Title: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Author: Lois Duncan
Publisher: Atom (UK)
Publication Date: March 2011 (UK) | Originally published 1973
Paperback: 211 pages
Genre: Thriller
Young Adult
Source: Review Copy

Reviewed by: Carolyn


RATING: 6/10 – good

BOOK COVER SUMMARY:

Last summer, four terrified friends made a desperate pact to conceal a shocking secret. But now, someone has learned the truth, and the horror is starting again. There is an unknown avenger out there who is stalking them in a deadly game. Will he stop at terror – or is he out for revenge?

This simmer, four friends are going to learn that some secrets just won’t stay buried.

REVIEW:

As with many of you, I watched the movie ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer‘ many years ago and didn’t realise it was actually based on a novel. I say based loosely as the film doesn’t really have much to do with the book – whereas the film is much more in the ‘horror’ genre, the book is just a light thriller.

It was originally written in 1973 but I read the newly revised edition published by Atom. I’m not fond of revised books. I much prefer to read the original version, I don’t like the idea of an author going back and changing aspects of the book that made it what is was. In this case ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer‘ was a book rooted in the 70s, but the updates try and change it to current times by modifying certain elements. It didn’t really work for me as the story and characters felt as though they were still very much from a different era and yet they were talking about mobile phones, emails and the internet.

With this aside, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer‘ is an entertaining read. It does contain a certain amount of tension, although not as much as I would have liked, and I read it fairly quickly. I must admit that I didn’t really like any of the characters, with maybe the exception of Ray. Julie, Helen and Barry all had many unattractive traits which prevented me from finding them likable in any way. Unfortunately the book isn’t as intense as the movie and I did find this a little disappointing as I do like to be scared and given the willies…

It maybe because nowadays we are saturated with high levels of blood, gore and violence (which I have no problem with, being a horror fan) and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer‘ just seems lame in comparison. I wonder if it created more of a reaction in 1973?

It’s a very short novel too, only 211 pages, so I think it was difficult to get enough character depth and suspense going in such a short space of time. I also saw the twist coming a mile away, as I so often do, and so the ending was predictable and also happened far too quickly. It would have been better if it was drawn out a little longer, especially when the characters were being tormented by the villain, but it was all over in a matter of pages.

VERDICT:

Despite all the negatives, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer‘ is a quick, entertaining bite-sized thriller (I say bite-sized as at only 211 pages it’s a pretty short novel). However, it was disappointing to find that the thrills and chills were mostly kept for the movie and not the book. I also wish I had read the original work and not a revised edition.
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Carolyn

Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and speciality teas (Teapigs anyone?). Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!

8 Comments


Enbrethiliel April 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

+JMJ+

I hadn't known that the new editions had been "updated." What a turn-off! =( I, too, don't like it when books have been changed–especially when a great deal of their appeal is their "retro-ness." We have lots of modern retellings of classics such as Pride and Prejudice (e.g., the book Prom and Prejudice and the movie Bride and Prejudice); but it would be wrong to change the original novel with each generation, until Lizzy is wearing blue jeans and Darcy is a millionaire real estate developer. =P

Thanks for the tip! I was actually planning to read this novel until you pointed out that it has been modernised. =S Well, maybe I still will, if I can find a copy of an original edition in a used bookstore.

Reply

Aleksandra April 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

I didn't know that the movie was based on a book! I also like reading the original editions, not the revised! Thanks for the review!

Reply

Vivienne April 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

I didn't realise they had been updated. I was hoping to read books still set in the 70's.

Reply

Laura Summers (BCC) April 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I used to adore Lois Duncan books when I was a teenager and have read all of them, although if I'm honest don't remember a lot of the detail now, she was one of my fav authors then.

I have to say I'm with you, leave the book alone & don't bother updating it

Reply

faefever25 April 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

New editions are really just weird, they take away from the original. Like Enbrethiliel says, can you imagine a modern Jane Eyre?
I have the original version and I love it. I agree it isn't the author's best work (I found Gallow's Hill and Locked In Time to be much more exciting, with better characters) but it is a pretty good suspense.

Reply

Kate April 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I read the original version way back when. I actually checked it out of the library multiple times to reread, for some reason it really effected 11 or 12 year old me.

I think it is a very bad decision for authors to "Update" their books, they never have the same feel. Of course I'm also very against the "abridged" versions of classics. Ick.

Reply

scarletkira April 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I didn't even know the movie was based on a book. I'm going to go look for it now. Hopefully, I can find the original.

Reply

Book Chick City April 9, 2011 at 6:31 am

Hi guys! Thanks for stopping by. I think the overall consensus is "DON"T REVISE!" – books should be just left in their original state! :)

Reply

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