Grade 7 and up–On the surface, Owen is a typical high school student at a small-town school in Texas. He runs track, has a pretty girlfriend, and is set on starting college in a few months. Yes, it’s a little strange that he inherited a chunk of land from grandparents he never met, but it’s not that strange—not like the fact that 11 students at Masonville High have committed suicide in a single school year. Things get stranger still after Owen drinks from an old well in the woods on his property. He wakes up seeing chains and shackles wrapped around the people of Masonville, but they seem oblivious to their bindings. Hateful words like die, suffer, and rage are graffitied throughout the town, but only Owen sees them. And then there are the Creepers—hideous, demonlike creatures that Owen starts to see everywhere, playing with the emotions of the shackled. A war between good and evil is taking place in Masonville and Owen is the only one who can see the truth. This is Christian fiction with a horror twist. Only followers of Christ are somewhat immune to the Creepers, and Owen struggles with the idea that God may be real in spite of all the bad things happening around him. This isn’t an easy, instant conversion tale. The ending is slightly over the top, but sets readers up for a second book. VERDICT Recommended for libraries where teen Christian Fiction is in demand.
Gallier, a popular speaker and advocate for Christian values, captures the unseen world of sin through the eyes of high school student Owen in her debut novel. Small-town Masonville High only recently opened but has been plagued by suicides—12 and counting. The community is on edge, and on the day of the 12th suicide, Owen wanders into the woods and meets an old man pulling water from a seemingly ancient well. After drinking the well water with the man, Owen begins to see chains and chokers around the necks of many of his classmates, and even his own mother. But he also witnesses others who have no chains and seem to glow with light. His determination to understand the nature of these visions and help those whom he sees being plagued by “Creepers” brings him through a labyrinth of emotions and discoveries about himself, others, and how sinful behavior (lying, stealing, cheating) can pollute a community. In Owen, Gallier has nicely captured the mixture of naïveté and overwhelming self-awareness typical of high school students. Gallier’s impressive debut will make readers reconsider social boundaries and the negative power of judging oneself and others.
A small town is the center of a fierce spiritual battle in this debut novel. In fact, Masonville, Texas, is a veritable horror show: The local high school is plagued by an out-of-control suicide epidemic.
Living with a negligent, alcoholic mother and surrounded by friends struggling with their own issues, high school senior Owen is just trying to survive until graduation when he gains the ability to see the literal demons surrounding his classmates. Suddenly, he can see the physical chains of sin weighing down his friends and the otherworldly ghouls that plot their demise. The only people unaffected by these apparitions are the Lights, those who have accepted Christ.
Desperate to figure out why he is having these visions, Owen befriends Ray Anne, an angelic Light who encourages him to turn to God. Owen and Ray Anne must work together to stop the Enemy from launching a massive attack on their school.
The Delusion tackles a myriad of weighty, hot-button issues—teen suicide, sexual abuse, mental illness, the occult, prescription drug abuse, and promiscuity—perhaps too many to successfully handle in one book. Still, older teens and young adults who enjoy the drama of books centered on spiritual warfare may enjoy this journey.
Laura Gallier takes readers into the chillingly realistic and mysterious world of spiritual warfare, angels and demons in her debut release, The Delusion. The first-person story, told by high-school senior Owen Edmonds who knows little about anything spiritual, will capture all audiences, young and old alike.
Owens move to Masonville High School halfway through his senior year, giving him the distinction of “new guy” at school. While that was bad enough, “...that wasn’t the worst of it.” Eight high school students had committed suicide since September and soon four more would follow garnering the high school and town the headline: “Masonville Suicide Saga.”
The suicides and move had made life more difficult for Owen who already had to cope with his mother’s drinking. Still, he had earned a place on the high school’s track team, met Jess, his soon-to-be-girlfriend and was surrounded by a group of great new friends even though they couldn’t understand why he never invited them home.
When Owen unexpectedly met a weird old man in the woods behind the school who promised to tell him what was causing the suicide epidemic if Own drank water drawn from an underground water source, he did. The water had tasted normal going down and then sudden pain “hijacked his gut with the worst stomachache ever and his head throbbed!” Overwhelmed with the pain, Owens’s last fear-laden thought was “I don’t want to be number thirteen!”
Soon Owen will see chains around his mother, friends, teachers and classmate’s necks with braids that protrude from the back of their heads labeled humiliation, shame, guilt and more. He will also see other dark beings like demoniacs he identifies as Creepers and angelic beings he’s convinced are Warrior angels. Yet Owen is the only one who sees these things.
Thus begins a darkly sinister narrative of demonic activity and supernatural illusions in a fictionalized account of good versus evil with human souls as the prize.
After reading a third of The Delusion, I thought the story very dark and wondered if teens should read it. Until the introduction of Ray Anne, who has no shackles, chains or cords, who instead emits “a brilliant, golden glow” and Owen sets out to learn her secret and the story changes.
This well-drawn story elaborates on and reveals how Satan entraps people with negative feelings, experiences and behaviors. Gallier writes from a biblical perspective about a thought-provoking spiritual realm with a complex and gripping tale that carries a powerful punch. Fans of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti will enjoy this action-packed story.