*NOTE* I'm back. *END NOTE*
Phoebe Yamura loves being a cheerleader. And her senior year at Shadyside High couldn't be more perfect! First she's voted captain of the squad. And now she's seeing Ty Sullivan. But if Phoebe is so perfect, why does somebody want her dead?
An angry random soul really hates Phoebe as evidenced by the very first line of the book: "I hate her." He/she hates Phoebe's perky attitude, her hair, her body, and the fact that she's a cheerleader. This person probably spends all their time cursing Phoebe's parents and pissing on the graves of her ancestors.
On to chapter one. Phoebe is under the bleachers meeting her huggle bunny Ty Sullivan. If you guys remember, I really HATE Ty. I can't even fully remember why, but he's on my shit list, baby. Anyway, Phoebe has to sneak around with Ty because even though she's a senior in high school, her parents won't let her date. Ty says she needs to convince them of how great he is (you ass!), but Phoebe says they wouldn't be interested. HA. Then she says someone is watching them and it's freaking her out. And this time it's not even the pot talking. Ty responds by kissing her because a dry, crusty, mealy mouthed kiss is sure to protect her from whatever is killing off Shadyside seniors. Ew. Finally they break apart, Ty heading back to football practice and Phoebe joining the cheerleaders.
The girls are indeed cheery, discussing the various deaths that have occurred over the recent months. Finally they start practice and I refuse to mention the stupid cheer. No, no, a million times NO! *sob* Unfortunately, the dumb cheer kills one of the girls. Actually, Jade and Dana failed to catch the girl (Samantha) and she crashes to the ground. Her body is so twisted the girls think she's dead, but she gets up without even a broken bone. Because bones are made of titanium. *sigh* The cheer coach, Ms. Bell, comes over to make sure Samantha is ok and once she realizes she is, she berates Jade for her low chemistry grade and says if she can't bring it up, she'll be on probation. Why is this more important than, uh, actually focusing on practice and making sure no one gets their skull cracked? You suck, Bell. Dare I say that I miss Ms. Green? Eventually Ms. Bell shuts her yap and the girls do stretching exercises. Phoebe is sitting next to Jade and offers to help her with chemistry, but Jade just acts all bitchy and Dana joins in, saying Phoebe is the one who needs help...at being a better cheer captain. "You're FAILING!" How clever, Dana. You have the mental capacity of a dead goldfish. Congratulations.
After practice, Phoebe is in the locker room when she's approached by a new girl named Gina Quinlan who wants to try out for the squad. Phoebe says no way because tryouts were months ago, but Gina begs and pleads and shows off her moves until Phoebe agrees to ask Ms. Bell about it. Gina leaves and a moment later, Phoebe overhears Jade and Dana complaining about her. "Queen Phoebe thinks she knows everything. Ordering us around. Who does she think she is?" Dana knows: "Head cheerleader." Mensa, meet your new president. Phoebe doesn't understand why Jade hates her so much and decides to confront her. It's all pretty lackluster. Phoebe says "I heard what you said." and Jade says "So what?" Snore. Things go from cool to lukewarm when Phoebe opens her locker and finds her uniform shredded. There's also a note: "Give me an H-E-L-P" Phoebe is horrified, but does anyone find that as funny as I do? Phoebe automatically assumes it was Jade, but Jade just snaps "Prove it" and walks off. And since Phoebe can't prove anything, she sulks off to Ms. Bell's office to discuss Gina Quinlan. The team needs an alternate blah blah blah Gina gets a tryout. Hoo rah.
The next morning, Phoebe takes a chemistry test and simultaneously congratulates herself on SURELY getting an A while snickering at watching Jade struggle through it. Fast forward a few hours later to Gina's tryout. Phoebe and Ms. Bell watch as Gina does her routine which is predictably awesome. Ms. Bell tells Gina to wait in her office while she and Phoebe talk. Phoebe brings up Jade and the chem test and Ms. Bell informs her that Jade actually did really well. Ooo.
The next morning, the chemistry tests are handed back and Phoebe sees that she got a C minus . She also notices that the paper is all smudgy and the writing isn't even her's. She hears Jade squealing with joy over the fact that she got an A and Phoebe realizes what happened. After class, Phoebe confronts Jade, accusing her of switching the tests. Jade confesses because she's a bitch with nothing to lose. Phoebe turns back to talk to the chem teacher, but Samantha, Dana, and another girl from the squad named Joey stop her. They beg her not to say anything about what Jade did because the squad desperately needs her. OF COURSE Phoebe caves.
At lunch, Phoebe tells someone that she gets to retake the test and Jade's ass is saved for another day. Phoebe is still pissed because all the other girls took Jade's side. Shut up, Phoebe. It's your own damn fault! Samantha leaves a moment later and Dana decides to come over and rain on Phoebe's already sodden parade by dumping a rubber spider down the back of her shirt. Phoebe screams bloody murder, everyone laughs, and I'm left wondering why this is still funny if you're over the age of 12. Phoebe turns on Jade, but all Jade has to say is "Remember, Phoebe, I know how to get you. I know exactly how to get you." That's nice...
At cheer practice, Phoebe notices that Gina is acting less than enthusiastic, but she ignores it because all she can think about is the fact that everyone in the free world likes her except Jade and Dana. *sigh* Lady, get over it! I've got over 100 pages left and I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend them listening to you whine over and over again! Anyway, practice goes perfectly...so perfectly that Ms. Bell films it for private viewing on those cold lonely nights. Ew. After practice, Phoebe heads for the locker room where she's cornered by Gina who's just a wee bit angry: "How long am I supposed to put up with this? You said you would help me. You said I could be on the squad." Phoebe tries to speak, but Gina interrupts: "Look, you and I both know that I'm better than most of the other cheerleaders. Including you. You're no help at all." Gina storms off to cry and suck her thumb in the shower while Phoebe just stands there wondering what the hell just happened. A few minutes later, Gina opens her locker and a locket falls out, pops open, and lands near Phoebe. She says the picture of Gina inside is nice, but Gina quickly corrects her: "It's not me. It's my twin sister." There are two of you? That sounds awful. "She's dead." Oh, well, that's a relief. Phoebe goes over to her own locker and...something happens. "Fear closed around her as she stared inside. She fell back in horror. The sour odor made her gag. And the color... The color swirled before her eyes. Bright. Bold. Sickening. The ruby-red shade of blood." There's a doll dressed in a bloody cheerleading uniform hanging inside. There's also a note: "Score: Me 2. You 0." You've been served, Phoebe. AGAIN. Ms. Bell comes in and decides to get the vice principal. Phoebe sits in Bell's office and thinks about how sick Dana and Jade are to do something like this. Then she becomes all determined and shit that they will NOT get rid of her. She loves to cheer TOO MUCH! Great.
Football game. Shitty cheers. Phoebe keeping a close eye on Jade. Me keeping a closer eye on The Office. Phoebe goes to get her pom poms and as she's cheering, she feels a stinging pain in her hands. The pain intensifies until Phoebe completely freaks out, throwing her pom poms to the ground and screaming for help. "Her hands were covered with ants. Hundreds of swarming, shiny red ants. They traveled up her arms, moving as one. A colony of hungry insects." Even the insects in Shadyside are murderers. The other girls douse Phoebe with cold water which gets rid of the ants, but her hands are covered in bites. The team doctor coats them in some kind of cream and tells her she'll be ok. Thanks, doc. Gina, who just happens to be in charge of equipment (uh-oh), comes running up. Everyone is suspicious of her, but she denies she poured ants on the pom poms. Phoebe knows (she just KNOWS, dammit!) that Jade is behind it.
After the game (once again, Shadyside loses) Ty and Phoebe head to Pete's Pizza where everyone and their mother has gathered. Seriously, the place is like a sardine can. ALWAYS. It's just pizza. Unless it's covered in gold flecks or something, I don't get it. Anyway, they manage to find a table and Ty goes to order the food. Samantha comes over and says she and Phoebe should go talk to Dana and Jade and sort everything out. As they're walking over to the evil harpies, Samantha sees her ex-boyfriend, freaks out, and bails which leaves Phoebe to deal with Jade and Dana alone. It goes as predicted: Phoebe tells them to stop, they deny they did anything, Jade acts like an evil bitch, and Phoebe walks away nearly in tears. She finds Ty and begs him to take her home which is right on his way since they both live on Fear Street. Even though it's pitch black and Fear Street is a creepy, dangerous place, Ty drops her off blocks away so her parents won't see him. He could at least walk wih her. He could hide in the damn bushes or something, but no. Phoebe goes alone...and someone pops out and grabs her. It's Gina who looks like she's been toking the crack pipe. She just wants Phoebe to know that she had nothing to do with the ants (which probably means she had EVERYTHING to do with the ants). Once Phoebe says she doesn't blame her, Gina runs off into the darkness like a psycho. Later that night as Phoebe is trying to sleep, she gets a phone call. It's a bunch of girls cheering and then they hang up. How terrifying. Outside, Phoebe hears a car squeal away and thinks Dana and Jade must be stalking her. *sigh*
At cheer practice on Monday, Phoebe complains to Samantha about Jade yet again. When it's time to do the pyramid, Phoebe loses her grip and Dana falls which prompts her to tell Phoebe that she's the shittiest cheer captain who ever lived and she should quit now so the team won't lose the upcoming state competition. When Dana flips her ponytail in Phoebe's face, Phoebe completely loses it. She screams "Leave...me...alone!" and rips Dana's ponytail out of her head, blood gushing everywhere. Sadly, that was just a dream. No comment. Phoebe is doing nothing but staring at Dana so Dana has some words to snap her out of it: "Why are you staring at me like that? Are you a moron? Letting me fall, then gloating? This practice is over!" Dumbass. After Samantha politely suggests that maybe it WOULD be best for Phoebe to take a break from cheering for a while, Phoebe runs to the locker room in tears. Finally, when Ty's football practice is over, they leave, but instead of driving her home, he decides they'll go to the cemetery. Because when you're depressed there's no better place to be than knee deep in dead people. It's already dark and they get out of the car because Ty apparently wants to make out while leaning against a headstone. Phoebe keeps telling him she just wants to talk, but Ty keeps kissing her. Suddenly something flies out of the bushes right at them. It's not a rabid werewolf, it's just Kenny Klein. Unfortunately, Jade is with him and immediately starts harrassing Phoebe who gets her backpack out of Ty's car and starts walking home. And since Ty is a total tool, he just stays with Kenny and Jade. I really hate you, Ty. When Phoebe gets home, Ty finally jogs up and says he's sorry, but Phoebe's awesome mom basically tells him to get lost and shuts the door in his face. When Phoebe gets to her room, she sees muddy footprints on her floor and notices that a framed picture of the cheer squad is missing. She knows someone was here yet she says nothing to her mother because she thinks it's just another stupid prank from Jade and Dana. It's not Jade and Dana! That's too freaking obvious...it's probably Gina. She seems like she has a few screws loose.
Another football game, this time against Waynesbridge. Of course Phoebe's mind is a million miles away. Eventually everything starts going really well and Phoebe gets into it so you know something baaaaaad is going to happen. And when the flaming batons come out, Phoebe does indeed get scorched like a shrimp on the barbeque. Flames travel up her arm until she passes out. When Phoebe wakes up, she's in the hospital. Samantha is there and tells her that her hand was mildly burned, but overall she's ok. All Phoebe wants to know is how it happened. Samantha makes the mistake of saying that the rumor is that someone rigged the baton to burn which just gets Phoebe started again on Jade and Dana. YAWN. Jade and Dana are actually right outside the door and Phoebe tells Samantha to get them. When they enter, they actually seem *GASP* concerned. Phoebe's paranoid ass just accuses them of doing this to her which they deny because it's in the script. Jade and Dana tell her that GINA is responsible for equipment so if the finger should be pointed at anyone, it should be her.
The next morning at school, Phoebe gets a hero's welcome for nearly getting cremated. Gina runs up to make sure Phoebe doesn't blame her for the baton even though she's starting to look pretty damn suspicious and the fact that she's so adamant that Phoebe not blame her just makes her look even more guilty. Phoebe says everything is cool just to get rid of her. And the cycle continues.
That afternoon, Phoebe and Samantha hide out in Ms. Bell's office to call Oswego High, Gina's last school, to ask about Gina's cheer record. Turns out Gina was never a cheerleader there. The plot thickens! I wish. Ms. Bell walks in a moment later and the girls tell her the news. Ms. Bell isn't too impressed because the morons called the wrong school: "Gina attended Lake Oswego High-in Oregon. You had the wrong state." Oops. Ms. Bell mentions that there's been a lot of backstabbing going on lately and she wants to talk to everyone out on the bleachers. She makes her little speech and says maybe they won't go to the upcoming competition since everyone can't seem to find the time to stop acting like petulant children. After some arguing from the girls, Ms. Bell ends the talk by saying if there's one more incident, there will be no competition. HORRIFYING!
It's now Friday and the cheerleaders are off to the competition because they managed to restrain themselves and act like human beings for a week (it won't last. Once that competition is over, the carnage will begin. I hope.) Before the girls board the bus, Gina lets Phoebe know how pissed and betrayed she feels that she and Samantha checked up on her...or tried to. Then Ms. Bell tells everyone that Samantha has the flu so Gina will be taking her place. I'm sure this will turn out well. (Choking on the sarcasm?) Even better, Phoebe and Gina will be roomates at the motel they're staying in.
Once they arrive at the (Bates) motel, Gina asks Phoebe if they can be friends, but Phoebe says she just doesn't trust her. BURN. Probably literally...expect a burning bed, Phoebe. This chick is cuckoo. Eventually Phoebe changes her mind, though, because Gina seems so sincere and Phoebe has no spine. The girls changes into their uniforms and a moment later they hear a knock on the door. Since Gina is busy twirling like a sugarplum fairy ("I love the Shadyside colors!") Phoebe answers the door. It's Jade who is an hysterical mess: "It's Dana! I need your help. She's hurt really bad!" Jade explains that Dana fell into the empty (as in drained of water) pool. Phoebe and Gina follow her outside which is stupid because if Dana were truly hurt, why the hell would Jade run for those two instead of Ms. Bell? Once outside, Phoebe sees no sign of Dana. As she's looking around, someone comes up behind her, shoves a cloth into her mouth, and drags her away screaming. And it only took 100 pages!
Phoebe is shoved into a big dirty van and sees two men shoving Jade and Gina in after her. Huh. Dana is also passed out inside. Eventually she wakes up and wants to know what's going on, but no-one says anything. After a while, the van stops and some weirdo opens the door and says "Hello, girls. Welcome to Camp Kidnap." Idiot. The girls get out of the van and look around. They're in front of a log cabin which appears to be in the middle of scenic nowhere. The dude who welcomes them to "Camp Kidnap" (his name is Mitch and his head is shaved and he has his ear pierced so you know he's a real tough badass) throws handcuffs on them and shows them a switchblade just in case they misbehave. When Mitch is distracted, the girls take off running toward the road and miraculously are saved by Griffin, the dude who drives the cheer van to take them to games and such and has been completely insignificant up until now. She realizes he's the one that has been harrassing her when he starts singing the stupid cheer that Phoebe heard over the phone a few days ago: "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna get you! Oh, yeah, I'm gonna catch you!" Didn't see that one coming. As Griffin drives, Dana and Jade confess that they hired Mitch and the whole kidnapping thing was just a joke. HA HA HA! Not.
Eventually Griffin tells them to shut their yaps so he can explain his convoluted motive. He has a vendetta against the cheerleaders of Shadyside because his sister Laura was once one of them. But all the other cheerleaders made life a living hell for Laura. It all ended when Laura died after jumping from the top of a pyramid (or something) and no-one caught her. She broke her neck and Griffin vowed revenge from that moment on. He stops the van and the girls see that they're at a loading dock which is totally deserted so no-one will hear them scream. Good thinking, Griff. He takes them to an empty "meat factory" and ties them to some chairs. He then picks up "an electric saw with a mammoth blade" and approaches Phoebe. "This will only take a minute!" Phoebe closes her eyes and prepares to lose a hand or two, but Griffin just cuts off everyone's handcuffs which really sucks. When is someone gonna get CUT?! When someone gonna bite the dust? Throw me a frigging bone, Griffin. After all, you're supposed to be a deranged lunatic driven crazy by his sister's untimely death at the hands of irresponsible cheerleaders who were probably thinking of dry kisses and Gary Brandt's back seat instead of focusing on your sister and you're supposed to be burning with the feverish desire for revenge and you're not even really acting on it! Stop messing around and show me some blood!!! Ok, I'm calm now...mostly. Anyway, Griffin just continues with the yakkity yak yak instead of doing anything productive. He tells Phoebe he's basically been stalking her, knows everything about her, and wants to kill her because she has the life his sister should have had. Yeah right. A shitty boyfriend, shitty friends, overprotective parents, and a psychotic stalker? I think you would want better for your sister, dude. Griffin continues to prove he sucks by untying all the girls so they can perform a cheer for him. Dude. I'm beginning to think the Laura story was a lie and Griffin is just some fetishistic pervert. He tells them if they screw up, someone dies. Liar. Jade is completely hysterical and wants to bail, but Griffin says it's time to perform. Why don't these idiots just RUN? He doesn't even have a weapon! Anyway, Gina interrupts and starts talking about her twin sister Angie who also died. She distracts Griffin momentarily, but it doesn't last and two seconds later, he's screaming and waving around a rusty meat hook. The poster boy for sanity tells the girls it's show time and they start cheering. Phoebe does a cartwheel, stops near Griffin, and beats him over the head with a flashlight that was lying on his lap. Cha-ching! The girls run, but they don't make it out. Gina ends up on a conveyor belt heading for a meat grinder, but of course Phoebe rescues her before she's grinded into hamburger. Then they go searching for Jade and Dana. They find Dana and dumbass Griffin, but no Jade. Griffin takes Phoebe, Dana, and Gina back into the warehouse to tie them up AGAIN. Everyone just assumes Griffin killed Jade.
A little while later, Griffin says "Time for another cheer!" *sigh* Seriously? WHY? Phoebe says they already did what he wanted, but Griffin isn't satisfied: "But the last one wasn't perfect. That means you still owe me a cheer. Otherwise I'll have to kill you. What'll it be?" Actually, why don't you just go ahead and kill me? This book has made me sick of life. They cheer, Gina collapses with a twisted ankle, and Phoebe makes a run for it. She finds herself inside a meat locker where she discovers something rather nasty: "The dim light cast shadows over Jade's stony face. Hanging from a meat hook, her body swung like a pendulum. Very cold. Very dead." How descriptive. Thank you for telling us she's "very dead", Stine. We never could have figured that out alone. I hope you can see my eyes rolling because I'm doing it as hard as I can.
When Phoebe gets back to the girls, she finds Dana tied to a table, Griffin sharpening a knife nearby, and Gina lying uselessly on the floor. As Phoebe distracts Griffin, Gina manages to get to her feet, tackle Griffin, and claw at his face like a feral liger. He throws her off, she cuts her head on the concrete floor, and a moment later, a fire truck comes barreling up because Phoebe lit a match a little earlier and waved in front of the silent fire alarm in a throwaway scene that I thought would amount to nothing. So I guess these fuckers are finally safe. Totally anticlimactic.
A few weeks later, things are back to normal because this stuff happens all the time. The books ends with a cheer (and my comments):
We can't be beat (You can)
Won't meet defeat (You will)
'Cause when it's time (It's not)
to face the heat...(You can't)
We know just what's the thing to do (You don't)
Teamwork! Teamwork! (Out! Out!)
Gets us through! (Get out of my life!)
Conclusion? Uh, this book sucks.
Next time: "The Babysitter II" Apparently Jenny didn't get enough the first time...