Author: James Dawson
Published: 5 June 2014 by Hot Key books
Length: 240 pages
Other info: James has also written Cruel Summer, Hollow Pike, Being a Boy and This Book is Gay. He’s also done a few interviews here.
Summary : Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear...But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it? Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror...five days...but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before...
Review: Bobbie Rowe does not believe in ghosts. so when another girl dares them all to summon Bloody Mary, she's fine with it. And she's fine to start with. But the next door, a message appears while she's in the shower: five days. Over said next five days, Bobbie realises that she, Caine and Naya are actually possibly in trouble and they have five days to find a way out before Mary comes for them.
I read this because I love James Dawson's work and horror so a proper combination of the two was bound to be something I'd look forwards to.
I really liked the friendship between Bobby and Naya. The romance between Bobby and Caine was good too. All three of them worked really well together. I also liked the way characters came in for a couple of chapters, played their part, then left. This plays out very much like a horror slasher ghost film. I like it.
I love the fact that Mary gets a great story. Villain back-story is always something I love, and the one James wrote makes you really feel motional for Mary. Also, I may be a horrible person for liking hr even more after the last page. but that was a great ending- lots of clever little things coming together, one very unpredictable twist, and a final parting shot.
James' style is, as in Cruel Summer, informal, full of pop culture ad modern references, and very funny, more so than you typically find in horror. but the horror is definitely there in scenes with Mary, and lingering when she isn't.
This isn't the absolute scariest thing I’ve ever read-that title still belongs to Koji Suzuki and Ring which was completely terrifying. But this is up near the top, with tension rising and falling in a two steps forward, one step back approach. And it also succeeded in making me scared of mirrors at night.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a really good teenage horror story that will hopefully bring more horror to the shelves.
PS. For more UKYA horror, check out Georgia’s post about it.