Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Face or "Nacho Cheese Kisses!"

The Face was my ultimate favorite Fear Street book growing up. I still can’t quite place my finger on the awesomeness of it, but it’s there. Memory loss, murder, boyfriend stealing, hypnotism… in combination makes for one heck of book!

The cover: GREAT! Well, no, to be fair, it’s not that great. Our lead, Martha looks super hot, even though she’s supposed to be all Sarah, Plain and Tall. Additionally… why the hell is she so surprised by the drawings? SHE DREW THEM. The tagline is good though: “He had something to tell her … from beyond the grave.” Shivers!

The book starts with Martha explaining that she has a little bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Meaning that she can’t remember a ski weekend that her and her friends went on in the fall where something crazily awful happened. Of course it was a ski weekend! And her doctors won’t let her friends tell her what happened. (How convenient!) Anyhoo, Martha tells us about her best friends, Justine (fiery redhead) and Adrianna (exotic and willowy). She also tells us about her boyfriend Aaron, and how Justine is always all over his jock. She says it doesn’t bother her… but we all know better. Martha also talks about Aaron’s awesome kisses and how they taste like nacho cheese. What the fuck?! CHEESE? That’s just … effing weird Martha.

We meet Ivan, another boy that was on the fateful ski trip and who is also Adrianna’s brother. He gives Martha a ride home, and basically bums her out about his family life (parents are divorcing), social life (hasn’t gotten over a breakup) and school life (failing). And then he tries to effing commit suicide with Martha in the car! Dear lord, that is just selfish! He veers towards a tree but can’t do it in the end, and then blows it off with a “O I was never gonna do it anyways.” … Liar. Martha tries to tell Adrianna about it, but Adrianna just thinks it’s his ex-girlfriend, Laura’s fault. Martha’s like “noooo, I think its deeper than a breakup” but Adrianna blows her off too.

Martha attempts to relax by doing some drawings (apparently she’s really talented at doing self-portraits *snort*) but as she’s drawing… something crazy happens! Her hand is guided along the page without her will and she draws The Face of a mysterious boy! Needless to say, she’s totally creeped out, and it doesn’t help when she realizes that every time she tries to draw something, she draws The Face! Chills!

She tries to brush off the creeped out feeling in time for her date with Aaron. Will more sweet nacho kisses be involved? She sees that Justine is hanging out with Aaron by the time she gets to the theater, and Aaron invited Justine to tag along. Um… okay, I guess. I have been a third wheel before, but I don’t know about inviting someone without my date’s permission. Especially if it’s a slutty redhead! After the movie, Justine calls Martha late at night to talk about how lucky Martha is to have Aaron. Martha’s all “o my life isn’t all that perfect” and Justine answers with a classic bitchy girl line: “Your life isn’t as perfect as you think.” Martha is a little weirded out by her supposed best friend.

Just then, Martha gets her first memory flashback! She sees herself, Adrianna, Laura and Justine at two small ski cabins. They’re drinking hot chocolate when Aaron and two unseen boys arrive. Pretty effing tame. She acts surprised by who is there, but wouldn’t she know what friends went on this terrible trip? No? How the hell not? Didn’t they plan it? And since she only lost her memory of that weekend, shouldn't she remember the week before? O well, I’m not going to be too picky.

The next day, Martha accompanies Laura to a photoshoot for some reason. The only good thing about this chapter is the fact they mention both Dalby’s Department store AND Bobby Newkirk! Yes, I love mentions! Laura also tells Martha to watch out for Justine. These girls are throwing out ALL the bitch moves!

Laura and Adrianna decide to take Martha sledding, so they go to Miller Hill. Which just happens to be the scene of an awful face-tearing-off-death AND an awesome Zombie fight to the death! So why do people go there? Right, Martha gets on the sled, and for some reason that she can’t explain, she starts screaming her head off. And doesn’t stop. Like Laura and Adrianna have to take her home and she’s still screaming in her kitchen. She finally shuts her mouth but has no idea what made her scream. Luckily though, she gets another flashback. Maybe this one will be more enlightening:

Martha and Justine are having a ‘vicious’ snowball fight outside the cabins, with the intent to kill. They’re yelling too, but Martha apparently can’t hear her memory. Okayyy. The scene changes and Martha is in a back room. With (*GASP*) the mystery Face boy! His name is Sean, and they’re kissin’! Oooo Aaron’s gonna be pissed! Except they stop kissing and then start fighting and shoving each other. Martha, when two people out of six wish you bodily harm… it’s probably time you stop going on vacation with them.

Hmmm that memory didn’t clear anything up, it just make her more curious! She rushes over to Aaron’s house to get some answers. Aaron is acting all shifty, and then there’s a huge crash from the kitchen. Justine’s in there hiding! Bitch! Aaron and Justine use the old “she’s just here to borrow my graphing calculator” excuse. Martha buys it. Justine leaves and Martha shows Aaron the portrait of Sean she’s drawn so many times. He's pissed off because he doesn’t want to talk about it, but gets so frustrated that he yells out that Sean is DEAD! Awesome! I mean, we kinda knew that, but it was a dramatic scene.

Martha decides to blow off some steam with Laura and Adrianna by going to a basketball game at school. Everything is going along fine until … Martha spots dead Sean on the basketball court. She starts towards him when she realizes that all of the basketball players have Sean’s face! Holy Crap! She freaks out and the girls take her out of the gym so she can calm down. Things are not coming up Martha though, because while they’re in the hallways, Martha spots Aaron. Making out. With Justine! Ho-bags! Aaron tries to explain but Laura and Adrianna cut him off and take Martha home. Actually, I’d be kinda interested in some sort of explanation…

Martha gets another memory! Well its kinda the same memory. Her and Sean are kissing in the back room, then Martha shoves him off. His advances were unwelcome! I’m shocked she wasn’t all over it. She doesn’t learn anything new, but once she comes out of her memory she gets a message on her answering machine (that she thinks sounds like Laura) saying “You keep drawing him because you killed him!” Yikes! Well, that explains the memory loss. Committing murder does seem particularly traumatizing! Not that I would know…

Martha is fed up with no one giving her any answers, and sets out to get some of her own. She visits Adrianna’s psychologist who specializes in hypnotism. The hypnotist is kinda bitchy and won’t work her magic unless Martha gets her doctors permission. Lame! She runs into Aaron outside the office. Aaron tells Martha that him and Justine have been seeing each other since the ski weekend. Apparently Martha and Aaron broke up on that weekend and he started seeing Justine and that’s why the girls were snow-fighting. But why the fuck was he still pretending to date Martha?! Like is that integral to the murder? When she lost her memory, couldn’t he just be like, “Sorry you don’t remember the break up, but here, I’ll break up with you again so you won't forget”? Wouldn’t that have been easier on everyone!? Gawd!

Martha soon gets another memory. And this one is a doozy.

The four girls (Martha, Adrianna, Laura and Justine) along with the boys (Aaron, Ivan and Sean) are all having a fun weekend at Adrianna’s parents place. Sean is Ivan’s friend from another school that’s hanging out with the group. They’re sledding and generally having a blast. (Even though Aaron just dumped Martha for Justine?) After they finished sledding, they decide to ski down the PRIVATE ski hill that runs alongside the cabins. Adrianna volunteers Martha to go first even though Martha kinda sucks at skiing. Martha sucks so much in fact, that she can’t get her skis on, and Sean decides to sneak in and go first. He’s skiing down the hill when Martha sees a thin silver line across the ski hill… it’s a wire! She doesn’t even have time to scream before Sean skis into it and is DECAPITATED! “And Sean’s head bounced onto the snow. And emptied out. Emptied out. Emptied out.” So good! Blech!

Martha is pleased that she remembered, but also not so pleased. Because, like gross, and traumatizing. Adrianna calls and they both cry a lot and Adrianna tells Martha that she thinks one of their friends did it. Well duh! Who else would have strung the piano wire of death? Adrianna decides to come over. While she’s waiting, Martha just so happens to stumble across the canvas bag she had brought to the fateful weekend ski trip. Inside… she finds silver wire. Martha’s the murderer But she still doesn’t know WHY she killed Sean. Martha confesses immediately to Adrianna when she comes over. Martha decides she’ll tell her parents and then the police. Adrianna takes the news that her best friend is a highly inventive murderer quite well.

Just then, Ivan bursts in! Martha didn’t kill Sean, he did! He followed Adrianna over (why? Creepy) and tells the girls the whole tale. Sean was blackmailing Ivan so Ivan wanted to teach him a lesson. Ivan knew Sean always had to be first for everything, so he strung the wire around the trees, at ankle level, to trip and embarrass him in front of everyone. Or cut off his feet, whatever. Anyways, Ivan figured the snow shifted (like four feet) overnight, and he didn’t check his evil prank before hand, so Sean took it in the neck instead of the ankles. Ivan says he can’t stand the guilt anymore and starts to call the police. Until… Adrianna freaks out at him!

Because she’s the one the changed the levels of the wire in an attempt to kill Martha! Adrianna felt a connection with Sean (who probably didn’t feel it) and was filled with murderous rage when she saw Sean and Martha kissing. After her plot killed the love of her life instead of Martha, Adrianna decided Martha might as well go down for the murder. So she planted the wire in the bag and HYPNOTIZED Martha so she wouldn’t remember the weekend! Awesome! Adrianna is not ready to admit defeat so she knees Ivan in the crotch (it says stomach, but we know that means BALLS) and he crumples to the ground. She then proceeds to wrap the piano wire of death around Martha’s neck and choke her!

Now you would think that Ivan rescues Martha. But no, he’s down for the count. Instead Adrianna forgoes killing Martha because she gets distracted by the portrait of Sean that Martha drew. What?! Alright, okay, I’ll roll with it. Ivan finally gets up and restrains Adrianna. While they wait for the police to come, Martha reflects: “The face that had puzzled me, upset me – horrified me for so long. The face that saved my life.” Too bad sucking on your face is what got him killed, MARTHA.

Love this book. Always have, Always will! It gets 87 empty head rolling down 87 hills of doom. Awesome!


Anonymous said...

That book sounds almost as awesome as Switched, and for the same reason: you never quite know what's really going on at any particular point of the story.

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly barmy. The scene where everyone's face turns into Sean's is particularly good.

zanne said...

This book is awesome! But why do so many bad things happen during ski weekends?!

L. K. Stine said...

I was just going to say: ski weekends always = death. It's a time honoured tradition.

Deathycat said...

This was always one of my absolute favorites. I have an unhealthy fixation on decapitation. ^_^ It sounds just as awesome as I remember it. May have to reread it sometime soon. ^_^

Anonymous said...

L. K. Stine, I think "anything = death" is a time-honoured Fear Street tradition.

L. K. Stine said...

Too true, Anon, too true.
Except, for maybe abusive relationships. Those are alright.

LAK said...

I like that books are judged as good if you don't know what the hell is going on! How twisted a mind RL has!

What a fabulous decapitation scene though. That makes the book awesome to me. Not enough skiing decapitations happening in Fearland.

A. M. Stine said...

Too many letter-opener stabbings, not enough decapitations!

L. K. Stine said...

How about a letter-opener decapitation? I think that's a scene worthy of R.L.

LAK said...

I feel a little wrong now...I have been thinking about the logistics of a letter opener decapitation.
What kind letter opener would work well? My Staples one wouldn't. An antique one might.

I'm gonna stop now. I've got to go save a kitten stuck in a tree or something.

Anonymous said...

I saw a TV show once in which a motorcyclist was decapitated by wire. His head popped off and hit the windscreen of the cops pursuing him. It's so sudden that you don't know what's happened, but then they find the head and you're all "OH GOD." In short, I approve.

A. M. Stine said...

So we're all in agreement? Decapitation=awesome?

Anonymous said...

Just thought you should know!

L. K. Stine said...

Oh my god, that might be the grossest thing that has ever existed. Way worse than decapitations by far.

RecallerReminder said...

This book was kinda boring to me but I love the ending. Last lines were awesome.