PHBC: The Boyfriend vs The Girlfriend

The Boyfriend The Girlfriend
Cover 176400 girlfriend
What’s it all about? Borderline sociopath Joanna Collier sees AMATEUR DRAMATICS fan Dex fall off a cliff only to be surprised and horrified when he APPEARS to come back from the dead.What is the terrifying truth? Bet you can’t guess. Scott ‘Scotty’ Singleton soon regrets a weekend blowie with whispery redhead Shannon. That’s right, she’s a grade A bunny boiler. Lock up your pets! No, for realsies.
The Girl? As both titles this month are from the Godfather of Point Horror, we perhaps shouldn’t be surprised that neither lead character is typical.Joanna is a less self-aware Regina George. Hands up if you’ve ever been personally victimised by Joanna Collier? 

She leads Dex on, and treats new love interest Shep like a fashion accessory.

 

Stine hints at some major mummy/daddy issues, going some way to explain Joanna’s attitude problem. I don’t see any other author getting away with it.

Likewise, very few PH titles (The Yearbook) led with a male lead.The Girlfriend is no more and no less that a YA retelling of Fatal Attraction, and that’s no bad thing. 

However, it’s hard to tell if we’re meant to like Scotty. I think we’re meant to, but he does cheat on Lora (who is actually better than most PH girls – testament to Stine’s excellent dialogue).

 

Like Gone Girl’s Nick Dunne, this Golden Boy has it coming.

The Love Interest Dex is your standard Bad Boy from the bad side of town, except he’s not especially bad – just a bit stalky. It’s hard to understand what he sees in Joanna.Shep is a Golden Retriever of a character, but does grow a pair for the final (and demented) showdown and tells Joanna where to go. Lora (although perhaps too good to be true) is well realised. She loves Scotty but has a life of her own. Her sardonic take on her privileged life feels real.Her only misstep is her VERY fast forgiveness of Scotty at the end, he’d have been DEAD TO ME.
Dialogue Disasters This is RL Stine! There aren’t any obvious zingers, but please prove me wrong in the box below. ‘Bender’‘Fluffernutter’
Some Mild Peril Dex climbing in through Joanna’s window, and his lurking could be perceived as scary I suppose. The problem is, Dex isn’t very scary.Less would have been more, I feel. Shannon’s relentless pursuit of Scotty is effective. Scotty’s powerlessness is chilling.Stalking is a real threat, and this isn’t a bad portrayal – even if the climax is ludicrous.
Body Count 0 2 (animals)
Is it any good? Erm…Joanna is a welcome addition to the PH world – she’s truly hateful and a bold choice. It’s a shame she doesn’t get her comeuppance.I’m also a big Mary fan. Yes, the twist is obvious and I wish she hadn’t been quite so unhinged but I like the idea of her plotting against her frenemy. The Girlfriend feels slightly more like a PH than The Boyfriend and is better for it. Shannon is more believable than Dex, although it’s a shame she’s so one dimensional – I wish we knew more about her background.
Over to you! 1. Which title did you prefer and why?2. If you HAD TO, Dex or Shannon?3. Who’s a bigger shit? Joanna or Scotty? 

Next month we graduate high school and head to NIGHTMARE HALL – THE SILENT SCREAM by Diane Hoh.