely. It managed to include some romance too, which though it wasn’t really a main plot, it was there, and it was awesome. I’m not going to include anything else that goes on, but there are a lot of unexpected twists and turns throughout the novel. It was pure awesomeness. I can not wait for more about Bridget and her demon-banishing powers! 5/5

The writing in this book was different than most, and I loved it! It was third person narrative, but you also had insight to the things Bridget was thinking. I am not really sure what to call it. Usually I prefer first person much more than third, but in this case, I loved the third person view. It fit the story extremely well. I will definitely be reading whatever else Gretchen writes, as I highly enjoy her style, and I think many others will too! 5/5

The story is set in San Francisco. I’m not too familiar with the city, but the book did a very good job describing it. I think it was a perfect fit for what was going on in the story. We got to see the church, the school, houses, and the crazy house. There was plenty of variety in the location, and they were all great. 5/5

I loved the characters! Bridget was a kick-butt protagonist and I loved her! She was strong and willing and didn’t let anyone put her down. The supporting cast was great. Peter, the obsessive best friend, and Hector, the other best friend, were both fun. We didn’t see much of Brad, but I’m sure we will in the future. The relationship between Matt and Bridget was great and really well developed. No insta-love here! Matt was a strong character and helped Bridget throughout the novel. The priests were both mysterious and I could never tell which one I should or shouldn’t trust. The evil popular girl, Alexa, was a great addition too. There always has to be an evil girl. And she is evil. I can’t wait to read more about Bridget, as she is one of my favorite protagonists. 5/5

So, 20/20. I absolutely LOVED this book. I was so happy when I received it from Harper Collins. This is definitely one I see myself reading again and again. I want to read it again already and I just finished! This is one of my favorite books this year, and I will definitely be waiting for more about Bridget!

Check out my blog, I Devour Books (http://kreagslistofawsomebooks.blogsp...) for other book reviews! This review will go up there closer to the release date.
Profile Image for Jessica.
165 reviews127 followers
March 15, 2012
I’ve had this novel since it was released in late 2011, but for some reason it kept getting bumped down in my To Be Read pile! Now I really regret not reading this novel sooner, because I really enjoyed it!

As most story workshops go (at least in my creative writing courses), we always discuss the strengths of a narrative first. I’m not even sure where to start, because there are so many strengths in McNeil’s debut novel. So I guess I’ll just list them in the order I have them written down in my notes: Characterization, Subject Matter, Love Story, Plot.

So, Characterization. I have to say that I really respected Bridget as a character for being strong willed and for not readily accepting her abilities. Since religion has a large part in this story, we learn that not only does her ability have to do with the entities within Heaven and Hell, which proves to Bridget that God, in fact, does exist. She had previously renounced God after her father’s murder. So her slow acceptance of her fate coincides with her acceptance of God and religion.

I want a gay best friend like Hector. He was extremely well developed for a secondary character that isn’t privy to Bridget’s secrets. I just really loved his and Bridget’s relationship, even though it was strained through part of the story. Oh, Matt Quinn. He is the resident sexy boy who has the hots for our main character. Matt managed to surprise me throughout the story with his loyalty to Bridget, which I can owe to McNeil for making me dislike him because Bridget did. Their relationship developed organically (more on this later).

Subject Matter: In my opinion, the subject of demonic possession really hasn’t been overused in YA lit, and the use of Catholicism in Possess is extremely realistic and very well done. In a time where the Catholic church is criticized almost constantly for some of its amoral actions with choir boys and acolytes, or even its stance on gay marriage, it is really great to see the Catholic Church, a Catholic heroine, and the Vatican as heroes. I have to say that it really surprised me.

Simple statement: THE LOVE STORY DID NOT OVERPOWER THE PARANORMAL STORY ELEMENTS. Hallelujah. Thank you, McNeil, for not allowing the budding friendship/relationship between Bridget and Matt to come to the forefront when the major dramatic question was about the possessions. THANK YOU.

The final strength I want to mention is the Plot development. The pacing of Possess was great, and there wasn’t a spot where I felt like I could skip some chapters and still be able to finish the story. There were a few places that were somewhat obvious to me (with the plot twists) because I saw it coming, but it still didn’t take away my enjoyment of reading this novel.

Weaknesses: Okay….the only thing that really bothered me was the amount of current pop culture references spread throughout the novel. I just feel that these references (Ke$ha, Jersey Shore, and Mean Girls) can really serve to date the text. This means that some future generations that might want to pick up this book won’t really know what those references are.

I really enjoyed Possess, and cannot wait until the release of McNeil’s second novel, Ten. 4.5 Bards!
Profile Image for Donna .
485 reviews124 followers
September 16, 2011
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really liked this story, the plot was exciting and suspenseful and the mythology that drove the plot was incredibly intriguing. I enjoyed learning about the watchers and the emmim, the mythology behind their existence was absolutely compelling. It kept me wanting to know more about them and their history. This was a book that I wanted to keep reading, despite its flaws. The action and suspense were enough to keep me fully engaged in the story even when I was annoyed with some of, what I felt to be, the weaker aspects of the book.

The scene opened on the heroine attending and assisting with an exorcism. This certainly set the tone for the exciting premise. The demons were strange and otherworldly, and very cleverly written. The exorcisms may have, at times, lacked the feel of authenticity, but they were still fascinating to witness, especially the way main character, Bridget, interacted with the demons. The two priests that were also attending the exorcisms and advising Bridget were such shady characters, I didn't know which one I distrusted more. The byplay between them effectively communicated the tense relationships between themselves and Bridget.

Where I sometimes lost patience with Possess was in the dialog and the characters. One of the most important factors in a book, for me, is the way the characters interact with one another. So, when the dialog is weak, or cheesy, or overdone, it takes a lot away from the story itself. In Possess, it was clearly the intention to make Bridget a snarky, angsty teen, which in itself can be tedious to read. The problem I had with this was that any time she was speaking, whether it be internally or in conversation, there was either a flippant remark or a "poor me" whiny pout. I felt like it was completely overdone and decreased my enjoyment of the book.

As a main character, I thought Bridget was a whiny, sarcastic, clueless nitwit. I don't understand why the hints were presented so that the reader understood them, but apparently Bridget did not. It made me feel frustrated with her ineffectiveness as the main character. I also hated the way she treated her "friends" The snarky comments about one being fat, lazy, and gay were a bit over the top. Also, the fact that she didn't discourage the other "friend" who obviously had a huge crush on her, instead, she continued to ignore his hurt feelings as she became closer to another guy without ever addressing the issue or even attempting to salvage the friendship. There were many things like this that caused me to dislike Bridget as a main character.

I guess I will be one of the very few, it seems, that did not absolutely love Possess. It simply wasn't for me. I find it very difficult to enjoy a book if I do not like the main character. So, for me, I will be rating Possess a three, because while the plot was fast paced and exciting, the fact that I did not like the main character took much away from my overall enjoyment.
Profile Image for Lili V.
490 reviews
August 16, 2015
After the murder of her father and the weird manifestation of her new exorcist powers, Bridget Liu was not up to dealing with much else; especially the emotional loops some of the people around her were going through. Her tough demeanor created the "I could care less" atmosphere that gave Possess some of its edge. The rest came from the suspense built up from the escalating infestations of demons in Liu's side of San Francisco. However, keeping secrets from the people that care about her--especially a potential boy-toy--soon proves fruitless and the exposure of her more-than-human abilities seems unpreventable. When new occurrences in the case of her dad's murder start sprouting, Bridget doesn't know who to turn to and begins doubting herself and her "banishments".

With my somewhat new fascination in the old biblical good vs. evil, Satan/Demons against God/Angels, I've grown fond of the executions I've seen done in multiple authors' books. In Possess, I was immediately captured by the concept of a young girl being an exorcist. From the very first few chapters I had my initial opinion on the cast of characters and as the timeline and story progressed, they didn't change at all; the characters and my opinions of them. If anything they just escalated in being what they already were, which was predictable and disappointing simultaneously. Bridget's friends--Hector, Brad, and Peter--all had their own essence but were also two-dimensional, meaning they were nicely portrayed but lacking in the creative department. In a terrifying "I know what's going to happen next" kind of way, I knew who were the bad guys from the very beginning. When the background that McNeil wanted to base Bridget's powers came out to light, I didn't necessarily have to wait till the ending for the big unveiling of the bad guy. I already knew who it was. Sad, but true.

A common reoccurrence in the dialogue was the word "Whatever." There's only so many times that the main character can say the same thing before it becomes meaningless. I understand the need for the bad-chick attitude but there are an ample amount of ways that that can be pulled off in a much more believable tone. There's also a tendency where the multiple times the evidence presented to Bridget as to who the mastermind behind everything is, she's a bit slow to pick up the pieces and solve the puzzle. That's a quality I don't like to see in my heroine's because it makes me think that when pertinent information is showed to them--clearly and precisely--they'll stand there and have a plastic look in their eye, going "What?" As I said before, while the concept was enticing to me on a religion-based scale, I could not overlook the abundantly obvious twists and turns of the plot that made this debut bland and lacking. If there is talk of a sequel, I won't hesitate to add it to my wishlist but I won't be at the storefront on release day.

Grade: C+
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,489 reviews697 followers
October 18, 2017
Initial Impressions 10/27/13: Possess was really interesting! I don't read a lot of books about ghosts or possessions or demons (i'm too scared hahaha) so a book by Gretchen McNeil was perfect because for every horror, there is a bit of humor and sarcasm.
I was afraid it would be too religious at first, but it really just had to be set up and once I got into the story, it was much more like religious history and info the reader needs to solve the case.
Very fun book and a nice, mild scare!

Full review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide 11/15/13: Many thanks to Amy who bought this book for me for All Hallow’s Read! I’d heard a lot of positive reactions to the book and having only read one other book by Gretchen McNeil, I had high hopes that I would enjoy it too! I’m actually really glad she got it for me because I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up for myself. We’ve talked several times how I’m a big, big chicken and I do NOT read books about ghosts or demons. And what does POSSESS have? Ghosts and demons. But I put my faith in Amy and rest assured that all turned out well! She just knows! :)

At first, I was just a tiiiiny bit skeptical. I’m not big on books who focus a lot on religion and right away we meet Bridget who goes to a Catholic school and meets with Monsignor Renault and Father Santos. Priests? I was worried. But I carried on through the first few chapters and once we started getting into the meat and potatoes of the religious history and the mythology surrounding angels and demons, I immediately became sucked in! Things really started coming together and I saw that as much as I wasn’t a huge fan, religion definitely needed to be involved in this story and everything really fell into place.

I loved how delightfully creepy POSSESS was! I was a little scared that possessions, demons, and the like would be a little too much for me, but it was just the perfect amount to creep me out and not have me sticking the book in the freezer. (Points for understanding the reference!) What really made it enjoyable for a scaredy cat like me was the combination of creepy, funny, and yes, even romance! I can definitely say that without the humor and sarcasm that I love from Gretchen McNeil, it might not have been enjoyable and I really liked those moments when I was pulled out of the fear and given time to shake it off.

I had some minor issues here and there with characters but this was one of those books where I didn’t read too far into it. I was definitely reading for fun and for the horror factor so it was a really enjoyable book for me! There were definitely some SUPER creepy moments (don’t worry, it’s not clowns, but it was worse than that for me haha) and some really great sort of religious mythology. I really liked how the book came together and it was a really fun read!
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews847 followers
October 16, 2011
4.5 Stars

Wow! I really liked this one! I have to say, I was a little chicken to start reading this because of the subject matter but, it was really good.

Fifteen-year old Bridget Liu has the power to sense, hear, and most important: banish demons. She doesn’t come into this power or know about it, until nine months earlier, after her father was murdered by a patient sent to him for a psyche evaluation. Bridget didn’t even understand what this power was until it came to the attention of Monsignor Renault, a priest at her Catholic school. Ever since then he has been training her and enlisting her help in banishing demons. The occurrences of these possessions seem to be multiplying and another priest from the Vatican is sent to observe and report. On one of these banishments, (which was super-creepy and involves dolls!) Bridget is told by one of the demons that he was sent by her father with a message: all is not what it seems with his murder.

The more Bridget learns about the source of her powers, the more she freaks out. She desperately needs someone to confide in and lucky for her Matt Quinn, her childhood best-friend, is more than willing to listen. Matt is the son of her father’s best friend, Sergeant Quinn, who worked on her dad’s murder investigation. For some reason Matt has taken it upon himself to look out for both Bridget and her little brother, which at first really annoys Bridget. Bridget’s feelings start to change toward Matt when she decides to confide in him and he begins to help her solve the true mystery behind her father’s murder.

I was afraid going into this book that is was going to scare the crap out of me! It was really creepy especially in the beginning, but it wasn’t near as bad as I thought. Once you see that Bridget can handle this, you’re not as scared. Plus, I didn’t want to put this story down! I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, and there was never a dull moment! I loved Bridget and her fearlessness. It was interesting discovering the origin of her powers and the history behind it. And Matt was just so sweet and protective! There was some definite chemistry between those two, and some inside-melting-kissing scenes!

This was definitely worth the read, and I’ll be looking out for the next story Gretchen McNeil puts out there!
Profile Image for Theresa Jones.
Author 10 books131 followers
July 8, 2012
WOW! Where to even start with this book! I only bought this book because I have been seeing it all over the blogosphere and I thought the cover was AMAZING.

That being said, going into this, I had no idea what it was even about.

AND O-M-G I was BLOWN away! This book is not my normal cup of tea. I don’t normally do thriller/suspence novels, but since it had the paranormal element I love, I thought it would be ok. This was as action packed and suspenseful as you can get! There was even romance- an All-around perfect book.

Plot: This story starts off right away with the main character- Bridget, coming to terms with the fact that she can speak to and banish demons. She gets trained by the monsignor at her local church and school (she goes to a Catholic school). As I said before, SO not my normal cup of tea. I don’t normally like books about a specific religion-especially Catholicism because I am catholic and usually things are very negative. This wasn’t so much negative though and since I was raised catholic, I had a lot of back knowledge that goes with it. You quickly learn that Bridgets father was murdered and the murderer is locked in an insane asylum now. You follow her journey as she realizes really WHO and WHAT she is, who the real murderer is, and how she is the only one capable of stopping the bad guys. There were no slow parts, and the plot was perfectly executed!

Characters: Every character had depth. Though I would have loved more romance between Bridget and her love interest by the end of the story (no spoilers so I wont be naming his name) you don’t know who the bad guy is until the end, but when you discover it, it makes perfect sense. Every character was perfect, even the supporting characters like Hecter and Peter!

Action/Suspense: Holy crap guys! This was load packed with action and suspense! As soon as I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. And I may even have nightmares now (haha-remember I was raised catholic so thoughts of crazy evil devil/demons FREAK me out!!!!)

Overall- this was perfectly executed nice change of scenery for me! I would highly recommend to ANYONE and EVERYONE who had any interest in paranormal, romance, suspence, thriller, OR any combination of the above!

review by Mrs Jones at : theresamjones.blogspot.com
Profile Image for JeanBookNerd.
321 reviews40 followers
December 14, 2011
When I came upon Gretchen McNeil’s Possess, I was immediately drawn by its cover. It led me to believe that it would be a dark and creepy adventure and it couldn’t be truer as I got myself in between the pages. All of my expectations from this genre as most paranormal YA is normally dominated by vampires, faeries, angels, ghosts, and witches were absent. It was entirely different than what I thought it was going to be. Possessions by demons are not new but very refreshing with the current fad of today’s paranormal YA. I am happy it turned out that way because I absolutely loved it.

The main character, Bridget Liu, is very likeable and just seems normal. McNeil created this character perfectly as she is very easy to relate to. The book progresses emotionally without being over-the-top. Although Bridget experiences inner turmoil as she discovers all of the secrets of her past, she was not portrayed as being too much of a depressed character.

Although there are scenes of exorcising demons and other dark events, the story is more about Bridget’s great effort of figuring out who she is, and what her new powers meant. I absolutely loved the adventure that Bridget takes you on as she ultimately meets her faith and becomes who she was meant to be. Her journey to discovering all of the secrets of her past is just half of the excitement.

All of the ingredients of this book were a perfect combination. The plot was mysterious and it progressed quickly. Elements of intense creepiness and suspense only helped to how awesome the story was. The book was so creepy that there were times I had stop reading to remind myself that it was just a story. As soon as I realized it wasn’t real, I immediately placed myself back into the story because every page was entirely captivating.

Gretchen McNeil’s story-telling is absolutely amazing and I recommend Possess to anyone that likes creepiness in YA. It has everything that will satisfy all audiences. Possessions, murder, mysteries, and hidden family secrets are all there. And let’s not forget that it also has romance. If you enjoy reading creepy books and tired of your average paranormal book, Possess will not disappoint you.
Profile Image for Melanie McCullough.
Author 2 books92 followers
August 31, 2011
So here is a list of things that definitely did not happen while I was reading Possess:

1) I did not have to sleep with the lights on.

2) I did not fall asleep clutching my rosary & mumbling a prayer.

3) I did not wake up in the middle of the night in a pitch black room to find glowing eyes staring at me.

4) And I certainly did not screech, jump out of bed and knock over my nightstand only to realize those eyes belonged to my cat.

Okay, so clearly all of those things did in fact happen. But it's not my fault. I blame Gretchen McNeil. This book is creepy. Creepy, and engrossing, and wonderful. I couldn't get enough. And this is another book I went into with extremely high expectations so it had to be awesome to satisfy me.

Bridget is an incredible heroine. I can't even explain how much I loved her. She reminded me of myself at that age. You know, if I'd have been a kick-ass teenage exorcist instead of a girl who would've locked herself away if the walls had begun talking to her. She's intelligent, funny, and snarky. I never once found myself questioning her behavior. I could gush about her forever, but I'm going to force myself to move on.

The supporting cast is equally as amazing. Each character fully fleshed out with their own little intricacies and secrets. I adored Matt. He's handsome, charming, and super supportive of Bridget even as she does her best to push him away.

The story line is truly original. It wasn't the same old story with different characters. I was fully engaged, anxiously turning pages to see what would happen next. There are lots of spine-tingling moments and action scenes that had me holding my breath and biting my nails. The book definitely came to a successful conclusion, and as far as I know it's not part of a series, however I'd love to see more of Bridget and her world.

If you're a fan of YA horror or paranormal, or simply a fan of incredible writing, this book is for you.


I have a giveaway of a hardcover copy on my blog until 9/15/11.
July 20, 2011
Fifteen year old Bridget Liu has the power to banish demons. Now the demon activity has increased and it has a strange connection to Bridget's father's murder. *dun dun dunnnn*

I was soooooo excited when I borrowed a copy of the book. Not only was the cover amazing and an attention grabber, but the plot made it even better. I would have to say this is one of my favorite female characters. Bridget is a strong, independent girl trying to deal with her new powers (and the strange-ness surrounding her), her mom dating, and evil b*tches. Bridget doesn't fall head over heels with the guy we all know she is meant to be with. HEY!! I like when the hot guy has to do some chasing for the girl he loves. I'm getting pretty tired of the main chick being shy or nervous around the guy she likes; it was nice to have a change of scene.

Speaking of scene, when the reader first encounters the possession scene, I swear it felt like I was reading about Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Gretchen McNeil's demons are not meant to be lovable, but evil, dangerous creatures you do not want to mess with.

The plot is full of twists and turns that I didn't even predict the evil mastermind behind it all.

Possess is a must-read for all YA fans that will enjoy some demon ass-kicking time.

Would I recommend it?
Absolutely, to all YA readers
Would I buy it?
Heck yeah, at full price :)


Favorite Part

The book did contain some hilarious parts.

A hot wave rushed through Bridget, starting with her fingers and washing over her body. It moved down from her stomach, lower, and ignited a spark deep within her.
The demon was turning her on.
That was so messed up.
page 27
Profile Image for Grace Fonseca.
240 reviews21 followers
August 3, 2011
Overall the concept was intriguing and something that I hadn't seen done. This book was just okay for me. I think that the heroine was interesting and the story line didn't seem to move very much until the end.

Bridget seems to be very different from other heroines in Young Adult because she can hear demon voices and is trying to do good. Some of the opening scenes were chiling and made me think of the excorist. (One of the movies that chilled me to the bone, still to this day). Yet after those opening scenes, the book seems to drag.

What I mean by the book dragged was that some of the other characters just annoyed me to no end. Especially Alexa Darlington, Bridgets rival and tormentor in the book, and Peter, the guy who has the hots for Bridget, but Bridget doesn't feel the same way. These characters just got on my last nerve for some weird reason. Bridget tries to be nice, but it doesn't work.

I really did like that Bridget is struggling trying to reconcile her two lives. Her mother seems to place a high standard on Bridget, while babying her younger brother Sammy. I really liked Sammy a lot more than I thought I was going to like him. He wasn't annoying, but a scared little boy who hears voices.

Thought the beginning of the book was great. The middle just dragged. The ending was very action packed and explained a lot of things that I felt would have been better if tidbits were included in the middle. There were moments of OMG, blah, blah. So this book was a very mixed book. I just wished there had been some more action in the middle of the book. This book was just okay for me and it gets a rating of:

3 Hearts
Profile Image for Stacey O'Neale.
Author 15 books846 followers
July 21, 2011
I actually ran into Gretchen on twitter a few months ago and followed back to her website where I found her book trailer. Once I saw the trailer, I made a point that I needed to get added to the ARC list. I'm so glad I did because Possess did not disappoint. I would describe it as the perfect mix of YA paranormal and horror.

From a 3rd person POV we meet fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu after the recent death of her father. She soon discovers that she has the ability to banish demons and that's when she becomes the kind of kick-butt protagonist that I love. The story takes you through all kinds of cool demon mythology and Gretchen makes sure that everything ties nicely in the end. I really liked that the story was set in San Francisco because I've never been there and now I want to go.

I enjoyed the supporting cast as much as I enjoyed Bridget. Peter and Hector are her best friends and they make for some interesting and fun scenes. Matt is the love interest, but the romance is not the center of the story. I'd like to point out that it's not a instant fall in love which I prefer because it's a more realistic relationship. I really don't want to say anymore about the story because the book hasn't released yet. However, I would highly recommend this book for any YA fantasy fan.

It's a safe read for anyone within the YA age range. I will be featuring an interview with Gretchen starting August 1st on my website: http://www.yafantasyguide.com
Profile Image for Tracey.
1,942 reviews71 followers
December 10, 2022
I really wanted to love this book, but Bridget was one of the most annoying characters I have ever known. Matt, the love interest, was just as bad. The villain of the story was kind of obvious. All of the conflicts made Bridget act like a dumbass. I understand that she's a teenage girl. But she's been dealing with this for months now, this being hearing and banishing demons. Now all of a sudden, it's too much for her? Why wasn't it too much when she first learned about it? If it was too much, why did she agree to get training and continue to perform banishments of demons? I get that every story needs conflict but this was beyond ridiculous.

And the ending was super cheesy. I swear Bridget said something like "We'll fight the demons together through good and bad." Ugh, that was so cliche.
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