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!


haley said...

re: college interns for h.s. plays

I went to a high school for the creative & performing arts, and two of our plays per year were held at the Opera House downtown, and the light and sound technicians were usually theater students from one of the universities. They got experience credits or something, and I usually worked with (and had the hots for) them. It worked out nicely.

As for talent scouts from universities coming to high school plays... i've never heard of such a thing.

L. K. Stine said...

Awesome revival of the adjective, "hella". You don't see that enough.

Chad Walters said...

re: the cover

I always thought it was lipstick on the mirror.

re: scholarships

Yes, the US really does have scholarships for everything. 2 of the more extreme examples are a scholarship for people with a certain last name - I don't remember what - and one school having a scholarship for left handed people.

re: going over to teachers' houses

I wouldn't say it was a regular thing but there were times when my friends and I went over to teachers' houses. It was all legit, though: the two cases that I can think of were my friends being tutored by a calculus teacher that no longer worked at the school and once when I had to go get keys from my English teacher so I could get into the school after hours to work on the yearbook.

Natalie said...

Was there another Fear Street book that was about a play? For some reason I'm remembering someone faking their death and living in the prop closet or something like that..?

We never had an intern for a play, but we did have a student-teacher that was majoring in music education help out in our show choir class and the spring musical that pretty much the same thing.

A. M. Stine said...

You are thinking of Prom Queen! L.K. wrote that review back in September, so you can learn all about how a certain Prom Queen lives in a prop closet!

LAK said...

May I just say that saying someone used to be fat doesn't tell much? Fat could mean eating a bit too much cheesecake at Christmas and my jeans aren't fitting as good as they were. Fat could be eating 33,000 calories a day. I hate RL and his stupid slender/thin vs FAT. Grrr. *getting off my soapbox now*

My high school did have a theater and they did put on some decent shows...the catch? Someone painted over the acoustic tiles in the auditorium so the sound and music was always a bit 'off.' But, then again, it could have had something to do with the bomb shelter (yes, it's true!) that was underneath it too.

Anonymous said...

A bomb shelter? Amazing. My school was of the "lucky if it doesn't fall down on our heads" variety. In fact, it was demolished a couple of years in... on the bright side, though, no murders!

LAK said...

Yeah, my high school was a 50's relic. Bomb shelter? Check. Shooting Range? Check. Crazy underground secret passages? Check. It also had wicked cool marble floors and a two tier library. I don't think there were any least IN the school.....

zanne said...

I never read this book when I was younger, but I know I would have loved it. I did theater in high school. I was never the lead, though--so I guess I had nothing to worry about. So true about the secret dates--after reading so many Fear Street books, I know to say no if a guy asks me out on a secret date!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, my university library has underground archives full of crumbling old tomes and faulty lights. One of my tutors warned me that occasionally you see things scuttling around in your peripheral vision. There should totally be a Fear Street book set somewhere like that. It'd write itself.

Deathycat said...

I was in drama and did a few plays. We never had "interns" but we had a couple student teachers filter through.

As for Jake Jacoby I have recently discovered that Jacoby is pronounced Juh-coh-bee, so it doesn't sound quite as stupid. There was a Jake Jacoby in SVH, too. Wonder if they shared ghostwriters. ^_^

Anonymous said...

They probably did. Even R.L. started out writing fodder for ongoing book series, I understand.

Brigid said...

I love how it was such a big deal in the book that Katy was soooooo fat...but the book says she's just 20 pounds overweight! Selena is such a shot friend! Like, tell the girl she's not really fat, please!
Also, this book was awful. But your blog is amazing.

RecallerReminder said...

This one has one of tbe best final confrontations (and such a revelation! I was in shock when the killer was revealed)
Nice ^^

Anonymous said...

Yeah, i don't get all this fat/body shaming in the books either...

Mandy said...

"safe to assume he beat the shit out of her"

I just had a deep belly laugh at that sentence.

Mandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.