PHBC – Double Date by Sinclair Smith


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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!

Double Date by Sinclair Smith

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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 17th February 2016

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


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


The Tagline

Dating can be deadly

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

It all starts in eighth grade where Tracey, who fancies a boy called Travis, pretends she doesn’t to the popular girl in school who is laughing at her!

Yep!  We’ve all been there!  What happens next?

Well Travis pretends to slit Tracey’s throat for saying such a thing and thus begging the revenge plot of all revenge plots….the pranks to beat all pranks ever….for revenge!

OMG!  This sounds terrifying!

Oooookkkaaaayyyy….lets move on!

Anyway jumping forward in time a few years after the above events Tracey and her low life (sorry, not sorry) boyfriend Kyle who loves double dating decide to spice things up in their relationship and go on a double date with Travis and his “girlfriend” now he’s all grown up and hot and stuff and thus the revenge plot begins.  Tracey goes along for the ride to a 1920’s hunting lodge complete with moose head called The Normandy where Travis attempts to put his revenge plot into full action.

Oh No!  What happens!

Well what Travis doesn’t count on is someone else in the 1920’s hunting lodge complete with moose head and he is watching them and playing some pranks of his own ……

The Girl

Tracey was how I would describe a classic point horror girl…old skool style.  In fact I made many notes next to her name in my note pad simply saying “Arrrrggghhhh”.  Blonde hair and sparkly dark eyes with a passion for dressing up at Halloween as a princess.  She goes along with the crowd and it just got a little tedious for my liking.  Although I do blame her boyfriend Kyle (who she seemed to know nothing about) a little as whenever she seemed to have an opinion or made a decision he was there putting her down or telling her to stop being silly.  This being said she always just seemed to roll over and say “okay then” to a lot of things.

Credit where credits due though when Kyle was tied up and apparently unconscious (no you cheered!) she did venture down into that cellar alone,  gain super strength to break out of a looked wardrobe, gets a new hair do,  tries to fool a convicted murder and then slashes said convicted murderer with a piece of broken glass!  Go Tracey!

But then she had to ruin it all at the end by telling Kyle she will save him *grabs sick bag* and staying with Kyle at the end of the book, acting all loved up and then showing she had changed by telling bitchy Tina Beston she didn’t want to help out with decorations!  Apparently that was meant to Tracey putting her foot down and saying no….but TO THE WRONG PERSON!

*looks at Kyle and gives him the look*

Also what was with that whole bracelet scene in the Mall?

The Love Interest

I suppose as I have a heading that says “Love Interest” I am obliged to talk about Kyle Farris.

Ugh!  Ugh!  Ugh!

He was Tracey’s so called boyfriend and a controlling one at that.  He decided everything they should do, basically almost cheats on Tracey in front of her very eyes and puts Tracey down constantly.  I was hoping for a full on dumping!

“Come on Tracey lighten up” was his catch phrase!  We should have realised what he was like when he staged that fight in The Burger Joint to “liven things up”!

He made be rage at the way he spoke to Tracey!

*angry face*

The Gang

I suppose I should start with Mr Prankster, Travis Judd.  With his flat cold eyes, brown dark wavy hair, geeky demeanour and apparent good sense of humour he was the ugly duckling turned into a swan and classic potential Chelley Point Horror crush (especially when he was dressed as a bat for Halloween)!

But OH NO!  He went and spoiled it didn’t he!  Yes I’m a little bitter!  He took Tracey crushing his eighth grade heart and his temperamental streak way too far with too many pranks!!!  I mean they were not even funny!  I mean, okay he got me at the prologue with his fake knife and what I thought was putting Tracey out of her misery, but No!  NO! NO! NO!  And just because of his crush on Tracey (he had a funny way of showing it) he had to come in at the end and pretend to be the hero with his shovel!  Laughing Bill soon showed him how we all felt about his pranks!  I mean gunshots on a tape, ghost stories, stealing candy, fake newspapers *rolls eyes*

Disclaimer – I may be slightly bitter…. either that or I kind of fancied Travis…a little 🙂

And then there good old Christie…..tall, long legs, long black hair, tight clothes, loves mints and the way she talks meaningless gibberish.  She was my fave!  I loved her a lot!  I especially loved the fact that she had a scholarship to study computer science and no one seemed to believe it.  I loved her temper tantrums and the revelation that she was playing along with the pranks and was really Travis’s cousin.  She had several personalities rolled into one and was seemingly so much better than the others.  I got very protective over her especially when the others think shes in on the whole car prank as she figured out the rotor was missing….basically saying that she can’t be that clever to have figured it out without being in on it….well she was that clever and I loved her!

Laughing Bill or Blockhead Bill as he gets renamed after being hit over the head with a shovel and going “Guhhhhhh”.  Wouldn’t you?!  The convicted criminal with the dead blue eyes and scar.  He actually made me chuckle a bit….did any one else think of….

Home-Alone-home-alone-30911991-1024-768

Shout out to best friend Laila Crandall…..why did we not get more Laila!  I did a yelp of excitement at the start for possibly a diverse character in Point Horror for her to only disappear and show up at the end of the book *sad face*

Also shout out to the underused character of Tina Beston…. oh she was the popular bitchy girl.  With her violet eyes, black lashes, catty attitude and boyfriend called Roger she was like something straight out of Scream Queens and I wanted more!  I mean she could shriek and took dressing as a witch to a whole new level with sparkles in her red hair, black satin costume and a peaked cap with silver stars!  I’m jealous!  She would have been a fab character, but again like Laila only featured at the beginning and the end!  Boooooooo!

And Sam The Waiter in The Stagger Inn….I think I speak for us all when I say I’m so sad those biceps where not used or featured more!

Fashion Faux Pas

I spotted some tight leather spandex mentioned in the form of a dress

sp(N.B – After what I’ve seen searching for this picture I dread to think what my husband will think when seeing my internet history!)

Dialogue Disasters

“Tracey looked down at her own princess costume.  She had thought it was so pretty…Now her costume didn’t seem spooky enough”

It was Halloween!

“The sound of a scream cut through the air.  It started as a thin, high wail and grew into an ear splitting shriek.  It’s only Tina Beston announcing her arrival”

This made me lol *screams*

“It’s great that your humour is so over the top”

Wait!  There was humour?

“Tracey’s heart flip-flopped”

Well flopped rhymes with plopped.  The word which appeared everywhere in this book!

“That doesn’t sound like something Kyle would do”

What does he do? *coughs*

“I just love mints”

I just love how we got to know the real Christie

“Oh come on Tracey can’t you take a joke?”

*eye rolls*

“At least Christie wouldn’t talk when she was eating.  Or would she?”

Only if she was eating mints?

“Plop.  Plop. Plop”

*sniggers*  Sinclair Smith uses the word Plop a lot throughout this book!

“That had better be it for the jokes.  I’ve had it”

You and me both Kyle.

“He got a dipstick from the trunk….”

*insert many jokes here*

“Some fast food meat companies buy beef blood to keep the meat looking red.  I think they use it so the meat won’t look dried out if it’s frozen for a long time”

IS THIS TRUE! *pulls face*

“Let’s Dance!…..No thanks I’m going to get a cup of cocoa”

My thoughts exactly!

Body Count

2!

That’s right!

Unfortunately not the people we were hoping for but still!

RIP Jack Whelan and William “Laughing Bill” Burke!

Also I guess if the old ghost stories were true then many hotel guests must have lost their lives too!  OMG this book was a blood bath! *whistles*

Is it scary?

No!  Not really scary at all.

I tell you what was scary though!  The fact that Tracey’s Mom and Dad did not get a mention until page 141!  Is this a Point Horror record?

Did the best friend do it?

No!  Try an escaped convicted criminal who was in hiding in the lodge!  Bet you didn’t see THAT coming!

Some Mild Peril?

Hmmmm I guess being snowed in a lodge with your date and your double dates going missing and then being threatened by a convicted murderer on the run after escaping what seemed like quite easily from prison classes as mild peril?

Oh and also angry store owner with a mop!

That is all 🙂

Is it any good?

Let’s put it this way….it was better than The Boy Next Door.  I mean I loved the whole premise once it got going of the deserted lodge, snowed in, strange things going on, secret passage ways, ghost stories, bloodied scissors, but there was just something missing for me in this one, but as I said we can’t complain after The Boy Next Door really can we?

I did like the shout out to Carrie though!

Final Thought

What happened to the cute, fluffy, adorable, full of rabies racoon!

Cover Wars

Which do you prefer?

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Over to you!

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

  • Kyle!  Hot or Rot?
  • What happened to the racoon?
  • What prank would you have played that’s was better than Travis’s?
  • Which character would you double date with from the book?

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th March 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th February 2016!

And the winner was…..

phmar16

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th February 2016!

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

17 thoughts on “PHBC – Double Date by Sinclair Smith

  1. yaundermyskin@gmail.com'Amy @yaundermyskin

    Such a great review and much better written than the book 🙂 Best part of Double Date- the vaguely suspenseful segment when they arrived at the hunting lodge. I remember this was what I loved about PH books as a kid. Worst parts? Tracey and Kyle 🙁 She was a consistent cliche and he was such a terrible boyfriend! Also if anyone said the word ‘prank’ or put their life at risk one more time I was going to lose it Laughing Bill style.

    Like you Chelle, I saw such potential in Travis and was wholly disappointed! Pranks alone do not make a worthy book boyfriend.

    Overall I enjoyed this but I’m not sure it aged well. I have high hopes for RL Stine next month though…

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Amy! Thanks for joining in! Thanks so much…..I try and include as much as I can in these posts so it’s more of a discussion post rather than a review (my reviews are always spoiler free where as Point Horror has ALL the spoilers 🙂 )I’m so glad it wasn’t just me who had thought about Tracey and Kyle!

      Travis could have been SO much more! *cries forever*

      Reply
      1. yaundermyskin@gmail.com'Amy @yaundermyskin

        Ha he was a mega letdown! Point Horror boys sometimes tick the boxes- LJ Smith did create the Salvatore brothers, for which I’m eternally greatful! Also the evil guy in the Forbidden Game (who I’ve temporarily forgotten the name of) was pretty great from what I remember.

        Reply
  2. cmilton81@gmail.com'Cazzy

    Hi everyone,

    This was the first time I read this book ( it was published after I’d stopped reading PH and had moved on to Stephen King), so I didn’t get the warm fuzzies reading this one. Have to agree with you on your assessment of Kyle being a dick and Tracey being pretty lame and unoriginal as a protaginist (as well as a real party POOPER). Travis’ ‘pranks’ were pretty lame I felt a bit bad for the shop keeper and I can’t believe anyone would believe a tape recording of gun shots were real!

    The book could have been better if Smith had gone more down the route of The Shining and less Home Alone 😂

    I know Laughing Bill was a nut job, but I don’t really understand why he needed a ‘hostage’ or why Tracey needed to have her hair cut. Also, from a practical point of view, one razor would not have been enough to shaving hid beard and his head, surely?

    Kyle! Hot or Rot?
    Rot – no question.

    What happened to the racoon?
    He continued to ‘haunt’ the ski lodge, causing it to close soon after opening.

    What prank would you have played that’s was better than Travis’s?
    Got in the car and left them all stranded in the house 😀
    Which character would you double date with from the book?
    The racoon.

    I also preferred the second cover, although I might have been pretty disappointed if I’d picked it up on cover alone.

    Reply
  3. paul.phillips@cpfs.wa.gov.au'Paul P

    I must admit I didn’t mind this one. Once the tiresome prank-playing finished and they were stuck in the lodge with Laughing Bill, this actually kicked into gear and I enjoyed reading it. Good observation about Kyle – I didn’t pick that up. Personally, with the way he seemed so intent on always hanging out with Roger and Travis, I suspected he might swing for the other team!

    The supernatural elements bugged me. Either make it a story about teens trapped in a lodge with an escaped convict, or a story about teens trapped in a lodged haunted by a strangling ghost. Don’t try to have it both ways! It seemed quite absurd that the book was suggesting the two convicts were killed by a ghost. Also a very lame way to knock off your main villain. It made me roll my eyes.

    Tracy was a bit of a pain. Surely she’s old enough now not to believe in ghosts? At least she got a bit of a backbone by the climax, which was quite well-done. Car crashes, chases, shovel fighting – a bit more than your typical Point Horror! Laughing Bill was a bit more intense than the usual villain.

    Too many dumb pranks – took up half the novel! Silly supernatural shenanigans. The second half was actually….good. This would make a neat made-for-TV movie I reckon!

    Kyle – hot or rot? I’m not sure. Maybe his confused sexual identity made him be a bit insensitive.
    What happened to the raccoon? It cleaned away the message on the wall. It’s now waiting for another batch of teenagers to show up and mess with them.
    What prank would I have played better than Travis’? Hmmm….just about anything, really. What is it with Sinclair Smith and pranks?
    Which character would I double date with? Christie.

    I like the American cover better (which is the one I own).

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Paul. In hindsight you are right… once the pranks part was over and it was about the lodge and Laughing Bill the books did seem to kick in gear. And yes….I should have asked…..what did we think about a ghost killing off the convicts?!

      I love how we all imagine the forgotten Raccoon to be running riot around the lodge and causing trouble lol

      Reply
  4. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

    Hey Team PHBC!

    Your comments are all spot on. Like the rest of you, I found the first third of the book monotonous and repetitive and annoying (except for loose canon and possible rocket scientist Christie, in whose bonkers company I could happily have spent the novel’s entire duration), but once we got into the abandoned ski lodge, things started to pick up. Tracey and Kyle and Travis were straight outta dullsville, and air-dropping in an escaped maniac midway through the story was a massive dealbreaker, but the secluded setting with its secret speakeasy and haunted corridors definitely breathed a bit of life into the creaky plot. I agree with Paul (hey Paul, cool name!) on the inclusion of an actual strangle-happy ghost, though: shove it, Sinclair Smith.

    I know we’ve been unkind to Dona/Sinclair Smith here at PHBC Towers in the past, so I approached Double Date with an open mind. Sadly, my spirit of reconciliation was thrown back in my face like a rock at an angry shopkeeper’s window. Lazy dialogue and nonsensical plots are de rigeur with Smith as we’ve discovered, but it was the ACTUAL ERRORS that really started to get on my wick. At one point, Smith gets Kyle and Roger completely confused: “Roger popped a french fry into his mouth. ‘Yeah. So? I like Roger.'” This is disgraceful editing, as is the moment when Tracey says, “Travis, stop joking around. Tell me what really brings you back to Westlake.” Presumably an earlier Travis line was edited out as he actually hasn’t uttered a word about his return to town at this point. Lazy work, Sinclair; I can only assume you were distractedly throwing darts at a printout of RL Stine’s face when you vomited out those sections.

    Chelley, you clocked my absolute favourite dialogue disaster (Christie’s “I just love mints”) in your summary, but I’d like to add these to the mix:
    “Pleased to meet you. My name’s Bill Burke, and I just escaped from the state penitentiary.” Laughing Bill: not so much with the withholding of personal info.
    “Boo, boys and girls! Come and look at my costume! Come on! Come on!” Criminally underused Tina talks like no human being I’ve ever encountered.
    “He grabbed his coat and put it on. ‘Well, off I go.'” Excuse me while I choke on the tension.

    Diversity points for the fleeting cameo of explicitly ethnic Laila, though. I guess even Sinclair Smith gets some things a tiny bit right…

    Questions!
    Kyle! Hot or Rot?
    So odious, I wanted him to disappear into that haunted speakeasy and never return. What a tool.

    What happened to the racoon?
    It went on to a much more promising Hollywood career, playing Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy.

    What prank would you have played that’s was better than Travis’s?
    The one where that random pair of scissors ends up lodged in his eye socket. Not so much a prank as an actual murder, but I dunno, it’d make me laugh.

    Which character would you double date with from the book?
    Laila, Christie and Tina. We’d have an absolute hoot, gossiping about how lame Tracey is.

    Oof, this was a tough month, though good to have some new PHBC faces! Welcome, guys 🙂 Reckon we’ll be on more solid ground with RL Stine next month. Looking forward to at least one egg-cracking metaphor. See y’all then!

    Reply
    1. cmilton81@gmail.com'Cazzy

      You’re right about errors, Paul, there was one part when Tracey was complaining about spending every Friday night with Roger a Tina…a couple sentences on and it switched to Saturday.

      Reply
      1. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

        I didn’t even spot that one, Cazzy, but it doesn’t surprise me. So, so shoddy! Perhaps Sinclair Smith had a very demanding day job that ate into the clearly necessary proofing time….

        Reply
    2. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Paul! So happy you loved Christie as much as I did….she was great! OMG how did I not notice the actual errors! Good spotting!!! *hi fives* and I love your extra dialogue disasters lol

      And I laughed a little loudly at your what happened to the Racoon answer!

      Do we think Kyle is the worst Point Horror boy we have had or is there some one worse!?

      Reply
      1. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

        Oh, I’m totally #TeamChristie 👍👍

        Hmm, whatshisface from The Babysitter still edges it for me, but Kyle sure does come close in the total jerk stakes.

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

    Brrr! Hi guys! *shuts door to The Normandy, rubs hands together to warm them up*

    Nice to see some new faces! Who wants cocoa?

    Let me slap some dust outta this old couch and sit down…OK, ‘Double Date’, where to start? The book felt like a patchwork of story outlines stitched together into one story! Like our friend Sinclair had a few ideas lying around that couldn’t quite be fleshed out on their own – “Hmm…escaped madman in a snow lodge? A ghost who used to kill good people now serving up justice one dead con at a time? A jilted teen returns to seek revenge on the girl who was mean to him when they were like 14? Meh – f**k it! I’ll just run ‘em all up the flag pole and see who salutes!”

    The great mall visit scene! Take me to The Last Stop boutique and dip me in the basket of scrunchies!

    What are they teaching kids in this town? They know you can go on a date as a couple, right? Loved this piece from Chelley’s boy Juddy: “Let me plan the whole date, okay? I want to show you both a night you’ll never forget” Cue the 70’s porno funk – bow chikka wow wow!

    It’s interesting to see the treatment of the store owner; clearly painted as an immigrant and given some pretty dodgy dialogue: “I’m gonna get after you good!” – Tuck yourself in, Point Horror – your racist shirt is showing!

    Juddy again: “You girls sit in the back and get better acquainted…” – hmm…

    Laughing Bill? Aw geez – really? *face palm* Not the best villain we’ve seen in a PH novel…or in a Goosebumps novel…or on Nick Jr. Didn’t like the 180 with Juddy going from enigmatic potential psycho to vanilla helpless teen. Kinda lazy, but I agree that the slasher movie, mountain retreat portion of the book was the most interesting. The ending had an old school, E.C Comics kind of feel with the bad guys getting their just desserts from the previous killer of The Normandy – presumably he didn’t want them on his turf? Or was he really the ghost of Travis’ grand pappy? Or was it the ghost of one of the previous victims? Or was it the ghost of one of R.L Stine’s discarded plots that was still likely to be 10 times better than this ghost? I guess we’ll never know…

    Overall, ‘Double Date’ was ok, but I think Sinclair missed the chance to take one plot line and run with it.

    Question time!

    1. Is this even a question? Rot! Hey Tracey! Look over there while I try to put the moves on the other girl we’re on a double date with! Smooth move, Kyle – you controlling bell end!
    2. The raccoon was clearly another ghost; drank one too many white wine spritzers in the speakeasy back in the day and is cursed to stagger around the halls forever looking for a vacant toilet.
    3. Well, Travis’ pranks were pretty average – I might have played the one where I disappear with both girls and he’s stuck outside in the snow! Hi-larious!
    4. Gotta be Tina – I love the bitchy popular girl! Maybe I can change her? *sigh*

    Reply

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