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Whisper of Death

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Roxanne and Pepper are a teenage couple with problems. They leave their small town for a weekend to try and solve them. They don't really succeed, and when they return home they find their town empty.

They call other towns.

They find the whole world empty.

But eventually they discover three other Kids their Age who are still alive in the town. They cannot imagine why the five of them seem to be the only ones left of the entire human race. They have only one thing in common. They were each directly or indirectly involved in the death of Betty Sue - the plain, shy girl who committed suicide only a short time ago. Betty Sue - the quiet, brilliant girl who wrote short stories about each of them. Stories of hate, of revenge, of death in a dead world.

It makes them wonder who Betty Sue really was.

Or what Betty Sue was.

180 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published December 1, 1991

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About the author

Christopher Pike

190 books5,002 followers
Christopher Pike is the pseudonym of Kevin McFadden. He is a bestselling author of young adult and children's fiction who specializes in the thriller genre.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

McFadden was born in New York but grew up in California where he stills lives in today. A college drop-out, he did factory work, painted houses and programmed computers before becoming a recognized author. Initially unsuccessful when he set out to write science fiction and adult mystery, it was not until his work caught the attention of an editor who suggested he write a teen thriller that he became a hit. The result was Slumber Party (1985), a book about a group of teenagers who run into bizarre and violent events during a ski weekend. After that he wrote Weekend and Chain Letter. All three books went on to become bestsellers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 233 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica.
560 reviews96 followers
April 13, 2009
There are many books I've read in my youth that mean something completely different to me today. Whisper of Death's actual meanings changed completely because I never fully understood some of its plot points - I first read it in middle school and then a few times in high school. I always remembered it being one of my favourite Pike books, and maybe that was because it doesn't have a neat, happy ending.

However, there's an overarching storyline about the main character, Roxanne, getting an abortion. And to be sure, the story never gets preachy in any respect, but this is a storyline which had a larger context that I had no clue about in middle school. And so, it almost became more scary when I realized all the implications this time. The story's plot is also very Twilight Zone in the fact that five teenagers wake up to a town with nobody in it - and there's a reason why. Again, like Pike's other young adult books, there's a lot more going on in the heads of these characters, be it Sita's spirituality in The Last Vampire or Roxanne's mystification with the stars and Mars, in this book. Interestingly, Roxanne sees a movie called Season of Passage, which ended up being the title of an adult Pike book years later - about aliens from Mars.

I'm still enjoying my Pike retrospect at twenty-five; it's fun to connect to my younger self.
Profile Image for amber.
42 reviews54 followers
July 17, 2009
This is some heavy shit. The main character is killed by the unborn (and born? it's whacked) baby/teenager she aborted. But unborn/born also sleeps with her dad and gets impregnated by him? I mean, I'm not even sure I'm getting this right and it is a book for 13 year olds. There is also a character named Helter Skater. I might want to burn this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Grady Hendrix.
Author 44 books18.4k followers
May 20, 2019
I have one word for you: abortion ghost.
That's two words, but it's a Pike novel: expect inconsistencies.
Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,812 followers
December 28, 2020
Ooof. This one, like The Midnight Club, is very heavy and sad, which I like. And damn, this book was also very effed up. Which I liked? I think? I am very conflicted though. The ending is bizarre and doesn't make *total* sense, but I also kinda like that.

At the end of the day, this is a tough one to review because (being published in the early '90s) it isn't always in line with today's political correctness, but it isn't totally clear. Sometimes it's the fault of unlikable characters (Pike writes perfectly imperfect teens, so don't expect to like all the characters (which is okay (because people are not likeable))) and sometimes it skates the line between both views. In the end, this will most likely offend people for and against abortion. Which I also kind of like because it adds to the "WTF?" quality of the story. It is truly insane and quite existential.

I didn't read this one as a kid, but I believe it would have went right over my head. This is definitely recommended for an older audience who won't be offended when confronted with non-black and white moral views and a heavy subject matter. It is totally a product of its time, so if you still read it and are offended after, don't say you weren't warned. That's what reviews are for, but in the end it is up to you whether or not to heed them.

Personally? I think Pike was quite ahead of his time in most of his views, but he had to try to communicate that to '90s readers, the majority of which were more conservative. If you know how to read between the lines and take things with a grain of salt, I think this novel can be enjoyed today for all its absurdity and darkness.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Donna.
1,050 reviews50 followers
December 22, 2011
This story of a troubled teenager who uses stories to manipulate those around her could have been great, but re-reading it as an adult made me look at it differently.

The plot is driven by an 18 year old's abortion, every horror in the book is linked back to that choice. It was frustrating to see responsibility laid at the feet of a teen in a difficult situation rather than, you know, the actual murderer.

There was also a nasty little suggestion that a rape victim had magically coerced her own assault. This repeated point didn't come from the girl's diary or anything, the other characters just thought it was likely because, hey, you know how freaky she was. Yes, this book actually used the idea that "she was asking for it" to add sympathy to an admitted rapist.

Not cool, Christopher Pike.
Profile Image for Sara.
177 reviews57 followers
April 4, 2009
This was by far one of my most favorite books by Pike. It has the most interesting premise of several teenagers waking up to find they are the only inhabitants of their small town. Everyone else is gone, with no signs of what may have happened. It is one of the creepiest of his books, with a little bit of Agatha Christie style suspense thrown in, and the characters are all people you feel connected to. I won't say more as I'll keep the spoilers out, but this is in my top 5 favorites out of all of Pike's books - 15+ years later and I still remember this book vividly.
Profile Image for Diane Ehlers.
Author 5 books38 followers
July 21, 2019
Was originally posted on Paranormal Sisters: http://www.paranormalsisters.blogspot...

I heard R.L Stine had the same style as Christopher Pike but after reading Whisper of Death I find Christopher Pike’s work so much stronger! His storytelling is hypnotizing and absolutely spine chilling, much more in-depth with his stories than R.L Stine.

I love R.L Stine books, don’t get me wrong. I mean, that’s where I get my fix when I want a little horror in my life but that’s all they are, a bunch a slasher books more than anything else. And that’s what I thought I was going to get with Whisper of Death. No, I was so wrong! Instead, I got a skin-crawling, huddled up in a corner kind of story! Reading this when its dark out is completely breathtaking! I was always afraid to look over my shoulder because it felt like someone was constantly watching me as I turned page after page. I even felt like someone was about to grab me from behind! *shudders*

Yeah, so I can’t wait to read another book by him. I’ve got a couple more! Anyways, in the beginning this story took me by surprise but as things got moving, I was hooked! I just couldn’t put it down! My heart was racing and I was constantly sitting on the edge of my seat, sometimes the upcoming death scenes felt like the ones in the Final Destination series but these were so much more powerful than those. Ugh, my heartache and I couldn’t wait to read what was going to happen next! And the mystery behind all that was happening completely took me on a roller coaster!

Overall just the idea of being the only few people left in this world makes me want to shudder, to curl up in a ball somewhere. Christopher Pike writes the atmosphere perfectly, I felt like I was there with them, making this read so much more enjoyable! So if you like R.L Stine and spine chilling reads that’ll have you fearful then this is a must-read for you!
Profile Image for PurplyCookie.
942 reviews201 followers
September 10, 2009
"If I hadn't loved him so much it couldn't have hurt so much. But that is, I believe, why God gave us love. So that we could feel pain. It made us that much more mortal. It made us much less than God."

This is the very book that made me an avid Pike reader back in my pre-teen, and will continue giving me the creeps even after years after my first reading of it.

Returning home one day, Roxanne and Pepper find their small town--and surrounding towns--empty. Finally they find three other teens (jerk Helter, nerd Stan, and beautiful Leslie) and realize that all five are each connected through the death of Betty Sue, the plain, shy girl who committed suicide only three months before.

But Betty Sue had written stories about them, stories of hate, revenge, and death . . . in a dead world. Her stories included: "Lati Ball Puts On A Mask", "Holt Skater Takes A Walk", "Soda Radar Goes To Sleep" and "Salt and Pepper For Supper". You'll feel like you're there in Salem with them. The stilted rhymes, the dark fairy-tale veneer, there was something about it that was truly haunting.

Betty Sue was one of the most mysterious and horrific villains in any piece of fiction I have read thus far, and the dark setting stirred feelings of terror in me till I was finished with the book. Still hours after reading, I feel a slight chill, and the ending was unexpected.

"Whisper of Death" is such an interesting, creepy, disturbing story and I loved it. Thoroughly chilling, and very intense, I recommend this to anybody, as long as you think you can handle it

Book Details:

Title Whisper of Death
Author Christopher Pike
Reviewed By Purplycookie
Profile Image for LittleDeadRedGoddessPersephone.
874 reviews25 followers
August 20, 2014
Christopher Pike remains one of the most talented YA writers. He actually manages to create stories and characters that stick with you. Yes, he has had a few clunkers(I was not a fan of The Last Vampire series) but overall his writing is strong and the characters are very likable. They also end often on a rather tragic note which is something most YA writers do not do.

Whisper Of Death is a book that stayed with me from the first time I read it. This is one of the few books I do not reread often because it is really so bleak. That being said I love it. I feel for Rox and Stan the most. Of all of them you can't help but feel for Rox the most. She is an innocent bystander. Betty Sue is a great villain because we all have known people like her (without her power of course) just petty,angry people.
Profile Image for Sarah.
166 reviews
March 11, 2019
Man. Christopher Pike is a great storyteller and I am enjoying my reread of the books I still own. But this one...it’s got themes that were lost on me when I read it at age twelve, and they don’t sit well with me as an adult. The story of a teen girl who could write stories that came true, manipulating and harming people around her? Very interesting and spooky. But the terrible things that happen all circle back to one girl’s decision to have an abortion, implying that the abortion causes all the turmoil, and as a grown-ass feminist, I gotta say...not cool, Chris Pike. Add in the throwaway homophobic lines (“I didn’t want her to think I was queer”) and the implication that the witchy teen made her own rape happen? Hard pass on this otherwise clever and creepy tale.
Profile Image for Kelly Gunderman.
Author 2 books76 followers
April 8, 2016
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

I have had multiple copies of this book throughout the years, and I have read it countless times. However, between moving from my parents' house, to moving into an apartment, and finally into my house (and failing to ever completely unpack all of my things, I guess), over the years I have lost them. So since I often thought about this book (and how freakin' awesome it is), I found a copy on eBay for like $3 (it's been out of print for a while now, so this is probably your best bet at getting a copy for yourself if you decide to), and told my husband to buy it for me for Christmas. Since he's pretty awesome, he definitely did, and I was lucky enough to get a chance to reread it (albeit for like the 20th time, but whatever).

It was pretty much just as awesome as I remember, and since I haven't read it in like 8 years, it was even more awesome than the last time I had picked it up. I always liked a good Christopher Pike novel, and this was awesome YA horror before "YA" was anywhere near as popular as it is today. Truth be told, Whisper of Death was way ahead of its time, which is probably why it wasn't really one of the more popular Christopher Pike novels (anyone remember Chain Letter?), but it was always my favorite.

See, I don't know exactly what it is about this book that I'm so drawn to, other than the fact that it's creepy as hell and just flat out well written. So many YA horror novels are written with a lot of filler that's supposed to add creepiness, but it's more like stuff that just adds some shock factor to the book. That isn't really the case with this...this book is actually kind of...well...terrifying (I actually had to put it down and read something else at night because there was no way I could read this thing and fall asleep).

Roxanne and Pepper are pretty much your typical teenage couple. They spend their time together when they can, break into the science lab at school and steal telescopes to go watch the stars with, you know, that sort of thing. Roxanne falls in love with Pepper, and after one romantic night together in Pepper's barn, they find themselves in predicament that they need to figure out, and fast.

One sleepy morning, on their way back from a town a little ways off from their own, Roxanne notices a hitchhiker on the side of the road, who looks awfully familiar, but she disappears at the last minute. From there, they return to an empty town. There's no one at the gas station when they stop to refuel their car. There's no one broadcasting anything on the radio. There's no one answering their phones. It seems the whole world is empty. Except for Roxanne and Pepper, and a few other kids that they go to high school with. Together, they have to figure out what's going on, and why they're the only ones left in an otherwise empty world.

When they start talking about Betty Sue, a strange girl who had committed suicide only a short time before, they come across her journal and secrets that might have been better left undiscovered.

It's rare that I rate a book 5 stars, add it to my favorites list, or even reread a book a second time (let alone the 20 some times I've probably read this one by now), so this is definitely something special. Since it's out of print and hard to find, I really wanted to share this with you in hopes that you might enjoy it, too!
Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books288 followers
November 18, 2016
Words cannot convey how massively influential this book was to me as a youngster. It's not just that the premise is wildly inventive, nor that the characters are intriguing. For me, the finest thing about it was its atmosphere. As a teen, I read it over and over - and it always stayed with me long after I'd finished the final page. Haunting, nostalgic, oddly sweet in places - such a great book. Mind you, most of Christopher Pike's books are!
Profile Image for Christine (KizzieReads).
1,287 reviews87 followers
October 20, 2016
I read this year's ago and forgot the whole story. It was a great read for this time of year and spookathon! Love the writing and the plot just keeps getting better. There were a few things that bugged me, but overall a great book.
Profile Image for ElizaBeth.
95 reviews
May 7, 2007
This competes with Remember Me as my favorite Pike book, but in terms of sheer creepiness it takes the cake. Don't drop that cigarette!
Profile Image for Sraah.
204 reviews26 followers
January 20, 2018
this book is so fked up and i can’t believe i read it when i was 12 and loved it so much. i knew way too much about suicide and death at such a young age. i’ve known too much darkness all my life. the theme of time being a loop will never fail to make me want to scream.
Profile Image for Carrie (brightbeautifulthings).
821 reviews30 followers
March 21, 2018
Like so many of Christopher Pike’s books, Whisper of Death scared the daylights out of me when I was a kid. Even the cover with its gruesome hitchhiker still gives me chills. I can tell it’s been a rough week or a totally lackluster reading list when I’m reaching for Hamilton and Pike in succession. I’m not sure what it says about me that my comfort books are some of the most demented I’ve ever read. Trigger warnings: death, rape, abortion, gore, suicide.

Roxanne hasn’t been with her boyfriend, Pepper, for long, but she’s already in love with him. When she discovers that she’s pregnant, Pepper convinces her to have an abortion. They’re only in high school, after all. Rox changes her mind before the procedure starts, and when the two arrive back in Salem, they find the town empty. It’s as though the entire world has disappeared overnight except for them and three other students. They’re all connected by a strange girl, Betty Sue, who killed herself a month ago. But Betty Sue was more than what she seemed. She wrote stories about all of them, and her stories had a way of coming true…

This book is one of the creepiest I’ve ever read. It’s not just that there are some graphically violent deaths, although that is part of it. Pike never shirks on the gruesome imagery, and he has a knack for killing characters in extremely grisly and specific ways–usually without leaving the realm of the totally plausible. It’s also that this book has atmosphere, which is something sadly missing from a lot of horror. The empty town is spooky enough–it’s right out of an episode of The Twilight Zone–and the vengeful specter of Betty Sue haunts the entire novel. She’s a terrifying villain, not least because we rarely see her on the page, but she’s always there pulling the strings. Her stories are almost childlike in their stilted prose, which is even creepier in contrast to their grim content.

I like the characters, and I like Roxanne the best. She’s a little more independent than the average teenager, but she’s sassy and funny and, with maybe the exception of Betty Sue, she’s always the strongest character on the page. I don’t understand her attraction to Pepper, who’s an extremely flawed love interest. For as much as he claims to love her, he rarely takes her side. But in a way, that’s part of the appeal of their relationship. Rox doesn’t always know why she loves him either. The others are a little more stereotypical–Stan, the brain; Lesley, the beauty; and Helter, the criminal–but their contrasting personalities make things interesting.

On a moral level, Whisper of Death is very uncomfortable. It would be easy to look at it and call it an anti-abortion novel, since Rox is punished beyond all reason for trying to have one. Indeed, the scenes at the clinic are some of the most chilling, as Pike takes an already terrifying concept and, well, puts it in a horror novel the way only he can. I’ve seen some feminist rant reviews, and I get it. I don’t think they’re wrong. Women are frequently unfairly punished, particularly for their sexuality, in horror. For whatever reason though, Whisper of Death just doesn’t read that way to me. Every character in the book is punished for his or her wrong-doing, not just the women, and it’s easy to see that Betty Sue’s sense of justice is skewed. They’re not all good people, but that doesn’t mean they deserve what happens to them, least of all Roxanne.

The other issue is that, off-page, another character rapes Betty Sue. It’s complicated by the fact that Betty Sue can supernaturally make people do things, and it raises some uncomfortable questions. Did she make him do it? Is it still considered rape if she did? Does it even matter? Nobody wants to get into a position where they’re defending a rapist. Ultimately, I think at that point in the story, Betty Sue was able to nudge him in a dark direction, and it got out of her control. It was rape; the character admits it, and it’s morally wrong. But I still ended up feeling a little sorry for him, and then feeling conflicted about the fact that I had any sympathy. And I actually kind of love that. I love that this novel forces me into a place that I can’t mentally or emotionally reconcile to my satisfaction, since that’s one of the things horror is best at.

Pike’s writing can be rather spare at times. Other than the occasional turn of phrase, there are no lengthy descriptions or vignettes into characters’ thoughts, yet he still makes his characters feel real and distinct in only a few lines. I have to admire a book that inspires fear, compassion, philosophy, and tears, since those aren’t emotions that usually team up. It’s far from a perfect novel, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s still among my top favorite Pike stories and probably tied with Scavenger Hunt for scariest.

I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,389 reviews1,057 followers
June 5, 2016
No matter that this is a work originally for young adult, don't let that fool you. The plot was creative as hell, clever, with interesting twists and an unpredictable ending. The scenes work together evenly, not feeling rushed or out of place. The only section I had minor issues with was the first chapter - while revealing back-story, I grew a little impatient for the action to begin. It took off from there like a firework though, and I finished the rest of the book admiring the beauty that kept shooting from the sparks.

The atmosphere was depressing and frustrating; not as light as I expected for this age level. There were some creepy scenarios, some tragic ones, even bringing tears to my eyes. The ending was dark and dusty, leaving a bitter feeling in my stomach. The atmosphere remained consistent throughout.

'Whisper of Death' was written through Roxanne's eyes, as a first person POV. This is a less common viewpoint and more frowned on by publishers (many readers, too), but I don't get why, as I always enjoy it. Rox convinced me. I applaud Pike for having such a realistic character who considered the things she does and has normal 'teenage reasoning'.

Pepper - it was hard to know what to think of him sometimes, but I ended up really caring about his future. Their love story was emotionally wrenching, particularly at the end.
Stan was a delightful addition and one of my favorites.

Helter and Leslie weren't anything to fall in love with, and Leslie was the more shallow of the characters, but they all worked to do their job.

Besides having a creative mind, Pike's style fits this novel. He enjoys long paragraphs. His dialogue is convincing and reveals tons. The chemistry between the characters seems genuine in the way he writes it. He injects mucho drama into several scenes with his wording and technique.

Sometimes his vocabulary is quite poetic, such as the beginning:

'I sit alone in a dead world. The wind blows hot and dry, and the dust gathers like particles of memory waiting to be swept away.'

Reading this sentence set up an ideal mood, and a dreary atmosphere. It finished off almost dreamy in a way. His writing does not continue to be this poetic, of course, because that would just make reading it tedious; he uses creativity when needed, and other times just employs damn good writing.

What a blast from the past! I hadn't read this one in years. I knew it was a good idea not to toss away most of the Pike novels from a younger age. This type of work, with its creativity, originality, genuineness, and passion - is, and forever remains, timeless.
Profile Image for Sam Coley.
17 reviews3 followers
November 18, 2021
this book is so bonks it has transcended past any rudimentary star rating system. this book is a bjork album. it is a michael heizer, a scented candle, there is no review that can encapsulate the pure cromulence of this novel. obviously five stars
Profile Image for Lily Emerson.
176 reviews3 followers
November 19, 2021

What a fever dream.
Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,795 reviews226 followers
September 19, 2021
5 stars (originally 3 stars). This was a book that has always stuck with me. I never forgot the plot, the ending, or most of it. It confused me as a kid, but as an adult I get it a bit more. Honestly though, what can you really get when it comes to
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 15 books821 followers
December 3, 2011
Jan. 2002 reread:
I hadn't read Christopher Pike since high school, but I remembered bits of this book very clearly and so wanted to read it again. It was a bit creepier than I remembered. I liked the stories within the story.

Nov. 18 - Dec. 3, 2011 reread:
I remember this book fondly as my favorite Christopher Pike book... reading this book again (for at least the third time), I was struck by a number of things:

1. Adult content: I was probably 12 when I first read this book - published in 1991, and I used to buy all of Pike's books as soon as they came out. In the very first chapter of this book, the main character Roxanne describes her second date with Pepper: "I let him touch my breasts, but we didn't make love." A few pages later they have sex for the first time, then Roxanne discovers she is pregnant, and though she would like to keep the baby, Pepper doesn't, and Roxanne agrees to have an abortion.

I know that there are many books out there for young adults today with more swearing and detailed descriptions of sex in them, but I honestly had not remembered any of this from my previous readings, and Roxanne's decision to have an abortion becomes a major part of the plot.

2. The bizarre character names.
The "villain" of the story is named Betty Sue. Even in 1991 that was an old-fashioned name. Another character is named Stan. Then we have Roxanne and Pepper - I remember loving that name, Pepper, because somehow I found this character attractive (with this re-reading, he seems more like a douchebag). It is a nickname, not his actual name, but this is not the case with Helter Skater - referred to as "Helter Skelter."

3. The stilted dialogue:
The character continually dispose with contractions and use "cannot".

4. All witches have red hair:
Several of Pike's other books (Witch, The Cold Ones) feature witches with red hair, and this was no exception. Betty Sue has bright red hair, while Roxanne has lighter red hair. (I suppose this is better than all the witches being African-American on "The Vampire Diaries").

5. References to other works:
In the first chapter, Roxanne and Pepper go to see a movie called The Season of Passage.

6. Pike's heroines are extremely sexually confident. Roxanne says, "I could tell he was enjoying the sight of my legs; they were good ones."

These things jump out at me now, as an adult... the oddly rhyming stories written by Betty Sue were what I mostly remembered. The Lati Ball story, where her mask catches on fire, and the ensuing death of Leslie Belle, who drops a cigarette in a puddle of gasoline. The Holt Skater story, where he walks along the wall that turns razor thin and splits him in two. I didn't really remember the two other stories, or the ending, but the whole idea of the novel, the circular way the plot goes, was interesting and probably the main reason why I loved this book as a teen.
March 24, 2012
I'm feeling nostalgic this week so I've bought up a few of these teenybopper horror stories I used to consume by the bagful....this was much better when I was 14. pepper's a jerk...in fact all the characters are jerks. I remember quite liking this one, perhaps because it appeared to deal so reasonably with the subject of abortion which was rare for a YA book at the time (and still is, I assume?) however between betty sue "making" helter rape her and what a JERK pepper is about roxanne's pregnancy, along with the fact that the abortion isnt actually reasonably dealt with in a thought-provoking way....she dies in the end of course, which reminds me of old hollywood (if a woman was cheating, she had to die in the end to pay for it else it didnt make it past the censors) so I give this three stars because I still view the book with nostalgia but I do not think I would re-read again.
Profile Image for Jamie.
46 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2008
Ok, I know this book is for kids, I read it in 7th grade and it was my favorite book for years so I had to add it. I think it still ismy favorite book...I read it while at home for Christmas a year or two ago and STILL loved it! And since its a young adult novel it takes like 2 seconds to read. Should I be ashamed? I don't care. Christopher Pike rules!
10 reviews2 followers
March 27, 2012
I read this book years and years ago during a flight from NYC to the Philippines. I think I read this book twice just because my other books were packed away in my luggage. This was my favorite Christopher Pike book - eery and thrilling!!!
Profile Image for BookLuva28.
96 reviews14 followers
April 19, 2018
First Line: I SIT ALONE IN A DEAD WORLD. THE WIND BLOWS HOT AND dry, and the dust gathers like particles of memory waiting to be swept away.
Profile Image for Alissa.
1,450 reviews56 followers
July 31, 2019
You know what they say about what happens if you die in the Matrix, right? Well, it's pretty much the same deal for what happens if Betty Sue puts you in one of her stories...and decides to kill you off.

also, wtf is up with Pike and girls with red hair? does he have some sort of freaky fetish or something?

This trippy little trip isn't Pike's best offering...by far. And that's not saying much.

It all starts with one of the main characters, Roxanne, going off to get a sneaky abortion. Nothing seems amiss until she and Pepper (the Baby Daddy) return to town and find it oddly deserted except for a couple other classmates. Which makes one wonder if the story actually happened at all or was really just some weird dream our hero had while under the knife. But that's pretty cliche even for this genre, right? Maybe, maybe not. Pike wouldn't be the first author to pull the "And it was all just a dream" cop-out. In fact, I think he DID pull it. But I could be wrong. It could've been one of the dime-a-dozen read-alike authors. Who's to say. I'm not spoiling that bit either way.

also, who names a character Pepper? unless it's a faithful dog

Anyway, R and P drive home and don't spot a single other car on the road. Weird, yeah, but stranger shit has happened. But they don't start to freak until they get home and find the place a ghost town except for Lesley and Halter, two classmates.

Stephen King handled this deserted world situation much better with The Langoliers. The short story, not the movie with the horrible cheap special effects at the end that ruined the rest of the film. Like...REALLY, the monsters look like THAT?!?

The four get together to see if they can figure out what's happened to everyone else. Somehow everything goes back to Betty Sue, a witchy redhead who recently killed herself after, apparently, being raped by Halter. How they reach the conclusion that everything is Betty Sue's fault is never clear (*Plot Hole Warning*). But they break into her house and find her journal and a bunch of short stories she wrote about them. Stories that end in... dum, dum, DUM horrible and bloody DEATH. Apparently BS had some sort of vendetta against them all and took it out in her writing. Seriously, man, don't piss off the local witch. Because she WILL drop a hocus pocus bomb on you. OK, so writing revenge stories isn't best coping method, true, but it's better than actually getting physical revenge. Except that after reading the stories, the characters the stories are about actually DO die...in horrible bloody ways that mirror the stories. R's end is the worst of all. And it's all apparently because she wanted an abortion.

OK, seriously, Mr. Pike? Preachy much with your anti-abortion views? Is that what you think should happen to women who get them? I prefer not to know the political, etc views of authors I read. And this nasty little opinion makes me like you less and less.

So. Overall, the worst Pike book I've re-read to date. It was so bad I'm not sure I even want to continue this little project. The characters were flat and cliche, and thread of the story was lost so early on I'm not sure it existed in the first place. This thing wouldn't even get published in today's world.
Profile Image for Brandon.
134 reviews5 followers
June 3, 2021
Easily the best book I've read this year. A little confusing at the end ,but with a very unique and mysterious villain. This was a real page Turner with surprisingly sad scenes .I'll be definitely reading more pike !
Profile Image for Mike.
341 reviews27 followers
November 21, 2016
Like most I first read this young adult novel as a junior high student maybe age 12 or 13. I recall that It became an obsession of mine - convinced that I likely read this book in possibly one sitting before.

Now Fast forward over 25 years and it takes me just about a month to pine through - that's life. My interest is still there.

The story itself, apocalyptic absolute, is pretty fascinating but I realize now that there are gaps in the storyline that are unforgivable. This novel should have been longer, much longer - there's just so much rushed through or left unturned.

Somehow in the 90s YA novels couldn't be over 300 pages - perhaps this is the watered and edited down version of a potential masterpiece. How disappointing! And let's talk content: Pike is ahead of his time publishing a teen novel in 1991 that contains unprotected casual sex and illegal abortions.

Notwithstanding, WOD is on any Pike fans Top 5. Placed there as it should be.
4 reviews
October 20, 2009
Roxanne and Pepper are a teenage couple with problems. They leave their small town for a weekend to try to solve them. They dont really succeed, and when they return home they find their town empty.They call other towns. They find the whole world empty.But eventually find 3 other kids their age who are still alive in the town. They cannot imagine why the 5 of them seem to be the only ones left in the human race. They were each involved in the death of betty sue-the plain shy girl that committed suicide only a short time ago. Betty sue-the quiet,brilliant girl who wrote stories about each of them.Stories of hate,of revenge , of death in a dead world. It makes hem wonder who betty sue really was.Or what betty sue was.
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