Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night 3 or "Mannequin Murders!"

After spending an extra two days stuck in Vancouver (Home to the 2010 Olympics!) due to the incredible fuck-headed-ness of Air Canada, I actually got a fair bit of reading done. And not just Fear Street! But you don’t care about that. You came here to read one last bit of Christmas magic: Silent Night 3!

The cover is pretty frightening, mostly because mannequins are terrifying. Especially these mannequins. Reva is looking as hot as ever with her oversized navyish/purplish turtleneck. I wanna ask her though: what’s with all the turtlenecks? There are other types of sweaters. “’Tis the season … to die.” As with L.K. and her cheerleader Christmas book (random) I’m under whelmed by the tagline. I feel that there were so many Christmas themed puns that could have been used, this is kind of a waste. No worries though, the book is pure Awesome.

Reva is back from college and she brought her roommate Grace home for the holidays. Which seems … uncharacteristically nice of her. Has she turned over a new leaf?! As soon as they get in the door, they’re accosted by Michael, Reva’s little brother who is now obsessed with violence. Reva thinks it’s because of all the kidnapping and murder attempts on her life, while I tend to think it’s because he’s a 10 year old boy. Case Solved! Her dad asks her if she would mind working at the store for the holidays, which seems a little thoughtless seeing as she keeps almost getting killed there. O and if you’re wondering whether or not Reva had turned over a new leaf? Yeah, she totally didn’t. She asks her elderly maid if she’d ever heard of conditioner. Bitch!

Reva goes to check on roommate Grace. Grace tells her that her abusive ex-boyfriend found out where she was and is coming for her! Reva thinks back to why she invited Grace to come home for the holidays in the first place: Because Grace was being stalked by her abusive ex-boyfriend and needed a place to hide. Yeah, that’s the guest you want for Christmas. Reva immediately starts thinking of ways to force Grace out of her house because she doesn’t want the drama. Ha! I kinda see where Reva is coming from.

Pam is also in this book! Pam is even more bitter at Reva in this book since she can’t afford college and Reva is always rubbing it in her face. Pam. WHY do you even talk to this girl!? You are so much better than that. Anyways, Pam and her badass coworker Willow started making Christmas scarves in their spare time, and now they want Reva’s dad to sell them in his department store. Reva invites them to come over to show the scarves to her, but leaves the house before they show up. Because she’s a bitch.

Well she kinda gets punished as she has a super creepy nightmare about mannequins in Dalby’s Department Store. There’s a lot of running into mannequins and not being able to find a way out. I hate those kind of dreams! In my nightmares, I can never run fast. It’s always in slow motion. So stressful! Ahem. Moving on…

Reva is woken up by Grace on the phone with Rory. She’s totally freaked out because he said he was going to come and get her. Reva sighs, rolls her eyes and explains that they have extra security, since, you know, people keep trying to kill her. Just then, there’s a knock at the door! It’s Rory! Just kidding, it’s the security guard and Daniel, a boy from college that Reva dated a few times. He drove all night to surprise her! Reva has a surprise of her own. She claims to have never seen him before so the security guard hauls him off to jail. Merry Christmas Daniel!

Pam finally meets with Reva about the scarves. Reva surprisingly loves them and promptly shows them to her father. And tells her father that she made them. And names the brand Reva Wear. And tells Pam and Willow they’ll get “a nice percentage of the profit”. Seriously? How could Pam and Willow agree to this?! Reva tells them that her dad wouldn’t have looked at the scarves if they weren’t designed by her. Which is untrue since Mr. Dalby is a businessman and not Scrooge McDuck.

Mr. Dalby decides to showcase his “daughters” fashion scarves by having some runway shows. Reva is put in charge of pulling it off. She has to use one of the store models, Traci, who she hates. Reva also chooses Liza (who hates Traci) and Ellie because she looks exactly like her. Grace asks Reva if she could be a model, and Reva takes the opportunity to laugh in her face and crush her dreams, hoping that would be enough to send Grace home. It’s not. Reva also meets Liza’s hunky boyfriend Grant and is immediately interested. Surprise. Daniel is also at Dalby’s, having found a job there for over the holidays. He takes his opportunity with Reva to tell her that he wants to kill her. Always a good plan on your first day of work: threaten the boss’ daughter. I’m actually surprised that Reva didn’t get him fired.

While the models and Reva are practicing for the show, Reva basically locks Pam and Willow in a storage room to continue making massive amounts of scarves. So Dalby’s is branching off into sweatshops? Grace busts into the practice area and collapses, with blood all over herself. Rory found her! she cried. And beat her up pretty extensively. Grace refuses to go to the police however, because she thinks Rory will leave her alone now. (Hint: Probably not)

That night, Reva leaves her battered and traumatized friend at home to go have a date with Grant, Liza’s boyfriend. God! Don’t these people have any moral compasses? He tells her all about the bad blood between Traci and Liza since Traci and Grant used to go out. So Traci and Liza hate each other over Grant… I wonder how they’re going to feel about Grant cheating on Liza with Reva? I bet they’ll handle it maturely.

The next morning Reva goes in early to prepare for the runway show. The runway is lined with mannequins who will also be sporting the Reva Wear scarves. One of the mannequins is a little crooked though. Reva goes over to inspect and: Dun Dun Dunnnn! It’s actually Traci, with a pole jammed up her rear! Needless to say, she’s dead.

The police come and interview everyone that was in the store that early, including Liza and Ellie. Reva thinks about what Grant told her the night before about Traci and Liza being arch nemesises. Reva’s all: Could Liza have killed her? And then doesn’t bother to tell the police. Because the way she sees it, if Liza’s involved, it’s their job to figure that out anyways! Yeah.

When she gets home to recover, her little brother Michael attacks her with a knife. Luckily it’s a toy, retractable knife. However, since this is the second time she’s been attacked by retractable blades, she should ask herself WHY so many people seem to want to stab her. Even in jest.

She goes out with Grant again that night, but he’s getting that guilty feeling Reva never has about cheating on Liza. She rolls her eyes in her head and tells him that she needs him way more that Liza does! That does the trick, and they get back to hot kisses.

Reva then gets a threatening phone call, telling her she deserves what happened to Traci. She’s confused so the caller elaborates: She deserves to be murdered! (well, DUH, Reva). She uses her super high tech phone to trace the phone number and call it in to the police. In a little while they call her to say they picked up the perp and want her to come see if she knows him. And it’s … Daniel! Second time he’s threatened her in this book, that’s pretty impressive. Also the second time he's been thrown in jail!

While Reva is walking to her car in the Police Station lot, she hears someone running behind her. She looks back before she breaks into a run and sees … Grace? Grace says that Rory found her and threatened to kill the both of them. They run in a panic to her car … instead of the police station. Great plan, girls! Grace’s story is also absurd. She says that she says Rory OUTSIDE the fence, security guards and dogs, so she ran outside, past all of the security measure, past Rory and didn’t stop running until she saw Reva. WHAT? Grace is nutters.

When they get home, Mr. Dalby is like: I have some very bad news, Reva. Then proceeds to ream her out for claiming the scarves were hers and taking money and fame from her poor cousin Pam. Which, yes, Reva deserves, but that’s not actually bad NEWS Mr. Dalby; that’s having an inconsiderate daughter. And I’m sure it’s not news to him that Reva is an uber-bitch. Reva says it was a big misunderstanding, that she meant to tell him, but forgot because of finding Traci’s dead body. Way to use Traci’s tragedy as an excuse Reva.

The fashion show was re-scheduled for the day after Traci’s murder, with another model in her place. (I know right? Dalby’s are heartless. Also, wouldn’t Traci’s murder be BIG news? Did people come just because they heard about the Mannequin Murder as it would probably by called in the newspaper?) The show starts, and Reva introduces Liza as their first model. But Liza doesn’t come out. Since she’s already on the runway… as a Murder Mannequin!! How did no one notice that until that exact second?

Later that day, when Reva is released from questioning by the police, runs into Grant and demands he comfort her. Grant is all: My real girlfriend who I (kinda) truly love just died, so back the fuck off. In not so many words. Disgusted with Grant’s emotions, she makes her way home to rest. She goes to call her Dad when she hears Grace’s voice on the line. Grace is pleading for Rory to stay away, and to leave her alone. The voice on the other line? Is repeating the time and the date. Chills!

Reva uses her other line to call Grace’s mom. Grace’s mom lets her in on Grace’s big secret. Grace accidentally killed Rory in a car accident two years ago and had a psychotic break. They thought she was better, but apparently not. Grace’s mom is all Call the police, she’s totally dangerous! Of course Grace overheard everything and now decides to kill Reva. Like she killed Traci and Liza! Grace gets a scarf around Reva’s neck and proceeds to choke her. Luckily, Reva’s little brother was drawn to Reva’s room by the sound of violence and proceeds to join in. The distraction is all Reva needs to bring Grace down by smacking her head against the desk.

Grace admits that she killed Traci and Liza to get to Reva. Reva wonders WHY, since she couldn’t stand either of them. Because they were involved in Reva’s fashion show, the only thing she cared about (which is insanely sad, if you think about it). I bet Traci and Liza’s family will be glad to know their daughters died to teach Reva Dalby a lesson. Reva’s security guard finally comes and takes Grace away. Reva is relived everything is all over, and now her fashion show can go ahead! Excuse me!? They decided to have it that night. Isn’t it the same day that Liza was murdered!?

Pam gets to the store early to help Reva set up for the fashion show. She finds Reva lying on the floor of store, with some guy chocking her with a scarf! She throws herself onto the guy and they fall to the floor. Pam thinks that the man killed Reva until she gets a good look and sees that it’s actually the last model, Ellie who looks exactly like Reva. Shitty luck. Reva walks in while the man is screaming “nooo, I killed the wrong oneeeee!” and recognizes him as … Grant! He felt so guilty that Liza died while he was out cheating on her and blamed it on Reva. While Reva isn’t blameless in this situation… Grant’s kind of a cheating douche. Deal with your guilt without murdering anyone else, Grant!

Pam, Grant and Reva all get into a big fight on the storeroom floor, until the girls overpower him. And then FINALLY the security guards arrive. They’re kinda shitty aren’t they? O and also Ellie was fine, just knocked out. But she’s not really important. The book ends with Reva and Pam exchanging gifts and sipping hot chocolate by the Christmas tree. Although it’s the next day, they’ve both moved on. No surprises there.

I really liked how this book was kind of a double murder plot, where two separate people hated Reva enough to attempt to murder her. And other people made death threats against her. I kinda wish Reva had turned over a new leaf, just to see what that would be like, but then no one would have any motivation to kill her. And that would have just been boring. All in all I give this book 27 Reva Wear Scarves out of 32! Merry Christmas and come back in the New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheerleaders: The New Evil, or “Bad Santa”

Time for yet another seasonal super chiller sequel. This book follows intrepid Corky Corcoran and her gang of cheerleaders as they are YET AGAIN terrorized by some amorphous evil steam-thingy (for a recap on the Cheerleader series, I blogged most of these back in September, including the origins of the evil, the Awakening Evil). Anyways, several months have passed since Corky last drowned the evil out of her, and in Fear Street time, that’s like 8 years. Pretty much all is forgotten, and the girls have moved on.

The tagline here lacks panache – “Season’s greetings ... the evil is back!” Like something you’d find in a tepid, rather disturbing Christmas card, which, after receiving my Hallmarks this year, is not all that far-fetched! Let’s look at this Santa, though. That Santa is gd terrifying, the cause of many a four-year old’s nightmare, I’m sure. Is he shaking his fist at her, or about to deliver a vicious backhand? My only thought on that is: Please let this scene be in the book. And please let him be shaking his fist at her.

So we begin. Corky, Kimmy and Hannah leave the gym after an exciting evening of cheering, giggling together. I love how Hannah is their best friend now, whereas at the beginning of the year (presumably about 3 months ago) everyone hated her, and Corky chopped her hair off. Teenage girls are fickle! The roads that night are slippery, but Hannah refuses to put on her seatbelt. Kimmy runs into a tree, causing Hannah to launch out the front window from the back seat. No, Kimmy wasn’t just being a bitch, she proclaims the evil is back. Hannah’s okay, she’s just broken both her legs. She’ll get better!

On to more serious problems. Cory luuurves Alex, the school brain, star basketball player and all around player. Only, he seems to be into more than one girl at school. She asks him to the river, then tells him she didn’t bring him there to make out. Hmmm, Corky? This might be your problem hanging on to your man. Instead, she wants to make sure that the river is still frozen over, so that the evil won’t escape. Is that logical in any way? If the ice is the only thing keeping evil steam inside a moving body of water, then what about when Corky drowned in the not frozen river? What was going to happen in the spring? NO sense at all. Unfortunately for Corky’s effed up logic, there is an ice-fishing hole cut into the ice, releasing copious amounts of steam. Evil steam? Corky thinks so.

Alex thinks she’s as deranged as I do, but they still go out to Pete’s later. They are there with Alex’s friend Jay, who Corky also likes (but I assume only as a friend?) He’s described as goofy, and looking like a chicken. So definitely just friends then. Alex is bummed about a bb game or something, but perks up substantially when he sees Deena Martinson walk in the door.

Corky becomes bummed herself because of her cheating boyfriend. She goes to Debra’s to be cheered up, and walks in on Debra and Kimmy chanting. And not cheering-chanting, but occult-chanting. Not the cheering Corky needs. They are trying to call up a protective spirit, but the room starts shaking and they get understandably freaked out. So no more chanting for the time being.

Next day is cheering business as usual. The cheerleaders need to have tryouts to replace poor broken Hannah. They get down to three finalists: Ivy, Lauren, and Rochelle. Rochelle ends up winning – but what do you know. Two seconds later, there’s a screwdriver sticking out of her neck, dropped by some dude working on the bleachers. Another unfortunate accident? Ivy and Lauren (best friends) are really only interested in who gets to be the new fodder. When Ivy is chosen, Lauren flips out, screaming at Corky that it was because she’s been seeing Alex on the sly. Clearly a graceful loser, that Lauren.

Corky calls Alex on this, and he denies everything, saying he’s just helping all the lovely ladies of Shadyside High with their homework. He immediately proves otherwise by lamely ditching on seeing her – for sure not a cheater, right? Lauren begs to be an alternate on the squad, and Corky ends up stuck with her trampy ass since they decided at the rate they’re going, someone else would be picked off soon. And the squad comes before everything, right?

In another exercise in extreme caution, the cheerleaders get cannons that shoot confetti into the crowd. Because nothing’s going to go wrong THERE. Heather, one of the lesser-mentioned cheerers, has her cannon explode all over her. Real explosion, not confetti-explosion – but she ends up being alright with minor burns. While the evil is stomping it’s little evil feet in frustration, the girls figure three cheering-related accidents were not coincidental – no doubt about it, the evil was back.

Corky goes home to find Alex waiting for her, and she bitchily asks him why he’s not helping some skank with her homework, which he DESERVES, I might add. Alex starts to tell her something – she’s sure he’s trying to break up with her – but is interrupted by goofy Jay bursting in on them. I wonder if he does that a lot. She figures she’s saved from pre-holiday humiliation for the moment, and is thankful.

Next day, the big pep rally. The cheerleaders do a fire baton routine, now seriously, wtf is wrong with these girls? They are convinced they are cursed and will slowly be killed in terrible ways, why don’t we play with the kerosene soaked batons? Shockingly, one of the girls, Naomi, sets herself on fire. She doesn’t die, but has a long recovery. So far, still no deaths in this Cheerleaders Super Thriller – I’m waiting, R. L. There’s this really weird scene where Corky, Kimmy and Debra catch Ivy skating around the hole in the ice, with weird (evil) steam pouring out, Lauren watching from the river bank. So – Ivy is the evil?

The girls come up with a foolproof plan to out Ivy as pure evil – an ice skating party! Everyone on the bb team and the cheerleading squad is there, as they skate around the river. Everyone except Alex, who once again mysteriously ditches out. Corky is attacked by an evil Santa with glowing eyes, who comes at her with an icicle. Yes! Not only did the cover scene happen, but he was using an ICICLE! Best cover rendition ever. Actually, the Santa isn’t “evil”, it’s Alex, who wanted to cheer Corky up. By attacking her. With an icicle. It works, because Corky thinks it’s the sweetest thing ever!

Show time. Corky, Kimmy and Debra get out some candles and start chanting to call the evil to them. Their plan is to bring Ivy over, and drown her in front of everyone. Surely somebody will object? Things backfire all over the place, when they realize that the evil isn’t in Ivy, but in fact still in the river. They call the evil up, unleashing it, surrounding everyone with a gross steam. Oops!

After this, apparently everything is good, they all forget about the whole “rampant evil” thing. They go to a cheer tournament in a nearby town, and try to use the confetti cannons AGAIN! This time it fires boiling tar on the spectators. Now that’s more like it, the evil is back! That night, Alex gets Corky to sneak out of her motel room. He confesses his lame ditches are because he has a tutor and is embarrassed. He then starts kissing her needily, rough and hard. *romantic sigh* Corky looks up to see Jay staring at them with glowing red eyes. So Jay is the evil?

Next day, a beautiful cheerleader on the other team starts doing back flips – and can’t stop. She keeps on going over and over again, while screaming for help. She finally has to be strapped down and taking away to ... somewhere. I vividly remember this scene from when I was young, although didn’t know which Cheerleaders book it was in. Super excited to finally get to it, although less creepy now then when I was ten. Anyways, Ivy mentions she hated that bitch. So, Ivy is the evil. But then the bb coach starts yelling at goofy Jay, and Jay flips out at him. And who should end up found dead in the locker room not too long after, but the coach. He was drowned by having a water cooler bottle forced into his mouth and emptied. That’s pretty gruesome. Finally, a real death! So, Jay is the evil?

That night, Ivy sneaks out with Heather and Lauren to meet up with the entire bb team in the woods. Um. No comment on that one. Corky, Debra and Kimmy follow as everyone goes out onto the frozen lake and begin to chant. That’s when they realize – everyone is possessed by the evil! During the skating party, the evil steam went into them all. They are discovered by the mass of evil teenagers, and scatter into the woods. Alex finds Corky and tries to bring her back to the lake. Corky escapes, and inexplicably runs away TO the lake. There she sees Kimmy’s body under the ice, drowned and bloated. Ick. And points for killing off a major character!

Corky hides all night, then the next morning she sees all the evil kids on the school bus. She jumps into the bus, drives it into the lake and jumps out at the last second. The bus full of Shadyside teens slowly sinks and bubbles, drowning them all along with the evil. Corky wanders away, in mild shock she just killed all of her friends. She goes to the bb tournament to tell everyone that she just drowned the team and the majority of the cheerleaders, to find them already there – all drowned and corpsy.

Corky has a full on nervy b, and wakes up in the hospital. It was all a dream ... no, just kidding. Alex is there when she wakes up, and at first she tries to run away from the evil, but he kisses her needily once more, and explains that she hallucinated in the gym. She really had driven the bus full of her friends into the lake (although no one remembers her involvement) and had drowned the evil, but some friendly ice-fishermen were nearby, and saved everyone (except for Kimmy, presumably). Corky shows that remarkable Shadyside talent to cope unexpectedly quick with trauma, and brightly chirps Merry Christmas.

As a Cheerleader Super Chiller, I was expecting a lot, and I wasn’t let down. Gruesome deaths, paranormal steam, and a vaguely explained ending full of needy kisses. That was fulfilling. I give it 24 icicle-wielding Santas out of 25. And on that note: Happy Holidays from the Stine sisters. Check for tons new recaps in the New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodnight Kiss 2 or “A Terrifying Tale of Bats on ‘Roids”

Sorry long time no blog, guys. I had to pull myself out of an eggnog haze to write this thing. I swear post-Christmas I’ll be much more timely. And now, time for some more Super Chiller sequels! Let’s go back to Sandy Hollow to see how those beach-loving vampires are getting along. I’m pretty excited about this book, since in the first one all the main characters were a) killed, b) became walking corpses, or c) turned into boyfriend-murdering vampires. Also, surprise twist ending, where sweet little April eats her boyfriend up. All of the above means I have high expectations.

The prologue consists of Eric and Diana, walking along the beach at night. They sit under a random beach umbrella, left in the sand for the evening. Diana looks longingly at Eric’s neck, then tells him she brought him there to die. Before Eric can get out a wtf, Diana goes for … the beach umbrella, really a clever stake in disguise, and plunges it into Eric’s heart. Ooh, tricky Diana! Looks like we have a vampire vigilante in town, that should make things interesting!

Nate (the douche), Jay (the nerd) and Billy (the intense emo) are all spending the summer in Sandy Hollow, and they’re talking about what an AWESOME summer they’re going to have. They’re from the tiny town of Holcomb, which has no relation to Shadyside whatsoever. But how will we know this is a Fear Street book? Billy tells them the story about Vampire Island, the creepy island off the coast, always covered with a swarm of bats. Billy’s really into his vampire story, and the other guys make fun of him. That is, until two bats carry off a dog to the island. Yikes. I mean, it was a little dog, but that still seems pretty creepy. And implausible. Nobody’s laughing anymore, and Billy coldly vows to himself that he will destroy all the vampires by the time summer’s over. Ooh, looks like we have another vampire vigilante. I hope Billy and Diana hook up, that’d be fun.

The other guys are like, Billy, what the eff? So he explains last summer his girlfriend Joelle was killed by a vampire, and he spent the past year in a mental institution getting over it. Nate and Jay feel the treatment didn’t take, and maybe they let Billy out a little too soon.

Next on is April, the little blonde from last summer with the inappropriate bikini who callously ate her boyfriend after he (almost) saved her life. I love the continuity of this story! She meets two other vampires, Kylie, the stunning redhead, and Irene, the stunning blonde. They whine a lot about wanting nectar. This certainly is no Anne Rice novel, nobody ever seems to be having any fun, or getting enough to eat. Being a Fear Street vampire is hard! Things look up for them, though, when they spot the three boys wandering around town. They invite them to be in a play, called ‘Night of the Vampire.’ Yah, right. It conveniently only has rehearsals at night. You think Billy, as vampire vigilante, would pick up on these hints, but not so much. They all heartily agree that a play would be the best party of all the summer.

The vampire girls decide to make a little bet between themselves, to see who can turn their boy the first. Wait – I’ve read this plot line before! Was there NO other way to make vampire teens on the beach interesting? Whatever. They all meet the next night at the play tryouts. Up to this point, actually, I didn’t think there was a play called ‘Night of the Vampire,’ but I was so wrong. These teens really did decide to spend their evenings at the playhouse. Irene makes headway with Nate, and April’s getting along fine with Jay, but Kylie cannot catch Billy’s interest because he’s too busy looking for vampires. And flirting with another girl, Mae-Linn.

Mae-Linn gets the lead in the play, AND the guy, it appears, because Billy goes out with her after the play. Kylie must have been pretty choked, because next thing you know, M-L turns up drained of blood in a sand dune. Poor Billy, he keeps on losing girls. But the show must go on, and Kylie is given the lead part. Girl works fast, she got rid of the competition quickly. Meanwhile, Billy’s starting to get suspicious of April, because Jay’s been all tired and lethargic, and she’s too pale. Oddly enough, he doesn’t think about the OTHER two pale girls she hangs out with.

His suspicions seem to be confirmed about April when a guy name Rick Taylor runs up to her, telling her he remembers her from Shadyside. Hah! So for sures it’s a Fear Street book now. April freaks out and hustles Rick away. Billy demands to see Jay’s neck, and Jay tells him to eff off, and goes home to sleep some. Since Billy has no one left to accuse of vampirism, he lets himself be pulled into Kylie’s bloody kisses. Oh boys. They’re too easy.

Kylie and Billy decide to be adventurous and explore Vampire Island. Um, good plan Billy, since you know there are vampires out there. TIME FOR A PLEASURE CRUISE. They run into a bunch of bats, and then a wolf attacks Billy. A wolf on a tiny island off the beach, um, k. But apparently not really a wolf, because Billy turns into some kind of warrior and drives a table leg into the wolf’s chest. Huh. Anyways, it’s a vampire wolf he just killed, so go Billy! Billy goes to find Kylie. What do you do when you just killed a vampire and you’re a vamp vigilante? Make out with the hot redhead who is in no way a vampire, of course. Billy’s kind of a tool in this book. The party doesn’t last long, though, because they stumble over the body of Rick, April’s old Shadyside chum. There’s never a good time to be from Shadyside, I tell you.

Billy really ups his vigilante game, and runs to Nate and Jay, telling them their girlfriends are vampires. Nobody is amused, and they pretty much avoid him after that. He has no one to go to but Kylie, and her hot, hot kisses. At least they aren’t hot and dry this time! He feels a prick on his neck, and wonders what it could be? Why, mosquitoes, of course, she replies, miserable little bloodsuckers. Teehee. Billy has got to be the dumbest guy around. He’s LOOKING for vampires, he has one attached to his neck, and he just can’t seem to find any.

Despite being obtuse as to Kylie’s undead status, Billy is convinced April is a vampire, so he decides to set a trap. He convinces Jay to go along with his plan, luring April into the basement of the playhouse during a storm, and lying about what time it is until the sun was well and truly up. Good plan Billy. He shoves April into the streaming sunlight and – she doesn’t go poof. April’s all, duh, Billy you idiot vigilante, I am clearly not a vampire. And my name is actually Diana, the vigilante from the prologue! She’s April’s cousin from Shadyside. April went home after last summer newly undead, but she was unhappy being a monster, so finally stepped into the sunlight, killing herself. Hence, Diana is a vigilante monster-killer, to avenge her cousin’s suicide. She went WAY deep undercover, living with the vampires, who didn’t notice she was pumping full of fresh juicy blood.

Billy has found his soulmate, and they go to Vampire Island to finish things. They get there near dusk, in a creepy dark rain. They have the awesome plan that they should split up. Billy stumbles onto a shack, with three coffins in it. One of the coffins was full of clothes, the others full of Kylie and Irene. Wait – did they use an extra coffin as a closet? Like they couldn’t have used an actual closet? No time to worry about that, because both girls wake up at the same time, and advance on him. He is able to stake Irene, but Kylie has the upper hand on him.

This chapter is awesome, entitled ‘Kylie has Eyes for Billy.’ She lifts him off the ground like a doll and tries to bite him, but he uses the ancient art of ‘poking her in the eyes’ to get her away. April/Diana shows up at that point and rips a board off the window of the shack, letting in a stream of sunlight, because apparently it is now a) daytime, and b) really sunny out. Not impressed, no consistency here. Anyways, awesome part. All of Kylie disintegrates, except her eyeballs. “Only the eyeballs remained, staring up accusingly at him. Staring. Staring. Until they too melted and became wet, green puddles on the floor.” I have no idea why I love that passage so much, clearly it’s too much Fear Street. Billy and Diana embrace until the inexplicably shining sun sets.

They celebrate with pizza that night. Billy tries to help Diana cut their pizza, but accidentally cuts himself deeply with the knife. Only … there’s no blood. What could this mean? Turns out, Billy was a vampire all along, turned last year at the time of the death of his girlfriend. He wasn’t in a mental institution, he was in a coffin last year. He hated the vampires for turning him last year, so decided to kill them all. But apparently Billy didn’t have super self control, as he was the one who killed both Mae-Linn and Rick. And now that Diana knows his secret, he might as well eat her in front of a restaurant of frightened people …

Oh, come on! You did that twist last time! At least with April turning out to have become a vampire, it was kind of cute and explainable, but Billy wandered around all summer, getting bit by another vampire who never noticed he had no blood himself. This just isn’t likely, I don’t like it. What I DO like is this cover – very Harlequin romance. There’s totally a wind machine on the models. Who are they, though? Maybe Diana and Billy, but I prefer to think this is depicting the prologue scene, with Diana and Eric. Billy just didn’t seem like a long-haired romance novel type. Hmmm, I don’t think this sequel was redeemable. Thank god there wasn’t a Goodnight Kiss 3, I have a feeling it would be a little predictable. I give it 13 puddles of green eye goop out of 45.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Silent Night 2 or "Trashy Elvis Kidnapping Shenanigans!"

Well kids, it’s that time of year again. As with many people, Christmas is my favorite holiday. And to celebrate, I always enjoy settling down with a big cup of hot chocolate and a Fear Street book. Bliss! Bring on Silent Night 2. Tagline? "Jingle Bells … Santa Kills!"

Hmmm while awesome, mind if I nitpick? Santa doesn’t actually kill in this book. In fact, Santa is not involved in any part of this book. No one even dresses up like Santa! Therefore the cover? Not my fave. It’s lying to us, and giving Santa a bad name. For shame, coverartist! Reva looks very similar to her other covers, but her haircut is horrible. I also believe my mom owns the outfit that she is sporting.

Since this is a super chiller, it’s broken into two super chilling parts. The first one is called: "A Kidnapping". We meet our villains first off in this book. Paul (AKA “Pres”) is broke, angry and kind of a douche. He’s super pissed that he got fired (for stealing) from Dalby’s Department Store just before Christmas. His girlfriend Diane isn’t much better. She is a little bit wacko, and decides that if they want to have a good Christmas, they’re going to have to rob a bank or do something else serious (read: ridiculous). They settle on kidnapping Reva Dalby. Basically this chapter demonstrates how everyone in Shadyside who is not rich is either insane, trashy or both in the case of Diane. It also explains why Paul is called Pres. Diane calls him that because she thinks he sneers like Elvis Presley. Righto Diane…

Cut to Reva finally! Her dad is forcing her to work at his store again this Christmas, even though the last time she was almost murdered, not to mention AWFUL at her job. She’s still a bitch. Her cousin Pam has a job at the store too, and Reva goes to harass her because she’s a terrible person. BUT Pam is talking to her super cute new boyfriend Victor, so Reva decides to just steal her boyfriend. Reva is basically a super-teenage villain, and I can never decide if she’s totally awesome, or if I hate her.

Best part of the book. After Victor leaves, Reva shows Pam her new nails for her to admire. When asked what she thinks, Pam cries “Here’s what I think about your nails!” while thrusting a letter opener into Reva chest. And no, it wasn’t a hallucination. The letter opener of DEATH was actually a gag gift, and the blade retracts when it touches something. Um, Pam? I know that you didn’t actually hurt Reva, and that she probably deserved it even if you did, but it’s pretty insensitive considering what happened to Reva last year. Just… don’t let Reva get to you. You’re better than that! In conclusion, both Reva and Pam are kind of assholes.

So Pres and Diane have been following the Dalby’s for a week to figure out their schedule. Mr. Dalby leaves their house in the morning, followed by Reva much, much later. The perfect time to grab her is after her dad has left for the day! They are both pleased with themselves for figuring out that tough decision!

Victor is up on River Ridge, Shadyside’s token make out point. And you’ll never guess who’s up there with him. It’s… Pam! Just kidding, Shadyside boys are creeps, it’s totally Reva. They are making out, but Victor is whining about how he shouldn’t and how it’s not right. K Victor, no one is keeping you there! Reva is turned on… by how much of a loser Pam is. God, Reva is cold!

The next morning, Pres and Diane put their plan into action. Diane waits in the car while Pres attempts to outsmart Reva’s guard dog with bacon, but just ends up chloroforming it. Pres creeps into the house and spends a long time hanging out in Mr. Dalby’s room pretending to be a rich old man. Meanwhile, Diane is outside FREAKING out because Pres tripped the alarm and the police are on their way! Pres finally hears the police sirens and runs to grab Reva. Except, she’s not there! Pres runs out the house and jumps in the car so Diane can peel out right before the cops come around the corner. I guess they didn’t plan that one out as well as they thought!

Turns out Reva went into work early with her dad. She continues to terrorize the customers by spraying them with deodorant instead of perfume. Evil… I guess? Pam tells Reva that she’s in love with Victor and Reva thinks terrible thought about making out with him the night before. That’s okay Reva, Pres and Diane are busy thinking terrible thoughts about you! They’re super pissed that their first plan didn’t work, so they decide to grab her at home at night. Except, the police are still there! Well, duh, the richest man in Shadyside gets robbed? The cops are putting in some overtime. THEN they come up with a fool-proof plan. Grab her from the store early in the morning when they’re aren’t many people around! … I’m not sure they understand what “fool-proof” means.

They have to bring on Pres’s psycho brother Danny to help them. Pres and Diane will go inside the store, grab her and drag her to where Danny is waiting in the get away car. Pres thinks this is a bad idea because Danny is poor, and therefore insane. But he gets over it and agrees. Great Plan!

While Reva enjoys her morning muffin, she’s approached by a weird looking, poor couple. The girls loses her contact lens and asks for Reva’s help to find it. Predictably, Reva is like “tough luck, bitch” and continues eating her muffin. The man demands she help find it, and starts to drag her out from behind the counter. This “fool-proof” plan is then interrupted by Reva’s manager. The weird couple scatters. Yeah. Diane and Pres fucked it up again. When the couple get back to the get away car, Danny is complaining about his rage-headaches and threatens to kill Reva for messing up their plans. Hmmm, Danny, there are some people to blame, but I’m not sure if Reva is the one…

And we cut to Reva being a huge bitch on the phone with Pam. Pam calls her to tell her about her trouble with Victor (why?!) and how Victor broke a date and his little brother told her he was going on another date that night! Pam is really upset so Reva takes some time to gloat in her head. She tells Pam to watch out for Victor since he totally checked out Reva when they met, and he’s already broken two dates. Pam is all “How do you know he’s broken two dates?!” And Reva hangs up on her. But of course she does!

We find out that Pres has gotten himself arrested for beating some guy up and is now stuck in a detention center (is that what Americans call jail?) The only way to even get him out of there is to go through with the kidnapping. Diane and Danny decide to snatch Reva the following afternoon when she’s working in the stockroom. Danny is going to grab her since Reva has already seen Pres and Diane (which shouldn’t matter since Danny is going to be hiding. God these people are awful criminals!) Surprisingly however, they actually manage to kidnap Reva. Diane has some issues because a cop keeps telling her to move her car, and Danny has some issues with his rage-headaches. Well, at least it went off without a hitch right?

Yeah, Danny and Diane are really, really stupid. Diane goes to make the ransom phone call to Mr. Dalby and tells him that they have his daughter. Mr. Dalby is all “Um, no, Reva is right beside me!” Whoops! They kidnapped the wrong girl! And wouldn’t you know it, it’s Pam! Pam really needs to stop associating with that side of the family. Mr. Dalby refuses to pay the ransom for Pam, because he doesn’t negotiate with kidnappers. And because he cares more about his money than his niece. Shitty luck, Pam.

The next section is called: Another Kidnapping. Original there, R.L. Reva is talking to Victor who is super upset that Pam got kidnapped. He still has feelings for her! Reva gets upset that he’s not paying attention to her and reminds him that it could have been her instead of Pam! It kinda works because Victor offers to come over. Before he gets there though, Reva hears some squealing tires and looks out just in time to see Pam’s body dumped onto her driveway! Looks like someone’s date is ruined!

Pam is fortunately not dead. Victor shows up at Revas and Pam unquestioningly jumps into his arms. (You should really think this through Pam) Reva finally decides to call Pam’s parents. Where have they been!? I assumed Pam was a poor orphan this whole time. Pam invites Reva over to her family’s house for an old fashioned Christmas night. Reva must be feeling mighty guilty as she actually agrees to go, and then actually shows up!

Which is kinda unfortunate for Reva because she gets kidnapped, along with Pam in the front driveway. Pres got out of the detention center somehow, although it’s not explained, but he’s there! The kidnappers take the two girls to Dalby’s Department Store. They say it’s because it’s the last place anyone would look, but I know better. It’s because they’re fools, who can’t wait to get caught! They take the girls back behind Santa’s village on the fifth floor, and rage-aholic Danny breaks Reva’s arm because she’s mouthing off. I kinda don’t blame him…

Reva blacks out and comes to a little while later. Her and Pam are tied to chairs and the kidnappers go to make the ransom calls and leave them. When the kidnappers start to go, Pam is all “Untie me! You said if I brought you Reva you’d let me go!” Oooo Snap!! Turns out Pam made a deal with three ridiculously dumb devils. They let her go the first time in exchange for Pam handing over Reva. I don’t know why the fact they kidnapped Pam for a SECOND time didn’t tip her off, but maybe Pam’s a little slow too.

The kidnappers laugh at the ridiculousness of letting Pam go and leave. Pam confesses that she was so mad at Reva for taking Victor away she agreed to give her to the kidnappers. Reva’s all “Well, you’re poor, so that makes sense” and Pam goes “Yeah, they didn’t pay me. I hate you enough to do it for free!” But then Pam realizes she was wrong, and got suckered by a bunch of lunatic teenagers. So they forgive each other. Pam’s ropes are loose, so she manages to get them untied, and she unties Reva. The plot their big escape. Which consists of running out of the room, past their guards to safety. Foolproof!

The run out and a chase immediately ensues. Reva and Pam split up with Danny and Diane chasing Pam and Pres let to capture Reva. They manage to ditch their captors and run into each other. They head towards the elevators. Thank goodness Reva remembers they’re broken so when the doors open, they don’t get in; they just hide behind the elevators. Pres and Diane both leap into the elevator to try and catch the girls … and fall to their deaths.

Just kidding, that was a weird daydream of Reva’s. The elevator is actually fixed, and Pres and Diane realize the girls are still on the fifth floor. Pres and Diane run off to search and the girls decide to take the maybe broken elevator down. Instead of the stairs? Really? When the elevator doors open, a creepy man is standing their pointing a gun at them! Turns out he’s an FBI agent (There have been lots of those recently!) He runs off after Pres and Diane (leaving the girls alone, might I add) and Danny shows up behind the girls, gun in hand. He just wanted a nice Christmas, you know? We all do, Danny.

Pam turns out to be badass, and wrestles the rage-maniac with a gun to the floor. A fight ensues over the gun. Finally, Danny just gives up and is all, I’m getting outta here! He lumbers towards the elevator and leaps in. And this time actually falls to his death. These people need to stop leaping into elevators! The FBI captures Pres and Diane who are mildly distraught by the fact Danny just died. Only mildly though. The book ends with Victor sweeping up Pam in his arms and making out with her. Yeah. Why wouldn’t Pam want to get back with a winner like that?

Alright, this book was clearly awesome. Mostly because I love kidnapping shenanigans! I give this book 40 fake Santas out of 51.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Fire Game, or “That House Isn’t the Only Thing That Gets Burned”

I thought The Fire Game was so very high school, largely because it’s about a close group of friends who only hang out with each other, and all hook up with each other. Which is WAY more realistic than boys asking girls out on actual DATES where you dress up and everything – dates in high school have gone the way of the sock hop. High school romance is all about vodka coolers and groping in your parent’s basement.

So our lead Jill is desired by every guy in this book, although she doesn’t seem to possess a single distinguishing characteristic. Maybe that’s what they like about her. I just read this book, and I don’t remember what she looks like. Let’s pretend she’s the brunette on the cover. Her bestest girlfriends are Andrea (the redhead) and Diane (mousy-looking girl – but the sweetest thing ever, apparently to make up for being mousy). All the girls are on the gymnastics team. I have to say, for a small town school, Shadyside High offers a broad and varied sports program. The guys they hang out with are Nick and Max, who are both in love with Jill. Nick is described as tall and skinny; Max is described as short and fat, so apparently these guys are caricatures. Life is boring. Homework, sigh.

Nick decides to liven up a study session by setting a folder on fire. Oh no, not the folder! Diane has an exaggerated reaction to the folder-fire, so we know she’s fire-phobic. Andrea blows it out and throws the folder away, which has the unintentional side effect of setting the library wastebasket on fire, causing the kids to miss their geology test. And so the fire game is born.

Well, not quite. First, the hunky guy of the story has to enter. Gabriel, otherwise known as Gabe (which is a much better nickname than Gabri, btw), is newly transferred to Shadyside from Metro City, and thinks small town life is the dullest thing ever. He is an old family friend of Diane’s, so hangs out with them and makes fun of their lame-ness. He dares them to go further in their arsonistic tendencies, and so Max blows up the cafeteria bathroom. Rather ... extreme. That’s when the fire game is born.

The guys are competing for the best fire set, while the girls are competing for Gabe. He asks Jill out, but the next thing you know he’s making out with Andrea in front of her. Gabe, you big man-whore! Jill still feels like going out with him, though. My favourite scene in this book is where the kids are trying to convince Gabe that Fear Street is really scary, so they take him there and describe stuff that happened in other books. To specify how cool A.M. and I are, we pretty much knew immediately which book they were talking about. Total experts. Almost. The house where two years ago the police found 6 human skeletons in the backyard (99 Fear Street), the ruins of Simon Fear’s mansion (burned down in The Burning), a house that burnt down during a Halloween party last year (Halloween Party, obvs), and Jill’s friends were attacked by a nut with a chainsaw (The Wrong Number)! Also, a girl whose parents disappeared from the street. I’m not sure what that’s from. The parents disappeared in Missing, but only for like 2 days, and they were undercover FBI agents. Anyone have a better idea on this one.

Anyways, Gabe doesn’t think Fear Street is very scary at all, so sets fire to a caretaker’s shed in the cemetery. After that fire, plus the others at the school, the intrepid Shadyside Police Department (SPD) is on the lookout for a serial arsonist. Go Gabe!

The girls get together for a sleepover. Diane talks about how scary fire is, Jill talks about Gabe, and Andrea talks about her computer: “It’s got lots of power. It can do calculations and play games, and it’s got a word processor.” A word processor! Oh, 1991. Andrea writes a poem about Gabe and prints it off on one of those super state-of-the-art ribbon printers, while the girls wait in breathless anticipation to ooh and ahh over her BLUE ink ribbon! Jill tells Andrea she’s going out with Gabe, and Andrea’s all, bring it on, bitch!

For his date with Jill, Gabe takes her to a park and sings to her, WITH HIS EYES CLOSED. I would die. I love the movie/book About a Boy, especially the stuff about how people are embarrassing and awkward when they sing with their eyes closed. What a terrible date. Jill, however, is in heaven and probably planning their honeymoon, until Gabe’s car is set on fire and destroyed. Total mood killer. Jill is certain Nick is behind the fire, because he’s so crazy-jealous of Gabe getting all the chicks (re: her).

Instead of confronting Nick about his random act of violence, though, Jill accepts his offer to help her with algebra. However, as she gets to his place, she sees Nick getting into a car with Max. Curious, she follows them to Fear Street, where she sees them running out of a house that immediately goes up in flames. The plot thickens. Jill calls the fire department, then skeedaddles home, where she watches the fire on the news. A homeless man was sleeping on the porch, and was killed in the fire. So her friends aren’t just serial arsonists anymore, they’re murderers!

Jill does what any sensible girl in Shadyside would do in her situation: confronts the alleged killer. Only Nick is all, nuh-uh, wasn’t me. I just got a note telling me to go to the address at that time. A typed note in BLUE INK! Dun dun dun ... Jill gets Diane into the action and they do what any sensible girls in Shadyside would do: confront the next alleged killer, Andrea of the snazzy computer. Andrea calls them crazy bitches, but later calls Jill asking her to come to gymnastic practice early in the morning because she has information on the fires.

We all know what happens to people with information about serial arsonists and murderers. That’s right, the next morning Jill finds Andrea’s broken body at the gym. Andrea isn’t dead, but she’s left in a coma at the hospital. Everyone is freaking out, assuming that the attack had to be one of them, so Diane and Jill decide to go to Diane’s parents’ cabin on Fear Lake to relax for the weekend. Oh girls, don’t ever go to anywhere Fear-related when there’s a mad arsonist/attacker/murderer on the loose. But, they do, and succeed in relaxing a bit, until Jill answers a call to the cabin. From Andrea, who has just woken up from her coma. Andrea starts screaming at Jill that she knows she’s the arsonist, until Jill finally gets through to her that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Andrea’s like – wait, this isn’t Diane? Apparently Diane is crazy in love with Gabe, and willing to do anything to keep her two slutty friends away from him. Uh-oh Jill, alone in a cabin with a crazy person, this doesn’t look good.

Jill sneaks out of the cabin fairly easily, but unfortunately she dropped her keys on the porch. Really? Like, you’ve realized your alone in a cabin with a murderer who probably wants to kill you, your only hope is to get away in the car, and you drop the keys? Jill, you’re useless. Jill then proves exactly how useless she is by wandering off in the woods, then running towards a person with a flashlight. She’s shocked that it’s Diane. Who the hell else would it be? You’re alone at the cabin with her. Seriously.

They go back to the cabin where Jill very casually asks whether Diane’s the arsonist, and Diane kinda casually answers yes. It’s actually pretty surreal. Then Diane whips off her shirt, to show why she’s so crazy. Her body is covered in horrific burn scars from when a nearby kerosene heater exploded, hence the love/hate with fire. Wait. Isn’t Diane on the gymnastics team? Don’t they wear, like, tiny leotards or something? Has no one seen her in the shower/locker room (in a non-pervy way)? How can it be a surprise that one of your best friend’s body is 90% covered in 3rd degree burns!? Whatever, I’m over it. Anyways, Diane can’t be with the love of her life, Gabe, because her body’s all scarred. Obviously. And so no one will be with him! Predictably, Diane goes after Jill with fire, and takes a blowtorch to the couch.

Gabe comes in at the last minute and pulls the girls outside. He then cuddles Diane and tells her it’s all over. The end. Wait, what? The hunk gets with the psycho at the end? It’s never really explained and I’m confused … Weak ending. But on an awesomer note, there’s the tagline. You so knew he was going to go there: “When you’re playing with fire, someone is bound to get burned …” Awesome! All is forgiven. I give this vaguely confusing and poorly explained book. 7 blue printer ribbons out of 8.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Face or "Nacho Cheese Kisses!"

The Face was my ultimate favorite Fear Street book growing up. I still can’t quite place my finger on the awesomeness of it, but it’s there. Memory loss, murder, boyfriend stealing, hypnotism… in combination makes for one heck of book!

The cover: GREAT! Well, no, to be fair, it’s not that great. Our lead, Martha looks super hot, even though she’s supposed to be all Sarah, Plain and Tall. Additionally… why the hell is she so surprised by the drawings? SHE DREW THEM. The tagline is good though: “He had something to tell her … from beyond the grave.” Shivers!

The book starts with Martha explaining that she has a little bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Meaning that she can’t remember a ski weekend that her and her friends went on in the fall where something crazily awful happened. Of course it was a ski weekend! And her doctors won’t let her friends tell her what happened. (How convenient!) Anyhoo, Martha tells us about her best friends, Justine (fiery redhead) and Adrianna (exotic and willowy). She also tells us about her boyfriend Aaron, and how Justine is always all over his jock. She says it doesn’t bother her… but we all know better. Martha also talks about Aaron’s awesome kisses and how they taste like nacho cheese. What the fuck?! CHEESE? That’s just … effing weird Martha.

We meet Ivan, another boy that was on the fateful ski trip and who is also Adrianna’s brother. He gives Martha a ride home, and basically bums her out about his family life (parents are divorcing), social life (hasn’t gotten over a breakup) and school life (failing). And then he tries to effing commit suicide with Martha in the car! Dear lord, that is just selfish! He veers towards a tree but can’t do it in the end, and then blows it off with a “O I was never gonna do it anyways.” … Liar. Martha tries to tell Adrianna about it, but Adrianna just thinks it’s his ex-girlfriend, Laura’s fault. Martha’s like “noooo, I think its deeper than a breakup” but Adrianna blows her off too.

Martha attempts to relax by doing some drawings (apparently she’s really talented at doing self-portraits *snort*) but as she’s drawing… something crazy happens! Her hand is guided along the page without her will and she draws The Face of a mysterious boy! Needless to say, she’s totally creeped out, and it doesn’t help when she realizes that every time she tries to draw something, she draws The Face! Chills!

She tries to brush off the creeped out feeling in time for her date with Aaron. Will more sweet nacho kisses be involved? She sees that Justine is hanging out with Aaron by the time she gets to the theater, and Aaron invited Justine to tag along. Um… okay, I guess. I have been a third wheel before, but I don’t know about inviting someone without my date’s permission. Especially if it’s a slutty redhead! After the movie, Justine calls Martha late at night to talk about how lucky Martha is to have Aaron. Martha’s all “o my life isn’t all that perfect” and Justine answers with a classic bitchy girl line: “Your life isn’t as perfect as you think.” Martha is a little weirded out by her supposed best friend.

Just then, Martha gets her first memory flashback! She sees herself, Adrianna, Laura and Justine at two small ski cabins. They’re drinking hot chocolate when Aaron and two unseen boys arrive. Pretty effing tame. She acts surprised by who is there, but wouldn’t she know what friends went on this terrible trip? No? How the hell not? Didn’t they plan it? And since she only lost her memory of that weekend, shouldn't she remember the week before? O well, I’m not going to be too picky.

The next day, Martha accompanies Laura to a photoshoot for some reason. The only good thing about this chapter is the fact they mention both Dalby’s Department store AND Bobby Newkirk! Yes, I love mentions! Laura also tells Martha to watch out for Justine. These girls are throwing out ALL the bitch moves!

Laura and Adrianna decide to take Martha sledding, so they go to Miller Hill. Which just happens to be the scene of an awful face-tearing-off-death AND an awesome Zombie fight to the death! So why do people go there? Right, Martha gets on the sled, and for some reason that she can’t explain, she starts screaming her head off. And doesn’t stop. Like Laura and Adrianna have to take her home and she’s still screaming in her kitchen. She finally shuts her mouth but has no idea what made her scream. Luckily though, she gets another flashback. Maybe this one will be more enlightening:

Martha and Justine are having a ‘vicious’ snowball fight outside the cabins, with the intent to kill. They’re yelling too, but Martha apparently can’t hear her memory. Okayyy. The scene changes and Martha is in a back room. With (*GASP*) the mystery Face boy! His name is Sean, and they’re kissin’! Oooo Aaron’s gonna be pissed! Except they stop kissing and then start fighting and shoving each other. Martha, when two people out of six wish you bodily harm… it’s probably time you stop going on vacation with them.

Hmmm that memory didn’t clear anything up, it just make her more curious! She rushes over to Aaron’s house to get some answers. Aaron is acting all shifty, and then there’s a huge crash from the kitchen. Justine’s in there hiding! Bitch! Aaron and Justine use the old “she’s just here to borrow my graphing calculator” excuse. Martha buys it. Justine leaves and Martha shows Aaron the portrait of Sean she’s drawn so many times. He's pissed off because he doesn’t want to talk about it, but gets so frustrated that he yells out that Sean is DEAD! Awesome! I mean, we kinda knew that, but it was a dramatic scene.

Martha decides to blow off some steam with Laura and Adrianna by going to a basketball game at school. Everything is going along fine until … Martha spots dead Sean on the basketball court. She starts towards him when she realizes that all of the basketball players have Sean’s face! Holy Crap! She freaks out and the girls take her out of the gym so she can calm down. Things are not coming up Martha though, because while they’re in the hallways, Martha spots Aaron. Making out. With Justine! Ho-bags! Aaron tries to explain but Laura and Adrianna cut him off and take Martha home. Actually, I’d be kinda interested in some sort of explanation…

Martha gets another memory! Well its kinda the same memory. Her and Sean are kissing in the back room, then Martha shoves him off. His advances were unwelcome! I’m shocked she wasn’t all over it. She doesn’t learn anything new, but once she comes out of her memory she gets a message on her answering machine (that she thinks sounds like Laura) saying “You keep drawing him because you killed him!” Yikes! Well, that explains the memory loss. Committing murder does seem particularly traumatizing! Not that I would know…

Martha is fed up with no one giving her any answers, and sets out to get some of her own. She visits Adrianna’s psychologist who specializes in hypnotism. The hypnotist is kinda bitchy and won’t work her magic unless Martha gets her doctors permission. Lame! She runs into Aaron outside the office. Aaron tells Martha that him and Justine have been seeing each other since the ski weekend. Apparently Martha and Aaron broke up on that weekend and he started seeing Justine and that’s why the girls were snow-fighting. But why the fuck was he still pretending to date Martha?! Like is that integral to the murder? When she lost her memory, couldn’t he just be like, “Sorry you don’t remember the break up, but here, I’ll break up with you again so you won't forget”? Wouldn’t that have been easier on everyone!? Gawd!

Martha soon gets another memory. And this one is a doozy.

The four girls (Martha, Adrianna, Laura and Justine) along with the boys (Aaron, Ivan and Sean) are all having a fun weekend at Adrianna’s parents place. Sean is Ivan’s friend from another school that’s hanging out with the group. They’re sledding and generally having a blast. (Even though Aaron just dumped Martha for Justine?) After they finished sledding, they decide to ski down the PRIVATE ski hill that runs alongside the cabins. Adrianna volunteers Martha to go first even though Martha kinda sucks at skiing. Martha sucks so much in fact, that she can’t get her skis on, and Sean decides to sneak in and go first. He’s skiing down the hill when Martha sees a thin silver line across the ski hill… it’s a wire! She doesn’t even have time to scream before Sean skis into it and is DECAPITATED! “And Sean’s head bounced onto the snow. And emptied out. Emptied out. Emptied out.” So good! Blech!

Martha is pleased that she remembered, but also not so pleased. Because, like gross, and traumatizing. Adrianna calls and they both cry a lot and Adrianna tells Martha that she thinks one of their friends did it. Well duh! Who else would have strung the piano wire of death? Adrianna decides to come over. While she’s waiting, Martha just so happens to stumble across the canvas bag she had brought to the fateful weekend ski trip. Inside… she finds silver wire. Martha’s the murderer But she still doesn’t know WHY she killed Sean. Martha confesses immediately to Adrianna when she comes over. Martha decides she’ll tell her parents and then the police. Adrianna takes the news that her best friend is a highly inventive murderer quite well.

Just then, Ivan bursts in! Martha didn’t kill Sean, he did! He followed Adrianna over (why? Creepy) and tells the girls the whole tale. Sean was blackmailing Ivan so Ivan wanted to teach him a lesson. Ivan knew Sean always had to be first for everything, so he strung the wire around the trees, at ankle level, to trip and embarrass him in front of everyone. Or cut off his feet, whatever. Anyways, Ivan figured the snow shifted (like four feet) overnight, and he didn’t check his evil prank before hand, so Sean took it in the neck instead of the ankles. Ivan says he can’t stand the guilt anymore and starts to call the police. Until… Adrianna freaks out at him!

Because she’s the one the changed the levels of the wire in an attempt to kill Martha! Adrianna felt a connection with Sean (who probably didn’t feel it) and was filled with murderous rage when she saw Sean and Martha kissing. After her plot killed the love of her life instead of Martha, Adrianna decided Martha might as well go down for the murder. So she planted the wire in the bag and HYPNOTIZED Martha so she wouldn’t remember the weekend! Awesome! Adrianna is not ready to admit defeat so she knees Ivan in the crotch (it says stomach, but we know that means BALLS) and he crumples to the ground. She then proceeds to wrap the piano wire of death around Martha’s neck and choke her!

Now you would think that Ivan rescues Martha. But no, he’s down for the count. Instead Adrianna forgoes killing Martha because she gets distracted by the portrait of Sean that Martha drew. What?! Alright, okay, I’ll roll with it. Ivan finally gets up and restrains Adrianna. While they wait for the police to come, Martha reflects: “The face that had puzzled me, upset me – horrified me for so long. The face that saved my life.” Too bad sucking on your face is what got him killed, MARTHA.

Love this book. Always have, Always will! It gets 87 empty head rolling down 87 hills of doom. Awesome!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Secret Admirer or "Formerly Fat Girls Have A Lot To Answer For"

Secret Admirer was on of R.L.’s books that I really enjoyed as a kid. I think it had something to do with the fact I always dreamed my high school would have a big auditorium and I would be in plays ala Wakefields or even BSC. But alas, I considered myself lucky that my high school didn’t collapse on my head, let alone have a theater so my dreams of being in a big school play were never realized. And if Secret Admirer is any indication… Thank God!

The cover! I LOVE what our “star” Selena is wearing. I know for a FACT that L.K. Stine owned this top when she was a teenager, which included a snap crotch! God, I need to find that top. I also like that Selena looks like she still has a little bit of baby fat in her face, which makes her a believable teenager. And also, they mention on every page that Selena used to be fat. So that’s a little continuity. One thing that bothers me though, is how surprised she looks. She’s obviously been at the mirror for a little while, applying makeup. Did she just not look at the word’s scrawled in (what I can only assume is) blood on her mirror? Common now cover-artist! This scene also never happens, so points lost. Tagline is GREAT though! “Someone loves her to death.” Oooo, that’s a classic!

And now we get to meet Selena, who has blonde curly hair and used to be fat. Important characteristics! She’s the lead in the school play, along side her childhood friend Jake, and acting-friend Alison. Jake immediately calls her “Moon”, which is her childhood nickname. Selena’s ex-boyfriend Danny is also in the play and Selena hates him. The first chapter also introduces us to Selena’s best friend Katy, who is a stagehand and is still fat. Yikes! There is a lot of chubb hate going on in this book! I don’t write it, I just … tell you guys about it. Anyways, their director Mr. Riordan tells Selena and Katy that a talent scout from Northwestern University is going to be coming to their spring play “Romeo and Juliet”! Selena sees her chance to get into Northwestern, where she always wanted to go, but could never afford!

Wait. The States gives out scholarships for high school actors?! For REALS?! Man, getting into college in the States sounds fun! Scholarships for everything!

Back to Selena. She goes to her locker before she goes home and finds dead flowers complete with a note from a stalker, calling himself the Sun (get it? because Selena means moon? Don't worry, R.L. will mention it in every chapter in case you forget). Creep-o doesn’t actually call himself “the Sun” but puts a little sticker at the bottom of the page. Aww… stickers! Her and Katy go back to her house to decompress her gross gift. While their hanging out in her room, they see something outside… her second story window! They rush outside to see that a ladder has fallen down, but was previously stuck up to Selena’s window. And on that ladder? A sticker of the Sun!!

Just to mention it, when Selena and Katy were talking in her room, Katy was complaining how she has to be a stagehand because she's SO OBESE. Selena tells her to stop putting herself down and to try out for the part of … Juliet’s nurse. Yeah, that’s what you should tell your self-conscious friend!

This one night is long! After Selena and Katy find the stalker ladder, they go over to their director’s (and teacher) house for the cast afterparty. I don’t think kids are allowed to go over to their teacher’s house anymore. Nor would I have EVER wanted to. Mr. Riordan introduces them all to their new intern (?) Eddy, who is a student at Waynesbridge Junior College. Why on earth would they have an intern? At a high school play!? Maybe I just don’t understand how big of a deal these plays are? Selena is introduced to him and takes an immediate liking! He knows A LOT about her and tells her he’s seen all her plays. Weird? Stalkerish? Selena doesn’t make the connection.

When Selena is leaving, both Jake and Danny offer to take her home, even though she’s riding with Katy. Then they proceed to get into a fist fight about it. I assume this is to show how effing desirable Selena is. That night, she gets woken up by a phone call at 5 A.M. It’s the Sun telling her that he’s always watching her, and will be together forever. MWAHAHA! Well, he didn’t do the laugh, but I assume he did after they hung up.

Selena decides not to tell anyone about the phone calls and notes because she thinks they’re a sick joke and she’s worried about not getting cast in the play. Hell, if I was Mr. Riordan and I found out my star was being threatened, I would totally tell the press so they could do a story and therefore help sell more tickets! Morbid curiosity sells people. At the auditions for Romeo and Juliet, Selena goes to rehearse in her favorite spot, some random bench. Her friend Alison is already sitting there practicing, so instead of making a big stink, Selena goes somewhere else to practice. Which was probably a good thing, because Alison is soon crushed by a huge wardrobe falling on her! Selena does some quick math: Selena’s favorite spot + stalker + heavy wardrobe crushing action = this accident was no accident! And it was meant for her! Thankfully, I guess, Alison was only injured and not crushed to death.

There’s some random (read: boring) plot development where Selena fights with Danny, but it’s only redeeming quality is when Danny pulls out this zinger: “I think you were nicer when you were fat!” Awesome! Big girls are hella nice! Eddy also calls Selena to ask her out. But asks her to keep it a secret. You know, after reading all these Fear Street books, if anyone ever asks me on a “secret” date, I’m just gonna assume they’re going to kill me. This always happens! Selena doesn’t think of this possibility even though she has a stalker and Eddy knows stuff about her like how she used to wear her hair years ago. THAT’S WEIRD SELENA!

Anyways they make a secret date, because Eddy isn’t supposed to be dating high schoolers when he’s an intern. Isn’t it also illegal? Katy calls Selena to remind her about their sleepover, and Selena has to break it because of her awesome secret date! Which she told Katy about. You suck at keeping secrets Selena! Selena then finds a dead rat on her front porch from her stalker. This stalker is escalating. Rat killing? That’s getting extreme!

The parts for the play are posted the next day and Selena of course got cast as Juliet. It helps that she her only competition had been crushed. Literally. Her friend Jake is in a bad mood because he lost the part of Romeo to Danny. We also learn that Jake’s last name is Jaboby. Jake Jacoby. WHAT?!

Date night! Eddy takes Selena to a place in Waynesbridge so no one will see them together. Selena thinks its exciting, whereas I would be insulted. She sees Danny there (luckily while Eddy is outside) with a new girlfriend, so she shamefully admits to herself that he’s probably not her obsessed stalker. She seems a little disappointed (trollop!) While Eddy and Selena are walking back to his car, they pass through a narrow tunnel. A car without its lights on comes hurtling through the tunnel! Eddy shoves Selena in it’s path! She isn’t hit and is all “WTF EDDY?!” Eddy explains that he pushed her to the other side of the tunnel so she wouldn’t get hit. Like, pushed her across the path of the car and hoped the car wasn’t coming that fast? Even if he’s not the killer, he’s a dumbass. Hate!

The next day she finds another bouquet on her doorstep. She’s a little wary of them, but they’re beautiful, red, alive roses! She thinks they’re for Eddy and buries her face in them. And then her mom tells her the greenery around the flowers is poison ivy. Balls! Selena is allergic so it’s doubly bad! She decides that the Sun must be someone from the play and decides to snoop through everyone’s drama lockers to find clues. Which she does. She finds a whole batch of Sun stickers in … Jake Jacoby’s locker!

She rushes home to tell Katy what happened when she gets a call waiting (high tech!) beep from Jake. He tells her he has info about her stalker and needs to talk to her. In person. At the auditorium. Yikes! Selena tries to get Katy to come with her but she needs to stay home. Selena goes to hear Jake out at school, alone. Dum dum dummmm!

Well, he didn’t kill her. Mostly because Selena found his dead body at the bottom of the ladder that leads to the catwalk above the stage. Selena is heart broken that her friend is dead, but also relieved that her stalker is dead. Tough times! Her and Katy decide not to tell anyone about the stalking so his memory isn’t tainted.

Except she then gets another note from the Sun. Telling her she was DEAD WRONG about Jake! Whoops! Well that sucks for Selena. The note also says that he’ll be watching her during dress rehearsal the next day. Selena is determined to find this guy!

Let’s stop here. Because isn’t this the exact point where you would CALL THE POLICE? She knows Jake wasn’t the stalker. He was murdered. How is she just not telling anyone that her friend was murdered!?! Bah.

Dress rehearsal goes over fine, without any murders or horrible accidents. Selena is tired and almost forgets her bookbag! She runs back to get it after everyone else left. When she gets home, she finds that the Sun had slipped another note in her bag telling her that he’s killed again, the night of the dress rehearsal. Selena realizes that the killer wrote the note in advance and is probably killing someone right now! (Quite the advance planner) She knows that there might be time to save another person her SELFISH ACTIONS have put in jeopardy. She rushes to the auditorium at school. There, everything is quiet… except quiet moaning from the prop room above the stage where the catwalk is!

Selena, who is deathly afraid of heights, climbs the ladder to the prop room where she finds Danny tied to a chair and bleeding from the head. Hah, for a few seconds she considers leaving him there, “just in case” he actually is the Sun pretending. Pretending to bleed all over you? That’s some fine acting! Katy bursts into the prop room, and instead of being suspicious (aka, why is she there?) Selena is grateful. Until Katy tells her to leave Danny tied up, and smokes him in the head with a heavy flashlight.

Yes Friends. Obese Katy is now Homicidal Obese Katy. Man, R.L. HATES fat girls, doesn’t he? Katy tells Selena that she’s the Sun and Selena was just so conceited she assumed it had to be a boy who liked her that was stalking her. Um, Katy? You also convinced Selena is was a madly-in-love boy. Don’t be a dick. Katy accuses Selena of leaving her once she got thin and popular. Katy thought that if Selena dropped out of the play, they would go back to being best friends. Actually, since they still WERE best friends, I assume Katy meant that Selena would go back to being fat and lazy with her.

They get into a wrestling match on the cat walk. There are numerous instances where Selena almost falls, but manages to catch on to the railing at the last minute. All of a sudden, Eddy appears! Katy attacks him with the heavy flashlight of doom too. Finally, Eddy catches Katy by surprise and pulls her into the prop room. R.L. doesn't tell us what happens, but since Katy was conscious when she went in there, and unconscious by the time Selena steps in … it’s safe to assume that Eddy beat the sh*t outta her. The book ends there, with a lusty kiss between Eddy and his teenage girlfriend, above the two unconscious bodies of Katy and Danny. Just the way I like it!

Secret Admirer elicited no big complaints from me. I always loved reading about school plays when I was little… and apparently still do! Excuse me, I have to go read “Starring the Babysitter’s Club” now. Secret Admirer gets 7 dead bodies of Jake Jacoby out of 8!

The Secret Bedroom, or “Skeletons in the Closet … For Reals”

Lea is the new shy girl at Shadyside High. She encourages her shy status by doing really spastic things, like spilling chili all over the biggest bitch in school, Marci. Not a good way to start off your new school year, I hear. She is further handicapped by the fact that she has short hair, which is usually an invitation for death at Shadyside, and she is brunette, so obviously she’s not going to fit in. Not everything is bad for her, though. She has made friends with Deena Martinson (from Wrong Number!). She also attracted the attention of Don, a cute boy who tragically also is the boyfriend of Marci. Don asks her out – that’s clearly not going to go well!

Lea’s family just moved into an old house on Fear Street, because her parents love to flip houses. That’s kind of cool, and what makes it even better is the real estate agent showing them the house, Mrs. Thomas, is Suki’s mother! Awesome, LOVE the continuity. Lea has a walk-in closet the size of a room, and she seems to be upset about this. She is SO not a girl. There’s also a trapdoor to the attic, which is empty except for a boarded up door. A hundred years ago, someone was murdered in the room and it’s been boarded up ever since. Lea’s parents think this is a charming story, but Lea is not so sure about the charm of these little murders.

That Saturday night, Lea is supposed to go out with Don, but he never shows. She shows a remarkable amount of courage and stupidity (by high school standards) by calling up Marci, his girlfriend, to ask where he is. Marci, Don, and several other people all laugh at her for believing that Don would want to go out with her. That really sucks, I hate high school people sometimes. Poor new girl. The Monday at school, Don cutely apologizes to Lea, explaining Marci is really jealous. Then don’t ask other girls out, Don. I think the point is he’s supposed to be cute and charming, but he’s not. He’s a douche. He runs away when his girlfriend beckons. Marci, meanwhile, continues to torment Lea. I guess she’s really mad about that chili incident.

Sad and lonely the next Saturday night, Lea can’t sleep because she hears footsteps above her in the attic. She goes to investigate, and the door gushes a waterfall of blood at her. She makes Deena come over, who complains she had a horrible experience at Fear Street the year before (haha, involving chainsaws?) Lea also calls the police, which I guess is smart, although what would they do about waterfalls of blood? As it turns out, though, the blood was only imagined, or a dream, because it’s gone by the time everyone gets there. The police are actually really nice about it, which is surprising. Maybe they didn’t have much to do that Saturday night, since apparently despite all the murders and assaults that occur in Shadyside, no one ever bothers to contact the police about them!

Lea gets even more lonely at school, as Marci is still being mean to her, meaning no one else wants to befriend her. Deena has a new boyfriend, and her friend Jade is too busy and popular to hand with little Lea. So, alone again on Saturday night, this time she hears voices upstairs from the attic. She’s getting pissed off, so she goes to investigate again. This time iron spikes shoot out from the door, nearly impaling her (very Indiana Jones.) Just as she’s freaking out about this, Don calls her, asking her to meet him at Pete’s Pizza. Lea gratefully accepts! I’d tell Don to fuck off, and apparently rightfully so. Don was at Pete’s Pizza, but with Marci, who makes fun of her. Don sits there embarrassed. Because he’s a douche.

Lea is furious, and goes back to the attic, ripping off the boards from the door. A girl is crying behind the door, begging for Lea to open it. Magically, a key is in the lock, so Lea is able to open it no problems. Inside is an old fashioned bedroom, with an old fashioned girl about Lea’s age. The ghost is lonely and wants to touch Lea. Creepy. Lea agrees with me and locks the door again, figuring it was all a bad dream.

Until the next night, when she goes to make sure nothing happened in the attic, and finds the boards from the door all piled up on the floor, meaning IT WASN’T A DREAM. Lea goes in to talk to the ghost, who is nice and chatty. The ghost is Catherine, an angelic looking girl from the 19th century with black ribbons in her hair. She lived and died in the little attic room, brought up as a prisoner because she was born out of wedlock and her parents wanted to keep her a dirty little secret. They killed her when she tried to escape. How romantic and Gothic. Lea freaks out and runs away screaming. She tries to calm down but finds it hard when her stuffed tiger’s eyes start to glow demonically at her.

Yikes. School is just as bad for Lea, as Marci is actively spreading evil rumours about her. Lea wants badly to get back at Marci, to scare her, and what better way than to use your own homegrown ghost? Lea loses her fear of the ghost in the attic, and goes and has a conversation with her. Lea wants Catherine to haunt Marci, to make her think she has special powers (she should have waited for Felicia to get into town).

Catherine is super excited to be able to haunt someone, and seems kind of sweet, for a ghost and all. Then, she possesses Lea, and Lea’s thinking this is not such a hot idea anymore. When they get to Marci’s house, Lea confronts her, telling her to stop spreading lies about her. Catherine starts picking shit up around the house, which is kinda frightening, but she goes too far when Marci is shoved over a balcony, falling and breaking on the floor. Marci doesn’t make it. Oops, that went a little far. Accident? Probably not.

Lea confronts Catherine about this whole murder of Marci thing, and Catherine becomes an evil old woman and tries to possess Lea again, this time for good. Lea is able to force Catherine out of her body and mind, and runs screaming to her parents. They think she’s suffering from traumatic shock after watching someone die in front of her. They all go inspect the bedroom in the attic, and it is all boarded up and locked. Lea never touched it. So once again, it was all just a dream.

Lea gets a fever, and everyone is thinking she’s suffering from hallucinations. Catherine comes to her and confesses she sent visions to Lea to make her think she’d been in the room upstairs, but in reality had never left her own bedroom. Catherine then possesses Lea for reals now, Lea is only watching from the inside.

Catherine decides it’s time to take care of Don, because he’s a ball-less douche. She kind of has a point, but when she grabs some twine to garrote him, I think she’s taking it a little far. They go visit Don together, and Catherine-in-Lea’s-body is just about to strangle him, when some of his buddies come over, making Catherine back off.

Catherine disappears out of Lea’s body for awhile, and Lea uses that time to take action. She checks out the boarded up room for real, prying the boards off once again. Catherine realizes what’s going on and tries to possess her again, but Lea’s too strong this time. She opens the door, revealing two rotting corpses in the bedroom. Lea stops in shock, and Catherine uses this time to slip into her body. The skeletal corpses jump up and start to throttle Lea, screaming ‘Evil child!’ Apparently, Catherine was the evil one all along, and locked her parents in the room until they died, but didn’t leave. Now Catherine’s spirit tries to get away, but her parents ‘grab’ her and they all kind of disappear in some smelly smoke.

Lea wakes up in the hospital – she’s been there for days with a fever of 106. So … it was all a dream? It was all a big hallucination? I’m so confused, because they don’t really say what parts she hallucinated. Don has been calling for her everyday, which tells me nothing, because he’d do that whether his girlfriend was dead or alive. Lea comes home and finds a black hair ribbon in her bedroom, so clearly it wasn’t all a hallucination. Then she reveals Marci was still dead, so all that did happen. Somehow, while she was in the hospital with a fever. This ending is crap. It didn’t even do the cute ‘it was all a dream … or was it?’ ending, it just doesn’t make any sense. And does she end up with Don, now that she knocked off the competition? He didn’t have the balls to date her before, but now that someone arranged the death of his bitchy girlfriend, he’ll gladly move on to the next willing body? Douche.

This book was cheesy and nonsensical. Skeletal corpses dancing around? Even the cover sucks, with the cheesy glowing door, and cheesy skeletal hand. This book belongs firmly in the ranks of Goosebumps, and I’m sorry to see it put in the category of Fear Street. 2 skeletal corpses out of 7.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Runaway, or “The Tragic Story of a Telekinetic Teen and her Cheating Heart”

Felicia stands in the middle of the road, staring up at the Welcome to Shadyside sign in the rain. She is nearly run over by a truck, largely due to the fact she’s standing in the middle of the road in the rain. The driver of the truck ungraciously offers her a ride, reveals his name is Homicide (probs a nickname?) then tries to stab her. I could see how hitchhiking in Shadyside would up the risk factor. The truck suddenly veers into a tree, crashing and trapping ‘Homicide’, while Felicia is able to run free. From this opener, I’ve already determined that Felicia is a little slow. I learnt not to stand in the middle of the road, or get into cars with strangers in, like, kindergarten. We also learn that Felicia is ‘special’, and not in the slow way.

There are constant flashbacks to Felicia being tested in some secret government lab, for her ‘abilities’. She is able to channel rage inside of her to move objects with her mind. Rage-based telekinesis? I saw that movie, and it didn’t end well. Now, she’s a runaway, because apparently something awful happened in her government lab-rat days, and she’s traveling with a terrible secret.

She runs back onto the road (having learnt nothing from her latest ‘Homicide’ incident) and is luckily picked up by Nick, a rather harmless and goofy high school student. You have to win some sometimes, right? Nick is cute and concerned for her, so she makes out with him before getting him to drop her off at the Donut Hole. Because why not, right? He’s earned it as the whole knight in shining armour thing.

Felicia may be slow when it comes to life-lessons-learnt-in-kindergarten, but she’s pretty good at survival. Having no money, she overhears some college guy complaining that he’s supposed to house-sit for a month, and has already been given $100 up front, but all he wants to do is go skiing. Felicia pretends she knows the owner of the house, and says she’ll housesit if the guy gives her $50. And the guy complains about giving it to her. What a crappy deal, I’d make him give me the entire $100, but I guess Felicia’s okay with that.

Set up in a fancy house on Fear Street, with the company of a cute little kitten name Miss Quiz, next step is to go to high school. She just walks in and signs herself up, and the first person she runs into is, of course, knight in shining armour Nick, who is SUPER excited to see her. He takes her to his job at the Burger Basket, where Felicia immediately gets a job. Things seem to be falling into place for this runaway pretty quickly. Then she meets Zan (short for Alexandria), who leaves her station chopping vegetables to threaten Felicia with the knife, telling her to stay away from Nick because she’s with him. While Felicia is all ‘wtf?’ and all the fuses blow out around her, because of her rage-based abilities, Zan starts giggling like it’s the best joke ever to threaten people with knives. She even reminds Felicia that JUST YESTERDAY some creep tried to stab her, then is like, Oops, sorry. So, Zan is crazy, and now I’ve started to wonder about Nick, with the random making out in cars.

Despite knife wielding threats, Felicia becomes awesome friends with Zan and Nick, and they spend all their time together at the Burger Basket or at school. Felicia is pretty stoked to have real friends again, and nobody seems to question that she has no family, except for Nick, who at least knows she’s a runaway. Then, the threats start coming. Felicia gets notes saying things like – I know all about you. When she finds one in her locker, her powers get out of control and make all the locker doors slam shut. Good thing no one was around, that would be embarrassing! Felicia confides in Nick, not about her powers but about having to run, and they get closer. Ooh, smutty!

Flashback to lab-rat days: Felicia is complaining about constantly being pushed to use her powers to her friend Debbie, who is powerless but still seems to be in this lab-rat program. Debbie tells Felicia to tear down a beach house with her mind, which Felicia does. Only, two of her friends, Andy and Krista, had been in the house, and they definitely didn’t survive the collapse. Oops! Now we know why Felicia is running.

She gets another threat, telling her to leave town, this time in the house she’s staying at. Once again she confides in Nick, telling him a little bit about the lab-rat stuff, but not that she has powers. This time, they get thisclose to kissing before they are interrupted. I know cheating is bad and everything, but I like this whole Nick-Felicia thing. Zan should go away. Better yet, Nick and Felicia should find themselves a good ferris wheel (see Goodnight Kiss for details). Felicia does overhear Zan threatening Nick to stay away from Felicia. Which is fair, I guess. Felicia then confronts Nick about that, and he tells her Zan has been through a really tough time, and they should be extra nice to her. Does that include running around behind her back, Nick?

Zan decides that they should have a girly night, and Felicia can’t think of a reason why not. I can: She’s a knife wielding jealous bitch, and you’re cheating with her boyfriend. But Felicia goes, and while Zan is out of the room, she flips through an old Shadyside yearbook. There is a picture of Zan with some dude under the caption THE COUPLE MOST only you can’t see the guy because he’s been covered up by a sticky puddle of blood. Ick. So Felicia of course goes to find a clean yearbook the next day, and discovers that Zan used to be the couple most likely to last forever with Doug Gaynor. The very Doug Gaynor whose memorial bench stands in a hallway of Shadyside High. Wait, they give out memorial benches to students who have died? The hallways must look like stadium seating, I can’t even count how many students have died there. I guess the point is that Zan’s old boyfriend in dead.

Nick tells Felicia that Doug was actually killed by Zan. He seems okay with this – I’d be less inclined to date someone who killed her last forever boyfriend. Apparently they had an argument because Doug was seeing someone else behind her back, and she pushed him off a balcony, impaling him on the iron spikes of the fence below. Accidently, of course. Um, Nick? It sounds like you should be worried.

Zan interrupts Nick and Felicia in their little one on one to tell Felicia she needs to fix a light burned out in the storage closet. A metal ladder is already set up under the light, with a big puddle of water underneath, and the wire of the light is cut open. Hmm, a trap? Felicia thinks so and runs to shut off the circuit breakers, but her boss wanders into the closet and is electrocuted before she can stop him. The whole Burger Basket goes up in flames. Felicia drags an unconscious but alive boss out of the place, then goes back in to help the people who are trapped. She uses her powers to push back the fire, and to create an opening for everyone to get out. She’s all weak and passing out, when Zan tries to strangle her to death, telling her to stay away from Nick. Wow, bitch be crazy. Nick drags Zan away and tells her he loves only her, blah blah blah.

Felicia is really hurt by this, but has to run for it because TV crews have shown up, wanting to speak to the girl who could move things WITH HER MIND. She’s a little freaked that her cover has been blown, and makes plans to once again run for it. A flashback tells us that the police are after her after the fatal collapse of the beach house in her old town, and that her friend Debbie tried to facilitate her escape. Only Felicia blew her car up WITH HER MIND. Because she was upset or something. Her powers seem to be super inconvenient.

Felicia goes to school the next morning to pick up her things, where Nick grabs her and attacks her with him lips. He tells her he actually only loves her, and Zan has agreed to get some help in regards to her homicidal jealousy. Yah, right, I’ve heard that one before. Zan shows up and tries to stab Felicia. She confesses that Doug Gaynor’s accidental death was not so accidental. Felicia uses her mind to trap Zan until she was subdued, then ran away to Fear Street, because someone called her a freak.

While at the Fear Street house, Felicia is confronted by Debbie, who found her from the news talking about a girl with powers. Felicia’s happy to see her, until she realizes Debbie’s as crazy as Zan. She had actually planned the murder of the couple in the beach house, because she wanted the guy and couldn’t have him. Debbie’s powers are actually way bigger than Felicia’s, but she wanted Felicia to take the fall. Debbie also blew up her own car, in an attempt to kill Felicia – it was Felicia’s own powers that saved her. I hope this is making sense. There’s an awful lot of attempted murder and powers going on here. They get into a big telekinesis fight. Debbie is trying to beat Felicia with a maple tree, while Felicia is hitting her with a light pole. All I can say is: Awesome! Best girl fight ever. Felicia finally attacks not Debbie’s body, but her mind, and puts her into a coma. That was efficient.

Everything ends happily ever after. The police are not after Felicia, Debbie just made that up, so Felicia goes back to the secret government lab to study her powers further. Nick is her boyfriend and he will visit her every weekend. They kiss.

Most romantic book ever? No, the main characters were total cheaters, but they get away with it because everyone else is trying to kill them. Also, R. L., just fyi, ferris wheels are much more romantic places to cheat than the alley behind the Burger Basket. I give it 12 stolen kisses out of 16.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Sleepwalker, or “Fancy Pants Professional Magicians"

One of the first Fear Streets ever written, or ‘classic Fear Street’, as I like to call it. And it’s about witches, which is a topic I think not explored often enough by R. L. Witchcraft can be creepy … roll with it.

The cover is good. It’s exactly as I’d imagine Mayra, our lovely redheaded heroines, as she walks in her sleep into the water, surrounded by dreamlike fog – well done cover artist. Also, while the nightshirt is totally ugly and shapeless, it also looks really comfy and I may want it. Tagline: “She isn’t safe – even in her dreams!” Meh. I think a much better tagline would be: “Sleeping can be MURDER!” Or something that makes LESS sense, but has MORE death.

Mayra is starting her summer job looking after a Mrs. Cottler, an old lady who lives on Fear Street and likes to go for slow walks and be read to. Mayra’s mom, a nurse, treated Mrs. Cottler, and the old lady kept accusing her of trying to kill her. Sounds … not at all like a pleasant day job, but Mayra is poor, so she has to. Her other hobbies can be summed up as mooning over her boyfriend Walker, who is dreamy and has been gone for two whole weeks, which is approximately as long as any high school relationship normally lasts. Walker is very into magic and wants to be a professional magician and hypnotist. We all have to have goals, you know?

Life is a little more complicated for Mayra, because her old boyfriend Link still hangs around her all the time. She did only dump him a month ago, apparently for Walker. Actually, the more I think about it, Mayra’s a bit of a hussy – she’s constantly surrounded by guys who want her, and keeps on lamenting the fact that Walker is so shy when she wants to go much further than just kisses. Slow down there, Mayra, this isn’t Melrose Place! Anyways, Link still wants her, and she keeps on coldly blowing him off. Link is kinda grabby and needy, so you know Mayra probably secretly still wants him.

Things start to get creepy at Fear Street, as Mrs. Cottler turns out to be more than she seems. Do all kindly old ladies keep a stash of chicken feet and black candles around the house? Or have creepy black cats with intelligent eyes popping up all over the place? Mayra can’t get over how Mrs. C’s skin is so smooth and unlined – the blood of virgins, perhaps? Maybe Mayra should be all over Walker, it might be in her best interest. Also, Mrs. C’s neighbour yells at her, so she steals his handkerchief and goes into a trance with it. Next day, shouty neighbour breaks his hip. So ya, she’s a witch.

The creepiness doesn’t end there. Soon after her job with Mrs. C starts and dreamy Walker returns from holidays, Mayra starts sleepwalking. She dreams about a cold dark lake … and wakes up outside her house in the middle of the night in her (super comfy) nightgown. I would FREAK OUT if that happened to me. Sleepwalking should be comedic, not scary.

To up the creep factor in Mayra’s life, a giant blond man sees her on the street and chases her down, causing Mayra to escape to the mall. Where she sees Walker. Eating a pizza. With Suki Thomas! Oh man, this is my favorite storyline! Walker’s all, nothing’s going on, but the suspicion is there. Well, it is for me. Mayra believes him, but c’mon. Suki’s a big slut! I mean: “Her platinum hair was spiked punk-style with about a ton or two of gel. She wore a purple T-shirt and matching purple tights under jean cutoffs.” Good girls don’t dress like that, Suki.

The next day Mayra runs into Stephanie, Link’s sister, and Mayra’s friend, although they hadn’t spoken since the tragic dumping. They get into a fight and Stephanie steals Mayra’s scarf. That’ll learn her! I just need to recap how many people have issues with Mayra at this point: There’s Link, the jilted ex, and his sister who have both been really aggressive to her; her employer, a witch who may or may not hate her mother; a random scary blond man on the street; and a boyfriend who may or may not be cheating. We’ll leave Suki off the list because I know she’d remain neutral in this. It seems like not a lot of people are fans of Mayra.

That night, Mayra sleepwalks all the way to Fear Street, and is found by a cop. No jokes anymore, people are pretty freaked out. Walker rushes to her the next morning before she goes to work, and won’t let her leave. Mayra thinks she likes it when Walker is forceful, it doesn’t happen enough. Yup, she’s a Shadyside girl. Her theory is that Mrs. C put a sleepwalking spell on her to get back at her mother, but is too poor to quit the job. She is happy to hear Mrs. C is going away for a few days, so she’ll only have to housesit.

Mayra’s friend Donna comes by to borrow her car to go to the orthodontist. Things don’t go well for Donna as she’s run off the road by a maniac in a red pickup. Mayra realizes someone thought it was her in the car, that they tried to kill her. Small wonder, Mayra, you need way less frenemies in your life. Donna survives, but is in the hospital with broken bones for awhile.

Mayra and Walker snoop around Mrs. C’s house while she’s gone, under the disapproving eyes of her cat. Mayra discovers that Mrs. C is actually Link and Stephanie’s aunt. Uh-oh, they are definitely out to get her. She goes to confront Stephanie, and finds her chanting over some candles with Mayra’s scarf on her head. She’s definitely a witch too. Steph’s all: I needed to tie my hair back. And I told you she was my aunt. And, fyi, your boyfriend is screwing Suki Thomas. Poor Mayra runs out of the house and into Link, who’s just getting out of his RED PICKUP – without a scratch on it. Grabby he may be, but Link is no hit and run driver.

That night Mayra sleepwalks into the Fear Lake, and doesn’t wake until she’s fished out half drowned by a fisherman. How creepy would it be to be drowning and still not be able to wake up? Lock the girl up, Mayra makes an appointment with a psychiatrist. On her way there, she runs into the scary blond man who tries to chase her again. Coincidence? Dr. Sterne doesn’t think Mayra is crazy, but thinks she’s dealing with a trauma so large her conscious has forgotten it, and her subconscious struggles with it at night. She must figure out what this is. Mayra decides that since she’s drawn to Fear lake, she’ll go there at night while awake to see if she can retrieve any memories.

Mayra is just starting to get freaked out that she’s sitting in the middle of Fear Woods by herself at night when Link shows up. He saw her on the street and followed her to make sure she was okay. Instead of being appreciative, she acts like a total bitch. Link takes this as foreplay and tries to force himself on her. Mayra punches him in the face and jumps in the lake. Interesting tactic, but it has the desired effect she was after – she remembers.

Just after she and Walker started dating, Walker was being a jerk while driving and ran a car off the road into a lake. As the car sank, Mayra tried to get to them, to help them, but Walker forced her back into the car and hypnotized her so she wouldn’t remember. Since he got back into town, Mayra’s subconscious has been working overtime to tell her this.

Mayra sets a trap. She asks Walker to go over to Mrs. C’s house, to talk. They sit out by Fear Lake and she asks him to hypnotize her, to help her relax so she might not sleepwalk again. He does so, and adds in the part where she doesn’t remember he’s a hit and run killer. She’s all: aha! I knew it, murderer. And Walker’s all: aha! Now I have to kill you. And, fyi, I’m screwing Suki Thomas. As plans go, Mayra, this one is poor. Walker starts to drown her, but he is attacked by Mrs. C’s cat. Mayra leaves Walker to fend off the cat, and runs to the house. At the house, she finds the cat there already, calmly sitting there. Mayra has a moment of … weird, then calls 911. Walker busts in and tries to kill her with a meat cleaver.

Mayra’s imminent murder is interrupted by the random blond man who keeps turning up everywhere, who comes in and attacks Walker. He’s the man who survived Walker’s hit and run incident – his brother was killed. Blond guy recognized Mayra from the scene, but has since figured out Walker was the bad guy. Mayra is saved.

You guessed how this one ends. Mayra ends up back in Link’s grabby arms. She tells him he’s a creep, he calls her a jerk, and it’s love as it should be in Shadyside. And Mrs. C? She’s a professor of the occult. Her cat? Magic. Sweet – 8 magic black cats out of 11.