Book Review: Pull
Reviewed by Samantha Hui
Suspenseful and cryptic, Pull navigates the trials of high school and the possible occult.
Pull walks the line between the genres of realism and the supernatural. This young adult novel tells the story of high school wiles, the subtle occult, and a mistrust of those closest to us.
Mischa Kenning-Elliot is almost like other high school students: she prepares for prom, has a gabby best friend, and fears the repercussions of upsetting the high school popular girls. But she is prevented from experiencing the full gamut of high school anxieties and excitement because her parents are afraid that her lupus with flare up again—or so they say. They always worry that Mischa is distracted, but from what is hardly apparent. Things start to change when she falls for the alluring and popular Casey Everfeld. Casey, in turn, has admired Mischa since the day he first set eyes on her in middle school.
“Because, you know, who wants to be a soaring eagle when you can be a rabbit with consistent bowel movements?”
Now, a few weeks before prom, little-known Mischa is in a real relationship with star baseball player Casey. Mischa is starting to feel more like a real high schooler, but those around her seem hellbent on making her feel ostracized with some even putting her life in danger. Youth Pastor Dave is always hanging around the popular kids teaching them lessons against the occult. Someway, somehow, Pastor Dave is convinced Mischa is involved with the occult, succumbed to a supernatural influence. And what with the visions and preternatural dreams, Mischa is convinced that he might be right.
“Maybe you think it’s a coincidence. Maybe you see the same number in a few different places, and you don’t know it’s someone from the other side—something—trying to send you a message. Trying to control you.”
Though the novel centers heavily around Mischa’s experience or high school and those threatening to put her life at risk, the novel transitions back and forth between Mischa and Casey’s perspectives. Having Casey’s perspective interspersed throughout the book heightens the suspense: we, the readers, experience the sequence of events at the same time as Casey does. What the novel also succeeds at is how sparingly it utilizes the elements of the supernatural. The story is gripping because it ultimately focuses in on the characters over the plot. While Mischa’s life is threatened by those closest to her and Casey, their ultimate focus is on the happiness and safety of each other.
“Maybe prom talk is like lupus.”
While I enjoyed the novel for its characters and overall story, Casey’s character seems to devolve over time. He claims that he is not like those guys who are overly possessive of his girlfriend, but his thoughts become violent toward those who threaten Mischa. However, this may be exactly how Casey is meant to develop. As more pieces of the puzzle come to light, Casey and Mischa’s grip on reality begins to dissolve. The only sure thing for Mischa and Casey is each other.
“Thursday Morning, I sleep through the second cycle of my alarm dreaming about a freaky room I don’t recognize. It’s a tiny, bright space, but it feels big somehow, like something big’s coming.”
Pull is a great young adult novel that has a firm grasp on the heart of its story. Filled with elements of mild tension and excitement, this book is sure to intrigue its readers who feel trapped in the mundanity of high school life.
Publisher: Bleau Press
Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary
Print Length: 219 pages
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