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Book: Summer Of Fear

October 9, 2008
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Yay, Lois Duncan! Now I’m totally on a Lois Duncan kick and I must see if any of our local libraries have more of her books.

Pretty good teen creep-fest. 15-year-old Rachel is happy. She has a typical, if happier-than-normal family, a cute boyfriend, a great best friend, and a summer stretching out in front of her. Until they get the news: her aunt and uncle have been killed in a terrible car accident, and her cousin Julia is coming to live with them.

This seems great at first, until Rae starts noticing things. Her dog hates Julia, even going so far as to bite her. Then Julia’s brother develops a crush on her. Worse, then her boyfriend falls in love with her. Even her parents seem to be under her spell. Rachel knows something is wrong… but what could it be?

Then the really bad things start to happen. Rachel knows that Julia is the cause of these problems — something just not right about that girl. Could she be… a witch?

Well, whether she’s “a witch” or not is left up to you to decide, but she certainly is evil. There’s a nice little twist at the end which I saw coming a mile away, but it could be that I just remembered the ending from when I read this waaaay back in middle school.

What I really enjoyed most about this book was how it threw me back to the early 80s. I think this was published in 1979, when the cool kids had big, fluffy, messy hair and wore ‘flare’ jeans and Indian print tops. The most awesome job ever was to be a lifeguard at the pool. No microwaves. No computers or cell phones. Not even any faxes. If you needed to get ahold of someone who didn’t have a phone, you sent a telegram. Are there even telegrams anymore?

Fun, fun stuff. Not especially scary (except the cover, which I had to place face-down whenever I wasn’t reading it) but definitely a little weird (in a good way) and Lois Duncan is a great teen writer. I loved her Down A Dark Hall so much that I actually stole a paperback copy of it from my school library. I’m so bad! Maybe I just never returned it. I can’t remember. Anyway, it had a dark hold upon me, obviously.

What’s next? I’m working on some Poe stories, but I have a huge stack of teen scares to get through. Stay tuned.

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