There were several authors who wrote young adult thrillers when I was growing up, and I could probably write about any of them. Christopher Pike was unique, I think, in that his books had more of a horror feel than some of the others.
His books were hit or miss for me, in that some were wonderful, and others were just meh. Slumber Party was the first one I read, and it hooked me. It was the first book I ever read with such a huge plot twist, and for the next several years, everything I wrote had a bad plot twist. (I’m not saying that his plot twists were bad; I’m saying that my imitations were.)
I enjoyed his other books, but my favorite of his is Remember Me, about a girl who dies and has to solve her own murder. This one also had a plot twist, but what I liked about it was the fact that the main character was dead. I know that sounds kind of morbid, but most teenagers go through a phase where the grapple with the big questions on life and death, and this book was a semi-lighthearted way for me to think about it.
The inclusion of a main character who was dead, no tricks or miracle rebirths, was creative and unusual in 1989, before the current cultural obsession with dead girls as main characters. I still read this one every couple of years.
“Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.”
― Christopher Pike, from Remember Me
Road to Nowhere actually inspired a short story I wrote. My story was a cheap ripoff, but I think that imitation, in early days of writing, is a good thing. It’s a way for young authors to practice writing and try out different things until they find their own style. At least, that’s what I tell myself. My ripoff story stuck with me, even though the original version was awful. Some of the characters from that story took on a life of their own to become something much different than the original.
That’s the beauty of falling in love with a story. Everyone who loves the story will take something different from it. What I take with me, I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Any other Christopher Pike fans out there? Which was/ is your favorite?