Book Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson
Updated: a day ago
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...
Published: June 2014
My star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)
It takes a lot to scare me and I have yet to find a book, or even a movie, that left me shaking with fear. Until now. I am not one to normally read a horror book, but the cover of Say Her Name drew me in. I also love reading any book that is based on any spooky urban legend. The tale of Bloody Mary has always intrigued me, and spooked me. I never did stand in front of the mirror myself though. Therefore, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this spooky read.
Drip, drip, drip.
Say Her Name follows Bobbie Rowe, who attends, Piper's Hall School, an all girls boarding school in England. It's Halloween, and Bobbie and her friends are sitting in the dark, telling ghost stories, when the story of a mysterious disappearance that happened at their very school years before, is told. They dare each other to follow the rules of the spooky legend 'Bloody Mary' and stand in front of a mirror. Bobbie and her friends complete the challenge. Nothing happens, or does it.
Sadie was full of crap at the best of times, and in an institution where laxatives were traded like cigarettes in jail, that was really saying something.
After chanting her name the day before, Bobbie goes about thinking the day will go on just like any other. Then things start to get weird; Bobbie starts getting messages in the mirror, she starts seeing things that aren't really there. Her friends are starting to go crazy, telling her about the girl in the mirror, but is it true, or is it just a prank? As the days pass, Bobbie grows more and more scared of the things she can't explain. And as Bobbie tries to save the lives of her friends from a ghost who will snatch them all up in five days, she experiences the sad life of 'Bloody Mary', and the events that led up to her tragic death, in memory flashbacks shown to her by Mary herself.
If she's called, she has to come.
Say Her Name is the only book I have read that has left me scared enough that I couldn't look in the mirror for a few days in fear of what I might see looking back. Now, you may say 'it's only a story' and 'it's not real' but this story is extremely well written that it feels real to the reader, and that is what I love about it. This is a book that will leave you feeling scared out of your mind and sympathy for the ghostly antagonist. Say Her Name is haunting, gripping, and down right terrifying. Say Her Name doesn't have as much action as you would expect, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The characters are well loved and believable, and story progresses at a fast but nice pace. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good scare, especially if it's read at night.
My Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)
Disclaimer: Cover image and blurb taken from Goodreads
Please Note: Juno Dawson has previously written under the name James Dawson