Cover Image: You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight

You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight

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Member Reviews

Once again I am in love with Kalynn Bayrons writing. I have read a thriller/horror book in a while and I was pleasantly surprised. I think what made it more memorable for me is the queer rep in the book.

I love seeing more accurate queer rep in this genre as time goes on. I enjoyed both the pacing and the length of this story. It's the perfect 'beach" read or start to the spooky season.

While I die like the twist at the end I was not a fan of the ending. I'm hoping I can grow to love it with time. I strangely enough wish the ending could have been a bit more cliche.

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I am not a horror movie fan, I tend to watch them with my fingers over my eyes, which defeats the purpose entirely. Oh well. So I definitely read this book during the daytime, but I was still freaked out! Set at a camp, but now offers an amusement park style Terror night. Charity has finally reached the spot of being the coveted final girl, the one who always survives in the end. But when her coworkers start going missing and shadowy figures appear in the dark, she starts to wonder if she is actually going to have to be the final girl. This book and me turning pages very quickly and has an ending you never see coming!

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You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight packs a hell of a punch in its tightly plotted, claustrophobic, and spine-tingling pages.

This was such a fantastic premise—a YA horror set in an immersive horror experience that starts to go terribly wrong. Kalynn Bayron utilises this concept to its fullest potential, constantly interspersing the narrative with meta horror references. The characters here are horror heads, immersed in the genre and used to playing the archetypes of the genre. Of course, this becomes all too real as the bodies begin to stack up. Bayron does not hold back with some visceral, violent, and gory scenes. The blood congeals on your hands as the pages keep turning on. There is always that looming sense of dread and pit in your stomach.

This book really reminds me of the Scream franchise in its winks to the audience and unpicking of the horror genre. The Final Girl is a key feature here and Bayron unpacks what that figure actually represents. There is a real lack of diversity and consciousness in earlier horror narratives, which is tackled head on here. As a Black queer girl, Charity would not always have been considered as a feasible candidate for the Final Girl. Instead, she would have been early fodder for the killer and the Final Girl typically being a white cisheteronormative woman instead. Having Charity take on the role within the meta narrative of the camp serves as a powerful statement. These discussions are prevalent on page, within the discussions of horror narratives and the progress made.

Bayron really shines in her characterisation. I fell deeply in love with Charity very early on, for her full-hearted love of her job, horror and a deep-rooted sense of loyalty to her friends. She is determined, strong and brilliant, but she is also vulnerable and placed within one of the highest pressured situations imaginable. Bezi is also a well-defined character, with plenty of hidden depths to uncover. Their relationship is so softly gorgeous, a welcome contrast to the horror you know is coming. I thoroughly enjoyed how their dynamic shifts over the course of the book and Bayron has been a bit of a evil mastermind herself in this story.

The moment of realisation of the oncoming carnage is one that will stick with me. From the very start, Bayron signposts some clear signs of the chaos that shall ensue, using familiar tropes of the genre. However, these are also subverted in a twisty and atmospheric plotline. Not everything is as it seems and I would advise readers to trust their gut at all costs. There are some incredible, gut-punches of twists in store.

Without spoiling anything, that final third of the narrative was quite a ride. It is shocking and spectacular in its reworking of previous events. Bayron is unafraid to up the stakes and flip the script on everything you think should be coming up. It is such cinematic writing and it is easy to visualise yourself running alongside Charity as she attempts to survive this hellscape. That tension is high, with a zippy page count that screams to be devoured in just a few sittings. Trust me when I say Camp Mirror Lake will not let you leave easily.

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight is an instant staple of the YA horror genre, with hair-raising twists and turns and a willingness to get into the gory murk of the terrors unfolding in the night. Keep your wits about you and do not trust anything or anyone.

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A love letter to all the cheesy 80s horror movies that I still watch today. I will never visit a camp nor look at an owl the same way again. I honestly thought the story was going to twist opposite of what happened and boy was I wrong. When power goes to someone’s head, the carnage that’s left behind is horrific. I can see this made into a movie or even a series. After reading her novel The Vanquishers, I didn’t think I’d find Kaylynn writing another horror book. I am SO happy she did. Hope she writes another one soon!!

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*Special thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy in exchange for my honest review*

*Actual score is 3.5 out of 5*

Continuing my “I want to read horror during the summer” phase that I’m currently going through, I originally thought this was going to be a tongue-in-cheek look into the teenage slasher genre of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Boy was I wrong – but in a good way. This was an ode to the genre instead.

If you’re familiar with the genre, this is a “final girl”/ slasher YA horror that really gave me Fear Street vibes. Fair warning – even though this is YA it is graphic at times. Because slasher. So think blood and guts. I didn’t find it overly graphic but I can’t stress enough that what I don’t find graphic, others might. This book has great representation! POC characters, LGBTQ+ characters, badass final girls. I know I keep throwing out Final Girls around a lot and if you don’t get that reference, what are you even doing here? Just kidding – go watch all the great horror movies/tvs and come back when you’re done because you’ll love this book even more if you pick up on all the little nods to the genre.

This book is written in first person POV and we follow Charity around as she, and a few other counselors, recreate scenes from a slasher movie (that sounds like our Friday the 13th) to paying customers in a survival game. Essentially, people pay to be scared and live a slasher movie night filled with jump scares and crazy, seven foot tall machete wielding mask murderer that chases you around. Which is such a great idea for a book, but also terrifying? As far as characters go, Charity is our main character and she was super enjoyable to follow along. I enjoyed her voice and I really felt like her personality jumped out at me from the pages. I wasn’t annoyed with her and she was, for the most part, a smart “final girl”. There were only like two instances where I was screaming at my book for her to be smarter, but it could also be that Charity was WAY more braver than I would ever be. Friends lost in the woods? Sucks to suck – I will not be going out in the dark with no weapon and a measly flashlight in search of your dumb ass.

Unfortunately, and I do believe this may have been done on purpose, the other character’s didn’t feel as fleshed out as Charity. The reason why I feel like it may have been on purpose is that the slasher genre generally only follows our final girl and everyone else is kind of meat fodder for the killer to murder in an awesome, gruesome way. Sometimes we get more fleshed out side characters, which makes their death a lot more poignant, but not always. Bezi, Charity’s girlfriend, is the only other character who I feel like isn’t so one dimensional. I do wish we could’ve spent more time with the other characters just because I enjoy an ensemble cast. Plus, it does make some of the deaths more surprising when readers enjoy the characters more. I did enjoy Charity’s and Bezi’s relationship, but again, I wish we could’ve gotten more of them. I know this is a slasher, but damn – let my babies love!!

The overall story was interesting as Bayron built that slow, uneasy feeling so well. You can feel the anxiety and panicking set in as the story unfolds. Because of the nature of the genre, I don’t want to go into too much detail and risk spoiling what makes slashers so fun – who is the killer?! If you’ve watched any amount of slasher movies/tv shows then you know what you’re in store for – and Bayron does a great job of hiking up the suspense until bodies start showing up and we hit the climatic second act. This book has it all – creepy, deranged older character that is super sus, unreliable cops, worthless adults, secret societies, birds, and of course murder! My only gripe with the story is that the first act took a while to build while I felt like acts two and three felt a bit rushed. This book is short – too short in my opinion. I wanted more – more time with the characters, with the background of the story, and with the confrontation of everything. I honestly would’ve been happy reading a 400 page book in this setting. I understand that this genre, in movie form, tends to be short and sweet, but gosh I wanted this to be longer. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed because of how short it was. Not to spoil the ending – so look away if even mentioning it a little will make you hate me – but that ending!!! What?! *insert random babbling noises here* I think I’m still trying to process my feelings. What a hell of an ending – that I did not see coming and truly loved but like hated at the same time because it left me wanting more!

Overall, I felt like this was a great homage to the slasher genre with a few hiccups along the way. I don’t think it’s spoiling much when I mention the death scenes, because – again this is a slasher and people die in this genre! – those were so gruesome to read. I could easily picture those scenes in my head and could see how palpable the horror was for Charity and co. I enjoyed all the little homages Bayron made throughout the book for the slasher lovers. I laughed at the characters mentioning how stupid characters were in those movies – my personal favorite being the “running towards a mysterious sound” or “going to check out a super sus unlocked room that should’ve been locked” tropes.

I think my biggest issue is that the book felt too short for my liking. I just wanted to spend more time with Charity and getting more background information on the overall story, villain(s), and side characters. I loved this setting and thought it was such a great idea that I wanted more. I still really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people who love slashers or horror. I mean – for the ending alone you should pick up this book! I am curious to know if this will have a sequel like any great slasher movie, since killers always survive or wannabe killers are just waiting for their chance.

*Check out my podcast, Badass Literature Society, available wherever you listen to podcasts soon for an episode over this book!*

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Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy! This book scared me so much I could only read it during the day when someone else was home. This will be a great recommendation for my horror loving students.

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You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron is a genuine spine-tingler, full of terror, a little bit of humor, and a lot of scenes that will make your jaw drop. Bayron proves again that she's got pop-culture appeal and a wicked sense of drama. Loved it!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC.

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Ferraro's writing style is richly descriptive, painting vivid images of the fantastical realm in which the story unfolds. The prose flows smoothly, immersing readers in a world brimming with mystical creatures, ethereal landscapes, and a sense of wonder. The author's ability to evoke a palpable sense of atmosphere adds depth and authenticity to the narrative, inviting readers to lose themselves in the enchantment.

At the heart of the story are well-drawn and compelling characters who embark on a quest for truth and redemption. The protagonist's journey of self-discovery and the search for their place in a world of magic and alchemy is both relatable and intriguing. The supporting cast of characters, each with their own hidden motives and desires, adds layers of complexity to the narrative, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

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Charity works at a camp putting on immersive horror experiences for guests. I thought of this like a hands-on haunted house, but in a camp. The crew has sound effects hidden in the woods, secret tunnels between their buildings, and gallons upon gallons of fake blood. One by one the counselors are 'killed' until one remains at the end of the night--Charity, the final girl. The camp is infamous for being the location where a 1970's cult horror movie was made but sometimes, fiction is based on fact.

On the final night, Charity is given orders by the absent camp owner to shut down the operation after an uninvited trespasser enters the property. Even more disturbing, three of their fellow counselors are missing. What unfolds on the pages are fast-paced twists and turns that I did not see coming!

Ultimately, this was a surprisingly fun YA horror read. I found it quick and very engaging and was never bored at all. I feel like I will absolutely remember this book.

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Content warning: body horror, murder, parental neglect

Bayron absolutely nails the 90's teen horror movie vibe with YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE TONIGHT and I am here for it... while also ensuring I will forever look at owls in a different way. Just when I thought I had everything all figured out, Bayron threw a plot twist (or two) in to change the rules of the game. I definitely did not see that ending coming.

This is going to be such an awesome option to book talk to teens at the library that like reading horror and I LOVE that it's under 300 pages.

Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, and Bloomsbury YA in exchange for an honest review.

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Leave it to me to have my most anticipated book for the first half of the year release in literally June lol Thankfully I didn’t have to wait that long. Because I don’t know if I could. As someone who watches the 1978 Halloween literally everyday in October, I just KNEW this was going to be fun.

Andddddd of course it was. This book reminded me of all the things I love about the old slasher movies. And there’s even someone in the book that is just like me and knows all the facts and things NOT to do when you’re in a scary movie. Idk, it just really made me feel seen. (I’m loving all these diverse horror books that are coming out and I need ALL OF THEM. ) From the killings, to the lying, to the surprises throughout the story, this was just really good.

Ok so the only thing about this I didn’t like about this was the ending. It was all over the place and weird lol The owl thing came out of left field and I was hella confused. I think I would have liked it better without it, but then I get that the rest of the events wouldn’t have happened either. I guess it just felt out of place and random. Well to me anyways.

The rest of the book was perfect. I found myself tabbing the hell out of this book. This is weird because I don’t usually tab horror books. But this one definitely had some things worth remembering. Like the different ways they get through the camp, the visitor they had to the camp, and the nonchalance that everyone had when they first realize that people were going missing lol I was so into it. Charity playing the final girl in a scary camp that fakes an old movie just sounds scary, so I can’t understand why this camp was even a thing. And then to learn all the things that happened to it before?! Yeah no thanks. Which also makes me say, Charity and her girlfriend and their bestie were all really in love with each other because ain’t no way I would go their willingly. Wouldn’t have caught me there at all lol

Last thing, I HATED this ending. Not really, but it stressed me out even more. I was not expecting that. I remember turning pages and then looking for more. I was not expecting that. Sorry, it was big enough for me to say it again. But it made sense with the way the title is. But now it makes me think, what exactly is it going to do? Idk, this book was so weird and I loved every bit of it.

This is the weirdest review I think I’ve ever written. I hate reviewing thrillers and mysteries because I don’t want to post spoilers. Just know going into this one that you will be scared, you’ll be intrigued, and all the things. But do be worried if you have slashers scare you. Because this one will scare you too.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a quick, fun read. I definitely enjoyed the first 2/3 much more than the last 1/3 of the book. I loved the diversity in the characters and of course loved the sapphic romance between Bezi and Charity, and I loved the idea of a fake horror movie-inspired slasher camp. But the supernatural cult storyline at the end of the book really did not fit the vibes that I was hoping for. It came out of left field, and while it could have been interesting, it needed more set up and more pages to really flesh it out.

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This excellent YA novel based on slasher movies popularized in the 70s and 80s is perfect for reluctant readers Grades 7 and up. I confess I was breathlessly reading this and finished it in one day. It was scary and creepy and kept me in suspense just like any old horror movie from my teens. I especially loved the setting and feel it will appeal to my student readers - summer camp of horrors - what an excellent idea. It could have used a little more character development, but this action-packed, suspenseful story will captivate its readers. I feel this is a must purchase for tween and teen collections.

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Super fun horror romp with a fantastic summer setting!

Charity works at Camp Mirror Lake as an employee in their "full contact terror game" in which guests come to the camp to be scared out of their minds. Just as the camp begins preparations for their big final weekend, counselors leave unexpectedly and a strange woman with a rifle shows up at the camp gates. Charity thinks that everything is a big, slightly scary coincidence until another staff member is missing and the staff members start to unearth some huge, terrifying secrets about the camp, the area on which is sits and a possible killer in the area.

Charity was a wonderful character to root for and the camp setting was perfect for a summer read! Some of the plot points were a little bit obvious, but others kept me guessing for a while. I loved that Charity's best friends and girlfriend came to help out and became part of the story, making everything more personal and much more frightening for Charity. The history of the camp and the area were a unique twist to more common horror tropes, which I enjoyed. This was delightful, escapist horror and my students will eat it up!

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"You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight" is a lightning-paced horror novel that is essential reading for fans of the 8-s slasher genre.

It might even be the best Kaylynn Bayron book to date, and that's coming from a massive stan of "Cinderella is Dead" and "This Poison Heart."

I won't say much, as with most horror stories, the mystery is half the fun. Just know that you may never look at an owl the same way again.

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This book had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. If I had the time to read it in one sitting I absolutely would have, I had such a hard time putting it down. I’m not usually a big horror fan and I think this was the perfect amount for me, very tense and suspenseful without being graphically morbid. Loved it!

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Oh this is one fun summer horror read! A great mix of mystery and horror, I was racing to turn the pages and solve this.

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"Now, in this situation, horror films tell us that the final girl might go ahead and enter the community showers, disrobe, and then barely escape a masked killer as she slips around butt naked in the bathroom. However, I only play a final girl at Camp Mirror Lake; I don’t actually want to be one. I turn my Black ass right around and book it back to my cabin, where I close and lock the door."

Okay, but I'd go even further that that and leave the premises entirely, but that's just me lol the minute spooky shit starts I will be g o n e

Like you can come with me, or I can leave you, but I will Not be going with you into any creepy situation, no thank you, not going to happen. However, watching and reading horror is something I very much enjoy. I even have a Scream tattoo, which should tell you something about me lol

You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight follows Charity, who has the summer job of her dreams. She works at Camp Mirror Lake, where she plays the “final girl”, and guests pay to be scared. Because Camp Mirror Lake is a full-contact terror game and Charity is very good at making the guests believe things are real.

"It's all fun and games until you're dead."

This book had me hooked from the very first sentence and had me flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next. I could see this play out as a movie in my mind (I also desperately want this to be made into a movie please and thank you) and it was fabulous. Okay, so did I think some of the decisions made by the characters were stupid? Yes, but that's what happens in horror movies: people make dumb decisions. But overall, that is a little quibble, and for the most part this kept me glued to the page until the very end.

If Kalynn Bayron ever decides to write more horror I will be reading it asap.

"Jamie Lee is the ultimate final girl. Right behind Neve Campbell. Michael Myers can choke."

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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4.5 stars rounded up

**HUGE thank you to Bloomsbury YA for granting me an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

Charity plays The Final Girl at a horror-simulation camp, but it quickly turns into a real game of ominous warnings, chases through the woods, and missing campers.

Rep: Black lesbian main character with a Black sapphic girlfriend; Black, Latinx, and gay side characters.

Content warnings: Offpage sex, discussion of slut-shaming (challenged), negligent policing, absent/abusive parents, missing teens, knife wounds, gun violence, drownings, child murder, stalking, blood, vomit, grief

Kalynn Bayron can truly do it all! Everything she writes just gets better and better. I'm picky about horror and had my doubts that an author new to the genre could write something so gripping. "You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight" had me hooked from the first page, and I found it genuinely hard to put down. The action-packed storyline and spooky tone had me reading as fast as possible.
For a horror novel -- and one that tackles some really heavy topics, at that -- there was a surprising amount of joy included. I loved all the queer joy shared by Charity and Bezi, and all the references to Black American culture. While I'm white and thus can't fully appreciate them, I think it'll mean the world to Black readers to see quips about bonnets hair-washing days. It's the mark of a truly talented author to include these sweet and funny moments in a scary story without it feeling forced or corny. Even better, Bayron has her characters ACT like teenagers, and not in an annoying way. I'm a big fan of finding books where teenagers are realistically portrayed.
It's so important to have authors from marginalized communities tackle genres previously dominated by groups in power. It's way more fun to see yourself represented, and it also prevents harmful stereotypes from being perpetuated. There's no "bury your gays" here. There's no iNdiAn BuRiAL gRoUnD. It's clear that Bayron is not only well versed in the horror genre, but also respects it -- and her readers, no matter their background. I sincerely hope she continues writing horror.

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I love the concept but not the execution. I was really enjoying it but then it took a strange turn and introduced paranormal elements. But it still didn’t commit to that.

I found the characters really annoying and predictable.

I did like the writing style and would probably read a different book by this author.

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