Tales Point Horror Book Club – The Hitchhiker by R L Stine

#PointHorrorBookClub 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 #PointHorrorBookClub

The Hitchhiker by R L Stine

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

Beware…….Spoilers Ahead

Christina and Terri – two friends driving around Florida and having the time of their lives – pick up a hitch-hiker who seems too good to resist. But is their more to this hitch-hiker than meets the eye?

The Tagline

Don’t stop now!

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Two girls, Christina and Terri have been living dangerously and visiting…… Florida!

Florida!  But everyone in Florida walks around in Mickey Mouse ears and goes to Disneyland every day and smile lots and lots and lots!


 Other than putting people off visiting Florida for life (I joke) the two girls decide their next destination is Tampa as they just cannot deal with everyone in Florida driving 15mph!  This is when they decide to pick up a Hitchhiker called James who shows them how to work the a/c in their car!

Oh wow!  What a man!

I dare you to say that to the poor diner man who James beats up along the way and his cousin who he leaves unconscious on his front lawn!

Anyway, the three characters travel along and soon realise they are being followed….but by who!  And with reports of an elderly man being killed by a hitchhiker suspicions soon fall on the bad tempered James.

Well I sure hope the person who killed that old man get’s their comeuppance!

Oh yes they do!  They do indeed!  And I think it’s one of the best Point Horror endings….ever!

*evil laugh*

The Girls

Oh where to start!

I mean both girls were 17 with there birthdays weeks apart it’s hard to choose…..

Okay I’m going for it…..

Christina Jenkins…with her boyish, thin and wiry (?) figure, teasing smile, mischievous face, dramatic dark eyes brown playful eyes, slender shoulders and blonde corkscrew curls that she really should learn to brush was a typical Point Horror girl.  She was impulsive, loved to drive fast and who’s every sentence seemed to involve the word “boys”.  Even seducing our Point Horror slime ball love interest James (That whole back of the car scene was just cringey).

I have to admit I only guessed she would be the twist towards the end as until then I’m not sure I could see what direction this book was going in other than that a hitchhiker had killed an elderly man good enough to offer a lift.  But her excuse for killing him….. “Terri and I only wanted his car” #Saywhatnow

I would like to say I didn’t like Christina, but a little niggle in the back of my mind kind of makes me laugh a little at how she lured James in and then threw him under the bus or should we say tried to get him eaten alive at the end.  OMG I feel so evil!

Terri Martin….the seemingly exact opposite to her best friend Christina.  Who knew that a mention of her being an awesome swimmer at the start of the book would come in use at the end of the book…not once, but almost twice!  GO TERRI!  She was uneatable to say the least!

With her straight black hair, sky blue eyes, creamy white skin and chubby “full bodied” appearance (finally a chubby girl in point horror!) who showed us that you don’t have to be skinny to survive a Point Horror! *hi fives Terri*.

She was a bit or a worrier and far more cautious than Christina but that was completely understandable when her best friend was basically a murderer and a femme fatale!  Although I smelt a rat when although she claimed to be scared of James she quite happily went off for a walk in a remote wood with him and kissed him.

I actually kind of liked Terri other than the fact that she should have done the right thing from the offset and not waited until they were on a cliff with a Phirana pool below!

The Love Interest

With his olive green eyes, handsome face, powerfully built with a broad football player neck and short blonde buzzed hair you would either think this was a description of Vanilla Ice 90’s style….

Vanilla Ice

Or some gorgeous Point Horror boy for Chelley to swoon over at least!

Well NO!

James Dark and his love of country music and slapping mosquitoes was definitely not swoon worthy.  His temper and anger and the way it was just dismissed made me a little ragey!  I mean that poor diner guy!  And his cocky attitude towards women i.e. thinking her could have both Christina and Terri made me feel physically sick.

I mean I totally get that he was meant to be this mysterious hitchhiker who was going to cause the girls trouble and presumably we were not meant to like him and I do admit I reluctantly warmed towards him towards the end, but part of me really wanted him to end up in that piranha lake with the rest!  He deserved that at least rather than the full circle ending he got.

He deserved to learn more lessons other than “hanging around with the wrong women” really didn’t he?!  I mean it sums him all up really that he constantly thought the two girls were arguing over him and not the real reason that one of them was a murderer!

*angry face*

The Rest Of The Gang

Well everyone else was basically just fish food in the story but I wanted to mention a couple of them anyway….

Paul and Paula with his thining hair, potbelly and lively blue eyes and her pink plastic glasses, and small face they made me think of these characters from Keeping Up Appearances….


I mean why leave a wallet of cash laying around the house and then let strangers and your cousin in the house….that’s just asking for trouble.  I really hope Paul was okay though?!?

Poor old Roger Eckridge….his death didn’t even happen on the page, but he still needs a mention as obviously he is pivotal to the plot that surfaced.  Killed by Christina and dumped on the side of the road.  What a why to go!

And then there’s Blue Taurus man otherwise know as Art Eckridge, Rogers son, a young man with black-rimmed glasses who somehow after dropping his Father to hospital, after spotting Christina and Terri dumping him on the side of the road whilst he was driving the other way up the highway, manages to track his Father’s killers down, run them off the road only to loose them again to then stumble across a half conscious Terri in the woods who has been beaten to a pulp by her best friend to then manage to pick Christina and James up on the side of another road hitchhiking to then kidnap them and take them to a remote cabin next to a phirana lake to then only be killed by his best friends phiranas!


There’s a joke in all that description I’m sure of it!

Fashion Faux Pas

Ding!  Ding!

I spotted a reference to a very 90’s oversized chartreuse t-shirt and green spandex bicycle shorts combo!


Also Paula’s pink plastic eyeglasses!


Dialogue Disasters

Here’s some lines that made me chuckle…..

“Life isn’t a soap, Terri”

Yep listen to Christina Terri…..or maybe don’t.  This is Point Horror!

“He’s okay – He’s a truck driver Terri”

After Christina drives a truck driver off the road and can’t be bothered to check he’s okay, because this is the 90’s and she’s watched Terminator Two you know and they are always fine and walk out of accidents like this!

*shakes head*

“James giggled for some reason.  A high pitched giggle.  It just escaped from him like air whooshing out of a balloon”


“Freddie Kreuger’s little boy”

I wonder if Stiney is referring to himself here?

“But he’s so cute.  He’s just like a big cuddly teddy bear”

Only Christina could call James the sleezeball this description!  Feed her to the piranha’s quick!

“He’s always been a little squirrely”


“Window shopping for what?  Tractor Tyres?”

Terri and Christina couldn’t work out how to turn on the a/c in their stolen car so they are upgrading!

“Terri and I didn’t have enough money to call home”

Well don’t worry Christina it seems that your parents weren’t even worried about you at all.

“Listen Art, I’ll do something really nice for you if you let us go”

Don’t do it Art!  She’s only after your…..car!

“Don’t kidnappers only kidnap rich kids so they can get a big ransom?”

Sometimes you have to feel a little sorry for James don’t you *coughs*

“Show me the money”

Uh Oh!  I’m sure this is from a movie staring Tom Cruise.  But what came first The Hitchhiker or Jerry Maguire?  #lawsuit

Body Count


That’s right!  THREE!

One off the page death (Roger Eckridge) and two rather bloody deaths at the end!


You rock Mr Stiney!!!!

Is it scary?

No!  More violent than our usual Point Horror!

Although that whole Piranha Lake ending and the description of it….Stiney did not hold back!

They only thing is as the Piranha lake was revealed I started getting a little excited and smiled at the fact that these characters where going to face such a horrible scary death!

I’m slightly worried about myself!

Did the best friend do it?

And we have another winner!

Yes!  The best friend did do the deed…..of killing the person who was kind enough to pick her and her friend up and then kill him just for his car so she could get back home to her not so worried about her parents and then whilst on the way picked up another hitchhiker who she then tried to seduce, pin the murder on to save her own skin (literally) and push him in a piranha lake!

So the best friend well and truly did it this time!

Some Mild Peril?

One word!



Stiney upgraded us from his usual egg cracking death with a new splash, chomp and go style death!

There was even a new way of getting rid of Point Horror parents from the story….smeared across the highway!

Oh and Christina’s driving!

Is it any good?

Hmmmmmm….I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of this book until about the last 50 odd pages when the blood bath basically kicked off!  It was slow up until that point.

Although I can’t tell if I liked the last 50 pages because I was hoping (praying) that Stine would kill Christina and James off in what I think is the best Point Horror climax of them all….a Piranha lake!

This ending alone added an extra star to the book on my Goodreads page!  I’m not quite sure what that says about me as a person?!

And I thought this Point Horror contained quite a bit more violence and guns than our average point horror and I did find some of it a little disturbing I have to admit.

Final Thought


Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What happened to Paul?
  • Would you rather have an egg cracking Point Horror Death or Death By Piranha?
  • Did Christina’s parents ever realise she was missing?
  • What happened to Terri and James after the book finishes?

Feel free to pop me a comment using the reply button at the top of the page.


Use the #PointHorrorBookClub on Twitter on Instagram, follow PHBC on Instagram @talespointhorrorbookclub or even follow me @chelleytoy … lets have a good old Point Horror chat!

Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here

Thanks for joining in….


Written by

I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

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18 Responses

  1. Cazzy says:

    Hi PHBC people,

    Fab review Chelley. Onslo and Daisy from Keeping Up Appearances ???

    I was so excited to read this book again as I remembered this as being one of my all-time faves. I have to say, I think this one has actually withstood the test of time and has to be one of my favourites from the books I’ve re-read so far. Sure Christina was a typical Point horror girl (I kept imaginging AnnaLynne Mccord for some reason – think it was the hair) and James was a sleaze but I think Stine’s writing is at its best in this book. He uses a very cinematic style, which I loved. I could almost imagine the scenes as though it were a film. The change of perspective in the narrative kept me guessing who the villain of this was. It seemed too obvious for Paul to be the murderer but I didn’t suspect Christina until way in. I liked that Terri, who was rather ordinary and not so much the typical PH girl, ended up being the heroine. I thought this was a pretty solid story and fairly adult for a YA book of its time. The themes seemed a little bit more adult than others and those characters are a bunch of psychos (no Blockhead Bill’s here!) and the savage piranha ending definitely deserves a shout out as one of the most grisly in PH. Stine manages to incorporate adults into a teenage world much better then many of the other writers.

    The green cycling shorts ? my cousin owned a pair. Me in my pink bomber jacket (a la The Window) and her in green cycling shorts – I dread to think what we must have looked like.

    What happened to Paul?
    He drowned his sorrows and donned a string vest

    Would you rather have an egg cracking Point Horror Death or Death By Piranha?
    Piranha – no contest

    Did Christina’s parents ever realise she was missing?
    Yes and they threw one hell of a party. She’d terrorised them since birth.

    What happened to Terri and James after the book finishes?
    Terri becomes a recluse, preferring the company of cats to people and James is shocked to discover that Melissa doesn’t actually give a monkeys.

    Soooooo excited about RTC! Will get thinking of some questions

    Daisy and Onslo though ????

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Hi Cazzy!

      I honestly just kept picturing Onslo and Daisy….I couldnt help it lol

      I can totally see what you been about Stineys writing at his best and cinematic style actually…maybe I was a little hasty with my only picked up in the last 50 pages 🙂

      PS – Basically we want picture evidence of this pink bomber jacket 😉

  2. @PaulHi says:

    Oh hey you guys!

    I agree, I had an absolute blast with this one. Take note, A. Bates: THIS is how you have one of your narrators be the psycho and still play fair with your readers. From the stroppy in-fighting between Thelma and Loui… I mean Christina and Terri, to the audacious plot twists and bonkers piranha finale, I enjoyed everything about it.

    Every single character was thoroughly vile. Even Terri, who we were meant to be rooting for, was an opportunistic conscience-vaccuum, and James, Christina and Art were all considerably worse. I think that’s what gave the book its slightly darker and more adult tone, along with the unexpected gore and unusually high death toll. In particular, I thought the scene where Christina tried to seduce her way out of the Art sitch sailed very close to the bone.

    Well spotted on the chartreuse tshirt/green cycle shorts combo, which it gives me a headache just to imagine, though you did miss the innuendo-laden “I heard you two going at it last night” from James in regard to Terri and Christina’s arguing. To me this seemed so blatant that it MUST have been intentional. And anyway, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the two girls had gotten a little experimental at some point on their murderous road trip.

    You’ve already mentioned it, but the part where the girls made a truck driver crash into a concrete embankment and THEN DROVE AWAY was one of my highlights too, along with the on-the-nose naming of James Dark. James DARK, you guys. Because he’s a bit dangerous, right? I just felt everything about this book was very tongue in cheek, which made me like it even more – it seemed like Stine was having as much fun as me.

    This month’s special mention goes to Terri and her ability to OUTSWIM piranhas. Terri is effing nails.

    What happened to Paul?
    Paul followed the trio’s trail of destruction through and out of and back into Florida, and punched both the survivors square in the genitalia for nicking his cash. Then he got on with his life.

    Would you rather have an egg cracking Point Horror Death or Death By Piranha?
    I love a good omelette death, but I think piranha pool might be my new favourite.

    Did Christina’s parents ever realise she was missing?
    Absolutely not. They’d already moved house so she wouldn’t be able to find them on her return anyway.

    What happened to Terri and James after the book finishes?
    They 100 per cent grew up to be Mickey and Mallory Knox from Natural Born Killers.

    Looking forward to reading comments from other PHBC peeps, and AMAZING work on landing a Q&A with RTC. I shall return with possible questions forthwith! ?

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Hi Paul! I LOVED the unexpected gore and high death toll too….although for me I wanted all of them to be fed to the fishys! lol

      And how on earth did I miss that innuendo! You are so right…in retrospect thinking about it The Hitchhiker was very tounge in cheek…almost a little like the Scream films taking the mic out of it’s own genre.

  3. Paul P says:


    Have to agree that I thought this one was a blast. I still remember it from my first reading (unbelievable), so this time I enjoyed seeing how Stine foreshadowed all the plot twists that would show up later. You can tell this one was very carefully plotted out, and not made up as he went along. It was also very audacious of him at the time (1993!) to have central characters who were essentially unlikeable and sociopathic. And having an unreliable narrator – totally cool. Every author and her cat is doing it at the moment. Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins should tip their hats to master Stine.

    Cazzy nails it when she says Stine has a very cinematic style. I could see this playing out in my head as a movie while I read it. And the other Paul (Hi Paul!) suggested a bit of naughty-naughty between Terri and Christina, which I also suspected with the “going at it last night” comment. If this did become a movie, you know a gratuitous lesbian sex scene would totally be thrown into the mix! I reckon the whole thing had a great film noir/grindhouse feel to it and would be perfect for the big screen (or direct-to-DVD if you go down the whole Terri-and-Christina route!)

    The ending was the icing on the cake. I wonder if after Stine finished writing this he checked his house to make sure he still had a kitchen sink. He threw everything else into it! Fun, fast-paced and over-the-top. I agree Stine had tongue planted firmly in cheek when he concocted this entry. It plays way against type in terms of the other Point Horrors, and has fun doing it (“Hide & Seek” played against type, but it was NOT fun). As I read the currently oh-so-below-average Fear Street reboot books, this reminds me of what he’s truly capable of, and why he was considered the King.

    What happened to Paul? Huh? I’m right here!

    Egg-cracking death or Death by Piranha? I think we all agree. Piranhas.

    Did Christina’s parents ever realise she was missing? Considering Christina was such an evil b****, I’m assuming the real Christina is actually dead, and the Christina we met in “The Hitchhiker” was the one who killed her and stole her identity! So I’d say the parents know Christina is missing and probably dead, little knowing an underage femme fatale is out there impersonating her.

    What happened to Terri and James after the book finishes? James (hopefully) gets his clock punched out for being such a smarmy conceited d***wad. I foresee it being delivered by Paul or Melissa.

    Terri becomes a business manager at some government department. They’re all sociopaths.

    Make this a movie!

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Hi Paul P!

      I know right?! RTC! I totally freaked out when I received an email back from her publicist / manager!

      I wonder if Stine did plot this one out….would love to know the answer to that question. I mean imagine if he just thought….”oh sigh another Point Horror to write….lets see what I can get away with” lol

      Love the unreliable narrator thing….and yes for the time maybe it was more unique. I forgot to mention about the narrator constantly changing, but it was done so effortlessly I thought and you know exactly who was narrating at each given time.

  4. Tara says:

    I enjoyed this book so much. I actually read it as soon as we voted for it. I read the book in a couple of days which is quick for me.

    The ending was fantastic and I did not for a minute see that plot twist!

    As for questions for Richie, I would love to find out if there are plans for more books? YA horror is quite popular and I believe there is certainly a market for it. I want more Point Horror

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Hi Tara! I saw on twitter that you read it quite early on in the month. Thanks for joining in and your questions for Richie 🙂

  5. Mark says:

    *jumps in the back seat* Thanks for stopping guys! I was starting to think I’d never get a ride! Whoa…you’re a weird looking bunch…

    Straight up – great return to PH fun after a couple of months of ‘meh’. From the start how could you not love Christina? She of the blonde corkscrew hair and dramatic dark brown eyes! Who…um…also apparently smells lemony and is a klepto! Hot! Even Terri was a fun character – sky blue eyes, creamy white skin and “full bodied”. Sorry love – beer is full bodied; you, my dear, are fat. An over-sized chartreuse t-shirt over green spandex bike shorts?! C’mon! that was NEVER a good look! I agree with you guys about the truck incident. It takes some cold b*tches to #shrugandmoveon.

    “Not bad” James thought “I could go for either one; maybe both”. Class act James “not Jim” Dark! At that point my first thought was “at least we know Chelley won’t fall for the PH boy this month!”

    A lot of the book felt similar to the film ‘The Hitcher’ – I liked it! Good ol’ Paul…yeaaahh…show your dodgy cousin a thousand bucks in cash!

    Creepy Art in the blue Taurus – not the most threatening car out there!

    I’m with you Paul P – all the twists and turns showed why Uncle Bob was / is the king of YA horror. And the answer was there all along, right on page 6, when Terri said “We don’t want to get stopped, you know that”. *smacks forehead*

    Piranhas? Oh Hells yeah! We’re pulling out all the stops now! Firstly the HBO Spring Break Christina and Terri softcore curiosity show and now the ‘soon to be in production’ SyFy channel Piranha Pool! We just need Ian Ziering and a chainsaw!

    And Terri…creamy, full bodied Terri! Heady, hoppy with a malty finish Terri! Kicking some piranha butt! Here’s some education for you – experts suggest it would take a large school of piranha around 5 minutes to strip the flesh from a 180 pound (80kg) person. Looks like the combination of frothy, Beechwood aged Terri’s swimming talents and her saddlebags bought her the extra time she needed to make her escape! Crafty like a chubby fox! Tell you what – when she was all poised to bash in her former BFF’s (and lover’s – we’re all settled on that now, aren’t we?) head I was sooo waiting for the Stine egg cracking death!

    Not too sure how to feel about Art – did he deserve to die? He was just looking to avenge his father, but then again he was trying to feed people to piranhas!

    All in all, a great return to the all the fun, goofy, gory PH we love!

    Now the Q & A!

    1. James went back to Paul’s place to explain everything. He only got as far as “you remember the girl I was with? Turns out she was a murderer and before the piranhas got her…” before Paul took sweet revenge and laid his dear old cuz out cold on the front lawn. With his new found macho attitude, Paul was quickly promoted in his job, moved to Shadyside and lived happily ever after.
    2. I’m actually going to go with the egg crack. A creative writer can come up with an egg crack death that’ll really make you think. Piranhas are awesome, but it’s a one trick pony kinda death.
    3. They finally checked her bedroom after they saw someone who had the same name as their daughter and looked suspiciously similar on the news. The penny finally dropped when the police arrived on their doorstep! They blamed Terri for everything and held one of the gaudiest memorial services ever seen for their lost lil’ princess – at an aquarium in Florida.
    4. Terri ended up runner up on The Biggest Loser: Spring Break edition and used her pseudo celebrity to co-author some diet cookbooks. As a survivor of such crazy, murderous activities she also spent time on the talk show circuit – her Springer episode was the highest rating of the year. James eventually made his way back home, tail between his legs. Realizing now that women were far smarter than he was, he reformed his sleazeball ways and now runs a mens help group.

    RTC? OMG!! I’ll get some questions to you ASAP! Amazing work again Chelley!

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Hi Mark!

      I forgot to mention about Christina smelling lemony lol

      I love how you know me so well and knew for sure that I would not fall head of heels for Mr Dark!

      And poor Terri! What has she ever done to you 😉 It was so refreshing and possibly against the Point Horror rules to have the chubby / fat / full bodied (or whatever word you want to use) girl be the heroine. I doubt Stine was allowed to use the word fat in Point Horror to be honest but good on him for not making her another skinny Point Horror girl.

      PS – I’m kind of scared how much Phirana knowledge you have! Remind me to never visit your cabin in the woods with the lake!

      And wow yes! That page six reveal! All the answers were there right in front of our faces!

  6. Cazzy says:

    Hi guys, I’m back with my questions for RTC!

    1) which book did you enjoy writing most and which character was your favourite?
    2) how did you become involved in the PH franchise?
    3) where do your ideas come from?
    4) do you think PH could make a comeback for today’s teens/pre-teens?
    5) how do you think the YA genre has changed since the 90s?

  7. Paul P says:

    I don’t know if I have a question for Richie Tankersley Cusick. Can you just tell her that “Teacher’s Pet” was the first Point Horror book I ever bought and got me into reading?

    But, like many others, I would love to know how her involvement in Point Horror came about, and whether she wrote stories based on the titles given to her, or if she was allowed to make up the titles on her own.

  8. Mark says:

    My RTC questions:

    1. Trick or Treat was adapted for the short lived PH audiobook collection. What did you think of that version and did you get any input into it? Following on from that, which or your books (if any) do you think would adapt well for TV /film?
    2. Several of your PH titles seem to have started life outside the PH stable. How did they end up being released under the banner?
    3. How long did it take on average to write a PH book?
    4. Which of your PH titles do you think has aged the best?
    5. Did you plant any friends / family in your stories?

    Thanks Chelley! Awesome work once again!

  9. Amy says:

    Wow great comments from everyone!

    RL Stine was my favourite back in the day and to some extent his books hold up to what I remember. The end scene is one of my all time favourites- like you Chelle I’m not sure how this reflects on me! It turns out I still like my Point Horror gory and outlandish. Up until the piranhas, it was a bit hard going and the ‘romance’ made me squirm (and not in a good way).

    I didn’t find much to like with the characters although I reluctantly decided that James didn’t deserve death by piranha (maybe just a bit of targeted biting). I quickly decided he wasn’t worthy of being a Point Horror boy crush – too violent and conceited to be interesting.

    Now for the questions…

    -What happened to Paul? James learned the error of his ways and paid the money back as penance. Paul bought a jet ski and never used it. Paula is still complaining about it.
    -Would you rather have an egg cracking Point Horror Death or Death By Piranha? Piranhas every time
    -Did Christina’s parents ever realise she was missing? They soon realised that she’d stopped calling to ask for money and phoned the police.
    -What happened to Terri and James after the book finishes? Hopefully both of them limped home (separately) and endeavoured to become less horrible people.

  10. Claire Muncaster says:

    i liked james. “metal moron” w/ high-pitched laugh = psychopath in PH world. so i’ve known a good couple of psychopaths (something to do w/ name james i think, & might even actually *be one*. despite being female so :. not being called james but claire.

    james-in-the-book can’t decide which girl to go for so thinks he wants both. the sensible part of me says he clearly wants neither – he’s as twisted as a fish hook. the non-sensible part asks why he isn’t real & cries while my medical equipment nrly falls off. he almost, but not quite, eclipsed the other PH boys once. these wretched, 3x-damned books……