Friday, September 05, 2014

MARY: THE SUMMONING, YA Horror from Hillary Monahan

Campfire season lingers here in Vermont, through the crisp fall evenings. But the summer is over, and most of the sleepovers are, too.

But aren't those great memories? I still relish the story of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck, learned at an overnight with neighborhood kids. And there's the one with the voice that calls out, "Mary, I'm on the second step ..." Ooooh!

I wish I'd had a copy of MARY: THE SUMMONING at the start of the summer (or back in the days of those teen get-togethers). It took me a couple of days to shake off the shivers from this deftly written and quick-paced horror story featuring four teenage girls and a mirror -- and a malevolent spirit who won't leave them alone. And then, of course, I wanted to tell the story to anyone else who wanted to feel really scared.

This is Hillary Monahan's debut, but you wouldn't know from the writing, which is tight and exciting. It's based in part on the folklore of "Bloody Mary" -- which I looked up and found is every bit as shivery as this book (click here for the folklore). If you have a teen you'd like to impress or delight with a blood-curdling tale where determination and inner strength matter, pick up a copy.

Just make sure to leave time to read it yourself, first!


A glimpse of what Shauna discovers:
I wished Jess had known what could happen so she could have prepared us, so we would have known to run long and run far to get away from Bloody Mary.

Then it hit me. Maybe Jess had known. The pictures on the wall. She'd taken the pictures down. Why would she suspect Mary could be anywhere other than a proper mirror? She'd said safety, but that was a bizarre leap to make.

"Oh no. Come on," I whispered. "No."
And later:
Scree. Scree.


I shot up in bed, the cuts on my back screaming. My vanity trembled. My plastic bucket of makeup tumbled over ... There was no way I could sleep in this house if she was in the mirror. I counted down from three and jerked the robe aside. There was no face there, but written backward in sludgy black tar was a single word that sent me falling to the floor and sobbing.


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