Monday, September 29, 2014

The Vampire Club or "How Crazy Can R.L. get in 20 pages?"

I can't even tell you the mix of emotions I had reading an R.L. book for the first time in years. There was joy, nostalgia and a healthy dose of wtf-am-i-reading. Also, since I had never read "The Vampire Club" before, there wasn't too much nostalgia. So my reaction was pretty heavy on the WTF. 

"The Vampire Club" is a short story that was attached to the two Goodnight Kiss books and made into the compilation "Temptation". I can't for the life of me find out whether "The Vampire Club" was ever published before being attached to "Temptation" in 2012. So let's just say it may have been written in 2012, or maybe at some other point. Fact checking is not my forte. 

Since "The Vampire Club" didn't have its own tagline (or interesting cover), I checked out the tagline for the whole compilation. Sometimes evil is sealed with a kiss. ...Hmmm! That one almost made sense. Like evil can seduce you? I guess that's what the Goodnight Kiss books were about, so good on R.L. (or whoever actually makes up the taglines. It can't possibly be him).

The first line of "The Vampire Club" was seriously the best: "Starting at a new school can be a real pain in the neck". SEE WHAT HE DID THERE?! God, I've missed his writing. 

Anyhow, Pete is new to Forest Grove, after moving there from Shadyside just before his senior year started. The setting doesn't really make sense to me, since Pete could have easily just moved TO Shadyside, and nothing in the story would have changed. Whatever. Forest Grove sounds suspiciously like the Washington town that the Twilight series was set in, and yes, I am proud that I don't remember that name. (Forks. Dammit). Everything in Forest Groves is dark, shady, and covered in creepy ivy. Pete even remarks that is looks just like the Fear Street Woods! (Why are we in Forest Groves then?).        

Pete is trying to get through his first day at his new school, but is feeling pretty homesick. Once the home bell rings at 3pm, everyone starts running through the halls like they are trying to get to another class. Pete finally asks a girl from his home room about this fuckery. Nan (yes that's her name) answers that everyone is required to join a club after school that meets every day. Two things here: Pete thinks Nan is super hot. Like "On a scale from 1-10, she's definitely 150!" kind of hot (Pete is a total cock waffle, clearly), Second thing: Mandatory clubs? That's just another class, right? Pete doesn't think this is weird at all, and asks if there is a carpentry club since that's his hobby. Let's revisit that. As a 16 year old boy, his hobby is...carpentry. Pete definitely has to be a vampire, right? Because no one gets into carpentry as a hobby until they are at least 80.

Nan tells him she has a more exciting club for him to join. Since Pete is now in love with her after their 3-minute discussion, he follows her into the woods where he meets her boyfriend Lee and the rest of their club. They are called The Vampire Club.  It takes a while for Pete to suss out whether these weirdos think they are vampires but it turns out they are vampire hunters! Amazing. I think I was in a ghostbusting club at age 9, so I feel a connection to these people. Lee is all "we destroy vampires! They hunt in these woods but go to school with us in the daytime!". Pete is "unsure" whether or not they are fucking with him.  And honestly, since this is an R.L. novel, I have no idea either. Lee tells Pete that to be initiated into the club he has to kill a vampire. Pete is all "cool" and makes plans with them to meet up the next night for some huntin'. And at no point does he think it's weird that there are mandatory after-school clubs.

The next night, they all gather in the Forest Grove woods again, and walk in complete darkness for a little while. Finally, Lee sees something. A boy from their gym class, Jason, has just entered a clearing in the woods, dragging a dog along with him. As Pete watches, Jason lowers his head to the dogs neck! Lee is all gleeful: "He's drinking its blood!", and Pete turns away to be sick. Everyone laughs at Pete, and he runs home. He can't believe he was wimped out and blew his chance to be in the club with Nan! Hmm. Pete...

Pete decides that he's not going to chicken out. So he carefully files a log into a stake all night long. OMG what? Then just before daybreak (because vampires must return home to sleep during the day, Pete thinks. Clearly forgetting Jason is a boy from his gym class. In daylight.), he sneaks into Jason's house and slips into his bedroom. Pete thinks to himself that he can do it, he can kill the mighty vampire Jason, FOR NAN. And with that, he shoves the stake into Jason's heart and runs home. 

As soon as he gets home, he calls his obsession, Nan. Nan is really glad he called, because she feels bad about the prank that Lee pulled last night. Prank? What prank? Um, yeah, Pete, Jason is Lee's friend. Lee got him to pretend to be a vampire to freak out Pete. Oh. 

The book ends with "What did you call to tell me, Pete?", which I totally loved. The short story wasn't too bad! I actually wasn't sure what direction R.L. would take it. I kinda thought Pete would be a vampire and try to eat all the lame-o club kids. Or maybe Nan and Lee were the leader of some sort of cult that thought they were vampires. All of these situations would have been okay with me, but I liked that R.L. went with Pete being a total crazy person. Seven stakes carefully crafted out of logs over the course of an evening of insanity out of nine. 

But can we discuss the real thing that's bothering me about this book? How did no one care that there were mandatory clubs after school every day?!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Guys. It's almost time!

Alright Fear Street fans, there is so much news that I had to make a post. My first post in YEARS! I’ve missed you all. I’ve missed discussing the finer points of R.L.’s writing with L.K. Most of all, I’ve missed reading amazing Fear Street books!

Let’s start us off: As I'm sure you all know, R.L. is releasing new Fear Street books this fall. In fact, the first one, Party Games, will be released on September 30th! So soon. Don’t worry, I’ve already placed my pre-order. Here is the description of Party Games:

Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder.

As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

Soooo…basically “All-Night Party”? 

I’m into it. I mean, really, how could I not read any new Fear Street books? I cannot WAIT to read this book (although I should point out, I did not spring for overnight shipping. I guess I can wait a little bit.)!  To prepare his true fans for the release of the new Fear Street books, R.L. has done a little bit of promotion that I thought I would highlight. There was an article published on, which is an online publication of the International Thrillers Writers, which I did not know was a thing.  Here is the link to the article:

Great, right? Here are some of the talking points for those of you who don’t feel like reading an article about R.L. Stine (why are you reading this blog then?).

  • He doesn’t like zombies and doesn’t get this new zombie craze. Well, I just feel like that is a blatant lie.  He wrote sooo many books with zombies in them! “Zombies are boring as characters,” he says. “You can’t disguise them as humans. There’s really not much that can be done with them.” Should we discuss the amazing novel The Perfect Date which included three zombies who were disguised as humans? What about InToo Deep where a male child zombie disguised himself as a hot teen and seduced a male camp counselor?
  •  He thinks “vampires are sexy”.  Good to know.
  • Best quote? “All I’ve ever wanted was to be funny”. I hope he knows how much laughter and joy he has brought to my life over the years.
  • He’s afraid of water! Interesting! I would say that many more characters have died from fire, ghost attacks, being slashed with a skate than have drowned. Perhaps he doesn’t like to confront his fear too much? (A notable exception is Sarah Fier who drowned when her boat sank in the Atlantic. And then she haunted some cheerleaders for some reason).
  • He said that after Party Games, he’ll probably bring back cheerleaders! L.K. will be so pumped!
  • Mentions how he “never wrote from the heart” and doesn’t understand why authors would. He wants to sell his books! And I’m also guessing that whatever is in his heart is terrifying.
  • He says that it usually takes him 3-4 weeks to write a Fear Street book, and it goes so quickly because he does a lot of planning before (He doesn’t say this but I imagine it’s also because he doesn’t mind gaping plot holes).  But the article references him finishing a novel in 8 days in the late 80s. He mentions in another article that the 8-day book was…The Secret Bedroom! That makes sense. Here is L.K.’s final review of The Secret Bedroom: "This book was cheesy and nonsensical. Skeletal corpses dancing around? Even the cover sucks, with the cheesy glowing door, and cheesy skeletal hand. This book belongs firmly in the ranks of Goosebumps, and I’m sorry to see it put in the category of Fear Street. 2 skeletal corpses out of 7.” Hahahah
That article was full of facts and gems. It really did heighten my anticipation for the Party Games release!

He also went ahead and made a list of his favorite Fear Street books:
  1. New Girl
  2. Silent Night
  3. Switched
  4. Fear Street Saga: The Betrayal
  5. Haunted
  6. The Perfect Date
  7. Cheerleaders: The First Evil
  8. The Secret Bedroom
Most of these are our favourites too. I have always had a soft spot for the original Fear Street Saga, and L.K. distinctly remembers Switched from her youth. In fact, she mentions Switched in both her top five favourite Fear Street list and top five scariest list.  But why is The Secret Bedroom on here? He says he loves it because it “wrote itself”. Maybe it would have benefited from some actual human editing? Just sayin…

I also wanted to mention that I just got a new R.L. book from the library – Temptation. It is a compilation of Goodnight Kiss, Goodnight Kiss 2 and Vampire Club. I won’t be reviewing Goodnight Kiss and Goodnight Kiss 2 since L.K. already reviewed those. Apparently Vampire Club is a short story, and I don’t believe we ever read it, so I will try to get that up on the blog before we get into the Party Games!

Exciting times, Shadyside fans!