There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered. (goodreads.com)
I’ve had this book on my Want list for a little while now so no surprise I got a little giddy when the publisher approved me for a copy on NetGalley. Squee! If you haven’t done any of these mirror games, or hold seances, or played with a Ouiji board when you were growing up then I pity your childhood, the saddened, deadened thing it must have been. Or me and my friends were just really effed in the head. Either way.
See, you play these games because you know you’re all going to amp each other up and creep each other out but you KNOW nothing’s going to happen. I mean it’s just pretend, right? RIGHT? I mean anything that may have happened to your friend’s friend can be explained away. You’re not going to get your face clawed off. You’re not going to walk away from the sleepover haunted. You’ll wake up in the morning, eat some waffles and leave. But what if it isn’t fake? What happens if Mary’s real?
The beginning of MARY started out a little rough for me just from a dialogue standpoint. The teen speak just felt rather forced and I was annoyed by all of the characters and their inane chatter. I immediately didn’t like Jess because she was your typical mean girl but she did things under the guise of being your friend but her edge was nasty and she was a bit of a sociopath so there’s that. Shauna’s rather run of the mill. Nothing too out there to have stand out. She just is. Until the plot starts going.
Most of the story reminded me of the Bloody Mary episode from Supernatural (season 1, episode 5) with how she looked and moved (rather like the chick in The Ring but without the TV) and how nasty and violent she was. I didn’t necessarily find it so much scary (despite the fact that I hate mirrors anyway and have the minimum amount of mirrors in my house because things LIVE in mirrors duh) as I found Mary’s backstory intriguing. I was pushed along moreso by that than anything else. But the whole story was compelling.
I found myself rooting for Shauna the deeper into the mess she got. I got upset when something upsetting happened (for the sake of no spoilers I’ll keep those details to myself). And there were certainly a couple of jump moments. I think there were a few too many details happening and not enough left to the imagination which really dampened down the scary for me. It got to a point where Mary was just popping out of anything and while I think the intent was to set the reader on edge it really just watered it down. I wanted to roundhouse kick Mary every time she stuck her head out of something reflective and I was like, ‘why isn’t anyone doing that?’ It bordered on funny and campy except I wasn’t getting that overall vibe from the book.
Still, my horror side enjoyed what I was reading. I was into it and it played to my horror-loving teen self that would have likely swallowed the book whole. Monahan played Shauna’s psychological breakdown nicely and didn’t overdo it. Not to mention she was rather ruthless with her characters. No one’s safe. Lets just leave it at that. And Jess is a sociopath. True to form. It got to a point where I was rooting for her death. Or severe beating. Whichever came first. And I’m glad Monahan went where she did with that subplot. Everyone has a maximum threshold for crap and I’m glad her characters, most of them, anyway, weren’t total pushovers for the sake of a character. I really am. Regardless of that, though, the most of what I wanted was Mary’s story. It came in snippets from internet searches and letters she wrote when she was still alive. The story progresses as the girls work to uncover Mary’s life in the hopes of ending the horror.
And the ending? A definite cliffhanger that made me angry but not irrationally so because at least it had a hint of resolution. This was the second YA horror book in a row I read that ended mid-scene. Right in the damn middle of it. *^^%^*)(&T&E$%(& STOP IT. Just. End. The. Damn. Scene. There was resolution here, though. A hint of it, Just a smidge. But it was more than the last book that made me irrationally angry over the ending. It was enough of an ending to not ruin the book for me and I want to read on. I want to read the next in the series if not for the present day issues the girls are having but to find out about Mary. What is her deal? What happened to get her where she is now? That’s what I need to know. And since this first book isn’t even out yet I have a bit of waiting to do.