New York Times-bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.
When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:
x Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
x Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out.”
x If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.
If only surviving in real life were this easy…
New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep…and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.
Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose.
Title: The Mary Shelley Club
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Publisher: Henry Holt Books For Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
This book was a crazy ride! Let me tell you. My emotions and accusations were everywhere. Also, the Scream meets Gossip Girl comps were pretty spot on (which I was very pleased about.
First: Rachel’s past was a bit of a mystery. This whole book has a lot to do with an incident that happened to Rachel a year before this story happens and most of what happened to her stays hidden for a little while. She eventually tells most of the story of what happened, but there are still a couple of here and there that aren’t revealed until later in the story. I love that Rachel’s past was an added mystery to this book.
Second: Getting to experience each fear test through the eyes of the person being scared. The Mary Shelley Club picks targets and scares them. Since Rachel is apart of this club, we don’t experience these scares through her POV like the rest of the book. Instead, we read about the scaring in 3rd POV which follows the person being scared. Not only did this assist in keeping some things secret for the mystery reveal at the end, but it also helped me, as the reader, to be able to feel that fear and anxiety that the scaree was feeling.
Third: the plot twist/big reveal at the end. The ‘why’ of it all was pretty shocking. Plus, it connected a lot of dots that had been bugging me or staring me right in the face. And, maybe the best part of this big reveal, was that it made me want to reexamine everything that had happened previously in the book. I love when I am forced to question the things that have already happened and this book definitely did that to me.
Overall, I am happy this book ended so hair-raisingly creepy while also answering all my burning questions. I’m definitely interested in seeing if there will be any kind of sequel or companion book to go along with this one.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I OPENED THE door and Saundra was there, her smile and outfit sparkling.
“Get dressed, Rachel, we’re going to a party.”
I’d only known the girl three weeks but here she was, showing up unannounced at my apartment like she’d been doing this for years.
“Sorry, can’t.” I was in my sweats and getting ready to relax with my favorite comfort movie of all time, Night of the Living Dead. Also, I hated parties. “My mom doesn’t want me going out on a school night.”
Like an apparition in a bathroom mirror, my mom appeared behind me. “Sunday’s not technically a school night, is it, Jamonada?”
Jamonada was a pet name my grandmother had given me. I’d tried to give it back but there were —0 apparently no refunds, and anyway, my mom loved it. It was Spanish for “ham.” Not like “That girl is so funny and precocious— she’s such a ham!” Like literal lunch meat. And now Saundra had heard it, so there was that.
“Hi, Ms. Chavez!” Saundra said.
“There’s school tomorrow,” I muttered. “So, yeah, definitely considered a school night.”
“But you didn’t have school today,” my mom countered. “I’d say the jury’s still out.”
Saundra nodded emphatically while I stared at my mom like she hadn’t raised me for sixteen years. At first, I honestly could not figure out her angle. And then it hit me: My own mother was worried about my friendless- loner-patheticness.
“But you want me rested and refreshed for school tomorrow, right, Mom?” I did that clenched-teeth thing people do when they want someone to take a hint.
My mom did that bright- smile thing people do when they ignore hints. “You had the whole weekend to rest and refresh, honey.”
We were at an impasse. I wanted to spend the night with the living dead, and my mom wanted me to spend time with the actual living. Time to bring out the big guns.
“Saundra, tell my mom where the party is.” It was a risk. For all I knew Saundra wanted to take me to Gracie Mansion to hang out with the mayor, and with the circles she ran in, that wasn’t entirely implausible. But chances were good that the setting for this party would suck.
Saundra hesitated, but I pressed on. “Go on, tell her.”
“An abandoned house in Williamsburg,” Saundra said.
I swiveled back to my mom, glinting with triumph like a freshly polished trophy. “An abandoned house in Williamsburg. Hear that, Mom?”
It was a game of chicken now. My mom and I stared each other down, waiting to see who would give in first.
“Have fun!” Mom said.
Thwarted by my own mother. She’d had only two rules for me when we moved to New York City: 1) Keep my grades up, and 2) make friends. The fact that Saundra had shown up here should have been enough proof that I’d made friends. Well, one friend. Either way, I’d accomplished the impossible task of making a new friend as a junior at a new school. But to my mom, a party meant more possible friendships, so that meant I was being dragged to Williamsburg.
I got changed (I refused to take off my tie-d ye pajama shirt, despite Saundra’s protests, but I dressed it up with cut- off Dickies and a jacket) and we left.
“We could walk,” I suggested. We were in Greenpoint, just one neighborhood over, and the weather was nice.
Saundra snorted. “What, and get murdered?”
“It’s pretty safe around here.”
Saundra dismissed me and the borough of Brooklyn with a laugh and took out her phone. “Yeah. Sure.”
About the Author
Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her family. She is the New York Times–bestselling author of Kill the Boy Band and No Good Deed. Some of her influences include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the esteemed works of John Irving, and the Mexican telenovelas she grew up watching with her mother.