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Lois Duncan (1934–2016)

Author of I Know What You Did Last Summer

68+ Works 12,158 Members 279 Reviews 20 Favorited
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About the Author

Lois Duncan was born on April 28, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of 13, her first story was published in the magazine Calling All Girls. As a senior in high school, she won Seventeen magazine's annual short-story contest. She continued to write for magazines after getting married show more and having children. She entered her young adult manuscript Debutante Hill in Dodd, Mead and Company's Seventeenth Summer Literary Contest and earned the grand prize, which was $1000 and a book contract. That first title was published in 1958. She published several young adult novels at that time including Love Song for Joyce and A Promise for Joyce, both under the pseudonym Lois Kerry. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she wrote freelance magazine articles and taught in the journalism department at the University of New Mexico. After she married for the second time, she started writing books again. Her young adult novels included Ransom, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin, Night Terrors, Stranger with My Face, Don't Look Behind You, and The Twisted Window. She also wrote works for younger readers including Silly Mother, The Circus Comes Home: When the Greatest Show on Earth Rose the Rails, Hotel for Dogs, News for Dogs, and Movie for Dogs. Her best-known non-fiction book, Who Killed My Daughter?: The True Story of a Mother's Search for Her Daughter's Murderer, is about her family's experiences following the murder of her youngest daughter in 1989. Her works have earned her several awards including three Parents' Choice awards, the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992, and the 2015 Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America. She died on June 15, 2016 at the age of 82. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Michael Mouchette


Works by Lois Duncan

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973) 1,347 copies
Killing Mr. Griffin (1978) 1,174 copies
Stranger with My Face (1981) 899 copies
Down a Dark Hall (1974) 844 copies
A Gift of Magic (1971) 769 copies
Locked in Time (1985) 710 copies
Don't Look Behind You (1989) 693 copies
Summer of Fear (1977) 660 copies
Five Were Missing (1966) 571 copies
Daughters of Eve (1979) 552 copies
The Third Eye (1984) 550 copies
Gallows Hill (1997) 527 copies
Hotel For Dogs (1971) 466 copies
The Twisted Window (1987) 379 copies
They Never Came Home (1969) 317 copies
News For Dogs (2009) 313 copies
Who Killed My Daughter? (1992) 299 copies
The Magic Of Spider Woman (1996) 139 copies
Movie For Dogs (2010) 113 copies
Night Terrors: Stories of Shadow and Substance (1996) — Editor — 103 copies
I Walk at Night (2000) 73 copies
I Know What You Did Last Summer [1997 film] (1997) — Author — 73 copies
On The Edge: Stories At The Brink (2000) — Editor — 61 copies
The Birthday Moon (1989) 58 copies
Trapped!: Cages of Mind and Body (1938) — Editor; Contributor — 43 copies
Songs from Dreamland (1989) 31 copies
Debutante Hill (1958) 30 copies
When the Bough Breaks (1973) 22 copies
Written In The Stars (2014) 22 copies
Horses of Dreamland (1985) 18 copies
Song of the Circus (2002) 17 copies
Psychic Connections (1995) 16 copies
The Circus Comes Home (1993) 12 copies
The middle sister (1960) 11 copies
Peggy (1970) 11 copies
Giving Away Suzanne (1963) 7 copies
Major Andre: Brave Enemy (1969) 7 copies
Season of the Two-Heart (1964) 5 copies
Down a Dark Hall [2018 Film] — Writer — 4 copies
Seasons of the Heart (2007) 3 copies
Silly mother (1962) 3 copies
So cosa hai fatto (2021) 3 copies
Borte for alltid (1999) 2 copies
Ne te retourne pas (1989) 1 copy

Associated Works

Little Women (1868) — Afterword, some editions — 26,172 copies
Hotel for Dogs [2009 film] (2009) — Original book; Original book — 126 copies


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Common Knowledge




This was the first book we read for my banned book club. The writing is very easy to get into and it's a quick read. I do think it will spark lots of discussions, which is great. This is the perfect type of book to read and discuss in a book club or classroom.

One downside is there's too many characters' POV and it's a short book so it makes it hard to connect with some of the characters and they sometimes fade into the background so you forget who they are. At the end when they mentioned Holly's name again I thought, "wait, was Holly part of the club this whole time?" That's how little we get of her POV. There are 10 girls in the club to begin with and having that many POVs for a book that's less than 300 pages makes it impossible to give each character enough time to feel like a fully fleshed out character, so some of them end up feeling flat. This would have been better if it just focused on maybe 3-4 girls max.

The pacing of the story felt uneven. Based on the synopsis, I thought the revenge schemes would have taken place earlier, but it took a long time before the first revenge scheme happened. Then after the first one occurred, the rest of them happened pretty quickly and then the book ended, so the ending did feel rushed. I am glad we got a little bit of an epilogue cause it did give some closure & resolution as to what happened with all the characters. Without that epilogue, it would have been a more open ended story, which is something I hate.

Overall, despite its flaws it is an engaging story and will spark a lot of good discussions. There isn't much graphic violence or any explicit sex scenes so this could work for younger teens or pre-teens as well.

Content warnings: Domestic violence and child abuse, suicide attempt, attempted sexual assault, teen pregnancy and discussion about abortion, emotionally abusive relationship between one of the teen couples, emotional abuse and manipulation of students by a teacher, sexism/misogyny, eating disorders, torture of a teen by peers, animal experimentation, and murder/attempted murder of abusive parent.
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VanessaMarieBooks | 16 other reviews | Dec 10, 2023 |
Short, economical and a good suspenseful read although, having just re-read this, I'm not sure if I guessed so early on, when I first read this many years ago, the major twist about the villain. This time the suspense element for me was when the protagonist was going to work it out. Duncan does drop the clues in fairly unobtrusively and a younger reader probably would not spot them too early on.

The characterisation of the villain might not go down too well with Wiccans as it's based on the stereotyped view of witchcraft/witches; I think the author could've just as easily had it that the villain was doing her ill deeds with mundane methods such as poison although the 'big reveal' scene does pivot on the villain's own belief about whether or not witches from the Ozarks appear in photographs. Anyway, it's quite a good read for a teen or pre-teen audience, although allowances need to be made for the 1970s setting, mainly the fact that photographs have to be developed chemically as this is long before digital technology.… (more)
kitsune_reader | 17 other reviews | Nov 23, 2023 |
Overall this was a good book. I feel like there could have been more balanced progression. It just went really slow at the begining thrn the end was over quick. Overall i would reccomend.
AshleyPelletier | 5 other reviews | Oct 29, 2023 |



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