Contagion – Erin Bowman

This is one of the best YA books I’ve ever read! It’s heart pounding action from beginning to end and not the mindless kind with no character development. Althea Sadik is working as an intern for renowned microbiologist Dr. Lisbeth Tarlow when circumstances force them to answer a distress call from a drill operation on a distant planet which never rotates to face the sun. On dark Achlys, they discover a missing crew with only the body of an engineer and a cryptic message scrawled in blood. Desperate to find her father stationed on the planet, the captain orders a search despite the crew’s reluctance. What they find are corpses and a lone minor whose survival is too good to be true. This is a two book series and I can’t wait for the sequel as I haven’t read as exciting a last fifty pages since Michael Crichton’s The Lost World. Equal parts Aliens and Resident Evil, the intricate plot, spare yet effective character development, world building and escalating pace make for a truly exceptional novel. 

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The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

the-exorcist-coverThis is a truly chilling tale of the demonic possession of a girl, the mother who fights to save her, and the Catholic priest who risks his life to exorcise the demon.  Regan is living in Washington DC with her famous mother.  A series of poltergeist-like events occur in their rented house, after which Regan begins to undergo disturbing psychological and physical changes. Conventional medicine provides no relief so Regan’s mother, an atheist, turns to a local Jesuit priest, Father Damien Karras, for help.  Father Damien is going through a crisis of faith but agrees to see Regan as a psychiatrist.  After meeting Regan, now completely possessed by a diabolical presence, Father Damien asks permission to perform an exorcism.  The church appoints a more experienced exorcist but allows Father Damien to assist.  This is beyond a doubt the scariest book I’ve ever read.  It’s very well written, rich, a thorough exploration of possession as defined by the Catholic Church.