Thursday, September 4, 2008

Final Grade, or “Valedictorians Gone Wild”


‘Will Lily get an A in murder?’ God, I hope so, because that is the sweetest action shot I’ve seen in ages – look at the way his tie is flying out of the way – the way her hair is flowing back, I FEEL her passion. The one thing I have a problem with is that her doomed teacher teaches social sciences, and the blackboard has algebra problems on it. It’s the little details, you know?

Lily is your typical tight-ass honours student dying to be the best. She’s got some familial pressure – two older sisters who were valedictorians and the desperate need for a scholarship. She’s concerned about her social mark of a B. I think she should actually be worried about her boyfriend Alex, who sneaks up behind her and chokes her. Strangulation is a sign of deeper mental issues … I’m sure it’s the sexiest thing in the world in Shadyside, but I don’t find choking that hot.

She missed the bus to her job at the drugstore, and is given a ride by hunky Graham, her main competition for valedictorian. They’re like friends/arch-enemies. He drives her to her job and she thinks he’s a ‘mega-jerk’, so I’m assuming Lily is a bit of a bitch. She gets hers, though, because she’s held up at the cash of the drugstore at gunpoint. Her uncle Bob scares him away, and Rick the delivery boy runs after him. Stud. Rick has red hair (but of course he does) and asks Lily out, but she blows him off. She walks home, and freaks out because someone starts to chase her. It’s Alex. I’d freak out too, the big choker. Also, he’s really jealous. Typical.

At home she gets more pressure from her parents to do her best. Don’t they know that leads to high school shootings? Apparently not, as Lily prepares to pull an all-nighter. AND she gets a creepy stalker phone call. What a crappy night. It gets worse the next day when she goes to speak to her social teacher and finds him dead. Oops! Everyone blames Lily for that one. Rick especially thinks she did it, but this is a turn on for him. But of course it is.

Lily also works at the school paper, and at night she goes to see the new edition put to press. The printing plant is deserted, and she is nearly killed by a rampant roll of paper. Fortunately she survives, only to get more creepy calls from someone who wants to ‘help’ her.

The next morning she’s competing in a trivia contest against Graham. Lily overanalyzes the second question and answers wrong, losing. Graham is an insufferable creep. Then he comes first in the race for valedictorian. So all in all Lily is having a bad day.

Ew, it gets worse, when Lily goes to see the printing press again, and finds the body of Graham jamming the machinery. He … doesn’t make it, but they do print in his blood. I reiterate – ew. Lily is now top in school, and the top suspect for murder. And really, how many people standing in her way have to die before the police are on her case. She even finds Graham’s glasses in her purse. She didn’t put them there, but her editor Scott finds her and confesses to putting them there, and killing Graham and the teacher himself, all for Lily. Scott was the creepy late night caller, largely because he loved her since grade school. Sweet little murderous stalker.

Scott then tells her if she tells anyone, he’ll finger her and he’s planted evidence on her to make it stick. So she’ll have to be his girlfriend forever … super creepy. He demands she break up with Alex, and goes out on a date with him. She tries to make their date as far away as possible from Shadyside, so they end up at a biker bar outside of town. Awesome! Scott is planning their wedding. Truly, I am so creeped out by this. Lily decides she’s going to kill him, and I’m not going to stop her.

Scott tells Alex about their little date, and Alex breaks up with her. Scott forces her to kiss him, and Lily finally snaps. She’s determined to find proof that Scott killed Graham, and Scott thinks the best way to step this is to kill her best friend, Julie, who suspects Scott is the killer. He pulls a gun on Lily, making her call Julie to meet them at the printing press.

Lily finally realizes there’s more to life than grades, and that is friendship. Scott’s about to shoot Julie, when Lily jumps in front, trying to take the bullet, but misses. Julie is shot. Lily gets the gun and forces Scott to call the police. She can’t bring herself to kill him, but happily Julie survived, since she wasn’t actually shot, and hits Scott with a crowbar. Unhappily, he survives, but is put away. Everything goes back to normal. Instead of finding Alex, Lily goes to study in her obsession to be valedictorian. Oh, obsessive honours students.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm new to this whole "school paper" business. You're telling me they have an actual printing press? One that's big enough to murder someone in? ...I know I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation.

Drew said...

our school paper was made on the xerox...
hmmmm... i would definitely read a book where they found someone murdered in a Xerox machine!

LAK said...

I don't even think my school had a paper. We only had morning announcements.
And was this book published in the Spice Girls Wannabe time? You know...."Friendship never ends..." (unless you live on Fear Street!)

Broken1again said...

I would have liked to know if her and Alex got back together...I was thinking that after the book ended..I felt like the ending was missing because of that lol

Anonymous said...

"Scott then tells her if she tells anyone, he’ll finger her"

Man, "finger" has got to be one of the most unfortunate pieces of crime drama jargon ever.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I just finished the book, and Scott only confesses to murdering Graham! He tells Lily that "I already killed ONCE" ... it is possible that I skimmed over him confessing to Reiner's murder, but I swear nothing is ever mentioned about it. If so, this is the most glaring plot hole in any book I've ever read.

RecallerReminder said...

Cant believe the teacher died because of a stupid accident trying to change the light bulb (which was not even his job at all)...Still its pretty funny. Haha.
Lily was a horrible main character, practically focusing only in study and complain. But im surprised the killer actually revealed too soon in the book (well, I know have to work this way but still feels weird).

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reiner probably teaches math like Mr. Crowell.