Cover Image: You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight

You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight

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Kalynn Brown has delivered another successful hit with her latest creation. It's an RPG horror house based on a movie, much like the popular RPG game centered around Jason at Camp Crystal Lake. The story follows Charity, the final girl of the season, who finds herself in a fight for survival when strange occurrences begin on the last night. The good news is that we have a trustworthy narrator to guide us through the story, although she doesn't have all the pieces to solve the puzzle.

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You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight is a fast paced homage to 90's slasher films. Bayron does an excellent job normalizing Queer BIPOC characters and giving them a stage we rarely get to see them take. Though I sometimes felt as though the characters were contradicting themselves, one minute reciting everything they know they're not supposed to do according to slasher lore, and the next doing exactly that thing, once the momentum picked up, I couldn't stop reading. I found myself yelling at the page, and wishing I could read through the cover of my hands as I simultaneously tried to hide from the book and devour it. Bayron captures the eerie, tense setting well and though I recommend this book to people that love a good slasher, I recommend that you read it with the lights on! And then sleep with one eye open, ha!

Thank you Bloomsbury and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

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First off a disclaimer. I always want to make sure that readers have the most up to date information. This author has blocked us. That being said we love this story. I will totally read anything this author does. I have loved her stories since Cinderella is Dead and man I will read everything until the end of my days. Her books have become a staple of mine since that first one. This one blends spooky themes with the writing that I have come to love. I laughed, I was shocked, and I was scared. This one has it all!

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"At Camp Mirror Lake, terror is the name of the game...but can you survive the night?

This heart-pounding slasher by New York Times bestselling author Kalynn Bayron is perfect for fans of Fear Street.

Charity has the summer job of her dreams, playing the "final girl" at Camp Mirror Lake. Guests pay to be scared in this full-contact terror game, as Charity and her summer crew recreate scenes from a classic slasher film, The Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. The more realistic the fear, the better for business.

But the last weekend of the season, Charity's co-workers begin disappearing. And when one ends up dead, Charity's role as the final girl suddenly becomes all too real. If Charity and her girlfriend Bezi hope to survive the night, they'll need figure out what this killer is after. As they unravel the bloody history of the real Mirror Lake, Charity discovers that there may be more to the story than she ever suspected..."

Don't play at horror if you're not willing to die.

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Camp Mirror Lake gives its guests an authentic horror experience, where guests pay to be scared out of their minds. All through recreating classic scenes from the slasher film The Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. It's Charity's dream job, and this summer, she gets to be the "final girl." All the while making sure the camp runs smoothly.

However, on the final weeked of the season, Charity's co-workers mysteriously start disappearing. What was supposed to be a safe way to experience slasher films suddenly turns into the real thing. And now, Charity and her friends find themselves fighting for their lives. The only way to survive? Uncover the real truth behind Camp Mirror Lake.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for an advanced copy of You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron! If you're a fan of cult slasher films and summer thrillers, this book should definitely be on your TBR this summer. It's a quick read, but only because once you start reading, you'll have a hard time putting it down. One of those horror/thrillers that keeps you turning the pages!

While I'm not necessarily a fan of horror or slasher films, this story still hooked me. Generally, I find reading horror easier than watching it, as I'm more able to skip past some of the more gory parts (and there is gore and blood in this book, so beware!). So far, I haven't met a Kalynn Bayron book I haven't liked, and her writing has gotten even stronger since Cinderella is Dead. This is a new genre, but it's still just as well-written!

The format of this book follows the general format of slasher films. While it's more focused on plot than character, Bayron still packs some good character development within the story. There are twists and turns, and even one I didn't see coming! While I felt the ending was a tad bizarre, I think that's just part for the overall genre.

All in all, fans of summer camp themed horror films will absolutely love Bayron's latest book.

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YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE TONIGHT by Kalynn Bayron is a young adult horror novel about Charity, a teenage girl who plays the final girl in a simulated horror experience on an old campground, and what happens when the horrors become all too real. This book is genuinely scary, and the author's writing is compelling and exciting. The relationships between the characters are nicely explored through dialogue, which is often quite funny. The story is also quite creative, though some further fleshing out of the world and character interiority could've made it more comprehensible. Still, it's an enjoyable, scary read.

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Thank you to NetGalley & the publishers for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

This was my second Kalynn Bayron book this year. I’m excited to get into her writing style. I’m also stoked for more black and queer horror stories to come out this year. I adored My Dear Henry so I was very excited for this one. The cover is killer (pun intended) and the summary caught my eye right away. I love the “kids pretending to be scary actually have an encounter with something scary” trope and the final girl trope. I also love a good horror slasher. This was short, sweet, and to the point which are my favorite types of books.

I’ll admit, this was cheesy from start to finish, but I love the campy old horror movie feel it had at times. Sometimes the stuff that was happening felt so random. I liked all the characters but knew all the people who kept showing up were just gonna be fodder for some sort of serial killer. I clocked who one of the bad guys were gonna be right away.

The middle part of the book was actually pretty scary for a YA book. Reading this at night gave me a bit of a chill. I was rooting for final girl Charity and her girlfriend. I had thought there would be a twist at the end and was actually both grateful and disappointed I was wrong. The end felt a little stale for me. I feel like I’m more critical of slasher stories because I read/watch so many of them.

There is a bit of blood and guts here that make for a fun little YA slasher. If you like Friday the 13th and movies about summer camps that go wrong, I recommend this one.

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I really enjoyed this — beyond the very striking cover, this felt like a good gateway into darker horror if you might be more of a scaredy-cat where that is concerned. My biggest complaint with it is that I wished it was longer (this clocks in at under 300 pages). Being dropped into this world in the way that we are is a delightful way to start the story, but I would've enjoyed spending even more time with these characters so that when the disappearances happened they felt more foreboding than they do in the narrative as it stands. Otherwise, though, I inhaled this pretty quickly! Great setting, and a lead character I really liked, but it needed just a bit more, story-wise.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight is a fun campy read, an homage to many horror movies and tropes, including the summer camp/horror movie was filmed here settings, the teenagers left to their own wits and devices tropes, the poor/no phone signal issues, the sheriff and town's people who don't like the camp, and the sense that something more has gone on/is going on at the camp and of course in the ... woods! Yes, this is a fun creepy read, I was easily drawn into this and I love a book that leans into and honors horror tropes and takes ownership of them while embracing them as well.

This was a quick read for me, a little light on character development but fast on the classic horror scary vibes, well paced, and well written. I had fun with this one and was spooked at bed time, I am that person who still watches scary movies with hands over her eyes.

A nice homage to fear street and my favorite 90s horror movies.

A few notes
I loved that Charity was not a blonde white girl final girl, she was queer and Black. Though I love a book when inclusive identities are just part of the story, not the main focus, I kind of wish this was explored a bit more earlier in the book. That might just be me, I did appreciate this part of the character's identity!

A spoilery comment: read on if you dare....

About half way through, once it moves into will they survive the night/something is after them vibes... it goes in a direction that did not quite work for me, even though it was fun and I kind of got the bigger picture (if you read carefully., I felt it was kind of alluded to in the early parts of the book) but it was kind of in a supernatural direction that did not quite work for me.

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Why was this one of the scariest books I've read in my life??

I told myself I wouldn't read it right before bed but I was at almost 80% and just zoomed through to the creepy ending to an actual heart-racing book. I am a 45-year-old woman who regularly reads horror, but there was something about the clarity of the prose with the iconic setting and the twists that made it feel head and shoulders above most YA horror, and most adult horror too

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This is definitely a fun read
Teen relatable and campy horror

Teens running an immersive escape room
First of all, do not work anywhere the manager puts all responsibility on the workers. They get paid for that, not you.

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This is an excellent YA slasher, with one hell of an ending that I absolutely adored. It's slow-build, for sure, so be aware of that going in, but once you're in it, it GOES. Fast. I hope this gets optioned to be a movie, as so much of it is so cinematic.

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Charity only plays the final girl at Camp Mirror Lake, she was never supposed to become one. But, in You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight, the game becomes real when her friends start to turn up dead. Can Charity use her experience playing a final girl to make it through the night?

Camp Mirror Lake was the setting for a popular Slasher film, and the camp’s owner has been cashing in ever since by running an immersive terror experience out of it. Guests try to survive the night, as a slasher stalks and “kills” most of them. Charity has basically been running the camp for the past two summers; it’s her home away from home, and she has gotten very good at running the game. However, as more and more co-workers stop showing up, it falls to her and a few fateful friends to run the final game. But, when a woman shows up and threatens them all with a gun, the final game is cancelled and the group spends one last night at the camp. Unfortunately for them, their last night at camp turns quickly into a fight for their lives.

The premise here was so promising, I love a good slasher, but You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight was mostly just disappointing. There was a whole lot going on in this novel, yet the book was super short, and that meant that everything felt rushed and underdeveloped. To simplify, it had too much going on in too few words. The twists were surprising, but they happened so quickly and without much explanation, so they ended up feeling like a bummer anyways.

The length of the book also impeded the character development. Charity was an interesting character, but everyone else felt very one-dimensional and even boring. Now, that isn’t the worst thing to happen in a slasher novel, as characters are a lot less important than the suspense building and cathartic deaths. These two things were done pretty well in the novel, the writing style was quite good, so it has it’s moments. But, it could have been so much better!

I really wish You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight was longer and took the time to flesh out such an intriguing premise. As it stands, the novel is not one I’d necessarily recommend, but it is a quick and easy read with some decent gory and suspenseful moments.

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Charity Curtis has a summer job working as the "final girl" at Camp Mirror Lake, where guests pay to experience a full immersion horror terror game based on a movie filmed at the same location. As the camp nears closing for the season, some of Charity's coworkers stop showing up for work. Annoyed by her unreliable employees, Charity and her remaining crew press on, bringing in some friends as reinforcements. But soon, someone turns up dead--and Charity realizes they are playing the game for real.

I really love a lot of Bayron's books, but this one really wasn't for me. A lot of that is on me: I'm just not a huge horror person. This book is filled with characters who love horror tropes and the rules of horror, but they freaking ignore them all and make terrible decisions. I wanted to scream at them constantly! The camp setting, by an eerie lake, is certainly effective, and there are some truly terrifying, creepy moments.

The book takes a turn though about halfway through and turns into a strange weird horror fantasy mashup. There's a ton of blood and gore, but also a very weird plot twist that just made everything odd.

The book has excellent queer rep and strong black characters, so I loved that part. I just didn't care for the strange plot change-up and how slow it felt at times. But if you like horror and fantasy (especially together), you'll enjoy this one.

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Kalynn does it again with another great kind of magical and spooky read.
This one definitely had more twist and turns then I am used to in her books but it made it really interesting. I think that may be because this wasn't a retelling so I hope she does more of these but I still love the retellings.
I also loved the teen thrasher vibes set in a town in upstate New York I have been to and live near. Now I wonder if this lake is even real and I want to check it out so bad.
I loved our little group of rag tag teens though out this story. They were such an interesting group it made it feel real and different then normal groups.
Kalynn is definitely now an auto read/buy author for me she is such a good writer and I can't recommend her books enough.

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This was such a fantastic horror novel. It had everything I was expecting-plot twists, gore, and mystery. It definitely had Scream movie vibes and I ate it up!!! Kalynn Bayron is quickly becoming a must read author for me.

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I really enjoyed this book! I haven’t read many slasher/thriller books, so I didn’t know what to expect, but Kalynn Bayron has set the bar high for my future reads in the genre! It was incredibly refreshing to have a queer protagonist in this genre, as I haven’t encountered many in the movies I’ve seen. This was also a cast primarily made up of people of color, which was also refreshing and welcome in a genre that’s been historically dominated by white characters and their stories. Charity was hilarious when breaking the fourth wall to recognize signs of stereotypical slasher movie behavior that she refused to partake in (going into the woods alone at night, hearing strange footsteps in the outdoor bathroom and still going in, etc). The end got a little overly complicated for my personal taste, but there were still multiple twists that I didn’t see coming and thoroughly enjoyed. Go grab yourselves a copy when YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE TONIGHT hits shelves on June 20 and prepare to have your hearts pumping!

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LOVED THIS ONE. Kalynn is always a sure bet and You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight is no different. Charity is a realistic Final Girl, you connect with her and worry despite knowing the stakes and tropes of a slasher film or novel. Because of the requirements of the premise, this is a short and fast read. Highly recommend.

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Horror is not a genre I generally enjoy, but maybe I just needed a YA Horror because this was delightful!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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3.5 If you are a fan of Friday the 13th or other slasher movies then you should read this book. I really enjoyed this one. This was such an interesting take on the slasher genera. If you are looking for a horror book with an interesting plot I highly suggest this one.

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