Saturday, June 22, 2019

Funhouse by Diane Hoh

If it weren’t for the Boardwalk, the small town of Santa Luisa might disappear altogether. The amusement park employs half the town’s workers, pulls in tourists, and gives teenagers like Tess Landers someplace to hang out on the weekends. Tess is eating a hot dog when the Boardwalk’s roller coaster—the Devil’s Elbow—jumps the track, hangs for a moment in the air, and then plummets to the ground. One of Tess’s classmates is dead on impact, two are forever maimed, and over twenty others are taken to the hospital. It’s the worst tragedy Santa Luisa has ever seen, but it’s only the beginning. As people rush to help, Tess spies a black-suited figure running away from the crowd. The crash was no accident. Five more teens will suffer before the killer is through, and Tess may be about to put herself on the list of victims.

Funhouse was the first “retro read” I’ve done that was truly scary: as it seemed like something that could sadly happen in real life.   I remember always liking Diane Hoh’s work as it contained realistic sounding dialogue and relatable teens. However, the cops in this book didn’t take Tess’ claims of someone tampering with the ride and someone sending her threatening letters seriously. In reality, I believe and hope that a  more thorough investigation would’ve ensued but if this happened, "the kids" wouldn't get to save the day.  I did predict "whodunnit" about 3/4 of the way through but Funhouse was a fun, trilling quick read.  ****/5

Funhouse was originally published in 1990 by Point Horror/Scholastic.  It has recently been re-released as an e-book along with many other Point Horror classics.  This e-book edition included a nice biography of the author with photos.  Look for a print copy at your local used book store or visit the publisher's site for the e-book or access it through Kindle Unlimited. 

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