Chain Letter

Chain Letter

by Christopher Pike


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380899685
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/28/1986
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.48(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Alison Parker saw the letter first. Normally, she wouldn't have checked on her friend's mail, but the mailbox was slightly ajar, and she couldn't help noticing the off-purple envelope addressed to Fran Darey. It was a peculiar letter, taller than it was long, with no return address. Alison wondered if it was a love letter. Whatever it was, whoever had sent it had lousy taste in color. The off-purple envelope reminded her of spoiled meat.

"Do you need help?" Alison called. She was standing on Fran's porch, holding an assortment of books and bags: enough for three girls' homework and personal items. Fran Darey and Brenda Paxson were unloading a half-painted set from the back of Alison's station wagon, trying to maneuver it into the garage with a minimum of damage. The prop was for a play the three of them were involved in at school: You Can't Take It with You. Fran was in charge of special effects. Brenda had a small, wacky role. Alison was the star.

"Whatever gave you that idea?" Brenda gasped, swiping at her overly long bangs and losing her grip on a portion of their characters' living room. It hit the concrete driveway at an unfavorable angle, and a strip of wallpaper bent back.

"I took this home to finish it, not destroy it," Fran complained in her quick, nervous voice. Fran fretted over everything; it was a quality that made her excel at detail work. Brenda professed to be the opposite. She worried only about "things of importance." Still, on bad days, it was hard to tell the two of them apart. They were always arguing. They were Alison's best friends.

"I'm coming," Alison said, setting aside her gear and hurryingdown the steps. It was hot and smoggy, not the best of days for heavy labor. Yet Alison didn't mind the weather. It reminded her of suminer -- only a few weeks away-and of their quickly approaching graduation. Lately, she had been anxious to finish with high school, to begin her real life. Her game plan called for four years in UCLA's drama department, followed by forty years starring in Hollywood feature films. Her chances were one in a million, so her parents often said, but she liked a challenge and she loved acting. Besides, when had she ever listened to her parents?

"Grab here," Brenda said, wanting help with her end.

"No, Ali, come over here," Fran said.

"Why should she help you?" Brenda asked. "This is your project. I'm just a volunteer. I'm not even getting union scale."

"But you're stronger than me," Fran said, straining.

"I'll get in the middle," Alison said, her usual position when the three of them were together. With a fair quota of groans and curses, they got the makeshift wall into the garage. If the truth be known, and Brenda was quick to point it out, there was absolutely no reason for Fran to have brought the set home. You Can't Take It with You's openmg night was not for over a month.

Because they entered the empty house through the garage, Fran didn't immediately check on her mail. Only when they were seated at the kitchen table drinking milk and eating Hostess Twinkies and complaining about how many miserable calories were in each bite did Alison remember the books and bags she had left on the porch. While fetching them, standing just outside the kitchen window, she called to Fran, "Do you want me to bring in your mail?"

"She doesn't care," Brenda said. "No one ever writes her. I I

"Ain't that the truth," Fran said. "Sure, Ali."

Alison waited expectantly while Fran dawdled over the front cover of a McCall's magazine that promised an exciting exclusive on Princess Di's tastes in sweaters and an in-depth article by a prominent psychiatrist on why women didn't trust their husbands. Finally Alison got fed up and, clearing her throat, pointed out the purple envelope to Fran.

"That letter has your name on it," she said.

"Who's it from?" Brenda asked between mouthfuls of cream and cake.

Fran did not immediately answer, examining the envelope slowly, apparently savoring hopes that would almost inevitably be disappointed when she opened the thing. Not having a boyfriend, not having ever been asked out on a date, Fran had to make the most out of the small pleasures in life. Not that she was ugly. Her clear-skinned oval face and wide generous mouth gave her the foundation for an above-average appearance. Plus her light brown hair had a natural sheen that none of them could duplicate with expensive shampoos and rinses. Yet she was shy and high strung. She was a gifted artist, a B-plus student, but when she got around the guys, she inevitably wound herself into a catatonic cocoon, and couldn't say a word.

"There's no return address," she said finally.

Alison smiled. "It must be a love letter."

Fran blushed. " Oh, I don't think so."

"Open it," Brenda said.

"I will." Fran set the letter aside. "Later."

"Open it now," Brenda insisted. "I want to see what it says. I I


"Why not?"

"Brenda, if it's personal . Alison began. But Brenda had long arms, excellent reflexes, and -- suddenly -- the letter in her hand.

"I'll spare you the trauma, I I Brenda told hysterical Fran, casually ripping open the top.

"Give that back to me!" Fran knocked over her chair and tore into Brenda with a ferocity that must have surprised them both. There ensued a brief brawl during which Alison finished her milk and Twinkie. Fran emerged the victor, her short hair a mess and her cheeks pounding with blood but otherwise none the worse for wear.

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Chain Letter 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Salee on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Fail an exam willfully, tell a teacher their teaching is atrocious or spread a nasty rumor about yourself. You probably have never been asked to do any of these things in your life, because you¿ve probably never committed the crime of killing a stranger. Alison, Tony, Neil, Brenda, Fran and Kipp have, though¿and boy do they regret it! Christopher Pike¿s ¿Chain Letter¿ is a thrilling, suspenseful novel that will cause readers to fear turning the next page, yet compel them to keep on going. Driving home from a concert on a desolate, empty path, the seven friends commit the crime of killing a stranger. Their mistake? They refused to inform the police. Now, a chain letter signed "your Caretaker" haunts them, wherever they go, whatever they do. The letter demands dangerous, risky deeds, and violence has been threatened if members of the group fail to adhere. The story is set in California in a large, poorly populated town, which compliments the spine-chilling plot, as it makes it easier for each of the characters to get hurt when they fail to obey their demands. The setting is favorable because it adds essence to the novel¿s style. If the character's lived in a happy world, the book would not be as horrific. Although the focus of the story is not on family, due to the isolation of each of the character¿s homes, Pike highlights the importance of having company for the essential reason of safety. This is proved in the breathtaking climax of the novel. The base of the story is sentimental; friendship. This is mainly due to the fact that when betrayal occurs, whatever trust has been built by the friends, keeps them together. An easy comparison can be made to relationships. It starts off happy ends bitter-sweet. Whatever is left are pure nostalgia and the little trust that has been accumulated on the journey. The important lesson young adults will be enlightened of after finishing this story is that mistakes must be admitted because all actions have consequences¿favorable or unfavorable. This novel was a cliff-hanger and although I do respect that, I found that there were too many questions raised in the story that were not answered. For example, after the "Caretaker's" identity is revealed, there is very little history on how things came to be. I wish to specify, but in the interest of retaining the suspense, it's best that I don't. The author likely kept the suspense to intrigue readers, so that they would be tempted to read the sequel: Chain Letter 2.With a powerful superiority, the written works of Christopher Pike have enticed many teens and adults and will continue on to do so. In its engaging plot and astounding climax, ¿Chain Letter¿ will grab readers with a force that will keep them turning the pages. An irresistible and unpredictable read that I would highly reccommend to adults and young adults.
ashkek on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Unpredictable. One of Pike's best.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Chain Letter is a story about seven kids 'Tony, Neil, Kipp, Allison, Brenda, Fran, and Joan' who were in a car accident the summer before the story takes place. They thought they had put the whole thing behind them, but then they receive a letter from the mysterious `Caretaker¿ who says he knows of the sins they committed. In order to not get hurt, they have to do whatever he says. The orders start out harmlessly enough, like having to tell off teachers or going to school dressed as Bozo the clown or even repainting Teddy the school mascot. And then the orders get more serious, like telling everyone you cheated on the SAT¿s or streaking naked through the school cafeteria. But then one of them dies and two more disappear¿ I love how descriptive it can be when talking about the teachers. It describes the way one of them moved as `gyrating like a rippling bowl of jell-o¿. There is a little foreshadowing where Allison comments on how creepy the empty houses are on the street she lives on. It¿s mentioned that the Caretaker could easily be in one of the houses, watching her. Also, Tony gets the feeling of being watched when he drives past the houses on his date with Allison. The best part of the book was some of the orders that they had to carry out. Brenda having to tell off the teachers was probably the best part of the entire book. What student doesn¿t feel like telling off a teacher now and then? The worst part of the book is when you find out who the Caretaker is and why he did it. I would recommend this book to another person. It¿s one of the books that I have no problem reading again and again because the characters are so entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i though this book was not good!!! Christopher pike could have done a lot better!!! i dont think this book was well written and it was easy to get the characters mixed up. It kinda went all over the place and at times i got confused on what was going on!!!! I reall didnt enjoy this book!! If you cant sleep at night read this book it will do the trick!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was good and full of suspence but kind of confusing at times...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was another one of my favorite Christopher Pike books. I liked it beacause it was scary, mysterious, and it kept you turning the pages until it was done. It was about seven teenagers who had commited a unspeakable crime and wouldnd't speak of it not even to one another. Than one day they receive a letter threatening them to it's will or they would suffer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to not mind chain letters but I do now thanks to this book! If you want to be totally scared you should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I had ever read by Christopher Pike, and I wasn't even going to try to read it. A friend had read it and was immediately hooked on all books by C.P. I reluctantly read it and was pleasantly surprised. It had just the right amount of mystery, horror, romance, and surprise! An amazing book. I would give it ten stars if I could!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm in 7th grade and I just finished this book, i loved it right now im reading the 2nd book that one is also good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in 6th grade and always remembered loving it so I recently read it again and it is incredibly amaing!! It is full of surprising twists and turns, and thrills. One of my favorites by christopher pike, and one of my favorite books in general.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down. I thought it was a great book. I think you should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must have for any Christopher Pike fan. I couldn't put it down from the moment I started reading it. It really scared me too! Definitely A+
Guest More than 1 year ago
This one of those books you just can't put down, the ones you've just got to finish in one day! Pike has really good talent with putting mistery in his stories and if you love Chain Letter, you'll love part 2!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the coolest, once you started reading it you could not put it down. i just started Chain Letter 2. I recomand this book to anybody who loves to be thrilled.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is great for people who like suspence and gore. this was the first christopher pike book i read and i couldn't put it down! i was searching for just the right book and i found it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chain Letter I think is great for people who like gory and horror stories. This story was unpredictable and had many twists and turns. The characters personalities fitted quite well with the story. It was an awesome story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read, this was the first book I read of his and I loved it!! Chain Letter made me want to read more of his books. If you didn't like it, you've got to be the stupidest person ever!! I was great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down, I had to find out what happend to Alison and her friends next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christopher Pike's 'Chain Letter' is an enthralling book. Once I started to read it I couldn't put it down! Definitly read this book if you want a scare!