All Julie's friends hated Al. They all wished Al were dead. But that doesn't mean one of them killed him. [Yes it does.] Julie knows her friends. She knows they are innocent... Until one of them confesses. Julie and her friends promise to keep the killer's secret. After all, they know he would never kill again. Or would he?
We begin with Julie asking questions that no-one wants to answer: "What would you do if one of your best friends took you aside and said he had a confession to make? What if your friend confessed to you that he killed someone? And he begged you not to tell anyone. He begged you to keep his horrible secret. What would you do? Tell his parents? Call the police? Try to convince him to tell his parents? Tell your parents? Or keep the secret?" That's a lot of questions, Julie. Luckily I have an answer that covers them all: I would tell my stupid friend to read this book. I'm sure it's full of great ideas on how to keep your murdering ass out of jail. Anyway, Julie thinks back on a fateful day last May...
Julie and her friends Hillary Walker and Taylor Snook (yes, SNOOK.) are just hanging out at Julie's house after school. It's a lovely day in the neighborhood so they're outside sunning themselves. Taylor asks Julie if she's ever sunbathed nude and gets pissed when Julie says "You mean in the backyard?" even though it's obvious Taylor was talking about the beach. DUH! Yeah, Taylor's a bit of a bitch. After a while, they go inside for chips and Mountain Dew (NO COKE?!?! NOOOO!) and gossip about boys, namely Vincent Freedman and Sandy Miller. Vincent is Julie's friend, but she's got a raging passionate crush on him. Sandy is Taylor's boyfriend which automatically makes me hate him. Then the girls start talking about a party that Reva Dalby (if only I could forget her) is throwing. Since Reva is disgustingly rich, the party is going to be epic and the girls are excited because they managed to get invited even though they hate Reva. Everyone does, after all.
As they're gabbing their lives away, someone barges into the kitchen. It's just some dirty diaper named Al Freed. Al is bad news, baby. He's big, blond, and tough looking. He used to be a part of Julie's circle of friends until he started hanging out with some "hard dudes" (that is one of the gayest things I've come upon in these books. HARD DUDES!) from Waynesbridge. He reminds Julie of a vulture. Hawt. Al lamely flirts with Taylor, pausing every few minutes to take a gulp of beer and expel gas through his bird beak. When he's done, he throws his can into the sink because to walk two feet to the trash can would be something akin to death, apparently. Julie asks him why he's here and he says "You're my favorite, Julie. You're the best." He goes on to say that Hillary and Taylor are trash and then asks Julie for $20. She says she doesn't have it and he reponds by lighting a cigarette and tossing his used match onto the floor. *sigh* Julie tells him to get the hell out, but he doesn't budge. "How about if I burn a little hole in the table, Julie? Do you think you could find twenty bucks then?" Ass. He finally starts harrassing Hillary until she gives in and hands him a twenty.
Al finally flaps away and Julie's mom comes home. She finds Al's lit cigarette on the floor and his empty beer can in the sink and gets pissed at Julie for letting him bring those things in. "Julie, you're grounded for the weekend." Julie completely flips out because she'll miss Reva's party and she'll just DIE, I tell you, she'll DIE! Julie rants and raves like a madwoman, but her mom doesn't give a damn. Julie thinks about Al and wishes he were dead. Fortunately for her, that wish will soon come true.
So Julie misses Reva's party and it makes her sick. It's now a week later and Hillary and Julie are walking to Sandy's house after school. Hillary is STILL talking about how awesome the party was. Rub it in a little deeper, Hil. Anyway, they start talking about Sandy and Hil says he's kinda pathetic, always following Taylor around like a puppy even though she flirts with other guys right in front of him. Hillary even saw her dancing and making out with some guy at the party. Poor stupid Sandy. Oblivious to the fact that his girlfriend is a dirty skank. Or maybe he's just in denial. Either way, he needs to dump the trash. Julie's dumb ass actually says that maybe Hillary is being too hard on Taylor and maybe being with Taylor is good for Sandy because it could pull him out of his shell. Shut up, Julie. Why are you even defending Taylor? She treats everyone including you like dog shit! Grrrrr. Never mind. Hillary changes the subject to Al "HARD DUDE!"Birdboy who recently borrowed her car even though he can fly. The reason she feels compelled to give in to him? He got her the answers to a chemistry test and he keeps threatening to tell her uptight parents about it if she doesn't do what he wants. Who the hell cares? I would rather have my parents angry at me than have some dumbass blackmailing me! Oh well. Al will be dead soon. I need to remember that.
Hillary and Julie arrive at Sandy's house. He answers the door with "Did you hear about Al?" Oooooo! They go inside and spot Taylor and Vincent sitting on the couch. We're led to believe that Al has kicked the bucket, but no. He's just been suspended for getting into a fight. He got his ass handed to him on a rusty platter by a guy named David Arnold who is on the wrestling team. Hehe. Everyone quickly loses interest in Al because he's worthless and they all eat salsa and black tortilla chips. Hillary notices Taylor really wolfing it down and asks her how she stays so thin to which Taylor replies "I try to throw up every night." Everyone laughs because eating disorders are side-splittingly hilarious. HARHARHAR! Or not. Their good time ends when they hear a knock at the door. Of course it's Al who attempts to break the door down when they don't answer quick enough. Sandy finally opens the door and Al stumbles in drunk off his ass. He searches for beer even though his blood alcohol level is about a million. When Sandy tells him there is no booze to be had, Al gets really nasty. After a verbal slap fest, Al punches Sandy in the face, effectively knocking out a tooth. Hillary goes nuts and shoves Al into the refrigerator. He responds by shoving Sandy before running out the door. Drunks are just a barrel of laughs.
It's now Thursday afternoon and Julie is supposed to be heading to Vincent's house to work on a chemistry project. "I hoped maybe it would help get a special chemistry going between us! Ha-ha." Oh Julie. *sigh* But Julie gets hung up in the school parking lot with Corky Corcoran and some other cheerleaders about helping with the school car wash. She doesn't get to Vincent's house until 4:30 and he's pissed, but not at her. Al "borrowed" Vincent's mother's car by forcing Vincent to hand over the keys and he hasn't brought it back yet. I'm amazed that these people just keep catering to this idiot. Vincent's excuse is the same as Hillary's: he's done something bad that he doesn't want his parents knowing about and Vincent threatens to tattle unless all of his demands are met. In this case, Vincent took his parents' car without permission while they were down the street at a party and ended up getting a speeding ticket. Once again, just talk to your parents and stop letting some drunken fool have his way with you! Anyway, Al pulls up a moment later and to no-one's surprise, the car has been completely trashed. Al keeps saying it wasn't his fault, there were leaves covering the stop sign, at least he got it back on time... this last line causes Vincent to totally lose it. He lunges for Al and punches and scratches until Julie drags him off. "Al had turned away and was jogging down the driveway. Without calling to us, without uttering a word, he turned at the sidewalk and disappeared, jogging, behind a tall hedge. Al never looked back. That was on Thursday. The next night-Friday night-I killed him." Uh, WHAT?
"Well...some people thought I killed Al. But of course I didn't." Then why the hell did you say you did? Dammit, Julie! Anyway, on Friday night, everyone heads to the Shadyside Rink for some Rollerblading. Julie calls Vincent, but he's grounded for the rest of his life because of the car. Since Julie spends about a year telling us how horrible Vincent is on skates, I doubt he views this particular trip as a huge loss. They hang up and Julie runs outside to jump into Hillary's blue Bonneville so they can get going. Taylor and Sandy are in the backseat and Julie tells everyone about Vincent. No-one really seems to give a shit. Everyone deserves friends as good as these. HA! At the rink, Julie and Hillary skate while Sandy and Taylor get busy slobbering all over each other. Hillary abandons Julie for a moment to talk to some guy she knows. She skates back over a moment later and asks Julie if she wants to go to a party. She says no so Hillary leaves with the guy. Julie leaves a few hours later (I guess Taylor and Sandy smothered each other) and comes upon a nasty sight in a nearby alley. "Al. Dead in the alley. Strangled by skates. Strangled and smothered. And dead." And dead? As if we wouldn't have figured that out on our own, genius. But yeah, somebody choked Al with their skates. They even shoved the front of a skate into his mouth. To prevent the corpse from talking, of course. Julie pokes around the lifeless body for a bit because she's never seen a dead person before. Before she can touch the skate sticking out of his gob, someone bursts through the back door of the rink and immediately accuses Julie of killing Al. Others follow and dear Julie is taken to the police station.
Officer Reed is asking Julie questions while her parents sit nearby wondering where they went wrong. Reed believes Julie when she says she didnt't do it. He just can't make sense of the murder since there was no theft involved. People kill people for motives other than money, Officer Doofy. Reed asks if Al had any enemies and I think I might laugh myself to death at this. Julie mentions those HARD DUDES! from Waynesbridge that had been such baaaaad influences on Al and then she blurts that everyone hated him. Yes!
Al's funeral takes place on a beautiful sunny day. Julie debated over whether to go because she keeps having horrible nightmares about Al and the skate in his mouth, but she shows up anyway. Nothing interesting happens. No visions of the corpse rising up, no urinating on the grave. Afterward, Julie and friends meet at Sandy's house to eat sammichs and forget that Al ever existed. Then Sandy says he has a confession to make: "You see, I'm the one. I'm the one that killed Al." Taylor suddenly transforms into a rabid chimp and throws herself across the room. Everyone else just sits there because they think he's joking. But Sandy is very serious and goes on to say that he did it for all of them because Al was going around ruining everybody's lives and had to be stopped. TIME OUT. Yes, Al totally sucked. But they allowed him to "ruin their lives." They all but begged him to do all the stupid shit he did! If these morons had simply cut ties with him (and been honest with their parents) they would have had no problem. *sigh* I'm just gonna forget about this before the throbbing vein in my forehead explodes and sprays my life blood all over the floor. So anyway, everyone is going nuts because Sandy has involved them in this by confessing. I love how they're totally cool with the fact that Sandy is a murderer, though. They all start arguing over whether or not they should turn Sandy in. Eventually they decide not to because Sandy killed someone that everybody hated therefore he was performing a valuable service for his community. Plus, Sandy swears he'll never kill again. "A week later, Sandy killed again." Don't worry--Sandy only killed in a stupid dream Julie had. The dream is laughably ridiculous. The way Julie describes Sandy, he comes across as the demon spawn of Chucky and Freddy Krueger: "Chubby little Sandy with his round, baby face. Now he was evil. Now he was an evil figure, come to scare me in my dreams." A freaky little murderer who shows up in your dreams to choke you to death with a pair of skates? Let go of the crack pipe, Julie...
The next evening is graduation rehearsal. Graduation gives Julie and the other seniors a bad case of the sads: "We don't want to leave Shadyside High. It's been our home for four years. We've had so many good times here." I'm not even going to bother with a comment on that one. It speaks for itself. After rehearsal, Julie and Hillary start walking home. All they talk about is Sandy. Blah. In the middle of this ENTHRALLING conversation, they think they hear someone following them. When they turn, no-one is there, but they've got a strong feeling someone is out there. They reach Fear Street and see a police cruiser parked at Julie's house. Officer Reed has a few more questions for Julie. He just asks about the HARD DUDES! from Waynesbridge, but Julie knows nothing about them so Reed leaves pretty quickly. Hillary and Julie sit there talking for a minute until they see movement in the front yard. It's Sandy creeping around like the weirdo he is and the girls realize he was the one following them earlier. They go to the door and Sandy slinks off into the night at the sight of them.
Two days later, Julie is walking past the gym after school and spots Vincent and Sandy playing basketball with some other guys. Vincent runs up to her and tells her to wait and he'll walk home with her. He runs to finish the game, but doesn't get a chance to because Sandy gets pissed for some reason and hurls the ball directly at Vincent, knocking his breath out. "Sandy is our enemy." You're a sharp one, Julie.
On Saturday night, Hillary and Julie go to see a new Keanu Reeves movie. They meet at the theater and Julie tells Hillary to go ahead and save their seats because she has to tinkle. As she enters the restroom, she bumps into Taylor. Julie admires Taylor's "hot and sexy" look which includes dark lipstick and a blue scrunchy. I'm not sure what that is, but it sure as hell isn't hot and sexy. "Very hot and sexy." Shut up, Julie. Taylor is being a bitch as usual, talking about Sandy and screaming in Julie's face "Sandy isn't a killer!" Uh, he admitted he was, dumbass. What is WRONG with these people?
Monday night brings another grad rehearsal and more idiotic shenanigans. Julie gets home fairly late and her parents aren't there so we know some shit is gonna hit the fan. As she's standing in the garage searching for her house key, the garage door starts to rattle closed and Julie is trapped inside. In the darkness, she can see Sandy coming near. "Hi Julie. It's me." No shit. He's holding his handy dandy Rollerblades...and puts them on a shelf. "You shouldn't leave these on the floor. Someone could trip over them." Thanks, Dad. He's ticked because Julie has been talking to Officer Reed. Then he tells Julie that she's gonna have to get over the fact that he killed someone if they're going to remain friends. Sounds reasonable. He leaves after glaring at her like a petulant five year old and saying "I'm warning you." Oooo!
The next day at lunch, Hillary tells Julie that Sandy "threatened" her, too. They spot he and Taylor looking at them, but they refuse to sit next to them and find an empty table. I don't know why this scene was even added because absolutely nothing happens. At the end of the day, Julie and Hillary run into Taylor. Here we go AGAIN. And yet AGAIN she goes nuts because they're hurting Sandy's feelings and he's such a nice guy and he only killed someone that ONE time and blah blah fucking blah. Hillary makes the mistake of telling Taylor to leave them alone. "Red-faced, exploding in rage, Taylor uttered a hoarse cry and grabbed Hillary's braid. Taylor tugged hard, snapping Hillary's head around. And then one hand swung across Hillary's neck and in an instant, deep scratch lines darkened across Hillary's throat." Damn. Julie FINALLY yanks them apart and Taylor pukes on the floor before running away. What the hell?
In the student parking lot, they get into Julie's car where they sit and talk MORE about Sandy. Hillary thinks the only reason Sandy confessed was because he wanted them to admire him. "Now Taylor is so nuts about him, she's ready to fight anyone who hurts Sandy's feelings." Hil decides she's going to Sandy's house to convince him to turn himself in. Otherwise, SHE'S going to. Because she has a death wish. Julie drops her off at Sandy's house and speeds away. Nice one.
A few hours pass and Julie sits by the phone wondering why Hillary hasn't called. Because you delivered her directly into the hands of a maniac! Eventually Hillary's mother calls asking if Julie has seen Hil and Julie lies and says no. She goes down to dinner a few minutes later and even though she's silently freaking out, she does nothing. *sigh*
"Can you come over? Right now? I killed him. I killed Sandy." Shit. Julie rushes to Hillary's house and finds that Taylor and Vincent are already there. Hillary decided to wait until Julie arrived before telling them. The more witnesses, the better. Predictably, Taylor starts acting deranged, but Hillary makes her shut her yap so she can tell her story. She says she attempted to get Sandy to agree to confess to the police, but he just went cross-eyed with rage so Hillary cracked his head with his mom's sculpture of someone's bronze head...and this is just so damn convoluted. Seriously. Anyway, blood was spouting everywhere so Hillary freaked out and ran home. To make this crap even crazier, Taylor adds her two cents: "You don't understand! You don't understand anything at all! Why did Sandy have to die? He didn't do anything! He didn't do anything at all! Don't you understand? [I think that we've established that no-one, in fact, understands, you nitwit.] Sandy didn't kill Al! I did!" Ok, this is just bullshit. Does anyone really wanna know why Taylor did this? Well, you're getting it anyway. Al was "forcing" Taylor to steal money from her parents to give to him and she was sick of it. They got into a fight at the rink and since Taylor isn't known for thinking things through (or thinking AT ALL) she went wild and choked Al with her cruddy skates. Just as Taylor is gearing up to beat the crap out of Hillary for murdering her man, the door opens, and fucking SANDY walks in. That's it. I'm over this. I can't...I just can't! Ok, fine. I CAN. I just really really don't wanna. The entire thing was a set-up to get Taylor to confess. Sandy couldn't protect her anymore because he was sick of his friends thinking he was a homicidal maniac. Is it over now?
Two weeks later, Vincent and Julie are walking home from school when Vincent turns to her and says "Julie, I have a confession to make." And what, pray tell, would that be? "I've had a crush on you since third grade." Julie's response? "I screamed."
Conclusion? I liked most of this even though the characters made me want to set myself on fire at times. But what seriously pissed me off was Part Three. I wouldn't wipe my dog's ass with Part Three.
Next time: "The Face" Portraits of a dead boy drawn by an uncontrollable hand! Mwahahahaha!