There's a lot to like about Nicola Marsh's YA debut - a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn't wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot. Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices - NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can't outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa's aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up - a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that's following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too. I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia. I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She's blunt - and understandably so considering her history. But I didn't like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn't communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don't behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt's interest in the supernatural, her mother's alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn't a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new - it wasn't perfect and that added a layer of realism to it. The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used - it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I'll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it's not one I think I'll continue reading.
Kate @ whYAnot