Book Review: The Blessed
By: Tonya Hurley
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Page Count: 416
Source: Amazon Vine UK
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
This one took me forever to read. I guess I should have thought more about what the story could have entailed before starting out - The Blessed got quite into religion. To be fair, there was a chance that it could have been about Saints without getting too into Jesus etc (like how Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, which I loved, was about Angels but didn't get too religious) however it steadily got more and more into that kind of thing. I like my books like I prefer my facebook - minimal religion & politics. So the further I got through this story, the less I wanted to keep reading.
I pushed on determinedly, and I did finish it eventually. I'd like to say that it was just the religion that put me off The Blessed, but it really wasn't. I found the timeline a bit shaky. I also just didn't buy some of the characters motivations. I don't want to go into it too much really because I will probably stop being objective, but as an example of what I mean I will say two things.
The first is that Agnes, one of three girls who are supposedly Saints, starts the book by trying to kill herself by slitting her wrists. During the time that she goes AWOL and hides out from the storm of the century in a drafty of church, her wounds are described as continuously oozing blood, and then they almost become septic - they are described as smelling pretty bad. Then, something like only 3 days after she inflicted the wounds on herself, they have virtually healed at the end of the book. Perhaps this is where I needed to have subscribed to the religious part of the book, to believe they had miraculously healed, but as I hadn't climbed on board, I found that hard to believe.
The second thing I wanted to say was that I just couldn't find it in me to believe that three girls would be so drawn to a character like Sebastian who gave so little of himself to them; I still feel like I didn't really know anything about him now that I've finished. I have no problem believing that girls will go some way for a hot guy, but after the initial attraction there has to be something more substantial.
For whatever reason, this just wasn't the book for me - I found it pretty weak if I'm really honest. It got a little trippy in places and I found myself going back over passages to check if I'd missed something. Not everyone will feel like that, which I'm glad about because I'm sure the author worked hard and poured a lot of herself into it. I am sad that I can't say better things about this one.
Brooklyn teens Lucy, Cecelia and Agnes find themselves in the emergency room at Perpetual Help Hospital at the lowest point in their lives. Lucy, the superficial party girl; Cecelia, a drop out rock chick; and Agnes, a hopeless romantic. All rebels running from their lives and themselves, plagued by broken hearts and broken dreams. Enter Sebastian. Mysterious, compelling, seductive. He seems to bring each of them what they long for...
But in the battle for his heart, will they lose their souls?