Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Slumber Party by Christopher Pike (1985)

It's hard to believe, but Christopher Pike's Slumber Party (1985) is the last Pike book in my childhood nostalgia pile! Of course, he has written many more books than the ones I bought in my youth, so maybe some more will come into my life some sweet day in the future.

Slumber Party is a good one to go out on, because I remember reading it in junior high and loving it. In this book, six friends reunite at an isolated ski cabin for a weekend of snow and fun. The last time all of them were together was eight years ago when they were at an ill-fated slumber party. A candlelit game (combined with a tragic mistake by our protagonist, Lara) leaves one girl, Nell, severely burned, and kills Nell's younger sister Nicole. Nell's family moved away after the incident and all the girls tried to put that night behind them. When Nell returns during their senior year of high school, who wouldn't want to go for a free ski weekend at her rich parent's deluxe ski cabin? Certainly no one would be plotting revenge!

Odd things start happening the moment the girls arrive at the cabin. First a snowman melts into a puddle of water in minutes even though it is below freezing outside. Then Lara's best friend Dana disappears when skiing back to the cabin, leaving behind one ski, no footprints, and a puddle of water. Lara has been distracting herself with her new crush, Percy (who is coming over with one of his friends for a party with this odd crew), and her new friend, Celeste who is younger than the other girls, and very mysterious -- she just showed up at school recently, and doesn't like to talk about her past. But those distractions can't put her suspicions about her friends' motives out of her mind.

Things escalate very quickly: incriminating conversations are overheard, Mindy is set on fire, Percy's friend gets extremely drunk, Lara tries to run back to the ski lodge and saves herself from frostbite by peeing on her hands, and soon everyone finds themselves tied up in the basement of the house with gasoline poured all around them and a gigantic propane tank ready to blow. Uh oh, who could have seen this happening?

This isn't really one of Pike's best books (the foreshadowing is blatant, the red herrings are irritating, and the pacing is off), but there are some good bits in there and the nostalgia factor is high if you liked this one as a kid. Probably not the best place to start, but definitely some good classic Pike.


Dr. Mystery said...

"Mindy is set on fire" is my new favorite phrase. Drop it into any plot synopsis at random, and you can have hours of fun.

CC said...

I've been meaning to comment on this forever. For me, Slumber Party is the seminal Christopher Pike novel. It's got the heavy-handed and unrealistic dialog, the long and vaguely inappropriate descriptions of teen characters, and the shocking (or "shocking") twist ending that typifies all the great Pikes, but more than that, it's got one kid setting another on fire. Brilliant! I have very vivid memories of reading this book, much more so than any of his others, I think mainly because of the fire scene. Also, Robert totally read this one as well.

Spacebeer said...

Yes! It is so Pike-y in every way. I especially like that the main kid thought she was pouring wine on her friend to put the fire out, but instead it was brandy so it just made the fire worse. Kids, know your liquors!