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The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. < Macmillan
- Genre: Horror, Mystery/Thriller
- Audience: Young Adult
- Pages: 468 (hardcover)
- Trigger Warnings: death/murder, stalking, violence/gore
New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends. To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own. When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.
“If I was a monster, then so was everyone else in this club. And for once I didn’t feel like such a freak. We could be monsters together”the mary shelley club
I have never read a horror book before (unless you count my reader origin story in which I binge-read Goosebumps in the second grade), which I’m quite shocked about, but I utterly loved The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky and absolutely cannot wait to read more books like this.
Having recently underwent a traumatic house invasion in which she was attacked by two masked figures, Rachel and her mother move to a new school district in an effort to start over and heal from the incident. Due to the fact that Rachel got into Manchester Prep because of scholarships, she struggles to fit in with the rich kids who populate her school. She is seen as a loser, and at times even a freak.
When Rachel laughs at a prank that happens at a party, she ends up finding an enemy in Lux, the popular girl whom is known for dating the hard-to-read jock, Bram Wilding. As Rachel dives deeper into the prank and who might have been the perpetrators, she discovers the existence of The Mary Shelley Club: a secret club of students created with the intention to scare intended victims as much as humanely possible. However, the pranks escalate quickly and someone is messing with their pranks… with disastrous consequences. Rachel must come to terms with her past, confront her fears, and figure out who is targeting her and her newfound friends before it’s too late.
As a huge fan of Scream (ft. Ghostface), American Horror Story (every season ft. Evan Peters), Halloween (ft. Michael Myers), and Friday the 13th (ft. Jason Voorhees), I was extremely compelled by the premise of The Mary Shelley Club. The psychology of serial killers or dangerous predators is so interestesting and fascinating (in the worst ways, of course) so I knew I had to pick this book up ASAP.
I’m so glad I did. If you’re a fan of horror movies, this is a must read.
The writing was so binge-worthy and compelling. Moldavsky did such a great job integrating intrigue and a vibe of suspense into her writing in a way that flowed yet made me pause in anticipation for the next line, paragraph, and chapter to come. I will definitely be looking into more books of hers.
I found the protagonist, Rachel, to be extremely likable.
She was realistic and relatable, with real and visceral emotions or reactions to her past and her present. When she made decisions or acted a certain way, it was believable because it remained consistent with who she was laid out to be and with what she’d lived through in her past.
Past Rachel, I found the other characters in the cast to be surprisingly well-written as well. I appreciated how much we got to see of her friends within The Mary Shelley Club and while I would’ve loved seeing more of Lux and Saundra, they were also well-developed for the time they got on page. THe characters were enjoyable, and there wasn’t a dull moment the entire way through. I just wanted to keep devouring page after page without stop.
Outside the characters themselves, I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of their interactions while inside Mary Shelley Club settings and of their interactions in the public outside of the club.
At the beginning, when Rachel joined, it was easy for the club members to maintain a public image of remaining anonymous to one another, no more than fellow students at the same prep school. However, when Rachel became more immersed in the club and their friendships deepened, it was cool to see how sometimes the other members slipped up and waved or said something to her in passing while in public settings.
The plot was extremely well paced and there was never a dull moment.
Things are constantly happening that were important to the story or the characters in some way and I never felt like I was reading something that was just there to fill the empty space. Everything seemed to have purpose, and built on the story I was already loving.
The plot is truly sinister, and at times the members of The Mary Shelley Club (especially Rachel herself) come off pretty sinister as well. I loved that aspect of the story. While the club sounds fun to be in, sometimes the members take it too seriously or their obsession with horror movies makes you stop and wonder if it’s healthy. I enjoyed feeling uneasy at times with the violence that Rachel seems to struggle with herself.
Overall I really enjoyed this story, and the ending is a bit ambiguous as in it could pass as a standalone, but I definitely feel as though there’s enough open endings to warrant a sequel. I’m praying for the latter! Highly recommend this book!
Extra tid-bits worth mentioning
- Love Triangle
- Murder & Stalking
- Secret Society/Club
- Mystery to solve
- Creepy atmosphere
- House invasion
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy MoldavskyThe Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
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Let’s Chat in the Comments!
Have you read The Mary Shelley Club? If so, what did you think of it? If not, were there any other young adult mystery/thrillers or horror novels that you’ve read and loved?