The Merciless by Danielle Vega

 Title: The Merciless

Author: Danielle Vega

Published: June 12th, 2014

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads 

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

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Aspen by Rebekah Crane

17608141Author: Rebekah Crane

Published: June 5, 2014

Rating:  5/5 stars

Goodreads:

One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn’t want to remember the car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard– because Katelyn may have died — but she didn’t leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it’s kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn’s former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, Homecoming Court, hot guys – none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She’s been busy trying to keep her stoner mother Ninny in line and out of unemployment. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics and her therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can’t control … and doesn’t want to.

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, Aspen is about the best-worst accident of your life … and what comes next.

Review:

*I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a review*

Aspen is the kind of book that sticks with you. It leaves you with a thousand unanswered questions, but the good kind. Not the kind of questions you don’t want to have, but the kind that leave you thinking about the characters and their lives. For me that means Katelyn in particular, throughout the majority of the book it was Aspen that most interested me, but by the end Katelyn story became one that intrigued me on a level similar to Aspen’s.

I also loved Ninny’s character. She was the most flawed out of all of them, and that was what made her the most interesting. It was immensely enjoyable to watch her struggle in her relationship with Aspen, I felt for the two of them and I had trouble not laughing at their more hilarious moments. Even Ninny’s moments with her daughter’s love interest, which she probably shouldn’t have been realistically having, made me like her more. I really appreciated how she made no effort to hold herself back. I will admit to hating her in the beginning, mostly because of her relationship with Toaster, but her quirks quickly turned my opinion of her around entirely. Unlike many parental figures in YA Ninny served an actual purpose in Aspen’s life, there was more to their relationship than her merely hanging around for Aspen to have a parent. It gets old quick when the parents in books just stand around and nod or frown at everything their children say, real parents have both good and bad moments with their children like Ninny did. Without her Aspen would have been much less memorable and marginally less enjoyable, the author did a great job of giving all of the characters a purpose even if they weren’t main characters. Ninny was a great example of this, she existed outside of the main character’s lives and was just as interesting as they were. With such character mastery as this however, almost every character could be considered a main character, even though they weren’t.