Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Point Horror: The Lifeguard (Richie Tankersly Cusick)

Kelsey is pissed off at her mom because she takes her to spend the summer with mom’s boyfriend Eric and his kids. They’ve apparently never met before, even though they’ve been dating forever (unlike Trick or Treat, where the parents marry after 3 months). On the boat ride to Beverly Island where the family lives, she meets a hot guy named Skip who tells her that he’s a lifeguard in town.

When they arrive on the island, they meet his sons Neale and Justin, but learn that his daughter Beth just went missing. Apparently she was supposed to meet some guy and then disappeared and now the police think she drowned. Kelsey also meets the requisite creepy town drunk without any teeth Isaac, who seemingly attacks her.

Kelsey automatically likes Justin, who is super sweet and nice. But she hates Neale, who acts dark and moody. Oh and both are lifeguards…apparently the whole town only has three. She finds a couple of notes left for her by Beth and wishes she had the chance to meet the sweet girl. Then she meets a local girl named Donna who decides to show her around town.

They end up at an old, abandoned lighthouse, accidentally fall down a hill and find a dead body. They find Skip and send him up to check it out, but he doesn’t find anything and think they’re playing a big joke on him. That same night she finds watery footprints in her room and runs to get Justin. He and Skip check things out and think she’s still playing a joke. This is all cut in with stories told from the lifeguard’s point of view, as he stalks Kelsey and remembers doing stuff to girls.

Everyone gathers at Skip’s huge beach house for a party and she starts to feel uncomfortable. She ends up outside with Justin and he decides to give her a swimming lesson. She freaks out because she hates the water. Every time she gets close to the water, she flashes back to some horrible incident with her dad and hyperventilates. Justin manages to get her waist high in the water before a tidal wave separates them. She swears she feels a shark touch her and then Justin is pulled out to sea.

Kelsey grabs Neale who runs off to find Justin. Justin somehow manages to find his way back completely unharmed, but Neale goes off on her about the two of them acting irresponsible. Kelsey lets Donna borrow her jacket and goes home, where she finds a hidden note from Beth saying that someone tried to kill her.

The next day they learn that Donna is missing and that their parents are stuck off the island. Apparently they went to the mainland, Eric had a heart attack and now they’re staying there, leaving three teenagers alone for an unknown amount of time. Good parenting. Kelsey accidentally knocks over a box of paperwork and finds a letter inside: one that Neale wrote to Beth while he was in a mental institution. Gasp. And that town was where a bunch of girls mysteriously disappeared. Double gasp.

Blah, blah, blah. Kelsey is out near the water and hears a noise. She goes investigating and finds Donna laying in the water. She ends up in a cave and sees a dark figure. She keeps freaking out, yelling at Neale to stop and leave her alone, especially when she finds Beth in the cave. Big surprise when it turns out to be Justin. He’s attacking her, things go black and then *boom*, she wakes up in a hospital.

Neale shows up and she starts crying over Donna, when the girl comes into the room. Apparently Justin grabbed her because he saw her jacket and thought she was Kelsey. He thought she was dead so he left her, but she just broke her leg. Donna leaves because Skip is waiting for her and Neale talks about Justin. Apparently Neale got depressed after his mom died, tried to kill himself and ended up in a mental hospital. His dad ignored him, Justin was sent to a boarding school in the same time, but occupied himself with killing young girls so Beth was the only one he talked to.

She learns that Justin seemingly died, as in Neale tried to save him and Justin just swam out to sea. We also learn that Beth is alive and is now in a hospital on the mainland. They talk some more and kiss (kind of) at the end of the book.

Dear lord. The Lifeguard is just…I don’t even know. Cusick spent way too much time setting Justin up as the perfect son and Neale as the dark guy that you just knew Justin was the guy. Plus it’s a horror book where no on really dies. And it’s creepy! You really shouldn’t be crushing on your potential step-brother or going out on a date with him like she does with Justin. By the way, this was the book I checked out from my high school library and then found at the book sale J


  1. "Kelsey automatically likes Justin, who is super sweet and nice. But she hates Neale, who acts dark and moody."

    Really? I was the opposite as a teen. Strong, brooding silent type all the way! :D Looks like I would have been good at picking the guys who aren't creepy killers.

  2. This cover makes me laugh. Because I'm a weirdo.

  3. Yeah I probably would have crushed on Neale because in the book he was way more interesting. No clue who that's supposed to be on the cover because it's definitely not a teenage all the lifeguards in the book lol

  4. Either The Lifeguard or Prom Dress was the first Poiint Horror I read as a pre-teen. Good times.

  5. this sounds like a really good book Im doing it as a production.

  6. Visiting late, but this is one of my fave Point books...still, to this day. ;) and I LOVE NEALE.

  7. I should mention that Cusick also wrote another of my definite Point faves, Trick or Treat.

  8. I have that one! I also have The Mall, which I'll get around to recapping eventually. Even though it isn't a Point book, it's one I read way too many times as a teen :-)