I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

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At the time, promising not to tell a sole about the accident that left a little boy dead seemed like a good idea. When Barry, Helen, Ray, and Julie hit the Gregg boy, he was alive, or at least they thought he way. They did what they could, and went about their lives.

The four teens have found solace in the new lives they’ve created to themselves. Since that dreadful night, Barry has started college and is busy playing the field, both literally and figuratively. Helen is a future star, busy hosting television shows and showing off her model good looks. Ray hasn’t really been busy, instead he’s been spending his time loafing around the California coast. And Julie, well, she’s suffered the most. Since the accident she’s thrown herself into school in the hopes of escaping to a college on the East coast. When she’s not studying she’s busy worrying about that night.

But a year has passed, they’ve managed to, not only keep the pact, but go on without anyone knowing what they did. That is, until Julie receives a letter stating “I know what you did last summer.” Setting off a chain of events, the four friends must once again find a way to cover their tracks.

Who could possibly know what they did? And how will they make them pay?

I Know What You Did Last Summer, written by author Lois Duncan, is a classic mystery that, even though will keep readers engrossed, it will ultimately not thrill is readers.

Author Lois Duncan has crafted a story that will resonate with readers. The writing that fills this book is engaging, the plot is intriguing, and the reveals are timed perfectly. There was a lot that was working in this book. Except one aspect, and unfortunately it was a big one. I Know What You Did Last Summer, originally published in the early seventies has been updated and modernized. It was those updates that just did not work for me as a reader. Often times, I felt those updates made the text feel dated rather than fresh-faced and up to date.

What isn’t dated are Duncan’s characters. Each character is honestly. flawed, and multi-layered. As the plot unfolds, so do the characters. With each tun of events more and more layers are revealed. These layers help readers identify with, understand, and sympathize with Ray, Helen, Barry, and Julie.  As much as I liked some of the characters, I didn’t like them all. While I liked both Ray and Julie, I found both Barry and Helen to be self-absorbed and unsympathetic to what they had done. Barry was cocky, chauvinistic, and full of double standards, while Helen dumbed herself down and conformed to the person who she felt that Barry would want.

I didn’t know what to expect from I Know What You Did Last Summer. Honestly, because I grew up watching the movie, I expected the book to be more horror and less thriller. The truth: the film and the book are vastly different. Shockingly so. The only real similarity between the two were the main characters and the accident. And even those aspects have their differences.

I didn’t love I Know What You Did Last Summer as I had expected to. There were moments that I really enjoyed – the twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, the dialog, and the foreboding mood that Duncan created. Beyond those things, I really loved how Duncan got to the point – she didn’t drag things out in typical horror style. She told a concise story that kept me, not only intrigued but invested in the turnout.

*Cover image from GoodReads

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