Bliss by Lauren Myracle

2008
06.30



It’s 1969, the war (excuse me, “military action”) is raging in Vietnam, Charles Manson is on trial for mass murder, and fourteen-year-old Bliss In-the-Morning-Dew is fresh off the commune. Her hippie parents have fled to Canada to escape the draft and left Bliss high and dry with her prissy southern grandmother in Atlanta. But this is not a tragedy. Bliss discovers that she actually likes real soap, clean sheets and remote-controlled television. She’s even looking forward to making friends at the chi-chi private school her grandmother has enrolled her in. That is, until she steps on campus and hears the otherworldly voice that keeps whispering in her head, speaking of blood, death, and sacrifice. Until she explores the abandoned third floor of the school’s oldest building, once a convent, and discovers the room of the young novice named Liliana who plunged to her death to escape the soul-cleansing whip of a sanctimonious Mother Superior. Until she finds out that one of her new chums actually plans on becoming a vessel for the vengeful Liliana and needs Bliss’s blood to seal the deal! OMG, Lauren Myracle, who knew you were hiding a bloody butcher knife behind that Mayberry smile? Myracle, lately she of the sweet, pastel-covered stories of girlhood has returned to her darker, a la Rhymes with Witches roots with this delicious package of scary goodness all wrapped up in a blood-soaked bow. Lately I have been pissing and moaning about the fact that there is not enough true YA horror to fill the desperate need of teens everywhere for some good old-fashioned thrills and chills. Well, I’m here to tell you that YA horror is BACK because Lauren Myracle has BROUGHT IT with this spine-tingling nightmare that is 1/3 Carrie, 1/3 classic Lois Duncan, and the rest gorgeously gory urban legend. The YA horror gauntlet has been THROWN my adolescent, Stephen-King-reading friends, and I can’t wait to see how many YA writer-peeps start penning their own terrifying tales in order to reach the bar raised by this bloody Myracle!

25 Responses to “Bliss by Lauren Myracle”

  1. Em says:

    Would this be appropriate for 11 yr olds who are already reading (and devouring) the Twilight series?
    Thanks! :)

  2. Jen Hubert says:

    Em, I think it’s kinda scary for an 11 year old, but that would depend on what you’re used to reading. This is true horror, whereas Twilight is more supernatural romance.

  3. mitzi says:

    does any one suggest this bbok to a 14 yr old who is in love with twilight??

  4. Donna says:

    I second Jen’s assessment in terms of appropriate audience. I finished Bliss last night – normally a 10PM to bed gal, I lasted until 12:30AM because I couldn’t stop this one in the middle. I have to say first that I am not a horror reader – at all. Even Breathe: a ghost story creeped me totally out and it’s on our Texas Lone Star 08-09 list. (for middle schoolers)

    Factoring in my personal horror aversion, I still would not hand this to a 6th grader. I’m in a middle school with a lot of truly advanced readers in terms of complexity and maturity so I’ll probably offer it to the kids I know well enough to know they read adult horror already or those who like to read “up” but will bring a book back and say, “uh, no, think I’ll wait a year or two on this one” if it makes them too uncomfortable.

    The jacket detail recommends the book for 14 and up so I’d also have little chance of keeping it in a challenge…and I have some very challenging parents:)

    I’m still pondering whether the book worked for me…obviously it was a page-turner..but sometimes Bliss’s internal dialogue seemed a bit didactic.

  5. Jen Hubert says:

    See, I thought Bliss was portrayed as a total innocent, whose voice was moralistic and somewhat simple because she had been so sheltered. The voice worked for me, but I was so enraptured by the good horror story plot that the voice would have had to been REALLY off for me to even notice;)

  6. Donna says:

    And this may be where our difference lies…since I’m not an enjoyer of horror I may have tried to lock on to other aspects of the story and keep some distance from the creepiness. I believe that you are right – her moralistic thinking was a fit for her background – maybe it was just a hair too explicit for me, thus making me feel more like I was being “talked to” rather than just listening in on her inner dialogue. That said, I have no doubt that this book will be in great demand in my library both with my horror fans and my girls who like to read about the “horror of teenage-ness.”

    Did Bliss remind you at all of Cap in Schooled?

  7. Kiki says:

    Do you think this would be appropriate for a 12 year old who is in LOOOOVE with horror stories? Like, does the explicit content come from fear, or…what?

  8. Jen Hubert says:

    If you have read any of Lois Duncan’s books (Summer of Fear, Down a Dark Hall, Killing Mr. Griffin) and you were able to handle those, then you can handle this one. It’s not super gory, there are some gross parts, but not particularly graphic. It’s more psychologically scary than “slasher” scary.

  9. mina says:

    I’m not your usual commenter. I’m 15 but this websites saves me from the boring books they shove at us in school. I saw this book up and just had to comment. Lauren Myracle is one of my favorite authors and this book is amazing. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone girl younger than 14 only because of the fright factor and comprehension of what’s going on.
    *If you want to know an ironic twist to this book* read “rhymes with witches” first. It is also by Lauren Myracle.

  10. Jen Hubert says:

    Thanks for weighing in, Mina. Everyone has a different fear threshold–I was pretty creeped out, but have had seventh graders read this and insist that its “not that scary.”

  11. zynp says:

    I think this book really looks at the school legends from a different window, and it is worth reading. Even if it takes you a lot of time to finish it, keep on and finish the book! Not that I think you will be able to leave it without finishing it, but still, a little advice, I wouldn’t read it in an emty room at night if I was 11 years old. :)

  12. zynp says:

    PS: It really freaked me out when I read it.

  13. lilly says:

    Last day I made a presantation about Bliss at my english class. All of my friends really liked the book, but I still think reading the book is much more better than just listening what it is about, so here’s my message: Eeveryone, just read the book! Don’t be afraid about what is going to happen in it. Also, don’t want other people to tell it to you, because when they do, it just washes the magic off the book. Read it, and you’ll love it!

  14. Maxie says:

    im 11 and read the book for my book report at school and read ALL THE series of twilight. its a good book. not scary. go herad read it its good!

  15. Courtney says:

    Am i the only one who was upset by this book and “Rhymes with Witches”??? I hated the endings! I know this may be cliche but I kinda like the books I read to have a moderately happy ending. I mean things don’t have to be perfect but both Jane and Bliss ended up friendless and alone at the end of both books! WTF?? It just makes me sad! And the people who DONT deserve to be happy, get to be powerful and popular. Seriously!?! Since when does good triumph over evil?

  16. Jen Hubert says:

    Sadly, Courtney, all too often, which is what I think is the sad but true message at the heart of this book:(

  17. brittany says:

    The book was actually all right and very interesting,
    but I absolutely HATED the ending.

    I give it 6/10

  18. Jen Hubert says:

    Brittany, lots of people feel this way–I always have students who love the book but HATE the end.

  19. savannah says:

    um… this book isn’t really anything like Twilight, so it shouldn’t really be compared should it?

  20. very nice article. thank for sharing

  21. Melody says:

    Oh, come on. It’s creepy but it’s not scary. It’s a good book for all ages. Well, not if you’re five or something but the book, hopefully, will NOT give you nightmares. It’s very suspenseful and I liked it but really? not all that scary of a plotline. Read it, it’s good for you. :)

  22. Breeuhh says:

    Actually I’m only like 12 and I got it out of my school library. It seemed fine to me. But it is the kind of stuff I normally read. (Not that Twilight crap.) But it really depends on how easily you get scared. Or what you usually read. Anyone that could read can read Bliss.

  23. Breeuhh says:

    Why are people comparing this to Twilight? They have nothing in common.

  24. Breeuhh says:

    It’s not really that scary, it’s just really disturbing. For instance, a piece of scalp? From an evil dead girl. I thought that was gross.

  25. BlissInthemorningdew says:

    Don’t anyone EVER compare twilight to this wonderful book. Twilight is crap compared to Bliss.

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