Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Lois Duncan

In which I share vague recollections of books I read long ago that have stuck with me.

You may have heard that Lois Duncan died last week. There wasn't a lot of fanfare, but for those of us who were teenagers in the 80s, she was an important part of our formative years. She wrote young adult books before that was even a thing. We mostly read adult books - for me it was Stephen King and Danielle Steel, a strange-sounding combination now, but that's what I read. At that time there were very few books that had been written with a teen audience in mind: those were mostly written by Lois Duncan, Caroline Cooney, and S.E. Hinton.

Duncan's most well-known book is probably I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was made into a movie in the 90s. Others that I remember are Summer of Fear and Stranger With My Face. But the one that has stuck with me the most is Killing Mr. Griffin, which was published in 1978. In this story, a group of high school students want to get back at their mean teacher by kidnapping him to scare him. But then he dies! Of course, rather than going to the police and telling them the truth, they decide to cover it up and it all gets way more complicated. I loved this book.

There's apparently an updated version of this book that includes references to Google and cell phones, but wasn't completely updated and apparently the modern-day details just seem incongruous with the rest of the book. So if you decide to read it, be sure to look for the original version!

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