Brady Karlin is getting on with his life. The memory of his girlfriend--killed in a gruesome sledding accident last year--is beginning to fade. Now he's met Rosha Nelson, the girl of his dreams. And he's never been happier. Until Brady starts to see a strange figure--with a terribly scarred face--following him everywhere. Until the horrible accidents start happening--every time Rosha's around. Has dating Rosha made Brady's dreams come true? Or brought his worst nightmares back to life?
A few quick notes first...
1) I was going to do Phone Calls but it was so unbearably boring and stupid that I put it down and picked up The Perfect Date instead. But don't worry. Phone Calls will be here eventually to plague your feeble mind with its horrible powers.
2) The description of this book is ridiculous. It's only been a year and this dude is already forgetting his poor doomed girlfriend? "And he's never been happier." A-S-S.
3) This cover is absolutely hilarious. The longer I look at it, the more amused I become.
4) It's sad that this is how I get my jollies.
On with the show!
Brady (one of the few males in Shadyside who gets to be the star of his own book! Too bad that means absolutely nothing.) is hanging out at Miller Hill, the steepest sledding hill in Shadyside Park. He's with his darling girlfriend Sharon who is NOT BLOND. Yes, you heard correct! Sharon is a brunette who is freezing her ass off because Brady wants to sleeeeeed. Brady insists that they sled down the steepest point and even though it makes Sharon nervous and she doesn't want to, she goes anyway. They hop on their sleds and start sliding down the hill. As Brady giggles like a crazed hyena, Sharon's sled starts slipping out of control. She screams as the sled veers through pine trees and a patch of thorns. Then...silence. Brady spots her lying face down and motionless at the bottom of the hill and laughs as he says "Okay, Shar, you were right. From now on, we'll sled on the kiddie-" He shuts his mouth when he realizes she isn't breathing. He turns her over and gets a gruesome surprise: "Sharon's face! Her cute, button-nosed face! Nothing was left of it. No eyes, no lips. No face! Nothing. The thorns and metal sled runners had sliced it to red mush. Nothing remained but a pulpy mass of skin and crushed bone. A bright red puddle of blood on the crisp white snow." Um. Ouch. Maybe just put a band-aid on it...
The Following Winter
Brady and his friend Jon are eating pizza (because there's nothing else to eat in Shadyside) and talking about some girl named Lisa. Jon has a crush on her, but she's more into Brady and judging by the big douchebag grin on his face, Brady enjoys rubbing this fact in Jon's face. But Brady already has a girlfriend...who happens to have the dumbest name ever: Allie Stoner. Seriously. Anyway, Brady isn't all that into Allie because she takes their shoddy relationship more seriously than he does. But she's really cute so he'll continue to lead her on. Damn you, Brady. A moment later, Brady spots a gorgeous pouty BLOND enter the restaurant and oh baby, he's just gotta have her! Is that her on the cover? I've seen better. The same goes for you, Brady, you egomaniacal ass. He checks himself out before going over to the girl. "He knew he was good-looking." And I know he's NOT. The cover proves this. He's a rinky dink asshole! *sigh* Ignoring Brady's raging ego...
He walks over to the girl and she introduces herself as Rosha Nelson and asks if he wants to sit down. It's pretty obvious he does and he can't believe how smoothly this is going. I guess Allie is now dead to him. Brady mentions that he's never seen her around Shadyside High and she says she goes to a private school across town called St. Ann's. Then he asks her about her unique name. Nothing too interesting: her mom got it from some trashy romance novel. He tells her how special she is (even though he just met her and know NOTHING about her) and asks her out for Saturday. He doesn't need to know her any better. He can tell she's a sophisticated lady. After all, she wears red lipstick, drinks coffee, and has a husky smoker's voice. She's a real live 17 year old WOMAN. They agree to meet at the mall. Because that's the sophisticated thing to do. Before they part ways, Rosha accidentally spills steaming hot coffee all over Brady's tender hand. "His hand. His hand was on fire!" Rosha cuts my cackling short by touching his hand and making the boo-boo all better. Then she leaves and Brady goes back to sit with Jon. He drools about how perfect Rosha is and he's sure he's in love and blah blah blah. Jon is only concerned about the hot coffee burn: "That girl almost charbroiled your hand!" Brady claims he felt nothing. That's how third degree burns are supposed to feel! P.S. I hate you, Brady.
The next day, he attempts to avoid Allie, but she catches up to him. She asks about his puffy hand and then wants to know if he'd like to go to Pete's after school for the daily fix. He says he has homework to do. So Allie asks about the basketball game the next night (which happens to be Saturday) and what time he'll be picking her up. He says he has to babysit his sick cousin and can't go to the game. FAIL. He runs off because he can't stand to see the disappointment on her face. He DOES promise he'll come over on Sunday with Jon to study...if he isn't punch drunk from staring at Rosha's lady lumps. As he's leaving school, he briefly thinks about Sharon. But by the time he's outside, he's forgotten about Sharon AND Allie and can only think of Rosha. Such a creep.
It's now Saturday evening and Brady is hanging out beside the fountain at the mall. He's freaking out wondering if Rosha will actually show up. She does and they go see the new Brad Pitt film. Which happens to be a horror movie. Ok then. After the movie, they leave the theater and Brady spots a disfigured girl standing in the shadows. He sees that her face is horribly scarred: "Scars crisscrossed the girl's forehead like railroad tracks. Twisted, ropelike scars almost fused her eyelids shut. Her cheeks and chin wrinkled like shriveled apples." Brady immediately forgets about her. Typical.
In the parking lot, Rosha begs to drive Brady's father's shitty Oldsmobile. I don't get her enthusiasm. Brady eventually relents and comes to regret it because she drives like a drunken Mr. Magoo. She ends up losing control and crashing into a parked car. Brady's head cracks the windshield; he blacks out and wakes up a bit later, bloody but mostly ok. Somehow. Rosha is completely spazzing out. She says the cops will be here any minute and Brady has to switch places with her and say he was driving because she has no license and could get into trouble. I know Shadyside cops suck, but does she really think they won't notice Brady's bloody, concussed head and the cracked windshield on the PASSENGER side? When the cops show up, they simply think Brady hit one of the many patches of ice on the road. They never even ask him any questions. I guess Rosha pegged them correctly--they're stupid. She bailed before they got there. What a sweetheart.
Brady gets nothing but a slap on the wrist for the accident. The car wasn't too damaged so Brady's dad didn't kill him or anything. That Olds is a precious artifact. On Sunday, Brady and Jon go to Allie's house to study. She asks questions about the night before, Brady feeds her a stream of lies, and Jon tries to change the subject. He puts on some music and dances around the room with Allie while Brady mopes on the couch wishing he were with Rosha. When Allie and Jon go to the kitchen for chips and Cokes, Brady tries to look up Rosha's phone number, but he doesn't know where she lives and there are tons of Nelsons listed. He can't sit still for another minute so he says his head is killing him (he has a huge lump on his head from the night before) and abandons Jon and Allie to look for Rosha. You are truly a fool among men, Brady.
Brady goes home and finds a cop waiting for him. He shows Brady something the cops found under the seat of his dad's car: Rosha's purse. Brady simply says his girlfriend lost that and boy howdy, will she be happy to see it! *sigh* Calm down, Jethro. The useless cop leaves and Brady takes the purse upstairs to sniff its contents. He's shocked to find it empty. He expected at least some ID or a penny or a loose cough drop. Nada. He thinks it's weird, but since his attention span is that of a very stupid goldfish, he almost immediately forgets about it and starts thinking about his unsinkable desire for Rosha. The phone rings a moment later and he's disappointed to hear Allie's voice. She's calling to check on him and to ask if they're still going to Mei Kamata's party on Saturday. (Remember Mei from What Holly Heard? Her parties suck.) He gives her a vague complaint about his head to get her off the line quicker without giving her a straight answer and it works. Brady then opens a phone book and starts calling every Nelson listed in the phone book. In between calls, the phone rings. It's a strange girl who tells him to stay away from Rosha. He's going to need more convincing than that...
After school the next day, Brady tries to get out of the building without speaking to Allie, but she catches up to him anyway. HA. She asks him if he wants to come over to her house for junk food and studying. He says he has to go home and look through the want ads for a job. He also says his mom has a bunch of chores for him to do. Since when did stalking become a chore? Once Allie is gone, Brady gets all excited because he remembers that Rosha goes to St. Ann's which is only about 10 minutes away and St. Ann's conveniently lets out 10 minutes after Shadyside High so maybe he can just catch Rosha. He runs across the parking lot to Jon and "asks" him for some help: "We're going to St. Ann's to look for Rosha. I'll stake out the front and you park in the back. That way one of us will see her for sure." Jon says he has to be at work in 20 minutes, but Brady says that's plenty of time. Jon tells Brady that he needs to get a grip and quit obsessing over Rosha. This pisses Brady off and he leaves alone.
Brady arrives at St. Ann's and watches all the students pouring out of the school, but Rosha isn't among them. This is completely unacceptable (how dare she not be where he can see her at all times?!) so Brady heads inside to harrass the secretary about Rosha. He says he needs her number and it's an emergency. The lady says they can't give out information on students. Especially not to obsessive teenage boys with stalkerish tendencies. Brady finally gets it through his thick head that this woman isn't going to help him and off he skips to accost some random guy out on the sidewalk. He figures this virile male specimen will SURELY have noticed hot Rosha, but the guy has never heard of her so Brady shoves him to the ground. The boy jumps on a bus before Brady can attack. He's convinced the guy was lying about not knowing Rosha.
Brady finds himself walking alongside the football field when he spots a girl who, from the back, looks just like Rosha. He runs over to her and when she turns, he sees nothing but massive scarring. It's the girl he saw outside the theater a few nights ago and Brady just can't stand the sight of her so he turns and runs. And lo and behold, he crashes right into Rosha. He tells her about the scarred girl and how he was looking for Rosha. She gets mad at Brady for sniffing around her school and stomps off like a prissy little girl. Since Brady has been completely emasculated by Rosha's sophistication (some might call it 'bitchery') he runs after her, pleading for forgiveness and telling her how crazy he is about her. Oh, he's crazy alright. Rosha forgives him and they hop in Brady's car. He hands her the purse the cop gave him and she claims it's empty because she was excited to meet him, she grabbed the wrong bag. Brady eats it up like a fat kid gobbling cherry pie. They make out and Rosha says she wants to go dancing on Saturday. Brady is in a state of intense ecstasy right now and would agree to anything so they make a date. He briefly thinks about Mei's party and the fact that he was going to take Allie. But that doesn't matter now. Alienating everyone in his life to spend more time with Rosha is SO worth it. Stupid boy.
When Brady gets home, he decides he has to break up with Allie. Before he can call her, the strange girl who warned him about Rosha before, calls again. "Stay away from Rosha. This is no joke. Stay away from her." Brady screams "Forget it! Just leave me alone!" Doesn't he even want to know WHY he should stay away? Of course not. Because Mr. Johnson is doing all the thinking for him.
The next afternoon, as the two are weight lifting in the weight room at Shadyside High, Brady tells Jon that he wanted to break up with Allie, but he couldn't. He lied (didn't see that one coming!) to her about Saturday night: "I told her I'm grounded because I haven't found a job to pay for the car yet." Is he even aware of how much he SUCKS? Brady goes on to tell Jon about the scarred girl and the phone calls and he knows it's the same girl. A moment later, he stares out the window, sees the scarred girl, and drops the weights he's holding. He feels like he's dying until Jon hauls the weights off his chest. Brady starts screaming about the scarred girl and Jon says the reason Brady is so freaked out is because the scarred girl reminds him of Sharon. Brady agrees and has a mini flashback to the accident. He decides he has to talk to Rosha and figure out what connection she has to the scarred girl. He goes to a pay phone outside the locker room and dials the number Rosha gave him the day before. He only gets a recorded message: "You have dialed a nonworking number." This message combined with the fact that Rosha told him she lives on Fear Street should be huge red flags that something in the milk ain't right. But Brady isn't getting it and he leaves for Fear Street without saying anything to Jon.
Once Brady reaches Fear Street, he quickly realizes that the address Rosha gave him doesn't even exist. BURN. The next afternoon, Brady is completely losing his mind because he can't find Rosha. I think he has officially descended into madness. Over a girl he doesn't even know. I'd call him a moron, but at this point it's just too pathetic. I really feel sorry for him...even though I hate him. Brady thinks about Rosha, then Allie, then Rosha's kisses. The doorbell rings and there stands Rosha. Brady summoned her with his pitiful moping and incessant, obsessive thoughts about her! He wishes. She comes in and Brady tells her he tried to find her house, but the address was wrong. She claims she wrote it correctly, but the ink must have smudged or something. Liar. Brady brings up the nonworking phone number and Rosha says she has no clue what's up with that. Liar. Then Brady starts freaking out because Allie's car just pulled up outside. He practically shoves Rosha out of the kitchen, but she trips on a throw rug and "accidentally" stabs him in the side with a letter opener she was holding. Uh, anyone think she's trying to kill him? The burning, the car accident, the stabbing?
Rosha pretends to be so concerned but she yanks the opener out of his side like it was only stuck in butter, not in someone's FLESH. Brady collapses, bleeding all over the place. At that moment, Allie comes running in and starts freaking out. "You stabbed him! You stabbed him!" Rosha says it was an accident and tells Allie to help her get Brady to the hospital. He wakes up in the hospital later with his parents at his side. They tell him they're going down to the cafeteria and the moment they leave, the scarred girl comes in. She tells him that she warned him of Rosha, but he wouldn't listen therefore he got shanked with his own letter opener. The girl asks if Brady is ready to hear the truth about Rosha and he says yes. Unfortunately, a hateful doctor masquerading as Nurse Ratchet comes in and yanks the girl out of the room before she can say anything.
On Saturday, Brady goes home. Naturally, he can only think of holding Rosha and telling her it wasn't her fault that she rammed a sharp object into his gut and then pulled it out like she was carving a Thanksgiving turkey. Allies shows up instead and Brady can barely conceal his disappointment. Allie doesn't waste time in letting Brady know that Rosha told him all about their sneaky "relationship" and they break up. Well, that was uneventful.
After Allie leaves, Brady's mom leves for the store and his dad is at work so you know something HORRIBLE! is about to happen. He goes to his room and gets a phone call from Jon. He tells Brady he's got some interesting news about Rosha and he mentions the girl with the scarred face, but then he's cut off. Brady calls back, but no-one answers so he decides to go to Jon's house to see what the hell is going on.
Cops are at Jon's house. They don't want Brady going inside, but he dashes in anyway. Jon is lying in the living room. He got his windpipe crushed by a marble candlestick. Real classy. An officer takes Brady into another room to ask him some questions. Brady is in shock but manages to tell them about Jon's last phone call and Rosha and the scarred girl. He goes home and listens to a message from Rosha on his machine. She wants him to meet her in the park for SLEDDING. And he goes!
It's snowing and the car is swerving all over the place, but Brady makes it to the park in tact. He finds Rosha...on Miller Hill. She says it looks the way it did on their sledding afternoon. Brady is confused, but Rosha is quick to explain: "Don't tell me you've forgotten, Brady. I haven't forgotten. After all, that was the day you killed me." Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Rosha says Brady is an idiot for never realizing that she is Sharon. Rosha Nelson is an anagram for Sharon Noles. Rosha says she came back from the dead and took a different body to take revenge on Brady because he was the one who practically forced her to go sledding. As much as I hate to defend Brady, he didn't force Sharon to do anything. He kept badgering her, but she easily could've told him to fuck off and walked away. Rosha starts choking Brady and she almost finishes him off, but someone intervenes. "That's enough, Sharon! You're finished now!" It's the scarred girl who says she wants her body back. She goes to say that Sharon killed her, stole her beautiful body, and...this really makes no sense whatsoever. Apparently they traded spirits. Basically. I think. Or something. ANYWAY, the two undead girls battle and it actually becomes resonably awesome. They literally rip each other apart, tearing off limbs and snapping one another's head off. Once they behead each other, they go rolling down Miller Hill and disappear in the snow.
Brady is walking to Allie's house. He finds her shovelling snow and tells her he wants to apologize again for what happened between them. He begs Allie for another chance and tells her he has a question for her before she answers. First he explains that Rosha killed him on Miller Hill which is why he looks like death. "I'm dead." Thanks, Brady. Allie assumes he's joking, but she can't deny that he's as cold as the grave. "So cold. So cold. Because I'm dead." Yeah, we get it, Brady. He wants Allie to take him back even though he's a dead man. The book ends with Allie screaming.
Conclusion? Wow. I really want to like this one. I DO like this one! But there are so many questions that went unanswered. Who was the scarred girl? How did Sharon have the power to rise from the dead and trade spirits with some unsuspecting girl? Why did they both vanish into thin air after dismembering one another? How was Brady still walking and talking at the end? I also don't understand why Brady was such an unlikable jerk. Shouldn't we have at least some sympathy for the main character?! Well, we can't when he's an arrogant, cheating asshole. Oh well. When the girls ripped their heads off, that kind of made up for Brady's low points. I'm a sucker for decapitation.
Next time: On Halloween, I'm posting Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps. I know it isn't Fear Street, but the stories are all Halloween related, short, and totally ridiculous so that should be entertaining. The next Fear Street book, though, will be Runaway. (If she doesn't control her super cranial powers, people are gonna start dropping like flies!)