GENRE: Young Adult Fiction/Suspense
SETTING: Unknown state, USA
MY GRADE: B
FROM PUBLISHER: They didn't mean it. They didn't mean to hit the boy. There was a party, and it was an accident...that wasn't who they were. They were pre-law, a football player, bound for New York. No one could know, so Barry, Julie, Helen, and Ray swore one another to secrecy. But now, a year later, someone knows. Julie receives a haunting, anonymous threat: "I know what you did last summer." The dark lie is unearthed, and before the four friends know it they need to outsmart a killer...or they will be the next to die.
MY THOUGHTS: I'm reviewing the original 1973 version, not the revised 2010 version that's been modernized.
This is a young adult novel and the four main characters are aged 17-19 (I think) and only one is in high school, or just finished it.
Julie James- Seventeen, red hair, about to go off to college.
Ray Bronson- Julie's ex-boyfriend. Blond hair.
Helen Rivers- Eighteen, honey-colored hair, lives on her own and works at a television station doing promotional stuff. Has a jealous sister named Elsa.
Barry Cox- Is in college, nineteen years old, is dating Helen but he doesn't really like her. He was driving the car that hit the little boy.
The story starts in May, ten months after the group hit a little boy, David Gregg, on his bike while they were out driving at night. They anonymously called the police to report it right after. Julie gets an anonymous letter just nine pages in, then two others get one, then one gets a phone call.
The novel's pretty short, 198 pages, and it flows nicely. It does sound dated with some of the terms used and the mention of Julie's slightly older new male friend, Bud, having been in Vietnam the year before. Other than the Vietnam mention, I'd have thought this was published in the mid-to-late 1980s.
The person who turned out to the the villain wasn't who I suspected. The ending was extremely unsatisfying. I really like the way in which the villain infiltrated the group. I thought it was pretty damn clever on the author's part.
The film- The characters in the film are more heartless when it comes to the death of the bicyclist. Many things happen in it that weren't in the novel, more non main character deaths, and it's more action-packed, for sure, and convoluted. In fact, it's pretty different and was clearly only inspired by it. There's nothing sexual in the novel yet in the film sex is implied with both couples in the opening scene. The film is your basic slasher film while the book is a straight-up suspense, not horror, so don't read this expecting gore.