Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fear Street Seniors: Prom Date, or "Be Careful What You Wish For, Especially If You Wish For Psychopathic Killers"

I read a review of this book online, and boy was that plot line different from what I read. The overview I found was this: Trisha Conrad is dating Gary Fresno but is forced to attend the prom with Matty Winger, the biggest geek in school, just because his father is an important business partner of Mr. Conrad. Trisha goes with Matty, but at the prom she humiliates him in front of the whole school. Soon Trisha begins receiving threatening notes, and assumes Matty is responsible until he is found dead. Trisha later finds out that Mary O’Connor is the culprit; she hates Trisha for stealing her boyfriend Gary.
Here is the real (and way more cracked out) version:
Trisha is having nightmares about being a Fear, where all her ancestors are telling her she’s evil and she needs to join them, before they tear off her head and enter into her brain. She’s woken up by the maid, Celia.
The Conrads (her parents) are off to Europe that morning, where her dad is expanding his mall development business in London, Paris and Rome. Okay, malls in Europe, ew. I would find it shattering to find out that all the French kids hung out at WalMart or something. Let’s keep America in America, shall we? Anyways, Trisha’s mom is kind of mysterious about whether or not she knows that Trisha is a Fear, but before she heads out she gives her a blown glass wishing well. She calls it a good luck charm and says it’s been in the family for a long time, an heirloom. Trisha is suspicious of the well’s origins.
At school the next day, she tells Jen Fear at lunch about her nightmares that she’s actually evil, because Jen is the only one who knows her secret. Then some other girls come over and they all giggle about the prom and how fun it’s going to be. Trish is going with Gary, and in her inner monologue she gushes about how hot and great he is. She also thinks it’s a good thing Dana has prom to worry about, so she doesn’t have to worry about her recently-dead twin.
Jen is just mad that she doesn’t have a date, which when compared to Dana’s issues seems like a stunning lack of priorities. But Jen is pretty bitter about this. Trisha agrees that she for sure couldn’t go on her own. So, Shadyside is pretty evolved when it comes to that kind of thing, then.
Just then Trisha has a vision – a bloody body crumpled up like a piece of paper. It’s Gary. She immediately goes to tell him about his impending doom. He blows it off, which I might reconsider when looking at how many deaths she’s accurately predicted. But he’s very sweet about it, promising to be extra careful, so you know that he does really like her.
Jen and Trisha are back at Trisha’s place. Jen is jealous when she sees Trish has bought two prom dresses so that she has options the big night. Trisha gives Jen the wishing well charm to help her get a date. What a lovely show of charity on Trisha’s part!
Jen tries to convince herself she doesn’t want to go to the prom, because people always seem to die when the seniors get together at a big event (seems pretty reasonable) but she admits to herself she’d rather have a date. And die a bloody death then miss her prom is the subtext, but we’ve already determine Jen doesn’t have great life priorities.
Josie catches up to her on the street to tell her she has a date – that dweeb Matty Winger, who is a loser but preferable to missing the dance totally. They go to Jen’s house and imagine the perfect guy to take them to the prom. Jen is gripping the good luck charm as she makes up her boy.
Next day, Jen is miserable at the prom committee. The best part is they’ve decided that their major decoration feature is going to be giant globes made out of glass suspended from the ceiling. Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t want to go to a dance that had those, in the real world where people didn’t die on a daily basis, let alone in Shadyside where I was a member of a class doomed to die before the year was up. Sounds like a Carrie-like death trap waiting to happen.
Jen continues to be miserable – this plot line is wearing thin and something better happen. Okay. That night a boy calls her. His name is Duke Carpenter, he goes to Waynesbridge and apparently they met last year some time. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her and asks to take her to her own prom.
Having no idea who he is, Jen agrees to go to prom with him on the spot – but wants to meet him first to make sure he isn’t a serial killer. Who are you kidding Jen? You would absolutely go to prom with a serial killer. They decide to meet at The Corner the next day.
Jen dreams that she’s at the prom that night, and all the globes fall and shatter on the prom goers, killing her faceless date. She’s probably dreaming this because it’s intensely likely!
At the Corner, Jen waits and waits for her potential Prince Charming. Several potentials come in, but no mystery Duke. He’s stood her up. Jen wonders if the whole Duke thing was a mean prank and goes back to being miserable. Duke calls her that night with an improbably tale of a car running out of gas. She thinks his story is cute and forgives him. He wants to come out to meet with her.
Jen goes to buy a prom dress with Josie, and gets a lovely sheath of midnight blue. She calls Duke at the number he gave her, but it’s a disconnected number. She looks in the phone book for Carpenter, and they don’t exist – anywhere, she checks the whole county like a big stalker. She begins to wonder, again, if Duke lied to her and decides he’s not really for her. She gets home to find a gorgeous guy standing on her porch.
Duke is even better than her made-up man – handsome, charming, funny, smart. He keeps going on about the wild night they spent together of which Jen has no recollection. She decides it must have been REALLY wild if she didn’t remember it, and thinks of it no more.
Jen gets ready for Duke, at the last moment bringing along the wishing well. Her handsome date picks her up in a limo, then they go to pick up their friends – Josie and Matty, and Clarissa and Will. Duke is perfect and charming with them. Will makes a funny crack about Duke’s tux, and Jen is momentarily scared he’ll get pissed, but he laughs and thinks her friends are awesome.
The prom is beautiful, full of deadly glass and lights. Jen and Duke dance romantically together. He goes to get her some punch and a glass globe falls on his head. Actually, it barely misses him and just sprays glass on a bunch of people. Your typical fun-filled Shadyside surprise. He brushes it off (Okay?...) Dana reminds them they’re all going to Fear Lake after the prom, as per tradition.
The kids walk to the limo. All of a sudden, Duke starts beating up Will, like hardcore beating him. Jen pulls him off, but he grabs her and shoves her into the limo, where Josie and Matty are inside already. He screams for the limo to go. He tells Jen he did it because Will made fun of his tux. Seems reasonable.
He gets the driver to pull over at a liquor store, so that they can party properly. The rest of them are locked into the back. The driver for some reason ignores them and the phone is dead. Gary pulls up next to the limo with Trisha and goes into the liquor store. He can’t hear the kids shouting at him. A fight breaks out inside. Duke runs out with a knife in hand, Gary goes after him. Duke plunges the knife into his chest. Gary crumples like a piece of paper, blood gushing out, Trisha’s vision comes true. Trisha is screaming and crying when Duke hops back into the limo, telling the driver to get to the party.
The driver turns around slowly. It’s Josie’s Doom demon, grinning at them under a chauffeur’s hat. All the kids scream as the limo takes off to Fear Lake. Duke gets them to drive past the party, to a quiet beach by the lake. He tells Josie and Matty to stay where they are and drags Jen into the woods for a private party.
Duke tells her that he dreamed him up with the wishing well, so he’s her perfect guy, but he came with all the anger and jealousy she was feeling at the time. Now she’s stuck with him, they’ll be together forever. Jen doesn’t like that much, so she beans him with a tree trunk and knocks him out. Josie and Matty come running up and they decide to drown him. They drag him to the lake. Not surprisingly, he comes to and starts to choke Jen. She thinks she can wish him away with the wishing well, but Duke grabs her hand and the well goes flying in the air.
Duke grabs it, thinking he’s won, but it bursts into flames and sets him on fire. Apparentely water can’t put it out, because he is standing in a lake and all, but he burns up, leaving behind the wishing well.
Getting back to the limo, they see the Doom driver is done. They drive the limo home. Jen goes to bed, but someone is in her room. It’s Trisha. Trisha is moaning that she is evil, that everyone she loves dies, that it’s all her fault that Gary died. She tearfully tells Jen that she doesn’t think they’ll survive Graduation …
Ooh, is your interest piqued? I can’t wait to read the last of the series, and the last of all our Fear Street books.
As for Prom Date, it was alright. Jen is not exactly the most intriguing character and for the most part I just want to punch her in the mouth for feeling sorry for herself. Duke was hella interesting though. A better ending would have been a shower of glass globes on everyone, or an homage to Carrie somehow. You could have done so much with this, R. L. I’m a little disappointed. I’ll give this 8 blown glass mysterious wishing wells of evil out of 17.