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Bliss

Review

Bliss

High
school freshman Bliss Inthemorningdew is completely unprepared for
her new life. Having been raised by her hippie parents on a
commune, she has no concept of fashion, boys or dances.
Open-hearted Bliss is also completely oblivious (and immune) to the
cliques, social intrigues and ostracism that characterize high
school social life. So when Bliss (whose parents have fled to
Canada to escape the Vietnam draft) relocates to Atlanta, Georgia,
to live with her proper Southern grandmother and attend the
prestigious Crestview Academy, she innocently --- and, as it turns
out, to her peril --- tries to befriend queen bees and outcasts
alike.


Above all, Bliss doesn't understand the racial prejudices and
outright hatred that pervade her school. Her best friend on the
commune, after all, was a black woman, Flying V. So she has a
difficult time comprehending her new classmates' intolerant
comments about segregation or why class princess Sarah Lynn
Lancaster has to hide her romantic relationship with the school's
only black student.


Bliss tries to befriend Sarah Lynn, but she also befriends awkward,
socially inept Sandy, who seems to hold a vendetta against Sarah
Lynn and an unhealthy obsession with a student's suicide that
happened decades before. Bliss herself, who according to Flying V
has "second sight," is troubled by threatening voices in her head
and, soon, by Sandy's increasingly smothering, possessive behavior
toward Bliss. Flying V warned Bliss that her life would be
intertwined with two "bloodthirsty" girls at her new school. Is it
possible that one of kind, friendly Bliss's new classmates could be
a deadly foe rather than a friend?


Fans of horror novels will certainly see echoes of Stephen King's
CARRIE in BLISS. The intersection of the occult with high school
social dramas is handled suspensefully, with Bliss's narration
intertwined with creepy journal entries from her tormentor. But
Lauren Myracle grounds this standard horror-story fare by placing
it firmly in the context of its times, with references to
“The Andy Griffith Show,” the Charles Manson murders
and racial intolerance, highlighting the startling contradictions
between Bliss's innocence and the violence and horror that lurks
beneath the surface.


Bliss's disarming narration, a story that plays out in short
chapters, and a gradually growing sense of dread combine for a
contagiously creepy tale of high school horror.


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Reviewed by Norah Piehl on October 18, 2011

Bliss
by Lauren Myracle

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2008
  • Genres: Horror
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • ISBN-10: 0810970716
  • ISBN-13: 9780810970717