DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER: BEACH HOUSE, by R.L. STINE

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"You don’t live here, so you don’t know the stories. But everyone in Dunehampton knows. About the murders, I mean."

"Who was murdered?" Ashley asked, crossing her arms over her chest as if for protection.

"Teenagers," was Kip’s curt reply.

THE COVER:

The bloody bathing suit, the title in big bloody block letters, the gratuitous ellipses…. If you aren’t excited about this cover, then I don’t know what to tell you.

THE BACK SAYS:

SWIM. SUNBATHE. DIE.

The sun is hot. The water’s cold. And the kids are cool. 

Too cool to live.

Because a killer is stalking them, one by one. A killer who never leaves a clue. Who disappears as completely as a footprint in the sand.

A killer who has found a very special place in the sun for some very special fun….

HOW WE KNOW THIS BOOK TAKES PLACE IN THE NINETIES:

Day Glo, Vanilla Ice. Also this:

Nearby, two tall young black men in baggy Hammer pants were practicing a complicated dance step, their bare feet sinking into the sand, their boom box blaring.

HOW WE KNOW THIS BOOK ALSO TAKES PLACE IN THE FIFTIES:

OBLIGATORY CLOTHING DESCRIPTION:

He was wearing blue spandex trunks, very tight, and a red and white Grateful Dead T-shirt, several sizes too big.

THE PLOT:

Beach House switches back and forth between the summer of 1956 and This Summer (which, according to the publishing date, is I guess summer of ‘91 or ‘92). All of the murders occur in the 1956 parts of the book, which means that in the 1991 sections… not a lot really happens. Teens lounge around on the beach and occasionally ponder the mysterious, titular house on the beach. There’s a particularly gruesome scene early on in which The Killer lures a girl out into the water, stabs her a bunch of times, and leaves her for the sharks. Another kid gets killed with a driftwood log. Also, pretty much everything in this book is described as “dramatic,” “intense,” and/or “serious.”

BUT THEN THERE’S A TWIST:

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