Do you want to hear a secret? Holly did. She learned a terrible secret and now her friends know it too. Someone wants to make sure they never talk about it. Someone who'll go to any length to keep them quiet. Lying... Threats... Even murder.
This better be a damn good secret...
The very first line of the book comes from Holly: "Guess what I just heard!" She's clopping down the hall at Shadyside High toward her friends Miriam Maryles (is that the WASP version of Morales? You suck, Stine.) and Ruth Carver. Holly is a notorious gossip and Ruth really doesn't wanna hear any more of this crap (Miriam, on the other hand, loves it.) But that doesn't stop Holly from yakking away: "I just heard that Mei Kamata has been having huge fights with her mother for the past two weeks. She told me she might run away!" Holly, you're getting entirely too much pleasure from someone else's pain. Since Mei is one of the richest kids in Shadyside, this is BIG news. Because rich people usually don't have any problems whatsoever. *sigh* Anyway, Holly goes on to say that the fights are usually over Noah Brennan, Mei's rebel-without-a-brain boyfriend, because Mei's mom hates him. You know Noah's a bad ass because he has long hair, a double pierced ear (DOUBLE!), muscles, and a baaaaad attitude. Basically identical to every other "wild" one in Shadyside. Cliches hurt me. Holly says she really hopes he and Mei break up because she wants a shot at him. She has a thing for greasy hair and uneven piercings. Ruth asks about Gary Foster (no Brandt?!) Holly's BOYFRIEND, but Holly simply says "Gary's nice, Ruth. But I don't know what it is about Noah. I think about him all the time." He's got an unforgettable stench. Holly notices Noah coming down the hall and she just can't believe how gorgeous he is: ripped jeans, black T-shirt, leather bomber jacket, shaggy hair, silver arrow earring. I don't see the appeal yet Holly is practically having an orgasm right in the hall. A moment later, Mei comes up to rain on Holly's parade. Mei is gorgeous and has a "hot" boyfriend so naturally Holly is harboring the green-eyed monster. Mei and Noah walk off together, presumably to Mei's house since her parents won't be home until much later so they'll have plenty of time to drink Coke, play Scrabble, and rub their dry lips together until the friction causes a fire that Noah will put out with the cold congealed chicken grease on his head. That stuff has to be good for something.
After they leave, Miriam and Ruth carry on about what a jerk Noah is and how Holly is a complete fool for even thinking about him since she has Gary. Holly doesn't listen (as usual) and says tonight at Mei's party (since when is she having a party? I really need to pay better attention to the trivial aspects of these peoples' lives. Something interesting might happen!) Holly will make her move. Miriam is freaked out by the way Holly is acting and when Holly says "I would do absolutely anything to get Noah." Miriam gets scared. Why why WHY is this such a popular plot in these books? No girl in her right mind aspires to be this:
After school, Holly and Miriam are walking to Holly's car when Miriam spots her hunk of jock meat, Jed. Jed is the "tall, muscular captain of the Shadyside Tigers basketball team. Miriam had been dating Jed since the beginning of their senior year and it was now February." Jed is Miriam's superhero which is why she understands what Mei and Noah have together. She knows what it's like to let a teenage boy become the center of your universe, she knows what it's like to LOVE! Gag. Me. Unfortunately, Jed has been acting like a complete ass lately, losing his temper and screaming when Miriam even looks at him wrong. Miriam blames this on "a dark, angry creature [that seemed] to slide into his body." Wow. I was going to blame 'roid rage, but I guess being violated on a daily basis by a shadow creature could also be the culprit. Miriam asks him what's wrong (because he looks like mummified shit) and then asks if they're still going to Mei's party. He gets pissy, tells her he'll pick her up at eight, and storms off. Maturity is obviously his strong suit. Except not.
As Holly is driving Miriam home, she asks what's wrong with Jed. Miriam says that sometimes he's really sweet and other times he's completely psychotic and she has no idea what's up. Since Holly is a snoop who likes to butt her fat head in other people's business, she says she'll start keeping a really close eye on him to figure out his issues. Yeah, this won't end badly.
That evening, Jed, Miriam, Ruth, and Miriam's dorky cousin Patrick are on their way to Mei's party. Jed is all sunshine and rainbows now so Miriam is happy because every aspect of her life is dominated by Jed. When they arrive at Mei's house, they can hear a local band playing. They're called the Dustmites. Really? No, REALLY? In spite of their incredibly stupid name, they apparently rock because almost every kid in Shadyside is packed into Mei's giant house. Patrick immediately runs off to get his freak on and Ruth, who Miriam cruelly set up with Patrick for the night, stands nearby looking bored. Meanwhile, Miriam attempts to get Jed's attention back on her; he's spotted Holly who's dressed in a tight slutty dress and he can't take his eyes off her: "Wow!" Creep. Miriam drags Jed over to talk to Holly and her dimwitted boyfriend Gary who is on the basketball team with Jed. Miriam and Holly walk off to talk and Holly confesses that she's dressed like a 10 cent hooker to attract Noah's attention. It's working a little TOO well and Mei seems pretty pissed, but instead of kicking Holly's ass out of her house, she just gives her dagger eyes. Miriam is disgusted by her skanky friend and drags her back to Gary and Jed. They all start dancing...until every light in the house goes out and a loud scream comes from the kitchen. Don't worry--absolutely nothing of interest happened. The band blew a fuse, Mei's mom screamed, and everyone is still alive which just sucks. When the lights come back on, Miriam sees that Holly is clinging to Noah. Mei looks ready to KILL! KILL! KILL! and Noah goes over to settle her. Holly claims that she got scared and grabbed for someone who just happened to be Noah. Shut up, Holly, you filthy stinking liar.
The next night, Miriam and Ruth are hanging out at Ruth's house, waiting for Holly to pick them up for a basketball game. Unless a glass backboard falls on Jed, slicing and dicing, I really couldn't care less. While they're waiting, the girls talk about Jed's twisted psychosis, Holly's urges for Noah, and how cute Ruth's hamsters, Tilly and Lizzy, are. What a glamorous life. I'd rather be a hamster. Anyway, Ruth says she can't stand how Holly treats Gary and Gary told her that he knows that Holly isn't interested in him but he stays with her to be nice. I think it's the other way around, stupid. Seriously, what is wrong with him?!
Finally Holly shows up and immediately starts yapping away about how awesome the party got after Ruth and Miriam left. Mei and her mom got into a huge fight in front of everyone about Noah (Mei's mom said he was an "irresponsible creep". I think I love this woman.) Eventually her mom kicked everyone out and got her car toilet papered and beer cans thrown all over her lawn for her trouble (the group who did this was led by Noah. Because he's such a bad ass, sticking it to the oldsters like that). Holly heard (oh how Holly HEARS) that Mei became hysterical after everyone left and her mother told her she was never to see Noah again. Why can't this book be about Mei's AWESOME mom? Even if it was just a chronicle of her bowel movements, it would be so much better than this. Anyway, Holly is obviously elated that Noah is probably free now so she can move in for the kill. What a wicked little harpy. Thankfully, Miriam and Ruth remind Holly that Mei will never listen to her mother and she and Noah are probably going stronger than ever. Holly has to admit it's true. HA. Then Ruth and Holly get into a fight over how Holly treats Gary and blah blah blah. Miriam breaks it up before it gets interesting. Ruth decides not to go to the basketball game so Miriam and Holly leave without her.
Throughout the game, Jed plays pretty badly. He's mad about it and when a player from the other team blocks one of Jed's shots AND elbows him in the face, Jed totally loses it. He punches the guy in the mouth and blood gushes everywhere/ But that's not enough for dear Jed. He grabs the kid in a choke hold and hangs on until he starts to turn purple. Finally someone pulls them apart before Jed kills the guy. The coach tells Jed to get lost and the game continues like nothing ever happened. Miriam is freaked out because she's dating a homicidal maniac. But who cares? Shadyside wins the game! WOOOO!
After the game, Holly waits in the car while Miriam goes to find Jed. When she asks him if he's ok, he responds with "No, Miriam, I'm not. I came this close to getting kicked off the team, okay? Is that enough information for you and your friends?" What a little bitch. He goes on to say that he doesn't like being elbowed which is why he had to lose his shit on the court. To bring his point home, he starts shoving and poking Miriam, asking if she likes that. Then he grabs her hand and grips it so hard, Miriam starts to scream. He stops and says he's sorry, but Miriam isn't buying it. It took him almost breaking her hand for her to realize he's a total creep?! *sigh* Miriam turns to run but turns back to tell Jed if he touches her again, they're through. Once should have been the deal breaker, fool. Anyway, Jed says "I never wanted to hurt you, Miriam. I just...I only wanted you to know how it felt for me out there. Playing basketball has never been this hard for me before." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? To make matters worse, Miriam actually buys this bullshit: "She could actually feel some sympathy for him. She reached out and gave his hand a squeeze." I'm going to barf. Seriously, this is truly sickening.
After that disgusting display, Miriam walks back to Holly's car. Holly has been eavesdropping (as usual) and heard something juicy (is this "What Holly Heard"?). She overheard Mei and Noah arguing about what happened on the night of the party. "I heard them say they were going to kill Mei's mother!" Oh joy. Miriam doesn't take this seriously and even laughs at Mei's exact words ("I'll kill my mother for this.") Miriam says that Mei has said that many times after a fight with her mom. Homicidal threats are big among Shadyside's teenage set. Eventually Holly calms down and as an afterthought, asks how things went with Jed. Miriam spills everything and instead of driving back to run him over a couple of times, Holly just says "Are you okay?". Um...NO. Holly DOES try to convince Miriam that Jed isn't worth her time, but Miriam just spews off that basketball is stressing him out and that's why he's acting like a lunatic who just popped out of Happy Sparrow Insane Asylum. Damn you, Miriam!
On Monday morning, Miriam tells Ruth about what happened with Jed. Ruth says Miriam should get him some help. I agree that he needs help, but Miriam's friends should be more worried about HER than her psychopathic boyfriend. Anyway, Ruth and Miriam have a good laugh at Holly's expense over her hysterics the night before. They choke on their laughter when Holly walks up a moment later and tells them that Mei's mom is dead. She was found at the bottom of her spiral staircase with a broken neck. Did Mei push her or was it just an unfortunate accident with a banana peel? Hmm. Holly is certain that Mei and Noah were involved, but Miriam predictably denies it. Holly wants to go to the police, but Miriam tells her to shut up because Noah is coming. Noah looks like he spent the night in a bong which scares Miriam. Red rimmed eyes equal MURDERER!!! Noah stops and says "I guess you heard about Mei's mom." Miriam blurts that they're all really sorry about it and Noah goes on to say that Mei is a wreck and he's just here to pick up her homework. Then he turns to Holly and says he saw her in the parking lot on Saturday night. All Holly can do is look at his hands and wonder if those are the hands of a killer. Killerhandskillerhandskillerhands. "They saw me, Miriam! They know I heard them plotting to kill Mei's mom. They know and now they're going to kill me too!" Dare to dream. Holly freaks out for a few more minutes until all three girls decide not to speak of it anymore. Which means we'll be hearing about it until the last page of this horrible book.
That evening, Holly calls Miriam at 7:30 PM from the school where she stayed to help decorate the gym for a "victory rally" and everyone else has left and she's scared to be alone and wants Miriam to come. Oh, and she has some important news about Jed. Miriam rushes right down (anything for Jed!) and wanders around the creepy deserted gym searching for Holly. She spots the edge of Holly's blue scarf on the floor, partially hidden by a giant sign. She steps closer and sees that the scarf is wrapped tightly around Holly's neck. She's sprawled across the floor with blood trickling from her nose. Miriam only starts screaming when she sees Holly's eyes: "Her beautiful green eyes. No longer green. They had rolled back into her head. Like two egg whites, they stared up blankly, lifelessly at Miriam." Yeah...Holly's dead. Miriam starts freaking out and out of nowhere, Jed pops up. He goes to make sure Holly is REALLY dead and runs to call 911. Then he and Miriam go outside to wait. Jed immediately starts acting crazy, kicking the tires of Holly's car and beating his fists on the hood like a deranged ape. Miriam tells him to stop and just hold her. But once his meaty arms are wrapped around her, she starts wondering what the hell he was doing inside the school. Supposedly he was weight lifting with Gary who left a little earlier. And Gary's tape player was on so they couldn't hear a girl being murdered or anything. A likely story... Anyway, it doesn't matter what Jed or Gary was doing because Miriam has already convinced herself that MEI murdered Holly. *sigh*
The next afternoon, Miriam hangs out at Ruth's house. Ruth lives on Fear Street and no-one has suspected her of the murders? Morons. The girls talk about how upset Gary was. I doubt it. In fact, he probably killed her. After all, everyone knows she treated him like crap. Anyway, Miriam rambles on about how miserable she is and Ruth gets pissed when Miriam says she doesn't want to think about who could've murdered Holly. Ruth believes Mei and Noah were involved and even though Miriam was thinking the same thing the night before, she's apparently changed her mind. Five seconds later, she goes back to believing they did it because Ruth says they're the only ones with a motive. But they have no proof so they're not saying anything. There are no words for how much I want to sucker punch them both. Eventually Ruth changes the subject and says she got Miriam's homework for her since she was too upset by the sight of those egg white eyeballs to attend school. Ruth reaches into her backpack, pulls out her notebook, and is shocked to find it covered in blooooood. Someone scrawled a message with the red stuff: "We know you know. That's why you die next!" Typical. Murderers in these books have no sense of creativity. Ruth automatically says it had to be Mei. I am so SICK of this Mei crap! First, they have absolutely no proof that she killed anyone. Second, even if she and Noah knew that Holly overheard them talking that night, why in the hell would they have cared? Even if they actually murdered Mei's mom and Holly told the cops what she heard, that's not enough proof! I HATE THIS BOOK!
So the bloody notebook prompts Ruth and Miriam to talk to the cops. Because their best friend's corpse wasn't enough. Damn these fools. What's gained from the trip to the Shadyside police? The knowledge that the notebook was coated in RED PAINT, not blood. That's it. Afterward, Miriam calls Jed and begs him to come over. Inviting Jed over is always a mistake. He starts ranting about how Holly treated Gary like crap (this should be a drinking game. Drink everytime someone says "Holly done gone and wronged that boy!") and how Holly was snooping around, asking Gary questions about Jed. Jed ends his screaming tirade by saying Holly got what she deserved because everything was her fault. WHAT was? Miriam says she was the one who told Holly to ask about Jed because she wants to know what the hell is wrong with him. He blames it on "Pressure." again. Then he runs to his car and speeds away. My brain is bleeding...
The next day, the school has a memorial for Holly. Miriam bitches to Ruth about not wanting to get up in front of everyone to speak about Holly. This isn't about you, Miriam, so shut your damn mouth. Ruth goes into the gym, but Miriam runs to a bathroom stall because she thinks she's going to be sick. Nothing happens so she just splashes her face with cold water...and nearly pees her pants when she turns and sees Noah and Mei standing in the doorway. They're extremely pissed because Miriam told a bunch of lies to the cops. Mei screams that she loved her mother and never would have hurt her. She says her mother's fall was an accident and keeps screaming that Miriam had no right to say those things. So now Miriam thinks it was just Noah. Just when you think she can't possibly get any dumber.
After school, as Miriam is walking past the boy's locker room, she hears Jed and Gary arguing. To make a stupid story short, Gary says he's going to tell someday and Jed says he better just forget everything he knows. Jed comes storming up to her a moment later and apologizes yet again for how he's been acting and asks her to come to his basketball game tonight. It's his last chance to get a scholarship so if he messes this up, he'll probably kill everyone in the school. Unfortunately, Miriam chooses this moment to bring up Holly yet again and accuse Jed of hiding something about her murder. He flips out and screams that he doesn't want to talk about her anymore. Miriam asks him what he was really doing at the school the night Holly was killed and he tells her again that he was lifting weights. He then says he's done with this conversation and walks off. Miriam can't just let it go, though, so she calls to him at the door and tells him she'll be at the game tonight. Of course.
That evening, Miriam begs Ruth to go to the game with her. This somehow leads to the two arguing yet AGAIN about whether or not Mei killed her mother and Holly. This got old about 100 pages ago. And I don't even care anymore. I'm just praying that this ends soon so I can move on with my life! Miriam leaves Ruth with her hamsters and runs on home to get ready for the game.
Miriam's mom drops her off at the school about an hour early so she can have a moment with Jed for some unholy reason. She spots Jed near the water fountain, popping something into his mouth before taking a sip ('ROID RAGE!). When Miriam asks him what it was, he says "Oh, um, it's a high potency vitamin. I found it at a health food store in Waynesbridge. It gives me energy before the game." Liar. Miriam wishes him luck and Jed jogs off.
It's now the middle of the third quarter and Shadyside is losing. Tee hee. Miriam takes her eyes off the game for a moment...and notices Noah sitting alone and staring at her. She turns her attention back to the game just in time to watch Jed work himself into a fury. He ends up punching someone from the opposite team in the jaw, rocking the guy's head back so hard, Miriam is afraid his neck might be broken. Then Jed grabs the guy by the throat and starts pounding his head into the floor. Is no-one going to stop him?? As Miriam watches in horror, she realizes that Jed killed Holly. Ok. She freaks out and runs to the parking lot. She decides to head for Ruth's house since she doesn't live too far away. As she's running, she hears someone behind her, but she doesn't stop. It turns out to be JED, of course, and he calls out to her, but that just makes her run faster. Eventually she stops and looks around. Jed seems to be gone...until he pops out from behind a shrub and grabs her. *cue generic horror movie music* She elbows him, runs to Ruth's house, and becomes even more creeped out when Ruth tells her Jed isn't the murderer. Miriam asks her how she knows and she just says "Two other murders. Tonight." Ruth drags Miriam upstairs and tells her that Mei and Noah broke in and killed her beloved hamsters. The note: "Dead hamsters today...Dead girls tomorrow." You have got to be joking. I mean, COME ON. Miriam dials the police and the girls sit down to wait. While Ruth sits in her mom's room, Miriam goes into Ruth's room to cover the hamsters with something so Ruth won't have to see them. When she opens Ruth's closet, a bloody claw hammer falls to the floor.
Ruth enters the room, immediately becomes furious when she sees the hammer, and attacks Miriam. She attempts to smash Miriam's brains out with the hammer and the girls wrestle around until the hammer comes in contact with Miriam's kneecap. Miriam manages to punch Ruth in the face which somehow leads to the two having a conversation about why Ruth killed Holly. Holly had to die because she treated Gary like crap (drink) and Ruth is in love with Gary. "There is no hope. All of us were put on this earth to suffer and Holly never suffered." How...deep. Just as Ruth prepares to finish Miriam with the hammer, Jed bursts in. Sadly, Ruth throws the hammer at Jed's head and he's down before he can do anything. But it's ok because Miriam ends up smashing the glass hamster cage over Ruth's head, effectively ending the fight.
Miriam runs over to Jed who is just regaining consciousness. He says he killed Holly. Damn this book. He goes on to say that he's been taking steroids (duh) and if he hadn't been so messed up, he could've saved Holly from Ruth that night. The end of this book is painfully stupid:
Miriam: "We've got to call the police. Right away."
Jed: "Does this mean-you-you're going to keep seeing me? If I promise never to take another pill. Will you-will you stay with me?"
Miriam: "That's the latest gossip."
Conclusion: This is one of the WORST books I have ever read in my entire life.