I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Blessed (The Blessed, #1) by Tonya Hurley
Published: September 25th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: the publisher
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I picked up an ARC of The Blessed by Tonya Hurley at Book Expo a bunch of years back, and finally got around to reading it. It is by far one of the strangest books I’ve read in 2016.
The basic premise of The Blessed is that there are three girls, each of whom ends up in the hospital on the same night. Agnes ends up there because she’s suicidal, Lucy after a drunk night out, and Cecilia after she is found on the street face-down in a puddle. Each of the girls is named after a saint and a martyr. While they’re in the hospital, each is mysteriously given a chaplet.
The chaplets are linked to a young man named Sebastian who has recently escaped from the psych ward. He claims that the girls are holy and that each has been chosen to do battle against the forces of evil, which threaten to take over the world.
For most of the book, readers are left wondering whether Sebastian is authentic or whether he’s dangerous (or both). But through their interactions with him, each of the girls begins to realize her own strengths and feel a calling toward a higher purpose.
The Blessed was a quick read with a goth feeling to it, bolstered through lots of Catholic imagery and overall creepy vibes. There were a bunch of different points while reading where I was like “Aaaaaaaaaaah what just happened?!?!” While I enjoyed the atmosphere, I felt like the characters were not inherently likeable and instead felt like stereotypes of high school cliques–which I guess is kind of the point, that saints were normal people, and maybe if I were younger I’d connect more with the characters and feel as if they were a part of my own world. Even the villain felt flat, as if he was evil because he was evil rather than someone who was had complex motivations. That being said, I breezed through it in two sittings, and my feelings aren’t so much “this is a good book” or “this is a bad book” so much as “This book is freaking weird.”