Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann

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Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: An ominous, creepy thriller with a slight supernatural element. Pacily written with some atmospheric descriptions of both emotion and place. The book is of Cann's usual high standards and teen girls will love it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 140710246X

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Rayne is sixteen. It's the summer between GCSEs and A Levels and she's feeling unsettled. Life is crowding in - her London estate is noisy and oppressive, her younger brother is demanding lots of attention and her mother thinks Rayne should give it. Damian isn't pressuring her for sex yet, but Rayne knows he will do soon and she's not sure she's ready. She's not even sure she likes him enough and she knows his interest in her is quite possibly simply because he's her first boyfriend. Everything's getting too much and all Rayne can think of is getting away. So when the job at isolated Morton's Keep comes up, she jumps at it. And before she knows it, the city girl is buried away in a remote country village.

The nights are black and silent and the house is reputedly haunted but while these things frighten Rayne a little, the contact with nature thrills her. And when she meets St John and his friends, Rayne decides she never wants to leave. St John is like no one she's ever met. But why does everyone warn her against him? And what are the secrets behind the eerie solitude of Morton's Keep?

Ooh, and away we go on a Gothic adventure with ghosts and ghouls and sinister cults. It's exciting and energetic and imbued with a deep sense of the power of nature. Rayne is an independently-minded girl, struggling to escape the limitations of her background and find herself, and this element of the book is as kitchen sink and recognisable as Kate Cann's heroines and their situations always are. She doesn't want to follow her mother into bored domesticity and she doesn't want to be defined by her trophy boyfriend Damian. I love this about Cann's characters. They're young and untested, but they're determined and unafraid of glass ceilings. Place such a credible character into some slightly supernatural and psychological drama, as here, and you have the kind of book teen girls will absolutely devour.

Damian might be boring, but St John isn't to be trusted. And the Gothic thriller plot underscores this. As Rayne gains independence, she also gains clear sight and so in many ways the plot is a metaphor for growing up. Knowing what you don't want is easy - and Rayne doesn't want the estate. But knowing what you do want is a trifle more tricky - and this is what Rayne discovers over a tense and exciting storyline.

The emotional landscape is immediately recognisable, the characters are engaging and credible, the plotting is tense and exciting, and the writing is fluid and easy.

What's not to like?

My thanks to the nice people at Scholastic for sending the book.

Another electrifying read, this time without a supernatural element, is Meet Me At The Boathouse by Suzanne Bugler. The Changeover by Margaret Mahy is a supernatural coming of age story.

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Buy Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann at Amazon.com.


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