The Bad Girl or "If You Would Just Stop Killing Things, You Would Have a Whole Lot Less to Worry About, DAWN"
Considering that the last Fear Street I recapped was one of my faves, I guess it’s only fair that the next one I did would be a complete piece of garbage. Yes, friends The Bad Girl actually belongs in the trash. And here’s the part that really gets me: The Bad Girl is mostly about zombies. My favorite! I don’t even know if the zombie theme will save the book’s score. We’ll see.
Since The Bad Girl is a “New!” Fear Street the cover is all crazy, what with the overlapping pictures that are blurry in some spots. I’m sure 12 year old me would have loved it. But it’s not very interesting, and neither is the tagline “Some people just won’t die”. Mehhhhhh.
The first chapter introduces our main character Dawn and her best friend Jan. Dawn makes it a point to tell us that she’s not “a bad girl”, so we know immediately that she’s a terrible bitch. And she is. The first thing that they discuss was Dawn’s date with Will Dinmore, the football star! Not terrible. But then they talk about Dawn’s boyfriend of a year, Clint, can never find out because it would kill him. Hmmm we’ll that’s kinda awful, maybe it was just a one time thing. A mistake! …Except Dawn then talks about all the dates she’s been on recently and let’s just say that the girl might be Shadyside’s High’s bicycle.
The girls were actually talking about the long list of guys that had felt Dawn up so loudly that they get kicked out of study hall. So I guess Dawn doesn’t care THAT much if Clint finds out. They go to the empty science lab to gossip, only to find CINDY there. (In my head, I always see Fear Streets like movies. In this scene, the camera pans from Cindy’s feet up to her head while Dawn describes how much she hates her.) Baggy jeans, oversized sweater, GLASSES, mousy-brown hair with tangles AND she’s pale. Got that? Dawn and Jan think she’s fug, as well as being a science geek suck up. Cindy is in the science lab to work on her project that’s due in a few weeks. Jan tells Cindy that her and Dawn’s project is gonna kick her projects ass! (Cindy’s is about the ecosystem, so I kinda don’t doubt Jan even though I know she’s bluffing) Jan and Dawn unlock the chemical cabinet and start pouring every chemical together that they can find. Huh. The potion predictably explodes and smoke pours everywhere, getting the girls in trouble but the potion actually ends up being a “pretty gold color” so Jan keeps it. In case she needs an exploding diversion at some point? I’m not sure. (You can tell I never took Chemistry in high school since I keep referring to whatever they made as a "potion". Science is like magic!)
Anyways, science class starts up, and the girls have to dissect a frog. They feel so terrible towards the poor dead frog (even though they could give a shit about Cindy, who they cruelly torment) that they decide to pour a little bit of their chemical potion down its tiny throat. I’m not exactly sure what they thought would happen, but after they turn away from the frog for approximately 5 seconds, it disappears. Dawn follows the slime trail… to a live frog! (or shall I say zom-frog?) Jan and Dawn capture their formally deceased frog and put him in the terrarium with all the other frogs. She grossly mentions that the new addition to the cage still smells like formaldehyde and the other frogs won’t go near it. They realize that they invented a mixture that brings to dead to life. REALLY? This is the premise of the book? Two high school assholes randomly invent one of the most important scientific discoveries? You can see now why the “New!” Fear Streets could never hold a candle to the originals.
After school, (and a near close run-in with both Will AND Clint) Dawn goes to her after-school job, which is at the animal shelter. Once her boss leaves, Jan comes in to visit with Dawn and generally make a ruckus. The first thing that Jan wants to do is go into the animal morgue. WHY? They open the door, see a dead dog, and scream like banshees. What on earth were they expecting? I’m starting to think that Dawn and Jan are horrible to everyone in an attempt to hide the fact that they have very, VERY low IQs. Anyways, they feel bad for the dog, so they pour a little bit of their mad-scientist mixture down its throat too! The zom-dog almost immediately hops off the table. Dawn and Jan close up for the night, and decide to take the newly risen dog home with them, since it might be suspicious for the vet to find him the next morning. You know, since the vet put him down earlier that day. The girls are all very calm about their new Voo Doo skillz. I feel like I would be having some moral dilemmas.
On the drive home, some crazed driver pretty much forces them off the road. But it turns out, it’s only because they recognized their dog, Floyd, in the car window! Doesn’t matter that they watched their dog be put down earlier that day, they knew it was him! Floyd seems to know these people, so the girls just let them take zom-dog home. People are asking remarkably few questions in this book.
When Dawn gets home (after a long day of re-animating corpses) she finds her boyfriend Clint on the front porch. He has a stick, and demands to know if she went out with Will the night before! While she quickly comforts Clint and denies, denies, denies, she also inner monologues that “they say that most people won’t look you in the eye when they lie. I didn’t want to make that mistake.” Bitch is cold! Clint believes her, which is probably unlucky since she is obviously a horrible person and will be the death of him.
At school, Cindy accuses Dawn and Jan of stealing frogs because almost all the frogs in the terrarium are gone. Only one is left. He smells like formaldehyde but this zom-frog is double the size from yesterday. And he is mysteriously surrounded by small, scattered frog parts. To sum up, since Cindy didn’t really get this: Zom-frog ate all the other frogs.
It’s a Friday night, so Dawn breaks a date with Clint, and the girls go to a killer Fear Street party. Dawn and Jan actually crack some beers! Has this happened in any other Fear Streets? I’m very excited! The party is kinda awful though, because someone invited Cindy as a bet, and then announces it in front of everyone. Ick. Even Dawn thinks it’s kinda cruel, but thinks better of speaking up for Cindy. You know. In case anyone thought she was lame (or had a heart). Cindy flees in tears. Dawn and Jan continue partying but soon realize that there is no more ice. But… what will keep their beer cold?! They decide to do an ice run to the gas station.
Jan is maybe-drunkenly driving down Fear Street, when suddenly a figure comes out of the mist: Cindy! They swerve to miss her, but it’s too late, and Cindy goes bouncing off the windshield. She is predictably dead. The girls decide to give her the magic potion, even though the zom-frog ATE all his peers earlier that day. I don’t think they even thought of the weird zom-frog behaviour! Anyways, zom-Cindy has a huge seizure and then reanimates. And looks at them with cold, dead eyes. They tell her that they came to find her after the horrible party joke (lies) and saw her slip and fall. Zom-Cindy is confused but believes them, so the girls take her home. And then go back to the party. FOR REALS?! You just murdered and reanimated some poor girl, so you decide to go back to a house party?!
Dawn really should have reconsidered the decision to go back, because Clint comes to the party unexpectedly and catches her cheating on him. Break up! I’m not sure why Dawn is upset because she obviously couldn’t care less about him. Dawn spends the weekend moping around because Clint dumped her. I’m sure she also gave some thought to the vehicular manslaughter they committed, but she doesn’t really mention it…
When Jan and Dawn show up for school on Monday they’re shocked to see that Zom-Cindy gave herself a makeover! She’s all hot and blond now. Which, by the way folks, is the first sign of an evil zombie. Jan and Dawn have to help out with the Spring Fling decorating, since they were supposed to be there all weekend but flaked out because they are awful human beings. The prom committee tells them to hang streamers from the catwalk, which is pretty fricken high. The girls are on their ladders, probably discussing whose life to ruin next, when the gym lights go out. And they feel someone yank their ladders from under their feet! Dawn and Jan cling to the bottom of the catwalk until the lights come on and a teacher helps to put the ladders back up. Since he helped them in a comically slow fashion, I like to think that he secretly wanted these bitches dead too.
Jan and Dawn go back to Jan’s house after their brush with death only to find Jan’s room had been totally trashed. They’re thinking about calling the police when the phone rings. It’s a mysterious voice, telling them that their ladder mishap was no accident. Who could it be? Actually, I think Clint and zom-Cindy hate them equally right now, so there are two suspects! They come to the conclusion that it was zom-Cindy and decide to confront her tomorrow.
The next morning, zom-Cindy is somehow even hotter than the day before, and working on her science project in the lab. The girls come in and tell her that they know she pushed over the ladders and tried to kill them. Zom-Cindy refuses to admit anything, but does say that if she WAS doing it, they couldn’t stop her. Then she picks up an iron bar (that was just lying around I guess) and bends it with her bare hands! The girls skedaddle. At lunch, Dawn sees that Clint and zom-Cindy are sitting together and she feels jealousy for the first time. (No seriously, she inner monologues about that) Jan joins her and snaps her out of her pity party by telling her that zom-frog just blew himself up! With a teeny, tiny stick of dynamite.
Not really. Apparently Jan teased the frog and it got so enraged that it exploded from the inside. Well, at least they’ve figured out how to kill their freaks of nature, if it ever comes down to that. Later that day, a car tries to run down the girls (guess whoooo) and zom-Cindy calls them to basically threaten their lives and their loved ones. Jan mentions that her parents have this new fangled “caller ID” and they can figure out where zom-Cindy is! Dawn is freaked out to hear that zom-Cindy is at Clint’s house, so they rush over. And find him dead. I told him that knowing Dawn would be the death of him! Since the girls think that zom-Cindy is out to kill them because they killed her, not because she’s an evil zombie, I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give the magic chemical potion to Clint. I guess Dawn got over her jealousy?
At Clint’s funeral, zom-Cindy shows up wearing a bright green dress, which seems tacky under any circumstances. Even if you are the evil-undead. The girls decide that there’s only one course of action. Kill zom-Cindy! Perfect, since you’ve already killed the zom-frog by enraging it, you know just how to kill zom-Cindy! Right, guys? Please tell me you caught on to that. Guys?
Apparently, they did not. Later that week, the science class has a field trip to the marsh to collect samples. The girls wait for science geek zom-Cindy to wander off on her own. They bash her head in with the shovels, tie her up, and drown her in the marsh. Well, that definitely how you would kill a regular teenaged girl. Unfortunately for Dawn and Jan, zom-Cindy manages to make the bus back to school. And she looks a little bit more pissed off.
Dawn and Jan didn’t learn anything from their first attempt to kill zom-Cindy, and when they see her walking across a deserted road the next day, they decide to take another shot at it. They run her over (just like before!) and they got out to check the body. No breathing. Dead for sure, right? Nope! Zom-Cindy comes into science class the next morning and scares the beejesus out of Dawn and Jan. The girls are like “Maybe we can get ideas on how to kill zom-Cindy by talking to the zom-dog’s owner!” They track down the girl who took Floyd home with her and ask how he’s doing. They find out that Floyd is dead, because her little brother teased him with treats so much that he snapped, destroyed their house and then exploded. Hmmmmm. Do you get it now, brainiacs?
They invite zom-Cindy over to Jan’s house after school to discuss what’s been going on. You know, all the murder attempts. She agrees, which just seems like a weird thing to do. Like mortal enemies getting together for tea. When zom-Cindy arrives the girls try to piss her off by telling her that she’s no longer human (true) and then tease her about being humiliated at the big Fear Street party. She gets pissed off enough to try to strangle Dawn, but doesn’t finish the job (too bad) before her face and body start to disintegrate and turn purple. Ewwww. The girls examine zom-Cindy, who is still NOT dead. Gawd this book is so long and terrible! She’s definitely dying, but asks for their chemical potion to bring her back to life. She promises she’ll be nice this time. Dawn and Jan race to get the potion for her, but can’t find it. They tell zom-Cindy they can’t give it to her, and so she becomes so mad that she shoots blood out of her face and FINALLY effing dies.
The girls relax with a bottle of Evian, while zom-Cindy lies dead at their feet. They find a note on the floor though… from zom-Cindy. It says that zom-Cindy stole their potion when she ransacked Jan’s room. She put it in a safe place though… in their Evian water bottle! So… what does that mean?
No seriously. What does that mean? Dawn and Jan aren’t dead, so it can’t bring them back to life. Would it kill them, then reanimate them? Just kill them? Do nothing to them? Also, I’m confused about zom-Cindy. While the zom-frog and zom-dog seemed a little vicious, zom-Cindy’s hatred of Dawn and Jan was justifiable. After all, they KILLED her. So was she truly evil, or just really pissed off at being murdered? And ALSO: who does the title refer to? Dawn or Cindy? Dawn was a HORRIBLE person in life, while Cindy was only “bad” in death, and she had good reason! What do you think kids?
I think that any Fear Street that makes me wonder about it this much after I’m done is NOT cool. I enjoy my endings to be neatly wrapped up, preferably with a bow. I don’t think that the awesome zombie-ness of the book saved it. 4 exploding frogs out of 15.