Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunburn or "Triple Threat Chase Sequence!!"


Sunburn in another one of R.L. Fear Street books that don’t actually take place anywhere near Fear Street. I don’t mind these ones too much, so I guess I read Fear Streets for their awesome stories and plotlines, not because of their location. That’s unsettling to know about myself…

Anyhoo, Sunburn. The cover actually depicts a scene from the book! Good job coverartist! Our main character Claudia is the unconscious body in the water (even though Claudia is described as having RED hair, not this dark-reddy brown) and her friend Marla is there, modeling the Red Speedo suit instead of helping her. Although you can't see it in the picture, I think Marla is also wearing a Qray bracelet? Random! The tagline? “The perfect tan…or the perfect murder.” Wait, what? What are they implying with that? Are these girls tanning themselves to DEATH? How are those two things related? So many questions…

So the gist is Claudia (KISHI?! Is what I thought to myself), Sophie and Joy have been invited to their old camp pal Marla’s summer home for a week to visit. Marla is super rich, Joy is trendy, Sophie is the follower, and Claudia is super dull and bland, therefore she is our main character. Great. The book opens with Claudia waking up disoriented and totally fried in the sun. (Too many tequilas? Hey, it happens!) Turns out her friends buried her in the sand and then Claudia fell asleep and they LEFT her in the fast-approaching tide. She can’t even get out by herself! Yikes! Claudia is conveniently rescued by a handsome boy named Daniel who is “deathly” cold. Hot guys with cold, clammy hands of death? Sign me up! He creepily knows the code to the electrified fence that runs around the house and refuses to tell her how he knows it. Then he mysteriously disappears.

Claudia is rightfully pissed at her friends when they offer her the bullshit excuse of “o we thought you were upstairs.” Shitty way to start off her trip since now Claudia has a disgustingly burnt face. At dinner Claudia tells them about the boy that rescued her, and Marla is all “OMG that’s Ghost Boy that I see around here!” Of course she’s totally pulling everyone's legs but from then on, Claudia refers to Daniel as “Ghost Boy” and wonders if he is real. Because she’s nuts? I’m not too sure on this one. Like Claudia sees a light and a face in the guest house and is like “Is that you Ghost Boy?” He told you his name is Daniel, Claudia, he is REAL. And you should really be concerned on whether or not that’s a prowler!

The next day the girls go down to the beach with a picnic lunch packed by Marla’s MAN SERVENT, Alfred, who by the way, is the only adult supervision these girls have. So the girls have to go through the electrified fence. Which SHOULD be turned off during the day, because well, that’s just good sense, but since this is a Fear Street novel, I bet you can guess what happens… Yeah, Sophie gets electrocuted. But not badly! As she’s up and about in like a minute. I always assumed you’d be down for the count for a little while… Two boys crash their picnic party on the beach even though Marla shouts at them that it’s a PRIVATE beach. Carl and Dean (the boys, duh) are like “Did you buy the ocean, gnuck gnuck gnuck!” Douches. Marla keeps trying to get them to leave, but Joy and Sophie are flirting so they keep making lame jokes. That’s the worst.

We find out that there was an “accident” the summer before hand. Well, they had been mentioning all over the first part of the book, but I just didn’t want to talk about it yet. Apparently Marla’s sister, Alison, died the previous summer at the camp they all went to. And the girls were somehow involved? It’s not explained yet, but Sophie and Joy are starting to suspect that Marla might be a little messed up since then. Maybe she even had alter motives for inviting them up to her deserted, isolated, parent and witness free summer mansion. Gee, you think!?

The girls decide to go to the boardwalk that night to go on some rides. Joy and Sophie run into Carl and Dean of picnic fame and they decided to ride the bumper cars with Marla tagging along to make sure they don’t get invited over to her parents house. Claudia runs into Daniel or as she calls him TO HIS FACE, “Ghost Boy”. He’s all “What did you call me??” They go on the ferris wheel together. He tries to “touch the moon” (lame!) and reaches out of the cart… and falls to his DEATH!

Just kidding, Claudia hallucinated. She actually saw ALISON fall, because that’s how she died. FLASHBACK! Marla, Claudia, Joy and Sophie are playing truth or dare at camp when insufferable Alison comes in, who they all hate, even though she’s Marla’s sister. To make Alison leave, they dare her to cross the camp’s gorge on a log, which they know she won’t do because she’s afraid of heights. She surprisingly says she’ll do it, tonight after lights out. Because that’s the safest time for extreme sports? Marla gets busted sneaking out of the cabin and can’t go watch, but the other three go to the gorge to try and convince Alison not to do it (or egg her on, whatever).

Anyways, Alison goes across but freaks out halfway through and thinks she’s going to fall. The girls are being encouraging, talking her back to safe ground, until they hear their counselor come looking for them. They split. Good choice girls! It’s much better to leave a scared teenager stranded on a log above a gorge than say, get into trouble at CAMP. They might make you do EXTRA DISHES! They’re all like “I swear I heard her right behind me!” which as we all know, is always bullshit. Alison's bloody shirt is found in the gorge but her body never was.

Claudia comes out of her flashback. She’s still on the ferris wheel with Daniel. She kisses him because she’s obviously traumatized by last summers events and what else is a Fear Street girl to do?

Claudia goes home with the girls and is woken up in the middle of the night by screams. Joy’s screams. The girls rush to her room and find that she has three leeches on her arm. Which, yes is gross AND creepy (how did they get there?) but in the grand scheme of things? Three leeches don’t seem that bad! Claudia goes for a drink of water in the kitchen when she sees Daniel standing in the dark. She calls to him, but he melts into the shadows and disappears. She continues to get her water. Wait, WHAT? She thinks her “Ghost Boy” is in her kitchen!? And is so blasé about it!? She mentions the INTRUDER to Alfred and he is also like, Meh, I’ll look into it. WHAT? Then she’s like “Is DANIEL the one that put leeches on Joy?!” No, two intruders broke in on the same night. What a coinky-dink!

Joy is over her terror of having leeches put on her in the night so the girls go waterskiing the next morning. Sophie volunteers to go first, and she is awesome at it! Of course she takes a tumble though, and apparently can’t swim? She flails around the water and keeps getting dunked (is she not wearing her life jacket?!) until the other girls realize she’s caught in the riptide. And wouldn’t you know it, the boat stalls! While Marla is trying to get the boat going so they can save Sophie from the rip tide, Claudia dives into the water without her life jacket on. Good one! Claudia also gets caught in the rip tide and drowns. The End!

Or not. Too bad! Carl and Dean actually show up and pull her out of the water. They’ve already rescued Sophie. They take the girls back to Marla’s dock where they meet with the other girls, whose boat mysteriously started working again… They also see that the water ski rope had been cut so it would snap under pressure. As far as murderous plots go, that seems pretty ineffective. The only reason Sophie was in trouble was because of the riptide, so unless the murderer planned that… ugh I don’t know, who cares.

Joy and Sophie pull Claudia aside to tell her they’re convinced that Marla brought them here to torture them. (Although so far, she’s only really tortured Sophie.) When Claudia asks why Marla would want to torture them, Joy reminds her, “Because Marla must know that Alison’s death wasn’t an accident.” Cue FLASHBACK: Yeah apparently, the girls totally knew that Alison wasn’t behind them when they ran away to safety from their counselor. Because they heard her scream, fall, hit the rocks, then be washed away by the river. Claudia says that they believed what they told Marla so much, that they started to believe it themselves. Okay, so that still makes it an accident. But a WAY more sinister accident! Them girls is bitches!! Claudia’s like “Yeah, Marla is probably going to kill us”

Here comes the most insane part of the book. It’s actually a pretty insane part of any Fear Street book I’ve read so far, so you’re warned. It’s the next day and Claudia is going for a run on the beach. She sees a tall girl that looks like Marla but Claudia doesn’t think too much about it (even though she thinks Marla is out to kill her). Just then, Claudia turns a corner and runs into Marla’s guard dog, an Irish Wolfhound (!!) that’s never allowed out except for at night. So this has turned him into a vicious killing machine! He chases after Claudia while she thinks about how deadly the dog is. He obviously catches up to her very quickly because he’s GIANT and DEADLY, so Claudia dives into the water thinking she can outswim him. Just so you know? You can’t outswim an Irish Wolfhound. They will kill you ANYWHERE.

The dog predictably catches up with Claudia and tries to bite off her foot. She manages to shake him free, only to see … wait for it… wait for it… A SHARK. YES, a Fear Street character is finally getting attacked by a shark! She realizes that it’s probably attracted to her bloody foot and tries to swim with as little movement so to not attract it further. Um, doesn’t this slow her down and let the dog catch up and eat her? No? Okay. Well Claudia doesn’t have to worry about the dog for long, since it’s soon eaten by the shark! Yikes! Claudia thinks a lot about the deadly efficiency of sharks and how she will soon be eaten. But she’s not because …

She gets caught in the rip current! It swooshes her away from the shark and the half-eaten hunks of dog to safety. Until Claudia realizes that she can’t see the shore, doesn’t know where to swim and can’t swim anymore. She passes out. In the water? How does she not drown!? Arrrgh, this book is so stupid!

Claudia wakes up on the beach with Killer Marla shaking her awake. Luckily Claudia just drifted to shore while she was passed out. Sure, that happens. They go up to the house where Claudia tries to get the other girls to leave right away. Their awesome plan? Ask Marla for a ride to the bus. YEAH. I know. Marla told them to meet in the gazebo for dinner, so the three girls go outside in the pouring rain to get to the gazebo. They pass by a shed, which apparently smells like rotting eggs and decaying meat, so they decide to investigate. (I never do this. If something smells bad, I NEVER investigate further!) Anyways, they open the shed… and out falls Marla’s dead body! So who’s the killer?

Well, it’s still Marla. Kinda. The girl they’ve been hanging out with for the past week is actually Alison, not Marla. When she fell into the gorge last summer, Alison apparently saw Marla peek her head out the woods and smile. So when she survived her fall, she took the opportunity to escape her family by faking amnesia and living with the family that pulled her out of the river (sidenote: was there no news story about Alison? Did no one look for her body? Did she really float that far away then? And: who is this family in the woods that adopts girls they find in the river with amnesia without taking them to the hospital?! There are a lot of unanswered questions here.) Okay so Alison confesses to killing Marla a week ago and pulls out a gun to kill the other girls. Duh duh duuuuuuh!

Alison somehow is taken down by Daniel, doing the slow walk of confidence towards her. Like he just walks silently towards her. I guess it made her really jittery? Even though she had a gun and could have SHOT him. He tackles her, but she gets away. The power goes off, so Alison thinks she can escape the electrified fence of DEATH, but it goes on right as she grabs the handle. Zoinks! She’s electrocuted to death, even though the shock didn’t even hurt Sophie before. O well! The book ends with Daniel telling Claudia that he’s Alfred’s son who staying in the guest house secretly over the summer, so that’s why he’s been so sneaky (and also creeping around the house at night). They share a kiss over top the smoking dead body of Alison. Of course they do.

This book made more sense than those damn Cataluna chronicles, but not by much. It was infinitely more awesome however due to the Triple Threat Chases Scene of Dog-Shark-Rip-Current Extreme Madness though!! Am I too excited about that? 7 Irish Wolfhounds out of 10 Man Eating Sharks. Success!

13 comments:

RI adult entertainment said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't know, I kinda come to this website for literary entertainment rather than thinly-veiled porn advertising. Maybe Stine would be interested?

Crazy book, by the way. I enjoyed the review.

A. M. Stine said...

I agree with you anon. Are we really the target audience for "adult entertainment"? We're reviewing children's books here! Unless ... do you think it was Fear Street porn!? Shoot, I shouldn't have deleted so quickly...

O well, I'm glad you enjoyed the review anyways.

zanne said...

I thought this book was good! Although I think it's pretty crazy that Alison was rescued by some family in the woods & they adopted her, I liked the rest of it. I can't believe the shark ate the dog, though! Yikes.

L. K. Stine said...

I remember the shark/wolfhound scene! Even as a kid, I was like wtf, that would have been scary.
ps. Fear Street porn? I don't know ...

LAK said...

You know that the fanfiction Fear Street porn exists!

Great review! Perfect amount of snark and commenting! I love the BSC comment. This book was just crazy enough for me. What does that say?

Fear Street said...

The part where the dog gets eaten by the shark is the only reason to read this book. It's insane!

Proper said...

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Broken1again said...

i still cant believe you didnt like the Cataluna chronicles! That was my favorite series of all! but as for this book...i like this one alot and normally Im not a fan of books that dont take place in fear street..but there were some good twists!

Anonymous said...

"The tagline? “The perfect tan…or the perfect murder.” Wait, what? What are they implying with that? Are these girls tanning themselves to DEATH?"

You ever see Final Destination 3?

Ali said...

...man, this whole time I thought Daniel was going to turn out to be Alison in disguise. But I guess that would be too blatantly lesbian since they kissed and all.

RecallerReminder said...

Awww I loved this book but the twist was too hard to believe, starting with how the girls didnt recognice her sister s friend, and Allison said Alfred has poor sight to notice. Could really a whole year chaged her look that much? And there are her motives you forgot to mention...Only because she couldn t forget her sister were smiling when she falls to her almost death? I though the flashback make us clear Marla was caught before get to Allison s, so only if she make a run only to be able to see her and returns without her friends knew, dont make sense, sounds like Allison imaginaded all of that and get totally psycho because of that (must be to abandon her new life).
Still was pretty good.