PHBC – Prom Date 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 last months pick….

Prom Date 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

Don’t forget this months #PointHorrorBookClub for the 13th December…..

The Snowman by R L Stine

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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

She’d kill for a date….

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

It’s coming up to Prom Night at Toomey High!  You know that night where you get to go to a fancy dance, with a fancy date, in a beautiful fancy prom dress……unless of course someone wants YOUR date all to themselves!

Wait?!  What?!

Yes that’s right!  Someone REALLY wants to go to Prom so they are going to bump off the competition and when they still get turned down for a date bump off some more competition!

Oh the horror!

And that’s not all!  What persues is ruined Prom dresses, creepy lighthouses, a dead body floating in the water, dumpster fires, cash box face hitting and bumper cars!

It’s carnage in this Point Horror I tell you!  Carnage!

So the cancel the Prom right?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha …. you’ve got some good jokes!

*picks out Prom dress*

The Girl

Margaret Dunne was our girl and I kind of liked her.  With her light brown, very fine, straight hair, tall and thin body with good skin that had never seen a blemish in all her life she was a bit of a typical point horror girl, but there was just something different about her.  Could it have been the way she moved so gracefully or her amazing doe shaped deep brown eyes?  Or even her long thick upturned eyelashes or even the fact that she loved sunglasses?  I’m not sure, but she seemed to have it together and in her own words she was an intelligent born leader.  She had never dated a boy exclusively for any length of time, but she was not a heartbreaker, she could never hurt any one.  Margaret loved books and rejected her Mom Adrienne’s attempts to “Beautify” her and most importantly she was most definitely not going to prom!

Well that was of course until hot boy Mitch came along!

Then all bets were off!

Did anyone else notice she called her Mom by her name, Adrienne, for most of the book and the occasional Mom slipped in there every now and again?

Anyway she did adore her Mom and I quite liked the scenes when they were together.  It was great to see a Point Horror Mom not only in a Point Horror, but acting like a Mom too!  Go Adrienne!

That being said Adrienne wasn’t around when Margaret was almost burning to death in a dumpster!  No!  She was swanning it up at Impeccable Tastes with her unnamed boyfriend!  Poor Margaret had to be saved by…….her own shoe!

Margaret does get thrown in the firing line of the Prom Date killer though when her love interest shows up and asks her to prom……

The Love Interest

Other than the million prom dates whos dates get bumped off or injured throughout the book i.e. Michael Danz the poor thing, there was one hot main love interest for Margaret…..Mitch McGill!

With his warm spaniel brown eyes, strong bones and great face.  He was tall with broad shoulders had thick dark hair and a nice smile…… he was our typical Point Horror boy and actually pretty decent.  Not Chelley fancying pretty decent, but decent.

He was a nice all round guy and he genuinely seemed to really like and care for Margaret and I loved how he seemed to avoid the Pop’s at all costs.

He did give me a chuckle though when he got asked to Prom by future Prom Date killer reveal Liza, but didn’t think to mention it until right at the end because you know it wasn’t important…..THERE WAS ONLY A KILLER KILLING OFF BOYS PROM DATES ON THE LOOSE but hey ho!

The Gang

Only fair to start off with best friend to Margaret, Caroline LaSalle.  With her bronze and muddy water coloured hair, good skin, her eyes a little green and a little gray and her thin face that was sharp around the edges no wonder people thought she and Margaret were sisters(?!).  She of course was not going to prom and was holding out for a hot guy to ask her even though a poor underused boy called Scott was pining after her.  She liked to always be right and planned to buy turquoise contact lenses…..well that’s if she ever remembered to put them in, but then say she didn’t say she hadn’t put them in, but really had *mind swirls*.

She was the classic red herring best friend and to be honest let Margaret off quite easily when she got accused of being the murderer because she was so desperate to go to Prom (not).  She did try and pull the feel guilty for going to prom without me Margaret card and I do wish Scott had turned her down when she finally asked him to the prom but other than that she was okay.

Then there were Margaret’s two other best friends because of course there had to be four to make a Quartet (a common theme throughout the book)….Jeannine Baker with her narrow face, tall and thin as a stick frame and red frizzy hair and Lacey Dowd who in contrast was short, stocky (grrrrr very R L Stine, but at least Hoh didn’t make her the murderer!) with a dutch boy bright blonde haired bob.  They were not very good friends really were they…..I mean as soon as one of the Pop’s was bumped off and couldn’t go to the prom they were right there trying to poach their dates.  I did do an evil chuckle when they didn’t end up going to prom in the end!  All the lollingtons!

Then there were The Pop’s……Stiney was way ahead of his time here I think with his unique name for “The Plastics”.

Up first is top Pop Stephanie Markham who may only be remembered for floating by the rocks in her yellow jacket….dead.  Yes that’s right she got pushed from the top of an old creepy lighthouse….that must have hurt!  With her love for all things yellow, her credit card and a prime candidate for prom queen she was our classic queen of the bitches.  She was tall and leopard sleek with dark hair like black velvet and perfect porcelain skin…..did she really deserve to be pushed to her death because someone wanted her Prom Date?

No YOUR nodding!

Then of course to make up the Pop’s Quartet there was olive skinned, perfect make up Kiki and blue eyed, quite the artist and a quieter kid of beauty Beth Andrews.

And then the brilliant Liza Buffet!

OMG I think I loved Liza as the evil, desperate to go to Prom, murderer.  She was described as not as mean as Stephanie, tall, blond and although red was not her colour she loved to kill!  She would do anything for a date and I think that whole scene at the end just made me go QUEEN!  More on that later!  I loved the chapters when we saw her thought process and inside her head and I loved how she just had to have a date to prom so she figures she will eliminate all of her friends.

QUEEN!

I can’t not mention little Scott Noonan with his thing for Caroline.  With his freckles, blue eyes and bushy red hair.  He was severely under used in this Point Horror and didn’t really get a time to shine.  I mean he sometimes bought Caroline a single yellow rose for crying out loud….that’s just too adorable right?!

Fashion Faux Pas

I didn’t spot too many….but a horn rimmed glasses and pink suit combo did slip in there some where although I’m unsure who was wearing this!

There was also a bright yellow shorts and top combi that Lacey wore to the hospital!

*pops on Margaret’s sunglasses*

Dialogue Disasters

“How could your best friend be completely insane without you knowing it?”

I’ve said it before and I will say it again….THIS IS POINT HORROR!

“Was Caroline really insane?  Was that why she’d been doing so much reading about mental illness, because she was afraid she had it?”

NO HOH!  NO!  GRRRRRRRRRR

“His obvious concern warmed her like a wool sweater”

Margaret likes it as hot as a dumpster in her sweaters!

“After a long drought even a few drops of water were a blessing”

This is Margaret’s comparison to dating…….*coughs*

“One of these days he’s going to get tired of being treated like the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag”

Poor Scott was living his own Point Horror nightmare!

“The image of me in a prom dress would be as hard for them to grasp as the meaning of a Shakespeare sonnet”

To be or not to be….

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”

Says Margaret waking up from sleep in her hospital bed…..I think this is when Hoh gave Stiney the idea for The Snowman!

“This wasn’t one of those disgusting teen horror films where the girl was so desperate for a date, she took a chain saw to anyone who stood in her way”

No THATS what we call a Point Horror!

“I cannot believe that someone is attacking girls to keep them from attending their senior prom!  It so totally insane!”

It’s so totally Point Horror!

Body Count

1 full on push someone off the top of a light house murder!

Yeah!

Plus of course one stray cat poisoned by accident (death by milk) and three near misses for our other characters!

It was awesome!

Is it scary?

Hmmmmmm not really ….. more borderline slasher horror film that kept me guessing until the very end…..I mean it could have been anyone!

Did the best friend do it?

Oh yes!  One of the Pop’s best friends of course, but it still totally counts!

I mean I was all for Scott being the reveal to be honest because it would have been a better twist than the one we had…….but still Liza took the Pop’s friendship oath of “One For All.  And All For One” very seriously indeed!

And that ending scene when she comes into Prom like something out of Sunset Boulevard was just a Point Horror classic moment!  Just brilliant!

gloria-swanson-norma-desmond

This being said another good twist would have been that the Pop’s Moms did it……you know it would have been great!  #QuartetForever

Some Mild Peril?

I guess climbing a creepy rotten lighthouse and being pushed off the edge, being locked in a burning dumpster after a failed poison attempt and basically become human prom date bait for Liza classes as mild peril right?

Is it any good?

I have to say I really really enjoyed this one.  It was a lot longer than our normal Point Horror, but I really liked the feel to it.  It had a good range of suspects and a pretty decent storyline.  I could quite easily imagine this being a 90’s film and really enjoying it.

Shout out to the brilliantly names shops in this little old town – Quartet, Impeccable Tastes – I basically want to live there…..but not go any where near Prom!

Final Thought

“Atmosfear”

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!

  • What would you do if you didn’t have a date to the Toomey High Prom?
  • You want to make a grand entrance to the Prom…..what would you do?
  • What happened to Liza after the book ?
  • Did Mitch and Margaret stay together?
  • What ever happened to Scott?

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

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub to discuss this months pick……The Snowman by R L Stine !

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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

9 thoughts on “PHBC – Prom Date by Diane Hoh

  1. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

    Hey gang!

    I enjoyed this one too. Diane Hoh always gives good whodunit, and with this one being twice the length of some of the flimsier Point Horrors we’ve read, I thought it gave us plenty to get stuck into. If you’re a writer looking to include a decent red herring in your next story though, I’m afraid you’re out of luck; the Hoh used them ALL in Prom Date.

    If anything, I felt like it could have done with being longer, so we could have got to know some of the supporting characters a little better (someone named Sarah pops up for literally one scene early on, and I was all, “who dis bitch?”, but then she vanished. And Jeannine was given absolutely nothing to do, which was a shame). I agree that there was definitely a subplot about the mums that was conspicuous by its absence, too; in fact, I got the feeling that one of them probably WAS the killer in an earlier draft, but the length was just too much.

    Can we talk about Margaret’s friends? Man, they were the WORST friends. Way worse than the Pops, and they had a friggin’ serial killer in their midst. I dunno about prom queen, but Lacey sure took the bitch crown when she thoughtfully commented, “I hate to be crass but the prom isn’t going to be cancelled just because Kiki smashed her face in.” as poor old Kiki lay bleeding on the floor.

    The Dumpster attack scene was properly horrifying too, and made me hyperventilate a bit, and Chelley I totally share your love of Liza’s Norma Desmond style meltdown at the end (though it comes literally out of nowhere).

    Questions:
    1. Cover wars: the UK cover wins this month by a country mile.
    2. What would you do if you didn’t have a date to the Toomey High Prom?
    Count my lucky stars and steer clear of that goddam horror show.
    3. You want to make a grand entrance to the Prom…..what would you do?
    Turn up fully Sissy Spacek-ed: head to toe corn syrup a la Carrie.
    4. What happened to Liza after the book?
    This one’s still living in crazytown, I reckon. Still thinks every night is prom night.
    5. Did Mitch and Margaret stay together?
    Probs, they were dull enough to deserve each other.
    6. What ever happened to Scott?
    Hopefully he gave up on high maintenance nightmare Caroline (“I’m not wearing contacts! Yes I am! I don’t even need them! Where are my contacts!”) and headed into the sunset with mystery one-mention Sarah.

    Reply
  2. cmilton81@gmail.com'Cazzy

    Hi PHBC!
    I thought the premise of the book was quite good but the execution was sloppy! Much of it didn’t read likebana a Hoh novel, to the extent I checked the front to see whether this was another ghost written book.

    Things I did like:
    Margaret. She was, as you said Chelley, a typical PH heroine in some ways but she seemed to have a bit more substance and backbone.

    Adrienne. A point horror parent who has more than a fleeting role!

    Mitch. If old whats-his-face from Halloween Night II won my award for sleazist PH boy, Mitch has to win for eine the nicest. Another pointment horror first: a popular person who is nice! He was genuinely interested in Margaret.

    Mitch and Margaret not winning goal prom king and Queen. It would have been so easy to go down that route and the theme of happy endings could have nade it almost inevitable, but thankfully Hoh resisted.

    Things I didn’t like:
    Two in one here – sloppy writing and Caroline as the red herring. It was blatantly obvious Caroline was not the culprit because in her first person narration, the killer tells us she found out about Mitch taking Margaret to the prom at Stephanie’s funeral. Hoh wrote a scene earlier than the funeral where Margaret tells her friends her news, which ruled out any of her circle and left only the Pops. A shame since Hoh went to some lengths to include the ‘quartet’ motif – both the Pops and Margaret’s circle are made up of four girls, the shop name which represented the four owners…all.undone by sloppy planning.

    The end scene. It could have been so good, but instead it was comically written.

    All-in-all not bad, but quite a disappointment as I think parts were really good and the book could have been better.

    Reply
    1. Chelley Toy Post author

      That was a well spotted unravelling there Cazzy! I never noticed this! If I had it would have totally changed things for sure whilst reading it! *hi fives for eagle eyes there*

      Reply
  3. cmilton81@gmail.com'Cazzy

    I almost forgot the questions!!

    What would you do if you didn’t have a date to the Toomey High Prom?
    I’d go without one! Bunch of wusses planning on sitting at home – go to the party!

    You want to make a grand entrance to the Prom…..what would you do?
    Kill a writer and strike a pose – worked for Norma Desmond, right?

    What happened to Liza after the book ?
    She was heavily sedated and married off as soon as her parents could find a poor, unsuspecting society fool to take her.

    Did Mitch and Margaret stay together?
    PH wedding?

    What ever happened to Scott?
    He stopped stalking Caroline and got a life.

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

    The sequence with Liza at the end is great. I loved it! Sure, it’s cheesy and somewhat out-of-place, but it’s just so 1990s made-for-TV movie silly that I can’t resist. And this should definitely be a made-for-TV movie. Maybe I’ll do one of those Kickstarter fundraisers and make it happen.

    Plus Diane Hoh is my favourite Point Horror author, so I generally forgive any minor blips in her writing or plotting. “Prom Date” was one of the final Point Horrors to ever be released (I’m not including the “Unleashed” titles), so I was pleased to see the brand go out on a high note.

    What would I do if I didn’t have a date to the Toomey High Prom?
    I’d ask Liza. It would certainly ensure that I didn’t have a boring night.

    What would I do to make a grand entrance at Prom?
    Wear the same outfit and make-up as Liza.

    What happened to Liza after the book?
    She became an event planner/wedding planner. I’d love to see what would happen at a wedding if Liza couldn’t get a date to it.

    Did Mitch and Margaret stay together?
    I imagine, so long as they didn’t attend anything organised by Liza.

    What ever happened to Scott?
    Who cares about Scott?!? This is Liza’s show!

    I definitely prefer the American cover with what I assume to be crazy Liza on the front!

    Reply
    1. paulhirons81@gmail.com'@PaulHi

      Yeah, I liked the Liza scene at the end too: we rarely see what happens to our psychos in point horror after the obligatory carted-off-by-police scene, and I thought it added some welcome closing histrionics.

      Reply

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