PHBC – Hide and Seek by Jane McFann


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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!

Hide and Seek by Jane McFann

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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 April 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

It isn’t a game any more.  It never was……

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Well!  This is what happens when we ALL complain that parents are conveniently absent from Point Horror Books!

We literally could not escape them in this book!

Or at least our main character Lissa couldn’t!

But Why?  What happens?

We begin the story at the end!

Woah!  At the end?

Yes that’s right!

Poor Lissa is hiding at the bottom of a tree trunk covered in leaves with her beloved pet bird called Bird.  Someone is after her!  They want her dead!

Dead?!  Sounds like a normal Point Horror to me!

Well, this was no ordinary Point Horror.

As Lissa is sitting at the bottom of the tree waiting to die we get glimpses into her memory and her past.  Her childhood growing up.  Lissa has learnt how to be so quiet.  To be invisible.

And there is a reason for this….her Father!

The Girl

Lissa the quiet little mouse.  With her elf like hair that used to be long, her love for mint choc chip ice cream and the want for her Father to be proud of her made me route for her all the way!

I liked Lissa.

I don’t think it’s fair to call her a good Point Horror girl as this was not a normal Point Horror.  It was far different and she was far different.  I really felt for her.  I really felt her pain, torment and how scared she was on every page.

I felt her glow on the page when Josh was around or when her only true friend Bird was clutched to her chest or nibbling at her fingers.  I cheered for joy when she finally left that house and her Father and I was happy for her in the end.

The Love Interest

Josh!

*swoons so hard*

Okay I admit it …. I am a little in love with Josh!  He made my heart all fluttery!

With his goofy grin, blonde floppy hair and basically just his presence on the page made me smile so so much.   When he get’s Lissa the flowers, bakes her cake, wants to get to know Lissa more and help her and then saving her at the end!

Be still my beating heart!

Was this just me?!

That scene where he calls Lissa perfect!

*stares with heart eyes*

As Princess Lissa said….

“Josh, you have been the only beacon of light in the darkness that has become my life”

*pines for Josh*

He can enter my realm, lower my drawbridge, fight of the dragons and grab me from my tower any day! 😉

The Parents

Yep they get a whole heading to themselves!

So shall we start….

*shudders*

The brooding artist with his dark black eyes, thick curly grey hair and always wearing the same jeans and shirt!  Lissa’s Father.  Who basically controls Lissa’s Mother who is so scared of him she constantly makes excuses for his vile, abusive behaviour.

Throughout the course of the book not only does he ignore his daughter and belittle her, he cuts off her long brown pigtailed hair, pushes her down the stairs making Lissa break her leg (he did it you know he did!) and pins Lissa up a tree by her throat threatening to kill her!

I am actually so terrified of her Father!  His presence every time he was on the page made me rage and I wanted Lissa to get the hell out of there!

Lissa’s Mother did frustrate me a little, but only because I was screaming for her to take Lissa as far away as possible.  Even down to the story of how they met…the tell tale signs were all there for us as a reader to see.  When she finally took Lissa away from her Father I cheered in joy although the end we had read at the beginning was obviously going to crop up at some point, but I then became angry with her all over again when every day she would drive four hours to go back to look after Lissa’s Father….you know just to make sure he was okay!

*rages*

But in all honesty I think Jane McFann portrayed the situation of an abusive Father, a Mother torn and scared to leave and a girl completely lost and scared so so hauntingly well.

The scene where Lissa’s Mother and Father are dancing away in the kitchen really felt like a happy moment.  Just a snapshot of a moment.  Jane McFann really tugged on the old heart strings!

On a little side note kudos for this Point Horror to actually print the word “gay” in it’s text but how did we all feel about it’s context?  Basically Lissa’s grandfather accusing his son (Lissa’s Father) of being gay because he drew pictures?  This made me rage I have to admit!

The Gang

Bird.  Yes I’m classing Bird as part of the gang here!  He was Lissa’s only true friend.  A green, gray-cheeked parrot with a blue shading to green head.  Only four inches long and weighing in ounces he was also feisty and intelligent and bonded with Lissa completely.  He had his own character even with little dialogue other than a swark every now and again.  My heart actually dropped with Lissa’s Father grabbed him tightly and threw him on the floor!

Abby…. the girl who didn’t stop talking with her red hair and her endless need to cram as much dialogue in as possible.  She was only a brief character, but one unforgettable one!

Fashion Faux Pas

I was either too wrapped up in Josh or there were no noticeable fashion disasters in this Point Horror.  Or did I just miss them?!

Dialogue Disasters

I have to say I didn’t find many….but here’s a couple that made me giggle!

“You may not say no!”

Lissa you can always say no!

“Lissa loved to swing”

I always knew that this was going to be a different type of Point Horror.  At one point I wondered what I was getting myself in to! 🙂

“Hi I’m Abby.  I can hit you in the face and make you cry”

Oh I LOVED Abby!

“He said that my still life of pears looked like roadkill on the expressway”

Lissa’s Mother certainly knew how to pick em!

Body Count

O

But in this case I’m glad it was zero as it would have been tragic!

No scrap that I wish it was 1…..I will let you guess who!

Is it scary?

No not really….however it was more psychological in my opinion.  The scenes with Lissa’s Father made me so tense and the scene in the woods at the end!  I actually thought Point Horror peeps were actually going to let the author kill her main character off!

Did the best friend do it?

No!  Lissa kept herself to herself and didn’t make friends.  It wasn’t that kind of Point Horror (I know I keep saying this).

The reality was it was far worse…her Father!

Some Mild Peril?

Any scene involving her Father basically put Lissa in severe peril and was just horrific to read!  I was so scared for her!

Is it any good?

I actually really really liked this one.  This was not your typical Point Horror.  In fact I would be so surprised if this was actually written for the Point Horror series.  It felt like a standalone story that someone found and slotted into the Point Horror world with Point Horror graphic on the cover.

I think with this in mind, if you don’t think of this as an actual Point Horror book brand it was actually really really good.  But if you like your Point Horror with Point Horror egg cracking and all then I think you may be left disappointed.

I do ponder if this originally had a different ending though.  I was left just a tiny bit disappointed by the end.  Did they change it to make it a Point Horror ending maybe?

I do think that this is one book I would actually recommend people to read if they were looking for a harrowing tale of childhood, abuse and a mild thriller that makes your heart beat a little.

Final Thought

Will this divide the Point Horror Book Club!?

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!

  • Do we think that Hide & Seek was intended for the Point Horror brand?
  • Be honest what would you have liked to have happened to Lissa’s Father?
  • Would you have preferred a different ending?  If so what?
  • Is Chelle crazy for falling for Josh?
  • There is a mention about Josh’s Aura in the book …. what Aura would you have around you?
  • What happened to Abby?

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th May 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th April 2016!

And the winner was….

phmay16

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

14 thoughts on “PHBC – Hide and Seek by Jane McFann

  1. taramatthews1981@gmail.com'Tara

    I read about 1/4 of this book and I had to put it down!
    I couldn’t get into it and it was nothing like any other point horror I had read.

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

    Hey gang!

    I like the outdoor setting for this month’s catch up, but it’s not easy getting comfortable in the base of a tree with just a few leaves to help keep me warm!

    Let’s be up front here – domestic violence and PTSD do not make for a ‘fun’ PH novel. McFann takes us on a darker, ‘real life’ horror ride as opposed to the traditional popcorn, slightly cartoonish romps that many other PH novels present. This is a great example of just how broad a palate PH presented young adults with in the 90’s. The general assumption made about the YA horror world is that the stories are all cookie cutter, formulaic, if-you’ve-read-one-you’ve-read-them-all type of books. ‘Hide and Seek’ compared to ‘Trick or Treat’ or ‘The Perfume’ clearly shows that assumption to be false.

    So that being said – is ‘Hide & Seek’ any good? If it was a film, critics would call it a ‘slow burner’. But as a book it’s just S-L-O-W. To paraphrase Sir Galahad in ‘The Holy Grail’: “Can’t we have just a little peril?” Footsteps in the forest for the best part of 200 pages? Someone wake me when the scary part starts! Don’t get me wrong – the opening couple of chapters were really gripping, but then we just plateaued; nothing else eventuated. In fact, if you read the first 30 pages and the last 30 pages, I don’t think you’ll miss out on any plot development at all! The story basically has 4 characters plus a budgie!

    I like my fiction to be escapist in nature. Poor Lissa Davis being assaulted by her father and emotionally crippled is just awful. It’s so sad – because this happens to people all too often. I get that PH is aimed at teens and that this sort of story probably reached girls like Lissa, desperately hoping for their own Josh to come and save them and maybe it helped THEM escape from their life, but for me, it was an uncomfortable read. McFann certainly created a protagonist that you felt for; but McFann paints such a depressing picture of Lissa and her mother that I’m not sure any girl suffering from a similar situation would have felt inspired or empowered by the outcome of the story. Neither female lead is portrayed in an overly positive light – Lissa’s mother shows a glimpse of empowerment by finally leaving her husband, but then regresses back into a subservient role. Lissa hides in the forest and effectively admits defeat and is only saved once Josh finds her.

    Interesting PH to read purely for the contrast to previous entries, but I wasn’t a fan and would certainly not recommend it. I hope no-one finds PHBC this month and thinks all PH is like this!

    Questions!

    1. Obvious answer Chelle – track Jane McFann down so we can quiz her! We’re due for another PH interview anyhoo!
    2. Just when he’s about to attack Lissa, Bird flies into the end of his gun causing a backfire which sends him reeling backwards over a the edge of a conveniently placed ravine. He is quickly washed away, presumed drowned, but naturally still available for ‘Hide & Seek 2: Ready Or Not’.
    3. The final showdown occurs in Lissa’s dad’s studio / barn (studarn? barnio? Anyway…) As he stalks Lissa around the barnio (yeah, I reckon that works!), Josh distracts Daddy Dearest by slicing apart several of his prize paintings. Taking advantage of her chance, Lissa and Bird attempt to snatch the gun and in the ensuing struggle dad is fatally wounded. The resulting blood streaked canvas is titled ‘Hide & Seek’ and goes on to win several prizes on the art circuit and eventually sells for millions, allowing Lissa to attend the college of her dreams and setting her up for life. But her success with ‘murder art’ (as the not-so-nice critics call it) has triggered something deep inside her. And when Josh starts showing interest in Abby, Lissa starts to think that maybe it’s time to create another ‘masterpiece’…
    4. Nah – he’s one of the more likeable PH hunks you’ve swooned over!
    5. What colour is ‘mildly bored’? It’d be that combined with a splash of ‘bring on next month’.
    6. She probably bitch slapped the wrong girl and is now in juvie.

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Mark! I’m trying to track down some more Point Horror authors as we speak 🙂

      PS I love that you say Josh is one of the more likeable PH hunks I’ve swooned over…..is there that many?! lol

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

    I totally forgot I needed to read this! “Can You Keep A Secret?” by R.L. Stine got delivered to my Kindle on April 12 and I abandoned all other projects so I could read it.

    Note: Fear Street reboot is pretty underwhelming so far….

    I did read “Hide And Seek” several years ago and thought it was okay. Not bad, but not too enthralling either, and a bit misleading to be released under the Point Horror banner. I felt the same way about Jane McFann’s other Point Horror book, “Be Mine”. She tends to write “hot issue” books, rather than escapist teen thriller fare. That’s all good, but Scholastic should have released her material separately from Point Horror. I suspect her books weren’t written for Point Horror – “Be Mine” involved characters from previous Jane McFann books that weren’t Point Horror titles.

    I’ll give this another read tomorrow so that I can answer the questions, and see if my opinions have changed!

    Reply
  4. yaundermyskin@gmail.com'Amy

    Like Chelle, this one hooked me in! If you went into it wanting actual horror it probably wasn’t for you, but I liked the tense, psychological aspect. It was well written compared to some of the recent Point Horrors that I’ve tackled and the tension swept me up. Though I’m not always a fan of ‘issue books’ (depending on how it’s handled), I felt like this one was quite complex and honest about its portrayal of abuse.

    Onto the questions…

    •I found this very different to a lot of Point Horrors but I’d like to think it was intended as part of the series and that they were trying to publish a variety of different stories.
    •On the subject of Lissa’s father, my sensible law degree side would settle for a lifetime in prison but there are parts of me that can’t put into print what I think should’ve happened to him!
    •Chelle is not at all crazy for swooning over Josh, what a lovely Point Horror boy! He was super sweet and not the usual cardboard cutout jock boyfriend.
    •I know nothing about auras but I’d like to think mine would be turquoise, or possibly rainbow coloured.
    •Abby continued to terrorise playgrounds, breaking hearts and noses across America, until she bullied her way into college to pursue a satisfying career as a politician.

    I don’t remember reading other Jane McFann Point Horrors as a kid but after this one I’d be open to reading more.

    Reply
  5. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

    Hiya gang!

    Boy, I’m not sure we were ready for this one, huh? I think all points made so far are completely valid, because essentially I have no idea which side of the fence I come down on this one. As a Point Horror it felt like a flying leap too far out of my comfort zone. But as a standalone novel, I thought it was gripping, devastating stuff.

    I totally agree with Mark that a 200 page dissection of domestic abuse isn’t exactly what I go to PH for, but I’m with Chelley on the rooting-for-Lissa-with-every-single-fibre-of-my-soul thing too. I guess ultimately I just found the whole story desperately sad, which took me completely by surprise. I remembered almost everything about the plot – which says something about its power; I haven’t read it for over 20 years – but I was completely blindsided by how invested in it I became. It put me in mind of Robert Cormier (the king of devastatingly downbeat teen fiction), which is no mean feat. So yeah, compelling and thought-provoking? Without a doubt. Fun? Not so much.

    Oh, and Mark. Barnio? You sir, are a genius, and that is that.

    As Chelley points out, Jane McFann deserves extra credit for acknowledging that gay people exist, albeit in slightly problematic circumstances. And also for daring to delve into that other taboo, the love that dare not speak its name between a teenage girl and her parrot. Beautiful.

    I don’t have much more to say about this one. I’m still kind of shocked that it was ever deemed suitable as Point Horror fare. I’m obsessed with the UK cover, though, which I think is serving way more dramz than the campy US version.

    Okay, questions:

    1.Do we think that Hide & Seek was intended for the Point Horror brand?
    Probably not. In fact, I think it was probably called something else originally, and just got slapped with the Hide and Seek title during the PH repackaging.
    2. Be honest what would you have liked to have happened to Lissa’s Father?
    Well he really ought to have met an egg-cracking comeuppance of some sort. Failing that, a fire in the barnio might have been a fitting end.
    3. Would you have preferred a different ending? If so what?
    Yeah, the whole Vietnam PTSD thing did feel a little tacked-on, but apart from coming perilously close to inviting us to sympathise with Lissa’s father I think it worked pretty well. Not as well as the aforementioned barnio burnio would have worked, but you can’t have everything.
    4. Is Chelle crazy for falling for Josh?
    Absolutely not. Josh was a true gent. I loved him.
    5. There is a mention about Josh’s Aura in the book …. what Aura would you have around you?
    I reckon I exude a sort of deep taupe – the exact shade of middle-aged malaise.
    6. What happened to Abby?
    Oh God I loved Abby. I imagine she punched out that awful woman who turned up midway through to get art lessons for her bratty daughter. After that, I see her becoming an international bounty hunter of some kind.

    Good chat, guys! Looking forward to seeing how this went down with some other members of the PHBC…

    Reply
    1. necromommycon@yahoo.ca'Necromommycon

      “I reckon I exude a sort of deep taupe – the exact shade of middle-aged malaise.”

      This makes me think of Edward Gorey somehow. I love it. Mind you, I’m rapidly slumping taupe-wise myself, chronologically speaking. 😉

      Reply
    2. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Paul. Well you were certainly right….this one definitely has divided opinions. I think that shows just how different this book was for the Point Horror brand. So many questions I would love to ask Jane McFann right now 🙂

      Reply
  6. necromommycon@yahoo.ca'Necromommycon

    I’m a day late and I STILL don’t know what I want to say about this book.
    I loved it as a book, but as a Point Horror it was a letdown. I mean, I want unrealistic scary things in my Point Horrors: madmen and mummies and stuff. This felt like a really sensitive look at domestic abuse through the eyes of someone who’s never known anything else, and it did THAT well, but that isn’t the escapism I look for in these.
    The “because Vietnam!” ending felt tacked on and frankly a little glib. There were moments that could have been used to set that up believably–if, for instance, Lissa’s father had freaked out at the sound of helicopters or painted “exotic” foliage around the edges of his paintings or something; if there’d been any mention before the ending of his war experience…then maybe it would have felt more convincing. As it stands, it felt like a not particularly convincing effort to make me feel sorry for a loathsome character.
    Also can I just add that Lissa feeling sorry for hi at the end made me want to SCREAM. Granted, it was probably realistic for someone who’d spent a lifetime being asked to sympathize with his every need while hiding all of her own feelings…but it was still awful to read. NO Lissa, do not move straight on to pitying him until you’ve spent a few years being justifiably angry.

    Do we think that Hide & Seek was intended for the Point Horror brand?
    I bet it wasn’t. I bet they repackaged it that way thinking it would sell better…
    Be honest what would you have liked to have happened to Lissa’s Father?
    I’d have liked his wife to “accidentally” drop him into a woodchipper.
    Would you have preferred a different ending? If so what?
    After the woodchipper incident, Lissa’s mother gets a truckload of therapy and learns to have her own life, single and happy. Lissa becomes a lawyer/children’s rights advocate.
    Is Chelle crazy for falling for Josh?
    Not in the least! He was the best part of this book. This part (it’s page 60 in my copy) made me almost cry, it was so perfect:
    “What can I do?” he asked. “I’m having the hard time doing the right thing here.”
    After watching Lissa’s father and mother ignore even the possibility that she’d have needs or opinions, the gentleness of him checking to see what SHE wants just undid me.
    There is a mention about Josh’s Aura in the book …. what Aura would you have around you?
    Once I was in a store in Halifax (Nova Scotia), and a strange woman walked up to me and said, “You have a lovely blue-green aura!” So….that, I guess!
    What happened to Abby?
    She became a well-dressed international assassin.

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      Hi Necromommycon – I completely agree about the “because Vietnam!” ending…..it makes me wonder if it was slightly changed for the Point Horror audience as I am convinced this was not a book intended for Point Horror, but a standalone book.

      Reply
  7. muncasterclaire@gmail.com'Claire Muncaster

    well they are. if you’ve read one PH you’ve read them all. poor Bird. part of his problem aside from his ptsd was he couldn’t cope w/ it. i felt sorry for him at the end. at the end of the day he’s her dad

    Reply

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