Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guest Post #3: Amanda

Fear Street and Goosebumps have always seemed a little shameful to me.  I never wanted to be seen reading them.  It was much cooler to say you were into Stephen King or Dean Koontz.  They wrote books for ‘grownups’ with sex and swearing and everything.  So even though I wouldn’t publicly declare my love of R.L. Stine’s books, I still coveted them in secret.  I used to try to force my much younger sister (who was not a reader at all) to buy all the Goosebumps books just so I would be able to read them myself.  Under the guise of spending ‘quality time’ together, I would greedily read while she played with Barbies in another part of the room.

The most shameful part of all of this was not how much I loved Fear Street and Goosebumps, but how absolutely obsessed I was with R.L. Stine’s one adult novel Superstitious.  I must have read this book at least 20 times and I have absolutely no idea why I loved it so much.  It is a terrible book.  The plot is intriguing enough, but the characters are poorly written and the dialogue is atrocious.  Shocking, I know.
For those of you who didn’t spend their childhood reading and re-reading this book, here is a short synopsis (This synopsis is actually from memory which is probably really sad. I can’t believe that this book’s plot is still taking up valuable space in my brain).  The main character is a graduate student in college named Sara.  Shortly after Sara gets to the school she meets and falls in love with a handsome Irish professor named Liam.  Liam seems like the perfect guy and Sara quickly marries him.  He has two slightly weird things about him though…he lives with his adult sister Margaret and he is extremely superstitious and insists that Sara abide by his very strict rules about his superstitions.  In the midst of this love story there is a string of grisly murders on campus.  The bodies are ripped apart as if attacked by an animal and a few people around town have seen fleeting glimpses of a weird creature.  And if you haven’t figured out who the killer might be yet, I don’t believe that you are truly a R.L. Stine fan.

It’s hard to say why I loved this book so much.  I was well aware that it was a guilty pleasure even when I was a teen.  It’s just so fabulously lurid.  From the opening scene where a girl is ripped apart while running drunk through a field and singing the song ‘Oklahoma’ to the fantastic reveal that yes, Liam is an actual monster and he has impregnated Sara with his monster baby.  Superstitious is just filled with gruesome murders (eyeballs being pulled out) and body horror (on Liam and Sara’s wedding day Liam’s tongue suddenly becomes all monstrous and extends four feet out of his mouth all yellow and throbbing).  And the sex.  Oh yes, this is the book where R.L. Stine write sex scenes.  And they are a sight to behold.  I’m sure they appealed to me as a teenage girl because they sound like they were written by a teenage girl.  Sorry, Stine.  Sexy you are not.   I’d like to think that he is writing this as a sort of cautionary tale for his teen readers…have unprotected sex with a guy you barely know and you will end up with a monster baby.  But most likely it’s just Stine letting us in on his particular bedroom kinks.  Shudder.

So there is my deep, dark secret.  I unabashedly love this book and honestly if I still had it I would read it right now.  That is definitely one perk to being an adult.  I can now proudly read any sort of cheesy 90’s book and just tell people I’m being ‘ironic’.  Bring on the Goosebumps!


*****


Thank you, Amanda! Quick note: I have a copy of Superstitious and yes, you will all be exposed to it here eventually. Can you feel the excitement? CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guest Post #2: Spongey

*Note: I know I said I was only going to do these on Friday, but I'm not going by that. I'm just going to post these erratically because SCREW SCHEDULES. Now, I command that you enjoy Spongey's Fear thoughts.*

*****

Hello, Spongey here.
  
Well, this is my first time being on a different, better blog. I saw that the best blog since Blogger Beware wanted guest posts, and I could not resist. So I think I shall tell you my experiences with both Fear Street and Goosebumps…well, mostly GB. Since all my FS know how comes from this blog and I’ve only read like…8 books. So the FS section is just brief  “reviews” of FS books, but I shall talk a bit about it.
 
How My Goosebumps Led Me to Fear Street

It was 5th grade and I had finished work. At that age, it’s the worst thing ever. I was too young to give a fuck about music so I had no iPod or any of that modern bullshit. So I had to look at the teacher’s bookshelf.
I looked through the crap until I found four Goosebumps books. I had known of the series, in passing. I thought it was like a hardcore horror thing. Silly 5th grade me. My first was Don't Go To Sleep. You know, the book with the awesome cover that had nothing to do with the book.


I liked it, so I read a few more, but Let's Get Invisible! turned me off cuz I wanted vanishing fun and not mirror double. Of course, now it’s in my top 13 GB books. Silly me! I put it off until 2007. Cartoon Network was showing the TV show. I watched and loved its cheesiness, so I was like “eh, I’ll read the books again”.
Now I have 42 of them. And that’s just the original series. I’d talk about how the 'so bad it’s good' bits of GB made me love it even to this day, and how Calling All Creeps is the best thing ever written…but I won’t.
 
Okay, let’s move on the main thing: Fear Street
 
Remember how I said I though GB was hardcore? Yeah, imagine how FS made me feel. My brother had one in the closet, Wrong Number 2. I passed on it since it was a sequel. After I found Blogger Beware, I saw someone mention a Fear Street blog. So I read this blog and loved it. I was like “I’ll finally read these”. I read Wrong Number 2 and liked it. Then I read the first one and saw how 2 copied 1 so much. I like FS ,in a way, for how dumb it can get. But GB is better to me since…well…Calling All Creeps > Wrong Number 1. That is all.


But I still find them to be interesting in concepts. I mean, they used zombies more than Goosebumps…which makes no sense, but whatever.
 
So now for My Thoughts on the Fear Street Books I’ve Read!
 
Missing



I really liked this one, actually. Good mystery, sweet ending, a freaking CULT?! Give me that shit. It was just good fun. But I didn’t get the dog killing scene. BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT much?!
 
Still, it works and I think its among my faves
 
Wrong Number 2 

   
Skipping 2 since it’s just okay, not much to say about it. First, I love the tagline drop. Never seen that done before! Anyway, most likely the best I’ve read, at least critically. A solid plot, a good villain, great suspense and A CHAINSAW MURDER! The most badass thing Stine ever wrote…besides any scene with Billy in Welcome To Camp Nightmare, but whatever. But the scene with the disguises was too sitcom-y for my tastes. But I still loved this one.


The Sleepwalker


I just read this one the other night. I like it, actually! Some decent suspense and we have a okay mystery. Not a great book, though, bogged down by some…Stine-ism. Yes, that is a thing. Walker (I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, this book is like 20 years old) being the villain…was obvious. But in an odd way. I first pegged Link for it “excuuuse me princess!”
 
SHUT UP LINK.       
 
-because it seemed obvious in a Stine book. But he got me there. He created a character so obvious I didn’t think of the more obvious one! I like Walker being a bit too bossed with Myra, I have a thing for creepy fanboys. Always creepy! Despite some dumb moments, I like this one
 
Haunted 



Okay, I loved this one as much as everyone else!  Good mystery, ghosts, a Weird Al name drop, and a smart main character! What's not to love?! The twist shocked me. I mean, a ghost from the future? Never thought that would happen…not much else to say. I mean ghosts from the future! Can I add to that?! No. Good book.
 
The Stepsister and Ski Weekend


Not too much to say about either so I am combining them. The Stepsister was good and had a great killer. Not much to say...it just has a good killer. I OWN this one and have little to say! Ski Weekend was so dumb it rocked.


Lou said jackass. Love that. The only other swearing in a Stine thing is in the recent Haunting Hour show, where someone says “bitch”. No joke. Anyway, good killer and a cheesy yet awesome dude named Lou. That is all.
 
The Best Friend 1 & 2
 

Another crazy killer. I love killers that obsess over their victims. Okay, I love psychological horror, I admit. She counts, right? First book was mostly just alright, just with a good killer. Oh, and the ending? Love it. I know it’s unhappy, but it was great. Funny thing: people bitched about the downer so much they wanted a sequel. Goosebumps has downer endings all the time. No-one cared. What. The second one had a good first half and a crappy second half. I love how Sarah, the winner of  that contest, found this blog. Amazing. Okay books.

Final Grade


Confession time. This book scared me. No joke. Why? The villain. A guy who loves Lily to the point that he kills people to make her happy. I am scared shitless by ax crazy fanboys/girls. So Misery made me shit my pants, you see. I know this blog said this book sucks, but I was creeped out by the bad guy and thought it had a good story.

I’ve read some others (some of the Sagas, which I adore, Bad Dreams, The Thrill Club, which sucked hard. When a ghostwriter makes me miss Stine YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG) but I have little to say. Long, pointless blog here. But Stine’s books, even the awful ones, changed my life. I've made ideas for my own type of books, which read as parodies in a way. I had one that featured a robot working at a fast food place using the meat of his victims in the place of food. I had one with ghost pirates, one with a killer laptop, and other stupid shit. I mostly made this to help pay tribute to the blog that introduced me to Fear Street. Maybe it can be too harsh, but it’s still very funny and tells me which books to stay away from. I will never read Goodnight Kiss, but I may buy it to stare at its SEXAH cover. 



As for Goosebumps…over on my blog, my Wordpress one (look it up) I am doing a big Goosebump-A-Thon, looking at all the books. I’m on 52, so close to done. Shameless plug aside, this is my stroll down Fear Street. I will show these books to my kids and I hope you induct me into the Order of the Mole. See ya.

*****

Maybe I should revisit Final Grade. I do enjoy torturing myself. Hmm. Anyway, Spongey, I thank you and OF COURSE you have been inducted into the Order of the Mole for wanting to psychologically scar your future spawn with these paper tragedies.

Next guest post: Amanda F.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The New Girl


Book Description:

Dying for a Kiss

She's pale as a ghost, blonde, and eerily beautiful--and she seems to need him as much as he wants her. Cory Brooks hungers for Anna Corwin's kisses, drowns in her light blue eyes. He can't get her out of his mind. And the trouble has only begun: Shadyside High's star gymnast is losing sleep, skipping practice, and acting weird. All the guys have noticed, but only Cory's friend Lisa knows the truth: Anna Corwin is dead and living on Fear Street. Now Cory must explore its menacing darkness to discover the truth. He has already been warned: come to Fear Street and you're dead!

My Description:

Prologue

Anna is lying dead and bloody on the ground. The killer didn't like how perfect Anna was so he/she pushed her...down the stairs? Out a window? Not sure, but it doesn't matter because the result remains the same: Anna = deceased. Her murderer is possibly Anna's brother or sister because they keep referring to 'Mom' as in ' "[speaking about Anna] My Diamond", Mom always said.' The sibling slaughterer is looking down at Anna's crumpled corpse and decides it's time to pretend to be shocked and horrified. "Anna's dead, Mom! Come quickly! It's all too horrible-but Anna's dead!" Smooth, kid. Real smooth.

* * * * *

So the main character of The New Girl is surprisingly male. Usually we get airheaded chicks who don't know their ass from their elbow to guide us through our Fear. Will a teenage boy be any better? I wouldn't hold my breath. Anyway, Cory spots the beautiful blond new girl for the first time while he's performing childish stunts with his friends in the cafeteria. He ends up face planting in a tray full of food. Because he's just that awesome. As Cory is raking spaghetti from his fat head, he asks his friend David if he saw that bootiful girl, but David didn't see anything because he was too busy watching Cory make a fool of himself. Cory grabs a few things to eat from his friends' plates and thinks about how grateful he is that his gymnastics coach didn't see him bite the dust. Apparently gymnasts are supposed to be coordinated or something.

Cory goes to his locker amid the shouts of kids making fun of him for having slop all over his shirt. His friend Lisa has the locker next to his and she tells him how great he looks. He'll never look as great as Lisa, though, who is described as looking like Cher (circa 1989).

 
Kick. Ass. Anyway, Lisa gives him a black and white striped shirt ("It's from the Gap. It's for girls or boys. You know. It's just a shirt.") so he can change. Cory washes spaghetti sauce out of his hair in the drinking fountain, puts on the clean shirt, and spots the mysterious blond again. She's halfway down the hall and Cory notices that she seems to be floating. Floating is the preferred hobby of all dead chicks who are doomed to roam the earth for all eternity. Cory calls to her, and she turns, says something quietly that Cory interprets as "Please don't", and slips into a classroom. 

Three days later, Cory is still obsessing about the girl. It's interfering with his gymnastics bar stuff (Can you tell that I have no idea what I'm talking about?) Anyway, Cory had a dream about the girl kissing him all over his face in the cafeteria, but when he tries to touch her, his hand goes right through her. Cory doesn't understand this dream. Open your eyes, boy! She's the ghostliest ghost on Fear Street!

After gymnastics practice, Cory runs into Lisa and they walk home together (Lisa lives across the street from Cory). Cory mentions the girl and Lisa tells him her name is Anna Corwin and she has third period physics with Lisa. Lisa really doesn't know Anna because Anna never says a word and is absent a lot. But she does know that Anna lives on Fear Street and that scares the bippy out of Cory because everyone knows that Fear Street is full of horrors and such. Cory walks home thinking about what a nice, old-fashioned name Anna Corwin is. I've never known a teenage boy who ever called anything "nice and old-fashioned". Congratulations, Cory.

Later, Cory calls information for Anna's number and address. He debates over whether he should call Anna's beautiful corpse and eventually does. A young man answers and informs him that this is the Corwins' place, but there's no Anna there. THE PLOT THICKENS! Except not because we already know she's dead. Dammit, Stine, why did you have to tell us she's dead?! (As if we couldn't have figured it out ourselves even if he didn't tell us--this is Fear Street, after all.) And why is she going to school? What does that accomplish? A high school diploma will not serve you in the netherworld.

The next day, Cory sees Anna when he gets to school. He asks her questions he already knows the answers to and he can't get over how pale she is. "It's like I can almost see through her skin." Indeed. He tells her he tried to call her and asks if he had the wrong number or something, but she says no. She doesn't explain further because dead people just don't give a damn.

Later, Cory is at a gymnastics competition against a rival team, Mattewan. What, no Waynesbridge? As Cory is doing his routine on the bars, he spots Anna in the bleachers and of course he ends up falling on his ass. He finds it very funny: "I'm falling for her!" HAR. HAR. HAR. I should kick you in the face for that, Cory.

On Saturday night, Cory is sitting alone in his room thinking about Anna. He decides to go next door to hang out with Lisa in an effort to forget about Anna. Lisa answers the door and they sit on the couch to talk. As Cory describes how he screwed up at the gymnastics competition, Lisa starts running her fingers through his luscious locks. Ooooo! But the moment he mentions Anna, Lisa gets pissed and tells the clueless Cory to leave. Back in his bedroom, Cory wonders why Lisa freaked out, but he doesn't really care because Anna has infected his feeble brain like a parasitic worm and he can think of nothing else. He calls her house and a woman answers. He asks for Anna and the woman asks why he keeps calling. In the background, he hears a girl scream "Let me talk! It's for me! I know it's for me!" The woman tells Cory that Anna isn't there and hangs up. Cory is a little horrified at the screaming he heard and wonders if Anna is being tortured and held prisoner in her own home (only being allowed out for school and Shadyside gymnastics meets? Is that part of the torture?) He decides he has to find out and must go to Fear Street right away. Here we go, kids!

Cory has a few second thoughts before leaving, mainly because a family of three was recently found murdered in the Fear Street Woods. But he decides he has to make sure Anna is safe...as long as someone goes with him. He calls David and David tells him to pick him up. When Cory arrives at David's, he gets bad news: David's dear sweet mama won't let him go. David recently busted his ankle and he's still on crutches. Plus, he has a cold so his mom wants him home. Cory will have to venture to Fear Street alllll alooooone in the darrrrrrk. He makes it to Fear Street and parks because he thinks it'll be easier to find Anna's house (444 Fear St.) on foot. As he gets out of the car, he hears an animal howling. "It doesn't sound like a dog. Could it be a wolf?" It's a werewoof. Cory starts walking and singing "Love Me Do" to himself. (Keeping it '62 in '89.) He finally finds 444. The mailbox is lying in the street, the grass is overgrown, and weeds are waist-high. It doesn't looks like anyone lives here so Cory turns away and heads for his car. Suddenly he hears footsteps behind him and they're picking up speed. He starts running, but someone grabs his shoulder. AIEEE! It's just a guy who says he was out walking his dog Voltaire (does Voltaire know he is living in the deepest circle of hell?) when he saw Cory wandering around and thought he needed some help. Cory asks about the Corwins and the man says they do live there and they're very strange. "I wouldn't go up there uninvited, I don't think." The man walks off and Cory proceeds to completely ignore his advice and knock on the Creepy Corwins' door. A guy who appears to be in his early 20s opens the door a crack. Cory asks about Anna and says he goes to school with Anna. The guy begs to differ: "Anna is dead. Don't come here again. Anna is DEAD!" We heard you the first time, shrieky. Cory is shocked and numb at the news. He drives home and manages to fall asleep.

On Monday morning, Cory gets to school early to wait by Anna's locker even though he's now aware that she is a specter and their teenage love can never be. Anna never shows up so Cory drags his carcass to homeroom. Later, he asks Lisa if Anna was in physics and she says no. Lisa is still acting pissy with Cory because she likes him and he a) doesn't realize it and b) is totally obsessed with Anna Corwin who isn't even an actual human being anymore. As they walk to lunch, Cory tells her about Saturday night. Lisa thinks it's amusing because she believes that Cory simply got the wrong house, woke up the guy who lived there, and, as revenge, the guy played a joke on him by telling him Anna is dead. Cory doesn't think that's the case at all and stops paying attention to her so she says she isn't hungry anymore and leaves. Such a childish little girl.

After school, Cory does clerical work in the school's main office because apparently the school pays so little, no adults want the job. He realizes this is his opportunity to find out more about Anna. After using a ditto machine to make announcements (damn this book is old), he sneaks into the principal's office to sift through the student records. Before he can begin looking, Miss Markins, one of the secretaries, comes toward the office so Cory dives beneath the principal's desk. She leaves a moment later and Cory resumes his sneaky snooping. As predicted by anyone reading this book, there is no file for Anna Corwin. GASP!

A few days later, Cory is at a basketball game with his goofy friends Arnie and David. He ends up telling David about Anna's missing file and the fact that he's not sure she even exists. When he hears that Cory has access to student records, David gets excited and wants Cory to find his. David ain't interested in no ghosts. Cory leaves a minute later because his friends are worthless and Shadyside basketball sucks arse. Once home, he goes to bed and is awakened a little later by his ringing phone. It's a creepy weirdo with a hoarse voice (they're ALWAYS hoarse. Don't they have lozenges in Shadyside?) "Stay away from Anna. She's dead. She's a dead girl. Stay away from her-or you'll be next!" Cory is disturbed by the call and starts thinking about the guy who came up to him on Fear Street. Maybe it was he who called. Except Voltaire doesn't let him use the phone past 9 PM so it can't be him. A few moments later, the phone rings again. It's Anna. She she needs help and tells him to meet her on the corner of Fear Street. Cory agrees because Anna sounds so sexy on the phone...even though Fear Street scares the hell out of him. To scare himself further, Cory thinks about a story he read in the newspaper last spring. Two cars collided on Fear Street. There was blood everywhere, but when cops arrived, the cars were empty. I think Cory was reading something else...this sounds like a National Enquirer alien abduction story. Anyway, he arrives at Fear Street and waits. He doesn't see Anna so when she opens the car door a second later, he screams like a scalded girl. "You frightened me." *sigh* She says he's the only one who can help her. Cory plays it cool by confessing that he has been obsessing over her from the moment he laid eyes on her. She says she thinks of him, too. Then he says he needs to know that she's real so she kisses him to prove her realness. She tells him "You're all mine now." I think that means you're royally screwed, Cory. Anna admits she didn't need help at all, she just wanted to see if he would come. He mentions the man at her house and she says that's her crazy and dangerous brother Brad. When Cory tells her that Brad told him she was dead, she runs away. The dead are uncomfortable being reminded of their own death.

The next morning (Saturday), Cory's mom wakes him early because he has a gymnastics meet against Farmingville. Cory thinks about what happened the night before after Anna ran from him. He got out of the car and Voltaire pounced on him, knocking him to the ground. Voltaire's owner didn't seem too apologetic: "You back again, son?" Cory got a little freaked out and left. Cory can't stop wondering who that creep is and for a moment thinks it could be Anna's brother Brad in disguise. "Get real!" My sentiments exactly.

At the meet, he runs into Lisa who says she has to tell him something about Anna. Lisa's cousin has a friend who goes to Melrose (another high school...somewhere) and that friend once knew an Anna Corwin. "Well, you're not going to believe this. She said that Anna had been in her class-but that Anna was dead." Anna supposedly fell down her basement stairs and died instantly in the fall. Cory is finding this hard to believe because he kissed this dead girl last night. Lisa wants to play amateur detective and investigate the matter. They leave in the middle of the meet to go to the library to check out some microfilm (my kingdom for a Google search box). They find an article on Anna's death with a photo of her that confirms it's the same Anna these two have been seeing around Shadyside.

That night, Cory takes a joy ride around Shadyside, eventually ending up on Fear Street because that's where all roads in this town take you. He slows his car outside the Corwin house and sees Voltaire loping down the street with his owner walking close behind. This leads to the best lines in this book and possibly all other Fear Street books EVER. "There he is again, Cory thought. Do he and the dog prowl Fear Street all night? Are they ghosts, too? The Ghostly Guards, he thought. They've been assigned to keep people from discovering the truth about Fear Street-from discovering that everyone who lives on Fear Street is DEAD!" I love it. GHOSTLY GUARDS 4EVER.

At home, Cory goes to bed and has another Anna dream. Anna comes to his room and tells him she is indeed dead, but he can still take care of her. All he has to do is DIE. "Then we can be together." His ringing phone wakes him up. It's just Anna begging for help AGAIN. She tells him to meet her in front of Simon Fear's old burned-out mansion and he goes because he's been rendered droolingly stupid by lust. Once there, he waits for a while in the car and then gets out to see if he can spot Anna nearby. "He listened for the neighbor and his vicious four-legged companion. The Ghostly Guards." It will never get old. Cory waits and waits, but Anna never comes. Finally he jogs over to the Corwin house and bangs on the door. A very irate Brad answers. "ANNA IS DEAD! ANNA IS DEAD! Why can't you believe me?" Brad doesn't wait for an answer, he just pulls Cory inside and laughs at his obvious fear. Then he tells him to get lost and never come back. Listening is not Cory's strong suit.

A few days later, Cory is in the cafeteria with his idiot friends thinking about the usual ghost. He's tried to call Anna more than once over the past two days, but no-one ever answers the phone. Looks like Brad finally got caller ID. After Cory's friend Arnie pretends to choke on a peach pit, Cory leaves and goes for a walk around the parking lot. He comes back inside a little later and goes to his locker just as Lisa is arriving at hers. She awkwardly asks him to the Turnaround Dance on Saturday night and Cory, shocked, accepts in the hopes that this will make him forget about Anna. But no-here comes Anna now. She steps between Cory and Lisa and introduces herself to Lisa. They talk a bit before the bell rings. As Lisa is walking away, Anna grabs Cory and kisses him, effectively ensuring that he won't be forgetting her anytime soon.

A few hours later, school is over for the day and Cory and Lisa are at their lockers again. When Lisa opens hers, she gets a nasty surprise. There's a dead cat inside with a note attached: "Lisa-You're Dead Too" A cat had to die for THIS? Later, after helping Lisa clean out her locker and missing gymnastics practice, Cory starts walking home and is soon joined by Anna, the cat slaying ghost. She seems appalled at the cat in the locker story and Cory instantly knows she didn't do it. You poor dumb bastard. She mentions the Turnaround Dance and asks if he wouldn't rather go with her, but he says he can't do that to Lisa. Cory asks her about her phone call on Saturday night, but she says someone was playing a joke on him because she never called. Suddenly Anna flips out and says "he's" watching her and she runs off into the dark. Cory assumes she's referring to the crazy and dangerous Brad. Because he's crazy and dangerous and wouldn't be above sneaking out at night to spy on his dead sister and her foolish victim.

At home, after enduring his mother cooing over the fact that he's going to the dance with Lisa ("I always knew it would happen."), he goes to his room to study. But of course his phone rings. It's just David who's calling because he wants to know why Cory has been acting so strange lately. "Cory, you've been in a dream world ever since you met Anna." Cory gets defensive and they hang up angry at each other. To take his mind off that, he goes to Lisa's house where she flirts and he...talks about Anna and reads about crime in the newspaper. Then we get the obligatory "threatening" phone call. "You're dead too. You're dead too. You're dead too." Only on the inside.

It's now the night of the dance and Lisa is busy bitching about how she's sure Anna is the one harrassing her. Everyone else is dancing to Phil Collins and Cory wants to join them. They dance for a few minutes, but Lisa just ends up dragging Cory to the side to whine that he keeps defending Anna. SHUT. UP. Lisa gets angrier and angrier, even shoving Cory into the wall. Eventually she calms down, apologizes for embarrassing Cory, and leaves. Meanwhile, Cory is literally smiling because he thinks Lisa is jealous of Anna. Dude. You are such an ass. A girl screaming breaks Cory out of his smug state. "It was Lisa's scream!" NOOO! Someone shoved Lisa down some stairs, but she only twists her ankle, nothing interesting like a compound fracture cutting through her leg skin or something. Lisa describes the pusher and Cory realizes it was Brad. Crazy. Dangerous. Yep. Cory thinks Brad might still be around for absolutely no reason. So he and Lisa roam a deserted hallway looking for a psycho who kinda wants them both dead. They hear a noise in a biology classroom, but it's only two trashy teens making out like their lives depend on it. Lisa pulls Cory into a music room (why are the biology rooms and music rooms so close together?) so she can laugh her ass off, but it ain't so funny when Brad enters the room. When he spots them, he runs, slams the door, and throws something against it so they can't get out. Oh Brad.

Cory looks out the window and sees Brad jump into a car and drive off. He decides the only way they'll be able to get out is if he uses his killer gymnastics skills to walk a three inch ledge until he gets close enough to a nearby tree to jump on it and climb down. The ledge is a little slippery so falls onto a lower ledge and throws himself through a conveniently open window. "I'll have to thank whoever left that window open." 


He runs to the room where Lisa is trapped and lets her out. Brad used the hall monitor's desk to keep them inside. The hall monitor's desk. Why in the HELL would a hall monitor need a desk? Are the drawers full of the remains of kids who didn't have hall passes? Hall monitor's desk. Bullshit. Anyway, the two go to Lisa's house where she receives a phone call from a heavy breathing pervert who says nothing and hangs up. This scares her and Cory says he'll talk to Anna tomorrow and then they can go to the police about Brad who presumably made that sexy phone call. What are they gonna tell the police? They have absolutely no proof of anything. Oh well. The cops will believe them anyway because Shadyside cops don't give a shit about things like evidence.

The next morning, Cory drives to Fear Street and knocks on the Corwins' door. While he's waiting, the Ghostly Guard appears. "Don't ever see you much in the daytime." This guy gives me Deliverance vibes. He tells Cory that the Corwins left earlier, then he leaves, too.

The next day, Cory gets to school and searches for Anna. He doesn't find her until the end of the day. He tells her they've got to talk and she agrees. They go to the Pizza Oven in Division Street Mall which just sickens me. How dare they not support Pete's Pizza?!? Anyway, Cory tells Anna to tell him everything so she does. Here we go... Dad left, Mom is sickly, Brad is the head of the family, sister Willa FELL DOWN THE BASEMENT STAIRS, Brad always got the two sisters confused because his brain is no good (which explains the prologue) because his girlfriend Emily died in a plane crash and it really screwed him up, Brad tells everyone Anna is dead and sometimes won't let her out of the house, and the newspaper obituary that Cory and Lisa found that declared Anna dead was supposed to be Willa's, but Brad told the paper Anna was the one who died. So all this time there hasn't been a ghost at all. Just a broken family and a very disturbed young man in desperate need of psychiatric assistance. Son of a bitch. A few seconds later, they spot Brad at the window. Anna runs out a back door, but Brad just stands there staring at Cory. MENACINGLY!

At home, Cory burns up the phone lines repeatedly trying to call Anna. No answer. Finally Brad picks up and tells Cory "Anna isn't anywhere. Anna is dead." before hanging up. Cory is afraid Brad did kill Anna so he immediately leaves for Fear Street. He arrives at their house, knocks, and hears Anna scream "He's come for me! Let me go!!" Cory rushes inside and finds the two fighting. Obviously. Cory runs in and he and Brad wrestle. Brad tries to choke Cory, but Cory bashes his head with a vase. With Brad unconscious, Anna pulls out a letter opener to stab him, but Cory won't let her so she turns on him after leading him up the stairs and into the hallway. He falls out an open window trying to get away from her, but since this is the poor man's Spider Man, he swings himself back through the window and hears Brad coming up the stairs. He tells Cory, who is gripping the struggling Anna, that he tried to keep him away from Anna for his safety. Ready for more insanity? Anna is actually Willa. Willa lost her damn mind after Anna died because she's probably the one that killed her. She was insanely jealous of the perfect Anna (which explains the prologue, for real this time) and Brad wishes he had gotten her help sooner, before she started pretending to be Anna and trying to kill everybody. Cory asks why he pushed Lisa down the stairs at the dance and he says he thought it was Willa and tried to grab at her, but she fell. A likely story. Brad tells Cory to call the cops. "We've got to get her some help."

Flash forward to Cory eating chocolate cake with Lisa and explaining the whole Anna/Brad/Willa thing. "Another horror story from the folks on Fear Street." Then they kiss. Two thumbs DOWN.

Conclusion? - I liked this one until it started going off the rails like so many of these books do. This one should have been titled "The Ghostly Guards" and been all about Voltaire and Strange Neighbor Guy solving crime and patrolling Fear Street for evil ghosts. *sigh* What could've been!

Next time: "Beach Party" A beach. A party. Death. What more do you need to know?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fear's First Guest Post

Remember that time when I asked you ghouls to send me your Fear-y memories, etc.? Well, someone finally took me up on it. Introducing Drucilla (how awesome is that name?) and her first piece for Fear Street.

*****

First off, I hope I don’t bore anyone with this guest blog, but when the word was put out for personal stories concerning the Fear Street series, I had to write this. I found this Fear Street blog in the latter half of 2011 and thought it serendipitous because I had started rereading my collection. Below are my experiences with both the Fear Street series and the Goosebumps series. I think they both had a big effect on me. While my guest blog won’t be hilarious or awesome, the real blog is and I can’t wait to read more of it.

My Journey Down Fear Street Gave Me Goosebumps

I was born in 1989. The same year the first Fear Street book was published and three years before the first Goosebumps was published. As a child of the 90’s, you couldn’t escape these series’. If you didn’t find them on your own, your librarian was ready to suggest these short, easy books for you. I was of the former persuasion. I loved to read and still do. There wasn’t really anything like YA when I was in school so you read middle school books and then jumped to adult authors like Stephen King and Anne Rice. Stine’s books were always must more fun, if somewhat repetitive. Some of the first books I ever owned where R.L. Stine books, specifically Goosebumps #20 The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight and #22 Ghost Beach. I also owned a few of his standalone works, such as Curtains and Beach House.

 
In my elementary school days, yes, I did a book report on Ghost Beach complete with costume (sorry, no pictures. I only dressed like I was going to the beach with fake mascara freckles). Yes, I also joined the R.L. Stine fan club. However, it wasn’t until high school that I decided I wanted to complete the collections because they were a big part of my childhood (I also can’t stand to have an incomplete series on my shelf). It has taken my almost eight years to collect every original Fear Street book (63), every Fear Street Super Chiller (13) and every original Goosebumps book (62). I limited my collection to these three series, otherwise I’d be broke and forever collecting (there’s a reason Stine has sold more children’s books than anyone else…he writes more children’s books than anyone else). Along the way, I’ve read so many more of his books and also picked up The Nightmare Room series and How I Broke Up With Ernie, one of R.L. Stine’s only comedic works (I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this book after hearing about it for years).  


If you’re thinking that eight years is a long time to be collecting something that’s not rare at all, you have to understand something: I wasn’t constantly looking for these books. Whenever I would happen upon them cheap on Ebay, in used bookstores, or more recently, on Swap.com, I’d buy them. It was always exciting to spot Fear titles in a thrift store. It, also, always necessitated a call to my mother who would then traipse into my room to compare the titles on my shelf to the ones I had found in the store (my mother was always somewhat less excited than I was). So, finally, at some point in 2010, I managed to complete my collection…but when to read them?

You see, once I had found a new R.L. Stine book for my collection, I did not read it. I had intended on reading them back to back (although I soon learned that this would not prove to be the case). Having to cart loads of these quick reads back and forth to college (a 2 ½ hour drive) was illogical. Only a summer could contain the epic Stine-gasm that was to be (I now apologize for the mental image that “Stine-gasm” just gave you (and again just then)). Luckily, I just happen to be graduating so I had a nice long summer to which to devote to my project. However, I came across another problem, mainly, that if I read all of these books back, I’d be burned out on them (not to mention, I’d be ignoring the back log of unread books I already had). A formula presented itself: As the Stine books are relatively short, I’d read a Stine book between every other book I’d read. Thus, ends my story. I started reading the Fear Street series in May of 2011. I finished all of them in March 2012. I promptly started on the Goosebumps series and as of June 9, I am on #41, Bad Hare Day.  

Of course, in my readings and rereading’s, I found that this blog is right…a lot of these books are really bad. On Goodreads were I reviewed the books (not to the epicness that this blog does, sadly), I find myself giving many one star ratings, two star ratings, occasionally a three star one, and even rarer, a four star. Surprisingly, the Goosebumps books consistently get a higher rating from me. Go figure.

R.L. Stine’s books have had a huge effect on me. Be honest, I think everyone had one of his books or at least knew someone who owned one. I believe he made me a better reader and perhaps it wouldn’t be all that crazy to say that he helped make me a lifelong reader. With these series, I found books that interested me. Not the Stephen King books that everyone was reading (honestly, his books kind of freak me out) or the simple white washed stories for tweens where nothing really happens. I kept reading through that drought until I was older and could find better books that interested me. 

So there you have it. My “Journey of Fear” (shoot me for that title please). I will finish the Goosebumps Series before the summer is over and I go back to grad school to major in publishing. I will finish a chapter on my reading history (reading pun!). I probably won’t read these books again, but I’ll definitely keep them and my children will (I’ll make them.)

*****

I love that she's going to force Stine upon her unsuspecting future children. We must expose the next generation or all will be lost. Thank you, Drucilla!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury


August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012