for the slightly more ~mature~ YA reader,
March 4, 2018 9:30 PM Subscribe
Proof That Christopher Pike Wrote Some Pretty Fucked-Up Books For Teens
Point Horror's grim fascination
Point Horror's grim fascination
Copies of Christopher Pike novels were prime bargaining material at my school. I can clearly remember sitting in a maths lesson, reading whichever one I was most recently obsessed with under the desk, trying desperately to finish it before the end of the class because I'd promised I'd give it back to its owner (who hadn't read it and who was waiting crossly at the desk behind me).Christopher Pike's New Old Horror
Christopher Pike’s debut young adult title, the instant bestseller “Slumber Party,” came out in 1985. Its premise is hardly groundbreaking: six busty young ladies are snowbound in their luxurious winter vacation rental, gory mayhem ensues. Most of his earlier books mirror “Slumber Party”‘s horror-movie cliches, with varying batches of stranded teenagers harboring lascivious urges, dark secrets, and psychotic persons in their midst. He soon turned his sights on the supernatural, penning a prodigious series of wildly imaginative and occasionally ludicrous stories of adolescents battling the forces of evil. His books are rampant with an oddball mashup of Christian moralizing and new-age woo-wooishness, and his characters spend the bulk of their time in a frenzy of hormones and senioritis‚ that is, when they’re not trying to solve their own murders from beyond the grave or survive the attentions of various demons.On Christopher Pike, Young Adult Thriller Extraordinaire
“He’s great,” Carrie said. “But I think it’s supposed to be for older kids. My mom didn’t want me to read it, so I bought it. I have more, too.”Rereading The Thrillers Of My Youth
I smiled, sticking the book in my bag so that I could start reading it as soon as I got home. Carrie had already introduced me to V.C. Andrews—an author whose work was most definitely NOT for kids—so I kept this little secret between us.
That is, until I decided Christopher Pike was the most genius writer I’d ever come across, and then I just had to tell my parents about the amazing plots he created.
In the end, I think, my second reading of Weekend proved what my preteen self never wanted to believe was true: Kids shouldn’t just be taught how to read and then set loose. I wasn’t left wishing that my parents had gone through my paperback novels crossing out offensive lines with a black Sharpie, but I do wish that someone, whether it had been a librarian or my parents, had reminded me that reading isn’t just about what you get out of the plotlines, it’s about what you get out of the story. I grew up in a home where racism wasn’t tolerated, and I learned a decent amount in school, but I was so thrilled by the sex and murder of Christopher Pike’s world that I forgot to apply that knowledge to the material I was reading in my free time.Anti-Woman Horror 101: How Rereading Christopher Pike’s Whisper of Death Killed My Nostalgia
But Whisper of Death is different. It’s not the screeching anti-abortion, anti-sex message (and Pike was the sexy one, not like that juvenile R.L. Stine!), but that I had absolutely no memory of it. I imagine my eleven- or twelve-year-old self, captivated as Betty Sue explains that all the violence and suffering is Rox’s fault. Rox’s death must have felt, in some sense, right, or I wouldn’t have remembered the book as one of Pike’s best. The deserted town and lethal fairy tales stayed with me. The shamed girl settled somewhere below, in my subconscious.Nostalgia Reality Check: Re-Reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike
The weirdest thing about reading these books as an adult is that I am acutely aware they are written by middle-aged men, one of whom I would like to have a drink with at a bar and one who I would not.#35 Pike v. Stine: A Retro YA Thriller Throwdown
If you’re about my age and went to a public middle or high school in North America, you know the key battle of the 90s in grade 6-9 classrooms across the continent: R.L. Stine vs. Christopher Pike — who is more awesome? Everyone had an opinion, and even if you read both you liked one or the other more. The only people who didn’t were the kids who claimed Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine were the same person (and I’m sure these conspiracy-theorists-in-waiting grew up to be 9/11 Truthers). For my part, I was 100% Pike — which, after reviewing the books through adults eyes, makes me worried that I was a terribly disturbed little person.