Summer of Night – Week 1

Hey guys!

Thanks for taking part in our very first Grimdragon readalong!

Please feel free to post your own questions & thoughts in the comments!

1. Are you enjoying the book so far?
2. Have you read any other Dan Simmons books? How does this compare?
3. Who is your current favorite character?
4. Do you find the characters believable? Fully developed? Relatable?
5. What do you think happened to Tubby Cooke?

Let’s discuss ALL THE THINGS!

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50 thoughts on “Summer of Night – Week 1

  1. Hey ! I have been so strict with this as I raced through the first 10 chapters in one sitting and had to set it aside and read another book so i could comply with the readalong 😂

    I love it ! This is my first Simmons book, the only other I own is Carrion Comfort but Im too scared to read it 🙈. Id love some recommendations as to which i should read next.

    I love all the kids but my favourite at the moment is Mike O’Rourke…Im totally intrigued by him.

    Th characters are definitely believable and im already petrified by a few of them… glad I didnt read this one while i was at school !! The doughboy has given me a scare.

    Poor old Tubby has been got. Im getting cultish vibes like some kind of sacrifice but WHO KNOWS. Time to keep reading !!!

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    1. The doughboy is BANANAS!!!

      I was a bit behind this last week with a trip & we had a family member visiting, but now I can’t wait to dive back into the book & find out more of what is happening!

      -Holly

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      1. Is A Winter Haunting next in the Seasons of Horror series or Children of the Night? I’ve seen conflicting info! Goodreads has AWH as book 3. Does it matter what order they are read in or are they more standalone than anything?

        -Holly

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          1. Children of Night is the second one he wrote, then A Winter Haunting, but like you said, they’re standalone. So it doesn’t really matter… except to my OCD. xD

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          2. Ha! I’m with you, Nick. My OCD is like.. yeah. Okay they are standalone. BUT WHICH ONE DID HE WRITE NEXT SO THAT I MAY READ THEM IN ORDER BECAUSE I AM NOT A MONSTER!!!

            -Holly

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  2. 1. I am enjoying the book so far, I agree it was a bit of a slow starter but I’m enjoying finding out about all of the boys and their home lives. I’m interested where it’s going to go from here!
    2. This is the first Simmons book I’ve read, so I can’t really compare. I would probably read another though.
    3. my current favourite (like a lot of people above) is Mike. I agree that he seems to be a lovable badass.
    4. I find the characters believable, as I know what 12-year-old boys are like, and the kind of stuff I catch them saying to each other. I’m not really sure if at this point that they are developed enough though, as I don’t really care emotionally about any one character as yet. Maybe there are too many viewpoints?
    5. I think Tubby is being experimented on in the school basement.

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  3. Ok, first of all, thank you Corey and Holly for hosting this read along! Ok, let’s get started.

    1) I am loving this book so far! It was all I could do to stop with chapter 10 and not keep on reading. I can definitely see why this gets compared favorably to Stephen King’s IT.

    2) This is my second Simmons, I read The Terror back in November. I liked it, but I think I’m enjoying this one more. The Terror was good, but it just seemed so long and plodding in places. I’d still recommend it though on those cold, snowy nights.

    3) I think my favorite character so far is Mike. I can see why he seems to be the de facto leader of the bike patrol, he just seems to have a magnetic personality.

    4) Definitely finding the characters fully developed and extremely relatable. I remember riding my bike around town with friends and hanging out in our clubhouse.

    5) I’ve not fully developed my theory on what happened to Tubby, except to know it can’t be good. My guess so far is he was caught by one of the “adults” in the school, either the principal or Van Syke.

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    1. Thanks for joining in, Derek!! The Terror is great & super atmospheric, but definitely gets a bit bogged down with details…that’s been my main criticism of his more recent stuff. Even though Summer of Night is quite descriptive, it doesn’t impact the flow of the story or feel unnecessary.

      -Corey

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  4. 1. Yes! I really like it and think the writing really gets me to feel and remember what summer was like when I was a kid.
    2. No, this is my first by him. I also have “A winter haunting”, I think I bought both books about 10 years ago.
    3. I like many of them in their own parts of the book, Mike is one (maybe we have gotten to know him more than some of the others?).
    4. Yes, we don’t know so much about everybody yet I think, but I hope it will come soon.
    5. Something bad, dont know what or who.

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  5. 1. Yep yep yep! I read past chapter 10 because I’m impatient and I couldn’t stop. I found it to be a little bit of a super slow starter… and I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to continue because I was bored of nothing really happening!!! But then hairless monkey happened and I was hooked!! 🐒
    2. No I haven’t… this is my first one and honestly I don’t think I’ll read anymore! It’s creeping the heck out of me! I’ve already had to make sure I only listen during the daylight hours!! The other night I was listening and I ended up having the worst night sleep because it was hot but there was no way in hell I was sleeping on top of the duvet because things might get me!!! 😭😭😭
    3. Mike!!! He seems to be one of those lovely combinations of sweet, sensible and badass all rolled into one!
    4. Hmmm… I didn’t think about this… I would say yes believable! Relatable…eh… I nothing really for me… I tended to hang out in my garden playing with my Sylvanian Families rather than bike riding and having fun solving mysteries… also they definitely don’t think like I did as a youngster… but I like them though! They seem nice… apart from the one whose name I’ve forgotten! And I can’t go check as I’ll lose everything I’ve written… this is the downside of audiobooking… it’s harder to remember names! 🙄
    5. Hairless monkey!!! (I’m mildly obsessed with the hairless monkey!!! Why is there a monkey… it’s just not something that you should come across easily… they live in jungles!!!)

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    1. I definitely thought it started a wee bit slow, but after a few chapters I was obsessed! I knew I was going to love this because of the comparisons to IT & Boy’s Life, two of my favorite books ever!

      THE HAIRLESS MONKEY! So fucking bonkers in the best way possible! BOILED IT OFF! Absolute bonkers!

      -Holly

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  6. 1. I am loving this book so far! I couldn’t stop reading once I got to the part when the monkey was thrown out of the rendering truck!
    2. I have The Terror, but have not yet read that one, so this is my first!
    3. Duane McBride is my favorite. There’s something so endearing about him. I just really wish he’d not wear a flannel shirt in the summer heat. Makes me sweat just thinking about it!
    4. I think the characters are very believable and relatable. I love the descriptions of how they felt on the last day of school and waking up on the very first day of summer break.
    5. Poor Tubby…nothing good ever comes of crawling into holes in the wall. I am not sure what I think yet; perhaps he was taken by one of the creepy adults like Van Syke, or a supernatural creature of sorts?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry everyone, I thought my initial post disappeared, so I re-wrote the whole thing and submitted again. Guess you get to read my thoughts twice, with a few differences, LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. 1. I am loving Summer of Night so far! It’s the perfect summer read. I finished the first section early in the month, so I’ve read a few books since then. I can’t wait to dive back in!
    2. This is my first Dan Simmons book. I own three others that I look forward to reading in the future.
    3. Like everyone else, I really like Mike. Duane is also a favorite so far. I feel like I’ll be able to answer this question better after I’ve read more.
    4. I think the characters are all believable and relatable. As I’m reading, it’s making me remember what it was like to be that age. It also reminds me of some of my favorite 80s and 90s movies that follow groups of young boys.
    5. I just assumed some sort of creature got Tubby. Its interesting to see everyone else’s theories.

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    1. Dale is my favorite, but I really like Duane & feel for him. I enjoy Mike, too! I think those three really make up the core group. They seem to have the most dominant personalities this far into the book, anyway!

      It definitely is so full of nostalgia! I find them super relatable because I used to explore the woods, ride my bike everywhere, play baseball, try to solve mysteries.. haha!

      What other Simmons books do you have? I have over a dozen of his books & yet this is my first one I am reading! I think it’s a pretty great place to start!

      -Holly

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      1. Yes to the nostalgia! I didn’t have woods nearby, but I rode my bike everywhere and tried to solve mysteries (lol).
        I have Carrion Comfort, Children of the Night, and The Terror. I want to read The Terror when it’s cold and snowy.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. 1) I’m really enjoying it so far! At first I was comparing it to It by Stephen King (I think because I just finished it, so it was hard to get out of that mindset) but within the first few pages the tone was completely different. I love how the story’s getting set up! Kind of like the school building itself is the evil thing manipulating the teachers.
    2) Never! I do like his writing, though, so I definitely want to read the book he wrote about Ernest Hemingway that Corey recommended awhile back.
    3) I love Lawrence! I like that Dale lets him tag along in everything, and that he lets his emotions show, especially with what happened to the dog and being scared of the dark.
    4) I’d say the characters were believable! They almost seem a little *too* adult, though, especially with Mike being a natural leader and Duane and his high IQ. Maybe because they were all introduced with their first and last names, it was kind of formal.
    5) I feel like Tubby is still alive, but with something super horrible happening like his thoughts and energy being slowly zapped back into the school so the evil thing can gain more power.

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    1. It does seem to get compared to IT often, with due reason! I definitely don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! But I can already tell that they will be different in many ways. I’m so excited to see what is next for this group!

      I’ve been collecting Simmons for ages now. He’s an auto buy author for me.. but this is my first book I’ve read by him! I just knew I would love his work!

      Aww, Lawrence is a good answer! I do appreciate that about him, letting his emotions free like that. Dale is my current favorite, but I think they all have their places for sure.

      I also think Tubby is still alive! BUT WHERE IS HE?! Dun dun dunnnn!

      -Holly

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  9. Thanks Holly & Corey for hosting this readalong, especially with one that’s shaping to be such an amazing read!
    1. I’m definitely enjoying the book so far! It’s just like diving back into IT again and joining the Loser’s Club. Except this time it;s the Bike Patrol! The parallels are amazing and nostalgic.
    2. I’ve read 3 other Simmons books, but all were a bit different. One was historical fiction, one was historical horror, and the last was scifi. So even though this takes place in the 60’s, it really has it’s own tone. I think that’s what I like about Simmons. He dips in to so many genres, that you get a different taste with every book. This just feels so much like a King book with his style.
    3. My favourite character so far is Duane McBride! Big kids usually get the role of the slow, dumb, strong but gentle. I’m so happy that he’s the brains! He’s really the one who’s seeing that things are happening, and it has something to do with Old Central School. But that part with Witt killed me! I was so excited that one of the characters had a canine companion, and then he goes and tugs at my heart strings.
    4. For the most part, I think their believable. Maybe a little more mature than boys would be at that age. I don’t think they’re quite fully developed just yet. But for being a quarter in the book, it seems we’re right on track! I feel pretty relatable to Dale. I had a little brother that I dragged everywhere and kept an eye on. We didn’t play baseball with the neighbourhood kids, but we did play hockey (ball or ice depending on the season) whenever we could. Haha
    5. I think Tubby got too close to one of the ghost creatures. I think the adults are being glammed by it too, and are covering up the disappearance. They’re seeing people that meant a lot to them, but who are now dead. I don’t think Tubby’s dead, but probably having his life force tapped in to somewhere in Old Central. Just one of my theories, haha.
    It’s pretty hard not to rush ahead and read more! But I don’t want to accidentally give away spoilers. So I’m keeping the pace. It’s really good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading it with us, Nick! It really does feel like it’s going to be a pretty amazing book!

      BIKE PATROL! I really like this group of kids so much already. The Losers Club, the Stranger Things kids, Stand by Me, Boy’s Life.. just such a memorable time period for many of us as kids. The summer. Growing up. Gah!

      It fucking broke me what happened with Witt! So awful!

      I think that is why I like Dale so much, too. I was always having to look after my younger siblings & lug them around with me!

      -Holly

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  10. 1. Yes, it has me quite intrigued and it was rather hard to stop after 10 chapters. But I’m a good girl, so I did. While the start was a little slow, it did give me time to work out who’s who.
    2. No, this is my first book by him.
    3. Duane is my favourite so far. I like that he’s so gentle and clever and his love for his old doggy…though we all know how that ended….:( Though I am slightly worried about the voices he heard and the strange happenings around the farm.
    4. I do think they are believable, but I’m hoping they will be fleshed out more over the coming chapters. Relatable…well, I had a time during my childhood when I would bike everywhere with my friend and tried to look for exciting adventures…but for the most part I was a rather quiet child with her nose in a book…maybe that’s why Duane is my favourite, seeing as he wants to do research in the library!
    5. Hmm, not sure, I think he was sucked into the heart of the school and drained to make Old Central more powerful…

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    1. It certainly started a bit slow, but damn are we getting into some exciting territory now!

      I really do love that Duane is this gentle giant who is the brains of the group. I feel for him the most, for sure. WITT! Gah!!! I was so upset about the poor doggo. Why must animals always die in these things?!?

      I definitely did all of those things WITH my nose in a book! Haha!

      Do you think Tubby is still alive?

      -Holly

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  11. 1. I’m so excited to be reading this book!!! It’s been a while since I’ve read a scary book and honestly I have no idea what to expect. I usually have to read at night when my kids are in bed so I can fully appreciate it and its been keeping me up! LOL! I’m a big wimp!

    2. This is my very first Dan Simmons book and I”ve had him on my TBR for a while and finally decided to just do it!

    3. My favorite character so far is Duane. There was something about him that I liked from the very beginning. I was so sad what happened to him on his way to one of the meetings. I’m hoping his dad won’t stay quiet!

    4. I find the characters very believable. I would ride my bike all the time with my neighbors. I was a tomboy and loved hanging out with the boys.

    5. I’m not sure what happened to Tubby yet, but I think its scary how the adults are involved!

    Just wanted to add that I used to live in a BIG city and then moved to a very small town that reminds me so much of Elm Haven! When I read about the dirt roads and the corn fields it just makes me thing of my hometown! When I first moved here, it used to freak me out since it reminded me of Children of the Corn and I think I’m having the same feelings again! LOL! Like I said, I’m a big wimp when it comes to scary stories, but I just have to keep reading them!

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  12. 1. First of all I want to thank the wonderful Grimdragons, Holly and Corey, for the opportunity to read along with their amazing team!
    I don’t use to read horror stories, or watch horror films ( with the exception of King), so it was a challenge for me. I start reading with a lot off skepticism, but Simmons’s writing captured my interest. The unfolding of the story, the historic details and especially the building of the characters is compelling! It reminds me the film “Stand by me” and the tv series “Stranger Things”. I’m certainly enjoying the book so far!
    2. That’s my first Dan Simmons book.
    3. My favorite character is Duane McBridge. He is so mature, that I sometimes forget that he is just an eleven year old boy. He is taking care himself, and the farm and even his old man, without complains or bitterness. He is intelligent, well organized, focused, thoughtful. And as it seems he has the instinct, that something is wrong with the Old Central School.
    4. The characters are very believable! The development of their stories is my favorite part of the book.
    5. I think that something really bad happen to Tubby, the last day at the Old School Central.
    _Ifi

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    1. Thank you for joining us, especially if it isn’t your usual genre! That is really awesome of you to jump into this! Glad you are enjoying it so far!

      I am definitely getting the Stranger Things/Stand By Me vibes (& of course, IT!) Yet it’s got something different. The writing really is brilliant!

      -Holly

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  13. 1. Yes, I love the book so far. I had a hard time at first remembering which boy was which.
    2. This is my first Dan Simmons book, and depending on how it goes it won’t be my last.
    3. I love a smart kid so I have to go with Duane as my favorite. But I’m also having flannel in summer issues! Why Dan?! So cruel. Dale is a close second as favorite because he takes good care of his brother.
    4. I think the characters are believable. Although some argue they seem a little mature for their age, I think the author has added little details that still link them to childhood, such as watching cartoons and keeping to traditions like Bike Patrol.
    5. Obviously Tubby Cooke has been eaten by an alien monster that has come to Earth to make our race more intelligent by eating children that should be in class.

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    1. I think your reason for Tubby’s disappearance is really the only logical explanation!

      I really do love Dale & Duane!

      No worries! Chapters 11-21 this week! It’s getting SO good now!

      -Holly

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  14. Hey everyone, so just wanted to say I’m enjoying the book so far. I too found the beginning slow. I felt there was way too much details on the school (like it’s architecture) which was hard for me to get into.
    Once it settled down into the story though I got really hooked! Love the band of kids. Duane is definitely my favourite, I really love his passion for writing and stories.

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      1. No Holly, so far I’ve not really been scared. Maybe later on… I’m hoping. I really care about the kid characters though though so I’m always a bit like oh no what will happen to them next!

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  15. I’m on Chapter 20 now. I’m enjoying this book more than I thought. I like the writing style. I like how the story is very similar to IT. The kids are very intelligent and mature for their age. I was nowhere near this mature at 12 and neither were my kids.

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    1. The kids might be more mature because a lot of their parents aren’t really around to look after them. So maybe they’ve had to grow up quick.

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      1. Absolutely agree! I was a pretty mature kid (we won’t discuss what an immature adult I can be, ha) because I had no supervision & I was the one to look after my siblings & cook the majority of the meals. So I can definitely relate!

        -Holly

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  16. Hey! I finally got back from vacation and figured out where to go for the discussion!
    I LOVE this book! It was a tad slow of a start, I agree. But MAN! I do have to admit that I am on chapter 28 😳😳 I could stop. God dammit Dan Simmons writes kids well and the freeness of being a kid before all the scares and shit of the world ruined it for all of us. As a kid of the 80’s I remember this freedom, granted not as much as these kids of the 60’s but still. My kids now, even if they put down the electronics, would NOT have the freedoms to roam around the town nor the imagination to play like these kids or like me and my friends!
    I’ve never read a Dan Simmons before. I’d like to now, but will I be disappointed after reading this one which seems to be pretty perfect?
    My favorite character is Duane. Has been since the beginning and only grows as the chapters go on. A close second is Lawrence. What a cool kid! And probably Dale and Mike after that. Don’t really care about the others as much.
    I have NO IDEA what happened to Tubby! What the hell?! I have theories now that I’m on chapter 28, but still, what the hell happened?! Is he alive somewhere having something done to him or is he just plain ‘ol dead?? We shall see I guess!
    Thanks for having this readalong and spurring me to jump this to the top of my TBR as I bought it about 3 months ago with the intentions to read it soon anyhow!
    –Lars (theatretenor)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for joining us, Lars!

      Simmons writes this group of characters insanely well, I completely agree! What a brilliant author! I don’t want to have to put this book down. Damn adulting!

      Looking forward to the next discussion because SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!

      -Holly

      Liked by 1 person

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