Hey everyone, I’m happy to to be participating in the book tour for Mary, Will I Die? hosted by Terminal Tours. Check out my review and moodboard below! Be sure to check out the tour schedule and the other amazing posts for this tour!
Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for a review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Mary, Will I Die? by Shawn Sarles
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Bestselling author Shawn Sarles’ most terrifying YA horror yet…
It starts innocently enough. Four kids – three girls, one boy – are at one of their houses, playing games. One of them has read about “Bloody Mary” and the idea that if you look into a mirror and say her name thirteen times, she will show you the future. Some legends say she’ll show you your one true love or a skull to mark your death within five years. Others say that conjuring Bloody Mary will bring her into your world.
Both sets of legends are true. The kids go through with the act, saying her name thirteen times. One girl looks in the mirror and sees her longtime crush. One girl looks in the mirror and sees the boy in the group. But she pretends to see something else. One girl looks in the mirror and sees a girl she’s never seen before but can’t get out of her mind. And the boy . . . he sees a skull. But he pretends to see something else. They try to laugh it off. And mostly they forget about it. Or at least they don’t talk about it. Yes, over the next few years, whenever they look into a mirror, it’s like there’s always another figure standing in the background, getting closer.
Just short of five years later, the four of them are no longer friends, having gone on separate paths. The girl whose house it was has always tried to avoid the mirror they used – because she always sensed someone in the background. One morning as she’s passing by, she sees much more than her own reflection – it’s a scary figure taunting her. She startles and breaks the mirror. When the pieces are put back together (barely), the figure is gone.
That day in school, a new girl arrives. Her name is Mary…
Set in the lower tones of YA (aka, meant for the younger range of YA) this is a great thriller/paranormal fantasy introduction for readers moving from middle grade to YA. While not scary, this book offers some terrifying imagery and spooky vibes that I really enjoyed!
With four characters and four POVs set in their freshman year of high school, these four ex-friends have all but forgotten their game of Bloody Mary, until strange things start happening to them. And then a new girl named Mary shows up. While I enjoyed having the different POVs, I wished we had more time to get to know the characters when they were younger and friends. We don’t get much of that before jumping into the story and very little explanation as to why they’re not friends anymore.
As for the characters themselves, I didn’t have much issue with any of them except Elena, who was just plain mean. Steph, Grace, and Calvin were all interesting characters with interesting points of view. Especially Steph, who we see not only dealing with a vengeful demon trying to kill her, but also coming to accept her sexuality and that she likes girls. I liked seeing everyone’s different problems and points of view dealing with Bloody Mary, but Elena was hard to get through at times. No one likes a bully.
If you’re looking for a really horrific story, this one isn’t super horrific and is great for anyone looking for a spooky vibe without too much terror. While some moments are kind of scary, this book is definitely on the tamer side and great for younger readers new to YA. Overall, I enjoyed the story and definitely recommend for anyone looking to introduce a reader to horror or looking for a not so scary, spooky book!
Shawn Sarles is the Indie Bestselling Author of CAMPFIRE and the forthcoming novel MARY, WILL I DIE? (out 09/07/21). Born in western Kentucky, he went to college at Wake Forest University and then moved to New York City after graduating. He has worked in the publishing industry for the last decade and now lives in Jersey City with a French Bulldog and two chatty parrots.