Hi, everyone! Welcome to Oh God Why?! Nostalgia Reviews! I’m your snarky recapper/reviewer, JC. I grew up on all things horror, thriller, chiller, suspense, and all combinations thereof – a healthy dose of 1990’s teen thriller novels and all manner of scary movies, but now I’m wondering: Are they as good as I remember them being? (Spoiler alert – no. No, they are not.) So join me as I recap and review the teen chillers and horror movies of my youth, and laugh along with me as I lament what bad taste 12-year-old me had.

The handy helpful Master Recap List  is posted here, containing current and future recaps.

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In November 2020, I participated in NaNoWriMo! I posted my send-up of Point Horror/Fear Street-type stories on this site, chapter by chapter, just for something fun and a little different. So, if you’re so inclined, check out Fowl Intentions aka Not Another Teen Thriller!

Start here: Fowl Intentions aka Not Another Teen Thriller Chapter 1


Upcoming Recaps:

The complete Sweet Valley High Evil Twin miniseries (A Night to Remember, The Morning After, The Arrest, The Verdict, The Wedding, Beware the Babysitter, The Evil Twin, Return of the Evil Twin)

YouTube and Patreon Announcement!

Hey there, friends! Today is an exciting day – I’ve just launched both my completely revamped Patreon page, AND a brand-new YouTube channel! There’s some fun free content right now, including a blooper reel that practically made itself while I was filming my Patreon Intro and Welcome video, and the first video in a series I’m calling “Reading Reviews”, where I find and read funny Amazon, Goodreads, and Letterboxd reviews of media I’ve recapped previously.

In the future, I’ll be uploading videos in my “Recap Revisit” series, where I take an old recap from this site and turn it into a brand new video recap, complete with new insights and opinions. Patrons at a certain tier will be able to choose which book or movie I should revisit in this once-a-month video! Think I didn’t give something a fair chance? Just want to hear (and see!) me talk about a certain book or movie even more than I already did in the written recap? Join the Patreon and boss me around a little!

Just to give you a little taste for free, here’s the first Reading Reviews video for your consideration:

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on the YouTube and Patreon!


Recap #95 – SVH #95: The Morning After


Title: The Morning After

Series: Sweet Valley High

Author: Kate William/Francine Pascal

Published: July 1993

Description: Could the twins be split forever?

A terrible accident has changed the Wakefields’ lives forever. Will Jessica Wakefield ever come to terms with the tragedy?

Bruce Patman has finally opened his heart to Pamela – but will he be able to ignore the malicious gossip about her wild past?

When all of Sweet Valley finds out that Lila Fowler has lied about her guidance counselor, her life goes into a tailspin. Finally, Lila’s desperate father brings home someone special to help Lila – the mother she never knew! But is it too little, too late?

. . . and three thousand miles away, a troubled young woman heads west on a journey that will change Sweet Valley forever!

Nostalgia Time!

I remember reading this miniseries as a teen – or at least as many of the books as I could find at the library. I’m pretty sure that means I was missing a book here or there, but since every book in this series-within-the-series recaps everything from the previous books, it was pretty easy to follow. This is the “official” start of the Evil Twin miniseries, I suppose because it’s technically the first one that Margo (the evil “twin”) shows up in, even though the events of the Jungle Prom were the catalyst for everything that happens. Margo is a great character (terrible psychopath, but great character), and her sections of the books are the most fun (?) to read. I tend to read this entire series back-to-back, and therefore the events of each individual book blur together. I couldn’t tell you what happens in which book until we get to the very last one, The Evil Twin. There are a lot of side character arcs, some good, some meh. But like I said in A Night to Remember, I really do love this miniseries!

Continue reading “Recap #95 – SVH #95: The Morning After”

Recap #94 – SVH Magna Edition #3: A Night to Remember


Title: A Night to Remember (aka “Jungle Prom”)

Series: Sweet Valley High

Author: Kate William/Francine Pascal

Published: June 1993

Tagline: One night . . . changed Sweet Valley forever. (At least until SV entered the next time loop and everyone’s memories were erased again.)

Description: After tonight, nothing will ever be the same in Sweet Valley . . .

Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield have worked together to create the most perfect prom Sweet Valley has ever seen – but when a jealous conflict turns deadly, the twins’ lives are changed forever!

Since the death of his girlfriend, Regina Morrow, wealthy Bruce Patman has kept his heart closed to love. Then a mysterious girl steps into his life, and Bruce must decide if it’s worth the pain to love again.

When Lila Fowler thinks her guidance counselor is interested in more than her schoolwork, she puts his career and his reputation on the line.

Will the truth come out before disaster strikes and changes the lives of everyone in Sweet Valley forever?

Nostalgia Time!

I’ve read the Evil Twin miniseries several times before now, including Return of the Evil Twin. Officially, it’s considered a six-book miniseries, starting at book 95, The Morning After, and ending at book 100, The Evil Twin. However! If you read the books in regular numeric order, you skip from a book about Steven dating a Black girl (and it apparently being a Very Big Deal), straight to Liz being on trial for murder, and it’s very confusing. Despite the fact that the Evil Twin miniseries will go on to recap this Magna Edition in all six books, you still feel like you’ve missed something if you don’t know that there’s a book in between book numbers 94 and 95.

I only read this specific book for the first time last year, in preparation to recap this SVH Evil Twin miniseries. The whole eight book series, starting here and ending at Return of the Evil Twin (which takes place a year later, but somehow no actual time has passed. Sweet Valley Time, what’re ya gonna do, right?) I love this miniseries, and all its ridiculousness. At this point, we just have to accept that Sweet Valley does not exist in our universe, or any universe where things operate in a manner that makes sense to normal humans.

Continue reading “Recap #94 – SVH Magna Edition #3: A Night to Remember”

Recap #93 – Girl Talk #3 – The New You by L.E. Blair


Title: The New You

Series: Girl Talk

Author: L.E. Blair

Published: 1990

Tagline: Allison’s a model!

Description: There’s a new Allison – but is there a new and nicer Stacy?

Shy Allison Cloud can’t believe what’s happening to her. When Belle Magazine holds a fashion makeover, they pick Allison to model for an upcoming issue! Unfortunately, they also choose Stacy the Great. That’s when Allison’s world suddenly turns upside down.

Nostalgia Time!

This was my introduction to the Girl Talk series, when I was ten years old. It actually belonged to one of my best friends at the time (her name is still written in the inside cover), and somehow I ended up with it when I moved away. We used to exchange books with each other all the time, and we just never swapped back when I left California, so I ended up with this Girl Talk book and a couple of books from The Gymnasts series, and she ended up with some of my . . . I dunno, Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins, probably. Who even remembers thirty years later?

I fell in love with this book, and its protagonist, Allison Cloud. To this day she’s my favorite in these books, and this one in particular will probably remain my favorite Girl Talk book simply because of the nostalgia associated with it. I’m no longer friends with the girl I borrowed it from all those years ago (we reconnected on Facebook over a decade ago, but events within the last few years brought to light some of her more terrible ideologies), but it brings back memories of the best parts of our friendship back in the day.

Continue reading “Recap #93 – Girl Talk #3 – The New You by L.E. Blair”

Recap #92 – Demon by Samantha Lee

Demon, the Kindle cover “art”

Title: Demon

Author: Samantha Lee

Published: 2003

Tagline: Be careful what you wish for [JC: Super original, right?]

Description: Lori has three wishes – To be the perfect size eight, have Perry fall for her fatal charms and to get the lead in the High School Musical. Not too much to ask? It is if you’re a bit too round at the edges, the school jock doesn’t know you exist and (as your annoying younger brother keeps reminding you) you happen to have a voice like a corncrake. Who was she kidding? She was never going to make it ‘Over the Rainbow’. But then Lori finds the Dreamcatcher and suddenly things begin to change for the better. The entity that lives in the centre of the charm promises to deliver her fondest dreams. All it wants in return is one simple thing. Her soul. When she agrees, her whole life is transformed. But then if you make a pact with a Demon, you’re apt to get more than you bargained for…

Nostalgia Time!

Demon, the slightly less awful print edition cover art

Well . . . I first heard about this book (term used loosely) from the Teen Creeps podcast. So this recap is really their fault, despite them telling the world at large, and me specifically, NOT to read this book. Of course I had to read it to see for myself how terrible it is, and then I mentioned it to Dove and told her NOT to read it, and . . . here we are. It’s a vicious circle. We don’t listen. We don’t learn. But in the best way. [Dove: Yep. I’m here again. I’m kind of like that guest that you gave your key to for one time only, and now I’m living on your couch. Forever.] [JC: Welcome! Extra pillowcases are in the linen closet, and the cat may try to sleep on your head.]

This book is bad in every possible way. Badly written; racist; bizarre typos everywhere; the author clearly does not know what a dreamcatcher is or what it’s meant to do; and finally (not really finally, there’s loads more WTFness about this book) the book is set in America, featuring American characters, and yet it’s the most goddamn British thing I’ve ever read. The spelling, the turns of phrase, the dialogue . . . more Britishisms than . . . I dunno. Than something really British. [Dove: Me, drinking a cup of tea and eating a scone, while listening to Sherlock Holmes narrated by Stephen Fry. That’s pretty damned British.]

I bought this on Kindle, but I’d be curious to see if the weird typos appear in the print version, too. At one point, several lines are left out of a paragraph, and it’s hard for me to believe that Point Horror would be quite that sloppy in their printing. This whole book feels like a first draft that someone self-published to try to make a quick buck. It feels like something you would find on Wattpad. It does not feel like a book written by a professional writer, with an editor, published by a recognized big-name imprint. This was 2003, so towards the end of Point Horror’s regular run. I guess they just got lazy. Because not only has Samantha Lee published five books with PH, one of them is a sequel to this book. (There are two sequels to this, however, Demon 3 doesn’t appear to have been published by PH.) I was ready to say that this is the absolute worst Point Horror ever written, but it’s entirely possible one of those other four would win that title. Maybe we’ll find out someday, just to be able to say definitively.

Note from Future JC: I got about a third of the way into this recap, realized it was going to reach The Terrorist-level word counts, and panicked. In the interest of trying to avoid that, I’ve decided that all the British spellings and Britishisms/non-Americanisms are going to be highlighted in red without further comment where possible. There are also a lot of weirdly hyphenated, capitalized, and ‘unnecessary single quotes’ around certain words and phrases. I’m going to present these mostly without comment as well. So if you see those and think “Huh, that seems weird,” I’m taking it directly from the book.

Continue reading “Recap #92 – Demon by Samantha Lee”

Recap #91 – The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney


Title: The Terrorist

Author: Caroline B. Cooney

Published: Sept. 1997

Description: For Laura Williams and her very American family, adjusting to life in London has been difficult.

She and her younger brother, Billy, are attending an international school with students from around the world. Arab and Israeli, Irish and English – all of them know about politics. All of them know about hatred. All of them, except Laura.

Laura is on the outside of all of that. She doesn’t hate anybody.

Until . . .

Until eleven-year-old Billy is handed an innocent-looking package in the subway on his way to school. In a sickening moment, Billy remembers the terrorist warnings he has seen posted around London. And then, in an instant, Billy is dead.

Suddenly, Laura is obsessed with politics. And with terrorism. And with hunting down her brother’s murderer – no matter who it is . . . .

In her signature combination of fast-paced, riveting action and gripping emotion, master of suspense Caroline B. Cooney has created an electrifying and extremely timely new novel about trust and hatred, love and death.

Nostalgia Time!

Before I start rolling my eyes uncontrollably at that book description, let me say a few words about this recap. I was completely unaware of this book until my friend Dove brought it to my attention. I had never read any of Cooney’s more action/adventure/disaster type titles. Her Point Horror stuff and The Face on the Milk Carton were the only ones I ever had an interest in. You know, the floaty, gauzy prose; weird similes; and description so light you had no idea where any scene was taking place at any given time.

Then Dove started live-texting me her reactions to this book, and it sounded terrible. Really, really bad, but not in the usual baffling Cooney way. It took me a while, but I had to read it myself to see just how bad it was. And folks, it is bad. Racist, insulting to every country/culture it mentions, nationalistic, and phenomenally ignorant about England – London in particular, despite the dedication informing us that Cooney lived there for a year. This last point is why Dove has graciously agreed to comment on this recap and school this ignorant American in all the British inaccuracies. So, Welcome, Dove, for our first book recap together!

[Dove: I had completely forgotten that I had live-texted my reactions. We do this to each other when we find something utterly breathtakingly awful. *thinks* Ours is an odd friendship. But I do remember being infuriated by almost everything about this book, and sometimes when someone says something is awful, you just have to see for yourself. So, I’m really sorry, JC, for telling you just how bad this is. But we have not oversold the awfulness of this book. Strap in.]

This inside-the-book-flap description (the copy of the book on Open Library was apparently scanned from the hardcover edition of this book) is almost too much to bear. I included the last paragraph stroking Cooney’s ego for the sole purpose of mockery, but now I just don’t even have the will. What would be the better description here? “Laura, who bleeds red white and blue and feels sorry for anyone who isn’t American, because America is just the bestest country evah, tries to solve her little brother’s bombing murder by demanding to see her classmates’ passports and screaming at her history teacher to tell her what countries have terrorists”? I don’t know. Dove? [Dove: I think JC’s description is far more accurate. Especially since this was not fast-paced or suspenseful. Whoever wrote the official final line really earned their money making that one up.]

[Note From Future JC: The length of this recap got slightly out of control. Turns out Dove and I had a lot of feelings about this one. You’ll need to set aside a fairly good chunk of time to read it all, or feel free to bookmark and read it in several sittings.]

Continue reading “Recap #91 – The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney”

Recap #90 – The New Year’s Party by R.L. Stine


Title: The New Year’s Party

Author: R.L. Stine

Published: Dec. 1995

Tagline: When midnight strikes . . . they all die.

Description: Ring in the new fear.

PJ wasn’t supposed to die. It was just a practical joke, no big deal. But PJ had a bad heart . . . .

The kids at Reenie’s Christmas party couldn’t tell the police what they’d done, so they hid the body . . . and then it disappeared.

Now someone is killing them, one by one. Someone is taking PJ’s revenge . . . but who?

By midnight they’ll know. Because when the clock chimes, they’ll all get a kiss. The kiss of death.

Nostalgia Time!

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2022 improves upon the last couple years, and if by chance you’re reading this from some future dystopia, well . . . disregard that hope.

I probably read this book around the time it was released. I have vague memories of it; I remember the twists but not a lot of details. To save time, I’m recapping as I read instead of doing a pre-read, so there are some things that are going to come along and surprise me at the same time they do you. I have some high hopes for this one, based on nothing but vague memories, recent podcast episodes, and the fact that the Fear Street Super Chillers are generally more bonkers/gorier than the regular Fear Streets. Although they do sometimes tend to drag due to Bob trying to fill those extra 50 pages or so. I guess we’ll find out how many Stine tropes we’re going to suffer through here!

Continue reading “Recap #90 – The New Year’s Party by R.L. Stine”

Recap #89 – SpineChillers #6: Not A Creature Was Stirring?


Title: Not a Creature Was Stirring?

Series: SpineChillers

Author: Fred E. Katz [get it? get it? ‘Fraidy Cats!]

Published: 1996

Description: Yule Mania

Just before leaving with his parents to go skiing before Christmas, Conner Morgan breaks his leg. Fortunately, Great Aunt Bergen is coming to watch the house, and Conner can stay with her.

But there is something very strange about Aunt Bergen, and strange things start to happen when she arrives.

Looks can be deceiving when fear backs you into a corner. Enjoy thrills and chills [oh, god, did Stine write this?!] with the kids in this story who have fun as they demonstrate Christian character based on love for God, parents, and one other [sic]. You’ll share a scare . . . but, of course, the only ghouls and ghosts are strictly in the imagination.

Nostalgia Time!

That’s right, folks, this is a Christian Goosebumps knockoff. With a damn typo in their mission statement. “Love for God, parents, and one other.” I wonder who the one other is. Is it Captain America? I hope it’s Captain America!

So, it’s Christmastime again, the time of year where it’s becoming tradition for my friend Jude Deluca to send me a book to recap, for both Christmas and his birthday. Happy Birthday, Jude, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and happy Saturday to those who don’t!

Now, about this book. I was hesitant when I realized it was a Christian-themed Goosebumps knockoff. I’ve mentioned here and there in other recaps how I’m basically still living with religious trauma from the way my mother raised me, and it’s really unpredictable what’s going to trigger a reaction from me. So, I went into this book thinking the religious aspect was going to be my biggest problem here. Turns out, the shoehorned-in Christianity was the least annoying aspect of this book, and the “Goosebumps knockoff” was what I should have been worried about. There are 35 chapters in this book, and EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM. ends on a bullshit fakeout cliffhanger. Whoever this ghostwriter is is trying to out-Stine RL Stine. I suppose that’s impressive in some way.

Yeah, so I didn’t enjoy this book. They can’t all be winners, friends. But I am going to enjoy snarking my way through this recap, so there’s some measure of enjoyment to be had!

Continue reading “Recap #89 – SpineChillers #6: Not A Creature Was Stirring?”