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

Recap #182: After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt

Title: After the Hole by Guy Burt

Tagline: Death is always to be found beneath the ground.

Summary: On a bright spring day in England, six teenagers laugh and joke as they make their way to a neglected part of the institution they mockingly call Our Glorious School. Hidden in the dark hollow of a buttress is the door to a small windowless cellar. Behind the door, the old stairs have rotted away. A boy unfurls a rope ladder and five descend into The Hole. The sixth closes the cellar door, locks it from the outside, and walks calmly away down the flagstone path.

The idea is simple. While their parents think they are on a field trip, and the school thinks they’re at home, Frankie, Geoff, Alex, Mike, and Liz will spend three days locked in The Hole. Martyn will remain above ground, promising that when the five emerge into daylight, they’ll have been part of the greatest prank the infamous schemer has ever engineered.

The three days pass predictably: a lot of talking, some booze, flirting, a few friendly fights. At five P.M. on the third day, they drink a celebratory bottle of vodka and wait for the mastermind to arrive and release them. Thirty hours later, they realise that Martyn is not coming to let them out… ever.

Note: As before with the movie, I will take scenes at their face value and comment on them, and then loop back if they are contradicted/expanded. I’ll actually use footnotes for this though – it will be a number in square brackets. They may even be links if WordPress lets me. This makes it a very hard book to recap, so bear with me.

[Wing: I’m scheduling this post to go public on the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, because it is the start of my favourite season, and this is a creepy and twisty way to start it, and it is also a sad family day from which I want to be distracted.]

Warning: There is a rape in this book. I’ve tried to keep the language I use as non-threatening as possible, and keep discussion of it down to a minimum. However, it’s there. You have been warned.

Initial Thoughts:

This is less initial thoughts and more a warning. If you want to read the book, go read the book. It’s a lot easier now than it was in 2003, when I read it. I had to get an out-of-print second-hand copy from a seller on Amazon marketplace, using a friend’s account (my ex got me blacklisted for six years from 2001 onwards), because eBay didn’t have it.

It’s on the kindle now. It’s £3.99. Go read it, because if you’re interested you’ll enjoy the book much more if you just read it, rather than read my recap (which is spoilerific), and then the book.

The book doesn’t have much in common with the movie, so seriously, this is your last chance, go buy it and read it. It’s about the length of the average Sweet Valley Twins, so it’s like an hour out of your day. And you might enjoy it.

(Oh, and forgive some of the prose. Guy Burt was seventeen when he wrote it.)

Also, I’m actually going to note the chapters in this, because it becomes very significant later, and you may want to check something. You’re welcome.

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Recap #179: Mermaid Saga Parts 8-9: Mermaid’s Promise by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid Saga Parts 8-9 – “Mermaid’s Promise”

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

So we’ve reached the last of the stories that feature Yuta AND Mana. The following, which will be the last recap, takes place during Yuta’s past.

I’m not sure how to feel about this because we get a glimpse at what happens when Yuta gets too close a normal human, but unlike with Rin it wasn’t cut off soon enough.

Unfortunately, the story tends to cut back between the present day and the past a LOT, which can be jarring while trying to recap. I apologize if it causes any confusion.

And of course Mana continues to be a badass and a delight.

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Recap #175: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Title: Sweet Sixteen by Francesca Jeffries

Summary: Leslie can’t wait to turn sixteen. She’s planning a huge birthday Party. Everyone’s invited. Her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick. Her best friend, Deborah. Her cousin, Trish. It’s going to be the biggest bash ever. [Wing: That … that is a list of three people. THREE.]

But out of the blue, weird things start happening. Scary things. She nearly gets knocked down by a runaway car. People start getting hurt. It seems like someone doesn’t want Leslie to make it to sweet sixteen.

But a few little accidents won’t scare Leslie. She is going to have her party. Even if it kills her…

Tagline: Sweet sixteen and never been…killed

Initial Thoughts

Hi guys! How’ve you been? I’ve been great, lots of exciting stuff happening (to any American readers with Arthritis you may see my face advertising your medication very soon [Wing: Well that’s interesting!]), but I’m so happy to be back doing a recap which I hope y’all enjoy!

As a child I really liked this book and really wanted a huge sweet sixteen….I’m going to be honest, while reading this book I kept trying to remember what I did for my sixteenth and I have absolutely no memory of even turning 16. I think I went for a meal with my friends? Or we snuck out and went clubbing? But I did that a lot so it wasn’t a sixteen thing, it was more like a Saturday thing. I remember when I turned 13 I went to the cinemas with a bunch of friends and my mum. In my family, it was more of a celebration to turn eighteen or twenty-one. I definitely remember my twenty-first, I don’t remember my eighteenth.

I may need to see someone…..

Anyway I did enjoy this book, it wasn’t as awesome as I remember but I didn’t hate it (Side eyes Halloween 2) The ableism was annoying as hell but there wasn’t a lot of it and Leslie was a solid character who was easy to empathise with.

[Wing: Aaaah, Sweet Sixteen. Mine was a party, but it was in that weird time where I wasn’t quite out of the church cult yet but I was involved with decidedly non-church-cult-friendly people like Ostrich, so the party was mostly church cult people (surprisingly enough, because church cult didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, though it had loosened up a bit by then), but then later on there was drinking. Fun times.]

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Recap #167: Mermaid Saga Parts 13-14: Mermaid’s Gaze by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mermaid’s Saga Parts 13-14 – Mermaid’s Gaze

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Initial Thoughts

We’ve come to one of my favorites in the series, but it’s sad because this story’s never gotten an animated adaption.

We’ll also be visiting another twisted sibling dynamic like the Kannagi Sisters from “Mermaid’s Forest,” but this goes much differently than you’d think.

There is, however, talk of suicide in this.

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Recap #164: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster by Diane Hoh/Barbara Steiner

Nightmare Hall - Monster by Diane Hoh

Nightmare Hall – Monster by Diane Hoh

Title: Nightmare Hall #13: Monster

Summary: Rumors are flying around Salem U. Stories about a monster roaming the campus. Tales of students viciously attacked in the dead of night. Abby McDonald thinks it’s all nonsense. A fraternity prank. A drama major giving an unusual “performance”. She has too much on her mind to worry about a monster. But she should be worried. Because the truth about the monster is even more horrible than she could have imagined….

Tagline: None

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy as…wait for it…the monster!

Initial Thoughts

Diane Hoh is missing in action again this round, but thankfully, so is Nola Thacker! This time our ghostwriter is none other than Barbara Steiner, who released a few Point horror books (The Phantom, The Mummy, Spring Break) back in the day, but was actually quite prolific in teen YA horror fiction, with a bunch of titles written for the publisher Avon Flare (The Dreamstalker, The Photographer, The Photographer II: Dark Room, Night Cries, Deathline, The Coffin, and the Dark Chronicles trilogy, The Dance, The Gallery and The Calling). I’ve read them all, except for The Coffin and The Calling, and have always found her to be a rather “meh” writer. I remember “meh” being my overall reaction when I read this for the first time in my teens, although I can’t remember much else about it. She can’t be worse than Thacker, though, can she?

[Wing: I liked most of The Phantom, which may be the only book of hers I’ve read, but she did not pull off the ending, so I don’t have high hopes. Especially because with a title and a summary like that, I want this to be a werewolf book. It’s probably not a werewolf book. I’m already primed to be disappointed.]

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Recap #153: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer by Diane Hoh

Diane Hoh - Nightmare Hall - The Whisperer

Diane Hoh – Nightmare Hall – The Whisperer

Title: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer

Summary: Shea Fallon can’t tell anyone what she did. She knows it was wrong. Terribly wrong. But she had to do it – she had no choice. Anyway, she’s sure nobody will find out. Until she hears the whisper on the telephone. “You don’t have to worry. No one will know what you’ve done. I’ve seen to that.” Who is the whisperer, and how does he know? Shea wonders. And even more terrifying…what will the whisperer’s price be to keep her secret?

Tagline: Non.

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy/girl as The Whisperer since, well, that’s what they are!

Initial Thoughts

Welcome back, Diane Hoh. Why do you leave us? Your fill-in’s last contribution was real bottom of the barrel stuff and was almost my Last Date with the series. [Wing: Badumcha.]

As always, I have good memories of this, because it’s from Ms. Hoh. Shea’s big secret is that she cheated on an exam. I’ve never done that. Ironically enough, I’m not clever (or devious) enough to think up a scenario in which I could do so. I did okay, though. I got a degree. For all the good it did in securing a job. (I have had many jobs since university, of course, but my degree had nothing to do with any of them). I’m 38 and still paying the bloody thing off. And I have gone way off course… [Wing: Oh god, student loan debt. I hope this book is better than the last one. I need a distraction from weeping into my budget.]

[Wing: What with this being book 12, we’ve hit a year of Dade recapping Nightmare Hall! I’m glad we have so many books to come, still, because these recaps are a joy and a delight forever, and Dade continues to be a wealth of information about YA publishing in the 80s and 90s. Thank you for all you do, Dade!]

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Recap #147: The Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike

Title: Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Summary: After five thousand years she was again mortal.

The dead alchemist’s experiment has worked. Alisa is no longer a vampire, but a frail and confused human. Not only that — she is pregnant. The baby grows in her at supernatural speed. As the stranger watches. The stranger from the past.

But what child will Alisa’s seed produce?

A demon or an angel? Alisa does not know.

But the stranger does. He nows everything that ever was.

And he knows everything that is to be.

Tagline: The monster might be an angel.

Initial Thoughts

Again, I remember nothing about this book, though I’m almost certain I read it. (It’s possible I didn’t, but I know I read book #3, even though I didn’t remember anything about it, either, and there’s very little chance I didn’t pick up the next book after that cliffhanger.) If the trend from the earlier books continues, this will be weirder and more entertaining than ever. (Also, I remember this cover, if nothing else about the damn story.

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Recap #145: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

Diane Hoh - Last Date

Diane Hoh – Last Date

Title: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh

Summary: A night you’ll never forget. Call me. Demi does it on a dare. She places an ad in the personals column of the Salem Chronicle. Lots of guys call. And the nights are everything she advertised. Unforgettable. Unforgettably frightening. Because one by one, Demi’s dates start having nasty little accidents. Disappearing. Even…dying.

Tagline: None

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

I didn’t even like this one when I first read it 24 years ago. 24 years. Bloody hell. If that weren’t bad enough, Nola “Hack” Thacker is back in the driver’s seat for this ride, so I’m anticipating severe bouts of carsickness and a strong urge to nap. (Note from the future: and a lot of swearing, too). [Wing: Another one I don’t remember reading. Somehow, I think I missed most of the Thacker ones, even though at the time, I didn’t know they were being ghostwritten.]

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Recap #142: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis

Title: Driver’s Dead by Peter Lerangis

The Author:

A rather prolific author, Peter Lerangis has been writing for decades, although if you go to his website the farthest back you’ll find is his The Watchers series. No mention of his Point Horror writing that I can find. Seriously. Not even his Wiki page goes beyond his Watchers series. Don’t worry. I believe I’ve found them. Titles include DRIVER’S DEAD, THE YEARBOOK, and X-ISLE. Seems like he doesn’t want the taint, maybe? Or it’s just that his various other series have done so well there’s no need to put that retail work on his resume any longer. [Wing: Those the books I’ve found by him, too (with X-Isle being a two book series). He also ghostwrote some of the Baby-Sitters Club books.]

Anyway, he has a weird thing for the Vietnam War in this book, and I don’t know why. The premise seems to hinge on a “crazy” Vietnam vet and one of the characters being a refugee from the area and trying to find his parents. It’s just the date seems really off. The book was published in 1994. That’s a big, lingering gap for Vietnam relevance. It was just weird. It didn’t necessarily seem forced, but the timing was off enough that it really stood out.

Also every. Single. Chapter. Ends on a cliffhanger. All of them.

The Blurb:

Nightmare – dead ahead.

Kristen’s not a very good driver. And the driver’s ed classes aren’t helping. No matter how hard she tries, she just can’t get the hang of being behind the wheel.

Rob’s a very good driver. And he wants to give Kirsten a few tips on how to improve her driving. But after the first session, Rob turns up missing.

Kirsten is beginning to realize that this class may be a little more than she bargained for. A class that may drive her crazy – or to death.

#

That is . . . Really bad. One, it’s vaguely relevant to the plot. It just leaves out a whole shit ton of applicable details like Rob being a shitbag, the fact that he doesn’t turn up missing, but dead, and the story actually doesn’t center around the class itself. Driver’s ed precipitates a lot of the events, but the class is really more of a passing thing. The contest is really the driving force behind this (pun intended), along with, you know. Being haunted by a dead kid that’s screwing with her head.

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Recap #140: Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh

Diane Hoh Nightmare Hall 7: Sorority SisterTitle: Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh

Summary: When Maxie McKeon pledges Omega Phi Delta, she figures she’s got it made. She loves her new sisters. And everyone knows Omegas throw the best parties and go out with the cutest guys. But someone on campus isn’t crazy about the sorority. That person is just, well, crazy. And he – or she – is determined to destroy the house, and everyone in it. Joining Omega won’t change Maxie’s life. It will just shorten it.

Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 1 point. Right in the back cover synopsis! Although, to be fair, Hoh didn’t write the synopsis.

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

I don’t remember ever disliking a Diane Hoh book, but Deadly Attraction and The Wish in this series have shown me they’re occasionally not as great as I recall (albeit a lot better than most of the YA thrillers at the time). This book has the misfortune of coming after The Night Walker, a tight, taut, complex little humdinger of a thriller that I could barely find fault with. So it has a lot to live up to. But I’m always optimistic when it comes to Hoh (unlike Nola Thacker), and I do have memories of this at least being fun. Note: I have no knowledge of how fraternities and sororities work, because we don’t have them in Australia. Any idea I have is based solely on books and B-grade movies.

[Wing: That cover makes me think of Dawn Schafer and Abby Stevenson from the Baby-Sitters Club, which cracks me up. I’d not read this one before, so had no nostalgic thoughts going into it, but I was a part of a music fraternity for awhile at university (yes, I said fraternity), but it wasn’t a social Greek organisation, and I assume much different than whatever we have going on here.]

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