When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naïve Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted, naïve Bliss is happy to be friends with anyone. That’s not the way it has ever worked at Crestview, and soon Bliss is at the center of a struggle for power between three girls—two living and one long dead.
The setting of this book is Atlanta, Georgia 1969. Bliss Inthemorningdew (her parents are hippies) is living with her grandmother while her parents are in Canada to protest the Nixon administration. She has never been enrolled in school, and has been living the hippie lifestyle with her parents in communes and even on a university campus. As Bliss enters a prep school for the first time, she discovers many new things. The school used to be run by nuns, and a girl threw herself from the third story of one of the school's buildings. She finds out quickly that she can hear the girl's bloody voice, as Bliss is very atune to the spiritual world. She also makes new friends, and learns that Sara Lynn is the most popular girl at school. There is also only one black student enrolled at the school, in order to avoid forced segregation, but most students, teachers, and parents are still pretty set against this inclusion and against African Americans as a whole. All of the typical high school clique stuff still applies as it does today, and Bliss befriends one of the school's token freaks, Sandy. Soon Sandy is showing her obsession for the girl who killed herself so many years before, and she tries to use Bliss as an offering to channel the dead girl's spirit.
Full of suspense and the supernatural, sure to appeal to teens who love this kind of stuff, even though there are many historical references (like segregation, Nixon era, war, the Charles Manson murders, and popular TV shows like Andy Griffith).
When Blisss hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a stony Atlanta neighborhood, its like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naive Bliss has to her new environment is what shes seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted Bliss desperately wants new friends, making her the perfect prey of a troubled girl whose obsession with a long-ago death puts Bliss, and anyone shes kind to, in mortal danger.
Bliss (the main character), was very clueless and just expected the best of people (which is not necessarily bad). This does make her a likeable character, as well as a character who you want to shake some sense into. She noticed the clues to what was happening but decided to ignore them, so she did get on your nerves a bit. But at the same time you could relate to her and you liked her as a character.
The secondary characters were well-developed. The troubled girl in the summary was a bit creepy, but she did come off across as more of a psycho than creepy.
Now, as a fan for Darren Shan's novels and other similar books, I didn't find this book very creepy. I even read it at night to make it seem more creepy but I didn't get chills or get creeped out. But I still really liked this book.
The book was fast-paced and it really kept my attention. It was also very suspenseful. The facts of the Manson murders and the racial discrimination added in the book set the time of which the novel took place and made the story more enjoyable. The writing flowed well. The diary entries of S.L.L. and the quotes from the Andy Griffith Show made the story better.
Now the ending. I was disappointed by it. You never know what happens next (unless it's in the sequel Rhymes with Witches). It ended too suddenly and did leave some questions unanswered.
Overall, I recommend this book to people who aren't horror novel fans, people who don't mind sucky endings, and people who want a suspenseful read.