Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dangerous Girls, or “Milfs and Pedophiles”

Dangerous Girls is not a Fear Street, or a Point Horror. This is a full out young adult novel written by R. L. Stine in 2003 (!!), so fairly recent. R. L. is totally down with the technology these days, as everyone in this group ims each other, and googles (although sadly, google was not a verb yet). Also sadly, no Facebook. I think Facebook could have a significant affect on teen horror – it certainly amps the stalking vibe you get from a lot of books. Anyways, this book is pretty darn exciting!

Destiny and Livvy are twin girls, dealing with the recent tragedy of their mother’s suicide. Not a super light note to start on, but they are working as junior counsellors at a kids camp over the summer before their senior year, trying to distract from the grief. Livvy, the fast fashionable one, does so by making it with every boy at camp, while Destiny, the down to earth, shy one, probably deals with it by writing poetry, although that never actually comes up. It is the last day of camp, the kids have left, and everyone is saying goodbye to each other by drinking beer and sneaking down to the woods together. Destiny doesn’t know what’s gotten into her, but she agrees to walk down to the lake with the mysterious head counsellor, Renz.

This is his usual hangout – apparently he takes all the girls down to the lake to get with them, and he saved Destiny for last. Dee is pretty insulted, until Renz reveals himself to be a hundreds-year old vampire named Lorenzo, and he is madly in love with Destiny because she looks exactly like his long-lost love, Laura. And he had to wait until the full moon, because a human must share blood with a vampire under the full moon in order to become a vampire herself. Just as Dee is starting to freak, he puts her under a mind spell and tells her it will only hurt for an instant, but then the pleasure will be unimaginable. I once took a fantasy fiction class in school, and we spent weeks breaking down how vampires ALWAYS symbolize sex, and R. L. is right on point here. Renz sinks his ... teeth into her, and drinks her blood.

Destiny can suddenly see his thoughts, and he shows her his life story. He was a poor young lad in Italy some vague centuries ago, and immigrated to New York to find a better life. Only he quickly found an un-life, and roamed the new world drinking blood. That is, until he sees a woman and falls instantly in love with her, named Laura, who looks exactly like Destiny. Laura dies, and Renz vows to never rest until she is back at his side again.

Renz is interrupted before he can make Destiny drink his own blood, and she leaves him all shaky and weirded out, forgetting about their little encounter, and Renz’s existence entirely. The next day, Destiny and Livvy go home with their father and brother. They are worried about how both of them are handling the loss of their mother – their father overworks himself doing research as a veterinarian, and their little brother is slowly retreating into a world of video games.

At home, they meet up with a bunch of old friends, but both the girls are feeling weird and out of sorts. While watching a vampire horror movie, Destiny starts screaming uncontrollably, which kind of breaks up the party. That night she wakes up with a craving for something, so she goes out in a nightshirt and hunts for a rabbit. Livvy joins her, and it’s around that time they have to acknowledge something is going on with them. Neither remembers Renz or what he did to them, but they see they have bite marks on their necks, and of course they think vampire.

Meanwhile, in their little town there’s been a rash of woodland animals killed and drained of blood. The official story is that it is a virus that dries out your blood. Which, by the way, is WAY more terrifying than vampires. Could you imagine if swine flu did that? Anyways, they decide not to tell their dad or brother because they’re both so messed up by the suicide, and they don’t want to freak them out any more.

So of course Destiny goes to the source of all things supernatural – her horror and fantasy obsessed friend Ari. He tells her there is a rumour that vampire hunter are in town, led by the basketball coach. He is recently bereaved after suddenly losing his wife, and he all of a sudden is heading a group of vampire hunters? Sounds suspicious. He also tells her that if a vampire drinks from you, but you don’t drink from them to complete the vampire process, you become a neophyte – a half-vampire until the next full moon. If you drink from a vampire under the next full moon, you become a vampire. If you don’t, you become some crazy zombie thing. Not awesome choices, and Destiny agrees with me.

After that pleasant conversation, Destiny and Ari go grocery shopping. Dee gets a total need to feed, but Ari mistakes her as coming on to him. He gets all excited, but she has to send him away before she attacks him. Instead, she attacks some fresh liver. Ick. She heads out quickly to find Livvy, who is at the pool with her brother and his friend. Liv is severely sunburnt after a short time out in the sun, and can’t take off her sunglasses without pain. They realize they are becoming more vampiric by the day. Then the brother’s friend falls and cuts his knee, and Liv is on him before anyone can do anything about it, lapping up the blood. Super ick. That’s pretty pedo. Destiny tries to play that one off as a new first aid technique, as she notices a handsome Italian-type man watching them from afar. Then forgets about him immediately.

Convinced they need more information on vampires, the girls decide to go talk to Coach Bauer, who may or may not be a head vampire hunter. Pretty risky for a couple of almost vampires, right? No worry, they’re going to go ask about vampires for a “friend.” No one will see through that. Instead of finding the coach, though, they find his recently dead wife – or rather, his recently undead wife. She’s all zombie gross, because she was bitten by a vampire and never drank vampire blood – so she’s what the girls will turn into at the full moon if they don’t consummate their vampire-ness with Renz. Mrs. Bauer wants to die, but her husband won’t let her go. When the repulsed girls won’t stake her through the heart, she goes to eat them, but realizes they are the same. Mrs. Bauer is effin crazy at this point, babbling away, but she tells them they need to find the Restorer to put them back to how they were if they’re to escape.

Destiny googles “Restorer.” Haha, I would have totally done that too. Unfortunately, Google fails, so she goes out to find Livvy at a burger joint. On their way home, they stumble over the body of Livvy’s badass friend Bree, and you bet that someone drained her blood.

Three days later, after the funeral, Destiny is having a full on freak out in the woods, thinking that her sister killed her friend, and what a horrible thought that is, when a handsome young man approaches her. She gets all fuzzy and doesn’t really know what’s going on around her, but Renz starts making out with her and calling her Laura, then drinking her blood. This guy doesn’t really do much to make her like him at all, and the whole mind control thing is getting close to sexual assault. Vampire’s a creep. Afterwards, Destiny can’t remember why her neck is bleeding, and Livvy starts to think she’s keeping secrets from her. Dee is already mad at Livvy for slutting it up with her crush, Ross, so the sisters have a big sister fight. But they come back together when Livvy eats her brother’s hamster. Things like that you just have to bond over.

They go back to see Mrs. Bauer to see if she has any more info on the Restorer. Unfortunately, that’s when the hunters come and kill Mrs. B, and the twins barely escape. They do see that the hunters consist of most of the basketball team. How’s that for an extracurricular sport?

On the first day back to school, the girls are getting worse, looking really sick and unable to take off their sunglasses. Destiny runs into the new guidance counsellor everyone is gaga over, and he introduces himself as Renz. We flash to Renz’s memories of meeting Laura, in a small village near where the girls live now. Her father was against their relationship from the start, and won’t let them be together. Renz says to hell with that, and turns Laura into a vampire. Only the father walks in on this rather private moment, and beats Lorenzo away. He flees by turning into a mouse (not the most studly thing to do ever), then goes back for her. But he’s too late. Laura was staked by her father, who was very shortly after that beheaded by Lorenzo.

He flashes forward two hundred years later, when he sees a woman who looks identical to Laura. She’s wearing a wedding band, and is calling to her two daughters, Destiny and Livvy. Gasp! Renz first went after their mother. I don’t know how I’d feel about that.

The next day at school, Renz calls Destiny into his office, and immediately starts making out with her. Whoa, wrong touching, guidance counsellor! He talks to her about blood and the moon, and Destiny is all dreamy. And apparently his mind control is slipping, because Dee remembers some of what he said, and comes to the conclusion that Renz is the Restorer, and he will make her all better. Fail! That night, two things of import happen. Courtney is a girl who starts hitting on Livvy’s boy toy, Ross, and Livvy breaks her arm. That was an overreaction. And the twin’s father comes home from a late night at the veterinarian clinic covered in blood, saying he’d been in an accident. Only his car was fine. Hmm.

Courtney turns up dead, drained of all her blood, and everyone is freaking out in town. They’ve given up the whole “drying up your blood virus”, and have moved on to the theory that there’s a serial killer, nicknamed the “Vampire Killer.” Destiny is sure Livvy did it, that she lost control of her bloodlust, and gets so upset about it that she turns into a bat. Now that’s something to be upset about. Bat-Destiny attacks an owl, but her eyes are bigger than her stomach, because in a bat vs. owl fight, owls usually win. Bat-Destiny saves herself by becoming Human-Destiny, much to the owl’s alarm. Destiny decides enough is enough, and decides to tell her father what’s going on. Unfortunately, she sees the vampire hunters out and about – led by her father! The hunters stake the town librarian, and Dee loses the will to tell him.

So she goes to see Renz, and tells him she knows he’s the Restorer. He pauses, then is like: “Yes. Yes I am.” She’s in luck. The night of the full moon is the night of the senior camping trip, and Renz will be there. To “help” her. Or ravish her and turn her into a vampire. She’s stoked and knows everything is going to be okay.

Until her friend from camp comes to visit her, and gushes about Renz. Dee is pretty confused about how the friend knows about Renz, then she remembers everything. She realizes Renz is a creep, and she’s pretty much doomed.

Renz is thinking about turning Destiny, and that makes him think about her mother, Deborah. He drank her blood under the full moon, but was interrupted before she drank from him. That seems to happen a lot to Renz. He might be a really crappy vampire. He waited the month for her, but on the night of the full moon, he came to her and found her swinging from the rafters. He vowed he would turn her daughters.

It’s the night of the senior’s camping trip. Destiny tries to pretend everything is okay, but is inside freaking out about what’s about to happen. Renz goes to her tent to get her, then leads her away. Are there no other chaperones there? I feel like guidance counsellors should not be able to do this as easily as he does. She tells him she’s ready, then shoves a wooden tent pole through his chest. Suck on that, creepy guidance counsellor! Renz dissolves into dust.

Destiny turns away, to see her father watching her. She tries to run away, because she thinks he’s going to kill her too, but instead he hugs her and tells her he would never hurt her. In fact, he was the Restorer! How convenient. So, what does a Restorer do? He gives her a shot. That seemed kind of anticlimactic. He was doing research to find a cure for vampirism, ever since his wife was bitten, but he was too late for her. He was also too late for Mrs. Bauer, who was bitten by his wife. Deborah was so horrified by what she had done, she took her own life before she could become full vampire. But happily, he now has a formula to cure vampirism before a person is fully turned. They go off in search of Livvy to save her too.

They find Livvy with her boy Ross, both of whom are feeding off a freshly killed deer. Livvy had been pretending to be a neophyte, but in fact she had let Renz go all the way with her the first night. She’s pretty happy to be a vampire, so she turned her boyfriend too. She also had killed her friends Bree and Courtney. Destiny and her dad try to grab them, to see if they could save them, but they turn into blackbirds and fly away.

A week later, Destiny is with her brother at night, when a blackbird taps at their window. It wants to come in …

The end. This book totally has a sequel, or rather is the first book in a 2 book series. I’m pretty sure that means a sequel, but whatever. Cannot wait to read it, that was awesome! So impressed by R. L.’s later work. Must know what else he’s done in the past decade … please do tell, so that I can blog them. I give this 16 underage girls out of 16!


Devika said...

Ah, I love it!! Has anyone else noticed Stine's recurring fascination with evil birds?? I think somebody's seen a certain Hitchcock film one too many times...

Anonymous said...

Besides kids' books, this decade Stine wrote The Sitter and Eye Candy. Both are about 300 pages. And in 1995, Superstitious. Ooh, do them, please?

I was looking back at my long wishlist of Stine books I wanted recapped that I put in a comment on 1fearstreet, and all the rest have been done by now. Many thanks. Though of course I will continue to appreciate any future recaps even if they cover books I'm not quite as excited about.

Anonymous said...

ETA: I looked through yours and Fear Street 1's lists, and I think these are the only ones not done yet:

Exciting! ones: Broken Date, Dance of Death, Circle of Fire, One Last Kiss, Call Waiting, Blind Date, The Witness

Ones I recently read, so not as exciting: Evil Lives, Seniors 6-12, Nights 1-3, Daughters of Silence, Children of Fear, Heart of the Hunter, Babysitter 4

Twisted is on http://geekening.com/books/?p=279; Snowman’s at http://rsvpordie.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Snowman.

HelenB said...

Wow, this actually sounded pretty good - there were a couple of twists I didn't see coming!

Anonymous said...

She Googles "Restorer"? Amazing. Otherwise, I think this sounds... well, like a valid addition to the genre, but the clichés of the genre kinda suck.

Amya said...

I've read Superstitious as well. That one is definitely for adults! I can't get the first chapter out of my head (and believe me, I've tried!)

Sadako said...

Whoa. The idea of someone googling in a Stine book is too, too weird. Like, I don't know, I just assume they're all stuck in the mid 90s somewhere. Did R.L. pen this one himself?

M.H Stine said...

good books 2 review: Call Waiting, Blind Date, Babysitter 4, Fear Street Nights 1-3
These books r rly good so u should review them trust me!

Alex said...

Can you review Fear Street Nights 1-3? I only read the first 2 and want to know what happens.

RecallerReminder said...

Dunno, for me sucker all over to know the identity and intentions of the main villain practically from the beggining. There was no mystery, no suspense. So was a pretty lame one. Stine just dont know how to write good stories about vampires.