Book Club Pick

I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

Book Club Pick: October 2015


Book Details:

Title: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Author: Lois Duncan

Series: Stand alone novel

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

First Published: 1973, revised edition with modernised text 2010

Pages: 200

Publisher’s Description:

They didn’t mean it. They didn’t mean to hit the boy. There was a party, and it was an accident . . . but they had futures to protect. 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.



Four high school students, Julie, Helen, Barry and Ray are returning from a party when they accidentally hit a young boy riding his bike home. Other than stopping to make a call to report the accident the teens do nothing to help. Fearing the accident will ruin their lives they make a pact to never speak of the incident again.

A year has passed and the group has drifted apart. Julie has dropped the cheerleading squad and become a serious student, Helen has dropped out of high school and is the new television personality for the local news, Barry went to the local college, and Ray has recently returned after leaving town.

When Julie receives an anonymous note with ‘I know what you did last summer’ she is worried. Barry assures Julie that it is just a prank but when Helen finds a picture of boy riding a bicycle taped to her apartment door and Ray receives a newspaper clipping about the accident; the threat suddenly seems more serious. And when Barry is shot the remaining trio question their actions last summer and question who is tormenting them.

Duncan’s novel was first published in 1973 the version I read was the revised edition with modernised text released in 2010. The characters now have cellphones, email and their fashion has been updated. Personally I would rather have read the original version as I felt the teenagers values were not inclined with those of teenagers today.

The novel was adapted into a film penned by Kevin Williamson (ScreamDawson’s CreekThe Vampire Diaries). Released in 1997 it starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prince Jr.

I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Know What You Did Last Summer

A word of the warning – the film is very different to the book.  While the book is a thriller / suspense novel the film fits more into the slasher genre.  Duncan has not hidden her dislike for the film. Readers of the book will understand that while the reveal of the antagonist works on page this would not work onscreen.

The film was followed by a sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998). A third film I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer was released straight-to-DVD in 2006, it did not feature any cast from the previous films. Sony has plans to reboot the franchise with Oculus‘ Mike Flanagan writing the script.


Lois Duncan Official Website

Lois Duncan on Twitter


Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

By Graeme Cash

Film, television, theatre, popular media culture, ya fiction, travel...pretty much my life. Based in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

One reply on “I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan”

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