The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 10/16/21-10/18/21

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club

Trigger Warning: There are instances of home invasion, murder, occult (including seance and ouija boards), and violence. If these are triggers for you, please read at your own discretion.

I am feeling in a spooky mood, so I decided to pick up this box! While I have no idea what is in the 5 gifts yet, I can go ahead and guess that there is a candle, purely by the overwhelming smell that comes out of this box. This thing has been stinking up my entryway for months until I have finally decided to pick this one up! That being said, this is April’s? YA box called “After School Fright Club” from Once Upon a Book Club.

Page 18

So right idea, just slightly wrong. The soap is definitely small but mighty. From what I understand from the brief glance I had of the soap, it is a completely natural soap without any of the chemicals that other name brands use. 

Rachel was in her bedroom when she sees a man outside her house. She looked away for a second, and he was gone. Alone in the house by herself, she begins to get frightened by the sound of footsteps downstairs. There were 2 intruders, one who instantly fled and the other who came straight for Rachel.

Now a year later, Rachel has moved to New York City with her mom. A junior in high school, Rachel’s mom is concerned that she doesn’t have many friends here. When Saundra, a new classmate, encourages Rachel to go to a party in an abandoned house a neighborhood over, Rachel runs into the most popular couple in the school in the middle of an argument. Trying to break away from the thoughts rushing through her head, she finds a random guy and kisses him.

I don’t think that this book will be necessarily scary, but there are obviously going to be some horror tropes touched on throughout the book. That being said, the prologue is a stroke of genius. I am hooked, and I want nothing more than to know more about that beginning scene. With that being said, I’m going to shut up and read, I’ll see you all at the next gift!

Page 67

There are so many moments that you feel like the story is going one way and it ends up driving off the road down a cliff and completely takes you by surprise. With that being said, never in a million years would I have expected to get a pair of scissors in one of these boxes.

Following the make out session with Lux’s (ex?-)boyfriend, the partygoers head to the main floor for a seance. When she realizes that it is a prank, Rachel begins laughing, which Lux assumes means Rachel is laughing at her. As Rachel begins to look into the prank to find out who is behind it, she discovers that there is a club, including who 2 of the members are. But Lux has also looked into Rachel, discovering that Rachel was looking at the Instagram of a dead boy, which leads us to our gift.

One of my favorite parts of this book is that I cannot tell you what is going to happen next. Every time I think I know where we are going, there is something that throws a wrench in the plan, which really draws me in. However, the flip side of that is at a certain point, that feeling will become a deterrent for some people. I can easily see the novelty wear off. Just a thought, but I will see you in the next gift!

Page 178

100% not what I was expecting to get! The gifts this time are so incredibly creative and out of the box (haha). It is a little on the flimsy side and the lid is a little weird, but I’m willing to try it out once to see what it is like!

Rachel inevitably joins this club, called the Mary Shelley Club, which is made up of Thayer,  Bram, Felicity, and Freddie. She learns that they complete challenges called “Fear Tests” where they will choose a target, then hone in on their worst fear until they can illicit a scream from them. These tests are designed by each of the members, and they grade each other’s test to ultimately decide a winner. At the point of this gift, we have seen Thayer’s fear test. On top of all of this, we are starting to see something going on between Rachel and Freddie, but not much has happened yet.

In terms of the idea for the book, this is pretty morbid. I’m not the hugest fan of the idea of the Fear Tests, and while I can totally see a limited series made out of this book, I seriously hope that it does not reach similar fame levels as Squid Game. We do not need copycats of this idea. But this is also incredibly inventive while being brutally honest that she is repeating horror tropes. I feel like I should praise the idea, but I also fear what this book could lead to. I don’t know, man, but I’ll think about that as we get to the next gift.

Page 239

I am flabbergasted. Holy potato sticks! I swear this box is better than any I have opened in the recent past! I am so excited to try this guy out tonight!

Since the last gift, we watched Felicity’s Fear Test. And due to that, the shoe finally drops, causing memories of Rachel’s attack from the previous year to come at full force. 

Having tried this, I will say that I was never able to make the video not blurry. As great as this is, it is a little lackluster when you live in a time of 4k. But still incredibly cool and a fun date night addition.

Page 401

If you haven’t been around for a while, you might not know that I read The Shining last year (What’s that? A link? You should click on it!). This is definitely an incredibly cool gift, though it is a little too bulky for me. I am currently trying to figure out what I can attach this to so I can justifiably keep it!

Now, it has been a little bit since I finished the book, so bear with me. As we watch more people do their fear tests, flashes of moments from Rachel’s attack keep popping up. She is starting to realize that these “coincidences” keep piling up. When things go too far during a fear test, the group has to figure out whether or not they want to continue with the fear tests.

Overall

I think that the book was really good, but I personally felt like there were so many twists at the beginning that it kinda fell off by the end. I would rather there have been consistent twists throughout the entire book than for there to be such a chaotic beginning and boring middle. While there were some twists at the end, it takes a lot of reading to get there. And it just felt like we needed a little more consistency across the board.

I also think that for a book that this book is more accurately a contemporary YA novel with some thriller aspects. The horror wasn’t really there for me, and you don’t really feel the thrill except at the very beginning and the very end. All in all, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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