Julia, Cousin Julia. From the moment she arrived that summer, she seemed to seep into Rachel Bryant's life like a poison. Rachel knew she should feel sorry for her seventeen-year-old cousin. But why didn't Julia seem more grieved over her parents' recent deaths? Everyone else was enchanted by Julia - Rachel's parents, her brothers, her friends, and even her steady boyfriend. No one but Rachel seemed to notice Julia's frigid stare, her womanly body, the strange possessions she took pains to hide. Rachel's normally gentle little dog feared and loathed Julia from the start. What was it about her? What did she want with the Bryants? Soon all Rachel's questions were replaced by terror, as she desperately tried to bridge the gap that had sprung up between herself and those she cared about most.
For suddenly she realized who Julia really was, and the summer turned bone-cold. (from book jacket)
Lois Duncan is one of my favorite authors because she writes the best thrillers. Her books are always simply written, not a lot of detail or complex plots, but the mysteries are always spooky and really nicely done. Summer of Fear definitely isn't my favorite of hers, but it was a decent book all the same.
As from the summary, Summer of Fear starts out with Rachel learning that her aunt and uncle have perished in a car accident, and her cousin will coming to live with her family. Rachel hasn't seen Julia in awhile, so she knows it will be weird to have another girl around and to share her room. What Rachel isn't prepared for her family's sudden attraction to Julia; they even seem to like her more than Rachel! It's not until Rachel starts seeing some of Julia's idiosynchracies that she suspects something is going on.
I don't want to say too much about Julia because Rachel figures out what is going on with her pretty quickly and most of the book is spent having Rachel trying to convince her family that Julia is not who she seems. Some of Lois Duncan's books are downright creepy, but Summer of Fear wasn't too bad. It was pretty tame and I was never that scared during it, which was a little disappointing.
While I enjoyed Summer of Fear and its simple mystery, some of Lois Duncan's other books are way better in that they are actually creepy. But this was still a good read.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.
1976/Little, Brown/217 pages.