Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish
Written By Nicola Marsh
Published August 1st 2013
Paranormal, Romance
272 Pages
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen
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★★★★
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit... And save her soul.

After her ex boyfriend commits suicide and her mum's alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen year old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt, a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan, a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan's music clips, and she's the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn't believe in the supernatural... Despite her family's Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it's closer than she thinks?
It was inevitable, that seventeen year old Alyssa Wood would have developed a crush on twenty one year old Ronan, but how soon is too soon, after your last relationship? It had been six months since Alyssa left Broadwater, for the hustle of New York City, escaping the scrutiny and whispers of a small town since her ex boyfriend had killed himself eight months ago, the day after Alyssa had ended their relationship. Now Alyssa lives with her aunt, a renowned high priestess urban witch, after the downhill spiral of her mother's mental health. Her mother once being an eccentric witch and devout Wiccan, now an alcoholic who has retreated within herself.

Alyssa has a new life in New York, a new school and a new boyfriend, it's a fresh start that she so desperately needed. But when new boyfriend Ronan sends Alyssa a song he had composed for her, she never expected the camera to capture a girl with her life slowly draining before her eyes, blood seeping through her clothing. With Ronan adamant there was nothing untoward about the video clip, Alyssa needs answers.

With new friend Seth, Alyssa visits a local medium, she's never been a believer until a message from ex boyfriend Noah comes through. Towards the end of their relationship, Noah had been shrouded in darkness, his angry outbursts becoming increasingly manic until Alyssa had ended it. Nothing about Noah's deterioration had made sense, but Alyssa didn't believe that medium Tabitha could contact spirits, so how is it that she knows about Noah?

When Alyssa arrives home to a plain package with only a card addressed to her, she's hesitant to open it. Seeing the dead body on Ronan's clip, Noah's name during the seance pales in comparison to the package containing the necklace she had given Noah, the very same that she had hurried beside Noah's grave, a week after he was laid to rest. Alyssa needs to conduct a banishing spell, but when her computer then chimes with Taylor Swift, Noah and Alyssa's song, the sooner she can get rid of this ghost, the better.

With a warning that her recent seance has left a threat looming over Alyssa, she has no option but to turn to high priestess aunt Angie. Angie has always pushed Alyssa into pursuing Wicca but with no success. There is a malevolent force determined to harm Alyssa, finding a voodoo doll with a noose around it's neck in her bag, that remarkably resembled Alyssa, ritual death signs arriving in the mail, and a new video. This clip being identical to Ronan's song for her, but the difference being the wide angle shot of the dying girl, the girl who tormented Alyssa throughout school, claiming Alyssa had stolen Noah from her. Sammy, the same girl who had also found Noah's body.

Alyssa needs to go home, back to Broadwater to search for answers. What she finds is her sober mother intent on helping her unravel just what Alyssa is. Who is trying to destroy her life... And that Alyssa may be the next victim.

Kelly's Thoughts

Banish is a young adult psychological thriller with a paranormal twist. Although slow to start, as the storyline unravels you'll find yourself increasingly skittish. It's intense and unpredictable, not to mention creepy and will keep you in the edge of your seat. Even being a young adult release, it scared me senseless in parts, definitely not one to read alone at night.

It felt unfinished, so I wonder if there will be a follow up to tie up lose ends. If there is, sign me up.

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