March 14, 2017
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A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.The premise of Bad Blood and all that goes into it is a lot of fun and very intriguing. The main character, Heather, feels a compulsion to cut herself (there maybe should be a warning on this for those who self-harm; it isn't glossed over or portrayed abstractly), even after her stay in Great Lakes Wellness Center. It's something she can sometimes control, but not always - nor does she always wish to do so. There may be a more supernatural element to what she does - or at least why - though.
All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.
Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.
Adding in her trip to Scotland, the things afflicting her aunt and grandmother, and her nightmares about two twin sisters, Prudence and Primrose, who lived and died centuries ago and it is a very original tale.
I loved that the book really felt set in Scotland. We didn't have characters waxing poetic about the beauty of the land, so it wasn't overdone but it also didn't feel written by someone who'd only researched Scotland. Heather spends her summers in Edinburgh and you feel that she really knows the city.
That we are able to experience things from both Prudence and Primrose's points of view gives readers a better understanding of who the sisters were and what their relationship was like, which only makes some of the latter revelations better. (Or harder/more painful, I suppose.)
By the end, I didn't feel that we knew Heather as well as I would have liked. Her love of filmmaking and who she was beyond the dreams, the compulsions and the paranoia seemed somewhat ignored. As the book was so focused on the here and now, on the immediacy of the threat(s), I didn't mind much but would have liked to know her better. Her personality does shine through in her talks with her parents, especially. We do learn some great things about her friends and they're a lot of fun.
Bad Blood is a fun, enticing read full of magic, family, Scotland, and history and I recommend it.
digital copy received, for review, thanks to publisher via NetGalley