The Queen of Teen Suspense
June 17, 2016 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Best known for her YA novels, author Lois Duncan has died at the age of 82. A prolific writer, her books have thrilled multiple generations and have also been adapted into a few movies you may have heard of.

NPR, Publishers Weekly, New Republic, and Jezebel* remember.
Her own youngest daughter's 1989 murder, chronicled in her book Who Killed My Daughter?, remains unsolved. (Previously.)
*Jezebel has a personal connection to Duncan. In 2014, Jez staffers Kelly Faircloth and Jia Tolentino re-read (my personal favorite -ag.) Daughters of Eve for their Halloween YA Book Club. Thanks to her granddaughter, Duncan showed up to comment and stayed to answer questions.
posted by ApathyGirl (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
. Such a huge part of my early library.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:57 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Jezebel thread where she shows up is so great and charming.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:21 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Surely this is just some sort of plot to sneak into a younger body while the usual occupant of that body is astral projecting. I mean assuming Stranger with My Face was prophetic.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:21 PM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

posted by joannemerriam at 1:41 PM on June 17, 2016


Stranger with My Face and Summer of Fear were two of my favorite check-outs from the grade school library. I'll never forget those early 80s Dell covers.
posted by rewil at 1:45 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


According to this IMDB link, she hated the I Know What You Did Last Summer movies (especially in light of her daughter's murder):

I was ecstatic until I settled into a theater seat with my box of popcorn and discovered that Hollywood had turned my teenage suspense story into a slasher film. The setting had been changed from the mountains of New Mexico to a fishing village on the East Coast, so an insane fisherman, who wasn't in my book, could decapitate my characters with an ice hook. The first thing I did after leaving the theater was phone our daughter Kerry and warn her not to let the grandchildren see it.
posted by jabo at 2:01 PM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I was in elementary school when "Summer of Fear" came out. It had a creepy cover with a girl in a bathing suit with a black and white face superimposed over hers. Everyone had to read it.

My favorite of hers was "Down a Dark Hall" - I've always loved a good Gothic mystery.

Thanks for keeping me entertained as a young reader.
posted by mogget at 2:45 PM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I used to give myself a headache trying to astrally project.
posted by Biblio at 2:56 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by allthinky at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2016

That Jezebel piece where Lois Duncan pops in to comment--fantastic! Thank you, I hadn't seen that before. She is so charming!

For anyone who hasn't read the "previously" above on the murder of her daughter--it's a really, really good piece.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:09 PM on June 17, 2016

posted by brujita at 3:52 PM on June 17, 2016

Her book "A Gift Of Magic" is one of the first novels I can remember reading--I was probably in 5th or 6th grade. Lois Duncan is right up there with Judy Blume as far as authors who helped me become a book lover when I was a kid. I read and reread so many of their books over and over again, and I'm sure I still have some of them all these years later. Thanks, Lois, for helping make me into the lover of books that I am today!
posted by bookmammal at 4:08 PM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

I always liked that one with the girl who could find missing kids and dreamed of her future kid and how she was going to get together with the cop helping her. Also, "blue eyes as a dominant trait?" Is that for real?

And we'll all remember Daughters of Eve, right?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:07 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I loved her books as a tween. I think my favourite was the one where a girl's father remarries and she realises her stepfamily never ages.

Lois Duncan is probably part of why I'm such a suspense and mystery addict today.
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:26 AM on June 18, 2016

posted by Jubey at 4:53 AM on June 18, 2016

posted by hydropsyche at 9:04 AM on June 18, 2016

Our library will be so much poorer without your continued offerings. Thanks from generations of readers for all you did write. RIP.
posted by Lynsey at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2016


I loved her books so much, especially Daughters of Eve and Down a A Dark Hall.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:03 PM on June 18, 2016

posted by Fizz at 5:13 PM on June 18, 2016

posted by stoneweaver at 8:03 PM on June 18, 2016

posted by luckynerd at 6:53 PM on June 19, 2016

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