Release Date: On shelves in the US / 28th March 2011 for Australia
Publisher: Penguin Australia (thanks for the review copy!)
Mary expected her seventeenth birthday to be a blowout to remember, courtesy of her best friends, fellow New York City prepsters Amy and Joon, and her doting boyfriend, Trick.
Instead, the day starts badly and gets worse. After waking up in a mortifying place with a massive, unexplainable hangover, Mary soon discovers that nobody at school is even aware that it's her birthday. As evening approaches, paranoia sets in. Mary just can't shake the feeling that someone is out to get her—and, as it turns out, she's right. Before the night is over, she's been killed in cold blood.
But murder is just the beginning of Mary's ordeal. Her soul gets trapped in a strange limbo, and she must relive the day of her death through the eyes of seven people—each of whom, she finds, had plenty of reasons to hate her. As Mary explores the mysteries of her world, discovering secrets that were hidden in plain sight while she was alive, she clings desperately to the hope that she can solve her own murder, change the past, and—just maybe—save her own life.
With its blend of suspense, horror, fantasy, and realism, 7 Souls is an adrenaline rush of a thriller.
"WHOM DO YOU HATE THE MOST?
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT IT IF YOU COULD?
TODAY IS THE DAY."
This review doesn't giveaway much in regards to specific plot details. Because trust me when I say, it's best to go into this book without any idea of... well, anything!
On the morning of her 17th birthday, Mary wakes to find herself stark naked on a display bed in a furniture store... with hundreds of faces peering in at her from the windows. Not a great way to start any day, least of all your birthday. She has no idea how she got there and no memory of the events from the previous night. And this is where the mystery begins - from the very first page we're thrust into this journey with as much information as Mary. Strange things are happening, friends are acting weird, Mary's experiencing random visions and everything, everything is beginning to spiral out of control.
Throughout the twisting, turning of events of the book, Mary realises that so many of those she considered close to her are really harbouring an incredible grudge against her and the means in which they'll go to exact revenge are far behind the normal high school drama. Sometimes hate is much closer than you think - bubbling away under a smile. This is told in such a unique and original way. I've never seen these ideas explored in another book before. And I'm not talking about the 'reliving the day of your death' element, there's much more to it than that
The authors, Barnabas and Jordan, excel at character development and really know how to mess with a readers perception. You want to hate certain people but once you're given an insight into what fuels their actions and the way they've been treated by others, it's a lot easier to understand where their feelings stem from, although you don't exactly condone what they've done. I'm not sure I've felt such annoyance, frustration, dislike and yet sympathy and understanding for the main character. What makes the characters shine is they're realistic. They're not painted in black and white but in so many shades of colour - the good and the bad and the in-between that define us as humans.
The mystery itself was one crazy, mind-bending rollercoaster. Every single event, every word spoken, every minute detail in this book has a purpose. It may not seem like it at the time, certain scenes may seem small and insignificant, but by the end you realise everything is a clue. A small piece to a much larger puzzle. I guessed a few things but on the whole, this book had plenty of twists and turns and left me thoroughly confused and intrigued and eager to find out what the heck was going on, who the was responsible and how the everything was going to tie up together. Everything did come together, in the end. Although the very last part.... I understood it, but at the same time I'm a little confused. I won't say anything here because it's a major spoiler but - is the other one gone? Or are both of them still in there?
7 Souls is a fantastic young adult novel unlike any other I've read. It's the kind book that forces you to turn the pages faster and faster as more clues come to light and just when you think you've got a grasp on what's going on, you're thrown for a loop. The best way to go into this book is 100% unprepared. Try to avoid reading specific plot details if you can, it'll only make the journey that much more enjoyable.