Mary expected her seventeenth birthday to be a blowout to remember, courtesy of her best friends, fellow New York City prepsters Amy and Joon, and her doting boyfriend, Trick.
Instead, the day starts badly and gets worse. After waking up in a mortifying place with a massive, unexplainable hangover, Mary soon discovers that nobody at school is even aware that it's her birthday. As evening approaches, paranoia sets in. Mary just can't shake the feeling that someone is out to get her—and, as it turns out, she's right. Before the night is over, she's been killed in cold blood.
But murder is just the beginning of Mary's ordeal. Her soul gets trapped in a strange limbo, and she must relive the day of her death through the eyes of seven people—each of whom, she finds, had plenty of reasons to hate her. As Mary explores the mysteries of her world, discovering secrets that were hidden in plain sight while she was alive, she clings desperately to the hope that she can solve her own murder, change the past, and—just maybe—save her own life.
With its blend of suspense, horror, fantasy, and realism, 7 Souls is an adrenaline rush of a thriller.
Confusion reigns in this mashup of genres and perspectives from first-time collaborators Miller and Orlando. Mary Shayne is baffled; it's her 17th birthday, and what should be a perfect day for the reigning beauty at a chic Manhattan private school is not turning out at all as planned. She wakes up naked in a Crate and Barrel with a monstrous hangover and no memory of how she got there; her gorgeous boyfriend breaks up with her; and her lifelong best friends have forgotten her special day. And just when it looks like Mary's been "punk'd," her surprise party turns into a B-grade horror film. Why? Mary has no idea. Nor does the reader. The second half of the book, which blends Groundhog Day with Freaky Friday, is meant to reveal the mystery, but succeeds only in making the story steadily less credible. Miller and Orlando do wonderfully with scene descriptions and designer names, but there is nothing in the shallow characterizations of the first half to prop up the powerful depths of emotion invoked in the second half of this ill-knit narrative. Ages 14 up.