The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce
Published by Strange Chemistry
1st August 2013
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she s not going crazy. But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn t know who killed him, so there s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave... and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him? And what happens if she starts to fall for him?
Bryony Pearce was one of the writers that I met at the UKYA extravaganza earlier this year, and when she described The Weight of Souls I knew that I wanted to read it. Taylor Oh carries a curse, not only does she see dead people (very The Sixth Sense) but if they are murder victims, then they are capable of passing a 'mark' onto Taylor that she then must pass onto their murderer, or face being taken by the Darkness herself.
This in itself poses a problem for Taylor because it isn't apparent to anyone else that she can see the dead, so she spends her life constantly on guard, in a permanent state of alert, trying to run away from the dead who haunt her every waking moment. The effects of this are that Taylor is something of a social outcast, and even her best friend Hannah is getting a little tired of Taylor's constant excuses.
When Justin, one of the popular kids at her school disappears, only Taylor can see him - only he doesn't actually know he is dead, and on reaching out to Taylor, passes the 'mark' onto her. Now she has three weeks to find his killer, except that on this occasion, Justin doesn't know who it is.
Taylor is now not only trying to find an unidentified killer, but her father is also increasingly concerned by her behaviour. Despite inheriting this curse from her mother, he refuses to acknowledge that what Taylor sees is true and is desperately seeking a cure for her odd visions. Soon the only person Taylor is able to talk to is Justin, her one-time arch enemy. Can they bury their rivalries to find out who killed Justin or will the Darkness take Taylor before she has a chance to avenge him?
This is a good read for young adults. It mixes a curse from ancient Egypt into a modern family tale, and the everyday life of a teenage girl. The 'in crowd' at the school are vicious at best and I hated every one of them. I loved that Taylor is never sure as to who is real in her life, and who is actually dead; it made the book so much more realistic, and even though Justin is dead, as Taylor can see him, he becomes much more real and closer to her in the afterlife than he ever did when they were in a classroom together. I'm looking forward to Bryony's next book dropping through my letterbox shortly!
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