Review: “Say Her Name” – James Dawson/Juno Dawson

October 31, 2014 Book Review, Initial Reaction 0

 Review: “Say Her Name” – James Dawson/Juno DawsonSay Her Name by James Dawson
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Published on: June 5th 2014
Published by: Hot Key Books
Pages: 287
Genre: YA Thriller
Format: eBook

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(summary from Goodreads)

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…


So I actually filmed this one the morning after because I didn’t finish this book until kind of late and way way too scared to look at anything that might show my reflection, including my camera! Unfortunately though, this video instead, shows the dark circles under my eyes, due to the lack of sleep I got because of the stupid storm outside my house which made me jump at every little noise!


So this October I decided to was going to be brave: I was going to watch one scary film and read one scary book. A few weeks ago I watched The Purge, which was a scary film I had been avoiding for a while. I had to watch it with all the lights on and sat next to my dad, but apart from a few moments hiding behind a pillow I got through it! I have been looking for a while trying to decide which book I was going to read, and in the end I settled on Say Her Name. Bloody Mary is the ghost story that scares me the most, so I figured as I was trying to be brave I would read the story that would freak me out the most!

This story was exactly what I had expected and wanted it to be. A ghost story but with that hint of mystery that kept you guessing the entire time. I was very much shouting at my book when the Bloody Mary ceremony began in front of the mirror. I can’t even think her name in my head when near a mirror! I don’t believe in ghosts, but no way am I going to chance it! I spent so much of this book checking over my shoulder, just to make sure that no one was lurking behind me!

I totally fell in love with our main characters: Bobbie, Naya and Caine. They are put in this situation that is totally unbelievable, but as Bobbie says, at some point you have to stop trying to convince yourself that it’s not real and accept that this is actually happening. Once accepted, they dealt with their situation very well, much better then I would. Whereas they look for clues and ways to save themselves, I definitely would have hidden under my bed with enough chocolate for 5 days and cried!

I really liked Bobbie & Naya’s friendship, I think every girl needs a friend like this. They really care about each other, but they also have some great humorous moments which you can’t help but literally laugh out loud. Then there is Bobbie & Caine’s relationship which kind of just springs out of nowhere (nothing like the deadline of death to bring people together) but then because of the situation they are in it feels more like ‘living in the moment’ then ‘insta-love’ so it is much easier to forgive.

The whole ‘5 days’ aspect of this story is great, and the chapters counting down the days gives you this great sense of dread in the pit of your stomach. I found myself getting more nervous and twitchy the further I got into this book. At one point I really needed the toilet and had to switch on like every light in the house and cover my eyes when walking past mirrors! I nearly woke my mum up at one point just because I was so scared and needed a hug!

I think the setting of this book really helped with the whole scary aspect of it too. An old boarding school with secret passageways and a mysterious history. I can’t even stay overnight in old house hotels, they really creep me out, so going to school in one would be my worst nightmare! Plus in the middle of nowhere, and with the stormy rainy/windy weather (which was totally happening outside my house whilst I was reading this – DID NOT HELP IN THE SLIGHTEST!) it just made the whole thing even more creepy! I am so surprised I didn’t scream the house down at points of this book. I have like 3 big mirrors in my bedroom (what can I say, I like to look at myself haha) and at the points in the book when Mary started crawling out of mirrors I was very much like…

I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think I was going to hate it, but I thought that I would be too scared to actually enjoy the story. But surprisingly I wasn’t. It was the right amount of scary, mixed with the right amount of mystery and intrigued which kept me reading on determined to figure out what was happening.

It’s one of those books that you can’t rest with, right up to the last page. But that’s the way books in this genre should be. They can’t let you off easy, you need to be on the edge of your seat the whole time, ready to jump at every creepy noise your house makes which results in you falling to the floor like a 5 year old girl! (Just me then!)

I have been meaning to read a James Dawson book for a while. Since seeing him at YALC and hearing all the amazing things people were saying about his books I really was excited to get stuck in. And now I’ve read one, wow I need another one pronto!!!


So yeah, horror, not as horrible as I thought it would be, and something I would actually be interested in trying more of in the future!

Re-Readability: Yep

I would recommend this book to fans of: YA horror, stories about Bloody Mary, scary books for Halloween

Have you ever read Say Her Name?

What’s your favourite YA horror?

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