Sunday, November 30, 2008

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.


Barbara said...

I'm reading Fear Street books now and just the other day I read Who Killed The Homecoming Queen? These books are just too much and the covers are such a hoot.

A. M. Stine said...

I like the confusion. It's a mystery to the end!

LAK said...

Maybe the ghostwriter got the wrong information and thought this was to be a Goosebumps book? Then, the editor was like. "whateva! It's gonna sell anyways, even if it is lame- I'm still gonna get paid."?

Where does this book fit in the Fear Street books? Early? Mid way?

Anonymous said...

It seems like The Secret Bedroom might be relatively early in Fear Street, but I don't know, I'm just assuming Wikipedia's list is in the right order (hahaha).

I thought confusing endings were all the rage! I'm such a skeletal zombie parent ghost all stuck in the past. Or possibly the future, I forget.

Troy Steele said...

"This book belongs firmly in the ranks of Goosebumps"

You insult Goosebumps, you insult me.

Broken1again said...

this is my FAVORITE book out of all of them, idk why you dislike it so much? I have every single book from when i was younger to now and for me growing up and still till this day this one rates one of my favs..i agree the ending is a little confusing..but basically she thought it was all a dream but then saw the ribbon so it wasnt a dream..the only thing that didnt happen were the visions of her going into the room.

Justin Duhe said...

The ending of the story is really, Don the douche ends up bringing Catherine the evil bitch ghost back and he hooks up her instead..What a douche!

RecallerReminder said...

Yeah, this book does really sounds like a Goosebumps. Still its pretty good ^_^