I HEART Lois Duncan Wrap-up and Down a Dark Hall Review

Well it’s the last day of February, so that means the last day of I HEART Lois Duncan month.  I hope you were exposed to some of the great books she has written, and maybe you’ll pick one up to read now!

I’ve had fun sharing her work with you.  And she has sooooo much more that I didn’t highlight.  You know the movie Hotel for Dogs?  Um, she wrote the book! How cool is that to see how she has grown and changed throughout the course of her writing career.  That completely amazes me.  Please check out her website HERE and see all that she has done and continues to do.

Now for the final review.  My favorite book by her is Down a Dark Hall.  I tempted fate and reread it.  I’m always worried when I reread favorite books because what if they didn’t stand the test of time.  I’m glad to say that this one did!

In case you don’t know what it’s about
Kit Gordy sees Blackwood Hall towering over black iron gates, and she can’t help thinking, This place is evil. The imposing mansion sends a shiver of fear through her. But Kit settles into a routine, trying to ignore the rumors that the highly exclusive boarding school is haunted.
Then her classmates begin to show extraordinary and unknown talents. The strange dreams, the voices, the lost letters to family and friends, all become overshadowed by the magic around them.
When Kit and her friends realize that Blackwood isn’t what it claims to be, it might be too late.

Why I Liked it at 14
Ok I admit, when I was that age I wanted to go to a private school.  And the look of that private school was just like that school that Kit went to.  And to top it off her “dorm” room was the best.  A canopy bed in red velvet! The best.  Ok, ok I liked it for more than that.  I remember it just totally creeping me out.  The idea of being stuck at Blackwood and not being able to leave and stop what was happening was just so frightening!

Why I Liked it Now
I still found it creepy, but in a new way.  As a mom the thought of my daughter going through that alone scared me in a whole new way.  Plus the isolation Kit felt really hit harder for me.  As the story went along I so clearer now alone she was.  The other girls slowly faded into their own worlds, and she was left to cope on her own.  I also appreciated more how the story was crafted.  Although things happened quickly, there was a believability to them because of the setting.  This house cut off from anything else, no phones – just allowed the events in the story to feel real and possible. Reading it now I was able to see the skill Duncan had crafting this story – pulling the reader in, scaring them but not going to far.  I was impressed.

Final thought: Even after 26 years I still HEART Lois Duncan!
Best-stick-with-you image:  The horrible painting
Best for readers who: like a bit of a scare
Best for readers: 12+

Now don’t forget to enter the give away for two Lois Duncan books of your choice.  You must fill out THIS FORM.  Extra entries for commenting on any I HEART Lois Duncan post.
Thanks everyone for joining in!

I HEART Lois Duncan Guest Review: Twisted Window

Today I have a guest review from Cheryl Mahoney, who blogs at Tales of the Marvelous.

Title: Twisted Window

Author: Lois Duncan

Here is Her Review

It’s challenging to give a description of The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan, because anything I say feels like I’m giving things away.  Duncan is a master at the careful reveal, the drawn-out suspense, and the sudden twist.  I don’t think that skill is ever more evident than in this book, which is one reason I wanted to review it for Jill’s Lois Duncan month.  In keeping with its name, it’s riddled with twists and unexpected turns in the story, and you can never be sure that what you think is happening is really what’s going on.
To give you a little hint of the plot: it begins when Tracy realizes that a boy is staring at her across the high school cafeteria.  He introduces himself as Brad, a new student, but she quickly comes to suspect that he’s not what he seems to be.  Brad reveals that he’s come to town looking for a girl, and he wants Tracy to help him find her. 
And that’s really all I can bear to tell you!  Except that, in true Duncan fashion, the stakes keep rising higher and higher, the tension rises right along with those stakes, and the countless twists will keep you guessing until the last chapter.
Duncan has some of the most masterful twists I’ve ever seen.  I’d love to give you an example, but I hate to give any of them away.  So let me give you a similar twist: say a character was introduced but not described.  Something she says leads you to assume she’s middle-aged.  Five chapters later, a new detail reveals that she’s really only twenty.  That doesn’t happen, but similar things do.  Duncan never lies to the reader—she just very carefully leads you off in the wrong direction.  I reread the book for this review, so I could see the twists coming and fully appreciate how neatly she set them all up—and the book’s still good even when you know what’s coming.
One thing I found strange the first time I read The Twisted Window was how little the window actually comes into it.  There is a window, one which has a warp in the glass, but it’s a small piece of the book.  On this read, and thinking about it from an older perspective, I think I was taking the title too literally.  It’s not a glass window that’s twisted—it’s the window the reader has into the world, and the window the characters are looking at life through.  And believe me, those two metaphorical windows…are twisted.  In an appropriate for young adult readers sort of way, I mean.  🙂
A brilliant page-turner of a book.  Highly recommended.
Don’t forget to enter the I HEART Lois Duncan Month giveaway.  Go HERE to find out how!

Friday’s for the Guys: I HEART Duncan Version

Every Friday I like to take a look at books and/or authors that would be awesome for boys to read.  During I HEART Lois Duncan month I want to comment on how these books would work for boys.

I will admit that most of them have female leads, so they would be more geared towards girls.  As a middle school girl I loved that! But there are 3 books that boys might enjoy.  They don’t have only boy main characters, but they have a more ensemble cast with boys that play a main role.  These three are ones that I do suggest to boys.

The lives of five captives hang in the balance while their families gather the ransom. Two brothers, their family frantic to find their sons. A loner whose uncle doesn’t even know he’s missing. An Army brat whose family will never be able to raise enough money. And a cheerleader who can’t count on her stepdad, but feels sure her father will come through.

Killing Mr. Griffin

They only meant to scare him.
Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can’t believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it’s a harmless prank, right?
But things don’t go according to plan. When one “accident” leads to another, people begin to die. Susan and her friends must face the awful truth: one of them is a killer.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (yes the movie was based on it but VERY loosely!)
Four teen-agers who have desperately tried to conceal their responsibility for a hit-and-run accident are pursued by a mystery figure seeking revenge.

I HEART Lois Duncan Guest Review: Locked in Time

Today for I HEART Lois Duncan month I have a guest review from Jana at Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading (one of my favorite blogs!)  She loves Lois Duncan like I do and agreed to a review on Locked in Time. Here’s her review!

Locked in Time

4 creme filled Whoopie Pies!

Cover Love: Honestly, there are so many covers out there that I cannot say. I did not like the cover of the version I read, but I can’t really rate that since that might not be the one you read!

Why I Wanted to Read This Book:It’s I Heart Lois Duncan month! And she was one of my favorite authors when I was in middle school. I didn’t remember reading this one when I was younger, but now that I have finished it, I do recall that I had read it!

Here’s the synopsis:
It doesn’t occur to Nore to take the dream-warning seriously. Her new stepmother and stepbrother seem nice. But why does Nore feel so uneasy around them? Maybe she should have listened . . .

I Kept Reading Because: It was every bit as good as I expected it to be. Lois Duncan is a great author!

Romance?: A little hint of one.

What I Liked (& Didn’t):You know how some books that you loved as a youth do not stand up to the test of time? I cannot even bring myself to read The Vampire Diaries because I know how crushed I will feel when I realize they were stupid and poorly written (I read them in college, back when nobody was reading YA and I kind of had to hide them from people). I read a Nancy Drew book last year and couldn’t help thinking that it was not good.
But, Lois Duncan’s books, the books I devoured in middle and high school, are still as awesome today as they were back then.

First of all, Nore has a wisdom in her that is seldom seen in today’s YA heroines.  She doesn’t spend pages discussing things with her friends (granted she is isolated without friends (or cell phones or computers)) but she is ready to believe the weird and she faces it head on.

It is so quick moving, just a smidge over 200 pages, but there doesn’t need to be more!  It is refreshing to have a YA thriller/with a supernatural bent that is not over 400 pages. 

Lois Duncan can write.  Her descriptions are wonderful.  To read a book set in Louisiana, in the summer, when I am in Montana in the dead of winter was wonderful!  I felt the heat.

To Sum Up:Lois Duncan stands the test of time!  I loved this book and am going to give a few others of hers a try this year.  I love directing readers in my school to her books and so far, none of them have been disappointed.
Lois Duncan is updating her books for a new generation. 

Read her Good Reads post about the problem with cell phones in her books!

I HEART Lois Duncan the Covers

I love book covers.  LOVE them! Today I’m taking my cover love to my love for Lois Duncan books.  I’ll look at the old covers I remember and compare them with the new ones.

CORRECTED! NEW COVERS ON THE LEFT! Ok so I messed up and said right first!
Daughter’s of Eve

                 NEW                                                                                                              OLD

I love the old one – yes it’s “old” looking but I think it captures the spookiness of the book just a tish better than the new cover.  I mean the blood dripping down the candle – perfect!

Summer of Fear

Although the old one looks very dated I do think it captures what happens in the book better.  The new one shows nothing.  I don’t think it would grab a possible new reader’s attention very well.

Down a Dark Hall

No contest – new cover is waaaaaay better.  Skeleton hands are just cheesy.

Killing Mr. Griffin

 Um – aren’t they basically the same??? I call a tie!

Ok I could go on and on with covers, but I’ll just feature these! 
(remember every comment gets you an entry in the giveaway! You have to fill out THE FORM at THIS POST first tho!)

Welcome to I Heart Lois Duncan Month!

When I was in middle school (or somewhere around there), I read this book that had me hanging on the edge of my seat.  It was unlike anything I had ever read before.  I never knew stories like that were out there.  That book: Daughters of Eve.  I then hunted down and read every other book by the author, Lois Duncan, that I could.  They included:

Time and time again she drew me into a world that held me breathless and amazed.  I read and reread them.  They were magic for me.  Well at KidLit Con this past October I attended a session on blogging the backlist and books/authors we just loved.  Lois Duncan immediately came to mind, and I knew I had to take time to celebrate her work.

Here’s what to expect over the month:
Reviews by me of her books
Guest reviews by some great other bloggers
A Lois Duncan Giveaway
A look at what she’s writing now

The Giveaway

We’ll kick the month off right now with the giveaway.  If you love Lois Duncan and want to reread some books or if you’ve never read a book by her – this is your chance.  I’ll be giving away 2 Lois Duncan Books of the winners choice.

+1 for tweeting contest
IF YOU FILL OUT THE FORM +1 for replying to any I HEART LOIS DUNCAN posts
US only
No P.O. Box
End Feb 28th 10 pm EST