Title: Mary, Will I Die?
Author: Shawn Sarles
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, 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…
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.
“He gawked at the new girl, his thoughts suddenly blank. Because it didn’t make sense. It was impossible. His eyes flicked from her face to his drawing. He flipped through the pages of his notebook again and again and again, watching the demon morph…watching as the demon became the very person standing in front of him now. This flesh-and-blood girl.”
I’ve always been fascinated by the legend of Bloody Mary. This mainly stems from the fact that I love horror movies and legends and myths. I’ve read a few books based on Bloody Mary and each has proven to be different and unique. Mary, Will I Die? is both those things, a book that is perfect for the upcoming spooky season. It’s a story that seemingly brings Bloody Mary to life, quite literally to the main characters.
“He was seeing and drawing all these disasters, these accidents hurting the people around him. And eventually, he’d draw his own.”
I typically do not like multiple point of views in a book, but the multiple point of views worked really well in Mary, Will I Die? I enjoyed the little snippets of each characters’ thoughts and concerns and all the perspectives did a great job of connecting this story and moving the plot along. Each character has their own battle with Bloody Mary and even though each former friend experiences horrors on their own, they finally come together to work as a team to find a way to get rid of Bloody Mary once and for all. And through this journey, secrets are revealed and people are hurt, causing the group of friends to race against time to save one of their own.
Shawn Sarles does a great job of bringing horror to life in this story. The fear these characters face is palpable, and that’s not just the fear they each have of Bloody Mary. It’s the fear of the unknown and the fear that everything is falling apart around them. Sarles’s writing makes it easy to relate to any of the characters and the problems they face. I also liked that this fast-paced read was filled with a bit of mystery and twists and turns that were unpredictable.
“But now I know not to put too much faith in anyone. Because you never know when they’ll decide to leave you.”
Overall, I was pleased with Mary, Will I Die? and enjoyed the story and characters. This is a great fresh take on the legend and myth behind Bloody Mary, one that I think many will enjoy. If you’re looking for a book for the spooky season that will keep you up in the middle of night, Mary, Will I Die? is the book for you!
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars