By: Sharron Riddle
Publish Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: YA Horror
Series: Stand-alone (at moment)
Recommendation: A young adult psychological horror with a connection to an ugly curse.
When her best friend gifts her with an eerily realistic skull walking stick, Riva's already crappy life descends into terror. As if dealing with the local queen bitch out for revenge and her drunk mother weren't bad enough, Riva's "gift" has sprung to life, unleashing a spirit hell bent on stealing her body. A curse set into motion. Three possessed walking sticks, three girls turning to wood. Riva won't go down without a fight, but can she reverse the magic before it's too late.
My Thoughts and Summary:
Riva has 98 days until she graduates from private school torture zone. Riva is going to spend the night for a few days with Kerry while Kerry's mom is out of town. Kerry's Christmas present from her Aunt arrives. Three walking sticks from New Zealand. Kerry decides to give one to Riva and the other to an old girlfriend she doesn't talk to much since the accident. The harmless, yet spooky, walking sticks carry more of a past than they know. More than even Kerry's aunt knew when purchasing them.
The walking sticks are from New Zealand and of the Maori people. A spell worked into them that curses the owners. An ugly past that goes with the walking sticks.
The girls are initially taken with the sticks, but soon are spooked by them. The story takes on a personal horror along with the psychological torture and worry for the characters. Always wondering what will happen next and how to break the bonded curse they have with the sticks.
All the girls affected have pasts they are working to get away from. Riva has a drunk mother and her father died in a car accident which drove her mothers torment on Riva further. Kerry cuts herself, or had, after her boyfriend fell on the track of the L Train and died. She spent time in the hospital trying to help her get over the torment of his. Dalia is the sister of the said boyfriend and has her own demons with her brother she's hiding from with drugs. Then we have Nick. Nick is a friend of Riva's and Kerry's, but hoping for more with his long friend Riva. But Nick has his own secrets, his nightmares of murders and deaths of others.
Nick is a god-sent of a friend to the girls. He never gives up when things get to a point where there is no way out. I did fear for Nick on several occasions when he leaves the girls, fearful the sticks or the spirits of them would hurt him. These spirit girls are dangerous!
This town has some messed up stories. I'm surprised with the mess that Riva, Kerry, and Nick get into with the sticks that there is a chance to go on. But is there? Those sticks have their grips on the girls. Is there a way to break the curse? Will the girls look to save their selves or their friend?
Many of my readers will pick up that this isn't my normal kind of read. It's not. I loved the sound of the connection to the Maori people and the magic in the walking sticks. That was the draw for me and it held that throughout the read introducing me to new characters and story.
Sharron has created a psychological thriller that young adults can read. I was left wondering when the evil walking sticks would show up or what would happen next to the girls or the town people as I read.