Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
I went into this with no expectations. In fact, I could barely remember what it was about! But anyway, I think that was good, it meant I had no anticipations of what I thought should happen, the book just washed over me. And boy was it good! It was thrilling and dark and utterly addictive with its mythology and curses and a cute dead boy.
Taylor, the protagonist that can see dead people, was an interesting character - feeling the pressure of her curse, no longer had her mother to help her and her dad didn't believe her at all and instead thought she was ill. And mixed race, and though this wasn't really a big deal, I liked the diversity. Taylor was surprisingly easy to relate to, considering her responsibilities with avenging the dead. And of course she's bullied. Quite badly actually, which after you learn more about them all, is not surprising at all. Her best friend Hannah was really cool, with her colourful hair and friendly attitude. But we didn't see a lot of her which is disappointing; and I did feel sorry for her as she was kept out of the loop and this mistrust nearly ruined her friendship with Taylor.
Finally, I truly despised James's gang. James was a massive douche, the standard bad-boy bully; Tasmin was the typical pretty girl with a tough shell, and Justin was presented as just the same as James. But then he died and as Taylor tries to figure out the reason for his death, he slowly reveals more of himself. And himself was gorgeous!
Of course it wasn't just about her weird curse of being able to see dead people. Pearce added this great secondary layer to her family curse to include Egyptian mythology! Not to mention the surprising romance and a secret society with its sticky fingers in her school. I loved all this blending of themes, it really added something special to the story. I flew through this novel; I loved practically everything about it, all the ghosts and mysteries and budding romance, it had everything that makes a great book, and even though the ending was a bit off for me, it really was a great book.
Published 6th August 2013 by Strange Chemistry. Thank you to Netgalley for my e-copy.