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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Owl City: A Review of You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you’re new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

Special hello goes out to Paraguay! It’s so lovely to see you. I’m so glad you came to the party. Have a wonderful time here!

Bears waving.
How's everyone doing today?

I got a new review on a new book by one of my favorite authors. June was very, very good to me. Not only did Riley Sager release a new read, Kalynn Bayron did so too! And that’s what we’re reviewing today.

Please welcome to the stage You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron!

Book cover of You're Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron.

Did I count down the days until this book released? Yes, yes I did. And now it’s here! Here in my hands!

Let’s crack into it. As always, a spoiler alert is in order; you’ve been warned. Also a quick content warning for ya. There is some decent gore in this book. You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight is an ode to the 80’s slasher genre and with that comes gore. So if you’re not a fan of gore this book probably isn’t for you. I’m not going to be talking about it in my review but it’s just something to be aware of before going into this book. Now onto the synopsis!

Welcome to Camp Mirror Lake! Enjoy the woods, canoe on the lake, maybe go swimming, stay in the cute little cabins with your friends, and make some new ones against the gorgeous woodland backdrop. Just be careful at night. There have been some reports of a giant man in a mask walking around with a machete. Oh, and those reports of missing campers? Yeah, just ignore them. Totally haven’t happened. Truly, they’re just rumors.

Fast-forwarded shots of woods.
There is nothing scary in the woods.

Charity knows this story well. It’s the plot of the cult classic film The Curse of Camp Mirror Lake which she adores and she plays the role of Final Girl at the camp the movie was filmed at. Guests pay to be scared by Charity and the rest of the Camp Mirror Lake crew in a terror simulation game that recreates scenes from the cult classic slasher film.

Her summer job begins like every other year. Guests pay to being terrified, her boss doesn’t bother to show up for most of the season thus leaving her in charge of every aspect of running the camp, half of the other employees leave throughout the season without giving a two-weeks’ notice, noises emanate from the lake that’s off limits and shadowy figures appear on its shores at night; you know, the normal summer job stuff that everyone deals with.

Jason from Friday the 13th.
Totally no masked killer though.

Cut to the final week of operation, Charity is down half her staff cause they’ve mysteriously left without telling anyone. Then, right before the final guests of the season are about to arrive, her boss calls out of the blue and tells her to shut down the camp. Now Charity is smart. She questions why her boss wants her to do this, but she knows better than to stay around the creepy camp and ask questions. She wants to get out of there ASAP. Then some of her friends disappear…

Charity is a ride or die type of girl so she sets out to find them. Find them she does. Sadly not alive. Something or someone is lurking in these woods. Something or someone that doesn’t want anyone at Camp Mirror Lake to survive the night.

Jason from Friday the 13th.
Again, totally no masked killer running around.

The vibes? Immaculate. I am a little partial to the summer camp slasher genre of the 1980’s. It’s just so iconic. Therefore I love the vibes of this book. A camp setting is just so good for the horror genre. Isolation, poisonous plants and animals, easy ways to unintentionally hurt yourself or get lost; add in a masked killer and the horror levels are through the roof. 10-out-of-10.

Chef's kiss.

Not everything about Kalynn Bayron’s latest is a 10-out-of-10. This book is small. I honestly did not anticipate just how small this book is. You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight is only 228 pages. That is not the problem. The problem is nothing much happens for the first 100 pages. I wouldn’t mind a slow burn, especially by Kalynn Bayron because I know she’s an amazing storyteller, but this book is too short to be that kind of story.

There's just nothing exciting, nothing interesting, for what feels like a long time. It’s a lot of hearing bumps in the night and/or seeing shadowy figures. Meh. Bland. Been there done that. Where’s the hook? There’s nothing special happening nor is anything particularly scary. Sure, there’s one good scene before shit hits the fan that is unsettling, but I want more.

So much time is spent building up suspense, but sadly there is no pay off. The author loves to include odd little details that one would think would come back around later, but no. Any and all built suspense is kinda thrown out the window in the second half due to the twist. The pacing goes from not enough happening to extremely rushed. The twist happens and you kinda have to just roll with it but it voids all built up suspense.

Sighing cat
V sad

This book is not without a saving grace though. And that is our main character Charity. She has a brain. She’s not leaving her cabin in the middle of the night when she hears weird noises coming from the lake. She’s not going into a building that’s unlocked when it should be locked up tight. Charity is aware. Charity is also a ride or die type of girl. When her friends go missing, she’s going to find them. While it may not be a smart decision, it is one I can respect.

I just wish this book had about a hundred more pages tacked on. There are great ideas in the book, but as it stands, there isn’t room for them to grow. 228 page is far too short for all the ideas in You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight. It could be so much more if only it was longer.

If I was rating purely on vibes this one would be five stars. Kalynn Bayron set out to write an ode to the 80s slasher genre and that she did. While it’s something I appreciate, most of the story falls flat. The twist completely changes the course of the book and eliminates most of the suspense built up in the first half. It should have been longer. Had it been given a hundred more pages it would have been better.

With that I must bid you all adieu. I shall see you next week with another new review. I’m still making up for my lack of reviews in June.

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all next week, bye!


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