Maybe there was someone messing with the students of Manchester Prep.
That would be awful.
It would also be the most interesting thing to have happened since I’d arrived.
This YA thriller releases in a couple of weeks, and it’s one to look out for if you enjoy books like Karen M. McManus’s One of Us is Lying series or A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. The Last Girl is also publishing in the US under ‘The Mary Shelley Club’, a title I love just as much!
Rating: 4 stars!
Thanks to Electric Monkey Books for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Trigger Warnings: death, murder, pranking/hazing, breaking and entering, intentionally scaring people, anxiety, PTSD
About the book:
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.
What did I think?
I was expecting to love this book. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I buddy read this with some friends and I honestly think if I wasn’t buddying then I would have read the entire book in a single sitting. Maybe not at night though, when I read some of my buddy chapters late one evening I had to sit and watch television for a half hour so I could sleep afterwards. This book might not have been that scary, but it really pushed all of my personal fear buttons.
This book hit a really good balance of fun and chilling throughout. The atmosphere worked really well. I liked the fact that all the way through the reader knew some of what was going on, but not everything. It made for a really engaging read as I tried to work out what was the fear tests going right and what was them going horribly wrong. The start of this book in particular was fantastically strong and had me page turning fast to find out what was happening. Hitting each of my buddy read stopping points was deliciously frustrating. When it came to the actual reading experience, the ending was brilliant. I was holding my breath at points as everything unfolded. I will admit that the longer I sat with the ending, the more it felt a little weaker than the rest of the story. It’s not bad by any means, but it did feel quite abrupt and I think it needed just a little more time to develop into a satisfying conclusion.
The characters were all terribly flawed and therefore so, so much fun. They were bad people, but it was hard to care when they were so interesting. They felt very real too, well fleshed out and developed. I didn’t know who to trust at any point which made for a great reading experience. I don’t think there’s a single character in this book I didn’t have a conspiracy theory about at some point or another. I also wanna mention how much I loved the anxiety/ptsd rep in this book. Certainly the anxiety sections felt fantastically represented and were done really well. I will absolutely be looking out for more work by Goldy Moldavsky, especially in the YA thriller genre.
Release Date: 15th April 2021