Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Invitation by Diane Hoh


When I was a kid, I was all about the Point Horror books. I would scavenge the library for these and check out the max amount at a time, and then come back, return the ones I'd gotten, and immediately check out more (and so on and so forth, until I exhausted the selection). There were many tropes in these books but my favorite was and still is "the deadly party." Oh, we got invitations to this strange creepy mansion owned by this girl who doesn't like us? Cool. A mountain retreat with a sinister couple who like torturing children? Neat-o. A beach getaway with a bunch of red-blooded teens who start lusting for blood? Radical.

You're always painting the town red with Point Horror!

A lot of these books have started to run together in my memories but I actually vaguely remembered THE INVITATION and I thought it would make a good candidate for my rereading project, where I revisit books from my childhood and adolescence that I used to enjoy.

The premise of THE INVITATION is pretty simple. Five outcast teens receive invitations to go to a mansion owned by the most popular girl in their school. The party opens up with a game of musical chairs but bad things happen to the losers. At first, what simply seems mean-spirited quickly seems deadly, as one girl is locked up in a garage with a car, and another is left to panic in the dark. But who would want to hurt them? And why?

The payoff for this one was such a cop-out. There's no real foreshadowing and everything just kind of happens all at once. It felt cheap. I like it when you at least have a shot at picking out the bad guy from the beginning of the book and it's no fun if the author just throws something together. I remember thinking the mansion setting was so cool as a kid, but as an adult, it feels kind of lame. I liked the Dark Shadows reference in the beginning of the book, though. It really slaps a time stamp on it.

Not my favorite Point Horror so far by a long shot. So far, Caroline B. Cooney is the reigning queen.

1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars

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