‘All I know is that when that girl arrived, a shadow fell over our school. It had nothing to do with what she looked like – she was very beautiful in her own way – but it was that feeling. That awful, ominous feeling that accompanied her everywhere she went.’
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...
I'm not impressed. First off, Say Her Name isn't particularly creepy or frustrating like a good horror, or thriller for that matter should be. Now you might say that I'm being hard on this book because after all, how scary a YA book should be? Fine but it's YA-ness doesn't explain all the other problems I had with it, starting with the fact that I recognized a movie in many scenes or how slow-paced it was. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Have any of you guys seen The Ring, a movie that was released in 2002? Well, I did and I really liked it, it had an atmosphere what really creeped me out. Let's state the fact that I saw this film, like three years ago which wasn't yesterday. You might guessed it by now that after all this time it won't be the movie that gives me sleepless nights or the one that pops into my mind on a daily basis. Yet, I found some (an understatement) similarities between The Ring and Say Her Name.
At first I tried to sweep it under the table as a coincidence but then again and again I would discover the same scenes as the ones in The Ring were. The first thing I realized was the fact that they had numbered days, I know it's in the synopsis as well but I was too much of a dumbass to see it there. I totally knew how things will end but I was cheering for the author not to write the same thing as in The Ring. Even the villains, as in Mary in this one and Samara in The Ring had kinda same personalities, starting with the fact that something was off with them.
The clues. They were everywhere, EVERYWHERE. Bobbie should have known what will happen in the end because it was freaking obvious from a fucking letter she'd read. And the so-called code in Mary's written message? As a reader I've seen it the first time I'd laid my eyes on that freaking sentence. I'm sure even a dyslexic person would have seen that hey half of the letters are capitals! They might form a completely different sentence!
The romance wasn't that bad for a YA book that didn't concentrate on that topic but it could have been better. It was a bit insta-loveish but that was the least of my concerns. What annoyed me was how much I couldn't care about their love story and believe me when I say that I'm a HUGE romance fan.
There were some pretty ridiculous scenes which I did not tolerate. Bobbie, her best friend and Caine, a boy Bobbie has never seen before but immediately started crushing on did the Bloody Mary thing together. I don't get it how the hell Bobbie could daydream about Caine but completely forget that he did the 'summoning' with them so he must be seeing things too. Stupid.
The author couldn't imagine any more things that Mary could have done to them so he wrote a completely stupid scene just so Naya would get her fair share of suffering. Mary was giving them clues and she watched them all the time so why the hell would she show them something that they've already known? Doesn't make sense.
I'm sure the author has never wore glasses. Bobbie actually "told" us that she sees like shit without her glasses but when 'someone' ran off with them she was able to sprint down freaking stairs without any difficulties. When Dawson needed Bobbie not to believe exactly what she saw, he again threw in that without glasses she can't really see.
Bobbie: She was supposed to be this clever and funny but shy girl but besides some lame jokes she didn't seem humorous at all. And don't even ask me to write about her brains. Bobbie wasn't naive or a bit silly, she was simply stupid.
Bobbie winced. ‘She might be a friendly ghost … like Casper.’
Yeah, and I might have loved this book if not for the sucky characters.
Imagine that you are searching for your towel without looking and then you accidently touch someone's hair but when you look there's no one around. Wouldn't you freak out? And then Bobbie steps out of the shower and on the mirror "5 days" is written.
"Bobbie didn’t dwell on the watery words, her growling stomach taking precedence. If she thought about them at all, she dismissed them as the name of a new boy band that some horny fan-girl had dedicated the mirror to. By the time the steam on the mirror had faded, she’d already forgotten about it."
Caine: At first I thought that he'll be the bad boy character that the YA genre loves so much, fortunately no but I still didn't like him. He didn't have an actual personality, like the rest of the characters he was simple and plain.
Naya (Bobbie's best friend): A totally unnecessary character. She didn't do any freaking thing besides sitting around with Bobbie and being mean. I'm not sure what Dawson wanted to accomplish with her character, maybe that her snarky attitude is funny? It wasn't. Who can say something like this:
Naya pouted. ‘They can’t possibly be making us go to lessons. If Sadie has died, we’ll at least get a couple of days off, right?’
There were some unnecessary characters too, like Caine's best friend or two other guys and I don't think Grace deserved as many scenes as she got with this book being a horror and not a contemporary romance. Was I the only one who couldn't imagine her attractive? She had a disgusting personality and I hated her guts.
Favorite character: -
Least favorite: Bobbie, Naya, Grace, can't remember any more names /aww I've just made a rhyme without realising it/
The story idea: 3/5
The realization of the story: 2/5
The characters: 2/5
The cover: 3/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5