Book Review: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Posted September 3, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 4 Comments

MARY: The Summoning

by Hillary Monahan


Expected Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
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the story morning glory

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?


If you don’t find the legend of Bloody Mary scary enough on it’s own, MARY will certainly change that. I’ve also thought that Bloody Mary is probably the scariest urban legend, hands down. It plays on our perception and the things we so often see out of the corner of our eyes. That’s what makes the legend and the book so terrifying, because that’s exactly what happens in MARY when Mary starts haunting Shauna.

From the very beginning, MARY pulls no punches when it comes to horrifying description. The beginning of the book begins with the intertwining of the ritual and a tiny glimpse of Mary in her past life. The history parts are confusing at first, but become more integral to the plot later on. But, as these things so often do, the rituals goes a little too well. . . and out of the four friends who call Mary, Shauna ends up the one being haunted.

Shauna starts seeing Mary in every reflective surface–shower heads, mirrors, even silverware. It doesn’t take long for Shauna to realize she’s in over her head. Suddenly, her entire life becomes figuring out how to protect herself against Mary, alongside the help of her friends. She discovers someone who had been haunted by Mary, delves into Mary’s history, and tries to figure out a way to break the curse.

There’s more going on under the surface though–why is Jess so fascinated with Mary? Why does she keep pushing the envelope? The friendship dynamic gets tossed around often in MARY. It’s an interesting take as Mary brings the girls together–first in pursuit of her, then trying to rid themselves of her–but also highlights their differences and in some ways, pulls them apart. At first, the characters seem secondary to the story, and I had trouble telling a few of them a part. MARY definitely focuses on plot over characters, but in time they became more realized.

MARY captivated me from the first chapter. This is a gulp-it-all-down, read-in-one-sitting kind of book. It’s creepy in a often very subtle way, because that’s what the legend so often is. It’s a bit intensified in the book, of course, but seriously, seeing Bloody Mary out of every reflective surface has GOT to be one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read about. And the writing is intensely descriptive, only leading enough to the imagination to be even more creepy. Read this one with the lights on.


The idea of Bloody Mary is a great inspiration source for a book, and MARY draws on it well. I became pulled into the world of having to hide and creep around, always keeping one eye open, just as Shauna did. 4/5 cupcakes.




4 Stars

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4 responses to “Book Review: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

  1. I saw this book on Good Reads and totally want to read it! I love a good ghost story and this one sounds especially chilling and suspenseful…one to keep you up into the wee hours. Great review! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

    • Stormy

      I’m not always a fan of ghost stories, but I couldn’t pass this one up. It’s one of the few books I’ve read that ever really frightened me a bit!

  2. I have this one to review and I’m SCARED. haha. the story of blood mary scared me so much when I was younger (and still!!!). I freaked myself out just from that supernatural ep about bloody mary. So, yeah, this one will probably totally creep me out! Eeek.

    • Stormy

      I’ve always thought Bloody Mary was one of the scariest urban legends(Um, this book & the Supernatural episode are a toss-up between the scariest interpretations of that legend, I think.) It’s been a few months since I read this one now but I remember being REALLY creeped out and super glad I lived with roommates at the time!

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