Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Point Horror: The Train (Diane Hoh)



I actually never read this book when I was younger, but it was actually kind of interesting. And point of reference, my cover looks nothing at all like that. Mine has a skeleton hand reaching across a train window and the part of the hand, holding the window, still has skin attached, kind of cool.

Basically there’s some huge high school class taking a train trip across country to San Francisco. We have Hannah, our main/meek girl, her crush Mac, her best friend/beauty queen Kerri, her boyfriend Larry and their friend Jean Marie. Not long after boarding the train, they find a coffin in the luggage train. It’s the body of their classmate Frog, who died not long before the trip.

They all sit around sharing stories about what a creep he was. Larry had him kicked out of gym class because he wouldn’t participate, Kerri and Jean Marie both turned him down for dates and Mac was the one to give him the nickname Frog. Hannah doesn’t have a “treated him like shit” story, but she feels guilty about something. This turns up about 17 times in the book, with her thinking about what she did and not telling anyone.

Hannah gets a little grossed out, thinking about him being on the train, but goes with everyone to the dining car. She sees his two best friends sitting with his girlfriend and feels kind of strange. Suddenly the lights go out and by the time the teacher realizes that someone just hit the light switch (really?), Lolly is near death. Someone tried strangling her with a bandana.

The teacher orders everyone back to their rooms/cabins and gets the doctor for Lolly. When the train makes a stop, the doctor leaves with Lolly on another train. I get the feeling that the train company keeps the doctor on hand for emergencies, so having her gone would *probably* be a problem.

The back of the book makes it seem like someone’s attacking Hannah and her friends, but that doesn’t really happen. They get this huge warning to be careful and then she goes off by herself because Kerri takes too long in the shower. Someone whacks her over the head and she wakes up in Frog’s coffin. The conductor then picks up a detective in Colorado to investigate what’s going on. Um, does that make sense to anyone? Isn’t it a little out of his jurisdiction?

They make their next stop and Hannah decides to stay on the train. Mac is all worried about her, but agrees to go. When they get back, he’s missing and the train almost leaves without him. She overhears him telling Larry that he saw Frog on the street, tried to chase him down and someone shoved him in a locked room/closet and he just barely got away. Hannah interrupts and he tells her that he just imagined the whole thing.

Cut to Hannah once again left alone. She goes into her cabin, pulls down the bed to go to sleep and sees Frog laying there. She runs off to get help, but when they come back, the body’s gone. She later convinces the whole group to go into the luggage car and check the coffin. They only get the lid up a few inches before the conductor stops them, but it’s enough for her to see that his body was inside.

The group decides to spend the night together, in case someone is after them. The next morning, the three girls take a shower and in the middle, Hannah hears Jean Marie leave. When she gets out, there’s no sign of the girl. They search everywhere before calling in the teacher and detective. Everyone searches again and as they walk through the glass encased lookout car, they see a flash of hot pink. Someone threw Jean Marie off the train and she’s really, really dead.

Hannah goes back to her sleeping cabin and comes face to face with Lolly. She’s all shocked, especially when Lolly goes off on a rant about Hannah being a horrible person. She says that Frog was always in love with Jean Marie and only dated her because he couldn’t get who he really wanted. She also confesses that it was her the whole time. She snuck off the other train, got back on theirs and wore theatrical makeup to disguise herself as Frog. She also says that she’s been hiding in the roof tiles of the train.

The two girls fight and somehow Hannah gets away. By the time they get back, there’s no sign of Lolly, except for a note on the mirror, saying that she’ll finally be with Frog. They breathe a sigh of relief, which is fairly premature given that there’s 30 pages left.

They get to San Francisco, get off the train and decide to go to some fancy house with views of the ocean. Hannah slips away from the group, wanting to be alone and once again, runs into Lolly. Lolly carries a huge urn and says that it’s Frog. His parents were too cheap to pay for a real funeral so they had him cremated. She ordered the coffin, COD so that they’d have to pay the bill for it.

The girls start fighting again and end up standing on the edge of a cliff. Hannah pushes off Lolly, who loses her balance and falls over. The rest of the gang get there just in time to see it happen. They all hug Hannah and she starts crying, thinking about what she did to Frog.

Apparently she had some huge ass party and her dad hired Frog to clean up around the yard. He asked her about the party and she “accidentally” invited him. He showed up to the party and she lied, said she was sick and was sending everyone home. He stormed off and on the way home, actually only a few blocks away, he crashed his car and died. Everyone tells her that it wasn’t her fault and Mac seals it with a kiss.

Okay, so until the ending, it wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t guessing on Lolly as the stalker. That story Hannah tells though is kind of shitty. She actually kind of is to blame for his death. She even says that he showed up a in a new sport coat and was ready to have fun with people, but she turned him away because she was worried about what people might think. I’m disappointed in you Hannah!

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