Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Old Skool Favourites (3): Point Horror

I keep forgetting about this feature, so for those that don't know, Old Skool Favourites is basically just about posting reviews of books we used to love when we were younger, the ones that made us fall in love with reading in the first place.

This O.S.F. post is going to be about Point Horror books, of which there are many and I'll recommend a few favourites.

I absolutely adored Point Horror books when I was younger and back before Mount TBR was so massive, I would reread some of my favourites every once in a while because even though I'm older now, I still have a soft spot for them.

Now, there are some that aren't very good, but there's some real gems amongst them and I still recommend those ones now even if you're older than the target age group; they're just the right amount of creepy and are like the literary equivelant of one of those 80's-90's teen horror movies, which is just plain awesome.

Some of my all time favourite Point Horror books:

The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Summary: Kelsey's summer should have been a paradise - a holiday on Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and gorgeous lifeguards. But Kelsey's dream holiday quickly turns into a nightmare. It starts with the note from a girl who's missing. Then there's the crazy man in the lighthouse with his mysterious warnings. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings . . . At least she has the lifeguards around to protect her . . . Poor Kelsey. Someone forgot to tell her that lifeguards don't always like to save lives.
This one was out the year I was born, 1988, very old skool. This was actually the very first PH book I read and it was a book my sister had bought but never read and somehow I ended up with it... and so began my PH addiction. I've reread this one a whole bunch of times and I love how I forget most of the details in between each read, so I'm still surprised by aspects of it each time.

My Secret Admirer by Caroll Ellis

Summary: Jenny is understandably confused and scared when she simultaneously receives anonymous love letters and is the object of some very cruel pranks, and she is determined to find the culprits.
1989. I never realised how old most of these books were. Wow. This one... I just really loved it, it's one that has really stuck with me - any time I think about it, it's almost like remembering a movie because the picture the book painted in my mind is so clear.

The Babysitter by R. L. Stine

Summary: From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game.
This one... it's just awesomely creepy. Being alone in a strange house at night with only a little kid for company is really quite freaky, it makes you jumpy and has scary urban legends running through your mind - this book totally fuels that fear and it's awesome (and if you are one of those people who could babysit in a strange house at night and not be creeped out, well, then I hate 'choo! - kidding, but really?). There's a few sequels to this one, some good, some not so good from what I remember but worth the read all the same.

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: When Robin Bailey takes a job as a tutor for Mr. Swanson's shy daughter, the unreasonable demands soon begin to outweigh the compensation. Eventually Robin's job becomes her worst nightmare.
The summary sucks and doesn't, well, summarize very well (actually all of the summaries and covers are pretty awful, they don't do the books justice). Two of my first literary boy crushes were in this one and it was brilliant. I didn't see the end coming at all... Richie is one of my favourite Point Horror authors, seriously.

Nightmare Hall by Diane Hoh
Summary: Jess can't wait to start college, but when she sees her dorm, she realizes why they call it Nightmare Hall. Especially when she learns the dark secret hidden within it's walls. A girl called Giselle hanged herself there, in Jess's room. - Silent Scream

Summary: As a dare, Demi puts an advert in the dating column of the Salem Chronicle. She has a great response but one by one, Demi's dates start having nasty little accidents. Some disappear, some even die. - Last Date
There is actually a few different Nightmare Hall books, it was a series and I've read some but not them all - at least, I don't think I've read them all. The Silent Scream and Last Date are two that I remember, they were good. In these ones it was actually set in college instead of high school.

Honorable mention:

The Surfer by Linda Cargill
Summary: Jessie never met the daring beauty, who surfed the stormy seas and disappeared beneath a wave. So who's the new girl in town, who casts a spell over everyone she meets? She can't remember her name or where she comes from. Is she the surfer back from the dead, or is it something much worse?
I don't remember too much about this one, but I remember liking it and it's one of the ones I reread - it's just been such a long time since I've reread it that I've forgotten what happens.

With PH books, they all had small doses of teen romance thrown into the mix too which definitely added to their appeal, these were probably the books that started my love of books with romance actually.

If you're a little older now but love YA books, then you should give some PH books a try, just to see if you like them. Maybe my lingering love of them is mostly down to a sense of nostalgia and if I was reading them for the first time now then I wouldn't like them, but I don't know.

A whole bunch of the books are available in bind ups too, so you could buy one book but get about three in it. :]

What are some of your old skool favourites, answer in the comments or post on your own blog and link it? (and is it only me, or does writing "skool"? make you want to whack yourself upside the head with a dictionary? Writing "school" in that context seems more wrong though... sorry, I'm rambling). Did you like Point Horror books?



  1. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time trolling through my mother's stash of old mysteries, which she kept in the basement. Talk about your classic gothic mysteries! There were a lot of Mary Stewart books (The Moonspinners, The Ivy Tree) and a whole collection of murder mysteries by Mary Roberts Rinehart (The Door, The Swimming Pool). I remember reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and there was a really old scary mystery called ( I think) Maura, which I wish I could find again.

  2. I read almost all of those as a child. Now they seem cliché and a bit overrated, but I loved them when I was younger... maybe because they're so visual and to-the-point, almost like a movie.



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