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Summer of Fear

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,987 ratings  ·  345 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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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,987 ratings  ·  345 reviews


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Julie
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summer of fear by Lois Duncan is a 1977 publication.

This story is geared towards a young adult audience, but it still has some excellent chills and thrills even now, reading it as an adult.

For fans of trivia or pop culture, there was a made for television movie based on this book starring Linda Blair, which aired in 1978. However, I think the original title of the movie was ‘A Stranger in the House’. (It now shares the same title as the book and can be found easily on YouTube. Check it out, if
...more
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
Manybooks
While yes, I did mildly enjoy Lois Duncan's 1976 young adult horror novel Summer of Fear when I read it as a teenager in 1982, revisiting Summer of Fear as an older adult has not at all been even remotely either a pleasurable or a rewarding reading experience for me. For sorry, but Summer of Fear is really so blatantly predictable that you not only are more than aware without even the shadow of a doubt right from square one that ALL of Rachel Bryant's fears with regard to her orphaned cousin Jul ...more
Jennifer
Jan 13, 2009 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!
Alex (Hey Little Thrifter)
Teenager Rachel's life is changed when her cousin Julia comes to live with her and her family. Everyone else seems to have fallen in love with Julia and whenever Rachel complains about Julia's behaviour she is treated like a brat. As the situation develops, Rachel starts to believe that Julia is a witch and is using witchcraft against her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! Well-written with some great suspense. I found Rachel to be a very relatable character and I loved how the story unfolded. I h
...more
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
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
Michelle
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanessa S.
Summer of Fear is a short, simple read that I enjoyed but that I didn't find special. Part of the issue is that I read this as an adult rather than as a young adult, so the "fear factor" and mystery did not really hit me. Aside from this, the book was predictable and, though I did not predict everything exactly, I definitely saw one or two things coming. I didn't really grow connected to any of the characters, unfortunately. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a quick read that will bring back s ...more
ElphaReads
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
Abraham Nava
Jan 14, 2016 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
Eden
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rachel is fifteen, has a great boyfriend and a great family. But one day they get horrible news: Rachel's mother's sister and her husband were killed in a car accident. Their daughter, Julia, is now all alone. But Rachel's mother and father get ready to go get their niece. They hardly know her, but she is family. And Rachel is fine with this. Sure, it will take some getting used to sharing her room with someone, but it will be like having an older sister.

Everything was going well. At least for a
...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
StacyLynn StacyLynn
Feb 13, 2016 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/
...more
Wendy
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-rwanda, scary
Reread for the umpteenth time. This book is so. freaking. good.
Ashley
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very...meh for me. It was interesting, though predictable. I truly hated that it was revisited in 2011 to include frivolous details to make it more timely. I think I would have appreciated the book more if the author just let the story simmer in that 1970s time period. Throwing in cell phones and Harry Potter didn't make me enjoy or relate to the book more- it just annoyed me. I also felt that the ending (or maybe it was just the "resolution?") was very anticlimactic. It was a quic ...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,
...more
Luke Sewell
Dec 02, 2012 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 t
...more
Jami Murphy
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
My 12 year old self is so happy I decided to reread this Lois Duncan novel. Oh my heart of hearts. When I read that first page I was immediately thrown back to the long, hot summers of my middle school years.

I couldn’t believe I actually remembered the plot and the characters. It’s been 35 plus years since I originally read this book. And let me say, I loved it just as much now as I did then. Rereading this was wonderful. I didn’t realize it was the modernized version of the book, however I hav
...more
Bonnie G.
An actually pretty terrifying premise of perhaps a relative being a witch, and perhaps a relative not even being a relative! There are dire and bizarre consequences in this book, including deaths and mutilation and bewitching and strokes and all kinds of crazy shit. An easy read but usually Lois gets more into how a villain is created and while she kind of rushes that at the end, it’s not satisfying.
Corine
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Not sure why I am being so nostalgic today....but this book randomly came to mind today.
Anyway- this was one of my favorite reads as a young teen. Maybe I will also give this one a re-read in the future.
Sophie Jane MacInnis
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A damn solid book that has plenty of great jaw dropping moments. You feel the main characters frustration and it’s not a difficult task to put yourself into the main characters shoes, despite the occasional fantasy moments.
Denise
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This a favorite of mine from the past. I enjoyed the story of Rachel and how she discovers the truth about Julia.
Madame Jane
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I really love how the solution to evil is love.
Jody
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
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 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
Bren
"It's been four years now since that summer. It's still with me. Maybe it always will be."
Summer of Fear
by Lois Duncan



This is one creepy story and it is perfect to read in the summer, particularly if you want something that will make your skin crawl.

For a YA mystery, Summer of Fear is genuinely scary and a bit haunting. Of all Duncan's books this maybe the scariest.

It is also one that I rated fairly low. Why?

Because I simply could not STAND the villain. I mean I had such issues with her I reall
...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
Dana Berglund
Jun 21, 2015 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 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
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1,571 followers
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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