Tales Point Horror Book Club – The Dead Game by A Bates
#talespointhorrorbookclub was created by author Juno Dawson in 2013. Juno announced in 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on so, with her blessing, I took over the reins.
So why not grab a copy and join the discussion with this months #talespointhorrorbookclub
The Dead Game by A Bates
Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on a re-read? Have they not stood the test of time? After a hit of nostalgia? Or are you new to Point Horror and want to see what its all about?
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
Linnie, Ming and Jackson don’t like fakers, the people who cheat, lie and climb over others to get what they want. They make up a game to get back at them. The object is public humiliation, which the kids figure is appropriate retribution for cheaters. But the game goes wrong, almost as if it is playing itself. Or could someone else possibly have taken it over? When a student on their “hit” list dies, Linnie, Ming and Jackson know they have to do something to stop a game that is out of control. But how do you stop something when you can’t figure out the rules?
Someone is playing for keeps!
Okay ….so…What’s It All About?
A group of kids, Linnie, Ming and Jackson who appear to all want to be top dog at everything decide to “have a bit of fun” and play a game to teach all the people who are doing better than them a lesson and it’s called….The Dead Game!
Woah! The Dead Game! That sounds cool for Point Horror! What are the rules?
It’s simple – all you have to do is embarrass your chosen public enemy number one! The liars, the cheats, the bullies! Sound fun?
It started as one simple target…an idea to pinch a letter jacket and leave it on a grave stone and go all Blair Witch a few years before it’s time…..but when that doesn’t really work out a list of targets is set and the rules are put in place…….
Pick a name from a hat
You have approximately two weeks to do your hit
If you can’t do it within a reasonable amount of time, put the name back and let someone else try
A successful kill is a public humiliation
The more appropriate the humiliation, the more humiliating ad the more public, the better the kill
Work alone. No telling whose name you have. No help from the group, no telling the game to anyone else. You can get help from others outside the group, but only if you do it without letting anything slip about the game, the purpose, or the group
After everyone’s been hit, we’ll vote on the best kill and treat the winner to something
But then things start going horribly wrong!
Horribly wrong?! Oh No!
Oh Yes! Their first “hit” is a disaster and someone ends up in hospital. Their second is shown up to be a womaniser and the third…..death by steep stairs and sprinklers!
But when the group decide to stop playing someone carries on playing The Dead Game and targeting all their hits! Who could it be?!
Dum Dum DUUUUUUMMMMMM!
In this instance I am going to class the girl as Linnie….she is after all the one who tells most of the story even though we do get alternative perspectives from the rest of the gang too.
Oh Linnie, Linnie , Linnie…..with her love for all things napkins…..wiping her sausage fingers on them, wadding them and shredding them and eventually later on in the book moving on to tearing at grass….and being creative making an urn in pottery class and feeling rather satisfied what are we going to do with you!
I actually quite liked Linnie….I know I know….but without her we wouldn’t have had a story as she came up with the game…and she wasn’t a typical point horror girl crying and scared all the time *coughs at Jenny from the babysitter*…..she was ….interesting…….
Don’t forget Linnie still has that ribbon from when she won second place…..yep SECOND place…..was it this that tipped her over the edge?!
And it’s all her Sisters fault!
The Love Interest
There’s not so much as a love interest in this Point Horror offering….which was quite refreshing….Linnie was left to her own devices! Yay! …..oh wait!
The only hint of romance in this book was the constant hints that Jackson liked Ming (Yes Ming!) and Ming maybe liked Jackson, but nothing really developed for a change as they both thought they were not good enough for each other….makes a change from some other Point Horror books…..I’m looking at you Nightmare Hall Silent Scream where everyone was with …well everyone like an episode of Made In Chelsea beforeits time!
Anyway, back to the gang…….
The Dead Games offered us pep talking, sober eyed, frail and tiny Ming with a love for graphs and data! She really got on my nerves in the first part of the book whining about how she’s third in the class and not the best! But I have to admit I grew to like Ming! Especially at the end of the book when she goes all Kill Bill styley jumping of a rock on her unsuspecting victim!
Oh and don’t forget she is always there to offer Tylenol (?) and tissues! I grew to love Ming in the end after a rocky start…I loved her over reaction of when one of her hits, Rafe, is in hospital when she convinces herself that she will have to attend nursing school and feed him and look after him for the rest of her life and her little references to X and O’s (kisses and hugs)….oh bless her!
Then there was Jackson and of course he is into sports (there’s always one jock or sporty type in a Point Horror)….the human garbage disposal who walked with an aggressive gait of a defensive back on the football team! What was with all the girls bringing him food?! He literally did not stop eating the whole way through the book….well that’s until the dead body of his “hit” turns up! Oh but how I laughed when Brenda asked him to the party and he said he couldn’t as he was washing his hair! A classic knock back! I think I may love him!
Talking about the gang! What’s with the deciding to go to the police, but then making every excuse in the book not too including dentist appointments late at night and typing letters for Daddy oh and having dinner (guess who that was!)……
The “Hit” List
Yep the list of “hits” listed by Linnie, Ming and Jackson were a mixed brilliant bunch!
Austin and Alder….the little so called cheats! These are the two that are top of every class and making Mings blood boil! They are popular, good looking, have huge egos, successful images and rich! But a pinched lettered jacket and a copy of an exam being found in their possession won’t stop them….they are super Point Horror beings! I have to admit that I did a little laugh when it took the gang the whole book to figure out the Austin and Alder would have the same letter on their jacket! *face palm gang….face palm*
You had milk loving Rafe! The boy who abandoded the football team so his comeuppance was to slip on some spicy Barbeque Beef in a bun and end up in a coma due to being trampled on whilst in said spicy Barbeque Beef in a bun sludge…….what a waste….of yummy food! Nom Nom Nom
Then there’s John “Baby Baby Baby” Stanley the biggest sleaze in the school who because of his catchphrases I kept imaging as Justin Beiber…….I KNOW! I FEEL ASHAMED! I really wanted to discover that author Bates had actually foreseen or even wrote that Justin Beiber song and projected it around the school over the intercom instead of Stanley’s ideas for chat up lines! *shivers*
And don’t tell me you didn’t practise his confidentially-speaking-doesn’t-my-deodorant-smell-good-pose Billy….I know you!
Lets not forget fuzzy haired Brenda who knows how to work her way at getting an A in studio aka pottery class….throw a tantrum and smash that pot! Demi Moore would be ashamed! In fact I thought that maybe the Ghost of Sam pushed her down the stairs towards the sprinklers as punishment for a minute (If you have never seen Ghost I understand if this sounded like gobbledygook!).
She was “hit” with sketches of her shoplifting (SKETCHES?! WHY NOT PICTURES?!). I think she hands down wins the best kill in The Dead Game *claps hands*….to soon?
Ps – I imagined Brenda like this……don’t judge me….they said she looked like a doll dead at the bottom of the stairs!
Let’s not forget Julie and Karl (who?) – taken down my the school magazine…Vine…having an affair now poor old Rafe smelt of Barbeque Beef!
Then there was John and Price……erm……
Fashion Faux Pas
I cannot believe I have read another Point Horror and found no Fashion Faux Pas!!! WHAT IS THIS HORROR!!!!! Not a whale earing in sight aka Mothers Helper by A Bates!
Did anyone else find any?
“Ax them, ice them, knock them off…..bump them off. Chop….Death. I’m completely serious. It’s the perfect solution!”
Linnie had the right idea from the start and gave us alllll the clues! *runs away scared*
“After all these years you have known me you actually think I could turn into a murderer? You know I don’t like blood. It’s messy”
Yep….lets all listen to sweet old Linnie!
“He’d taken her directly to the place everybody called Beer Can Hill”
*sniggers*…I don’t know where this place is but I’m intrigued!
“I’d practise karate on trees, I’d wrestle anybody who’d come close enough to challenge….what a little terror I was”
I will give you three guesses who said this! Nope not our usual suspect…..it was Ming! Shocking!
“It’s kind of fun being an airhead”
Ouch Ming! Ouch!
“If he dies, I’m a killer. That’s a whole lot worse than losing Scholarships and being number three!”
*Ding Ding* Light bulb moment for Ming!
“You can’t get chocolate milk out of a bathroom faucet!”
“Her right arm flopped like a dead fish….a screaming dead fish”
“This is high school. People don’t murder each other in high school”
Well dur……this is Point Horror! BEST.LINE.EVER!
And to finish….
“She wasn’t evil. She was just Linnie!”
We get one dead Point Horror body in this book……I think it may have been for the Point Horror good though don’t you think? I mean she was horrible!
Is it scary?
Not really scary…more mystery!
Did the best friend do it?
Well it depends who’s point of view you look at it from? In a kind of way yes!
Is this the first Point Horror where the person telling the story ends up being the reveal?
Mind = Blown….again!
Saying that I did ponder if the reveal would be Linnie about half way through….but then I thought…nooooo it can’t be! *gulps*
Some Mild Peril?
Not really any mild peril in this book either…..ohhhh a psychological Point Horror maybe?!
Is it any good?
I actually really liked this one! Yep I really did! I liked the whole game idea….very John Tucker Must Die-ish with a hint of mystery thrown in…who is making the hits worse than planned? Who carried on the game? I’m not sure what you all thought at this stage but this book did grab me and I feel it could have actually been a decent standalone novel in present day! Just me?
IT HAD A CD PLAYER FEATURE AND NOT A TAPE RECORDER!!!
AND THE CD PLAYER COULD MIX SONGS FROM ALL 5 CDS!!!
I rest my case 🙂
It was better than Mothers Helper by the same author which we read before 🙂
Re-read the description above of Jackson and Ming! How on earth did Linnie manage to pull Jackson all the way to the river at the end of the book? And how did Ming become so super strong to take down Linnie…..was it all the weight loss that Jackson suffered after the death of Brenda…..or a super power role reversal….or a little flaw in the ending? YOU DECIDE!
X O X O X O
Over to you!
As well as your thoughts on the book here are some questions to consider.
- Share your thoughts on the final thought above!
- Come on give us your best John Stanley chat up line!
- Who had the best “hit”?
- Would you play the Dead Game?
- Team Austin and Alder or Team Ming!?
Feel free to pop me a comment using the reply button at the top of the page.
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
Thanks for joining in….watch you’re not the next target…in The Dead Game!!