cover image The Mary Shelley Club

The Mary Shelley Club

Goldy Moldavsky. Holt, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-250-23010-2

Following a home invasion that leaves Rachel Chavez and her mother feeling unsafe in the Long Island suburbs, they relocate to Brooklyn, and Rachel’s teacher mother takes a job at the Upper East Side’s tony Manchester Prep. Rachel enrolls as a junior but fails to fit in, instead spending her free time bingeing scary movies to work through her trauma. After witnessing a frightening party prank, Rachel tracks down fellow Latino Freddie Martinez, whom she believes to be responsible, and talks her way into joining the Mary Shelley Club, a secret society, cued as ethnically varied, whose members—nerd Freddie, jock Bram Wilding, misanthrope Felicity Chu, and comedian Thayer Turner—share a passion for all things horror. At first, Rachel enjoys the sense of power that accompanies participation in the group’s “Fear Tests”—scenarios staged to terrify their peers. Before long, however, her new friends’ fun takes a sinister turn. This twisty tour de force from Moldavsky (No Good Deed) is at once a gripping teen melodrama, an incisive meditation on fear, and a love letter to horror and the genre’s tropes. Vividly sketched characters, crafty plotting, and an adrenalized pace conspire to captivate and confound readers through the unsettling close. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (Apr.) [/em]