The Suffering

320p. ebook available. Sourcebooks Fire. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492629832.
Gr 9 Up—In this companion novel to The Girl from the Well (Sourcebooks, 2014), the avenging ghost Okiku now resides with her human counterpart, 17-year-old Tarquin "Tark" Halloway, whom she rescued from demonic possession in the previous novel. Tark and Okiku quell unhappy, venomous ghosts that linger on Earth to kill humans and this is no easy task. Okiku frequently goes solo to dispose of human murderers she senses on Earth but also assists Tark when he is wrestling an especially cantankerous spirit. This is the case when fellow Pembrooke High classmates seek his aid. Tark agrees to exorcise an evil spirit that his inexperienced classmates have conjured. The descriptions of the murderous Japanese spirit of an old woman he eventually wrangles into a doll with Okiku's help are startlingly graphic. Part temptress, part demon Okiku is more aptly developed in this installment. Tark serves as narrator, lending a smooth transition to the couple's eerie courtship. Action evolves swiftly and neatly. The pair is eventually drawn to an isolated "suicide" forest in Japan to rescue a fellow exorcist and an American ghost-hunting TV crew. Teens will savor the vivid portrayal of ghost exorcism as well as the action-packed adventure, romance, and drama of this tale. While a stand-alone, this volume would be best appreciated after reading the first title.
VERDICT An exciting, unforgettable drama that echoes Stephen King infused with Japanese culture.

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