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

Recap #45: The Invitation by Diane Hoh by Dove

17
Oct 2016
The Invitation by Diane Hoh

The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Title: The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Summary: For the high schoolers of Greenhaven, Cass Rockham’s fall party is the social event of the year. Each October, students wait by their mailboxes, praying for the gilt-edged invitation that grants entry into the inner circle of the most popular crowd. And now Cass has planned her finest party yet, with a new sauna, a hot band, and no parents for miles. But to make this party really killer, Cass tops it all off with a sinister twist. Nerdy Sarah Drew is shocked when she and her friends receive invitations to Cass’s affair. For years she’s steered clear of the popular kids, and now they want her to come to their party? Sarah is wary, but her friends talk her into coming with them. But she regrets it quickly, for at Cass Rockham’s mansion, the only party favor is death.

Tagline: At the party of the year, a rich girl’s practical joke turns deadly

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 remember this being one of my favourites as a teenager. I never had a copy of it, just borrowed my friend’s once, so it could be that I read it quickly and thought it was awesome and never checked back in. Or it could actually be awesome. It is Diane Hoh, after all.

Welp, here goes…

[Wing: I read this for the first time not too long ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t recap it at the time. Maybe it was while I was traveling.]

Recap:

Well, we start with something very close to Muffin Man POV. It’s Cass Rockham finalising her invitations to her fall party, which is the party to go to. Cass has a good old smirk at the idea of saddos lining up at their mail boxes and being heartbroken over not getting an invite.

She’s got a band (“the best in five counties”) organised – I always wonder about this. I’d feel really awkward if I was in a great band, and had to play some brat’s birthday party. Imagine headlining a great music festival one week, then playing a high school party the next. Weird. She’s got her pretty dress, and the entertainment and – OK, I GET IT. SHE’S A MEAN BRAT.

[Wing: Small local bands don’t generally do many music festivals here, especially not back when this was written. They’d probably do mostly parties and events like that, sometimes bars with live music, etc.]

Let’s move on.

Chapter 2 and we meet Sarah Drew, who has just received an invite from Cass. Sarah gets school politics, and understands she shouldn’t have received an invitation. Heck, she didn’t even want one. (Hi, Sarah, I kind of like you.) Cass only invites the super rich and the super popular, and Sarah is neither.

She gets a call from Ellie Whittier, who is nearly beside herself with glee because she’s been invited. Ellie’s really nice, a great friend, but she’s not popular either. Sarah says she’s not going. First of all, she thinks Cass’ dad’s secretary probably accidentally invited the whole school, and that’s why they’ve received them; second, she’s got to clean her bird cage that night.

Ellie’s hurt by her snark, but Sarah’s still convinced it’s a mistake. They end the call with Ellie saying she’s going to call Donald Neeson, another one of their friends, to see if he got an invite too and Sarah being all “whatevs” about it.

Maggie Delaney and Shane Magruder are at Sarah’s door (Shane is a girl). Guess what? They’ve been invited too.

Donald calls, he’s been invited too. Maggie speculates that they got invited because Donald made varsity this year, and Cass likes athletes. Donald wants to know if Maggie’s going, which “puzzles” Sarah, as Donald is dating someone called Dolly who he met over the summer when they were summer camp counsellors. (Sarah, it’s really not that difficult, summer relationships often fizzle.)

[Wing: Sarah’s kind of adorable in her naivete there, considering how much she understands about high school politics.]

Finally Sarah tells Donald to come over and pick Ellie up on his way, so they can discuss this in person.

OMG, that was one chapter, and now we’re going to have the same chapter again in person. Get to the point, Hoh. [Wing: REEEEECAAAAAAAP.]

Sarah: isn’t going, but fancies Riley White, a friend of Cass’ who will be at the party.

Shane: will go if everyone else does, but tells Sarah not to do anything she doesn’t want to.

Everyone else: peeing their pants in excitement about the party.

Sarah: grudgingly agrees, but would rather stay home and play violin.

And that was a chapter. *sigh*

New chapter, POV switch. Ellie is at home, talking to her sister, Ruth, who is utterly astounded that Ellie got invited. And by that I mean she’s basically throwing a tantrum, which culminates in her physically throwing Ellie out of her bedroom.

POV switch. Shane’s mother is also peeing her pants in excitement over Shane being invited to “that big house”. Shane’s mother is all, “Yay, now you can be BFFs with rich people”. Dickhead. Shane defends the friends she has.

But she knew how her mother felt about Donald and Maggie, Ellie and Sarah. According to Mrs. Magruder, Maggie was “a bundle of nerves,” Ellie was “rather ordinary-looking,” Donald “too shy,” and although Shane’s mother admired Sarah’s brilliant mind, she had pointed out gently that Sarah spent far too much time practicing and studying to ever be really popular.

It astonished Shane that, after everything that had happened back in Rockport, her mother still expected life to be normal here in Greenhaven. Couldn’t she see that all Shane wanted to do was crawl into bed and hide there forever? Moving to another town, a new house, a new school, hadn’t changed anything. Only those four friends her mother disapproved of had kept her from shutting herself off from the world.

Oooh, Shane’s got a past. And she has nightmares about it. I honestly don’t remember this sub-plot. But then again, I remember this book starting actually at the party, so my memory is a bag of holes when it comes to PH.

[Wing: Well, to be fair, you basically forgot about the recapping part at the beginning, which is a good thing to forget.]

POV switch. Donald is trying to convince himself he’s not a dickhead if he doesn’t mention the party to Dolly, his girlfriend. Basically, while he was away at camp, he found he missed Maggie, but was flattered when Dolly chased him, so used her to keep warm until he came home. Dolly still thinks they’re a couple, but Donald’s desperate to get with Maggie. He’s tried to break up with Dolly a couple of times – not mentioning Maggie – but she gets upset and angry. Can’t work out why, Donald doesn’t really seem that much of a catch to me.

POV switch. Maggie’s got a crush on Donald. And she wants to get Sarah talking to Riley. So she’s our Shipper/Purity Sue.

Back to Sarah. She doesn’t want to go to the party, but she’s said she’ll go, so that’s that. However, it’s a bit weird that Shane, the new girl, wasn’t super excited about a party invite.

Is it, Sarah? Shane seems quite quiet, maybe introverted. If I told Wing that I was throwing a massive party with everyone I know so she could meet all my friends at once, she’d probably be very polite and reserved about it while secretly plotting to blow up the venue so we’d have to cancel. (Naturally, I’d never do this to Wing. Oooh, let’s have an amusing aside from the life of Dove. A friend of mine is getting married soon, and pretty much all of her friends are introverts or have some kind of social anxiety, so she’s organised five different hen (bachelorette) nights, to ensure the groups are small and that nobody feels out of their comfort zone.)

[Wing: That is a lovely thing to do. And yes, I would blow up the venue. Unless there was a pun to be made about it. In that case, I would laugh like a drain and then blow up the venue.]

Next chapter. Ellie’s found a perfect dress that makes her feel slimmer and prettier and is getting ready to go to the party. Ruth is sitting on the bed bitching and painting her toenails. And if she doesn’t ruin Ellie’s dress with nail polish by the end of this chapter, I’ll drink a shot. (I don’t drink.)

Shocker. Ellie goes to the bathroom and when she returns there’s purple nail polish all over the dress.

DED FROM STUPID: 1 (Exactly what it says on the tin. If you do not understand this trope, then you are the cause of this trope.) and Cheer on the killer: 1 (Because the protagonist is such an insufferable wretch that you can’t help but side with anyone who wants him or her dead.) (I’m aiming the killer at Ruth, just for clarification. Ellie was foolish, but not enough for me to want her dead.)

Ellie has to wear a hideous dress that her mother owns. She feels like “a fat lump of celery”. Then Ruth pops her head back in and says that Ellie has no business going to the party and she’ll be sorry.

Red Herrings: 1 (Fairly obvious, but in Point Horror, there’s basically a neon sign above them stating “sinister as fuck”.)

POV switch to Donald, who is being threatened and screamed at by Dolly over the phone. He broke up with her on Saturday, but she’s still not having it.

Like Ruth, she says that he’ll regret going. Blah, blah, blah.

I beat you because I love you: 1 (Abusive relationships in any way, shape or form.) and Red Herrings: 2 (+1)

Oh god, I can’t keep listing the POV switches, they’re just rehashing old ground. Shane has a past, Sarah doesn’t want to go. Sarah ships Donald/Maggie, Maggie ships Sarah/Riley. JUST GET TO THE FUCKING PARTY ALREADY! By this point in Funhouse, Dade is dead, Sheree’s in ICU and Joey’s lost a leg. Can the killing start now please?

This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 1 (Recap! Recap! Recap! Something happened last chapter. Tell us about it! Tell it again. Then tell it one more time. Because otherwise we’ll forget.)

Right, finally we’re at the party. Cass does not greet them by name, and Sarah’s sure it’s because she doesn’t know their names. The house is only lit with candles. They notice they are one chair short and there is a camera in the corner of the room – part of the security system.

But just then, Cass flipped a switch and the television screen was filled with a rock group. Sarah thought it was MTV until Cass said, “That’s Evil Deeds, the group that’s playing in the ballroom. We can see it in here because that’s a closed-circuit television up there. Neat, huh?”

Wait. So this big band is just in the ballroom by themselves? That’s even worse than playing a high school party. That’s playing next to one and having the kids watch it on TV. What the fuck, Cass?

Oh wait, there’s not even sound because they’re going to play musical chairs.

No, not letting go of this band thing. So, you’re a huge band, you’re on MTV, and now you’re playing a 16 year old’s fall party, with no audience, and they’re not even listening to you. I kind of hope this band are dickheads like Guns N’ Roses were back in the day, and are systematically drinking, snorting or destroying everything in their path. (I love Guns N’ Roses. Worship, even.)

[Wing: I mean, they might be destroying everything, drinking, and drugging, because high school bands do that too, but I really think you’re exaggerating how big this band is. It’s the best in a couple counties. That’s not very big in the US.]

[Dove: A couple US counties is bigger than the entirity of the UK.]

Right, so they’re going to play musical chairs. I guess that’s popularity for you. The first five out get consolation prizes, and the game ends. Sarah picks up on this immediately.

Ellie is the first out, because she’s fat. Except it’s not because she’s fat, it’s because she was rounding a corner, but the text says that it’s because she’s fat. So fat people are shit at this game.

[Wing: Bullshit. Fat people can knock other people out of the way. Or maybe that’s just fat and violent people. Whoops.]

Sarah shivers and Riley offers his sweater.

Ellie is taken to a separate room to get her “consolation prize”. Cass calls her “Allie” even after being told her name is “Ellie”.

In quick succession Shane and Donald lose and are escorted out. Sarah thinks there has to be more to it than simply inviting five people to lose at musical chairs. And she channels her inner-Cusick as she thinks about it.

What… was… going… on?

Then out goes Maggie, then Sarah.

Ellie is swimming in self-hatred, and I actually feel for her. She tries to tell Morgan, the girl leading her to the “consolation prize”, that she doesn’t need a prize, and she would just like to go back to her friends, but doesn’t get anywhere. Morgan is curt and tells her to hurry up. Ellie’s wearing heels and that ugly dress, and god, the text makes her feel massive and upset, and that Ruth had been right, and Cass had known that she wasn’t good enough to be at the party, and she was being whisked away and – OH GOD, GET OUT OF MY HEAD, HOH. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Sorry, Ellie’s now my favourite human being on the planet, because she’s speaking the language of The Secret Rules, where everyone knows something I don’t, and I’m just this lumbering clueless lump that’s embarrassing everyone because I don’t belong here.

They arrive at her spot and Morgan says to go on in, Cass took a shortcut to beat her there. I don’t know where “in there” might be, because Hoh didn’t bother to describe anything other than cold night, gravel underfoot, etc.

And then she’s locked in.

Somewhere.

[Wing: Bahahaha. That is a good point. We really have no idea what sort of space it is.]

Shane planned to bolt as soon as she got away from musical chairs, but her jailer grabs her arm before she can run. They go upstairs, and they climb the stairs for “several minutes”. Are they in a fucking tower block? It’s bloody hard to climb stairs for several minutes in a residential property, even a huge one. And then a “few minutes” more. I’m going with tower block.

[Wing: Well, that could easily be three or four levels of stairs if they’re going slowly, I guess. Clearly this is a giant house.]

They reach a white door with a roll of orange stickers next to it. And Shane’s locked in. Several hundred flights of stairs up, if the text is to be believed.

Donald gets locked in closet in a room, with pink stickers next to the door.

Maggie barely gets a line of text explaining where she is, no idea what colour her stickers are.

And Sarah’s locked in too.

You know what’s better than this story? Well, pretty much any other story, obviously, but a film called Would You Rather? The setup is a much better use of the “strangers invited to party for nefarious entertainment” trope. It’s a little gory, but the worst is off screen, which is what makes it so awful. Check it out, it’s on Netflix.

Now, back to Cass, where she explains they’re going to have a people hunt. They get clues, collect stickers and first person back with all five stickers gets a gift certificate to the music store.

They do not free the people when they find them, just collect stickers. And here’s where this gets really stupid. Why on earth did Cass invite five strangers to be searched for? Why didn’t she just send them searching for the stickers? It doesn’t really matter whether someone’s in the room or not. And let’s face it, she’s uber rich, she could pay someone to do it. That would avoid the whole crime aspect of locking someone up, especially when it makes no difference whether they’re in the room or not.

[Wing: Yeah, I find Cass’s plan strangely complicated and pointless, except that it sets up the rest of the plot.]

Riley basically tells Cass that she’s horrible, she can’t do this to human beings, and that it’s against the law.

Some people think it’s a bit weird or just a bit crap, so they’re not playing, but most people are.

So there’s only one decent human being in the house who is not currently held hostage. I really hope at this point Michael or Jason show up and start killing them all.

Riley decides to save the day.

Now, just before we flash back to everyone else, I have to say, I hope someone destroys everything in the room with them, and finds something big and heavy to smash the door. It was previously described as a “white panel door”, so it’s not like heavy oak. Just keep smashing until it falls apart. Or smash a window. Even if you can’t get out, break everything that surrounds you. You are being kept against your will, and you should feel free to fuck Cass’ shit up.

Sarah is in the music room, and “heavy metal rock music” is blaring. (That’s like, more than one genre, you know that, Hoh?) She thinks Cass must know something about her, because she’s in the music room, and heavy metal would be an assault on her senses. Because people who play instruments don’t like metal or rock? Because people who play the violin only like classical? Well, that’s a stupid assumption.

The room has no windows, is probably soundproof and the intercom’s wires have been disconnected. Still, Sarah, instruments are expensive. Break ‘em.

Maggie’s in the pantry, and she’s livid. She’s grabbed, gagged and bound before her assailant drags her off. Then he or she throws her in a garage.

Judgemental Garage is judging you

Judgemental Garage is judging you

(I had to add this picture. Wing and I were looking at holiday rentals, and we found this garage and found it to be incredibly judgemental.)

[Wing: Is this another UK vs US thing? Judgmental vs judgemental? Also, that garage is still judging us. Fucking you, garage.]

[Dove: I remember being told in a grammar seminar at work that without the e is legal use only, with the e is everyday. I hasten to add, this seminar was being taught by a woman who spelled “yellow” wrong in an email to me.]

The Muffin Man puts her in a car which have had the door and window handles removed, turns on the car, locks her in the garage and leaves.

Shit just got real, yo.

Sarah manages to unlock her door with a credit card. That… did not occur to me. I went for a crash boom bang motif in my escape plan. On the plus side, I bet Wing went for violence first too.

[Wing: I wouldn’t have been walked off alone without my friends, so yes, violence would have happened. Hell, there’s only maybe three people who could have talked me into going to the party in the first place.]

Ellie thinks she might be in a barn or outbuilding. She’s not sure what to do when Muffin Man appears and says Cass says she’s been a good sport, just follow me and she’ll make it up to you.

Someone notices the cameras aren’t showing the captives, but Cass doesn’t care, apparently it happens a lot.

Riley can’t figure out a clue. He thinks Cass has gone too far this time. But I don’t see him call the police, so he’s either stupid or just desperate to be a hero.

[Wing: He’s showing off, obviously.]

Sarah’s free, still fuming, and a guest just explained the people hunt. Again the cameras are mentioned, and the entitled dickweeds are just like “Hey, if they’re being let out, it ruins the game, not sure I want to play.”

[Wing: But how does it ruin the game? You can still collect the damn stickers!]

This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 2 (+1) and Cheer on the killer: 2 (+1)

Sarah and Riley team up and they’re going to set Sarah’s friends free.

Donald gets moved. Shane cries.

Maggie tries to get attention by slamming her jaw into the horn on the car. Damn, that’s hardcore. It doesn’t work, she thinks it’s been disconnected. She finally gets the gag off and starts screaming.

Sarah and Riley find the closet and the stickers, but the lock’s broken and whoever was in there has been moved. There’s now a new clue, “Chill out, guys!” So, freezer?

Maggie’s in the car still. There’s no key in the ignition, the Muffin Man hot-wired the car. So put it in reverse and drive straight through the garage door, Maggie. Or, you know, cry and realise you have no possible way of getting out of there.

There are French doors in Shane’s room, but she can’t go out that way, I assume because they’re four thousand miles up, given that it took about ten minutes of solid stair climbing to get there. Or, she’s one or two flights up but terrified of heights. There’s a cat in the room with her, but it’s not friendly.

Maggie realises that she’s in a car. Now she has to figure out how to put it in gear with her hands tied behind her back.

Sarah and Riley head towards the stables.

Oh, Maggie’s in an automatic car. Ok, that makes more sense about why putting it in gear is so hard, because the gears are on the steering wheel. I dunno, maybe kneel on the seat, flip it and then hit the gas, would that work? (I’ve never driven an automatic.) Oh, wait, no. It’s European so it’s between the front seats. Just kick it into place, since you don’t even need to hit the clutch.

[Wing: Automatics can have the gear shift either on the steering wheel or between the seats. My American sports car has it between the seats; Mr Wing’s monstrosity has it on the steering wheel. What would really be hard is that you generally have to squeeze a button to get it to release, and sometimes have to step on the brake before it will disengage.

How in the world is she kicking it into place, though? Automatics shift toward the back seat to come out of park, not forward. Did she hook her foot onto it and pull? I am having a hard time picturing how this works.]

[Dove: Ah, I was treating it like a stick shift without a clutch, hence thinking kicking would work.]

That’s exactly what she does.

Sarah and Riley hear the crash and head towards it.

Ellie gets thrown into another mysterious building by the Muffin Man.

Sarah and Riley find Maggie. They have to smash a window to pull her out. OMG, is NOBODY going to call the emergency services? I know this house is supposed to be massive, but honestly, if the stables were one of the clues, surely there should be a few people outside that would have seen a car suddenly careen through a wall and crash in a field. For fuck’s sake.

Finally Cass arrives and asks if they’re “nuts” for driving her dad’s Jag through the garage wall. I did wonder when the ablest language would rock up.

Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 1 (Essentially, “crazy” is a blanket term for a bad person with no qualms about killing anyone and everyone. Often because they are “crazy”. Because that’s how mental health works.)

Cass basically can’t figure out why they’re being such dicks. It was totes harmless to lock up five people so her friends could find them. Sarah basically wants to knock Cass out, and Riley’s trying to calmly explain that someone else is escalating the game.

[Wing: I legitimately laughed so hard I nearly cried at Cass being shocked that they are angry at being locked up.]

Nobody bothers to ask Cass where she locked up everyone else before she saunters off back to the party. Maggie says no to the emergency services, because she laughs in the face of carbon monoxide poisoning. I guess that’s this book’s version of a concussion. It can be walked off. Oh, wait, no, she also has “an enormous goose egg on her forehead”.

Head injury? Walk it off: 1 (Because a concussion is a mild inconvenience, not a medical situation and it can be cured by grit and determination.)

She’s not actually going to walk it off, they’re leaving her in the hall. Where she could, in theory, call any of the emergency services, but fuck that, right?

[Wing: Or could, you know, be taken by whoever locked her in a running car, but whatever, she’s fine.]

Riley and Sarah go back to puzzling over clues. FFS, people, why not just ask Cass where they’re all hidden? Sarah is ticked off that nobody knows what happened to Maggie. Another guest leads them towards the pantry, which is where Maggie was, and they know that. Still, even though they say that they’ve got to hurry, they’re going to a vacated hiding place.

In other news, Shane is still upset, and the angry cat is still angry. She says that this shouldn’t be happening to her, she hasn’t done anything wrong this time.

Sarah and Riley find a black piece of paper with the words “What a gas, man” written on them. After a lot of confusion, they figure out that Maggie was here, then she was taken to the garage to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s a clue. Well done, kids. You so clever.

They also realise that they found a clue saying “Chill out, guys!” and that it probably means that someone’s in the freezer. The freezer is locked and the caterer won’t open it without Cass Rockham’s say so, because Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks: 1 (When the protagonist experiences something genuinely frightening, such as finding a corpse, or that someone has been in their room while they were home alone, and it is treated as an attention-seeking prank. Or, when something is done that is written off as a prank or a joke, but is actually pretty damned spiteful.)

Sarah thinks that the caterer thinks she’s “lost it” and will be calling the “men in white coats”. Nice. Sarah, she doesn’t think you’re out of your mind, she thinks you’re playing a prank, but naturally, unlikely story == crazy. Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 3 (+2)

Sarah finds Cass and shouts at her until she gets the key. FFS, just ASK CASS WHERE THE OTHERS WERE LOCKED UP. You get that this is serious business, right? DED FROM STUPID: 51 (+50)

[Wing: /dying]

They find Donald in the freezer, and Riley says it’s finally time to call an ambulance (what, still no police?). Sarah races to the phone just as she gets there, it rings and some guy picks up. The boy can barely hear because of the noise of the party, but the crux of the matter is that someone possibly called Lynn (male) is after Dane or Zane – so Shane (female), holy shit, Hoh, are you deliberately going out of your way to confuse me by assigning names to the wrong gender?

[Wing: I’m pretty sure the gender confusion is intentional, because the actual Lynn is a girl, isn’t she? I remember there being some ~crazy queer vibes about the ending of this.]

Lynn Loomis (Halloween/Psycho shout out, and screw you, this book isn’t good enough to make those references) is the running back on the varsity football team, and he’s apparently scary.

[Wing: Did not catch that reference!]

Sarah calls an ambulance and returns to Donald, who by now has blankets and a hot drink. They tell him about Maggie’s near-death experience, and Donald is the only human being who actually operates in reality here.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning is wicked stuff. How do you know she’s all right?”

“She said she was. [snip]”

Admittedly, I’ve snipped for the lolz, but honestly, take away the next sentence, where Sarah says she wants them both to go to the hospital, and you’ve got pretty much every injury and response in PH.

Scary injury = teen without medical degree says they’re “fine” = everyone accepts this.

Quick recap on everything (This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 3 (+1)), followed by Donald suggesting Dolly is on the rampage.

Oh fuck this shit. Bullet point time:

  • Ellie thinks she’s going to die. It’s too hot. So, sauna?
  • Sarah is now teamed up with Gwen, an apparently moderately non-sucky guest at the party. They’re looking in the attic. Riley is heading for the stables.
  • Riley kisses Sarah before they split up to search, and Gwen says she’s a “lucky girl”, because you know, a boy kissed her, so all’s well that ends well.
  • Shane decides that everyone knows about her past, Cass told them, and everyone’s still partying hard, having shunned her for whatever happened.
  • Riley finds a clue, “Don’t sweat it, man!” in an office by the stables. Sauna!
  • Someone walks into Shane’s room. She knows them.
  • Riley finds Ellie passed out in the sauna.
  • Lynn is the Muffin Man. Still no word on what happened, other than at the height of the scandal, Lynn assaulted her, but Shane’s dad heard the ruckus and stepped in before he broke her jaw.
  • The ambulance arrives, taking away Ellie, Maggie and Donald. Cass is like, “fuckin losers have ruined my party” and Riley, again, tells her off, but still doesn’t ask where Shane was taken.
  • Shane backstory: she and Lynn tried to steal a ring and were put on probation. Lynn’s been taking revenge without Cass’ help. Lynn said it was all Shane’s idea, when it was really his. Oh, but this Lynn’s surname is Block, so I guess he’s not the football player. So, there are two boys called Lynn. As a first name? Wait, no. Using feminine pronouns. This one’s a girl.
  • Urgh, Lynn is crazy and has gained weight. Urgh. Lynn pretended to be part of the caterer’s staff, found the clues, moved everyone and is going to kill them dead because CRAZY. Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 53 (+50)
  • Riley finally decides to ask Cass where she put Shane. Cass doesn’t know which one Shane is, but recognises the clue, and says it’s the attic. He bolts for the stairs and Cass follows him. They find Sarah covered in blood. Head injury. Head injury? Walk it off: 2 (+1) OMG, GWEN IS LYNN. SHOCKER.
  • Lynn has a knife, Sarah, Riley and Cass arrive in the attic room. Lynn says that she’s going to put Shane on the balcony and her fear of heights will make her fall right off, because she’s removed the safety railing.
  • Sarah throws a dart at Lynn’s wrist, Riley tackles her, and Lynn falls off the balcony.
  • It’s fucking over. Not even an epilogue where Sarah and Riley are dating or whatever. It’s just done. Thank god.

Final Thoughts:

That was magnificently stupid. Cass’ idea was stupid, everyone at the party was stupid. Nobody thought to ask Cass where she hid everyone, even after two of the “pranks” were near-fatal.

Just a world of fucking fail.

[Wing: Again, there’s a lot of potential here, but it doesn’t actually work. Mostly because Cass’ plan is ridiculous, but the rest of the story hinges on it, so it has to happen. It could have been done without that part and been even creepier and make more sense. Sort of.]

Final Counts:

Cheer on the killer: 2 (+1)
DED FROM STUPID: 51 (+50)
Head injury? Walk it off: 2 (+1)
I beat you because I love you: 1 (+)
Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 53 (+50)
Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks: 1 (+)
Red Herrings: 2 (+1)
This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 3 (+1)

I am the evil twin. I'm in a feud with Richie Tankersley Cusick, and I'm waging a war on over-used en-dashes and ellipsis. All of these things are related. I worship at the altar of the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES.

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4 Comments

  1. Paul P
    Posted 17 October 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always really liked this one, but I guess my younger self never really took into consideration the sheer illegality of it. Pretty poor, considering I was once a court clerk! And something awful should have happened to Cass. She was begging for a poker through the forehead.

    Even if they did ask Cass where the people were being kept, would she have told them? She was a spoilt brat and only cared that her party game was being ruined. I can easily see her refusing to help, being obstinate just for the sake of it.

    I’ve seen “Would You Rather?”, but found it pretty predictable and depressing. I think I prefer my cheesy, non-sensical Point Horrors!

    By the way, a local company is doing a big radio ad blitz, selling Isuzus! I’m hearing the word several times a day and it reminds me of the site.

    • Dove
      Posted 23 October 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Well, this site’s been in a right mood and hasn’t been emailing me when people comment! I’ve only just noticed this.

      Possibly Cass wouldn’t have told them, but someone should have at least had the sense to ask. But when I was younger, I honestly thought this was one of the best PHs around. Sadly, the plot holes were more eye-poking to my adult self.

      ALL HAIL THE ISUZU TROOPER! 😀

      • LizzyB
        Posted 27 July 2019 at 2:41 am | Permalink

        This was one of my favorite PH books. I guess I just took to Sarah and also found Riley sweet. Funhouse I didn’t like as much, maybe I would have if I’d read it as a teen. I don’t deny some of the plot holes in this book but as the other reader pointed out, Cass could have refused to tell them. In funhouse while Tess was admirable in the end with how she handled the killer, I found her boyfriend Sam annoying and their push/pull relationship nauseating (liked Sarah and Riley’s dynamics way more here). I also couldn’t overlook Tess walking in the woods to go home after seeing her tires slashed. Surely she should have pondered over the dangers in that. I found her TSTL in that action and it really ruined a lot of qualities about her I would have admired. I followed your recap wondering about your thoughts on that but it was glossed over. Oh well, to each their own. Everyone has their own opinions.

        • Wing
          Posted 29 July 2019 at 1:08 am | Permalink

          I also couldn’t overlook Tess walking in the woods to go home after seeing her tires slashed. Surely she should have pondered over the dangers in that.

          I definitely agree with this! Too often in these books, it feels like the author doesn’t know any other way to build tension and so forces the characters into situations where it just flat doesn’t make sense for them to do that considering all of the threats/dead people/bloody knives/whatever showing up around them.

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