Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NIGHTMARE HALL #16: TRUTH OR DIE



Parrie is your average, i.e. boring, college student who’s upset that her parents forced her to attend school at Salem University instead of the state school where all of her friends went. Why is she so upset you might ask? Because she was the quiet girl who went with the flow and did nothing except laugh, smile or frown when expected. Nice friend…

When Truth or Die opens, she’s getting ready for an upscale tea party downstairs, held by a former student of the school who requires all female freshmen attend and dress up. Of course she feels completely out of place and awkward, up until she accidentally runs into a group of girls chilling next to the tea table.

The girls don’t know each other, but quickly become friends and Carol suggests that they play a game of truth or dare. Lin switches the salt and sugar containers and everyone gets a big chuckle out of it. That night they decide to meet in Carol’s room and keep the game going. Parrie can’t help noticing how much she and Mallory are alike, right down to how they dress. Both wear pastel colored sweaters with matching socks, rolled up jeans and loafers. I know this is set in the 90s, but in 1996 I would have died if someone saw me in that outfit!

The little group, which includes Jean and Grace, decide to keep the truth or dare game going. The dares are fairly tame: one girl has to sing all day, another eats garlic at all meals, someone wears a formal dress all day, another one asks out a guy and Parrie has to steal underwear from a male dorm. Of course on her dare, she meets a hunky guy named Bryan who not only thinks she’s cool, but asks her out on a date.

The group decides that the best way to up the ante is to change the game. They buy a fancy lock box, write down their darkest secrets on slips of paper and puts them in the box. Then they lock the box, put the key in an envelope, close the envelope and everyone writes their name over the seal. If anyone backs out on a dare, the box is open and the secret read. Somehow this all makes sense in their minds.

The dares quickly escalate, or at least that’s what we’re supposed to think, but everything still feels fairly lame. One girl has to let the air out of the tires on a professor’s car, one has to walk home in the dark and Parrie has to spend the night in Nightmare Hall. Aha! We finally get a reference!

Parrie gets worried about Grace who has the tire dare because she doesn’t hear from her and enlists Jean’s help. They discover Grace locked in the professor’s garage, with the car running. That will teach her to mess with someone’s prized classic car. Of course they save her and run home.

Then Parrie heads to Nightmare Hall and everything is fine and dandy. Apparently a storm broke part of the roof so the students were moved and she’s there alone. A ghost turns up, but she realizes that it’s Jean and ends up scaring her. Then a “real” ghost turns up and both girls run for the hills. Jean ends up in the hospital and they meet at Carol’s room, who doesn’t seem too concerned about her friend.

They agree to play one more round, but Parrie is highly uncomfortable. Then Lin pulls out her dare and all it says is “I dare you to tell the truth”. She takes a deep breath and launches into the story. She tells the girls about the camp she went to as a kid and how she was one of the cool kids. Her group of friends formed a secret club and picked on another kid who wasn’t very coordinated or good at sports (at least she wasn’t chubby).

The lame girl wanted to join their club and they told her she’d have to do an initiation project first. They joked about making her dive off the huge platform at the lake, but knew they couldn’t because none of them could handle it. Another girl wandered into the room and didn’t say anything to them, but apparently ran and told the lame girl of the dare. Lame girl climbs up to the platform, jumps, hits her head and drowns while the other girl runs off. Lin was ostracized for her part because everyone blamed her and her family made them move to another town.

Then suddenly Mallory jumps up and starts screaming and grabs Parrie. Turns out that she’s the “other” girl and still blames them for killing Jennifer, aka lame girl. They start fighting and Mallory is just about to put the smack down, when Bryan comes out of nowhere and saves the day.

Truth or Die then jumps to the next day when Jean, Lin and Grace come to Parrie’s room and tell her the whole story. They were the little group of friends at camp, only then they were Jillian, Jeannette, Sarah Grace and Carolyn. They stayed friends after camp and promised to be friends for each other in college. On the first day they spotted Mallory and decided to teach her a lesson and hopefully discover what really happened back then. The book ends with Parrie deciding that she isn’t sure she wants the other girls around, but that she’d like to get to know Grace better.

Wowza. This was way past my days of reading Nightmare Hall and Point Thrillers so I didn’t read it until I found a copy at the flea market. It was actually a little lame, especially compared to some of the other Nightmare Hall books and of course Hoh books in general. I still have a few more to review, but I’ll try and space them out with Sweet Valley and Fear Street books.

4 comments:

  1. "Both wear pastel colored sweaters with matching socks, rolled up jeans and loafers." Ouch.

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  2. Seriously, Fear Street, I think the characters in these YA horror books could learn a lesson or two from Claudia Kishi and Stacey McGill. Sure they'd be tacky, but there would not be LOAFERS.

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  3. You guys missed the Laura Ashley flowered skirt, tights, green velvet shirt and loafers outfit! Yes, she wore that to the fancy tea party lol

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  4. Great review. As much as I loved Fear Street, Nightmare HAll was my drug. I read them all out of order lol

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