Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seniors #4 - No Answer


Book Description:

Clarissa Turner is NOT crazy! Her dead sister, Justine, really did contact her through a psychic hotline and Clarissa discovers her sister's death was not an accident--it was murder. Now Clarissa realizes that another Shadyside senior is about to die. And it could be her!

My Description:

Why in hell did Stine choose to make Clarissa the main character for this one? She's literally the most boring human being in Shadyside therefore this book is probably gonna be a total snooze. I miss The Thirst already!

Prologue

Clarissa is at Shadyside Memorial Cemetery with her mom, dad, and a bouquet of lilacs. She's visiting her sister Justine's grave for the first time. Justine died two months ago; she fell down the stairs, effectively snapping her neck. That's a fairly pedestrian death in Shadyside. Anyway, Clarissa has been in a "special clinic" since her sister died because she couldn't deal with it. But she's finally free so look out world! *sarcasm*

Chapter one begins with Debra Lake greeting Clarissa at the doors of Shadyside High. Clarissa is afraid that everyone will think she's nuts. Yeah, they probably will. Get over it. Inside the building, Clarissa freaks out when she sees Josh Maxwell, Mickey Myers, and Matty Winger coming toward her. They exchange a few words, Matty acts like an asshole as usual, and they move on. I don't get what the big deal is. Oh well. Mira Block comes running up next. Debra doesn't care much for Mira: "Debra was always saying that you couldn't trust someone who's been behind the bleachers with practically every guy in school." Nasty! Mira hurries off and suddenly someone comes up and wraps their clammy hands around Clarissa's throat. If I had a dime for every time this exact scene happened in a Fear Street novel, I'd be richer than Stine. It's Will Reynolds, Clarissa's love interest. She takes a moment to admire his "hazel eyes and chocolate colored skin" before heading off to the main office.

At dinner that night, Clarissa tells her parents all about her first day. Then she flips out when they tell her that they're going through with the adoption of a kid named Aaron. Clarissa thinks they're simply trying to replace Justine, but she quickly calms down when they tell her she can have Justine's old room. Ah, the power of bribery. If they had known that a bigger bedroom would cure all Clarissa's problems, I doubt they would have spent all that money on that "special clinic". Clarissa runs straight up to her new room and the next few pages are full of Clarissa reminiscing about the good old days. Then she sees Justine's ghost. *sigh* This entire seqeuence is supposed to illicit some sympathy, but it's just so poorly written that I feel nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Anyway, Clarissa stares in horror at her sister's lumpy, bruised neck as she floats into the room. Clarissa locks the door just in case her parents hear her talking to her dead sister. Justine floats to her desk and shuffles through it as if she's looking for something. Then she disappears. Well, that wasn't completely pointless or anything. A second later, someone pounds on the door. It's Mira and Debra. Thanks, but no thanks. Clarissa, being the moron that she is, tells them about the spectral Justine. Mira and Debra, being crazier than Clarissa, actually believe her and ask what Justine was doing there. Clarissa explains that Justine was searching for something and just before she disappeared, she pointed at an English book. The girls look inside Justine's book and see that she drew pictures in the margins. Yeah, a big deal is made of that, but it's meaningless. Much like the rest of this book. BURN. The girls then spot a folded piece of paper. It says:

Renata
Ask her anything
For she knows the future

At the bottom, there;s a 900-number and a scrawled note in Justine's writing: "Call back August 20 @ 4:30 PM sharp!!!" August 20 just happens to be the day after Justine died so Clarissa feels compelled to call this Renata chick because she thinks Justine wants her to. Letting a dead girl make decisions for you doesn't seem like the wisest choice. Oh well. Anyway, I think we all know what happens. Clarissa calls and Justine answers. Ooooo. Justine says she doesn't have much energy so she can't stay on the line for long, but she manages to let Clarissa know that someone pushed her down those stairs: "Moon girl...I was murdered." 'Moon girl' is her stupid nickname for Clarissa. And no-one needed to be told she was murdered--we already learned that from the overly expositional back cover. I really hate this book. Unfortunately, I still have over 100 pages to plod through so I guess I should just get over it. Just as Clarissa begins her obligatory freak out, Renata comes on the line. Of course the magical Renata says that Justine was speaking through her. Damn, Clarissa, you are getting gypped! Ripped off! While Renata is spouting bullshit, the charges are piling up; this is a 900-number, after all. Not that I have any experience with those. *cough* Two words: hang up. Debra tells Clarissa that it's just a scam, but Clarissa continues to listen to Renata. Renata tells Clarissa personal things about Clarissa's life to prove that she isn't a fake. Since Clarissa is basically a cardboard cut-out, these things aren't even remotely interesting. Renata tells Clarissa to call back the next evening and make sure her friends are there because they'll need the extra energy to channel Justine. *sigh*

The next afternoon, Clarissa is sitting in calculus, thinking about--what else?--Justine. The bell rings and Clarissa heads to Pete's Pizza to meet her lover boy Will. When she arrives at the restaurant, she spots Will in a booth and thinks "Would he still want to go out with me if I told him I spoke to my dead sister?" What do you think, genius? This chick has rocks for brains. She makes her way to the booth, they kiss, and Josie Maxwell comes to take their order. Then my worst nightmare is brought to life--Clarissa calls out to Trisha Conrad and waves her over. WHY?! May I ask why you want to ruin your afternoon with the deluded ramblings of a psuedo psychic? Because it ain't worth it, believe me. Clarissa asks about the visions and Trisha says she wishes she had never mentioned them because everyone thinks she's crazy. Well, that convinces me that the person who wrote this Seniors book did not write the three that preceded it. Because Trisha never before cared if anyone thought she was crazy. She was gonna spread her message regardless! Damn you, ghostwriter! How odd to curse someone other than Stine. I'm sure that will come later. Anyway, Gary Fresno comes in then and Trisha scampers off with him. Clarissa and Will eat their pizza then he walks her home. Dammit, Clarissa tells him about Justine and the psychic. He doesn't believe her (didn't see that one coming! Of course not!) and she gets pissed off and teary-eyed over it. Really, though, what did she expect?

That evening, Mira and Debra come over to Clarissa's place for the Renata call. Kill me. Renata tells the girls to hold hands, close their eyes, and think of Justine. Renata begins a srange chant and suddenly she's connected to Justine. Justine says she doesn't know who killed her because she was pushed from behind and didn't even get a glimpse of the murderer. She also says that Clarissa and her friends need to watch out because the killer is going to get one of them. Should be interesting. NOT. Renata hangs up and Deb and Mira leave a few moments later after freaking out a bit. Clarissa snoops around Justine's room looking for any clue that would lead to the killer's identity which seems kind of stupid--even Justine doesn't know so I doubt Clarissa will figure it out so easily. She comes across a loose floorboard in the closet that has a fake ID (Justine was also known as Tania Adams, apparently) and a large hunting knife hidden beneath it. So she liked to play with knives. Who doesn't? Clarissa also comes across Justine's diary and immediately flips it open. The pages mention some guy named Slash who Justine has been sneaking around with. Coincidentally, the word 'SLASH' was printed on the leather sheath holding the knife. Hmmm. I'm not as intrigued as I feel I should be. A few entries later, we find out that Slash gave her the knife as a "token of his protection". Puke. The entires also mention the fact that Justine was also dating some guy named Hammerhead. Are you fucking kidding me? HAMMERHEAD????? Ok, I'm ignoring it. Slash knew about the other guy and got pissed. A few weeks later, Justine went on a date with a bass player named *huge sigh* Strummer. Seriously, I'm dying here. Slash's reaction? He shoved her. Ok then. He turns a little psycho, though, stalking Justine and sending her a dead bird for Valentine's Day. Nothing says love like rotting poultry. Clarissa stops reading when she hears a noise at the window. She turns and sees a pair of gloved hands sliding the window up. Uh-oh. Never mind--it's just Will who almost got his fingers amputated by Slash's knife. He says he just wanted to apologize for being so rude about the Justine thing and he thought it would be fun to sneak in through the window. Is it fun to get your ass stabbed? Because that's what happens when you sneak up on people holding big shiny hunting knives. Anyway, it's kind of ironic that Will comes to apologize for his behavior because he ends up acting the same way, denying that Renata is the real thing and rolling his eyes everytime Clarissa mentions her suspicions that Slash could be the murderer. They argue, she cries, and they make out. A vicious cycle. Clarissa's dad knocks on the locked door and interrupts sexy happy time. Will jumps in the closet while Clarissa unlocks the door. Dad just wanted to let her know that Aaron will be arriving tomorrow and none of Clarissa's friends will be allowed to come over. FAMILY ONLY (dead not included). Dad goes away, Will leaves, and Clarissa reads one last entry in the diary. Someone was prank calling and stalking Justine. That freaks Clarissa out, but it only serves to numb me even further. This is the first time a Fear Street book has made me feel nothing. Usually I at least feel enraged...

Later on in the evening, Clarissa decides to gather Deb and Mira and a couple fake IDs to take a trip to the Zodiac club where Justine used to hang out with Slash. This should be...interesting. They head inside, find a table, and order drinks. Clarissa finds a waitress and asks where the bathrooms are. As she's making her way through the crowd, some guy steps in front of her and won't haul his creepy ass out of the way. He's got a gold tooth and eyebrow piercings with a tiny dagger in each. What a winner. He comes closer and says "Come here. I've got what you want." EW. Just then, Will, of all people, steps in and tells the freak to back off. He tells Clarissa that she needs to leave because it's too dangerous. Ooooo.

The next evening, Clarissa is waiting for her parents to come home with Aaron. When they do, we get Aaron's background. He's five years old and has terrible emotional problems due to the fact that he witnessed his parents' murder. *shock* Two guys tied them up and pushed them into the Conononka River. *more shock* No wonder the child is emotionally scarred. I am just from reading that! Clarissa shows Aaron his new room and he asks to see her room, too. He says that Justine is in heaven with his parents and Clarissa is shocked because she was sure Justine went to hell. Just kidding...or am I? Why does Stine (or whoever the hell wrote this crap) have to drag the kid into this? I swear, I think I've seen a shitty made-for-TV movie with this exact plot. I say that a lot--is that truly where Stine retrieves his ideas? Does it matter? Probably not. Anyway, what happens next pisses me off in a major way. Aaron runs into the room, picks up the phone, and suddenly goes all wonky, crumpling to the floor. He looks up and says "Be careful...Moon...Girl." Really? No, REALLY? This book is going into the fire for sure. Aaron goes on to say "Too late...another murder...too late." then goes limp. Clarissa yells for her dad who rushes upstairs. He thinks Aaron's problem is simply low blood sugar (HA) and takes him downstairs to get something to eat. Clarissa calls Debra to make sure she's still alive (she is). They discuss Trisha's prediction (it all goes back to that) because they believe it's coming true. Of course it is. Deb says she ran into Hammerhead (aka Eddie Robbins) at the mall and he told her that Justine acted awfully strange in the weeks before her death. Well, that solves everything! NOT. It's not even relevant. She was probably on her period or something. Deb tells Clarissa to hang on a sec and Clarissa hears her talking to someone in the background. She says "No. Get away from me!" just before a loud banging noise echoes through the phone. Clarissa hangs up the phone and runs to Debra's house. She bangs on the door, but no-one answers so she uses the spare key. What does she find inside? If you said "Debra's corpse" give yourself a pat on the back. Debra is crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, bleeding and broken.

On Thursday afternoon, Clarissa is sitting at the police station. A detective tells Clarissa that they see no reason to believe Debra was murdered. Unfortunately, warnings from a dead girl aren't enough proof so Clarissa has nothing. The detective believes that Debra simply fell down the stairs and everything Clarissa heard over the phone was a figment of her imagination. Shadyside cops are crap. And that's a vast understatement. Clarissa pretty much demolishes any tiny chance she would have of being believed when she tells the detective about Renata. *sigh* Miraculously, the guy actually agrees to call her. But the biotch lies and says she has never heard of Clarissa OR Justine. Clarissa protests, but the detective brings up the fact that he knows Clarissa spent time in the "special clinic" and for her own good, she shouldn't mention the psychic again. What an asshole! Clarissa gives up and goes home.

Once in her room, Clarissa calls Eddie Robbins (I refuse to call him Hammerhead again) to talk about what he told Debra at the mall. He says he isn't sure that she'll want to hear it, but Clarissa begs. He tells her that Justine had been seeing Will Reynolds. Oh hell no! And good gawd, Justine got around. Clarissa asks if Eddie knows anyone named Slash and does he think Will ever went by that name. Eddie has no clue which renders him useless to Clarissa so she says good-bye. She then calls Mira and asks her to come over. When she arrives, Clarissa explains everything. Mira says there's no way Will would've killed anyone, but Clarissa decides to call Renata to be sure. She asks Renata why she wouldn't talk to the police and her excuse sucks: "I'm sorry, Clarissa. About that and about your friend. But I couldn't tell that I knew you. Most cops don't believe psychics. I just can't afford to get involved with the police." When Clarissa asks her to channel Justine, she says no because she's too tired from another call. Then she hangs up on Clarissa. HATE! Mira says that she can e-mail Will and ask him where he was last night. They're pretty good friends and she doesn't think he'll lie to her. Idiot. She uses Clarissa's computer to send him a quick note and then she heads home. Clarissa lies down and suddenly the phone rings. All she hears is static, though, and automatically believes it's Justine. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? She moves to the doorway and looks down the hall. She goes to the staircase and peers down...and is shoved violently from behind. She falls all the way down and thinks she's dying just like Justine...

AND THAT WAS ALL A DREAM. I'm just going to sit the corner and grit my teeth for a while. Clarissa wakes up and finds Will standing over her. He clamps his hand over her mouth and tells her not to scream. He removes his hand and says he wanted to see her but didn't want to deal with her parents so he snuck through the window again. Okkk....but that doesn't explain why you're acting like a complete lunatic. Clarissa wastes no time in accusing him of being Slash and such. He says he was so pissed when Justine broke up with him that he went a little nuts (which explains the stalking and the dead Tweety) but he didn't kill her or Debra. Clarissa doesn't believe him, though, and keeps throwing accusations. Will gets nasty, telling Clarissa that she should go back to the clinic where she belongs. Ouch. She breaks up with him and forces him to get the hell out. Will says "You'll regret this, Clarissa. You'll regret it until the day you die." before climbing out the window. Yawn. Clarissa's parents come in and she delivers them the same spiel she gave to the detective. This only serves to make them believe she's losing her mind all over again. Will she never learn? She says that she's been talking to Renata over the phone that sits at her bedside. Her parents find that awfully strange considering that phone was disconnected after Justine's death. SHOCK! Her father takes the phone away and tells her he'll make her an appointment with the nice doctor.

Clarissa cuts school the next day. Late in the afternoon, she heads to Pete's Pizza to meet with Mira. Afterward, as they're walking home, Clarissa tells her Will was totally lying about everything and she needs to contact Justine to find out what will happen next. Mira lets Clarissa use her calling card to call Renata from a pay phone. But lo and behold, Renata can no longer contact Justine: "I can't find her. Justine is...gone!" Renata asks about the phone that Clarissa is calling from and says that Justine's "essence" was probably attached to the old phone and that's why the connection was so strong. The search for the phone begins. Yee haw! Or something.

That night, Clarissa and Mira wait until everyone in the house is asleep to begin looking for the phone. They find it in her dad's study, but just as they're making their way through the kitchen (why are they there?) Dad comes downstairs. Mira jumps into the bathroom with the phone while Clarissa stalls. He's too sleepy to suspect anything and goes back upstairs. Ok? The girls go to Clarissa's room and try Renata, but she never answers so Clarissa hides the phone and they go to bed. About 30 minutes later, Mira wakes Clarissa because she heard something outside. They realize someone is climbing to the window and start to freak out. The window is unlocked so WILL just climbs on in. Clarissa grabs the hunting knife, but he just wants to talk. They fight and Will ends up falling out the window.

On Saturday, Clarissa is sitting in Dr. Sayles' office. Turns out Will broke some bones and everyone pretty much blames her so she's back in the clinic. Dr. Sayles tells her she needs to believe that Will is innocent. She also has to call him and apologize for busting him up. The doctor dials Will's room and hands the phone to Clarissa. She apologizes and Will says he's more worried about her than himself. He has disturbing news: "Mira likes me. She's been after me since before I met Justine. I didn't want to say anything because the two of you are friends. I thought Mira would get the hint. But she didn't. And the more I think about it, she made hints... She said things about Justine's death. I never put it together before. Maybe I'd better talk to the police about Mira." Clarissa rejects this idea as we knew she would and flips out on Will: "There's no way I'm going to believe you! Never! Never! Never!" Good thing this happened right in front of the doctor--he'll have to believe you now, Clarissa, you unbelievable moron.

Later, Clarissa's parents come to visit. They bring Aaron probably because they want to get him used to this place now. He'll definitely be staying sometime in the future, let's face it. He's already disturbed and Shadyside will only feed the fire. He'll be the male Nancy Casey. That's a book I'd like to read... Ok, I've lost track. Mira comes along, too. She'll be babysitting Aaron while the parents shop and pretend that their family isn't falling apart at the seams. The group sits in the TV room and discusses Clarissa's progress (or lack thereof). Then Mom and Dad leave. Aaron hears Mira's cell phone ringing and opens her bag to answer it. Clarissa is shocked to see that it's Justine's cordless phone, not Mira's cell. Aaron looks at Clarissa and says "Believe...it." Justine again. So Mira is the killer. Great. Why the hell do I still have 20 pages to read? Aaron goes to the bathroom and Mira says that she snagged the phone from Clarissa's house so they could contact Justine. Aaron comes back and he and Mira leave while Clarissa tries to figure out what "Believe it" means. Come on! Come. On.

When Clarissa finally pulls her head out of her ass, she decides that she has got to get out of this place and see if Aaron is all right. She figures if Mira really is the murderer, she'll try to destroy the only two connections to Justine: the phone and Aaron. She climbs out the window and runs to her house. No-one home. She heads to Mira's house where Mira's mother tells her that Mira was going to take Aaron to Fear Lake. Clarissa freaks out because Aaron is terrified of water (for the oh-so-obvious reasons) and this could be really bad. Clarissa races to Fear Lake and spots Mira and Aaron in a rowboat. Mira is being a total bitch by rocking the boat back and forth and laughing at Aaron's terror. So evil. Clarissa dives into the water and swims out to the boat. Mira stares at her and pulls Justine's phone out of her backpack. She says "Which one should I dump first? The phone or the little geek?" Why don't you dump yourself and save us all a lot of trouble, wench? Clarissa wants to know why Mira is doing this and the reason is predictably stupid: "You never got it, did you? Will and I were friends for a reason. We were meant to be together. But he ony wanted Justine. He was obsessed with her! You read the diary! You know how he was!" Ok, time out. I absolutely DESPISE this storyline and I can't even count how many times I've come across it in these damn books. No guy is worth killing for!!! You're going to kill an innocent child simply because some douchebag didn't wanna go on some shitty date with you?!?! Get over yourself!! Grrrrrr.

Mira confesses to murdering Justine and Debra. The "reasoning" behind Deb's murder makes me insane with white-hot RAGE: "I didn't want to kill Debra. But I was stupid. Because I admitted to her one night that I was hot for Will. And I couldn't give her a chance to figure out that I killed Justine to get her out of the way."Weak. So fucking weak! Mira drops the phone in the water and turns to Aaron. She shoves him in the water and he sinks, but Clarissa manages to drag him up before he becomes unconscious. Mira pops Clarissa in the head with the oar and Clarissa believes that she and Aaron will die out here. Luckily some random guy saves them. Of course he does! Because random strangers are always floating in the middle of a lake waiting for someone to attempt to murder you so they can save the day! Before Clarissa can get to the man (who already has Aaron) Mira tries to hit her again. This time, Clarissa grabs the oar and pulls Mira into the water. She climbs into the boat and begins rowing away from Mira. As Clarissa nears the shore, she sees her parents, Dr. Sayles, several police officers, and an unconscious Aaron. Mira manages to reach them first and immediately accuses Clarissa of trying to kill Aaron. Here we go... Clarissa screams that it's all a lie, but Mira interrupts by declaring Aaron dead. In a pukeworthy moment, Justine's phone washes ashore and suddenly Aaron is coughing up water and regaining consciousness. Well, it's over for you, Mira. Aaron points at Mira and says "She did it! Mira tried to kill us!" HA.

Later in the week, Clarissa is preparing to go out with Will. Apparently, he's forgiven her for pushing him out a window. And our darling Mira has been sent off to a hospital to get the mental help she severely needs. Happy endings all around. *barf*

Conclusion? This is one call you don't wanna answer, kids.

Next time: "Seniors #5 - Last Chance" This one sounds so scandalous it isn't even funny. Too bad it will probably turn out to be as lame and boring as this one was.

6 comments:

  1. On the one hand, this book does sound mind-numbingly boring.

    On the other hand, that tagline? ("The line is dead.") Is hilarious!

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  2. To be fair, this is Fear Lake we're talking about. Just think about how many books have partially or totally taken place there, and it seems like it wouldn't be that farfetched if it were actually someone's job to just patrol the lake to stop murders from happening.

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  3. What a waste of a good plot. I was hoping that Clarissa was an unreliable narrator and she did it, because as we can tell she is crazy. Aaron's presence is basically pointless, and them being saved at the end by a random guy?! Terrible plotting. Are the ghostwriters all such amateurs or something?

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  4. Helen, I agree on both counts!

    Chad, there definitely needs to be a Fear Patrol...

    Anon, I'm not sure about ALL ghostwriters, but this one in particular was totally inept.

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  5. Huh, even with ghost this sounds more boring and kinda prdictable

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  6. I literally laughed out loud multiple times throughout this recap! You are awesome with the sarcasm!

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