Hey kiddos! Meredith here. I never really read much YA as a YA. I mean, I definitely dug the classics (Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, etc), but I mostly stuck to the scary stuff. Stephen King (still and always), James Patterson (HAH! Oh young Meredith, no), Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Shakespeare (hey, it’s bloody), and my once-obsession: Christopher Pike. Holy buckets, I loved that Christopher Pike! He was all sex and drugs and MURDER and mystery. To me, it was like middle-school nerd porn.
As an adult, I have decided to revisit that world that so consumed me as a kid. I remember once reading a particularly tense passage and literally FALLING out of my chair when someone knocked on the window next to my desk to say hi. When was the last time I was that absorbed in a book?
Alas, my reacquaintance with Mr. Pike didn’t do the trick, either. But I did learn something new! Pike has published around 70 books, but he has precisely 18 plot devices in his arsenal. To be fair, these plot devices are AMAZING. So before I delve into the sample of 7 books I researched for this purpose, allow me to introduce you to:
Christopher Pike’s Favorite Literary Devices
Shit is habitually ‘sploded in the Pikeverse. Occasionally it’s accidental, but far more likely it’s the work of some deviant little asshole.
It’s hard to argue with a good switched-at-birth story.
These siblings are unnervingly close. Often, one is dead. Sometimes they both are.
Typically old, grizzled, alcoholic and (insert noir voice) he’ll get to the bottom of this scam if it KILLS him, seeee?
I know: why? But it’s a key deus ex machina in a Christopher Pike novel, you’ll find, like charades (why?).
I’m talking insanely fucked up dreams here. And the sequences don’t lend themselves nearly so well to character development or foreshadowing as you might believe. They’re just there for the sake of being nutballs.
They’re ubiquitous! And never in an After School Special way. No, Pike makes drugs fully glamorous. Like Dynasty!
You may think this character’s dead, but is he? IS HE?! (no.)
So few characters in Pike’s cache are who they say they are. This little contrivance often goes hand-in-hand with Faked Death (above) and Secretly Related (below).
They must carry their guilt to the grave! But can they trust each other?! (No.)
Everyone is always having all sorts of wrong sex with all sorts of inappropriate people. Much like our friend Don Draper.
I know, right? Ew!
People Of Fiction, heed my words: this never ends well.
So many elaborate revenge scenarios up in this bitch!
Two characters are friends, or enemies, or lovers (INCEST!), and then BAM! Turns out they’re related!
Just balls to the wall, bullets flying, fuckin’ shit up old-school shootouts. By high school students, no less!
What would any good mystery be without an overly-long and utterly unnecessary explanation by the villain of his complex nefarious doings?
Now that you’re familiar with Pike’s tools, let’s get into the content. For each book, I’ll answer 4 questions:
- Can I guess the end?
- How fucked up is this book?
- Does the cover/title accurately represent the story?
- Should I read (or re-read as an adult) this book?
You know what this post needs more of? Visual Aids! And because I
am married a nerd, I made had him make a handy-dandy chart!
|Literary Device||Chain Letter||Die Softly||The Eternal Enemy||Fall Into Darkness||Gimme a Kiss||Remember Me||Slumber Party||Total|
Yeah, I know, Robot and Baby Swap each only appear once, which is hardly a recurring trope. BUT HELLO IT’S ROBOT AND BABY SWAP. I had to include them!
I hope you enjoyed your spooky and repetitive walk down Pike Memory Lane. Happy Halloween, kids!