PHBC – My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

 


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read The next book will be announced on 17th February 2015 🙂

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

“He Was crazy about Jenny.  Crazy enough to kill her!”

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

**Before I start I would like to remind everyone of Point Horror Book Club member Billy’s confession of fancying Jenny on the cover of this book for pure entertainment purposes throughout these ramblings!**

Jenny and her self absorbed parents have recently moved to the small town of Rimrock where the only trendiest shops are a shop that sells candles and a shop that sells cards (?!), but on the plus side the town is surrounded by a beautiful bluff (cliffs)…so pretty and breath-taking…..so this therefore means that as it is probably full of snakes, coyotes and bears and casts a menacing shadow like a horror movie or an evil giant fairy tale….so basically Jenny is terrified of it!

Bonding with some local kids over a town scavenger hunt and basically hooking up with the colour blue obsessed David (more on this later) after knowing him for 20 minutes (no joke) she hooks herself a secret admirer the lucky gal!  Or maybe not!

Whilst her parents decide to leave poor Jenny and Peaches the dog (you heard me right) on her own whilst they have a dirty week away aka “selling their old house” and leave her to sort out the painters to quote for painting their new house (what the blueberry poptart was the whole Don Jaun painter about?).  This is when things start going all cray cray in Rimrock with Jenny receiving romantic gestures from her secret admirer!

Romantic gestures?

Oh yes!  This valentines day forget 50 Shades Of Grey! Everyone could take a tip out of Jenny’s secret admirers Guide To The Best Valentines Present EVER and make your valentine ohhh and ahhh at how romantic you are and make your valentine fall in luuuurrvvveee.

Why not change your voice and leave romantic yet threatening messages on your valentines phone like Jenny’s stalker did.  Or leave a basket full of beautiful flowers on their front door step….they were 90% off at the petrol station and …well…basically dead, but I’m sure your loved one will pop them in a vase of water to bring them back to life just like Jenny did.  You could always try the package-a-dead-snake-up-in-a-box-with-a-bow gift…..oh but don’t forget to do EXACTLY what Jenny’s stalker did (remember we are talking about a very romantic person here according to Jenny) and chop the snakes head of first and place carefully in the box also.  As a special treat you could always try and run you loved one over with your new motorbike (but mind the paintwork) or push her off a cliff just to hear the classic point horror egg crack sound which will surely make anyone’s valentines day the best ever! But most of all remember to keep who you are a secret!  After all Jenny….poor old Jenny was totally smitten…okay… and maybe slightly scared!

But who could they be from?

Well the reveal was not a total shocker was it?  I mean given the fact there are only 3 male suspects it wasn’t hard to guess.  Especially with the tagline of the book being He was Crazy about Jenny.  Oh how I hoped and prayed it would be Sally!

The Girl

Jenny!  Well apart from being Billy’s fantasy woman for many years (and probably still is) and loving chicken…. she was a bit….dopey!

I mean apart from the obvious lusting after her secret admirer, barricading herself in her house by putting tins of corn, soup and tuna in a pyramid shape in front of the doors with strategically placed silverware to protect her against intruders (?!)….not forgetting the couple of jars of spaghetti sauce (I thought she had no food in the house?!)  and thinking that getting naked in the dark in a house with no curtains or shades would stop a peeping tom she chose to stay in a glass phonebox whilst a mad man on a motorcycle was trying to kill her!  Run for you life Jenny don’t sit in a glass box ….

Whilst I didn’t find her as annoying or frustrating as some of our other point horror girls she was just a bit ….meh!  (Sorry Billy)  She’s no fleet-footed mountain goat you know!

The Love Interest

David!  David! David!  David who with light blue eyes (although did anyone notice his changing eye colour?  sometimes dark, sometimes nearly black, sometimes blue?) could not do an iccle nasty voice  as putting someone down just doesn’t come naturally for him

Even Jenny noticed David’s blue obsession!

“David Liked blue”

“Wearing blue wasn’t going to make any difference”

I think Jenny underestimated David’s Blue obsession….he even likes blue jeans and blueberry pie and even has a blue Toyota!

Therefore this is what I kept imagining when I thought of love interest David!

blueberry-man

I mean who wouldn’t …..he treats his women like gold too…his speciality is leaving them on a rock on a cliff in a thunderstorm whilst he goes to get a birds nest as he just WANTS TO WIN THE SCAVENGER HUNT…TO THE DEATH!

*mind wonders thinking he became a member of the band Blue who funny enough like BLUE!  Who would have thought?!*

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The Gang

Run off at the mouth Sally who likes to play games like “whos voice am I”….you know the one where you try and catch the person out who keeps leaving husky messages on your answering machine….played at every party…like EVER!

Sally, ever the trying to make friends type of girl, did give a classic line to make Jenny feel better about being on her own

“It sounds like one of those movies….You know, where the girl’s all alone in the house and the next thing you know there’s blood all over the place!”……nope just soup, corn, tuna and spaghetti sauce Sally…Jenny has is sussed!

But Sally has the solution for this too….

“Well just offer them coffee and dried rattlesnake” – yum!

Dean the geeky computer guy who loves a good wink and a smile …..I SAID WINK!

Brad the hunky quarter back (well that’s what I kept imagining) who has a fiery temper and well basically got so dumped by Diana!

Violet Eyed Diana the bitchy one who lets face it we all cheered when she “fell off” the cliff right?

and not forgetting the best character of all…..

Peaches the dog!  I kid you not!  Who calls their dog peaches.  I like to think that Carol Ellis was stuck for a dog name and one day digging at the back of her cupboard found an old tin of peaches in natural juice and thought a-ha!  PEACHES!  And lets face it poor Peaches weight is constantly poked fun at by everyone in this book (I think the words furry stubby-legged barrel were used)…..talk about making a dog self conscious about her body and then to top it all off whilst sleeping peaceful someone locks her in the car and she nearly dies from the heat!  Poor Poor Peaches.

Fashion Faux Pas

I struggled to find any fashion faux pas as Jenny seemed to always be rocking shorts with something….well normally blue to stick with the blue obsession like a royal blue tank top which seems pretty normal or a rainbow striped shirt.

I mean blue obsessed David’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when Jenny wore her cut offs and faded blue work shirt saying “you look great Jenny”

Dialogue Disasters

“She was riding bareback and she didn’t seem the least bit self-conscious”

“Lanky, long-legged boys were one of Jenny’s many weaknesses” – is this as well as your weakness for boys leaving you dodgy messages Jenny?

Lets give it up for the first wooing message left my Jenny’s secret admirer on her very 90’s answering machine shall we?

“Your going to think I’m crazy Jenny,” it said. “And I guess I am.  Crazy about you, that is.  Don’t laugh.  This isn’t a joke.  You’re really incredible.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to tell you face to face.  Until then, I’ll just keep my eye on you.  And believe me, that’s one spectacular view.  Bye Jenny.  For now.”

*cringes*

“I yam what I yam” – what the?  I felt right at home in Brummie land with this classic line!

“Jenny has never been much of a sucker for winks, but if she had Deans slow, seductive one might have done the trick” – ewwwwww and just a sucker for stalkers then Jenny?!

“Did you see the flowers? I hope you like them.  They reminded me of you” – hmmmmm weren’t those flowers dead and wilting?

“Jenny decided to let her hair dry naturally.  It would look like a gone-to-seed dandelion”

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Beautiful!……but David would not approve….it’s not BLUE!

Body Count

0! Zilch!  Nada! Disappointing I know!  There is one person left in a coma though and someone almost kills off poor Peaches the dog, but other than that ….NO BODY COUNT!

We could always count the decapitated snake…bless his slithery soul killed off for fictional stalking and present giving purposes!  RIP Snakey!

Is it scary?

Errrrmmmm…..not reeeaaallllyyyy….but I’m scared of the colour blue now!

Did the best friend do it?

Well lets be honest Jenny didn’t really have a best friend – she was new to the area….but nope the best friend was the slightly loopy Sally and unfortunately she was innocent!

Some Mild Peril?

Oh yes!  Being left on the rocks of the bluff not once but twice and being scared into a phone box by a madman on a motor cycle would class as mild peril right?  And poor peaches!!!

Is it any good?

I actually did like this book, but maybe for the wrong reasons.  It read well but rather than me being scared I found myself chuckling….okay okay you got me…I was simply just jealous I have no secret admirer like Jenny’s!  BUSTED!

Final Thought

I think David got so jealous of Dean’s gorgeous blue eyes that HE pushed him over the edge of the cliff and let Jenny cop the blame!  After all maybe it wasn’t Dean who was the stalker and pushed Diana over the cliff….after all Diana had violet eyes!  Dum dum duuuuummmmmm!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book here are some questions to consider.

  • What’s going on with the cover of the book?  I thought Jenny had no curtains in her house?!
  • Did anyone know what the bluffing hell a bluff was?!
  • Jenny’s parents ?!!!!!!
  • What was up with Don Juan the painter man and his son?!
  • I heard there was a third anonymous phonecall to Jenny that was edited out of the book….what do you think it said?
  • What do you think happened to poor poor Peaches?  Sniffle Sniffle
  • Did you guess whodunit?
  • What was with the colour blue?!

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page 🙂

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th March 2015 !

Vote for the next #pointhorrorbookclub read here – what will you pick?

Results were as follows –

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The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th February!

Thanks for joining and happy valentines day…no stalking now or leaving dead snakes for people!

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I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek!
Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016!

© 2014 - 2017 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

6 thoughts on “PHBC – My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

  1. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

    Oh Hallo, PHBC 2.0! Lovely new place you’ve got here. Nice choice of beanbag. Good tea selection. I’m in.

    Thanks Michelle, for continuing this fine tradition, and dragging us by the silvery braids along with you. Rereading these pieces of flimsy nostalgia has become such a part of my monthly routine, I’d be reduced to brandishing a copy of The Invitation in the faces of strangers at the bus stop and demanding wry observations if this fine institution packed up for good. If nothing else, you’ve stopped me having to go full Annie Wilkes on poor James Dawson *returns hobbling mallet to shed. For now*.

    Anyway, My Secret Admirer was a funny one, wasn’t it? I feel like it was better written than most, but I never really got excited about it. Carol Ellis is fast becoming the Gary Barlow of Point Horror – solid, reliable, formulaic – which is all well and good, but sometimes you just want Robbie Williams to stumble onto stage, punch a backing singer and forget the words.

    On the positive side, I liked Jenny. The weary tolerance of nightmare parents… the aggressive tonguing of a twenty-minute acquaintance followed by a clifftop strop… the dignity in the face of horrific sexual harrassment from the weirdo painter… the terrible, terrible diet (Ellis’s penchant for describing every single meal in order to bump wordcount makes it clear that Jenny eats nothing but canned chilli, pizza, burgers, fries, popcorn, some bacon and half an apple throughout the course of the novel). I even managed to forgive the sheer bloody stupidity of not twigging that her admirer and tormentor might be the same person.

    What I couldn’t really forgive was the where/were confusion part way through, the dearth of suspects, and the lack of resolution of several plot strands. Just what WAS the deal with the inappropriate painter? Why did Sally turn into such a bitch toward the end? Why did airhead Alice (also the name of one of Sally’s horses, confusingly), dullard Marc and nonentity Karen drop entirely out of the narrative, post-scavenger hunt? And anyway, are scavenger hunts even really a thing, or do they only exist in Amercian YA novels? Either way, they sound terrible. Also, I have no words for the no-punchline-required name of Rimrock. Goodness me, Ellis. Rimrock? Really?

    Other than Sally and Jenny, the rest of the characters were pretty thin. Dean didn’t feature enough to be an effective or surprising villain, blue fan David was maddeningly aloof, and that drunk quarterback whose name I can’t event remember was so clearly a walking red herring that I couldn’t be bothered paying him any attention. The scenes of mild peril were pretty effective though – an all alone in the house with an anxious dog interlude is always a winner, while the being menaced by a guy on motorbike while trapped in a secluded phone booth passage felt properly original and scary.

    Question time!
    1. Yes! As much of a hottie as cover gal Jenny undoubtedly is, this is the only PH that I remember being reissued during the series’ original run with a different (slightly more menacing) cover.
    2. I STILL don’t know what a bluff is.
    3. Jenny’s parents were terrible, terrible people. I wanted to punch the mother more than anything.
    4. The painter grossed me out so bad. One word: Yewtree.
    5. “Seriously Jenny, even I’m getting bored of this now. It’s Dean here. I’m coming to kill you.”
    6. Peaches was put on a low fat diet by the grumpy vet, got super into fitness, and became an international gymnast. (I loved Peaches).
    7. I actually remembered the psycho’s identity from the first time round, but definitely would have guessed it regardless.
    8. God knows. I don’t think Carol Ellis really knows many other colours, apart from sandy-pink, which it seems is the exact shade of both the bluff and Peaches’ fur.

    Love the idea of having a vote for next month’s title. I’ve opted for RL Stine, but any of the three options sound good to me! See you then!

    Reply
  2. mark.stewart@bendigoadelaide.com.au'Mark

    Hey Chelle! Love what you’ve done with the ‘Club House’ 😉

    Tell you what; you’ve got a lot more out of this month’s book than I did! I actually found this book to be the blandest entry we’ve done. It was page 89 before anything even remotely resembling action appeared – and that was just your pal Snakey! Before writing this I had to revisit the last few pages to remind myself what even happened!

    I did feel a bit sad for Jenny, though, not only is she TSTL (too stupid to live), she didn’t even have a secret admirer in the end! Seriously – how could a girl go from being completely terrified and suspicious of everyone to travelling to the middle of nowhere to meet a stranger in the fading twilight? Talk about desperate!

    Time for the Q & A…

    My cover was the old school cover with Jenny in her glass case of emotion (thank you Ron Burgundy). Mind you, I’m still not 100% sold on the cover; the shadow of the secret admirer doesn’t look very menacing; more like a hallelujah gospel praise move!

    As for Jenny’s parents? Well they certainly couldn’t wait to get outta Dodge. I understand that Ms. Ellis needed the parents out of the way to help the story along, but by the end of chapter one?! If they’re not the least responsible parents in PH Land, then they’re at least on the podium!

    My *ahem* “research” suggests that the last phone call ties in to Peaches’ fate. Apparently Jenny’s secret admirer had a dog of his own that was a bit of a canine chubby chaser and was really buying what Peaches was selling. So while Jenny headed to the rocks, Peaches, too, headed off for a rendezvous…

    Never guessed whodunit – was hoping for Sally. A bit like what happened in ‘The Watcher’, I suppose. The actual reveal was possibly the worst choice of everyone. Surely the story would have worked better if the assailant was, say, Jenny’s dad or the jilted ex?

    Not sure why blue was the colour de jour. Traditionally, blue in literature (apart from being a masculine colour) is usually used to represent positive qualities like nobility and strength. I guess that was our clue that David wasn’t our villain.

    Looking forward to next month’s story – fingers crossed for one with a bit more ‘guts’ that ‘The Secret Admirer’.

    Reply
  3. billy.lane@live.com'Billy

    Great first post Shelly! Oh my. What can I say about this rather eerie instalment of the Point Horror series that isn’t about its gorgeous cover? Maybe the fact that it’s setting – a small town surrounded by mountains and a “bluff”, numerous unhinged male associates, and a thunderstorm all cried out for a dramatic egg cracking death finale, yet we never got one! I was so disappointed! R L Stine couldn’t have set it up better himself!

    Onto the questions…

    •What’s going on with the cover of the book? I thought Jenny had no curtains in her house?!
    Oh, I could write for days about this glorious cover. After each chapter I kept flipping back to gaze at it. Isn’t she something? I would have sent her severed snakes and dead flowers if she moved into my town, let me tell you that for nothing.

    •Did anyone know what the bluffing hell a bluff was?!
    LOL – no idea! I went to Google images to check so I could visualise appropriately.

    •Jenny’s parents ?!!!!!!
    Indeed. As #CazCoo once said, their biggest stress was removing the parents from the novel. R L Stine pretty much had a stranglehold on the ‘babysitting’ excuse, so I guess naughty weekends away under the guise of selling a house was the next logical choice!

    •What was up with Don Juan the painter man and his son?!
    I loved that guy. What a cad.

    •I heard there was a third anonymous phonecall to Jenny that was edited out of the book….what do you think it said?
    (flexes fingers)
    … Jenny walked into the living room and picked up the ringing receiver.
    ‘Hello?’
    Jenny thought she could hear deep breathing on the other end of the line.
    ‘Hello? Is anyone there? Brad, is that you?’
    More silence. And then a raspy voice croaked ‘How do you like the curtains Jenny?’
    Jenny spun around and dropped the receiver from her hand. There, fully hung and in a colour which matched the wallpaper perfectly, were a new pair of curtains.

    •What do you think happened to poor poor Peaches? Sniffle Sniffle
    I pictured Peaches looking like the dog from Peter Pan, that was somehow thought responsible enough to look after three children and simultaneously run a household. I pictured Peaches wearing that bonnet thing the Peter Pan dog (was she called Nanna?) wore.

    •Did you guess whodunit?
    I thought Sally was going to reveal a (Janice from Mean Girls) big LESBIAN CRUSH (/Janice from Mean Girls) on Jenny, so no!

    •What was with the colour blue?!
    It matches Jenny’s beautiful eyes.

    Reply
  4. Michelle Toy @chelleytoy

    Firstly – thank you so much to all of you for hopping over and commenting. Your comments are my life! And have made me laugh so so much! I was worried I would not be able to do #pointhorrorbookclub and James’s legacy justice and thought no one would join in with me – so thank you.

    Paul – I’m so glad the mallet was put back in the shed (and I bet James is too)! lol Classic comments as always – especially – “Carol Ellis is fast becoming the Gary Barlow of Point Horror – solid, reliable, formulaic – which is all well and good, but sometimes you just want Robbie Williams to stumble onto stage, punch a backing singer and forget the words”
    ……oh how this has made me laugh!
    I had to think for a minute who the bluff Alice, Marc and Karen were in the book…..therefore proving your point entirely!

    Mark – Are you on twitter? I feel I miss you out of my twitter ramblings? Either that or you have me blocked lol….anyway …. TSTL so sums up Jenny (sorry Billy Goat)! Also I have to see a copy of this other cover (the obvs got wind of Billy’s crush as it was going to Dean levels of stalking)! And I love the idea of Peaches on a secret rendezvous!

    Billy….Oh Billy…Billy Goat – your crush holds no bounds! I particularly loved your deleted scene phonecall….Jenny would be horrified to have seen curtains and digging those pyramid tins out again with the posh silverware.

    PS – I love how we all hoped for some diversity in point horror and all wished the reveal had been Sally! This would have made point horror history do we think?

    Voting for next months read is neck and neck at the mo…..I haven’t thought what to do in the event of a tie break?! *gulps*

    Reply
  5. Chelley Toy Post author

    Okay so we had a tie break on the vote lol…but with Paul’s suggestion of putting in a pillowcase and I will add shaking it like Taylor Swift – I can reveal the next #pointhorrorbookclub read is …..The Babysitter 2 by R L Stine!

    See you all on the 13th March!

    PS – Don’t answer the door!!!

    Reply
  6. muncasterclaire@gmail.com'Claire Muncaster

    terrible diet? sounds ideal! horror film/evil faerie tale surroundings?? also ideal!! she didn’t even *have* a secret admirer?? was that due to her knowing who said admirer was :. he wasn’t secret?? was he a figment of her imagination?? i’ve nvr heard of somebody yearning for a note-writing, distorted message leaving stalker.

    Reply

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