Friday, October 24, 2008

Night Games or "If You Want To Live, Get Better Friends!"

Night Games is my next choice for you all. I think R.L. was wracking his brain, trying to figure out what teenagers like to do. “… they like… sneaking out late at night! I’ll write a whole book about that!” For the first part of the book, I was disappointed. I figured it would be one of the books with a lame ending, where it all turns out to be a joke or something ridiculous like that. The ending WAS ridiculous but … well, you’ll see. It’s AWESOME.

Perfect tagline for this book. “Night time is the right time… for trouble.” Rhyming always gets a point in my book. The cover depicts Diane, our heroine, who is described as being uglier than her friend Cassie with scraggly blonde hair. On the cover, she looks pretty good though, so I’ll just assume Cassie is an international model. Her rage-a-holic boyfriend (yes, ANOTHER one) is on the cover too, checking her out. Over all the cover is good, EXCEPT: it shows them in a cemetery. These “Night Games” never took place in a cemetery. In fact, I don’t think the word “cemetery” was even mentioned in this book! Boo, hiss!
(PS: you’re just going to have to trust me about the cover art because I CANNOT find one online and my camera is dead. Sorry!)

The first chapter explains our main characters to us. We have Diane and Lenny, the aforementioned rage-addled boyfriend. They are hanging out (late at night!) with Cassie, the beautiful red-head, and her boyfriend Jordan. After dancing away their cares, they start walking the streets of Shadyside (late at night!) They end up outside their math teacher’s house, Mr. Crowell. He’s the typical teacher that everyone hates from high school. Then they run into their old buddy, Spencer, who they see sneaking out of a house. Spencer tells them that he dropped out of high school to become a cat burglar. The foursome is all “Ooo, mysterious, cool” and Spencer is all “I’m lying, obviously … fools”. Because who’s a cat burglar anymore?

Spencer tells them that he plays these Night Games (and yes, Night Games is always capitalized) after everyone in Shadyside goes to bed. He sneaks out after midnight and creates a rukus! You're telling me that no one in Shadyside stays up after midnight? What about when Saturday Night Live is on? Anyways, Lenny and Jordan think these games are the best. idea. ever. so Spencer takes them on one right away. The first Night Game consists of scaring a couple that’s making out in a car in a driveway. Spencer pretends to be the cops, and then they all run away giggling like school girls. GREAT! Even the girls are hooked now!

The next day at school, Mr. Crowell teases Lenny in front of the whole class, and basically calls him an idiot. Lenny isn’t gonna take that! He knocks over his desk and strides up to the front to knock him out! Luckily, Lenny is totally insane and decides last minute against punching a teacher in the face. He just runs out of the room and Mr. Crowell continues as if nothing happened. No detention?

That night, the gang meets up for another Night Game! Lenny wants to go to Mr. Crowell’s house and Spencer is up for a scare. Apparently Mr. Crowell is one of the sad teachers that doesn’t have a family so makes up for it by going all out during the holidays. He made the outside of his house into a Santa wonderland! The lights burn all the eyes of the teenagers, they’re so bright. Are these teenagers actually old people in disguise? Because they complain. A lot.

Anyways, they’re all just creeping outside their teachers house after midnight, being totally respectable, when all of a sudden, Spencer SMASHES a decoration. I KNOW. All the other kids freak out, and everyone takes off running while Mr. Crowell yells out the front door. Everyone is really upset that Spencer just destroyed a Christmas decoration, but I was wonder what the hell else they would do. They were basically just sitting there like Peeping Toms. Was that their master plan? Eventually Lenny and Jordan start laughing with Spencer and high-fiving. Way to go, Spencer! The girls are still disapproving. When Diane gets home, she gets a late night phone call from her ex-boyfriend, Bryan. He tells her he wants to get back together, and also threaten her if she doesn’t break up with Lenny. Nice. Diane is not having any of it. She already has a boyfriend with rage issues! They hang up and the phone rings again. Creepy whisper voice tells her that he knows about the Night Games. She thinks its Bryan and hangs up on the loser.

All of a sudden we travel back in time to “Last Winter”. The gang, including Spencer, is traveling to Spencer’s uncles ski cabin. Another one? Spencer is not happy because Diane brought along Lenny, even though he is totally into her! For someone who isn’t supposed to be “that” pretty, she sure gets a lot of boys. Could it be something else that’s attracting them? I bet Diane is the only girl in Shadyside that goes past first base! Riskay! Anyways, Lenny and Diane get into a fight and then Spencer tries to capitalize on this by kissing Diane. All he gets is a punch in the face when Lenny interrupts them. No punch in the face for Diane? Spencer hates Lenny.

Back to “This Winter”! Another night, another Night Game. They go back to Mr. Crowell’s house and this time, decide to break in. Diane emos that she didn’t REALLY want to go in, but was caught up in all the excitement. Sure you were Diane. They decide to just move stuff around so he’ll know they were in there, but can’t call the police. I’m pretty sure he could still call the police, geniuses. Mr. Crowell comes home while their all in there, so they beat it out the back door, unsure whether or not he saw them. Spencer also took a CD player, which scandalizes the rest of the group. Losers.

Diane is super nervous the next day, especially when Mr. Crowell asks her to stay for a few extra minutes. He just wanted to see how her midterm project was going though, because she chose a hard question. A midterm project in math? Like is she doing ONE math question? I don’t get it. Diane runs into her crazed ex, Bryan, later while walking home. She doesn’t want to talk to him, and he’s all upset because he waited outside for her for hours. Yeah, that’s a line every girl loves to hear! They argue and he denies making any prank calls to her house.

Diane goes home and Lenny shows up at her door. He’s upset because Mr. Crowell got him kicked off the basketball team (correction: Lenny’s poor grades in Mr. Crowell’s class got him kicked off. Shoulder some responsibility, Lenny.) But now he’s having violent fantasies about murdering Mr. Crowell. Diane comforts him instead of filing a restraining order like she should. Cassie shows up to Diane’s with a threatening note. Then Spencer shows up, also with a note. They are mildly suspicious of Jordan, who is note-less.

Cut to “Last Winter”. Lenny and Spencer still hate each other. The five of them are having a snowball fight, Lenny and Jordan vs. the girls and Spencer. Spencer decides to use ICE-balls and makes both Lenny and Jordan bleed. Uncool man! Lenny and Jordan decide to bury Spencer in the snow face first. Everyone is laughing at this, except Spencer, who is suffocating. The boys stop, but Spencer can’t get out and no one helps. They think he’s just embarrassed, so they decide to LEAVE. As in, pack up their bags and go back to Shadyside. Spencer thinks “You’re not going to leave me here to die? ARE YOU?” Answer: of course. Methinks Spencer might be out for revenge.

"This Winter". They decided once again to go back to Mr. Crowell’s. They break in AGAIN but this time Diane sees that Lenny brought a GUN! Oops, no, it’s just a spray paint can. WTF Diane, are you actually blind? Lenny starts spray painting the room while the other kids explore. And find Mr. Crowell dead on the floor. Uh oh! They make a break for it after Jordan finds the spray paint can that Lenny tossed under the Christmas tree.

Diane is super freaked out the next day about getting caught. They hear on the news that Mr. Crowell had a heart attack. The Shadyside Police’s theory is that someone broke in and SCARED him to death. Is that really a legitimate theory? Would that hold up in court? Diane gets a threatening note, done in the spray paint from last night. Lenny and Diane j’accuse Jordan, since he had the spray paint can! Jordan is all “Eff you guys, I gave it to Spencer”. They all decide to go pay Spencer a visit. I bet Jordan is still nursing his wounds that his only friends would j’accuse him so readily. They get to the house that Spencer lives in and notice that during the day, it’s kinda shitty. They peek in and see that it’s completely empty, and the heat/electricity isn’t working. Spencer is a high school squatter? That’s kinda rad. They go in to investigate and see that Spencer is lying dead on the floor. Yikes!

The friends are all upset but decide not to call the police because then they’d have to tell them about Night Games! I assume they’re worried about getting in trouble for sneaking out. Assholes. Anyways, they're standing around Spencer’s corpse, deciding what to do, when something magical happens. Spencer rolls over and sits up. He agrees with Diane that he’s really and truly dead. “I’m dead. I’m really dead.” At this point I’m thinking: No way. No way am I this lucky. I mean I’ve gotten some zombie books before, but this zombie would be coming out of nowhere! It has to be a joke. I can’t be THIS lucky.

Spencer floats off the floor and spins in the air. YES! YES! Mother effing Zombie! With special flying powers!! He did die that day in the snow! He tells his former friends that they murdered him and didn’t even notice. (They are huge assholes) His hatred for them turned him into a zombie! He’s especially mad at Diane for this because he liked her best. That’s why he decides to kill her first! He puts his hands around her neck and starts to strangle her while her friends look on. Nice. Diane fights back the only way she knows how. With hugs! She tells Spencer that they’re friends and she loves him. Cassie joins in on the hugging circle while Spencer screams that he needs his hatred. He can’t have this “love” and “friendship” and “HUGS”. The boys join in and they all hug zombie Spencer until he feels loved and melts into a puddle. I’m confused. Did they really love him, or do that to kill him? It was never explained.

Diane is relieved their horror is over but can’t seem to warm up. She tries to take a breath but can’t. She realizes right then that Spencer killed her, and she is also a re-animated corpse! Diane-Zombie! She’s a little pissed at her friends since she was MURDERED in front of them and no one did a damn thing. She wonders whether to tell her friends or have some Night Games of her own… END.

Thank god it didn’t end with a little joke and a kiss with her rage-a-holic boyfriend. This book started off super lame and ended spectacularly. You know how I feel about zombie books. 70 out of 77 spray paint cans that look like guns!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Date or "Attack of Steve from Full House!"

Judging by the cover of “First Date”, we are in for a treat! It is pure 80s goodness. The back of the book tells us that Chelsea is dying for a date. I bet she didn’t mean that literally, although she comes off as so effing desperate and pathetic in the book, she may actually have rather died that not have a man to worship.

This cover is an immediate hit with me because the killer depicted on the cover (if you kinda squint) looks just like D.J. Tanner’s boyfriend Steve! Of Full House fame? Also the voice of Aladdin? Please tell me you know who I’m talking about. I had such a crush on him when I was little! And also, apparently now, because I cannot stop talking about him… Moving on. Our killer’s name is Lonnie Mayes/Murder-y Joe, and on the cover, Lonnie/Joe is about to strangle Chelsea. Except, Chelsea is obviously already dead. Like, for real guys, LOOK at those dead, vacant eyes. She looks pretty and thin though, something I mention only because someone (mom, friends) tells Chelsea to lose “a little weight” in like every chapter. GREAT. I also want to mention that the tagline is “That’s when he always kills them.” Unique for Fear Street, but I guess I’m more a traditional girl since I don’t love it. Should have been: “First Dates are KILLER.” Quick, to the point.

The opening chapter jumps right into the story. Joe is making out with his date Candy and has a lot of pent up emotions… serial killer emotions. He also feels like he’s suffocating really often in the steamy, makeout car. We find out right away that he’s our killer, because he decides to kill her after she asks one too many questions. Like she sees his driver’s license and notices his name on it is Lonnie Mayes not Joe. Joe should really be more careful. Anyways, he takes her on a little walk… off a cliff! Zoink! He decides on a new town to terrorize. Shadyside.

Okay, the back of the book tells us that Chelsea is a pathetic, fat, loser who can’t get a date. Then TWO mysterious guys show up and ask her out. One of them is obviously the killer, so let’s do a little tally every time one of them does something Murder-y Joe like.

- Feels like suffocating all the time
- Hates being asked questions
- Shouldn’t let girls see his driver’s license
- Has curly black hair
- Has some Mom issues since he thinks about how much he hates her, regularly
- Totally jacked from working out and killing teenage girls

Enough about Joe, lets meet terrible Chelsea! Her family just moved to Shadyside in September and she’s no good at being the new kid. She emos to her mom about not having a boyfriend and her mom tells her to lose some weight and wear lipstick. Yewouch. That’s cold, but maybe normal for a late 80s mom? Chelsea has only made one friend so far, Nina, but Chelsea doesn’t see to be that keen on her. Well, she’s mostly jealous because Nina has lots of friends, and a boyfriend Doug. When Chelsea drops by Nina’s house unexpectedly, she has to suffer the humiliation of watching her friend get in a car with a BOY. On a DATE. Chelsea thinks about how whipped Nina is:
“Doug blows the horn and Nina comes running.” But then Chelsea wishes she had her own boyfriend so badly! WTF Chelsea? Either be a pathetic, boyfriend wishing girl, or a judgmental boyfriend hater. You can’t be both.

Chelsea feels her luck is changing when she meets the New Boy in school. His name is Will and he has black curly hair. (+1 point towards being Murder-y Joe!) He also has big powerful arms. (+1) Chelsea really wants to talk to him, but can’t because she’s shy. There is a whole lot of emoing going on in her head. I kinda hate Chelsea.

She has an after school job at her fathers new restaurant, the “All-Star Café”. R.L. sucks at thinking up names doesn’t he? All his cool, teenage band names are like “Bad to the Bone” and “The Cool Dudes”. Just name the restaurant “Shadyside Grill” or something, don’t hurt your massive brain trying to be creative, R.L.! Anyhoo, Chelsea meets another new guy in town, Tim Sparks. But “everyone” calls him Sparks! (+1 for having an obviously fake name, and for also making people call him that lame nickname. You know he gave it to himself) He also has thick black hair, (+1) and big powerful arms (+1). Sparks asks Chelsea out on a date, kinda. I say kinda because he asks her to the movies, and then her dad comes up behind her, and he runs away. Smooth. (+1 for distaste of parents!)

I didn’t really like Chelsea’s dad because he was really hard on her, and spent most of his time glaring. But then the restaurant gets robbed, and Chelsea’s dad gets his head bashed in, so I softened up to the guy. Mr. Richards is put in the intensive care unit, and Chelsea goes home alone since her mom works all the time. She invites Nina over for company, but trampy Nina brings Doug over so they can make out. Chelsea thinks super bitter thoughts about her only friend.

We get a chapter from the point of view of Murderous Joe. He likes Shadyside, but still thinks some girls need to die. We find out he hates women because his mom left him alone with his abusive Dad. Apparently, his mom ran away and took his sister, but not him. Well… yeah, that’s pretty cold. Not saying that killing girls is the answer! But, I’d be kinda pissed too. He mentions that Shadyside has the Conononka River running though it. I looked this up, hoping that it would be a real river but no, its not. When you look it up on Google though, it leads you to Fear Street reviews! I thought that was cool. Joe then kills a kitten to get back at his mom. WTF, Joe?! A kitten!?

Chelsea is back at work at the ALL-STAR CAFÉ. She’s about to close up when two young teenagers come in and start to kinda harass her. And by kinda, I mean they call her cute and ask what time she gets off work. Creepy, but these guys are like 14! Anyways, she thinks she’s going to be robbed again. Sparks comes into the restaurant just in time! The kids leave and Sparks is like “Were they robbin’ you?” like it’s the most normal question in the world. Like being held up is soooo natural, a day to day occurrence for most people. I guess maybe in Shadyside, it is! He doesn’t ask Chelsea out again much to her disappointment. However, when Sparks gets home, he is unimpressed with himself for not taking the opportunity to ask her out. So he rips his phone out of the wall and throws it through a window. (+1!)

Although this has nothing to do with the story, I needed to mention this because L.K. Stine will love it. Nina is super stressed because she saw Doug talking to Suki Thomas! Nina even calls her a tramp! Awesome. Will comes up to Chelsea and asks her to take a walk with him. Cute! Chelsea enjoys their walk but I thought some parts were weird. Like when Will finds a piece of cord on the ground and stretches it menacingly (+1). Or when he says he loves snow because its ‘pure’ (+1). Classic sign of a man with homicidal tendencies towards women! He also tells Chelsea that he moves around a lot. (+1) Will ends the walk when he asks her out on a “secret” date for the upcoming Saturday. Chelsea thinks this is really romantic, while I think this deserves another point. (+1) That’s four points from one conversation only!

Sparks comes into the ALL-STAR CAFÉ again and chats up Chelsea. Sparks tells Chelsea that he moves around a lot (+1) but gets pissed off when Chelsea asks more questions. (+1) He also tells her he had an interview at the Mill, and Chelsea is like “Uh… the mill shut down five years ago. Liar.” (+1) He asks her out again, but Chelsea has to say no because she already has a date. He gets super red and rushes out like a “bomb ready to explode” over her! Simmer down, Chelsea, you aren’t that hot. At least one of these dudes is trying to kill you.

Saturday is Date Night! Will picks up Chelsea and brings her to the next town for their date. Ouch. I hope that Will is at least the killer, and not just embarrassed to be seen with Chelsea. Will accidentally forgets his wallet in the car and Chelsea gives it to him. He is very snappish at this though… almost like he doesn’t like his wallet being touched. (+1!) He also demands to know if she told Nina about their date. Their SECRET date! (+1) After the movie, Will takes Chelsea to the parking spot of Shadyside. Then he ruins my point game early by attempting to kill her! Will is Murder-y Joe! He tries to push her off the cliff, but she won’t get close enough to the edge. Then he is about to strangle her with the cord found in the woods but another car comes to Make out Point interrupts his plan. He is super pissed off.

Chelsea suggests they get out of their and head back to her place. WHOA. And Suki Thomas is the tramp?? Just kidding, you go Chelsea. Will continues to try and strangle her back at her place. She reminds him of his sister that also abandoned him as a child (although it probably wasn’t her idea). While she’s busy making hot chocolate, he creeps up behind her and thinks about how she’s a slob. “He hated girls who didn’t tuck their tags in. His sister was a slob too. He read the tag: Size L.” Untucked tag? Size LARGE?! My god, man, put this hideous monster out of her misery!! Ugly girls don’t belong here in Sweet Valley … er… I mean, Shadyside. Nina shows up at Chelsea’s door unexpectedly and Will flees through the back door without telling Chelsea. You know Nina is thinking that Chelsea made him up.

So while Chelsea is about to leave her house the next day, there’s a creepy man lurking outside! Turns out he’s an FBI AGENT. Yes, Friends, the FBI makes an appearance in a Fear Street book! Maybe, finally, someone will solve a crime! Agent Martin is describe as having ice blue eye. Eyes that stared right through her. Zombie-rapist eyes. Stephen Harper eyes. (Sorry, Canadian joke) He seems trustworthy! He says that a man is on the loose, a killer with curly black hair and powerful arms. Chelsea accuses Tim Sparks! FBI asks if he’s registered in school, because this man can pass as a high schooler. HINT HINT Chelsea! Although, I think Sparks is guilty of something, at least. He does have some obvious rage issues.

Which we know get to see in action! After the agent gives Chelsea his card and tells her he’ll be in touch, she goes into work. Sparks shows up as Chelsea is closing and is falling down drunk. He tells her that he knows she likes him. He then tries to "embrace" her. Or in real life, attack her! Chelsea runs away, and Sparks stumbles around, eventually burning his hand horribly on the burner. Chelsea decides he needs help, (remember, she thinks he’s the murderer on the loose) so she stays and calls the FBI and the ambulance. For once, the cops show up before anyone can be murdered. They take away Sparks.

After all the brouhaha is over, Will shows up to pick up Chelsea. They go back to her house again because her parents are never home. Talk about some left-home-alone guilt for the parents here! Chelsea confesses to Will that she told Nina all about him, even though he was supposed to be a secret. Will is all “Hmmm, I’ll just have to kill Nina. No big deal!” He gets Chelsea to invite Nina over right away. Meanwhile, the FBI agent calls Chelsea to tell her that Sparks is not the right guy. While she’s on the phone, she comes to the realization that WILL is the murderer, not Sparks! It also helps that she sees Will pacing around with his murder cord in his hand. Yikes! FBI tells her to get out of there right away, but Nina is on her way! Chelsea runs into the street to try to find her, but is stopped by Will. And then strangled to death. Good riddance Chels!

Will drags Chelsea’s body behind the house (the murder happened in the front yard? And no one noticed? I guess Fear Street really is an uncaring place) and waits inside for Nina. He needs to kill her quick before the FBI arrive! But for some reason, he sits around chatting with her for a few minutes before attempting to kill her. He’s also terrible at killing since he keeps dropping the damn cord! Anyways he’s interrupted by Chelsea. Who is not dead! But Will thinks she is? He’s very confused and keeps repeating “But I killed her.” Even when the FBI show up. Way to maintain innocence Will!

Before you ask: No, Chelsea was not a zombie, gosh darnit! She pretended to die and held her breath. She plays saxophone so she can hold her breath for a long time. She’s no good at it though, because she passes out. That’s why it took her so long to interrupt the attack of Nina. Although I think she probably held back for a few seconds, since she has such obvious problems with Nina. “I’ll just… see where this is going…”

The book ends with Chelsea visiting Sparks in the hospital, and asking for his forgiveness for thinking he was a murderer. Which is totally uncalled for since he looked JUST like the murderer and also ATTACKED her. Seriously, Chelsea? I hate you. Sparks is a runaway, and blames his attacker behaviour on having a few beers. He had never drank before, so it’s excusable right? Right?! For Chelsea, sure, why not! They make a date. “It’s bound to be better than my first date!” Get it? Because she was almost murdered the day before. God I hate Chelsea. 3 Stephen Harper lazar beam eyes out of 10, purely because I loved the cover art so much.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Holly Heard or "Terrible Advice for Girls of All Ages!"

First off, let me just apologize for the slow postings this month. No, I have not snapped and killed L.K. Stine. She’s in the tropics of New Zealand, having the time of her life, while I am preparing for the Canadian winter. Not that I’m bitter. So she will be back and posting in a few weeks, but until then, you’ll have to make do with me. So I have chosen What Holly Heard!

Cover: It has distinguishable characters on it at least. Holly is (obviously) the girl that’s doing a terrible job of eavesdropping. Like seriously, she’s basically in their conversation. The pretty Asian girl is Mei, an important character and one who Holly DOES eavesdrop on! One point cover artist! The boy on the other hand… that is not Mei’s boyfriend and partner in crime, Noah. Based on the description, that boy is Jed, our heroine, Miriam’s boyfriend. Boo, cover artist! I don’t think Mei and Jed are ever in the same SCENE! I take back a point! That leaves you with… zero. A fair score I’d say.

So we have another triangle of friends. Miriam is the resident red-head (is there something in the Shadyside water?!), Holly is the gossip-queen and therefore kinda trampy, while Ruth is the trio’s ugly, serious friend whose father just died. Although it’s a little bit different because Ruth is the BLONDE one while Holly has BROWN hair. Wow. Those characters sound in no way like the hundreds of other stereotypical girls.

The big thing that the girls are ‘gossiping’ about is Mei’s big party. Holly is in love with Mei’s badass boyfriend Noah, and tries to eye-fuck him every chance she gets (pardon my language!). O Holly also has a boyfriend, Gary, who is best friends with Ruth. Just … FYI. Miriam asks her lovely boyfriend Jed if they’re still on to the party and Jed kinda snaps. He’s all FINE PICK YOU UP AT EIGHT!!! and Miriam is satisfied. You could go without him, Miriam. I don’t like the direction Miriam is taking. Holly, the resident eavesdropper promises to find out who crapped in Jed’s cornflakes. Or something like that.

Jed picks Miriam at eight and seems in a better mood. There’s even hand kissing! Miriam is in 12th grade heaven. When they get to Mei's, Miriam notices Holly’s “short, skintight black dress that looked painted on.” Miriam is apparently NOT a teenage girl because she tells Holly her dress is “too hot” and everyone is staring at her. Really? Telling you’re girlfriend she’s dressed too good or slutty or whatever Miriam meant? Never a good idea. Holly blows her off, and tries to flirt with Noah. Miriam goes to dance with Jed, but he wants to slow dance. Miriam mentions that it’s a fast song (aka, they look stupid) and Jed says: “Shut up.” WHAT?! Miriam just “relaxed against him.” Not a good message, R.L.

Next day and the girls are hanging out at Ruth’s playing with her hamsters. R.L., you gave the ugly girl the hamsters too? Common! Miriam finds a gigantic, ancient hammer in Ruth’s closet which she’s super protective of because it was her dads. Weird. Also, obvious foreshadowing. Holly tells them that Mei’s house got trashed by Noah’s badass friends and now Mei is fighting with her parents. Boring, gossip. The word gossip is said, I believe, 237 000 times in this book.

At the big basketball game, Miriam is cheering on her kinda verbally abusive boyfriend. He get elbowed in the face accidentally and reacts normally. For a Fear Street boy that is, because he starts to choke the other boy on the court! He’s obviously thrown out of the game. Miriam goes to comfort him after the game and he’s really defensive about his actions. So defensive in fact that he starts poking Miriam, asking her how SHE would like it if someone pushed her around. She tries to slap his hand away but he catches it and CRUSHES it in his hand while telling her that she now knows how it feels. What. The . Fuck. R.L., I don’t read Fear Street to get a hefty dose of after-school special on relationship abuse! (although it turns out that way much more often than not) Miriam is super pissed off (thank god) but tells him that if he ever lays a hand on her AGAIN, they’re through. SERIOUSLY? This is the message you’re sending to teen girls? That the second time is bad? “Her anger was fading. He looked so tired, so broken, like a scolded puppy that truly didn’t mean any harm.” Oh my god!

Right, moving on. Miriam meets up with Holly whose super freaked out because she overheard Mei and Noah plotting to kill Mei's mom because she’s trying to break them up. Miriam laughs at her because everyone says they’d like to kill their parents at some time! Then tells Holly about the hand crushing incident. Holly is all “WTF that’s a big deal, dump his ass.” Miriam does not take her advice, because she’s a Fear Street girl.

The next day they hear that Mei’s mom took a tumble down the stairs. A fatal tumble. Holly was right! Noah also comes up to Holly and casually mentions that he saw her listening in the night before. CRAP! Holly is convinced they’re going to kill her. She’s working late on some pep rally posters at the school and asks Miriam to come keep her company because she’s freaked out. She also tell her that she found out some dirt about Jed. Ooooo. Miriam goes to the school… and finds Holly strangled! DOUBLE CRAP! Holly was actually right! Jed finds Miriam screaming in the gym over Holly’s body and they do the right thing and call the cops. Jed was there … working out … suspicious?

Ruth comes by the next day to give Miriam her notes. On the note book, someone scrawled in BLOOD “We know you know, that’s why you die next!” O fudge. They at least go to the police about their suspicions on Mei and her badass Noah. Jed comes over to comfort her, but is in a really pissy mood. He ends up telling her that he’s glad Holly is dead because she was always sticking her nose in other peoples business! Stay classy, Jed! Jeez, the girl died yesterday! Miriam decides not to tell him about her suspicions about Mei and Noah, because she’s afraid he’d go hurt them. Um, I wouldn’t tell him anything, because he’s an effing psycho. Just, FYI, MIRIAM.

At school the next day, Mei and Noah confront Miriam about the LIES she told the cops! Or at least, Mei says their lies. Because she loved her mom! And while she didn’t love Holly, she didn’t want her to die! But Mei kinda goes down on the credibility when she says “I would KILL for Noah. Don’t say a word about Noah!” Um, isn’t that what the whole thing is about? Killing your mom so you could see Noah? Killing Holly because she’s all over Noah? Not exactly the sane statements you’d expect from a non psycho killer.

Miriam and Jed keep on having arguments because Miriam thinks he’s keeping secrets from her. (Psssst, Miriam. The secret is he’s a total douchebag.) She agrees to come to his big game that night to support him. While at the game, Miriam comes to a realization. While she’s watching Jed choke yet ANOTHER opponent, she thinks to herself: “Holly found something out about Jed. Then Holly was choked to death. Hmmm.” She finally does something good for her survival, and runs out of the game. But Jed follows her (I guess he got kicked out of the game AGAIN! Whoda thunkit?) and chases her while Miriam runs to Ruth’s house. Totally normal boyfriend behaviour. He catches her but she elbows him in the windpipe (go Miriam!) and runs into Ruth’s house.

Ruth is a total wreck and tells her there have been TWO more murders tonight, so Jed couldn’t be responsible, it has to be Mei and Noah! Miriam is relieved, although, WHATEVER, he still just chased you down and captured you. Facts are facts. The two murders though? Are Ruth’s hamsters. Not as bad as dog murder, but still pretty bad. Miriam is comforting Ruth when somehow (I forget and can’t be bothered to check) she finds Ruth’s dads ancient hammer. Covered in blood and fur. Hmmmm.

Ruth finds Miriam and the hammer and immediately begins to crazily confess. Ruth killed Holly because she was in love with Gary and Holly didn’t treat him right. Then she tried to frame Mei and Noah, although Mei’s mom did just accidentally fall down some stairs, Ruth didn’t do that. How convenient, I guess? Ruth and Miriam have a fight with the hammer, when Jed rushes in to save Miriam. Blerg. But it’s okay, as Ruth throws the hammer at him and he goes down. OWNED! Ruth and Miriam continue their death match. Jed then does his only redeemable action in this whole effing book: He groans loudly and distracts Ruth long enough for Miriam to pick up her glass hamster cage (glass?) and smash it over her head. Victory!

The book ends with Jed confessing to taking steroids and feeling guilty that he didn’t save Holly because they were in the same building when she was murdered. He asks “Will you – will you stay with me?” Miriam sighed and held on to him. “That’s the latest gossip.” END.

This book was AWFUL. Very few murders, most of which were animals, and there were so many terrible messages for teenage girls! Like for real. All the girls did was obsess about their boyfriends or other peoples boyfriends, and then kill for them! Mei was willing to kill for Noah, Ruth DID kill for Gary and Miriam was like a walking doormat! Blech. I give this book -1 dead hamsters out of 1 000 000. Lets just forget about this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This book is a little different: it’s not written by our favorite writer R.L. Stine. But it is called My Favorite Writer: R.L. Stine! Such a good find right? My local library has everything you need to stalk R.L.

Alright, let’s start with childhood. R.L. was born October 8, 1943, which means we just missed his 65 birthday! Gosh, I wish I knew about this book sooner, we could have had a shin dig. He was born in Ohio and grew up near some railway tracks. Random. When he was a kid he wrote books like The All New Bob Stine Giggle Book, which sounds weird to me. I think probably because I’m picturing him and he doesn’t look like he giggles very often. Nor should he. Bob liked to tell scary stories to his brother Bill, with whom he shared a room (that sucks!) and got a typewriter for his bar mitzvah present. Mazal tov!

The College Years: His nickname was Jovial Bob. He was the editor of the college newspaper. Wow. University was different back then apparently. Jovial Bob? That must have been a sarcastic nickname.

Getting Started: Bob published his first magazine for kids called Bananas. His first book ever was called How to Be Funny and is described as “a very silly guide book to help children be funny.” Must. Find. Copy. He also wrote for a children’s show called Eureeka’s Castle in the 1980s. This “writing for kids” thing is actually pretty surprising considering how much messed up crap he wrote later with Fear Street. When do you think he got his fabulous idea of having shitty heroines fall in love with their attackers? Hopefully while writing a show for ages three-five!

Hoooooorror: So apparently Bob wanted to write a horror book that was “funnier” and less gory than others aimed towards an 8-12 audience. So he wrote Blind Date (which I also don’t have!) Weird that he wanted to write funny books since Fear Street books aren’t supposed to be funny (OMG, wait, are they?! Were all those puns in the taglines … bad jokes?! Mind. Is. Blown!) Blind Date was a best seller, and then came Twisted and the Babysitter. So someone was SO impressed with the BABYSITTER, that they asked him to write a whole series like that? 1989 was a bad time for books I guess. The first Fear Streets were The New Girl, The Surprise Party and The Overnight (none of which are stellar…)

Since Fear Street was so successful, he decided to write for kids again and introduced Goosebumps in 1992. My Favorite Writer tells us that the main difference is that “children do not die in the Goosebumps stories”. *Sigh* But wouldn’t those books be better if they did? In 2000, Bob was still riding that success wave, and so launched Nightmare Room, which no one really knows about.

The end of the book has some of his favorite books. The two Fear Streets are: Switched and The Face. Embarassingly, I squealed when I saw that. The Face is MY absolute favorite, and one that I’m going to review verrrry soon for you all. AND Switched is one of L.K.’s favorite which we haven’t found yet, but oddly talk about all the time. So the three of us are on the same wavelength! I bet Bob would like our website if we told him about it.

The rest of the book is pretty boring with creative writing tips and a how-to of “writing a biography review”. WTF? Is the author trying to get kids to review his book?

There is some Fan Information though. Apparently Bob answers EVERY letter he gets! He used to have a staff of five to answer his fan mail. So guess what my next project is?! I’m going to write Bob and tell him how big a fan I am! I’ll post my letter AND response when I get one.

There is also a quiz. I’ll give you some sample questions. If you try to answer them in the comments I’ll let you know if you’re right!

1. Where and when was Bob Stine born?
2. What is the name of Bob’s most successful series?
3. Who did Bob marry? (HAH, I didn’t tell you! Just try…it starts with a J)
4. What is the name of Bob’s brother?

And FYI there is a glossary in the back that includes the words bar mitzvah and gory. The more you know!

Alright, I feel that we are much better acquainted with Our Favorite Writer. I can’t wait to get my hands on Blind Date. O I forgot to mention the cover! (Yes I realize that it's terrible quality. Do you know how hard it was to find this?) Bob looks… well, he looks bored. And kinda like Eugene Levy. Too bad. It also needs a tagline. Maybe “R.L. Stine wouldn’t sneak into your room at night to kill you… would he?” Yeah!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Dead Lifeguard or "No Ghosts, No Zombies, Just Disappointment."

So I have another Super Chiller for you guys! Only because I love you all so much! This one was totally messed up, lots of graphic murders and potential killers. Also, a zombie fake out!

“The Dead Lifeguard” unfortunately does NOT take place in Shadyside. I know, right? It takes place at a North Beach Country Club about 40 minutes away from our beloved Fear Street. My only problem with the book not taking place in Shadyside is the fact that it easily could have. Shadyside seems to have EVERYthing else (music academy, lake, island, superhuge mall owned by Reva’s family, etc.) that why couldn’t it have a country club? There’s no Fear Lake Country Club? Where do the rich kids go to exclude the poor?

The cover art is good, mostly thanks to the boy’s short swimsuit and the awesome old man in a speedo in the background. I call him “the boy” though, because there are SO many different lifeguards that I have no clue which two are on the cover. It totally doesn’t matter. I guess if it doesn’t matter I probably shouldn’t point out that the male lifeguard is just standing there, instead of saving the girls life. What is he staring at just above to my shoulder?

The book is cut into four separate parts for reasons that escape me, other than R.L. likes to pretend his books need separate sections. Part One is “A New Ghost” (spooooky!) and starts off with some Crazy. A character named “Mouse” is talking on the phone to a dead person, Terry. (FYI: Terry ain't talking back) Mouse knows Terry’s dead, and it going to avenge his death by killing the lifeguards! That was easy… Mouse kills the lifeguards! The end. Wait, we have to find out Mouse’s true identity? Frak! Well, let’s meet the potential murderers and victims…

*I should add that this book was written from the different perspectives of most of the lifeguards, a la Babysitters Super Specials. None were as painful as having to read effing Karen Brewster’s take on things though.

Alright, first up is Lindsay, a small, “mousy” blonde haired girl, who is kinda our main character and has severe memory issues that don’t seem to bother her as much as they would me. May-Ann is the resident kook, who collects “mouse” figurines and creeps everyone out with ghost stories. Then there is Artie, the small, “mousy” red haired kid who always tries to prove he’s stronger than everyone else (read: Rage issues!). We also have Danny, who is a perv; Pug, the hot guy; Cassie, the hot blonde girl; Deirdre, the hot brunette, and Pete their supervisor. See where I’m going with this?

Things start off rough for Lindsay because her name is not on the list of lifeguards, even though she’s worked there before. Neither she, nor Pete remember her interview. Everyone shrugs their shoulders and she’s added to the team. One more lifeguard arrives late, Spencer. He’s worked there before and recognizes Lindsay from two years ago.

Apparently they all live at the country club for the summer. The whole time reading this book, all I could think about were the Saved By The Bell episodes where they worked at a country club, and the most random shit happened. Didn’t they also live there? Anyhoo, May-Ann tells the other lifeguards that the club is haunted, by a boy who drowned the summer before, and a lifeguard that died two years ago. Instead of being creeped out like Fear Street kids normally would, they all make fun of May-Ann mercilessly, like regular kids would do.

A bunch of non-action happens for a while, including Cassie and Pug becoming Fear Street Boyfriend/Girlfriend and they all tease May-Ann about ghosts. There is also a lot of Lindsay not remembering anything about Spencer or working the summer before… it seems like she doesn’t remember ANYthing. But she’s not really bothered by it. Later that night, Lindsay can’t sleep because it’s too hot, so she decides to take a dip in the pool. She’s a little perturbed when she comes across a body floating in the pool. Which turns out to be have her own face. And the dead girl keeps murmuring “I’m Lindsay”. And then all her skin melts off! Lindsay doesn’t do much besides hold her until she’s left holding a gross skull, which seems like the opposite reaction most people would have. Of course it turns out to be a dream, but I still think dream-me (or dream-YOU) would have never even picked up the head of a dead girl as it disintegrated. To each their own, I guess!

However, when Lindsay wakes up from the dream, something grosser happens. She’s called into the common room by a voice (never follow disembodied voices people!) and she finds hot girl Cassie lying by the fire. Did I say by the fire? Oops, I meant lying with her face in fire! Yeah, gross, I know. That ends the first part!

Part Two: “The Old Ghost” begins soon after the other chapter ended, since the police are now on the scene. Unfortunately not the Shadyside police, but they do mention that one of the cops is from there! Oooo, I bet he’s evil and bad at his job. I think the best part is when Danny wonders if a burglar is to blame. Yeah, a robber snuck into the dorm rooms of a bunch of teenage lifeguards, and when Cassie interrupted him hauling out his HUGE sack of loot, he just held her face in the fire until she died. Seems reasonable (for a Fear Street burglar, at least)

Lindsay is very upset with discovering the body, and realizes that she hasn’t talked to her parents since she arrived. She goes to phone them but her home number is disconnected… She immediately thinks that something is wrong with her family and borrows Danny’s car to get herself to Fear Street ASAP! Yay! Only once she’s there… she finds the apple tree is missing… and her house is redecorated … and there is a STRANGER in her house! Lindsay introduces herself to the woman in her home as Lindsay Beck and the woman responds by saying that Lindsay Beck died two years ago in a tragedy. Ha! That conversation was crazy. I would never respond to someone introducing themselves by saying “O you? You’re dead. Have been for TWO years!” Haha both characters are nuts. Lindsay leaves her “parents” house without having found any answers. Like where the past two years of her life went!! *think about this until the end.

Lindsay gets back to the country club and looks up her employee file. She sees that, yes, Lindsay Beck did die two years ago … in fact, she drowned in the pool!! “It hit me. It hit me. It suddenly came so horrifyingly clear to me: I am the dead lifeguard” Zombie?

Part Three: “Two Ghosts” starts with “Mouse” talking to Terry again. Bragging about killing, and wanting to kill more.

Lindsay decides that she has to be alive, since well, she’s not a Zombie (damn!) She wants to know why the newspaper would write such lies about her! I guess that’s a semi-normal reaction? Since we know now that a girl named Lindsay died in the pool, I want to know who this Terry character is. I just assumed Terry was the dead lifeguard, because why else would someone be killing lifeguards as vengeance? This book just took a twist… and I like it! Even without zombies.

Lifeguards are starting to not get along. Among other incidents, Pug tosses Artie into a garbage can, Artie attempts to sexually assault Lindsay against a tree, May-Ann and Pug get into an argument and Deirdre says that she could “really kill” Pug for being a flirt. So which one could really kill?

Lindsay is woken up again in the middle of the night by the same voice calling her. And AGAIN she follows the disembodied voice (why?) She ends up in the weight room where she finds Pug on the floor, working out. Just kidding, he’s dead! His throat was crushed by some weights which is less gruesome than Cassie’s murder but still pretty unpleasant.

On to Part Four: “The Ghost Revealed (But Only After A Few Useless Chapters)” The same cop interviews Lindsay as last time and gains point in MY book by saying this:

“You don’t know why [you followed the voice]? You heard a whispered voice and you followed it – again – knowing that the first time it led you to a murdered girl?”

YES! Thank you! Someone outside Shadyside has pointed out how cracked out Shadyside kids are! Don’t follow effing voices!! In the next chapter Mouse brags to dead Terry about killing Pug.

Lindsay decides to get away from everyone by going for a drive. Her plan doesn’t work to well though because Artie hid in the backseat as a special surprise! The only surprise is that he doesn’t kill her, because the ONLY people that hide in the backseats of cars? Are crazed killers! He tells her she’ll regret kicking him out of the car on the side of the highway. Probably not, you pervy assaultist!

Lindsay comes back and joins the rest of the crew for a late night swim. Everything is going along swimmingly (heh heh), when all of a sudden Lindsay freaks out and screams: “I’m not Lindsay! Lindsay is dead! I’m Marissa Dunton. I killed Lindsay two years ago!” Deep! Everyone is really nice to Lindsay/Marissa as it’s clear that she’s having mental breakdown, so they listen to her story. Basically, Marissa and Lindsay were having a shove fight by the pool two summers ago, and Marissa won. Because she shoved Lindsay into the pool, where she cracked open her skull and died. A win by default, if nothing else. Okay, just kidding, tragic accident. Marissa couldn’t get over it, feeling so guilty that she actually thought she was Lindsay. For an entire year. She got better and they sent her home, where she spent another year as Marissa. But she suffered a break right before the club opened and ran away to join. All the lifeguards are really understanding, but Spencer has to ask the awkward question: Um, why did you kill Pug and Cassie? Marissa/Lindsay claims innocence, meaning the killer is still on the loose!

Marissa goes to call her real parents, who are probably pretty worried, when she gets a phone call from Spencer’s mom. To tell them that Spencer was murdered before he came to the club. Marissa does to quick deducing to realize that Spencer is not who he says he is, and also evil! She confronts him outside (by the pool, of course) and suddenly realizes why she couldn’t remember Spencer from two years ago. It’s because he’s actually Jack Mouser, former club chef, and vengeance seeker extraordinaire! So Spencer = Mouse if you’re lost. Marissa just coincidentally also killed someone. Spencer/Mouse is avenging his chef pal, Terry, who committed suicide after the merciless teasing he got from the lifeguards two summers ago. Eek, that’s a deep subject to just toss in there! They battle it out, Marissa wins. The book ends with Marissa going to finally call her parents, so they can call off the Amber Alert.

As much as I liked this book, there were A LOT of plot holes. Like how Marissa knew so much about Lindsay's life. It says they were both from Shadyside but not close friends. How did Marissa know the inside of Lindsay’s home? Or that the apple tree was dug up? Also, it’s clear that Marissa/Lindsay couldn’t remember anything about the past two years, otherwise it would have tipped her off. So why is she only concerned that she can’t remember her interview with Pete, or anything about Spencer. Shouldn’t she be concerned where her LIFE went?!

Last but not least. May-Ann mentioned that the previous summer, a boy drowned in the pool. Was that just another coincidence? It was never mentioned again. Poor nameless boy! These lifeguards suck at their jobs GUARDING LIVES.

Well those are really the only bones that I had to pick… although they are kinda gaping plot holes. I still liked it because it had plot TWISTS that while didn’t make a lot of sense, were at least entertaining. Also because R.L. attempted to throw us off the trail with all the “mousy” references. Good show! 17 mouse figurines out of 22!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Babysitter 2 or "What's with all the outfit description?"

To make up for my incredibly loooong past few posts, here is the Babysitter 2, in one paragraph:

Jenny is trying to get over almost being murdered by Mr. Hagen and goes to a psychiatrist, Dr. Schindler. He is sinister and twirls a letter opener in his hands. She gets a new job babysitting creepy, needy, asshole-y Eli and can’t decide if she hates him (I do though.) She also has a new creepy, needy, asshole-y boyfriend Cal. While babysitting the phone calls start happening again and Jenny is convinced it’s her pyschiatrist, Dr. Shindler. She sets up a trap for him at the quarrel where Mr. Hagen took her last book but instead of the doctor showing up, his receptionist, Miss Gurney does. She’s batshit crazy and in love with him. She accuses Jenny of trying to seduce him with her “pretty, clean hair” and “nightmares”. Luckily Dr. Schindler figured out in time that Miss Gurney had gone off her rocker and showed up with the police. Ends with: “She kissed him.”(him being Cal). But of course it does!

The book was pretty decent. I was convinced that Dr. Schindler WAS the murderer until Jenny thought of that idea. You know it’s never who they think it is! I was reading the book at Shadyside Snark headquarters and actually looked up and told L.K. Stine that Dr. Schindler was the killer as soon as he started fiddling with the letter opener. R.L. really got me this time! 4 needy children out of 7!

Well that was too short, wasn’t it? This book was FILLED with descriptions of clothes. Let’s go through those!

1. Jenny wears a tie dyed shirt to her first appointment and Miss Gurney asks “What do you call the way the colors all run together?”, then scribbles a note to herself. I can only assume it read: “Buy tie dyed clothing, then KILL JENNY”
2. Jenny’s ex-boyfriend Chuck makes an appearance in a “faded Bart Simpson t-shirt over jean cut-offs. His white Nikes were mud-stained and soaked.” O baby!
3. First time Jenny meets Eli, he wears “a “Turtle Power” t-shirt over green spandex bicycle shorts. What parent puts their child in spandex?
4. Jenny first meets Cal in a “record store”. She’s totally afraid of him because he has spiky blond hair and is wearing black jeans with an Aerosmith t-shirt. Dear Lord, no! Not AEROSMITH! Terrrrifying!
5. “Cal was wearing black, straight legged jeans and an oversized, short sleeved Hawaiian t-shirt. Jenny wore a green t-shirt over an orange sleeveless t-shirt over white tennis shorts. It was hard to tell what anyone else at the party was wearing. It was too dark!” Thank god.
6. O a good description of some 1991 party crashers! “Two guys with long, greased-down hair, both wearing denim jackets over plain white t-shirts came swaggering up the walk.”
7. “He was wearing a denim workshirt and faded jean cutoffs. Jenny thought he looked really great.” The Canadian tuxedo!
8. Last but not least, Miss Gurney: “She wore baggy black slacks and a black blouse, long sleeved despite the heat.”

Only one question remains. Where are all the catsuits?!

The Overnight, or “With Cell Phones and CSI, There Would Be No Fear Street”

The big deal in Shadyside this week is that the Outdoors Club is going on an overnight trip. Ooh, an opportunity for illicit romance? Probably not, since they’ll be camping on Fear Island. When will the gentle people of Shadyside learn to leave that shit alone?

Della O’Connor is our star this book, and is model pretty. She is joined by her sidekick Maia, who she describes as looking like Little Orphan Annie. Yikes – I love it when obviously pretty girls have friends who are very much not as good looking as them. And constantly need to point it out. It makes me like them a lot. Della had been going out with Gary, but broke up with him in a snit, expecting him to beg to take her back. Gary in fact does not do this, which makes me like him infinitely more than Della. Also, Gary is now seeing Suki Thomas, which is awesome! Suki is always described as having punky platinum hair and 4 earrings in each ear (!). She is also ALWAYS the major slut of the town, although someone has pointed out this is likely a realistic way a high school girl might deal with the constant trauma of losing friends to the violence and murder surrounding her. Just saying.

Anyways, all these kids are going on the Outdoors Club overnight, along with Pete Goodwin, a good looking preppy guy nicknamed “The Prep” who is into Della, and Ricky Schorr, an obnoxious fat kid who I believe is also in Halloween party, so I hope he doesn’t die as that would put a dent in the whole Fear Street continuity. They all meet for the Outdoors Club, where their supervisor tells them the trip is cancelled. Suki decides they should go on the trip anyways, and makes suggestive comments to Gary.

The six of them decide to go for it, and head out to Fear Island that Saturday, WITHOUT parental supervision. Della is disappointed because she expected to be able to get back together with Gary easily once they could talk, only Gary is attached at the lips to Suki. Meanwhile Pete is being a little too nice for Della’s taste. Della is laughably catty to Suki – whenever Suki says a 4 syllable sentence, Della comments what an awfully big word that is. Maia is being an annoying clingy child. Ricky is being an enormous dork, and makes them all play ZAP wars. I’m assuming ZAP wars is a made up game, a combination of paint ball and capture the flag, but maybe this was a thing in 1989? They play girls and against guys and run off into the woods.

Della immediately gets lost, and stumbles across a random good looking leather clad stranger. She flirts with him a bit, until he tries to sexually assault her. Instead of being turned on by this, Della pushes him into the ravine, killing him. Sensible move, I say. Della is worried this death might inconvenience her, so she goes about covering up the body. Unfortunately, her 5 friends have magically converged on that point at the exact time she is doing this. Della’s all “Oops” and “Accident!” For some reason, they decide the ABSOLUTE best course of action would be to keep it a secret forever, and still spend the night on the island so’s not to be suspicious. Suki and Gary make out.

Things start to go wrong as soon as they get back. They start getting threatening notes saying: I SAW WHAT YOU DID. And this was totally written before I Know What You Did Last Summer, so I must come to the conclusion that teen horror screenwriters also read R.L. This goes on for awhile, until Pete finds a newspaper article of 2 men involved in the killing of a local man. It includes their pictures, and one of them is the now corpse on Fear Island. They assume the partner is sending the notes, wanting to blackmail them. Della is so happy to find out that the man she killed was already a killer, so it, like, evens things out, or something, and she agrees to go out with Pete.

Della and Pete have a great time, until while driving home their car is nearly driven off the road. It’s the other car that ends up crashing, and in a stunning display of Fear Street heroism, Pete says they have to go back and help, even if they did just try to kill them. Pete is smart, brave, and after one date has not yet forced himself on Della, so I think he’s a pretty stand up Shadyside guy, even if he is nicknamed “The Prep.” The crashed car is … empty! Dun dun DUN!

The plot thickens when the Outdoors Club supervisor wants to take the club on a sanctioned overnight trip. They are all so not about Fear Island anymore, until Della remembers she left her ZAP gun next to the body. Looks like they’ll have to go back after all. Someone really needs to teach these kids about crime scenes, based on the amount of crime they could tumble over. I find it funny that at the beginning of the book there’s about 3 chapters detailing how none of their parents wanted to let them go on the first overnight trip, but no one has any trouble going on a second. This is just ignored.

Della and Pete try to sneak away to get the incriminating gun/make out, when their supervisor is attacked and knocked out. So, the bad guy is on the island, and Gary, Suki and Ricky take off to get the police. The others … hang out on the island where they’re being attacked. Good plan. Della goes off on her own to get the gun, and find that the body is gone. She’s attacked by the partner of the man she killed and hits him over the head with a flashlight, killing him too, she hopes. At this point, she just doesn’t care anymore. She immediately runs into the man she killed, alive and walking. He explains he’s a medical freak with a very faint pulse, so he is often confused for being dead. He and his partner wanted to scare them a bit before blackmailing their parents. No Pulse once again tries to assault Della, pointing a gun at her and demanding she be friendly. Ugh. She’s not friendly enough, because he shoots her with – paint. It was a ZAP gun all along. Della tries to get away and shoots No Pulse in the face with paint. Pete comes to the rescue, getting her back to the campsite where the police are waiting. I have a total crush on Pete.

The police get the bad guys, Della gets her dreamy preppy guy, and there’s also a reward given to the kids for finding these men. What’s with all these random awards for kids being alternately nosy, exploitative, and occasionally murderous? I think I should incompetently murder someone or break into their house, to see if I’m given a reward too. Other than random awards, The Overnight was pretty great, with the vengeful murderers, a heroic boyfriend, and Suki Thomas. 11 scary campfires out of 13.

PS. Check out the cover. Della, the chick in the middle, looks identical to Jade in The Wrong Number. Like, same face, same expression, same angle. Pretty much one of those was photoshopped in, if I believed they had photoshop in 1989. Also, Suki is on the cover, with her spiky blond hair, crazy earrings, and even an unmentioned-before-now tat. Good detailing, cover artist!

Jade's Fetish

Alright, by popular request, I have a list of Jade’s catsuits. I only wish the R.L. went into greater detail about these pretty spectacular outfits. Or are we potentially suspecting the ghostwriter was female? I say not, because all women know the catsuit is not to be worn daily to school.

“[Jade’s] bright green catsuit made her eyes appear even greener, and showed off her great figure.”
“Jade was wearing a bright red cat suit with a short black jacket. ‘I could never wear anything like that,’ Deena thought. But Jade, as usual, looked fabulous.”
“Jade was wearing [anothing effing] catsuit as usual. This one made of some kind of shiny yellow material. She had on a big gold hoop earring in each ear, and her hair hung in one long braid over her shoulder.”

Note to readers: I was trying to find some pictures of similar catsuits, and quickly realized that catsuits are “erotic” and “a little too sexy for my internet viewing.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Burning or "Finally all the Fears are dead! Now everything can go back to normal in Shadyside, right??"

So we have finally come to the last book in the original SAGA series: The Burning. A little bittersweet for me, since I LOVED these books as a kid, but having to read them again was less fun. These books are loooong. Well, not really “long” but so full of “events” and “plots” and “characters” that I can’t just coast through the books like I normally would!

The final cover is missing something … O yeah! It’s missing stuff relating to this book! I assume that the girl on the cover is Nora Goode (remember how we talked about her being slow? The proof is in her expression.) so this man must be Daniel Fear. It’s okay that they’re on the cover, they are part of the “big” climax after all. The mansion on fire is also pretty accurate, although weird that it’s so much smaller than it was on the first cover… The big knife/sword on the other hand? I think it was talked about once. And it was never mentioned that it was BEJEWELED! Woman in the wedding dress is wrong, mostly because no one wore a wedding dress in the book. So the cover artist got two out of four… that is not good. That mark would get you into the remedial class at cover artist school!

Shadyside Village 1900

We start, as always, with Nora Goode furiously writing the history of the Fears. She’s a pretty dull character, isn’t she? Always writing, always paranoid about people coming to get her. Moving on!

New Orleans 1845

So our most famous Fear character, Simon, is down in New Orleans to find himself a rich wife to marry! He sneakily ducks into the most fabulous party of them all, thrown by a Mr. Pierce, for his daughter Angelica. He obviously falls in love with Angelica at first sight (this seems to happen a lot doesn’t it?) and we move over to Angelica’s point of view. And WOW she is a b-i-t-c-h. Even her thoughts are cruel! Her and her cousin Liza cattily talk about all the other girls at the party. Simon gets thrown out of the party which of course peaks Angelica’s interest.

After the party, Angelica goes outside in her backyard to think about her two suitors (handsome James vs. small, red-haired Hamilton). She’s totally accosted by Simon, who creepily tells her that he’s going to marry her, someday. Thanks Simon for giving everyone nightmares about attackers in our own backyard! Simon goes for a walk down by the waterfront (always a good plan in those days) and predictably gets attacked. Unfortunately for our attacker, Simon is wielding his heirloom amulet and presses it against his face. The attackers face then melts away. ICK! Simon muses that it was the first time he used it for evil purposes, and realizes that being evil is kinda rad! He decides to kill Angelica’s suitors so there is nothing in the way of their marriage. Oh, except mutual consent. Might I say that that was an awfully quick descent into evilness! Usually R.L. might have bothered with say, some character development? But not here! Instead of being disgusted by the murder of another human being Simon thinks: “The two young men have wealth and breeding. But I am a Fear! And what good are wealth and breeding if you are dead!” (Actually, Simon, you’re an effing FIER)

Simon goes about courting Angelica while secretly killing her other suitors. He “dark magically” makes James get up at the opera and jump over the balcony. Later, once Angelica is starting to get over the trauma of watching one suitor die in front of her, Simon makes Hamilton fall into the water near a paddle boat, and the paddles crush him. “His head, the skull crushed beyond recognition, rolled back, then forward as the wheel carried him into the boat again.” Traumatizing much? Simon is cruel to force Angelica to watch these murders! You know, I just don’t think he’s going to make a very good husband!

When Simon is over at the Pierce’s house, to “comfort” Angelica (or force her to watch another murder, whatever), Angelica tells him that she will marry him now. Simon is overjoyed but must confess: he murdered those other men because he LOVES HER SO MUCH. Gack, coming off a little strong there, Simon. Angelica laughs at his confession. Because you see … She’s a dark arts master who actually killed the boys! What? So who killed James and Hamilton? Does Simon not have powers then? Confused! It gets more confusing when Angelica thinks about what to tell her father and Simon is all “No worries, taken care of.” And her father is dead. So Simon does have powers? Anyways, they are both super pumped to have found their own evil soul-mate so they cheers each other with blood. For Reals. “Then they tilted the goblets to their lips and drank, allowing the rich, dark liquid to flow down their chins.” Is it impossible for evil villains to drink blood without getting it everywhere? Is blood REALLY that much harder to drink?

Shadyside Village 1900

Nora explains that she has to write the story of the Fears so that the evil will be stopped. YAWN.

Shadyside Village 1865

The Fear’s have finally moved to our favorite village! Yay! So what has changed for our happy couple since they drank blood over the dead body of their father/father in law? Well, they have a big mansion and five happy children! Suburban bliss for the wicked?

Simon is still a huge asshole, much preferring his younger daughter Hannah, over his older daughter Julia. Because Hannah is prettier. Yuck. The Fears also have a new maid, Lucy, who we learn very quickly on is a Goode! But we already guessed that since she had flaming red hair, and only Goodes or Fears have red hair. Angelica is losing it a little bit, getting really into her dark arts. Simon suggests that maybe she should cut back (so is performing dark magic like smoking somehow?) but Angelica is in too deep.

Oldest daughter Julia immediately doesn’t like their new maid because Lucy breaks her favorite pottery bowl on the first day! Yikes, that’s embarrassing!And kinda not a big deal to most people. Lucy then dumps steaming hot soup all over her during a big dinner party. Alright, I probably would be pissed if someone did that, especially since the soup scaled her! Julia tells her hot sister Hannah about her suspicions but Hannah doesn’t care. Nice.

Hannah starts to care pretty quickly when she sees Lucy sneak out of her room and then finds a snake in her bed! And then puts on a shoe, only to have an inch long piece of glass get stuck in her heel! Hannah tells Julia that they should get Lucy fired, and when Julia hesitates, wanting more proof, Hannah thinks she’s a loser. So what have we learnt about Hannah so far? 1. She only cares about bad things that happen to her and not her family 2. She is overly malicious without proof and 3. Kind of an asshole to her sister. What a precious flower.

Uh oh. We get a long, detailed description about a dog. Gosh darnit! You know what that means! A cute little terrier named Fluff! Destined to die. The two Fear girls and their three younger brothers go for a picnic together in the woods behind their house (aka Fear Woods). There is a lot more about cute, lovable, playful Fluff, so I assume he’ll die pretty soon. Hannah and Julia spread out their picnic and Hannah feeds some of the meat pies to Fluff. Yeah. It was poison. I’ll spare you the details of his death, but I’ll tell you, it was way more traumatizing that the human murders. Poor Fluff! Hannah rushes back to tell her dad that Lucy has got to go since she obviously just tried to poison them all. The housekeeper is all “Um, no. Julia packed your lunch. Discuss with her.” Yikes!

Hannah confronts Julia in the woods, near the coffin of their groundskeeper who’s going to be buried later that day. How convenient! Julia confesses that she hates Hannah and wants her to die (doesn’t say why she poisoned ALL the food, like the food her little brothers were about to eat?) and starts to strangle her. Hannah almost passes out, so Julia assumes she’s dead. Huh? Hannah gets back up and bashes Julia’s head in with a shovel. Realizing what she’s done, Hannah shoves Julia’s body in the convenient coffin and never looks back! Except when she creepily watches the coffin be buried later in the day.

Simon finally shows a little bit of concern when Julia is missing later that evening. He goes outside to look for her, when he hears shrieks coming from the fresh grave. BAH! He furiously digs it up. I have to shamefully admit that that would not be my first reaction. He finds Julia, dead, in the groundskeeper’s coffin, with signs of a struggle on the inside. Did she die while Simon was trying to dig her up? Or did he just hear ghosts? When Simon marches back into the house he sees the new employee list and realizes that a Goode is working there! Simon now goes to kill Lucy, who is actually innocent! Intense.

The bejeweled sword is apparently drawn and in a blind rage Simon rams it into Lucy’s heart. And I really mean BLIND rage because Simon actually just killed his favorite daughter Hannah. Awkward!

Shadyside Village 1900

Finally we get to Nora’s story. Daniel Fear just arrived in town to visit his grandparents, Simon and Angelica Fear in time for Simon’s 75th birthday. Daniel is the son of Joseph, the only child to move away from Shadyside, and therefore the only child who survived. He meets his grandparents who have obviously lost it. Angelica keeps telling him to put more logs on the fire and Simon keeps telling him to ignore the crazy old woman. Simon gives Daniel the Fear amulet, and tells Daniel the inscription means “Power through evil”. Daniel is either dumb or evil, I’m not sure, because he puts the damn thing on and keeps it even after the whole surrounded-by-flames-in-his-imagination thing happens. What is with these people?

Daniel explores the village the next day and immediately falls in love with a local shop girl. It’s our thick narrator, Nora Goode! Daniel doesn’t know anything about the curse so he doesn’t think much about her name. He doesn’t tell her his though, mostly because his grandparents creep the fuck out of everyone in Shadyside. Geez, Daniel, have some family pride. They start seeing each other every day, and going on … you guessed it, daily secret walks through the woods. Was that all there was to do back then? Her father finds out about these chaste walks and does the rational thing: lock her in her room. Meanwhile, the old Fear housekeeper tells Daniel everything there is to know about the Fear family curse.

Daniel comes to rescue Nora and Daniel tells her what the housekeeper just told him. They decide they should put an end to the curse by: you guessed it, getting married. They actually do get through the ceremony without anyone dying, which is one step further than the rest of the Fear/Goode matchups. They go to the Fear Mansion to tell his grandparents, on the night of Simon’s birthday party. No one else is there because Simon and Angelica are totally insane. Creepy! The whole ballroom is light with candles. Simon’s cake is brought out with 75 light candles as well. Shouldn’t Simon Fear, previously FIER be wary of FIRE? Anyways, Daniel introduces his new wife, Nora GOODE to Simon and he freaks out, flipping over the cake. All of a sudden fire engulfs the entire room around Nora! WTF was in that cake?! Nora can’t find Daniel and runs out of the mansion, effectively bringing us back to the beginning of the first book. Full circle!


Nora finally finishes writing her story and thinks about how the house burnt for days. What a minute… I thought she was writing the story the same night as the fire started! O continuity error! Anyways, it’s revealed that she’s actually in a mental institution. The nurse comes in to take her to meet with the “doctor” and tosses her book in the fire! BURN! Eff that sucks Nora! The nurse is all “What? That made you look super crazy.” The nurse then tells Nora that Shadyside is building a street where the Fear mansion was before: “They’re going to call it FEAR STEET.” Chills. End!

Not bad. Again, super long! I realize these recaps have been like 4 pages long each, but there were just so. many. characters! I promise my next recap will be one paragraph, just to make up for it. The third book of this series was my favorite. I think the third of any series is always the best! (There’s an ongoing debate) But I’m interested: Which of the three books was your favorite? Did you love the first book, with its witch burning? The second book which had the murder of young children? Or the third book, with blood drinking? Let me know! I give this book 18 bejeweled swords out of 19! Almost perfect!