Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Wish Me Dead

I stumbled upon Young Adult author Helen Grant several years ago when I read 'The Vanishing of Katharina Linden', (also reviewed on Quicksand) and have been singing her praises ever since.

Her latest novel, 'Wish Me Dead' is as enticing a read as her last novel, and does not disappoint. Helen's writing is distinctive and fresh.

The setting for 'Wish Me Dead' is Bad Munstereifel in Germany, and there is a wonderfully strong feel for the country in her language and descriptions.

The protagonist is shy Steffi, who nearly always goes along with whatever comes her way. For instance, taking over her parents bakery...not a career of Steffi's choosing but she seems unable to stand up for herself. Within her peer group, too, Steffi is not forthcoming. The trouble begins when Steffi and her friends go to the local 'haunted house' for a bit of fun. Whilst there, they put a hex on Kara Klein, who is the local celebrity folk singer. Wishing her dead is seen as being akin to cursing the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny: faintly sacrilegious and almost certainly ineffective.

Events unfold and hexes are placed on largely irritating community members left, right and centre. And those who have been hexed start to die or disappear...

As with her earlier novel, Helen manages to weave an absurdly wicked death scene into the story, involving Kara Klein and her favourite cherry streusel dessert.

Great writing, entertaining story.

-Ann

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