Those Books We Loved... but can't remember

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I've been reading some blog posts today about the books we loved as kids. This one in particular, which is part of the YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday, sparked this post.

At the time the post went up, Kathleen, the blogger, mentioned a series she loved as a kid, but couldn't remember the name of. (Thanks to some details provided, someone else gave her the title.) I found myself in a similar spot - knowing the plot, but not the title of a book I'd loved as a kid. I realized half-way through my answer that one of Kathleen's favorites was the title I was missing.

My list of favorite books was similar to hers:
  • The Dollhouse Murders
  • Wait 'Til Helen Comes
  • Christina's Ghost (the forgotten title)
  • The Vampire's Promise novels (though I'm fairly certain they had a different name back in the day)
  • Christopher Pike
  • I also read a lot of Poe, and the "Spooky Stories to Tell in the Dark" short stories.
It's really not all that difficult to see where my proclivity for dark-slanted tales comes from. (The irony of this is, I'm not a fan of gory horror. I much prefer psychological chills to blood and guts.)

All of that was just the lead in for my "real" post:

There's a book I read as a kid that I loved, but I've since forgotten the title. I'm wondering if anyone out there recognizes this set-up:

  • It would have probably been published in the early 90's (though it's possible that it was an 80's hold-over), paperback and not very thick.
  • The story was vampires (I've mentioned my fascination with the bloodsuckers, yeah?)
  • The main character was a teenage boy 15-16 yrs old who lived in a boardwalk town (I'm wanting to call him Jesse.)
  • His best (girl) friend had been taken by the "big bad" vampire, who was living in the shuttered boardwalk amusement park.
  • The "less bad" vampire (because she certainly wasn't good) agreed to help rescue the girl because she wanted to destroy the "big bad" vampire, so she and the teen teamed up.
  • They rescue the girl, and the big bad gets killed, but what made me remember this book was that it wasn't a happy ending. The last scene was in a sort of clubhouse, or treehouse, where the teen had taken his friend (because it was a standing structure with a threshold that couldn't be crossed, IIRC). She was out cold in an easy chair, and the very end had her waking up, him hugging her happily just as the scene faded to black on the light glinting off her new fangs.
Granted, I read a TON of thriller-style books as a kid, so it's entirely possible that my brain has melded two or three into one storyline that never actually existed, but I really want to find out the title of this book if it's out there.

Most kids' books are of the "happily ever after" and "problems solved by dinnertime" variety. Stumbling on one where victory was pulled out of reach at the last second was jarring, and obviously left an impression.

11 Chiming In:

Kate Hart said...

Hmm.... no idea, but I hope someone can hook you up!

Josin L. McQuein said...

Oh, and BTW, it's not the movie "Lost Boys", which was set in a boardwalk amusement park.


Kayeleen Hamblin said...

That book seems really familiar, but I can't place it.

I loved Wait 'Til Helen Comes and have a copy. I just reread it and I still love it.

Loree Huebner said...

Good Post.

Sorry, I don’t recall the book that you are trying to remember. Sounds like The Lost Boys.
Maybe try The Boardwalk Vampire by Ed Sams????

I agree with you that “Most kids' books are of the "happily ever after" and "problems solved by dinnertime" variety. Stumbling on one where victory was pulled out of reach at the last second was jarring, and obviously left an impression."

Those stories we stumble upon have left an impression on us as kids, I blogged about this very topic this week too. I chose to talk about Charlotte’s Web as a book that impacted me and how it touched the writer in my young soul. I did love the writing itself throughout the book, but I think this book is a fooler. Charlotte’s Web appears to be one of those “happily ever after” stories, but if you peel back the layers, it’s really a dark horror story – especially to a seven year old. It’s a very jarring account of a soul who knows he’s going to be butchered and eaten…yeah, it’s even referred to as “murder” in the book - A lot for a child of seven to comprehend all at once.

Of course, there is a good side. One friend takes it on and puts herself out there to help this poor, about to be butchered character. Others join in to help. In the end, one soul stood up for another. There are the stark lessons of good and evil here all written for the mind of a seven year old to comprehend. That’s amazing writing.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Your post made me remember that I'd meant to track down a book I'd loved as a kid called The Snow Ghosts by Beryl Netherclift. I read that one until it fell apart.

AlexisKG said...

Oh, the Dollhouse Murders! Yes. I completely forgot about that one. And, just because you highlighted the idea of forgetting, realized that I forgot ALL OF DR SEUSS. So, thanks for both!

Punya said...

Oh my god! I'm so proud to know of/follow your blog. Someone who's love for vampires started because the YA hype. I can't say I've heard of it, but it sounds like a charming series. :) Good luck.

Bonnie @ A Backwards Story said...

I'm not sure, either. "Helen" is about to be a movie! Did you ever read "The Darkangel Trilogy" by Meredith Ann Pierce? One of my favorite vampire stories!

Josin L. McQuein said...

I didn't know they were making a movie out of Helen! That's awesome!

And I DID love the Darkangel books; I read the first one in high school, but it was the only one in our library.

When I was a kid "vampires" were discouraged, so I had a string of years where I was *cough* BAT *cough* for Halloween. :-P

Carrie said...

The Dollhouse Murders! That one scared me so much that I wouldn't sleep with my dollhouse in my room anymore and it still gives me the creeps! I loved it!

Fanfreakingtastic Flower said...


I've been trying to remember the name of Christina's Ghost FOR YEARS.


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