PHBC – Nightmare Hall – The Roommate by Diane Hoh


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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 they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Nightmare Hall – The Roommate by Diane Hoh

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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 link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 18th November 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

We also have a fantastic guest post from the fab author and Point Horror fan Alex Bell !

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You can check it out here


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


The Tagline

Where college is a scream…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

A girl called Danni starts college at Salem and moves into an all girl / no boys allowed dorm on campus and not in Nightmare (Nightingale) Hall as the book title would suggest.

Not in Nightmare Hall!  What?!  Why?!

Who knows!  This is Point Horror!

Anyway after filling out her college campus roommate form as carefully and precise as possible Danni becomes suitemates with Racey Lacey, Mousey Maureen and eventually Moody Margot…basically they get to share a bathroom together and Lacey and Maureen are roommates as are Danni and Margot and basically form the Spice Girls!  Okay okay I’m lying …. turning this story into the formation of the Spice Girls would have been far more interesting!

Wash your mouth out with soap Chelley Toy and get back to the post!

Basically the roommates become BFF’s, but then the roommates begin to take each others things…..like gold sweaters!

OH THE HORROR!

Yes yes I know!  And then, very very very far into the book Danni starts to receive phonecalls and horrible messages….written in lipstick and starts obsessing over her roommate Margot and who could possibly be doing this to her!

Oh the poor little thing!

Pfffftttt don’t feel sorry for poor old Danni!  She was basically attention seeking….oh and on the run for murder!

The Girl

Lion maned, raised by nannies Danni Spelling!

With her honey coloured hair, unusual grey blue eyes (mine are grey blue!), her generous mouth, pale skin the colour of moonlight and her quick temper….. *blank face*

I don’t really know what to say about Danni…her obsessions over her absent roommate where constant and well basically she was just a bit meh and a bit obvious I guess!  Maybe Lacey ruining Danni’s kiss with Jordan pushes her over the edge?

I do have to admit that I laughed rather to much than I probably should have when Danni was scared of a giant hedge rabbit when she was on her date with Jordon and she got stuck in hedge hell!  OMG don’t start me off!  The visions!  THE VISIONS!  *cries with laughter*

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The Love Interest

Okay I guess the love interest was Jordan who was trying so desperately hard to kick his practical joke habit that he just became a bit irrelevant to the whole story! Apparently his presence improved the scenery and impresses girls with the size of his grass (not a joke!).  I give him one thing though….he did give me a good old laugh in the hedges with Danni!  I may have mentioned this above already lol.

Anyway…kicked out of regular halls due to a misunderstanding about partying he lived in The Kennels with muscular pony tailed, wire rimmed glassed Travis and together they basically….well they basically just perv on girls and basically be Hoh’s red herrings!

So many obvious red herrings in this book!

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The Gang

I have to start with Lacey!  OMG!  I loved racey Lacey so so much!  She was the best part of the whole book in my opinion!  The rich smooth skinned girl with a faintly golden glow who lets face it doesn’t mind a bit of a flash by dropping her towel in front of everyone.  I originally wrote down irritating next to her name in my notebook, but I grew to love her so much!  Sharp tonged and wity with shockingly short hair and brown eyes turned up at the corners (?) she won me over with her love of whips, chains, body shop lip gloss and her love for food orgys!

She gave me a good old few chuckles and especially loved that she was the noisy messy roommate!

I mean forget the real reveal at the end of the book!  The biggest shock was racey Lacey figuring it all out and being basically a genius pretending to be clueless and getting drunk!

I also loved her who wants to be normal that’s so boring comment!  You rock Lacey!  I heart you forever and ever!

Now onto Maureen “Mouse” Ross…another character I loved!  Her obsession over the colour brown was just adorable and I loved it when racey Lacey gave her a make over!  Proper BFF’s!  Maureen was clumsy with pale skin, round green eyes, long straight dark hair, tall and with a stubborn upper lip gave the occasional squeak whilst talking to herself.   I loved how along with her lost scared look her glasses were held together with a paper clip.

She basically just didn’t give two hoots!  It made me laugh how she was another obvious red herring with Hoh indicating she had something to hide and with her suitcase spilling open and everything being symmetrical just as described in the prologue!  The perfect red herring…but nope I was not fooled!  I loved her almost as much as Lacey.

And then there’s Margot Hanes the mysterious roommate who turns up late in the middle of the night with unsettling, dark and intense green eyes, a faint dusting of freckles across her nose, soft medium brown hair and a sun tan. Yep you can tell all of that in the dark!  Hoh gives us yet another red herring in that Margot has a secret that she hopes Danni will understand and basically loses it over a gold sweater.  She asks questions that make the others feel stupid and loves Cary Grant.

Little shout out the “Resident Advisor” Kendra Sydney ….oh bless her cotton socks.  Always there in a time of need. The tall, dark, skinny, brown eyed girl with her loose curly hair and patient worn weary expression must have thought her work was cut out for her when Danni kept making her leave her cosy free from fees room!  I almost wanted the reveal to be her!

Fashion Faux Pas

One word!

CASHMERE!

There was lots and lots and lots of cashmere in this book darling don’t you know!  There were short skirts, knee high boots topped with a cashmere top, a cropped lambs wool top with jeans and we must not forget the chin to slippers bathrobe and chartreuse smock at the hairdressers!

The crème de la crème of Point Horror clothing!

I mean the all basically loose it over a gold cashmere sweater!

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Dialogue Disasters

“Pale skin the colour of too many days inside a library”

Rude!  I rather like spending time inside library’s *checks skin colour*

“I’m Lacey….As in underwear…as in where did I put my panties?”

On page 4 of this book I knew I was going to love Lacey!

“Sometimes I’m just out of control you know”

Lacey did such a good job of convincing us she was a bit dippy!

“I sound just like one of those mental hospital nurses”

Ponders if Danni is referring to THE ONE SHE KILLED BEFORE GOING ON THE RUN!

“With my luck I’ll probably get the psycho roommate from hell!”

Danni tries to throw us off the scent!

“The Dungeon?  Whips?  Chains?  This school is definitely my kind of place”

OMG!  I loved Lacey!

“Lots of people are shy Maureen.  You just have to practise.  With practise anybody can act normal!”

Probably best Maureen doesn’t take Danni’s advise here…..just saying!

“If you could order a guy off the menu, any guy who would it be?”

Danni is eyeing up her next victim Hannibal style!

“You know how they say, think globally, act locally?”

Erm….no Lacey….I don’t know…not at all!  Just me?

“Margot went nuclear”

BOOM!

“My roommate is crazy!”

Nice red herring there Danni but you didn’t have the Point Horror Book Club fooled!

“Terrif”

Lacey gives me my new Point Horror saying!  Will it catch on?

“Listen, I’ve got to motor”

Oh Lacey Lacey Lacey and her little catchphrases! Lol VROOOMMMM

“I never had a guy calling me up like that.  Like that movie, Fatal Attraction”

Hide you’re bunnies from Lacey!

“Only you could turn a trip to the post office into a potential horror story!”

Have they never licked a stamp and got a paper cut!

“I was hoping to shake hands with some mail”

WHAT?!

And finally my best dialogue disaster goes to a character that lived down the hall from the Suitemates, Caren Sanchez.  When she received a care package from home she says about all of the characters…

“Oh My God its a flock of vultures”

*hi fives Caren*

Body Count

1!  And that unfortunately happened off the page before the story started! Boooooooo!

Is it scary?

No! No! No!  I was more scared of the thought that Lacey did not pack any underwear to take with her to the whole of college than of anything that happened in the book!

Did the best friend do it?

We can but dream that racey Lacey, Mousey Maureen or Moody Margot were the reveal, but nope!  We had a confusing in the dark stabby stabby with a letter opener knife reveal of it being Danni!  But what was the reveal anyway?  Nothing had actually happened in the book for there to be a reveal really!

Some Mild Peril?

I’m struggling here!  Killer hedge bunnies maybe?!

Is it any good?

Sorry guys but I didn’t get on too well with this one.  Basically nothing happened in the book!  Nothing!  I can’t even figure out what the actual reveal was in the end!  What was being revealed as well basically nothing happened!

I mean a couple of phone calls and messages written in lipstick yeah…and a torn up cashmere sweater, but basically that’s it!  I think Danni was trying to be a copy cat Jenny from The Babysitter and well basically failed!  No one can beat Jenny on that front!

Was it just me?  I mean I know it was revealed that the MC and narrator was in fact crazy and on the run for murder, but it all felt a little flat and basically everything happened in the last 20 pages.  Up until then it was just a story about a group of friends and not very Point Horror!

I loved the shout out to actual Nightmare Hall and Gisele hanging herself and Linda Carlyle living there and basically where obviously all the action happened!

I had to admit that ending with Margot in the shower made me finish the book with a smile on my face!

Final Thought

*stares into space and blinks for half an hour trying to still figure out what the reveal was*

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Why was this book taken out of Nightmare Hall?
  • The Boy Next Door or The Roommate?!
  • What do you hide in your draw that you would not like touched!
  • What basically happened in this book?!

I admit I struggled to come up with any questions this month as my mind is blank!

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

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th December 2015 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 18th November 2015!

And the winner was….

phdec15

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Don’t forget to check out the fab guest post from Point Horror fan and brilliant author Alex Bell here !

Also there’s still time to get some questions to me to give to the lovely Anne Finnis!   Do you have a question for Anne?  Let me know and I will include it in my Q&A with her which will hopefully go live December or January time!

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 18th November 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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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

10 thoughts on “PHBC – Nightmare Hall – The Roommate by Diane Hoh

  1. cmilton81@gmail.com'Cazzy

    Hey guys!

    I remembered owning this book years ago but couldn’t remember anything about it – I now now why ha ha.

    I must say I thought that this was a pretty dull FB read and that Danni was the dullest heroine in history (except for freaking out over the topiary – hilarious) and the biggest drama queen ever. None of those threats were even remotely scary and at no point did I think there was the slightest chance of peril. Having said that, it didn’t occur to me that Danni might have been imagining the whole thing and be a total psycho ’til quite late on (although I never bought for one minute Margot was behind it).

    The other characters were OK. Lacey was fun, Mouse was OK, liked Margot. One thing I cannot overlook though, was the phone in the bathroom? Who has a phone in the bathroom? Eugh!

    Also, I think Hoh does crazy first person narration pretty well, the opening was good (reminded me of Funhouse) so it was a bit of a shame the rest of the book was a let down.

    In answer to your questions:

    I think it was set outside NH to give an outside view of NH and also more of the campus.

    I sadly have nothing of interest in my drawers: no gold sweaters or knives 🙁

    Reply
  2. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

    Oh hey there, PHBC!

    Before I begin, I should point out that this was the Nightmare Hall entry I noticed a few weeks ago was credited to Nola Thacker on the copyright page of my edition. So what we have here is Nola Thacker writing as DE Athkins writing as Diane Hoh, which manages to be more confusing than advanced quantum mechanics, yet still remains significantly less confusing than that head-switching big reveal towards the end (I remain at a loss as to whose pov we were in for most of that jumble in the Dungeon).

    Actually, on the whole, I enjoyed this a lot more than you guys. You’re right about it taking an absolute age for the scares to start happening, and when they did materialise they were pretty weak, but the central set-up of four girls, each with a secret, one of them a psycho, made for a good whodunit. Horror it ain’t, but if Point Mystery had been a thing, this would have been a good’un.

    I liked all four of our main girls. Racy Lacey was an absolute treat, Mouse was a loon, Margot walked in from the pages of another book entirely and acted WAY crazier throughout than her back story warranted… Even Danni didn’t offend me, though I guess having your main narrator be the villain means you have to keep them frustratingly sketchy. I enjoyed the links back to The Silent Scream including the cameos from Linda and Ian, and we even – praise the Lord of diversity – had an explicitly ethnic character in the form of tragically underused Kendra. I liked the cut of Kendra’s jib; I hope she gets her own Nightmare Hall episode further down the line.

    There was some odd stuff. That confusing and pointless scene about the arrival of the care package with the never-again-mentioned Caren Sanchez and Jodie Johnson was total word count waffle, and there was a point where Thacker/Athkins/Hoh tells us that Danni ‘glanced up at him through your eyelashes,’ which had me wondering. (MY eyelashes? Why am I in this book now, and why has Danni stolen my eyelashes? If my eyelashes are going to be crucial to the plot, shouldn’t I have been consulted?). Also, that piece of spectacular nonsense where the love interest who was so dull his name now escapes me asks Danni, “What are you afraid I’ll see?” and she responds with, “Maybe I am.” English was Danni’s second language, I guess?

    My absolute favourite moment was Mouse’s post-makeover fashion choices, specifically the ‘arrangement in brown’ that she proudly sports at one point, which apparently consists of a ‘plain body suit with scoop neck…a skirt splashed with red and brown and gold and purple… [and] brown suede boots with wicked heels.’ Well, doesn’t that all sound delightful?

    So, yeah, it’s all a bit too quickly resolved and I didn’t follow the final reveal at all, and not having the guts to follow through with the final shower room scare was a let down, but overall I thought this was pretty decent (I could have been over thinking it, but I even wondered if the topiary animals were a Shining reference. Probs not.) My biggest issue was Danni’s snack choices. M&Ms mixed with taco chips? Not on my watch, lady.

    Question time:

    Why was this book taken out of Nightmare Hall?
    I guess to give a wider sense of Salem U as a functioning university. Thinking about it, I’m not sure any of the remaining Nightmare Hall entries actually take place there, which is kind of bonkers logic.

    The Boy Next Door or The Roommate?
    Oh, I don’t even need to answer this. TBND was a travesty beyond anything I’ve ever encountered. Don’t make me go back there.

    What do you hide in your draw that you would not like touched!
    My collection of gold sweaters and my Richie Tankersley Cusick voodoo doll.

    What basically happened in this book?
    Well, not a lot, but I’d rather that than Athkins’ last effort, The Cemetery, in which LITERALLY EVERYTHING happened.

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      HI Paul

      Ah! This was a Thacker effort! Who would have thought it? I wonder why the published them under Hoh’s name?

      Super happy you liked this one. I guess I see where you are coming from… on reflection it was very point mystery….I just kept waiting for it to get going a lot of the time, but maybe it was never meant to be a Point Horror in the first place and they just subbed it into the nightmare hall series? I would love to know if this was true!

      I can’t believe I missed the Ian from Silent Scream reference! And M&M’s mixed with taco chips! I should be sacked! Good spotting!

      And yay for diversity even for a couple of pages in Point Horror!

      *glances up at Paul through my eyelashes*

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

    Seriously – these UK covers! Gotta get with the US die cuts! The little window in the front cover shows you just a hint of the horror inside. I love the die cut covers; they’re textured too, so they feel like real bricks!

    Anyhoo…

    I kinda enjoyed ‘The Roommate’. I agree that it’s not exactly horror, more like Sweet Valley, but like pizza, even average PH is still kinda good! I love Paul’s ‘jumble in the dungeon’ reference; made me picture a Foreman / Ali style PH title fight!

    Ahh…Nightmare Hall always brings back memories of my own uni experience – making the nervous move away from family, hoping to make new friends, packing my knife under my underwear…wait…what?

    Anyone else wonder what was meant by Danni having a ‘generous mouth’? How big does your mouth need to be to be generous?

    Love the 90’s fashion on display – a girl in bicycle shorts and a bulky sweater. Decent! Speaking of ‘decent’, how can that really be a catch phrase? Not exactly inspiring – that party sounds decent. C’mon Lacey – ‘terrif’ is better!

    Great passage of dialogue for me: “Maybe it was a nightmare” offered Mouse. “Maybe it was” said Danni “and maybe it wasn’t” – well, that’s pretty obvious! D to the UH!

    I also thought the hedge animal section was a nod to ‘The Shining’ – Danni was kinda driven crazy by being locked in a big house too…

    The ending was a bit of a rip-off. It’s not fair putting us in the head of the killer but having the killer be oblivious that they’re the killer! I actually put my 50 cents on the killer being Mouse – good thing I’m not a big gambler!

    I don’t think Thacker / Athkins / Hoh really worked the college cliche’s to their full potential. We didn’t really get the bitch, the sporty girl, the rich brat, the pretty ugly girl etc. etc.

    No doubt some of these issues get addressed in the remaining 27(!) Nightmare Hall books!

    The questions:

    1. It was taken out of Nightmare Hall because the story seemed to be running sort of concurrently with ‘The Silent Scream’. Plus, how many stories can you create within the one building? Spreading the stories around campus makes more sense.

    2. There are so SO many books between ‘The Roommate’ and ‘The Boy Next Door’. Like, for example, every Goosebumps book is better that TBND. Like every novelization of ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’ is better than TBND.

    3. There are many geeky collectibles in my drawer that are ‘hands off!’ Like my Sabrina collection…

    4. Reasonably benign psycho girl tries to be ‘normal’ and fails. Shy girl finds her voice. Slutty girl finds the courage to be smart. Poor girl finds friends who accept her for who she is. Roll credits.

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Mark

      Hint Of Horror on the inside? What was the hint of horror on the us cover of this one? A hedge? lol 🙂

      I love how we all have mixed feelings about this book. At the moment its 2 all….which way will Billy tip it over the edge?!

      *checks Marks underwear for packed knife* Don’t go there! 😉

      I didn’t think about the hedge scene being a nod to the shining until you all have mentioned it! I have failed this month! FAILED! lol Fab spotting!

      Reply
  4. muncasterclaire@gmail.com'Claire Muncaster

    i agree w/ lacey, who wants to be normal anyway?? i did want to know more re the dungeon & what went on there, but i suppose i’ve other books for that should i truly want to know;) what she said at the end re what special people do/don’t do…most people don’t have someone paid to watch them (not norm –- they call it “challenging behaviour” now) so :. it must be other way round. i think i’m gonna be sick. it’s not special; it’s really irritating.
    I never saw the killer as being oblivious that she was the killer; just oblivious that their actions were wrong.

    Reply

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