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Chain Letter (Avon Flare Book) by…
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Chain Letter (Avon Flare Book) (edition 1986)

by Christopher Pike (Author)

Series: Chain Letter (1)

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537734,797 (3.49)4
Seven teenagers are plagued by chain letters demanding impossible deeds and threatening violence as well as exposure of their joint "unthinkable crime in the desolate California desert."
Member:Junction216
Title:Chain Letter (Avon Flare Book)
Authors:Christopher Pike (Author)
Info:Avon Books (1986), Edition: 1st, 185 pages
Collections:Your library
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Chain Letter by Christopher Pike

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I read the 'updated' version and I really thought that I would've hated it but I weirdly didn't. Sure there are inconsistencies like, someone is recording with a cell phone but a few chapters later a tape recorder is mentioned. Speaking of cell phones- it's quite ridiculous to mention them and then have them have no signal or be dead. Just, I don't know, not update it to begin with? Another 'update' was mentioning Brad Pitt and Princess Kate. Wow, so now THIS edition is going to be dated in 20 years.

Anyway, I really did enjoy the story. It reminded me quite a lot of I Know What You Did Last Summer. ( )
  LynnK. | Aug 4, 2020 |
Last summer, seven teens from the same high school went to a concert and, for various reasons, ended up riding back together (oh man, that car must have been cramped). They were drunk, rowdy, and stupid and ended up running someone over in the middle of the desert. Although a few of them wanted to talk to the police, in the end they all agreed to just bury the guy and forget about him.

In the book's present, one member of the group, Fran, has just received a creepy chain letter from someone calling themselves "Your Caretaker." The Caretaker says that Fran must perform a task that will be listed in the newspaper classified ads. Then she must cross her name off of the Column I list in her letter, put it at the bottom of Column II, make a copy of her letter, and send it on to the next person in the list, who is another one of the seven people who were in the car when the man was run over. The next person on the list must receive the letter within five days of Fran getting her letter.

The tasks the Caretaker asks them to do are initially relatively painless. Fran has to alter her painting of the school mascot in the gym. Kipp has to flunk an exam. However, the instant someone decides to defy the Caretaker and refuse to do their stated task, the Caretaker makes it clear that they mean business. If these teens want to avoid getting hurt or killed, they'll have to do what the Caretaker wants, no matter how much they'd prefer not to. The only other way out is to figure out who's behind the Caretaker. Is it one of them? Someone outside their group, watching their every move? Or possibly even the man in the desert. What if he wasn't really dead when they buried him?

I'm pretty sure my first Pike book ever was Chain Letter 2: The Ancient Evil. I don't recall anything about it and I don't think I ever went back and read Chain Letter, because nothing in this book felt familiar. Now that I've read Chain Letter, I can't for the life of me imagine a sequel, especially one with the subtitle like that. But it's Pike, so who knows, maybe reincarnation is involved.

Honestly, Chain Letter wasn't very good. Despite the title, the chain letter aspect felt tacked on, and Pike never took advantage of the classic "if you don't send this to X people in X amount of time, X will befall you" aspect of chain letters. The classified ads had a more prominent place in the story, but I suppose Classified Ad isn't a particularly thrilling title. Then again, neither is Chain Letter.

I did sort of enjoy seeing what the Caretaker would ask the teens to do next, but most of the tasks weren't particularly interesting and a few were even insulting (one task required the person to spread a rumor that they were gay). I also found it difficult to believe that officials at the school wouldn't have gotten wind of at least the earliest tasks - the very first one even used the first name of the person it was assigned to, although the Caretaker got a bit smarter and reverted to initials and code for later tasks.

I correctly guessed most of what was going on before I'd even gotten halfway through. I've either reread too many Pike books and have finally internalized his logic, or Pike just gave away too much too soon, I'm not sure. At any rate, I spent most of the book hoping that the details I'd noticed were just red herrings, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. I outright groaned when Pike bent over backwards to make the ending a combination of bittersweet and happy. Even if you take the Caretaker stuff out of the equation, those seven teens did in fact kill someone, after which they buried the body and never told anyone what they'd done. A happy ending did not feel appropriate.

There was one scene in the book that I really liked, the part where Alison was alone at home. It was good and genuinely scary. I wish more of the book had been that gripping. I didn't hate this, but it was pretty forgettable. (Hey, maybe I did read it at some point and just forgot everything about it!)

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Mar 31, 2019 |
Of all of the Christopher Pike novels, this was the scariest--I stayed up all night reading it and was unable to sleep well for a while (although I was only 13). ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Fail an exam willfully, tell a teacher their teaching is atrocious or spread a nasty rumor about yourself. You probably have never been asked to do any of these things in your life, because you’ve probably never committed the crime of killing a stranger. Alison, Tony, Neil, Brenda, Fran and Kipp have, though—and boy do they regret it! Christopher Pike’s “Chain Letter” is a thrilling, suspenseful novel that will cause readers to fear turning the next page, yet compel them to keep on going.

Driving home from a concert on a desolate, empty path, the seven friends commit the crime of killing a stranger. Their mistake? They refused to inform the police. Now, a chain letter signed "your Caretaker" haunts them, wherever they go, whatever they do. The letter demands dangerous, risky deeds, and violence has been threatened if members of the group fail to adhere.

The story is set in California in a large, poorly populated town, which compliments the spine-chilling plot, as it makes it easier for each of the characters to get hurt when they fail to obey their demands. The setting is favorable because it adds essence to the novel’s style. If the character's lived in a happy world, the book would not be as horrific. Although the focus of the story is not on family, due to the isolation of each of the character’s homes, Pike highlights the importance of having company for the essential reason of safety. This is proved in the breathtaking climax of the novel.

The base of the story is sentimental; friendship. This is mainly due to the fact that when betrayal occurs, whatever trust has been built by the friends, keeps them together. An easy comparison can be made to relationships. It starts off happy ends bitter-sweet. Whatever is left are pure nostalgia and the little trust that has been accumulated on the journey. The important lesson young adults will be enlightened of after finishing this story is that mistakes must be admitted because all actions have consequences—favorable or unfavorable.

This novel was a cliff-hanger and although I do respect that, I found that there were too many questions raised in the story that were not answered. For example, after the "Caretaker's" identity is revealed, there is very little history on how things came to be. I wish to specify, but in the interest of retaining the suspense, it's best that I don't. The author likely kept the suspense to intrigue readers, so that they would be tempted to read the sequel: Chain Letter 2.

With a powerful superiority, the written works of Christopher Pike have enticed many teens and adults and will continue on to do so. In its engaging plot and astounding climax, “Chain Letter” will grab readers with a force that will keep them turning the pages. An irresistible and unpredictable read that I would highly reccommend to adults and young adults. ( )
  Salee | Nov 10, 2010 |
The ending is a little goofy, and it doesn't make any sense at all that the grown-ups and parents would react to everything the way that they do, but there is a very nice climatic chase/attack scene and some good twists along the way. If you are feeling the need to re-visit some Christopher Pike, you won't be disappointed by Chain Letter.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2010/02/chain-letter-by-christopher-pike-1986.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Feb 3, 2010 |
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Seven teenagers are plagued by chain letters demanding impossible deeds and threatening violence as well as exposure of their joint "unthinkable crime in the desolate California desert."

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