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

Recap #114: Graveyard School #15: The Fright Before Christmas by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “I STILL Can’t Believe It’s Not A Christmas Carol!”

Title: Graveyard School #15 – The Fright Before Christmas

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata [Wing: That cover is so much cheesy fun.]

Tagline: N/A

Summary: Have Yourself A Scary Little Christmas…

Christopher hates Christmas. He calls it a howl-iday, not a holiday. The fat man in the red suit? Santa Claws. That eight-reindeer vehicle? A slay. And Chris isn’t kidding. Welcome to Christmas at Graveyard School. It’s sure to be very merry. And very, very scary. [Wing: CHRIS YOU ARE TEASING ME WITH WEREWOLVES.]

Initial Thoughts

Here we’ve come to the second of the two Christmas Carol bootleg books I’ve reviewed for Point Horror, and I feel this one’s much better than “Fright Christmas.” [Wing: Everyone loves a Christmas Carol retellings, I guess.] For one thing, it’s got something of a meta bent to it. See, this is a rare Christmas Carol copy where it acknowledges the original work as something that exists. In almost every other take on the famous novel by Charles Dickens, the characters never seem to recognize what they’re currently experiencing. Out of the few times where such a thing occurred, there was

  • A Flintstones Christmas Carol, where the cast was actually doing a theater production of the story with Fred cast as Scrooge and turning into a jackass thanks to his inflated ego. Conversely, when the performance finally begins, Fred’s role as Scrooge serves as his wake up call for how poorly he’s been treating everyone.
  • The Simpsons and The Non-Adventures of Wonderella making fun of how much that story’s been utterly sucked dry, with the former doing jokes about “Ebeneezer Urkle,” and in the latter Wonderella pointing out how the last ghost is almost always the Grim Reaper in every knockoff.

This book also gets to demonstrate how smart these kids really are. They’re quite clear on why Christopher, the Scrooge stand-in, pisses them off so much. They don’t dislike him because he doesn’t like Christmas, but they DO dislike him because he’s got such a bad attitude about the holiday. They know lots of people don’t celebrate Christmas, but Christopher’s so pissy about it no matter what culture he comes from they think he wouldn’t celebrate ANY holiday. So look, if you don’t want to participate in some holiday fine, but don’t ruin the fun for everybody else. There’s also the understanding that his dislike of the holiday is coming from somewhere much more complicated.

I could be wrong though, and if any of you feel this is coming from some place of bias feel free to tell me. I’d LOVE to have a discussion on it.

[Wing: Well now I am super interested. Let’s do this.]

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Recap #109: Graveyard School #21: The Skeleton’s Revenge, a.k.a. “Flipper’s Badass Grandma”

Title: Graveyard School #21 – The Skeleton’s Revenge

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: He’s Baaaack!!!

Skate McGraw and his family are spending Thanksgiving at his uncle Edgar’s house on an island. It sounds cool, but when they arrive, Skate immediately gets the creeps. The first thing that makes him uneasy is the scary skeleton in his uncle’s study. Then Skate begins to hear sounds at night-sounds like bony feet walking the floor and bony fingers turning the doorknob to his room. But when Skate sees the horrifying figure in action, he’s convinced. The skeleton on the skateboard is back for the ultimate revenge!

Initial Thoughts

Our first scheduled break in the chronological reading order, because this is the only book in the series to take place during Thanksgiving. It’s also the only sequel in the franchise. To its credit, this one isn’t quite as obvious as the previous “Skeleton” book and you are in no way prepared for how this book ends.

Now, despite taking place during Thanksgiving, the story is set on a tropical island, and it replaces skateboarding as the focus with surfing. And unfortunately, Vickie Wheilson is only in the story for the first couple of chapters.

[Wing: Skate! Surfing! Tropical island! YAY! NOT ENOUGH VICKIE! BOO! I’m excited about a sequel, though.]

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Recap #86: Little Pet Werewolf, a.k.a. “My Little Werewolf: Friendship is Magic”

Title: Graveyard School #4 – Little Pet Werewolf

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Tagline: N/A

Summary: It’s pet day at Graveyard School and everyone is excited. Everyone except Skip Wolfson, that is. Every year it’s the same thing — Skip brings in his dog just to be ridiculed. While everyone else’s pets are exotic and brilliant, Skip’s dog is just a lazy mutt that can’t do any tricks. Skip wishes he could bring in some kind of really cool pet — like a werewolf. He’s in for the shock of his life when he doesn’t have to search too far for one! You’ll be dying to go to class at Graveyard School.

Initial Thoughts

We finally get to the werewolf edition, so I bet Wing is tripping BALLS. [Wing: Legit shrieks of joy when I saw it.]

What’s truly interesting about “Little Pet Werewolf” is how this is the first to really establish a type of socially conscious trend in the series. I covered in the introduction post how there was a somewhat consistent theme of discussing environmentalism and conservation of resources without going totally overblown and flying over the heads of the target demographic. In this one Stone/Thacker/Athkins briefly discusses animal abuse through the main character’s parents, who run a pet supply store and arrange for abandoned pets to be adopted into loving homes. [Wing: Seriously? That AND werewolves? This is going to be so great!]

This is also the first book where the main character can be genuinely grating on the reader, but admittedly he has enough redeeming qualities to avoid Scrappy territory. Also, the supporting character, Tyson Walker, is said to look like soccer player Cobi Jones with his short dreadlocks, so, way to say he’s Black without saying he’s Black. [Wing: In case you, dear reader, like me, do not follow soccer, here is Cobi Jones. He’s a hottie.]

[Wing: Do you know how much money I would spend on a series called My Little Werewolf: Friendship is Magic? With all sorts of little werewolves to collect? SO MUCH MONEY. ALL MY MONEY.]

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Recap #79: Graveyard School #3: The Headless Bicycle Rider, A.K.A. “The Adventures of Algernon and Mr. Toad”

Title: Graveyard School #3 – The Headless Bicycle Rider

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Tagline: N/A

Summary:  Will The New Kid At Graveyard School Keep His Cool Or Lose His Head? [Wing: AMAZING.]

Even though the class bully makes fun of his name, Algie (short for Algernon) is enjoying Graveyard School and his new town. But things start to change for Algie when he gets a new customer on his paper route. The ride to old Mr. Bates’s house is dark and creepy, and rumor has it someone was beheaded there long ago.

Algie doesn’t believe the rumors, and he’s willing to brave his paper route. Until the headless bicycle rider appears…

Initial Thoughts

Round three of Graveyard School and this time we get a first hand look of how a child acclimates themselves to old G.S.. Algie is the first new addition to the ongoing cast who wasn’t mentioned in the very beginning of the series or was always simply there and never referred to, and he quickly becomes a mainstay among the sixth grade cast. We further get a glimpse of the best and worst the kids can offer, the best in Kirstin Bjork and the worst in Jason Dunnbar.

Now, you’d expect a bunch of references to Sleepy Hollow given the title and subject matter, but what you’re really in for is a bunch of “Psycho” references. Enjoy!

[Wing: I’m actually sad! I love Sleepy Hollow references. And headless riders. And new kids. Clearly I am primed to love this book.]

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Recap #72: The Skeleton on the Skateboard, A.K.A. “Wes Craven Presents Rocket Power”

cover of Skeleton on the Skateboard by Tom B. Stone, has a skeleton on a skateboard and a creepy black and gray backgroundTitle: The Skeleton On The Skateboard

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: “Dead Man’s Curve Is Scary Enough…”

Who’s the new hot dog on Skateboard Hill? He’s the only thrasher who can take Dead Man’s Curve alive. Skate and Vickie are determined to meet him – he may be their only chance to beat obnoxious Eddie Hoover in the upcoming skateboarding contest. But if the phantom boarder gives the secret of his awesome moves, will Skate and Vickie have to take the ultimate wipeout in return?

Initial Thoughts

This book is just soooo 90s, but not in an obnoxious completely dated period piece kind of way. The Skeleton is by far the most prolific and noticeable monster of the Graveyard School series, by far the easiest to get a commission of, but the reveal is pretty much obvious during the climax when you remember what the goddamn title is. That said, you come for the Skeleton, you stay for Vickie Wheilson in all her tie-dye, headstrong, neon glory.

[Wing: This sounds like the under 16 version of drag racing, right down to the Dead Man’s Curve, and therefore I am predisposed to love it. That description of Vickie only cements the deal. As long as I don’t think too hard about the real author, I’m excited. Let’s do this!]

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Recap #70: Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat! by Tom B. Stone, A.K.A. “Nightmare Cafeteria II – Electric Boogaloo”

cover image for book has plate of spaghetti with eyeballs in it set against a dark background and the words Graveyard School Don't Eat the Mystery Meat!

Title: Don’t Eat The Mystery Meat!

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: School lunch has always been gross, but lately it’s worse than ever. The salad is soggy; the spaghetti is rubbery. No one knows what the meatballs are made of! When pets start mysteriously disappearing around town, sixth-graders Stacey and Park think they’ve stumbled onto something. The new lunchroom attendant is awfully weird… What exactly has she been cooking up?

Initial Thoughts

This was the last book I needed to complete the set for Graveyard School. It felt weird, finally owning this book, which is why I probably took so long to finally read it. It blew away my expectations, though, not thinking it would go down the route it did.

As a head’s up, I recently discovered Todd Strasser was NOT the writer of this series. Instead, the creative genius belongs to Nola Thacker, who some of you might know as Point Horror authoress D.E. Athkins.

[Wing: I’m really intrigued by these author shenanigans, I must say.]

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