Retro Reads

Retro Reads Thursday: Delirium isn’t the only book I’ve thrown

“This is not a book that should be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” – Dorothy Parker (preach it sister!)

I was a freshman in high school when I Know What You Did Last Summer came out and it was the scary movie to see.

In order to give us a break from reading dull required reading, our English teacher gave us I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan, the book the movie is based on, to read.

She warned us that the plot was different, that there was no man with a hook who chases after the teens, etc. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even pay attention to her warnings because I was just excited to read a book that wasn’t written 100 years go.

Let me just say… this book is NOTHING like the movie. Yes, it centers around 4 teens who accidentally kill someone in a hit and run accident and they decide to keep quiet about it but someone figures out their secret. But that’s IT. It doesn’t even have a scary bad guy. How lame is that?

What it has instead is suspense. 70s style.

It’s been quite a while since I read this book, so I had to go back and read what it was about. Personally, I think the plot sounds fantastic. Flashbacks, deception, stalking… all great ingredients for a suspense novel. If I didn’t remember hating it so much as a teen I might even be willing to go back and read it again.

The book centers around 4 teenagers – Julie, Ray, Barry and Helen. Julie and Ray were fine; they were likable but a little too angsty. Barry and Helen though? OMG I’ve never hated two characters in my life like I hated them. Barry was this womanizing, sexist jerk who was a total d-bag while Helen was a total beyotch, arrogant and vain. I literally couldn’t stand them.

Now for the throwage… LOIS DUNCAN WOULDN’T KILL THEM! I wanted nothing more than for the stalker to kill Barry and Helen but he never did. They came close to dying – Barry getting shot but surviving (throwage); Helen nearly getting killed by her new bf but escaping (throwage). What made this even worse was the fact that in the movie Helen and Barry were my favorite characters and both of them were killed. Who the f kills Buffy?!

Also, the end? Laaaaaaaaame! 70s style. This resulted in more throwage.

While I didn’t enjoy this book one bit as a teenager and, as you can see, have some major issues with it, I appreciate my English teacher assigning us a book that a popular movie at the time was based on. I think more teachers should do this, if they already don’t, as a way to get reluctant readers to read. So teachers! Go forth and assign good books! You know… unless you live in one of those states that prevents assigning anything but stuffy old classics.

Except for this book.


7 thoughts on “Retro Reads Thursday: Delirium isn’t the only book I’ve thrown”

  1. This cover = amazing. I just got a super strong premonition that covers like this are going to come back in style for YA books. You heard it here first. I never read this one, but I did LOVE Lois Duncan’s Killing Mr. Griffin. I bet no teacher ever assigned that one 🙂


    1. Geez, I HOPE covers don’t start looking like they did in the 70s and 80s… I don’t know if I can handle that! I never read Killing Mr. Griffin – although it immediately makes me think of that movie Teaching Mrs. Tingle – but you’re probably right about no teacher ever assigning it!


  2. i remember reading lois duncan in high school & loving her. i don’t think it was this one, though, i think it was another one that had a movie based on it, killing mr. griffin. but the movie came out around the time that columbine happened and as a result, if i remember correctly, the movie was LAME. i really liked that book. also, i graduated over 15 years ago…ahem…but i have another book of hers that is a library book…i wonder what the fine is.


    1. Yeah, I don’t want to even think about what the library fines would be on a couple books I “lost” while in high school. I think I’d like to read more by Lois Duncan; I always think of her as one of those writers who were popular when I was younger that I never read anything by but probably should have.


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