80s Flashback: Someone Is Out There

Someone Is Out There (Windswept #2)
Carole Standish
First published 1982

My history with this book
Someone Is Out There is one of many teen romances I read as a pre-teen. For some reason, this one seemed more memorable than most of the others I read and so I tracked down a copy.

My thoughts
I think the reason that Someone Is Out There stuck out to me is that in addition to the requisite romance, it’s also a mystery. The Windswept series featured romances of course, but the romance was always in the context of a slightly Gothic mystery, which gives the books more compelling plots than the usual 80s teen series fare.

Our heroine Marcie has big plans with her friends for her Christmas break, but because her grandmother has a broken leg and can’t travel, Marcie and her parents must travel to Cape Cod for the holidays. Shortly after her arrival, Marcie is drawn to a creepy shasomeone-is-out-thereck near the beach, where she meets a handsome young fisherman named Peter. Although Peter warns her away from the shack, Marcie is a budding Nancy Drew and she can’t leave well enough alone. Of course, Marcie is also drawn to Peter, who’s got just the sort of brooding mysterious demeanor that sets a teenage girl’s heart aflutter.

Marcie soon learns that the shack belonged to a murdered fisherman who was the business partner of Peter’s uncle, and that the uncle, and Peter by association, are suspects in the crime. Marcie can’t believe that a dreamy (albeit troubled) young man like Peter could possibly be guilty, so she’s determined to clear his (and his uncle’s) name.

I was pleasantly surprised by my re-read of Someone Is Out There. I wasn’t expecting much, and the first chapter, which was filled with clunky exposition and awkward prose, didn’t fill me with confidence. For example, this passage was painful:

She sat down on the edge of one of the twin couches that flanked the walls of in the William’s spacious living room, quite unaware of the lovely picture she made. She was wearing a plaid skirt in which green predominated, and her turtleneck sweater picked up the green tone. The color of the clothes made her eyes seem more green than hazel, and agitation brought a flush to her cheeks that was actually very becoming.

However, I ended up enjoying the book much more than I expected. The writing improved after the first chapter, and the author does a nice job of making the atmosphere of Cape Cod in the winter come alive for the reader. The mystery is a little weak, and I guessed the killer’s identity early on, mostly because there aren’t that many characters in the book. But also, I’m an adult who’s read hundreds of mysteries over the years, and I’m sure the mystery was much more mysterious to me when I was 12. Also, the climax of the mystery isn’t very suspenseful, since it happens mostly off the page after Marcie is knocked out.

I really love the cover. Marcie’s plaid coat, with its built-in scarf, is so 80s. Peter is lurking in the background wearing what appear to be a wool pea coat and high-heeled boots. Since he’s usually described in the book as wearing waterproof gear appropriate for life on a fishing boat, this outfit makes no sense, but I suppose the turtleneck and pea coat do have a sort of Cape Cod in winter vibe.

Does it hold up?
Yes, much better than I expected.

Would I want my kid to read it?
Eh, if he really wants to.

Is there any objectionable content?

Can you read it aloud?
Not really, but it might be hilarious if you tried.

The Windswept books are out of print, but it’s not too hard to find used copies.

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