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.


Anonymous said...

I've said it a million times before, but I just can't get over how some of these books are relatively sedate books about teen slashers or something, and then you've got government psychic lab rat runaways. There just seems to be a huge inconsistency in tone in what kind of fantasy these are meatn to be. That said, a lot of this book sounds great, yeah.

L. K. Stine said...

It's true, you never know what you're going to get, they really are all over the place. But sometimes the unexpectedness is what I like about them. A surprise favorite for me was Missing, because you think it's probably your usual slasher thing, but then it turns into this satanic cult/FBI thing, which was cool.

Chad Walters said...

My brother just finished reading Switched (which he loved, by the way) and was wondering if there were any Fear Street books where nobody died - because the only person who died in Switched was Lucy, 4 years ago. I couldn't remember any of the top of my head except for maybe Wrong Number 2, so any help would be appreciated.

A. M. Stine said...

Double Date does not have any deaths in it. Because its all a big joke. Worst Ending Ever!

L. K. Stine said...

There's lots of books involving a death that happened a while ago, but some that involve no death (as far as I can remember) are The Dare, The Rich Girl, Cheerleaders 3, and Party Summer. Actually, some of my favorites (except for Cheerleaders, which totally bit). The Dare and the Rich Girl were both more psychological, like Switched, and Party Summer was just plain amusing.

LAK said...

How come my friends and I never hung out at some cool food joint? No Burger Basket, no Dairi Burger, No Max (Saved by the Bell!)...we hung out at the 7-11. Mainly because we had no money and you could get a slushee for under a dollar.
And, FYI we never had any government lab rats either.
My high school existence was so dull.

Anonymous said...

My friends and I never hung out at food joints either, possibly because we were all reclusive and possibly psychotic geeks who only met through school. And despite that, none of us were lab rats!

L. K. Stine said...

All the cool kids at my high school hung out at the bar across the soccer field. Yes, it was a very good school.

RecallerReminder said...

This one was pretty exciting! Has enough murder atempts and two homocidal characterts (is like two for the price of one) and also psychic powers Woooooooooo!