Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #31: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings
Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings

Title: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Summary: HURRY HOME…
“This isn’t the way to my house,” she said, with uncertainty in her voice.

“Yes, it is,” he reassured her. Already his heart was thumping a little faster in anticipation.

“It’s getting late,” she told him. “I’m supposed to be home before dark.”

She felt his heavy forearm across his throat. She screamed, but he just laughed.

At first, a year in Ohio with her aunt and uncle seems like a jail sentence to teenager Sara Langdon – after all, she’s from sunny L.A. The kids accept her with no problems, though, and she soon starts dating the captain of the football team. Then terror strikes, as a killer begins stalking high-school girls.

Tagline: No one is safe when the sun goes down…

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 it before. I didn’t know much about it, though when I chose it, Dove warned me that it was about rape, at the same time she warned me about the good times I’d have with Help Wanted.

This recap is a little different. For one thing, there will be no counters. I tried to add them in after I wrote the first draft, but they felt frivolous and distracting from the main point, which is: this book is at times a pointed commentary on rape culture, and the recap expands on that theme. A lot. Nearly 16,000 words worth of a lot. This is a recap of Home Before Dark. It points out all the things we love and hate about Point Horrors and its ilk, as always. But Home Before Dark actually handles the rape aspect fairly well, and certainly better than Help Wanted did. This is more than a recap.

The timing on this is important as well. Rape is in the news in the USA because Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, was given six months in the Stanford rape case. SIX FUCKING MONTHS. Judge Aaron Persky gave him a lenient sentence because, and I fucking quote, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”

Let that sink in. A prison sentence, as punishment for a crime he has fucking been convicted for months ago, would have a severe impact on him. The criminal. Who cares about the impact on the survivor, right?

This is rape culture. We live in rape culture. It is constantly stewing all around us. Slut shaming. Victim blaming. It mixes with racism and white supremacy. Letting white rapists off because punishment will hurt them, and they were just drunk, and boys will be boys. Punishing black rapists because they are thugs and dangerous and We Must Save the White Women From Dangerous Black Men. Asking girls and women what they did to not be raped, how much they fought, but didn’t you really like it a little. She was asking for it. Look at what she was wearing. She was drunk, it’s her fault versus he was drunk, it’s not his fault.

The most shocking part of all of this actually isn’t that he got six months, and will likely be out in three. It is that he was charged and found guilty and sentenced at all. It is that the media covered it at all. Most rapes go unreported, or if they are reported, they aren’t investigated, or if they are investigated, no one is ever charged, or if they are charged, they are not convicted. Most rapes do not receive media coverage, particularly if it involves women of color, queer women, queer women of color, men as the victims — rape is endemic to our society.

So yeah. We often get serious around here, but this even more serious than usual, even more of a social commentary than usual, even more a shout of rage than usual. I am Wing, and I am a rape survivor, and I am angry.

[Dove: I can’t remember who said it, but I’ve seen it going around the internet: rape and crimes of that ilk are the only ones where the victim gets questioned so thoroughly. The example they gave is that when someone says, “I’ve been robbed, someone’s nicked my TV,” nobody replies with, “Oh. Are you sure you didn’t just give the TV away?”

Additionally, I find it particularly distasteful that his father referred to the rape of an unconscious non-consenting woman as “20 minutes of action”, which, no matter what his intention was regarding word choice, reads to me as “Look, he had a crap shag, and he’s off his food, pity him.” Actually, I find it utterly disgraceful that his father was trying to defend his actions in any way, shape or form. The wording just made it worse.

Obviously, given the subject matter, there probably won’t be much flippant goofing off in this recap. So my comments may be sparse.]

[Wing: Dove makes a great point. And not only has his father spoken out in his defense, so have his friends. I say this later in the recap, and I say it extensively, but to sum it up here: I can almost guarantee that (a) you know someone who is a rape survivor, and (b) you know someone who is a fucking rapist, no matter how nice or kind or good you think that person is.]


Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #30: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: Robin’s convinced her new after-school job is going to be easy money. The only problem is, it means working at Parker Swanson’s house the most arrogant, attractive boy in school…

And Parker’s family is seriously weird. Scary, too. They’re all morbidly obsessed with Parker’s dead stepmother… And if she’s dead, how can she be scaring the life out of her daughter, Claudia?

And what is it that Robin keeps hearing, alone in the house at night…?

Tagline: Part-time job or full-time nightmare…?

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.

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

WARNING: This book contains a rapist. Not the usual Cusick fare of “lol no means yes, I’m your boyfriend so it’s just a joke” but an actual rapist. In my opinion, it’s actually less creepy because the text presents this as a bad thing (for once), but still, my triggers are not your triggers, so a warning is needed.

SECOND WARNING: Suicide is a plot point and the book is heavy with mental health being dealt with in a callous manner. Not the usual “crazy people kill” but “woman up, crazy chick, who cares if your mum killed herself, quit your moaning”.

Good lord, this book has a lot of issues. Wing is not going to like it.

[Wing: No. No she is not.]

Dove’s final note: given how awful this book is, and Wing’s book choice for the next recap. I have decided that I’m going to recap a wacky, hi-jinks style book next time around. Probably a Goosebumps.

Initial Thoughts:

I have never read this before. I ordered it off eBay when I realised I was running low on Cusick, so my initial thoughts are simply that I’m sure ellipsis are being abused in this book.

According to my Wordle, not so much. It’s all about the EnDash here.

Also: CUSICK! I’M BACK! I HAVE MISSED YOU. *snuggles the books*

It speaks volumes of how much I hated Defriended by Ruth Baron when I’m delighted to be back in Cusick world. Still, I love/hate her so much.

Help Wanted Wordle - apparently Cusick is over her elipsis
Help Wanted Wordle – apparently Cusick is over her elipsis


Posted in General

Oh, R. L. Stine, No

ETA: Thanks to everyone’s feedback, I’ll be skipping straight to CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET instead of trying to work through Fear Street in order. Not sure when it will be recapped exactly, but it is definitely on the list now.

Why is my nemesis the one still publishing so many new books? And now there is one that from the sounds of it has werewolves. WEREWOLVES.


Description: Eddie and Emmy are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape from their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emmy discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag that will change their luck forever.

Meanwhile, Emmy begins having frightening nightmares about a wolf. To her dismay, a series of vicious wolf attacks are reported in Shadyside. Is Emmy somehow responsible?


You guys, we’re never going to finish recapping all these books. NEVER.

Now I am debating on whether I should go ahead and recap this one (WEREWOLVES OMG WEREWOLVES) or if it makes more sense to start at the beginning of the Fear Street series and work my way through, even though that will take forever, and I will never be done.

I need to go set something on fire.