Sunday, June 23, 2013

Point Thriller – Nightmare Hall #7: Pretty Please (Diane Hoh)

*Disclaimer: It turns out that I already recapped this book, but it's been so long that I completely forgot about it. I did a quick Google search, and my recap came up as the number one hit, but since this recap is much longer, I'm going to go ahead and post it.

Jo, her roommate Kelly, friend Nan, and their boyfriends Cal and Reed are the Beautiful People on campus. A local photographer picked the group out at a football game and shot a series of photographs for an ad campaign for a local department store. Everyone loves them, and this girl Missy wants them to come to her party in a fancy mansion.

When Jo leaves the group for a little while, she meets Evan, a good looking guy who didn't dress up for the party. The two spend some time talking before Missy rushes in and demands that she and her group pose for a picture, so she can prove that the Beautiful People came to her party. While trying to pose them, a gust of winds moves a candle flame closer to Reed, and his jacket catches on fire. In the hustle and bustle of saving him, someone shoves Jo and she goes through a set of glass doors.

Jo wakes up in the hospital on campus, because apparently sending her to a real hospital wasn't an option. The doctor lets her know that her face will look like she tangled with a tiger for a few weeks but she's basically okay to go home. Her roommate and friends pick her up and take her back to her dorm, and they find that someone covered all of the mirrors in the room with thick black fabric that glued on the mirrors.

Jo convinces herself that it was just a cruel joke and that she should move on with her life. People keep staring at her on campus because she has to wear big bandages over her face. When two girls keep looking at her, she reaches for her compact and discovers that someone glued fabric on that one too. She starts shaking so bad that they send her back to the hospital. She only comes out of it when the doctor threatens to give her a shot and keep her there for several day.

After making up an excuse about having a flashback, she rushes back to her dorm room and finds a wrapped gift box waiting for her. Thinking that it's a gift from her friends, she rushes to open it only to find a black hat inside with a thick veil to cover her face. While all of this is going on, we get some scenes from the POV of the stalker, who thinks that it's disgusting that Jo would dare show her face on campus.

There's a big costume party going on that weekend at Nightmare Hall. Kelly, since she is so totally awesome, takes one look at the hat and throws it out the window before deciding that they should go into town for costumes. Nan finds a Marie Antoinette costume, while Kelly finds a Morticia costume. The owner finds Jo a Catwoman costume with a mask that covers her bandages.

She runs over to the sporting goods store across the street to look for a whip and thinks that she sees Evan. When they go back to the dorm, she finds a tube of scar concealer in her bag. Kelly thinks that she probably picked it up at the store, but Jo swears that she didn't buy it. She briefly wonders if it was Evan, but he swears that he was nowhere near the store.

Another girl from their dorm, Tina, turns up with a horrible sunburn. She spent the day skiing and forgot to wear sunscreen, and the sight of her face freaks out a few people, including the stalker. They all head to the party, and Cat (one of the only characters from the first book that gets mentioned again) asks Jo to go downstairs and get some more soda.

Jo makes it downstairs, but she notices a puddle of something on the stairs. A few minutes later, someone starts coming down the stairs and falls, and Jo thinks she saw someone push her. Jo makes her way over and realizes that it's Tina. A few other people show up and call an ambulance. She notices that the puddle is gone, and someone mentions that they cleaned it up so no one else would fall.

There's a lot of talk on campus about a missing girl named Sharon. When Jo meets with her doctor, she asks about Sharon. The girl was Homecoming Queen in high school and a real beauty, but she was in a car accident that did some serious damage to her face. The doctor talks about how she couldn't wait for her face to heal so she could start having surgery.

Jo decides to talk a walk to clear her mind, and someone comes out of nowhere, threatens her, and ties a garbage bag to her head. The next few pages are some of the creepiest shit I've ever read in young adult literature. She literally has to fight with the bag, and it keeps flying in her mouth when she breathes. She thinks that she's about to die, and she only manages to escape by chewing through the bag.

Jo manages to make it back to her dorm room with the bag still around her neck. Nan and Kelly tell her to call the police, but she calls Tina instead. Tina tells her that someone pushed her down the stairs and right before, called her Jo. Immediately freaking out, she decides once again to not call the police and instead make a trip to the infirmary to get more bandages.

That turns out to be a bad mistake because the stalker grabs her again. The figure ties her to a chair and starts wrapping her in bandages, basically letting her know that he wants to cut off her air supply and kill her. He also lets it slip that he killed Sharon because she wouldn't stop showing her face around campus and that if Jo would just listen, she could live. They have a big fight and Jo escapes, but when she goes back to the room, no one is there. The cops come, but they pretty much tell her that they can't do anything because she didn't see her attacker.

After talking to Evan, she discovers that all of her friends were separated when the attack happened so it could be any of them. They go out to dinner and he offers to pay, but she sees receipt from the beauty supply store fall out, the same store where the concealer came from. Jo heads to the bathroom to consider if it's Evan, and someone attacks her again.

This time, she notices that the figure has the same blue eyes as Evan. It tells her to put a black ski mask on backwards before dragging her out of the bathroom. The figure takes her to a construction site on campus and tells her that he buried Sharon there. He gives her a stick and makes her write her name and the date in the wet cement before he kills her.

The figure then tells her his life story. His parents wanted to have a perfect child, but they wound up with a baby who had a massive birthmark covering its face. They completely isolated the kid from the outside world, but after a series of surgeries when the child was twelve, their baby was suddenly beautiful so they moved to a new town to start over again.

After a minor fight, Jo falls in a big ass hole in the ground. The figure starts chanting nursery rhymes and repeating some of the comments that he/she heard as a child. The figure goes a little cray and finally rips off its mask, revealing Nan! Nan basically reveals everything that she did to Jo, including knocking Evan over the head, locking him in a closet, and stealing his car. Oddly enough, she doesn't mention how she managed to wrap the bag around Jo's head and be there with Kelly when she got back, since the book makes it seem like they spent the day together.

Jo climbs out of the hole, holding a stick behind her back. Nan gives her one last request, and she stabs her in the face with the stick. She gets to the car and starts to take off, but Nan throws herself in front of the car and literally bounces off the top. Cut to the school infirmary. The doctor lets them know that Nan will make it though she'll have a few scars, Even tells Jo that he really likes her, and Jo decides that if she needs to trust someone, it might as well be Evan.

2 comments:

  1. What is your favorite book from Nightmare Hall if you can remember?

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  2. I think it was probably the very first one. I liked the way she set up the series and introduced Nightmare Hall, and I really liked that it focused on the people who actually lived there. In the rest of the books, Nightmare Hall seems like more of an afterthought. I remember one book where the main characters went to a party there, but for the most part, it doesn't really get mentioned.

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