Mary, Will I Die?

Scholastic. Sept. 2021. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338679274.
Gr 7 Up–It was only a game. At least that’s what nine-year-old Elena believed when she invited classmates Grace, Steph, and Calvin to her late grandmother’s room and challenged them to say the name Bloody Mary 13 times into the mysterious, ornate mirror. The two potential outcomes: either your soul mate’s face will appear in the mirror or the horrible face of Bloody Mary, promising an imminent death. Three of them saw a person’s face. The other was marked for death. Five years later, the teenagers have all gone their separate ways, when near tragedies start surrounding them, tragedies that Calvin is able to sketch before they occur. Elena is haunted by a figure in the mirror, and the four classmates are forced to come back together and face the truth when a new girl named Mary shows up at school. Sarles presents a simplistic tale that will please fans of horror and the supernatural. The story offers some nostalgia, taking the classic urban legend game played at countless grade school sleepovers and bringing it to life in a menacing and insidious way. The protagonists are well-developed and genuine characters who are easy to care about, in particular the timid and monster-movie-obsessed Grace who innocently wants this talk of soul mates to be true. After a slow, ominous buildup and a handful of surprising twists, this novel will have readers believing that not all scary stories are make-believe.
VERDICT Fans of classic monster movies and chilling Grimm’s fairy tales will be interested in checking this one out.

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