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I Belong

Review: The Blessed by Tonya Hurley

Title: The Blessed

Author: Tonya Hurley

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: The Blessed (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 25, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 1442429518 (Simon Pulse)

ISBN-13: 978-1442429512 (Simon Pulse)

Reviewed by: Michelle


From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint.

What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief.

Quick & Dirty: An interesting take on three martyrs with an enigmatic plot and violent characters. It may not be for everyone.

Opening Sentence: “Agnes!” Martha wailed, clutching the pale arm of her only daughter.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I’ve never read any of Tonya Hurley’s book, but when I saw the cover of The Blessed, I was really interested to see what it was all about. The synopsis isn’t very long, but it still intrigued me nonetheless. I have to be honest and say that it took me a while to get into this book. And I had to start from the beginning several times.

The Blessed is about Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. One catastrophic night has landed them into the emergency room, each one with their own life-threatening incident. To the doctors, Agnes is a teenager who attempted suicide. Cece drowned head first in a pothole. And Lucy? She is a social celebrity, overdosing on the last party. Each girl different, but with one thing in common. They all meet Sebastian, an enigmatic person who believes he is a saint. While at the emergency room, he hands each girl a bracelet. A bracelet that later leads them at the doors of Our Lady of Perpetual Blood on a dangerous stormy night. Together, they all become involved in a higher purpose, a modern-day martyrdom. And the real fun begins.

Agnes is the girl who loves and has a big heart. She was sensitive, maybe a little too much, but as a reader, I felt her pain the most. She is the only one who attends a religious school, and who also has an overbearing parent. And instead of supporting her pain, Agnes’ mother is worried about what everyone will think. Cecelia is musician gifted with music. My friend would have considered her a strung-out musician, running away from her problems. Cecelia lives on her own, willing to sleep with anyone and anywhere.  And Lucy is the party girl, always looking for the next big thing. She only cares about herself and how high she can bring her social status. Lucy came from a terrible family, but follows in her fathers footsteps.

I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. I felt that everything going on was a little much. I didn’t have time to really understand the characters because I was trying to keep the details together. There were slow moments at times, but when the pace quickened, the violence was extreme. I didn’t understand where Hurley was going with the characters. Difficult to grasp? Possibly, but maybe I wasn’t at the right place to read this book.

Hurley’s writing didn’t connect with me. I found it hard to stay focused reading her story, and I felt that each twist and turn added to the level of my disconnect. While I felt that The Blessed was thought provoking, I really couldn’t connect to any particular thing. The subject matter is specific, and it just wasn’t for me.

Notable Scene:

The sudden touch of the sheer curtains blowing away from the sill and lapping her cheek seemed to her like the billow in a sail that had just caught a breeze and was ready to leave port.

I pine and wane, pale and wan, never knowing when it’s dawn, curtains drawn, hiding in my room, wasting away, cutting myself.

The song was over. She opened the window, fastened her bracelet tight under her bandage, and climbed out into the garden of her Park Slope parlor floor brownstone, hopped the fence that bordered her yard and her neighbors’ and —

She was gone.

The Blessed Series:

1. The Blessed

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Blessed. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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