Second Look: BE NOT AFRAID by Cecilia Galante

Anyone who knows me, knows how much love I have for Cecilia.  Not only is she an amazing writer, but she’s the kindest, most kind-hearted person ever.  Just being around her makes you happy.

OK, enough mush.  Onto the review!

Be Not Afraid


Title: Be Not Afraid
Author: Cecilia Galante
Published: April 2015, Random House
Genre: Teen Horror, Slight Romance

What It’s About:  Marin can see people’s pain.  She sees them in the forms of colors and shapes.  She couldn’t always see pain, though.  This sight started a year previously, after her mother committed suicide.

After her mother’s death, Marin and her father move in with his mother in a small town in Connecticut, where she’s the New Girl at her school, a catholic high school.  Marin keeps to herself, afraid to let people get too close for fear of losing them.

During a school assembly, one of the most popular girls in school — Cassie — has a seizure.  At least, that’s what everyone’s calling it.  But it was more of a demonic possession that exploded when the priest was saying prayers on the stage.  Cassie looks directly at Marin during this fit and screams at her.

Cassie’s brother comes to Marin for help, believing she has the key to saving his younger sister.

Thoughts:  (I’ll try to be spoiler free!)

I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard it as a WIP at a Wilkes U Residency.  Let me just say, it did not disappoint.  There’s a few reasons for this, so I’ll point out the most obvious:  It’s about good vs. evil, religion, and demon possession.  What else could I possibly want in a book?

The plot line is smoothly written.  I didn’t notice any holes in it.  Galante also does a great job of building up the tension and suspense toward the end of the story when it comes down to trying to save Cassie’s life as the demon possession is taking control of her body more and more.  In fact, the last few pages had me a little scared — like, putting the book in the freezer scared.  (Friends reference, anyone?  Anyone?)

Marin’s extremely well developed, and realistic.  (Beside the “seeing pain” aspect, of course.)  She suffered a great tragedy that she blames herself for, and because of that she doesn’t want to get close to anyone.  She even her “best friend” at her new school at arm’s length.  (Which brings in tension later, and that’s resolved, too.)  When she’s approached by Big Brother Jackson (Forgive me, I cannot remember his name.), she wants nothing to do with “saving” Cassie, and the reader finds out exactly why.  (And really, who can blame her once they find out?)

There’s a strained Father-Daughter relationship throughout, with only Nan (Marin’s grandmother) being the connection between the two.  This is classic of teen relationships, but also is resolved.

Recommendation:  I’d recommend this to anyone who likes paranormal of the demon persuasion.  (Fan of Ghost Adventures?  Supernatural?  You may want to check this out.)  There’s a little bit of everything in here.  There’s definitely a love story, but I didn’t think it was at the forefront of it, as Barnes & Noble seems to want to place it in “Teen Romance.”

Rating: 10/10 stars.  (Definitely worth the wait.)


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