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Summer of Fear

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  4,230 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
Why is Rachel the only one to sense the evil that surrounds Julia?



From the moment Rachel's cousin Julia arrives that summer, she seems to seep into Rachel's life like a poison. Everyone else is enchanted by her--including Rachel's boyfriend. But what does Julia really want?
Paperback, 219 pages
Published October 15th 1977 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Joe Valdez
My Lois Duncan jag concludes with Summer of Fear, a supernatural thriller first published in 1976 and revised by the author in 2011 to account for changes in communication that would deflate much of her plot if the story took place in the present. I'm not wild about the trend to update Young Adult thrillers published in the 1970s or '80s for readers of today. Duncan's books are scarier when her teenage heroines can't rely on smartphones, the Internet or helicopter parents to help them overcome e ...more
Jennifer
Jan 13, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Still freakin' scary and still one of my best 7th grade booktalks. Lois Duncan knows how to work the fear nerve!
Melanie
This is a solid 3.5 star read for me. This book was originally written in the 70s and revised in the 2000s. I have no clue what all she changed but I noticed her referring to Harry Potter and cell phones to make the book more relevant.

When I bought this book I didn't connect to the fact that I had already seen the film that was based on this book. Yes, this book has a very, unknown film that stars Linda Blair and was directed by Wes Craven. The movie actually followed the book pretty decent. Th
...more
Abraham Nava
Jan 14, 2016 Abraham Nava rated it really liked it
Do you like books about magic spells or witchcraft well this is the right book for you! The genre to this book is fantasy fiction with a little bit of realistic fiction. My opinion to this book is that it is great it is creepy in a way and makes you feel like you are actually there in the experience. There will be SPOILER ALERTS in the book so be aware.
So this book takes place in day and night in a house of this girl named Rachel. So what happens in this book is that what suddenly tragic just
...more
girl writing
Nov 26, 2012 girl writing rated it liked it
4 stars for content but gave only 3 because of edits.

I absolutely loved Lois Duncan's books as a young adult reader. They were creepy, twisty stories but not so scary, I had to sleep with the light on. This story is still a fun read as an adult. Reading it as an adult made me think of the draw of this story...a teenager who knows something is horribly wrong but none of the adults will listen to her and then they find out she is right. Who of us didn't have some kind of fantasy like that in the
...more
Rayne
3.5 stars

In terms of the atmosphere in the novel and the general enjoyment that I got from this story, this should probably get a bit more than 3 stars. I am well aware that this is an oldie and that I am probably not in the target audience of this book any more, but I was a bit disappointed by it. I found it way to simple and a bit too predictable, but I did enjoy reading it, aside from that jerk of a love interest and Rae's parents, who had no problem calling their own daughter a witch, pointi
...more
Wendy
Sep 14, 2007 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scary, read-in-rwanda
Reread for the umpteenth time. This book is so. freaking. good.
ElphabaNewlin
Have you ever felt overshadowed by a prettier, more popular relative? Maybe a sibling, or a cousin? Someone who you think is just the worst person in the world, but everyone seems to love and make excuses for? And no matter how much you protest, that person is always held in highest regard, and YOU'RE the hysterical and mean one?

Have you considered that perhaps your relative is a practicing witch? Because Lois Duncan sure has!

Rachel lives a fairly good life in Albuquerque. She's close to her par
...more
Steph
Summer of Fear was written in 1976 for young adults and has won several book awards:
California Young Reader Medal for Vermont Young Readers Award, Vermont Young Readers Award and the New Mexico Young Readers Award. I chose to read this book for my "Lifetime of Books" challenge. If I hadn't had that challenge, I'm certain I never would've read this book. That being said, it was an entertaining read. I borrowed the audio version from the library and, although the narrator's voice didn't fit, IM
...more
Luke Sewell
Dec 02, 2012 Luke Sewell rated it it was amazing


The book Summer if Fear by Louis Duncan, in my eyes was one of the best books that I had ever read. The book is about a teenager named Rachel who had been looking forward to summer all year an when it finally arrives is overjoyed. She has a loving family, an amazing best friend, and the best boyfriend that a boy could ask for. All of they changed though when she came. When her family learned that their aunt and uncle had died they decided to adopt their cousin into their lives. This would be th
...more
Jody
Oct 16, 2016 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was awfully predictable and not at all that scary, perhaps the original 1976 version would have been better. This version was rather boring :/
Carolina Dean
Jun 08, 2011 Carolina Dean rated it it was amazing
Summer of Fear is one of several stories written by noted author Lois Duncan (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Hotel for Dogs) famous for her young adult novels. It is told in the first-person from the perspective of Rachael, a teenage girl living an idyllic life in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the late 1970's.

Rachael enjoys a loving, close-knit family (including two brothers), a best friend, and a dog named Trickle. Despite her hangups about her curly red hair, Rachael also has a cute boyfriend
...more
Mariana Nava
***Spoiler Alert* ** what would you do if your cousin was evil. i think this book is science fiction because there is lots of creepy things like black magic. In my opinion i really liked this book i love reading this type of book with mystery and suspension.

This book takes place in a neighbor hood in Mexico and took place in the percent. The main characters is Rachael, Julie Rachel's parents and Mike. This story talks about a girl named Rachel that seems to have a perfect life her parents love
...more
Dana
Jun 21, 2015 Dana rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult
I inhaled Lois Duncan's books as an adolescent. They felt dangerous, and sometimes mind-blowing (like the one about astral projection, for example!) without being the gore-fest of horror books intended for adults. I felt older, wiser, cooler, and harder for having read them. I decided to revisit one as part of my reading goals for this year. I wasn't aware when I checked it out that Summer of Fear was part of a rerelease of a number of Duncan's books, with edits for the modern reader. I don't th ...more
Kelly Hager
Apr 06, 2011 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
After Rachel's aunt and uncle die in a car accident, her orphaned cousin, Julia, comes to live with the family. Rachel tries to be welcoming, but there's something about Julia she doesn't quite trust. It may be the fact that everyone is Team Julia all of a sudden and Rachel feels left out, but she's pretty sure there's more to it than simple jealousy. After a little research, she starts to suspect that Julia's actually a witch (and it's a little more like The Craft than, say, Sabrina the Teenage ...more
Sherri
Aug 11, 2011 Sherri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fifteen-year-old Rachel’s life gets turned upside down when her orphaned 17-year-old cousin, Julia, from the Ozarks moves in with them when her parents are killed in a car accident. Not only does Rachel have to share her bedroom with her unfamiliar cousin, but Julia quickly wins over Rachel’s brothers and parents who are entranced by her charming ways. Only Rachel seems to notice the new unusual happenings, like how the friendly family dog immediately dislikes and bites Julia or how Julia’s tone ...more
Sheila Beaumont
All of Lois Duncan's suspense novels that I've read have been fun, entertaining, and thrilling, and this one, in which orphaned cousin Julia comes to live with Rachel and her family after Julia's parents have been killed in a fiery car crash, is no exception. Bad things start happening soon after she moves in, and it soon becomes apparent that there's something not quite right about Julia, to put it mildly.

The book I read is the revised, updated version. The modernizing of the text wasn't necess
...more
Alice
Apr 06, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it
Rachael's cousin Julia is going to be living with her family. Julia's parents died in a car accident and Rachael's parents took her in. At first, Rachael likes Julia but as the story goes on, Rachael starts to become suspicious. Julia has "stolen" Rachael's best friend, her boyfriend, and her bedroom. Rachael then discovers that this Julia was not her real cousin. She is a witch.
I think that this book is good, and it's for people who like mystery books. i think that i can connect to Rachael a b
...more
Sarah
Feb 11, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This was a fast, simple read. It was the type of book I would have picked up when I was 15, but regardless I enjoyed it! I originally wanted to see the film starring Linda Blair and when I saw that it was based on a book by Lois Duncan i figured I'd check the book out first. I'm glad I did because it was a fun tale of good vs. bad, and how the bad people can usually convince everyone that they are the good person. I was flipping pages very quickly to see how this one was going to be resolved. I ...more
Stacy Mar
Feb 13, 2016 Stacy Mar rated it really liked it
This was a reread for me.

I read all of Lois Duncan's books as a teenager.

This is a good mystery chiller, very much written in the style of the vintage gothic romance...switched identities, murder, witchcraft.

It's an excellent YA read, but also just generally is a good, quick book.

You can find a full review later this week on my YA Horror Review blog:
http://yahorrorrevisited.blogspot.com/
First Second Books
I am so in love with these redesigned covers of some of my favorite scary books from childhood (even if the books themselves will still give me nightmares.)
Tori
Sep 19, 2009 Tori rated it liked it
This one was really weird, more about the supernatural. Kind of interesting, but strange.
Jimbo Pantas
It was okay.
Sarah
Aug 03, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing
fave boooookkkkkkk
Rebecca
Feb 10, 2017 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-coming-of-age
This was a great book. Julia comes to live with her cousins, aunt and uncle but is she a witch? Is she really Julia? How did her parents car crash?
Michele Brack
Jan 03, 2017 Michele Brack rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
I promised myself I would finish these tiny books as quickly as possible. So, with nothing to do on my day off, I sped through this one.

I called the ending by page 24. Sure, they added a supernatural aspect to it, but my hypothesis was still the same and I was right on all counts. It was kind of a predictable story line when you think about it. All the supernatural element did was make the choices and actions of some of the characters more easily forgivable.

Seriously, though... Did teenagers rea
...more
Elusive
May 13, 2016 Elusive rated it liked it
Shelves: review
In ‘Summer of Fear’, fifteen-year-old Rachel’s summer turns into a nightmare with the arrival of her seventeen-year-old cousin Julia whose parents had perished in an automobile accident. Soon, Julia is everyone’s darling, gaining her family’s approval and sympathy while stealing her boyfriend Mike. Rachel discovers that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Julia and she has to figure out what it is before more lives are in danger..

I really like this sort of premise whereby there’s on
...more
Halcyon Daze
I didn't like this book. At first, I didn't understand why. I mean, it isn't too fundamentally different from Duncan's other books, which I typically enjoy.

It was boring.

Our main character is typical American teenager Rachel, who's living the good life. She gets along with her family, she has a boyfriend whom she loves, she's well-liked, etc. One day, her cousin Julia is orphaned and brought in to live with them. Strange things begin to happen, and Julia slowly begins to take away Rachel's frien
...more
Luke Sewell
Dec 02, 2012 Luke Sewell rated it it was amazing
In the book Summer of Fear a teenage girl named Rachel had the perfect life. She had a loving family a perfect best friend and an amazing boyfriend whom she cared for deeply. When summer came around she had always thought that it would be perfect, a new pool in town had just opened up and she expected to be there all day every day. Then the news that her Aunt and Uncle had died in a terrible car crash arrived at their house, and because of this predicament her cousin Julia was coming to live wit ...more
BookWitch_Namine
Actual Rating: 3.5
The book itself is well-written with good description, figurative language, and vocabulary. I'm an odd person who notices these things and takes them into account. Normally, Lois Duncan is my easy-read book to get good grades on. It's not complicated to figure things out. I'm not a big fan of her work but like the magic she speaks of, I'm charmed to her books and await the one book of her I thoroughly enjoy. A memorable book that'll be. Anyhow, I somewhat disliked how the con
...more
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz) was an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Saraso ...more
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