Where evil twins and friends come to snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction

 

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Wing: As you may have noticed, there have been some changes around here. I have some big announcements coming soon, but until then, here’s the updated page resources and posting schedule. Keep an eye out for the announcements; there are some great things coming your way.

The recap master list has not only existing recaps, but all the books that will be recapped at some point in the future. The trope counter definitions will come in handy for some of the recaps. You can find us on social media on Facebook and Tumblr. We are twinned with Sweet Valley Online, if you want something saccharine and pastel to clear your palate.

The main recaps will continue, posted once a month on the 15th. Watch this space for some forthcoming recap dates and fun surprises.

If you would like to be a guest recapper or if you have any questions or comments, email wing@pointhorror.com. We are expanding into other children’s and teen genre fiction, so if we’ve never recapped something like it before, all the better.

Upcoming Recaps:

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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Jude’s Graveyard School Reunion

It’s easy to assume that due to the popularity of the Goosebumps franchise in the 1990s, it instigated a flood of similarly themed YA books about kids facing supernatural and not-so-supernatural horrors in their daily lives. Hell, even the Babysitter Club books did a horror-themed spin-off. Here are as many titles as I can think of:

Shivers, Spinetinglers, Strange Matter, Spooksville (Christopher Pike’s Goosebumps!), Ghosts of Fear Street (Goosebumps on Fear Street), Choose Your Own Nightmare, American Chillers, Fright Time, Spinechillers (the Christian Goosebumps), Deadtime Stories (Nickelodeon did adaptations of these a couple of years ago), Bone Chillers (this one got a TV show in the 90s), and numerous other titles. Not to mention the vast number of standalone novels published by Apple and Scholastic like “The Dollhouse Murders” and “The Ghost That Came Alive,” although many of those books were originally published long before Goosebumps was a thing.

What set some of these books apart is their subject matter could get surprisingly darker and more mature than you’d think. “The Dollhouse Murders” involved a girl’s strained relationship with her autistic sister. “Shivers” included deliberate talks about child abuse and racism, and one book even went into detail about the Nazi Holocaust. Another thing which set these stories apart is it was more likely to read about kids who felt and acted like real kids. In “Goosebumps” it was increasingly standard to have main characters surrounded by shoddy and untrustworthy friends scheming against them for petty reasons, alongside abusive parents and siblings making their lives difficult for laughs. In these books, it was more likely to read about kids who, while they could be assholes from time to time, weren’t actively trying to sabotage each other and acted like, dare I say, real friends?

Graveyard School was one of those titles, published around 1994 up until 1998 with 28 entries. Written by “Tom B. Stone,” which may or may not be a pen name for Todd Strasser, I’m not sure. The Graveyard School series was one of those rare series that had a single cast of characters instead of interchangeable one-shot protagonists. There was no ongoing/overreaching plot to the 28 books, but there were a few themes which connected the books as well as a tendency to reference past incidents. Each book also came with a small activities section in the back, usually a word puzzle or tips for party planning or science experiments.

The books go as follows

  1. Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat!
  2. The Skeleton on the Skateboard
  3. The Headless Bicycle Rider
  4. Little Pet Werewolf
  5. Revenge of the Dinosaurs
  6. Camp Dracula
  7. Slime Lake
  8. Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death
  9. The Abominable Snow Monster
  10. There’s A Ghost In The Boy’s Bathroom
  11. April Ghouls Day
  12. Scream, Team!
  13. Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp
  14. The Tragic School Bus
  15. The Fright Before Christmas
  16. Don’t Tell Mummy
  17. Jack and the Beanstalker
  18. The Dead Sox
  19. The Gator Ate Her
  20. Creature Teacher
  21. The Skeleton’s Revenge
  22. Boo Year’s Eve
  23. The Easter Egg Haunt
  24. Scream Around The Campfire
  25. Escape From Vampire Park
  26. Little School Of Horrors
  27. Here Comes Santa Claws
  28. The Spider Beside Her

How I Learned Of This Series: During one of the book fairs my elementary school regularly held, I purchased a copy of “There’s A Ghost In The Boy’s Bathroom” because it was the only book that captured my interest. That was most likely 1998 or 1999. Then in early 2004 I looked up the series on the “Fantastic Fiction” website and found out about the other 27 books. I recall it was February, and around this same time my sibling and I just purchased the Revolutionary Girl Utena movie on video. Listening to the movie’s soundtrack still makes me recall the feelings from that day.

It wasn’t until September of that year when I bought a bulk listing off eBay containing most of the series, alongside a separate purchase of “Boo’s Year Eve.” I then slowly acquired every book I was missing until I finally completed the set.

While these aren’t exactly “obscure” obscure, almost no one ever talks about these books. I personally created both the Wikipedia page and the TV Tropes page for “Graveyard School” because I got sick of waiting for someone else to do it first.

The Problem: The kids of Grove Hill pray and hope they will live to see their elementary school graduation. Why? Because Grove Hill Elementary was built adjacent to an abandoned graveyard, but though it’s abandoned, its influence lives on in more than just the nickname “Graveyard School.” Graveyard School is the setting to many life threatening situations, and employs a number of odd and downright terrifying educational figures. The parents, teenagers, and adults of Grove Hill are either blissfully unaware or living in denial that something is deeply, terribly wrong with the school and the town, so the kids have to rely on their wits and make it through the days until middle school by themselves. Mainly, it’s the sixth grade class who deal with more than they deserve, since they’re just on the cusp of getting out of Graveyard School for good.

The Horror: Graveyard Hill is mainly believed to be the source of the weirdness Grove Hill’s seeped in. The kids all know this, but are more focused on trying to stay alive until graduation. There’s even talk of a grave which glows in the dark upon Graveyard Hill, but no one’s been able to find it.

The Teachers: The head of Graveyard School is the intimidating and inhuman principal, Dr. Morthouse. A woman of few words and possibly a silver fang in her mouth (students frequently catch glimpse of the fabled fang, but don’t know if it’s real or not) Dr. Morthouse keeps order with a steely gaze and can make the first graders cry without trying. She might not even have a first name. Below her is the oily and saccharine Vice Principal Hannibal Lucre, a man of poor fashion sense and desperation. Legendary for the solitary strand of hair combed across his gleaming bald spot, his brown suits and bow ties, and the damp noise his hands make when he rubs them together, Mr. Lucre frequently tries to remind the students that he is their friend. Manning the front office is the indignant and grumpy Mr. Kinderbane, who’ll insist (when out of earshot of Dr. Morthouse) that he has a school to run. The good doctor frequently puts Kinderbane in his place like an unruly dog. The only person more intimidating than Dr. Morthouse is the janitor, Mr. Bartholomew, a.k.a. “Basement Bart.” Dressed in army fatigues and sunglasses, Basement Bart can pop out of thin air whenever a fight breaks out or a mess is made. It’s believed he may actually live in the school basement, which is practically an underground labyrinth. The school lunches are considered disgusting by the kids, but eat them anyway because bringing lunch from home is considered babyish. The only named cafeteria worker to feature into the plot of a book was Ms. Stoker in the first entry. Her dishes included “Cannibal Stew.” Make of that what you will.

[Wing: KINDERBANE. A principal who might have a silver fang. I love this series already.]

The teachers fluctuate from book to book. The two most human teachers are Ms. Camp, an English teacher who tends to be disorganized, and Ms. Beamer, the art teacher known for wearing lots of bracelets and bell-shaped earrings. Beyond them, the teaching staff is made up of bullies and borderline sadists (with names like Mrs. Beak, Mr. Melon, Mr. Weazell, Ms. Manidble, Mrs. Storch, Mrs. Dedd, etc.) who vary from being assholes to possible monsters. Whether or not they’re human or just jerks is up for debate.

As far as the rest of the staff goes, Morthouse and the others aren’t actively trying to murder and terrorize the kids (well, terrorize them THAT much). So long as nobody’s misbehaving or going out of their way to antagonize the staff, Morthouse leaves them alone. Her reoccurring presence brings about anxiety of survival-based fear from the students, but if she went too far over the line the parents might finally suspect something’s off. She’s admittedly at her most blatantly evil in “Creature Teacher,” after discovering the kind substitute teacher Ms. King has the gall to allow laughter in her classroom.

The Kids: Stone, Strasser, or whatever his name is, focused on a single cast of kids with rotating protagonists throughout the 28 books. Only a handful of kids would star in one book and never appear again, while the rest would have starring roles or get to be supporting or background characters in every other entry.

Park Addams, Stacey Carter, and Polly Hannah are the three most consistently occurring characters in the series, but you couldn’t call them the main characters since there is no main story.

Park is the class’s baseball enthusiast, Stacey runs a small dog walking business after school, and Polly’s the girl everyone can’t stand. Park and Stacey were the main characters of the first book in the series. After that they fluctuate from entry to entry as either main, supporting, or background character. Polly has never been a main character, but nevertheless appears in practically every book. The closest she’s come to having a substantial role was in the eighth book.

For as much as Park is a baseball nut, he’s also a good sport and an excellent team player. He’s often the one to team up with the protagonists in the other books. Stacey’s a devoted animal lover and has a pet bull dog named Morris she cares for very deeply. Stacey has good business sense and she often wears her hair in a sleek French braid.

Polly is… well, she’s the Libby. The Alpha Bitch. But no one likes her, which is fine with her because she doesn’t like anyone else. Her outfits are all painfully coordinated (she wears ironed jeans when she’s not wearing dresses) in shades of pale blue, pink, and butter yellow, creating the image of a demented Barbie Doll by how rigid she is. Polly’s the token class suck-up, even with teachers as terrifying as Dr. Morthouse (but even Polly has her limits). Of course, some of the teachers are well aware of how nasty Polly is and don’t like her as well. No creativity or imagination, her classmates wonder if Polly is even human. Yet she still hangs out with them, so she comes across more like the neighborhood jerk similar to Roger Klotz. She’s nasty, but ultimately harmless.

As much as I’d want to go into detail about all the kids, it’d save time to discuss the ones with the most discernible personalities:

  • Jaws Bennett: The kid who will eat anything, even roadkill. While the narration will describe Jaws’ first appearance in the books as either big or round, he’s never outright referred to as chubby or fat. Likewise, the source of humor in his roles doesn’t come from him being “The Fat Kid,” but instead “The Kid Who’ll Eat Anything.” He’s the only one who enjoys the rancid school lunches.
  • Maria Medina: Stacey’s best friend, a dark-skinned girl with spiky black bangs. Enjoys rollerblading and collecting oversized rugby shirts, which she wears every day. Is on the school soccer team. Stacey and Maria are rarely seen apart at school and the two are incredibly loyal to each other. She’s probably the one kid who dislikes Polly the most out of everyone else.
  • Algernon “Algie” Green: The new kid in class, Algie immediately stands out not just for his name, but his short stature, glasses, and the small ponytail at the nape of his neck. Algie delivers papers and has good money sense like Stacey. He’s on the soccer and baseball teams, but is more into baseball. When he first transferred to Graveyard School, he was bullied by class douchebag Jason Duunbar until he helped Kirstin Bjork beat Jason for class president.
  • Skate McGraw: Skateboard nut #1. Real name Ryan. A boy of few words. He prides himself on taking care of and respecting his boards. Can be very stubborn at times, and hopes to one day get skateboarding turned into an Olympic sport. His cousin is…
  • Vickie Wheilson: One of my favorites. Skateboard nut #2. Vickie’s the most vivid character in the series, because the narration always describes her insane clothes. Vickie often dresses like she got in a fight with a Crayola box and won. Typically wears oversized sweaters in shades of purple and orange, with Day Glo high-top sneakers. Rides a neon colored skateboard, and her spiky red-orange hair resembles an exploded dandelion (Because it was the 90s, you see!). She acts without thinking, and once got Skate involved in a contest with follow-up douchebag and Skateboard nut #3, Eddie Hover. However, Vickie sticks by Skate because she knows she got him into this mess, and basically stopped Skate from selling his soul to beat Eddie.
  • Jordie Flanders: My other favorite of the main cast. The smartest girl in the sixth grade, earning her the nickname “The Human Computer.” She’s very articulate and verbose, speaking rather formally and analytically, like she’s solving an equation, but not all the time. She can be very sarcastic and deadpan, with a slightly twisted sense of humor. She’s not a teacher’s pet, but she’s got no time or respect for teachers who suck at their job because she cares about learning.
  • Kirstin Bjork: Sixth grade class president and captain of the soccer team. Has zero patience for Jason Duunbar’s bullying machismo, and beat him for class president because she was sick of him threatening people for their votes.
  • Marc and Terri Foster: The token twins of the class. Marc’s the serious, introspective twin to Terri’s energetic, outgoing twin. Marc often wonders which of them is the Evil Twin, Marc because he’s so dour, or Terri because she’s so gosh darn chipper even in the face of mortal danger. Of course, because Terri’s so nice, she has a much easier time getting people to answer her questions.
  • David Pike: The science kid, but not as overtly smart as Jordie Flanders. His brother Richie is a dino-fanatic.
  • Tyson Walker: Is to soccer what Park is to baseball. Thinks on his feet and is also a good sport, and expresses open disgust at parents who only give a shit about their kids winning games. Is only ever described as having short dreads for hair.
  • Jason Duunbar: The literal worst besides Polly Hannah, and not in an entertaining way. A stereotypical meathead bully who threatens people to get what he wants, can and will resort to physical violence, and teases kids for having “girlfriends” or “boyfriends.” Thankfully gets knocked down a few pegs.
  • Eddie Hoover: Is to Skate and Vickie what Jason is to Algie and Kirstin. Eddie’s a real meathead, a skateboarder who practically destroys every board he owns. His family’s implied to be rich, which is how he can keep affording new boards. He’s followed around by his lackey Roy Carnes, who seems to worship the ground Eddie skates on.
  • Ken Dahl: Pretty much the one thing Ken has going for him is that he’s the stupidest kid in class.
  • Christopher Hampton: The class financial wiz. He’s got every penny he’s earned since he was in kindergarten, and unsurprisingly he’s the Scrooge stand-in for the Christmas Carol knockoff.
  • Kyle Chilton: Only appeared in two books, but has enough of a distinct personality. Can be stubborn and single minded in whatever he puts his energy towards, which may not always be a good thing. But regardless of the circumstances, he will NOT go down without a fight.
  • Bentley Jeste: The class clown and king of practical jokes. Will wage all out war on teachers (except Dr. Morthouse, obviously), but has enough of a conscience to extend mercy to teachers who don’t deserve it (even if he doesn’t like them). That said, he knows perfectly well nobody trusts him, but his skepticism may have helped him develop the ability to read people’s personalities and recognize truly aberrant behavioral shifts.
  • Skip Wolfson: His parents run a pet supply store, and he has a weird little brother. One of the few bits of consistent continuity says his family moved to a farmhouse outside of town after the fourteenth book. Suffers from severe trochophobia (fear of buses).
  • Blue Russell: The second new kid. Other than his name, there’s nothing unusual about Blue, which is why he doesn’t understand why he was put in Mrs. Storch’s homeroom. The kids aren’t that bad, but they seem to share a big secret. A big, monstrous secret.
  • Mel West: The artistic kid, but a bit pretentious. Ask him to draw a bowl of fruit and he’ll sketch out what the fruit makes him feel like on the inside. He’s practicing drawing with his left hand, and Ms. Beamer will give thoughtful critics of his work as if he were an adult.
  • Ari Spinner: Ah yes, the mysterious Miss Spinner. No one knows who she is or where she comes from. The teachers don’t scare her in the slightest. She has no friends, but she’s not hated like Polly is. Ari has no interest in her fellow human beings, unless they suddenly grew six extra legs, could spin webs, and suck out organs through their mouths. You guessed it, she’s an arachnophile.

So the books go out of their way to establish the kids all have different interests and goals in their lives beyond surviving the sixth grade. Some of the one-shot protagonists don’t have much in way of personalities and are there simply to keep the story going. The narration doesn’t try to dumb things down for the readers by having the kids act really stupid or too “kiddie” kiddie, but while they aren’t miniature adults, the kids do have a better sense of the world than the protagonists of a Goosebumps book.

For starters, they’re more prone to confronting whatever horror is bedeviling them instead of just falling into it. This is especially true if other people’s lives are at stake. It’s true they aren’t going out of their way to solve the mystery of Graveyard Hill and Dr. Morthouse, but if it’s an immediate threat they’ll do what they can. Hey, they’re not trying to be heroes. For that matter, they’re also not trying to be saints. They may not be sadistic little brats, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from acting like dicks to each other from time to time. That just makes them believable, because who here hasn’t given their friends a hard time at some point in their lives?

In “The Fright Before Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claws” none of them are eagerly hoping to get lots of gifts for Christmas, and it’s implied that’s more a phase they go through when they’re younger. Park expresses disgust at how the stores and TV commercials always try to get you to spend more money on useless junk you don’t need, recalling a past experience with a toy he really wanted that broke the second he played with it. When they call out Christopher Hampton on his Scrooge-like attitude around Christmas, he points out many people don’t celebrate the holiday. The kids say that’s not the point, acknowledging that all cultures and religions have at least one holiday or celebration. Their problem isn’t that he’s against celebrating Christmas, but that his miserable attitude is ruining the fun for everyone else.

There’s an ongoing trend throughout the books about environmentalism, but not in an extreme “Captain Planet” sort of the way. The kids are just responsible enough to not throw their trash around wherever they feel like. This is most prominent in “Revenge of the Dinosaurs” and “Slime Lake.” “Slime Lake” especially has the kids (except Polly Hannah) disgusted at what a businessman is doing to the aforementioned lake and surrounding wildlife, preparing to dredge the lake and demolish the nearby swamp to build a resort and condos. Stacey expresses concern about what damaging the swamp would do to the local wildlife, and overall the kids are turned off by how commercialized and gaudy the lake’s new recreational area is.

They aren’t glory hogs when it comes to sports. I’ve explained that Park and Tyson are good sports and team players, but the books mention that trying to outdo everyone else on your team regardless of what the game is should not be considered a healthy attitude. In “Scream Team,” the Grove Hill soccer team frequently beats the Belville Academy team because the Belville kids are incapable of playing together without trying to individually steal the spotlight. They have no teamwork, no sense of grace when it comes to losing, and their parents are even worse. Every other soccer and baseball team that appears besides the Grove Hill and Belville teams are able to work together and act respectful in the face of losing.

What makes all these themes work is that the books don’t repeatedly beat you over the head with them. Add all these together, and it’s like they’re trying to make it clear that kids aren’t stupid.

The Books Themselves: The books aren’t terribly long, and most could be finished within at least a couple of hours. Some aren’t even a 100 pages long. There are:

  • 7 books that take place during the summer
  • 2 at summer camps
  • 2 fairy tale based books
  • 2 sequel books
  • 2 during Christmas
  • 1 during New Year’s Eve
  • 1 during Halloween
  • 1 during Thanksgiving
  • 1 during Easter
  • 1 during April Fool’s
  • 1 anthology book

The summer books can be kind of tricky to figuring out a timeline for events, because it can be hard to determine if they take place before or after the kids finished the sixth grade. Even when the books explicitly mention stuff that happened during the school year it still feels like the kids will be heading back to Graveyard School even though they should’ve graduated by now.

The stories are mainly supernatural, with only one full book featuring aliens in the plot. The extent of the horror goes beyond just Graveyard School, because even if the kids are on vacation the weirdness will eventually follow them. You’ve got ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and monsters, but you’ve also got:

  • Stoker, the aforementioned psychotic lunch lady.
  • The Skeleton on the Skateboard
  • The Headless Bicycle Rider
  • Dinosaur figurines that grow and come to life [Wing: I AM SO EXCITED! #dinosaursdudesdinosaurs]
  • The monster underneath Slime Lake
  • A soccer coach using what can only be called “zombie juice” to turn his team into an army of unstoppable juggernauts
  • A huge ghost alligator
  • A ravenous Easter bunny hatched from a literal Easter egg
  • An evil Santa with a buzz cut and claws, whose sleigh is pulled by GIANT, TALKING RATS
  • A spider that grants wishes by biting people

The prose and tone of the novels doesn’t go into quite vivid detail about the horrors that plague the kids. There’s an air of mystery as some events are left to the reader’s imaginations, sequences that leave you wondering if they really did see something strange or if it was imagined. Not every haunting is given a total explanation when it ends, but since the kids want to put it behind them they’re not complaining.

Only a couple of books have characters who more or less act like douchebags, but in those situations it reads more like the equivalent of going to a car show just to see the cars crash. You know it’ll happen and you hope it’ll be spectacular. “Let’s Scare The Teacher To Death” is one where both sides of the conflict give as good as they get, but it’s hard to figure out which side you should root for.

The first ten books or so sometimes end on a note where the main character will turn out to be more deeply connected to whatever strange event they endured than we were led to believe. And thankfully the books avoid insane, contradictory twist endings like were prominent in the Goosebumps books, but there are a few twists here and there.

I’d love to suggest you guys try to find some of these to read them yourselves, but unfortunately some are either hard to find or you can find them on Amazon and eBay at rather ridiculous prices. I think someone’s trying to get a thousand bucks for “Little School of Horrors.” I was lucky to find them while they were cheap, so I’ve decided, alongside the Goosebumps recaps I’d like to start doing recaps for all y’all.

Ah, me. They broke the mold.

Oh, and a little fun fact. The covers of the latter half of the series were all done by Mark Nagata. He’s the guy who did the cover art for the first half of the “Give Yourself Goosebumps” series (well Tim Jacobus did the actual first). You can find some of the original cover artwork on his website, facebook, and tumblr pages.

[Wing: I’ve never read the books, and haven’t been able to get my hands on them yet, so I’m very excited to read these recaps!]

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Announcement: New Guest Recapper Donna

I bring you another guest recapper. Donna will be tackling L.J. Smith and similar books once a month. You can find more about her and her writing on her website: http://www.imaginewrite.net/.

I’m thrilled with all the guest recappers, and I can’t wait to share their work with you. Y’all are going to love this.

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The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine

The Hitchhiker by R L Stine book cover, right hand with thumb raised up in front of two headlightsTitle: The Hitchhiker by R. L. Stine

Summary: He wants a ride. She wants a thrill. So, in spite of her best friend’s arguments, Christina stops to pick up the handsome hitchhiker. He’s everything she thought he’d be. And more. Much, much, more. Enough to thrill Christina and Terri… to death.

Tagline: Don’t stop now

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts

I don’t remember ever reading this one before, but I love road trips and road horror and hate the torture porn that now comes with this type of story. We’ll see where Stine falls in that spectrum. I don’t have high hopes, considering our feud.

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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Annoucement: New Movie Recap Guest Column

Another big announcement about guest recappers. Once a quarter, starting on June 13, we’ll have a new regular column recapping horror movies: Let’s Do It! A Virgin Does Horror. Guest recapper Virgin will take on horror movie series, and look at all the ways she would be a Final Girl.

(In other guest recapper news, I’ve had the privilege to read the first Goosebumps recap, which goes up at the end of this month, and it is hilarious. Jude did a great job, and I can’t wait for you to read it.)

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Announcement: Guest Recappers

As you may have noticed, there are some changes going on behind the scenes at The Devil’s Elbow. There are still a few more in the works, but I can announce three things now:

1) Dove is taking a break from recapping and podcasting at The Devil’s Elbow. You can still find her creating recaps and podcast episodes over at Sweet Valley Online.

2) The Devil’s Elbow podcast is temporarily on hold until I work out some technical issues and line up a few guests. I will keep you updated.

3) I’m bringing on a few regular guest recappers! I’m super excited to get to share their recaps with you.

First, Dade will be returning! You may recall that he wrote the excellent recap of The Train. He’s returning now to tackle the Nightmare Hall books. I’m looking forward to his insight into YA genre publishing as much as I am his recapping.

Second, I’d like to introduce Jude Deluca, of the delightful If It Were Stine tumblr (if you haven’t checked this out, you should! It reimagines horror movies as Goosebumps books, and is hilarious). He will be taking on the Goosebumps books (which means I can focus my Stine feud on a different series, oh goody).

I’ll update the pinned post, too, but the new posting schedule will be Dade with a Nightmare Hall recap on the first Monday of the month, Wing with a Point Horror or similar recap on the 15th of the month, and Jude with a Goosebumps recap on the last day of every other month.

Like I said, there are still more surprises in the works, but for now, I hope you’ll help me welcome our reoccurring guest recappers and thank Dove for all the work she’s done for the project!

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Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Title: Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Summary: Hayley is going to have the best year ever. After years of careful planning, she’s ready to serve as student council president AND editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Ivy League, here she comes!

However, just before student council elections, someone creates a fake facebook profile for Hayley and starts posting inappropriate photos and incriminating updates. It must be the work of a highly skilled Photoshopper, but the attention to detail is scary. The embarrassing photos of “Hayley” in her bathing suit reveal a birthmark on her back–a birth mark Hayley has never shown in public. . .

The situation escalates until Hayley’s mother reveals some shocking information. Hayley isn’t an only child: She has a twin sister who was adopted by a different family. And that’s not all. Soon, Hayley discovers that her long-lost sister isn’t just playing a prank–she’s plotting to take over Hayley’s life . . . by any means necessary. [Wing: Note: NO STUDENT COUNCIL ELECTIONS. No fucking birthmark. And if I’d read the summary before the book, it would have given away the big twist. What the fuck, publisher?]

Tagline: Some friend requests refuse to be ignored… [Wing: Note: NO FUCKING FRIEND REQUESTS ACTUALLY HAPPEN TO HAYLEY.]

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts:

The dedication reads: To the NYC crew: For always keeping me on the right side of sanity

Unsurprisingly, I am not looking forward to reading this book. I know I’ve read it before (and it’s the book that made Dove quit all new Point Horror until we recapped them), but I don’t remember a damn thing about it except that Dove hates it. I’m hoping for lots of Dove Goes Boom moments to get me through.

[Dove: Yep, I haven’t read this from beginning to end. I actually refused to finish it because it was so awful, so… I guess my feelings about this pointless waste of my time can be inferred from that. Also this will mean my comments are largely useless. I’m actually very much looking forward to Wing’s recap of this, because it means I’ll get to find out exactly how it happens without having to revisit the book itself.]

[Wing: YOU DIDN’T EVEN FUCKING READ IT THIS TIME?! DO YOU KNOW THE TERRIBLE BOOKS I’VE READ SO I CAN PROPERLY COMMENT ON YOUR RECAPS?! YOU LEFT ME TO DEAL WITH THIS ALONE?! WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK, DOVE.]

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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Podcast Episode 5: Twins & Wickedpedia

We discuss Twins by Caroline B Cooney and Wickedpedia by Chris van Etten.

The article regarding male vs female authors can be found here.

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Wickedpedia by Chris van Etten

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Title: Wickedpedia by Chris van Etten

Summary: It’s the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don’t open the door. Don’t answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON’T turn on your computer…

Cole and Greg love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole’s girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

It’s all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident… just as Cole and Greg predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways… and those entries start to come true as well.

To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who’s behind the murders, or else he’s set to meet a pretty grisly end.

Note: There is no Greg. His name is Gavin. A+ editing there. 10 points!

Tagline: COLE is about to go off-line… forever.

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna. I DON’T WANNA.

First of all, before we even start, let me just say that I’m not entirely enthusiastic that the new books have male leads (not all, but half). The last male lead was an obnoxious, hipster twat, with all the charisma of week-old semolina. Second of all, the new books are written – as far as I can tell – by people who don’t know what they’re on about regarding technology. For example, in Defriended the willful denial of catfishing was the only thing that allowed the story to progress – a quick watch of Nev and Max in action would have sorted the problem in 20 minutes.

And regarding wiki, the idea that these morons usually edit articles and they stay up long enough to fool everyone in school and bugger their reports: no. I remember when Randy Orton (from WWE and “RKO out of nowhere” meme fame) got new branding as the “apex predator”, someone went trolling on Wiki, and kept putting him down as an example on the apex predator page. A studious wiki editor was on that edit in seconds. And for the lolz, I screencapped it as it was happening. Who knew that five years later it would be handy? (Also, in 2014 either the same or a different joker tried again and got shut down just as quick.)

Randy Orton is an Apex Predator. No he's not. Yes he is. etc.

Randy Orton is an Apex Predator. No he’s not. Yes he is. etc. (Click for readable size)

So tl;dr: I DON’T WANNA.

[Wing: I am no fan of the new Point Horror, but Dove’s hatred of them entertains me endlessly. We were actually on a call when she finished reading this one, and being able to see her expressions as she did so was by far the best choice I’ve made this year.]

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Summary: Twice the evil.

Twins Mary Lee and Madrigal are living double lives – with some shocking secrets

Mary Lee and Madrigal are twin sisters, beautiful and deeply attached to each other. Then in high school, Mary Lee and Madrigal’s parents decide to send Mary Lee away to boarding school – cruelly separating the girls. The twins have only been apart a handful of times in their lives. Mary Lee is devastated at first, and then horrified as Madrigal betrays her by approving of their parents’ shocking plan. Spending high school apart, as two separate sisters – not as twins?! What about their special twin bond? Madrigal seems to be thriving in her new solo life, and even finds a fabulous boyfriend. Mary Lee, lonely and unhappy at boarding school, begins to wish she had her sister’s seemingly perfect life. But when her secret wish disastrously comes true during a weekend ski trip, Mary Lee learns more about Madrigal’s new life than she could have ever dreamed… or feared.

Every kid’s fantasy is to be a twin. Now, that innocent dream is turned into a nightmare by a million-copy selling author. Caroline Cooney spins a shivery tale about a young girl who steps into the shoes of her dead identical twin sister and uncovers a horrifying legacy of evil.

Tagline: Twice the evil.

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve never read this before, but I kind of wish we’d done this one before Perfume, because I am ridiculously charmed by their names. Still, at this point, I’m pretty attached to “Wing,” so I guess it’s no problem. Back to the book, I’m both looking forward to Cooney’s whimsy and also braced for it, because the last couple of her books that we’ve recapped have been a little bit much for me, whimsy-wise. Ah well, on to the evil twin shenanigans. (I certainly hope they’re better than the Perfume shenanigans. God forbid someone skip brushing their teeth.)

[Dove: I loathe this book. Actually, when I was recapping The Stranger, I thought the plot of this book happened in that one. I was glad to be wrong, because I actually liked The Stranger.]

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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Books of Blood 3: The Coach by M. C. Sumner

The Coach by M C Sumner - Scan by Mimi

The Coach by M C Sumner – Scan by Mimi

Title: Books of Blood 3: The Coach by M. C. Sumner

Summary: The town is plagued by vampires who can change shape to appear to be anyone they like. The baseball coach is convinced Chris killed his daughter – and he’s out to get him. But it was the vampires, and Chris is out to get them. Finally Chris saves himself, his friend and his town from the vampires.

Tagline: Playing games of death…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I really didn’t get along well with the second in this series, so I’m really not looking forward to this one. However, it’s the third in a trilogy, so maybe it will perk up.

[Wing: I quite enjoyed the second book, and I find that cover both ridiculous and fun, so I have hope that I will enjoy this book.]

OMG! What happens next??? Read on… »

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