perfumeWelcome to August’s Point Horror Book Club. Guys, I am so excited to announce that this month we are joined by Point Horror ROYALTY Caroline B Cooney! I KNOW! Caroline very kindly agreed to answer questions about THE PERFUME, this month’s title, and what it was like working on our beloved range in the nineties.

First, let’s examine THE PERFUME before we hand over to Caroline.

What’s It All About?

OK, bear with. Dove Daniels was supposed to be a twin, except her mother’s body rejected supposed twin, Wing. That’s right – Dove and Wing (more on that later). Anyways, a sinister new perfume, Venom, awakens Dove’s latent twin (who may also be an ancient evil from Egypt) and Wing proceeds to run riot with Dove’s body.

Run Riot?

Oh yes. She be cray. She tries to push Dove’s love interest out of a hot air balloon and everything. Guys, she GETS IN A FOUNTAIN.

The Girl

My favourite thing about The Perfume is Dove and the fact she is potentially just nuts. Even at the end, when only ‘very, very, very’ creepy teacher Mr Phinney believes her. Dove, according to her ‘maternal body’ (a phrase I’m adopting 100%) was supposed to be ‘soft, gentle and mewling’ while twin sister Wing was also meant to be strong and flying free.

In reality, Wing is pure teenage strop distilled into perfume. She kicks walls, slams doors and is openly horrid to Dove’s friends.

In the end, it’s no big surprise, Dove (and indeed Wing) are locked away in the mental hospital. For a week.

The Love Interest

Timmy only appears briefly but is pleasingly fleshed out. We learn Timmy isn’t a natural beauty – ‘he had overcome the handicap of being ugly’ – with his winning personality. After Wing almost pushes him out of a hot air balloon, he sensibly does a runner for good. Wise.

The Friends

An eclectic bunch. Connie is hugely irritating (and is supposed to be) like a sugared-up, self-made leader of the group. She actually rang true. Luce is gentler and kinder, but my personal favourite is glutton for punishment Hesta, who can’t get enough of Wing trying to kill her. Kinky.

Some Mild Peril?

The Perfume is scary in a way we haven’t really experienced before. Dove losing control, and Wing’s punishing behaviours feel very insidious. We may be in Point Horror territory but here we deal with self-harm, mental health (personality and, I’d argue, eating disorders) and identity.

Is It Any Good?

OK. The Perfume is the Marmite of the Point Horror world. Whichever way you frame it, it’s nuts. I think wilfully so. The whole thing reads like a Benylin and fever dream and I think that was Cooney’s intent. It’s a novel about possession and it feels possessed. As we learned from The Cheerleader, Cooney’s style is lyrical and metaphor rich which might not suit every reader (and didn’t suit me aged 12). As an adult I am so pleased Cooney contributed to the Point Horror range, they’re different. They’re wonderful.

Dove defeats Wing with a smelly handkerchief. I rest my case.

Caroline CooneyAnd now to the important business of MEETING CAROLINE B COONEY! OMG!

Hello Caroline! Thank you for taking part in our humble book club!

Let’s start with The Perfume. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde story about duality unlocked by an evil perfume called Venom. What inspired this title? Did you come up with it yourself or were Point Horror authors steered?

One day the editor phoned and said she had a title and from that one word, she wanted me to write a horror story.  “Perfume,” she said.  Since I do not use violence in the books, whatever this perfume was, it would have to affect the soul.  First I needed a name for the perfume, and it turned out that all real perfume names are copyrighted, so when I liked the word “obsession” it of course was a real perfume and I could not use that word.  I finally settled on Venom, and at least back then, there was no such perfume.  The moment I’ve named it venom, I think of snakes, so that was the starting point.

Your Point Horror titles always feel layered and metaphorical. What do you feel the themes of The Perfume are? I read messages about teenage rebellion, neglect and mental illness.

I’m a little iffy at discussing themes.  My main theme is: provide great entertainment for young readers.  As a Christian, I want also to write parables.  Very often the parable (completely hidden) in one of my stories is the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which we have to decide – Who is the good neighbor?  The only who looks good or the one who acts?

The reason for “neglect” (your term) is simply that I have to keep adults off stage.  The minute there are parents in a story, that child won’t be allowed to act that way, or go that place, or do whatever. So it’s crucial to have parents who somehow just aren’t there.  It isn’t a demonstration of neglect, it’s omission of grownups because they just clutter it all up.

The main characters are called Dove and Wing. This is both amazing and bold. Your Point Horror character names were always unusual – how did you come up with them?

Names are such fun.  In fantastical stories, you can use names that otherwise you wouldn’t even saddle a cat with.  I collect names from newspaper lists of honor roll students, or sports teams, or whatever.  Once you have chosen a name for your character, that girl or boy begins to live.

What was your favourite Point Horror title to write?

I think I liked Freeze Tag best.  I grew in the 1950s, when your mother insisted on something called “fresh air” which today’s parents don’t do.  We had to play outside, and we played yard games, every kid and age on the street.  Most were chase variations, like Red Rover, or Freeze Tag, and I was always slightly frightened by pursuit.  (I’ve written a lot of pursuit adventures, too, like Fatality and Wanted.)

Your titles are fairly unique within the range. How did the Point Horror process work? How much authorial control did you have? Was there a rule book and did you stick to it?

All the Point Horror books that I wrote were written by assignment.  That is to say, the editor came up with an idea (usually one sentence) from which I had to construct 175 manuscript pages.  The first assignment was to write a trilogy that would be entry level horror – beginning horror, for readers who just wanted to be a little bit scared.  The rules were: no blood, no gore, no violence, no drugs, no bad parents.  The original titles were The Fog, The Snow and the Fire.  Later they were reissued as the Christina series.  I liked the rules, and for the most part, continued to follow them.

I rarely got to choose the titles.  At Scholastic, the editors met and decided what would be most commercial.  Since I was supporting 3 small children at the time, I did not oppose this.  Nor did I have anything to do with cover art.  On one Perfume cover, there is blood spilling out of the vial, even though there is none in the book.  It sells better, they said.

The Vampire Trilogy are fan favourites – how much fun was it to write such a glorious villain? And what’s with the shutters on the windows?

The vampire trilogy was great fun.  Again, I wanted no violence, so what dreadful dark thing can occur if the vampire doesn’t take blood?  (He’s my vampire, he’ll do what I decide.)  There was a house we drove by occasionally in Connecticut where I grew up which had such a tower, and I yearned to live there.  I can’t say why the shutters are involved.  You need detail, I guess, and there it is.

The Point Horror range petered out at the end of the nineties. What have you been up to since?

Three years ago I read a scholarly history by a British author, Nick Bunker, about the English background of the American Pilgrims.  It was a very intense read for me, as I am a Mayflower descendent.  Since I write for children, I tried to imagine as I read his extremely detailed excursion into whose these people were as Englishmen,  how the children lived.  After 2  years of research, including a l trip to Lincoln and the nearby scattered little villages where the Pilgrims came from and also to Leiden, where they lived for 12 years prior to sailing to Plymouth, I have been writing a historical novel about the children on the Mayflower.  However, it is for adults.  I can’t remember enjoying the writing of a book so much.

Again, thank you Caroline for answering the questions of a proper fanboy. In all seriousness, Point Horror books are the reason I’m now making a living from writing and I can only hope that in fifteen years’ time someone is still talking about my books.

Next month, we have our first DEATHMATCH – THE BOYFRIEND VS THE GIRLFRIEND, both by RL Stine.

23 thoughts on “PHBC: The Perfume featuring CAROLINE B COONEY!

  • August 13, 2014 at 10:15 am
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    OMG. Dude, I can’t believe you scored an interview with Caroline B Cooney. Awesomesauce.

    Anyway, back to the book, and the fabulously named Dove and Wang, I mean Wing. I kind of like that there’s a whole bathroom theme going on here, with one character sharing her name with a brand of soap and the other with a feminine hygiene product feature. Ridiculous character names are one of my absolute favourite things about Point Horror stories. While we’re on the subject of names, can we also talk about Dry Ice? Surely the most 80s name for anything ever. I half expected Robin Sparkles to appear in a cloud of said dry ice while the girls were shopping, singing “Let’s Go To The Mall”.

    Weirdly, it never occurred to me even as a teen that Wing was anything other than a product of Dove’s mental health problems. Even before she so much as sniffs Venom, she comes across as having the most SEVERE bout of PMS ever. I think for me the scariest thing about Perfume was how long it took for Dove’s friends/family to even notice anything was wrong. This is a girl who has suddenly developed a habit of arguing with herself and repeatedly HITTING HERSELF IN THE HEAD. I was actually relieved when she was hospitalised. Speaking of, for all the death/implied gore of other Point Horrors, I found this pleasingly dark.

    Still for all of Dove’s, er, issues, Hesta clearly also needs help. “Oh you just tried to kill me! You’re so wacky! Let’s be BFFs”. Not to mention letting someone else go through her bag. WTF HESTA. A WOMAN’S HANDBAG IS HER CASTLE.

    Btw, totally unsurprised about the whole Point Horror process being built around eye catching titles. It explains A LOT 😉

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  • August 13, 2014 at 10:17 am
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    Hi Book Club! Wow, what a scoop to get an exclusive with the author! That was a real surprise and thanks James and Caroline – hi Caroline if you’re reading!

    I can understand why you’d say The Perfume is the marmite of the PH sseries – personally, like Marmite, I LOVED it. One of the best elements for me was how throughout you didn’t know if Wing was indeed the vanished twin/ancient evil being from the Pyramids, or if Dove was just purely nuts! I liked how Dove also had those doubts herself too.

    Hesta was brilliant, and I thought her and Wing could have been a great double act, wrecking havoc wherever they go. The hot air balloon near miss had me on the edge of my seat as I was expecting/hoping for an untimely egg-cracking demise for poor old Timmy. But as R L Stine is next month’s challenge maybe I’ll have more luck there.

    The Dry Ice shop was intriguing – was it real or there solely for Venom’s evil purposes? I also loved the cover art (mine didn’t have any blood) – the vile looked fantastic and the green swirls of mist were gorgeous. I think that, along with My Secret Admirer, were my favourite covers (I kind of fancied Jenny on the cover of MSA… I know, I know).

    Connie and Luce were a good mix, but I was a bit disappointed that Connie disappeared during the second half of the book as I quite liked her frizzy hair and radio-station-changing tendancies.

    I really enjoyed this one and it’s up there now with The Babysitter and Mother’s Helper. Really looking forward to next month as well… two books! Can’t wait!

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  • August 13, 2014 at 10:20 am
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    Oh, and ‘Dove Bar’. In the Land of the Free I believe this is their equivalent of the Galaxy chocolate bar? Is that right? Over here it’s a bar of rather boring old lady soap. Either way, it’s quite the nickname.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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    Well, if this isn’t the most exciting installment of PHBC EVER, I don’t know what is. Bravo on landing a chinwag with CazCoo (I imagine she’d be a little nonplussed by that nickname, but I’m going to keep using it regardless; CazCoo, if you’re reading this, it comes from a place of love and respect) – I’m in genuine awe. And what a brilliant insight into how the Point Horror machine operated. Commissioning the books based on titles alone definitely adds up, though what the editors were thinking when they saddled poor old RL Stine with the spectacularly unterrifying ‘The Snowman’, I can’t even begin to imagine. Perhaps that one came at the end of a particularly boozy corporate lunch. Perhaps RL had just pissed someone off at Scholastic. We’ll never know.

    I’m pleased Freeze Tag got a mention in the interview. It was always my favourite Cooney book too (and, thinking about it now, one where the good samaritan parable definitely ties in), and I also recommend the Christina series (Fog, Snow and Fire), if you can get hold of them – not Point Horrors, but an eerie treat nonetheless. (Quote of the interview, by the way: “In fantastical stories, you can use names that otherwise you wouldn’t even saddle a cat with.” Amen to that, Caz.)

    And so to The Perfume, which, let me say right now, I ADORED. It’s not only the best Point Horror we’ve read so far, it’s one of the best actual books I’ve read in a while. It genuinely got under my skin, with its inner-skull flutterings and schizophrenic hijinks in fountains (please excuse incorrect use of schizophrenic; I’m using it as lazy shorthand).

    Dove, in the tradition of most Cooney heroines, was a raving space cadet to begin with. I can honestly say that she is the first fictional character I’ve come across with an irrational fear of parked cars and an incurable case of mall-dread. So, yeah, she’s kind of a wacko. My favourite character, though, apart from Wing, who I’ll come to shortly, was Luce, who dresses head to toe in black and drives like she’s ‘throwing sticks of dynamite’. I mean sure, I’m not the best driver in the world (passed fourth time, yo), but it seems to me that this approach is just asking for trouble. All I’m saying is, don’t ever put Wing and Luce together in charge of a hot air balloon. Yikes.

    As much as I enjoyed Dove and her… floaty… tendencies, if I had to choose, I’d definitely be Team Wing. Possessed by ancient Egyptian evil or not, this bitch is way more fun, pogo-ing round the bedroom to MTV, while Dove blathers on relentlessly about all the homework she’s missing. I agree that the Wing/Hesta relationship was particularly inspired, with the following piece of classic banter being a high point: ‘You’re giving ‘Dove’ a whole new meaning!’ [said Hesta]. ‘I’m going to give you a whole new meaning,’ said Wing.’ Hilarious. Also, Hesta’s deffo a lesbian, yes?

    I even loved Dove’s parents. Absent though they mostly were (and Cooney’s explanation for having to keep them off screen is a fair one), the maternal and paternal bodies were still believable, except for that bit where Dove’s mum has a FAX MACHINE in her CAR, which is mental by any standard. Speaking of which, there was a very odd moment where Dove’s folks had a bit of a chat with her psychiatrist about whether or not they’d read Jekyll and Hyde. Dove’s dad seemed particularly hazy on this, while the psychiatrist reckoned it was a bit rubbish anyway. Um, thanks?

    The whole thing, as we’ve come to expect from CazCoo, is beautifully written, littered with references to twins and halves and mirror images. Highlights for me included, ‘The creepy tremor came over her again, but on the inside, like something crawling upside down inside her skull’ and this spectacularly gross breakfast moment: ‘The raisins stared at her like eyes. She thought, if I eat this, my stomach will be full of eyes. She went to school hungry.’ Cracking stuff.

    Finally, special mention to Dove’s ‘favorite sneakers’,which are described as ‘light canvas, covered in lace.’ I think it’s fair to say she didn’t pick THEM up in Dry Ice. Or anywhere else on planet Earth, for that matter. Yeesh.

    Congrats again on getting our favourite PH author involved in the book club, and a HUGE thank you to Dame Caroline herself for sparing some time. This was a great month – can’t wait for our Girlfriend/Boyfriend double bill next time. I seem to recall liking one a lot more than the other, but couldn’t tell you which was which. Thinking about it, doesn’t the Girlfriend have our second (and surely last) MALE protagonist?

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  • August 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm
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    PS, Lol at Billy fancying Jenny on the cover of My Secret Admirer.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm
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    Firstly I would like to say WOW! THE Caroline B Cooney!!…James does like to provide us with suprises and what a lovely surprise – Thank You James and Thanks You CazCoo (as Paul has renamed). The point horror based questions that James asked were perfect for all point horror fans. I found the revelation that a title of a book was provided and the authors were then assigned to working around it fascinating as, to me, shows how the publishers were controlling the point horror genre and explains a lot of book titles in the series. Does this still happen nowadays do you think?

    I agree with Paul – the best quote from CazCoo in this interview was “In fantastical stories, you can use names that otherwise you wouldn’t even saddle a cat with.” (This will explain my poor joke later on in this review!)

    I have to say I absolutely LOVED this book! I remember reading it when I was 13 (I guess) and never liked it very much, but re-reading now I’m older it was amazing. Isn’t it strange – is because our tastes change over time or that we are old enough to fully understand and appreciate it?

    The ramblings between Dove and Wing were perfect and actually did get inside your head in my opinion throwing the reader full force into the mind of Dove / Wing and making me feel like my head was spinning but in a good way. The swapping bodies between Dove and Wing were effortless – I loved it! I have to say at some points I did actually begin to wonder whether Dove had gone mad and Wing didn’t exist! I actually loved both characters although I would be dubious about taking Wing clubbing after reading this sentence “”Then she turned the tiny bedroom television to MTV and began dancing a wild viperish dance, winding herself around the furniture and the walls like a snake about to bite!” – ERM EMBARRASSING WING….TRUELY EMBARRASSING! lol

    I loved reading the old 90’s feel to the book also picking up on the – “Doves mother, whose car has a telephone and a fax machine” – back in the day we would be saying NO WAY her mom had a telephone and a fax machine in the car that so cool! lol And the reference to Doves dad have expensive cassette tapes to learn Japanese from.

    Other characters as you have all mentioned Hesta – she was just Cray Cray! As James says she just keeps coming back for more and more – why Hesta why? And I agree with Bookie that its a big No No going through a lady’s bag – she went down in my estimation at this point lol. My hubby daren’t put his hand in my bad for fear of what he might pull out! lol I found Timmy a bit annoying (like wing), but maybe our typical Point Horror boy (?). I especially liked the fact that he thought 6am was super early to get to the hot air balloon ride and part of me did a little yay! when I actually thought that Wing had pushed him over the edge – I think a little evil in me came out at that point! I loved the way he described Dove / Wings voice as dial a voice (he he he) and as an electronic synthesizer and then offered her coffee to make her even more hyper! LOVE IT!

    My favourite friend, I agree, is Luce – Loved her! Big points and love for Luce especially when she said to Dove after all her turmoil “You don’t have to talk about it if it hurts Dove. But is hurts me, too you know. I’m your friend and I didn’t even see that anything was wrong! I want to be here for you. Okay!”. Big love to CazCoo for this as for me this is a friend trying to help a friend in a time of need and is truly, in my opinion, a special part of dialogue. On that note though how on earth people didn’t know anything was wrong is beyond me as Dove / Wing wasn’t exactly hiding the fact. And Connie – who’s connie? (I kid ) I lost interest in Connie as she seems a typical point horror girl lol

    I would like to ask a valid question though – these characters are meant to be 15 years old according to the text, so howcome LUCE, TIMMY AND HESTA all drive and have cars? Were the laws different in America in the 90’s? I clearly am missing something here?

    I really did love everything about this book and is now I would say my favourite re-read so far.

    What a fab idea for next month….DEATH MATCH!!! Cant wait! I think If I remember I loved the Boyfriend when I was younger but not the Girlfriend – but we know this counts for nothing!

    Oh and Billy – did you really fancy Jenny on the cover of your copy of My sercret Admirer? This did make me laugh but in a ahhhhh sweet Billy type of way – bless you….or way this your evil twin Goat talking??!! (Bad joke….sounded better in my head but did make me laugh in a I’m weird kind of way! – apologies).

    Any way theres loads I probably haven’t rambled on about which I may remember later , but I have bored you all enough as it is lol

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  • August 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm
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    I think Driver’s Ed starts at age 15 in the states. (There was even a puntastic Point Horror about this very subject, called – hilariously – Driver’s Dead.)

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  • August 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm
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    Ha, I’m in the office at work and just cracking up at these comments y’all (this is why my post didn’t (I think) have the obligatory spelling errors as I’m not using my STUPID Windows Phone which I hate but am tied to for another 14 months). But it’s true, I used to just stare at the cover of My Secret Admirer for hours willing Jenny to come to life… beautiful. I hope we read that one soon, as I remember it was set in the mountains, so there must be lots of egg-cracking death potential there.

    Did I imagine it or, as well as a morbid fear of parked cars and shopping malls, was Dove also unable to find her house because of the uniform appearance of the properties on her street? Lol, how can you not find your own house??

    I think I read The Girlfriend but not The Boyfriend. Or The Boyfriend but not The Girlfriend. Either way, just bought those bad boys on eBay so can’t wait to get stuck in – fingers crossed for an egg cracking demise.

    Actually, I meant to tell y’all, I was making an omlette the other day and when I cracked the egg it did make me think of PH deaths. I seem to recall it happening quite often though or am I wrong?

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  • August 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm
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    Oh, and HUGE LOL @ my evil twin being called Goat! That is genius!

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  • August 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm
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    Billy, I’ve just dug out my copy of My Secret Admirer, and you are INSANE. Literally laughing my face off.

    Poor Dove, forgetting where she lived. I have a similarly shocking memory for faces, so I sort of feel her pain.

    I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for some psycho omelette. I think RL Stine is as good a bet as any, given how The Babysitter ended.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm
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    I’m still very tempted to revisit Return of the Vampire, if just for ‘Devnee’.

    A name I wouldn’t saddle a cat with.

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  • August 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm
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    Love Devnee. Maybe a Return of the Vampire/Vampire’s Promise double bill to round off the trilogy?

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  • August 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm
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    @paul – ahhh thanks for the explanation of the driving. It did have me wondering if it was time to put my son through his driving test given that they were all driving lol although he’s 9…. Ok maybe not. I did wonder if it was a sign of the times and puzzled me just like when I watched et the other day and the mom left Drew Barrymore who was like 5 in the house on her own!!! Shocker! Omg! I remember drivers dead! I have that one…one for the future point horror book club?
    Also I picked up on the Jekyll and Hyde comment. Maybe Cazcoo (I apologise but making up the shortened name was genius and it’s stuck in my head) wasn’t a fan? And simply I WANT those sneakers …WANT WANT WANT and imagine if they had those magic laces that tighten themselves!

    @bookie – I meant to comment on your robin sparkles comment! This made me chuckle! The mall was definately NOT Doves favourite place although it is perfect for wing. Can you imagine – dove woke up hearing the doorbell ringing over and over “I’m coming” she shouts. It had been 6 months since her episode with wing. Dove shuddered at the thought of the past and what began and ended at the mall. Dove sleepily opened the door. “Hi Dove!” Screeched Hesta. “I have a surprise for yoooouuuuu”! Robin sparkles, 90s legend in Canada, jumped in front of Dove in all her denim 80s glory and shouted excitedly “HI DOVE! A LITTLE BIRD (pun intended ) TOLD ME YOU NEED CHEERING UP!” Hesta jumped up and down with excitement whilst looking round manicly for Doves bag. Robin continued…”LETS GO TO THE MALL…….TODAY!!!!”. Dove faints. Robin sparkles sings and bops and Hesta raids Doves bag…again. The end lol

    @billy – thank you…I’m here all week ref goat joke. I have been chuckling away all afternoon about that … Very very very immature I know! Although a bit of Goat surfaced when talking about your windows phone ….a truly scary moment I tell ya! (I kid… Get it kid is a baby goat and your billy and….. No seriously I’m joking) And I think I’ve won the grammer / spelling mistakes this time! Bloody predictive text on the iPad is a curse!!!

    @james and Paul – stupid point horror question- what’s the 1st in the trilogy with Denvee?

    And the mocking about poor Dove not being able to recognise her house….it happens more often than you think… It really does! Not that this has ever happened to me… Never…. Nuh uh… Never ever ever! Ok maybe it has but that’s another story and involved alcohol!

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  • August 14, 2014 at 10:41 am
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    Hey Michelle, the improbably-named Devnee pops up in The Return of the Vampire, sequel to The Cheerleader 🙂

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  • August 14, 2014 at 10:58 am
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    Ohhh thanks paul… Digging out cheerleader now as wasn’t part of point horror book club when you all read that…soon to be corrected. Thanks 🙂

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  • August 15, 2014 at 1:33 am
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    Firstly, let me join in by saying major snaps to J Daw for getting an interview with CazCoo (if we say these things enough it becomes a thing right?) – really interesting to gain first hand insight into the machine that was Point Horror.

    Now…sorry to deflate everyone’s hot air balloon, but I personally felt that ‘The Perfume’ stunk (*crickets* – I’ll see myself out)

    Dove “Bar” Daniel, whose “voice was melodious” and whose “friendships were affectionate” was such a wet lettuce leaf of a protagonist that I struggled to stop myself from retreating to the back of my own mind and letting my vanished twin take over the reading. Bizarre descriptions like “the word split into two, and bothered her even more, like a cell dividing” and “identical objects seemed to accuse her of some crime; because she could not distinguish between them” fill the story with the subtlety of a sledgehammer – we get it! It’s a twin thing! Duality, white/black, ying/yang, crazy/sane, good/bad – okay!

    And the ending – a lilac hanky and a home made incantation just sent Wing away forever? Just like that? That premise is as flimsy as a can of peas – just like Luce’s car, apparently.

    There were passages that showed promise – the hot air balloon sequence, the drag race and the mental institution, but I didn’t find any of it page-turning. I agree with James regarding the fever dream style, but I find this presents much better in a visual format and in fact, if there’d ever been a Point Horror TV show, I reckon this could’ve been a good episode.

    ‘The Perfume’ gets points for not being cookie cutter YA horror, but it certainly isn’t high on my list of PH books.

    Bring on GF v BF!

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  • August 15, 2014 at 8:19 am
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    Hi mark. It’s always good to get a different opinion I think so you can come right back through that door and stand proud 🙂
    Personally I liked that the smell of lilac banished wing…it must have been string though right? Stinky! Lol

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  • August 15, 2014 at 8:20 am
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    *strong* not string!! Grrr to predictive text! Lol

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  • August 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm
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    Mark, we welcome debate here. It’s just that you’re wrong.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL etc. Actually, as a 13 year old, I couldn’t even finish The Perfume, it was just too weird. What’s become very clear about PHBC is that 13 year old me like the very formulaic ones – Camp Fear, April Fools etc. As an adult I appreciate the more left-field choices – Perfume, Yearbook etc.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm
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    James I agree with this as I LOVED April fools when I was younger but not so much now and I know I used to half heartily read books like the perfume which now I find appealing. Is it our tastes change as we get older or we mature enough to appreciate things better etc?

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  • August 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm
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    Yeah those I thought I enjoyed I’ve had a hard time getting through the second time around. I remember I used to always read the last page first, and if it had a good ending I’d read it all the way through lol. What a fool I was. I think Michelle it’s changing tastes personally. A teenager is easily entertained (back then) so to my mind if one of the characters cashed in their chips during the story I deemed it a great read! Again, what a fool I was.

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  • August 20, 2014 at 2:55 am
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    Hey! Who are you callin’ immature? If you don’t play nice, I’m telling my Mum… 😉

    Anyhoo – PH novels (for me) are still about love triangles, cheap thrills and teens in peril with a splash of the red stuff thrown in for good measure. ‘The Perfume’ lacked all of these, so how can I embrace it? You could badge this book as a Sweet Valley or edgy Babysitter’s Club and no-one would notice. It’s a Degrassi novel – troubled teen girl wrestles with identity and fitting in. Who are her real friends? And who likes her when she’s acting like someone else? All we needed was for Dove to fall pregnant! Cue The Zit Remedy…

    At it’s heart, PH IS formulaic – that’s what’s sets the parameters for the series. Given that the execs were dreaming up titles and then asking authors to fit a story to them, it’s not surprising that there are a few mis-hits.

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  • June 17, 2016 at 7:39 pm
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    i still love this and remember it, as well as most of the series, years later.

    main character forgetting where she lives?
    main character with fear of identical things.
    anxiety, who stops taking care of appearance. sounds as if she either has some mental health issues, is learning disabled, or quite possibly both.

    i am physically disabled myself possibly with a bit of learning disability thrown in and id with her. i also love the old-fashioned way of describing her as i’m a bit ye olde worlde myself. her “f’ships were affectionate” -– they don’t sound it.

    she’s more alone than most girls. she’s missing a sister? but even if she did have one how does she know she’d have got on with her?? why not a brother?? i now see why my own parents didn’t really approve of this book in particular. it sounds like a horror film plot, which i suppose is the point. talking to the latent twin inside you. i did see this film w/ this pregnant woman who had whole conversations with her baby, which talked back to her

    the worst thing for me is how her friends and family didn’t notice she was poorly or perhaps she pushed them away with her behaviour. but you’d still think somebody would do/say something.

    i do miss something this book doesn’t have.
    The Point Horror Boy. oh how i wished for one myself. protective. aggressive. possibly in a ski-mask with voice disguised. notes with poems not scanning that well saying something like:
    ROSES ARE DEAD
    YOUR LIPS ARE BLUE
    THEY WILL BE SOON COS I’M GOING
    TO KILL YOU
    [not in books; my own]

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