Cas Lowood, armed with his late father's athame knife, kills ghosts. In Thunder Bay, Anna, forever 16, drips blood on her white dress from throat slit in 1958, and rips apart anyone who enters her house - except Cas. He makes new friends - high school queen Carmel, jock Will, admiring nerd Thomas and Tom's voodoo grandpa Morfran - to fight this demon.
This April I attended a writing conference in which Literary Agent Bree Ogden listed off dozens of YA books she recommended for great style and original story lines. Being a crazy reading fanatic, I added most of them to my Amazon shopping cart as she named them. Some of the books were pretty decent, while some of them barged their way onto my bookshelf of favorites. Anna Dressed in Blood made its way right to the tippy top.
The story follows Cas Lowood, teenage ghost hunter, and his witch mother as they move to a new town after getting a tip from an anonymous "friend" of this ghost named Anna. Cas is a pretty laid back guy who knows he will only be in his new high school for a short while, and he knows how to manipulate people to get what he wants. When he sets his sights on the school queen bee and a quiet nerd, he finds unexpected friendships, as well as fellow ghost hunters. While at first I couldn't get over the idea that the ghosts in this story go corporeal, once I was able to accept it, I couldn't stop reading. There's so much more to the story than just a boy hunting ghosts, and it continues on to its sequel, Girl of Nightmares (I will review another time).
Reasons I love Anna Dressed in Blood:
1. Cas is an amazing character, humorous and brave, plus it was quite refreshing to read from a guy's point of view.
2. The horror scenes were executed extremely well. On one of Kendare's books there was a quote that read "Stephen King better watch his back". At first I thought that was blasphemy as SK is one of my favorite authors, but after reading Kendare's writing, I understand.
3. The unexpected grouping of loner ghost hunter, queen bee and nerd made for a fun, interesting group.
4. The humor. I've said it a hundred times, but when something involves horror and humor, it wins me over every time.
5. Kendare Blake grew up in Minnesota. I'm always pleased to see one of my own break free and do well in society.
6. The twist near the end. Although I had an inkling that something else was going on, I never would've guessed something that creepy was going to happen.
7. THE COVER! I almost never read a book if I'm not drawn in by its cover.
8. And of course, the writing. A story is ten times better when the writing is the best of the best, and Kendare's prose is definitely first rate!
Now excuse me while I fangirl and prepare to attend Kendare's book signing in September...
Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: "Feed her chocolate." Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.