Monday, April 14, 2008

College Weekend

Whew, this is gonna be a long one, kids...

Book Description:

Nothing can ruin Tina Rivers' big weekend at Patterson College with her boyfriend, Josh Martin. She's so excited, she doesn't even mind that her cousin, Holly, will be tagging along.But when Tina and Holly arrive, Josh is gone. His roomate, Christopher Roberts, says Josh is stuck in the mountains, delayed by car trouble. That's weird--Josh never mentioned he was going away.It gets even weirder when Holly suddenly disappears. But Christopher isn't worried--about Holly or Josh. Christopher seems to have the answer to everything. Tina is confused. But one thing is clear--she's about to learn more about love and murder than she ever wanted to know.

Main Characters:

Tina Rivers - That's supposed to be Tina on the cover, but cover Tina looks nothing like book Tina--long blond hair, blue eyes...the typical junk. R.L. Stines has the hots for blondes. Tina's dream is to one day become a famous super model. I don't think her skin is thick enough for the dog-eat-dog world of modeling (Tyra Banks told me so.) In addition to modeling, Tina wants to go to college for...something. We're never told what exactly.

Holly Phillips - Tina's cousin. She's a curly-haired brunette who likes to flirt and par-tay! Can anyone say 'jailbait'? Holly wants to be a theater major when she gets to college because you can't major in the art of the flirt. Holly serves no purpose in this book for me...

Josh Martin - Tina's boyfriend who happens to be majoring in geology at Patterson College. I probably shouldn't even list him as a main character because he never actually shows up at any point in this book. But I will anyway because Tina talks/thinks about him constantly.

Chris Roberts - Josh's roomate and Patterson College's very own...successful photgrapher! Oh, and psychotic nutjob. Chris is tall and has "piercing green eyes and dark hair tied in a short ponytail." Chris is the proud owner of his own studio, a Jeep Cherokee, and an incredibly diseased mind. This kid is going places...if he can keep his murderous urges in check...which he can't.

Carla Ryan - a friend of Chris and Josh. She has "short, dark hair and a round, serious face." Carla is a journalism major who exaggerates and makes a big deal out of everything. Needless to say, not my favorite character.

My Description:

This book begins with Tina and Holly sitting on a train, waiting for it to pull into Patterson Station where Josh is supposed to pick them up. May I ask why these two took a TRAIN? I didn't think anyone living in this decade or the last would ride a train for a trip that would be easier achieved in a car or bus. But whatever! Anyway, when the girls finally arrive at the station, it's dark out and Josh is nowhere to be found. They freak out a little and go searching for him in the ticket area. The place is cruddy, smelly, and deserted. They hear something rustling around and a black cat leaps out of nowhere. Ok? A symbol of ominous things to come? Or just useless information? Tina looks out a window and sees a shadowy figure that she assumes is Josh. Idiot. The girls go outside and the man Tina saw accosts them, saying "I need money. Whatever you got." Tina reaches for her purse when Chris comes to the rescue. The guy runs away and Chris is a hero. Not. Chris tells Tina that Josh went on a camping trip the day before with his friend, Steve, and won't be back until later. Chris also says that Josh called him earlier, saying that he and Steve are having car trouble and asked Chris to pick the girls up. Tina flips out because she wants Josh! Wahhhhhh! Oh well. Holly flirts with Chris, but he ignores her and keeps making eyes at Tina instead. They all get into Chris's jeep. While driving, Chris plays tourguide, pointing out Little Town Playhouse (Holly's loves her some drama), Club Cobalt, and a Mexican restaurant ("Have you ever had a crab enchilada?" Gross.) Chris brings up modeling and tells Tina that his uncle is the world famous photographer, Rob Roberts. AMAZING! Chris says he wants to take some head-shots of Tina sometime for his portfolio. Riiiiight. I think Chris MEANT to say that he'd like to take Tina's head sometime...

They finally arrive at Patterson's campus. Now, I've never lived in a dorm, but I don't think that something like this would be allowed: "The plan is for you to stay here in our dorm," Chris told them. "Josh and I got permission from the RA. We'll sleep at my studio." Girls sleeping in all-boy's dorm? I don't think so!

Holly and Tina are just making themselves comfortable in the room when they hear a knock on the door. Tina opens it and Carla is standing there. She freaks out when she sees Tina: "NO! I don't believe it!" Tina is confused and Carla is all non-chalant, saying "Sorry, I thought you you were someone else, but your hair is much lighter." Ok. Carla invites herself in and she and Tina talk a bit (it cracks me up how often people ignore Holly in this book!) The conversation somehow turns to Chris's dead girlfriend, Judy. Last summer, while sailing with Chris on his boat (he owns a boat?!) Judy "fell" overboard and drowned. Chris arrives a few minutes later, saying he forgot his chemistry notes. He invites Holly and Tina to a party that's happening off-campus a little later. Holly is like HELL YEAH! but Tina is afraid that Josh will show up while she's gone. Tina finally agrees, though. Chris asks Carla (took him long enough) and she also says yes. Holly changes into a pair of ripped jeans and a tight red sweater while Tina tries to pick something out. She goes to hang up some things in Josh's closet and spots Josh's hiking boots still in his closet. "If he's on a hike looking for rocks, she wondered, why did he leave them behind?" Because they're old and ugly and he wanted to wear his new Nikes, that's why! Or something.

Tina writes Josh a quick note just in case he comes back soon (I wish someone would tell her that he isn't coming, now or ever.) Holly, Tina, Carla, and Chris pile into the good old Jeep. Tina sits up front with Chris and asks about Josh's boots. Chris tells her that he got new ones that are "really cool with double padded ankle supports and soft leather." Chris used to work at Pay-Less. Anyway, Chris puts on Tina's favorite CD by her favorite band, Spoiled Rotten. That band name kinda sucks. They arrive at the party and Carla immediately starts flirting (that guy Steve, the one that's gone with Josh? Yeah, that's Carla's boyfriend...) and Holly giggles a lot. "This just what Holly loves, Tina thought. A party and guys to flirt with." Shallow with slutty tendencies, Holly is every college guy's wet dream. Carla drags Holly off to talk to some theater majors and Tina is left alone with Chris. She can't enjoy anything because she isn't with Josh. Shut up, Tina. Chris offers to get Tina drink (perhaps spiked with roofies?) and she accepts. They make awkward conversation about Mexican food (remember those crab enchiladas?) and Chris's awe-inspiring ability to eat 12 + jalepenos at one time ("My head nearly exploded!") And then they slow dance. Aw. Chris tells Tina that her hair smells good and she snuggles up to his muscle-y chest. Afterwards, they go outside and start kissing (Josh who?) until Carla interrupts. Tina is all embarrassed and such, but Carla doesn't think anything of it because it's college and people do that shit all the time! They all decide that it's time to go and set off to find Holly.

They don't see her anywhere...then Tina hears a girl scream and thinks that sounds like Holly. She runs out front and sees a curly-haired girl being hauled away on a motorcycle. THE HORROR! She turns back to tell Chris about it when she spots one of Holly's earrings lying on the ground. She freaks out and tells Carla and Chris that they HAVE to find Holly. Why? You don't even like her that much, Tina. You only brought her along because your parents made you. One would think that you'd be all too happy to pawn her off on some thugs riding Harley' least for a while. Carla tells Tina to chill out, that Holly is with a girl named Alyssa Pryor: "Yeah, she said she knew Alyssa from home. And Alyssa is in the drama department, so she took Holly to the drama department." After midnight? I doubt it. And Tina does, too (WOW!) but Carla just says "The drama kids at this school are so weird. Sometimes they hang out at the stage all night." Still doubt it!

They finally leave. Tina gets back to the dorm and worries more about JOSH! Let's just forget the fact that your cousin is also missing (no matter what Carla said). Chris calls and tells her that Josh left a message saying the car was still screwed up so he and Steve are gonna stay in a motel. Of course Tina practically shits her pants because this isn't how she imagine her college weekend! WAHHHHH! Dear God, Tina, shut the hell up already! Tina goes to bed and wakes up after a few minutes...she hears noises. Someone is in the room with her! Holly? No, that would be too logical. Josh? I think you know the answer to that one. She turns on the light and doesn't see anyone, but she DOES see the door hanging open. She locks it and figures since she's already awake, may as well snoop through Josh's things! Tina may miss Josh, but I'm betting the feeling wasn't mutual, even when the poor bastard was alive. While snooping, she finds Josh's keys. But instead of focusing on this, she goes back to bed. Yeah.

When she wakes up the next day, Tina realizes that Holly never came back to the dorm. And 2 seconds later, she starts thinking about Josh again. Must be one helluva guy, kids! She calls Chris and asks if Josh called (wouldn't he have called the dorm? He knows she's there!) She mentions that Holly never returned and Chris says she "probably crashed with that girl she knows." Tina mentions that she found Josh's keys the night before. Chris signs off quick after hearing that. Hmm...wonder why. Chris shows up a few minutes later (is his studio THAT close by?) with chocolate doughnuts. A psycho after my own heart. Tina mentions the keys AGAIN. Chris says Josh probably has a spare set. Tina doesn't seem to notice how weird Chris is acting, how he has an excuse for everything.

They take a walk across campus to search for Holly. Chris says "Sometimes the drama majors sleep in the dressing rooms." Why? Would the school even allow that? Anyway, they check inside the auditorium, etc. No Holly...or any other drama majors for that matter. See?! All they find is a disgruntled janitor pushing a broom...or is it a drama major ACTING like a janitor? *sigh* Moving on. They also check in the cafeteria but find nothing. Chris suggests calling Alyssa Pryor. Why didn't you mention that back at the dorm, genius? Chris gets the number, Tina dials on a pay phone and gets an answering machine. But oh no! The voice on the machine says her name is Alyssa Pryor, but that isn't Alyssa's voice! Ok. At this point I really don't care. I'm more concerned about the fact that there are still over 100 pages left. Tina hangs up and explains to Chris. His lame-ass reply? "You know actresses. Always goofing around with fake voices and accents. Maybe she's rehearsing for a part." Rehearsals are for the stage, not the answering machine. Can we stop talking about the drama people now? Seriously. Tina partially buys this, but she can't help worrying about Holly...or rather the fact that Holly's parents (and her own) will tear her a new one if she loses Holly forever. She acts like Holly is five years old or mentally retarded or something.

They head back to the dorm and Carla comes over to tell them that Josh and Steve are still stuck so she's going to drive over and pick them up. Finally. Tina doesn't seem to grasp how weird it is that Josh conveniently "calls" when she isn't around and also that he still hasn't called HER. She wants to go with Carla, but Carla disses that idea, saying "There's no room. I only have a two-seater." Yet you're picking up 2 guys meaning there will be 3 people in your "two-seater". How will you all fit? Oh well! Carla leaves before Tina can freak out any further. Chris wants to take some outdoor shots of Tina so he rents a frigging motorscooter to drive around town to different locations. Why? He has a Jeep! Why waste money on renting a scooter of all things? Why am I still asking questions and searching for logic? Anyway, after he takes pics of Tina here and there, they go to the carnival. Yes, the carnival. Chris offers to win Tina a big, purple Barney because, in the excitement, he forgot that she is 17 years old. Tina sees a guy named Jack that she knows from school (he graduated a year before Josh) And get this: when Tina mentions Alyssa Pryor, Jack tells her that Alyssa transferred to a school in Seattle. Dun dun dun! Your lies have come back to bite you in the ass, Chris! Oh wait. Tina doesn't even suspect CHRIS! She automatically thinks 'Carla'! Come on, Tina! The liar is right in front of you! It's that scooter-riding, Barney-loving freak Chris! Do I seem frustrated? Well, that's because I'm a little frustrated. She tells Chris that they have to call the police because Holly is missing FOR REAL. Chris just says that a person has to be missing for 24 hours before a missing persons report can be filed and offers to buy Tina a frozen banana. Yes, I'm ripping my hair out. And since when are frozen bananas carnival fare? That's a new one to me. Tina is a sucker for a frozen banana! So Chris skips off to buy a few.

After eating, they go on the Ferris wheel. When they get stuck at the top, Chris tries to kiss Tina, but she refuses. He goes ballistic and asks her why she's playing games. No he starts swinging the car. Psycho! Tina freaks cause she thinks she's going to fall to her death. The wheel begins to move again and Chris, acting as if didn't just try to "kill" Tina, asks if he can take more photos. Yeah, that's right. Play it cool, slick. Tina runs away when the ride ends and Chris apologizes. They jump on the scooter and head for home...until Chris turns in another direction, announcing MORE PHOTOS. Tina sees some chick that looks exactly like Carla standing on the sidewalk. She flips out and Chris stops, but it isn't Carla so he fires the scooter back up and drives them to his studio.

Well, my friends, it took 93 pages of nothingness, but we've finally arrived! The freaky shit starts now! Tina is admiring all of Chris's expensive photography equipment. He tells her that there's make-up in the bathroom and she should put on lots of eyeshadow and lipstick for her photo shoot. When she gets inside the bathroom, she mistakes a mannequin for a human being. Why is there a freaking mannequin in the bathroom? Anyway, Tina proceeds to pile on a hideous combo of charcoal grey eyeliner, taupe shadow, mascara, coral blush, and bright red lipstick. Ouch. Chris chooses her outfit from a rack of clothes: red miniskirt, white crop top, and red heels. All the clothes are size 6, Tina's size...odd, but of course Tina doesn't notice. Chris starts taking photos and shouting demands: "Dreamy. Cross your legs. Look pouty. Give me an angry expression. Now show me you're in love. Did you hear me? More feeling. MORE!" Jesus Christ.

He finally takes a break and Tina tells him she'd like to buy the outfit she's wearing from him. He tells her they were Judy's clothes (the deceased girlfriend) She shuts up. Chris puts a wig on her and starts calling her Judy. "How about a kiss, Judy? It's so nice to have you back." I liked the Barney Chris better! Tina manages to convince Chris that she isn't Judy and Chris responds like he always does, pretending that nothing off-the-wall just happened. He tells Tina that he has something he wants her to wear: a dress from the 1890s that his great-grandmother wore. Dead granny's clothes instead of dead girlfriend's clothes...better, I guess? Tina loves it even though it turns out to be way too tight. While she's in the bathroom searching for a tube of lipstick (more?!) she opens a drawer and finds a photo. A photo of herself sleeping in the dorm...remember when she woke up because she heard noises and thought someone was in the room with her? Well, now we know who and why! She feels creeped out and decides it's time to haul ass NOW.

She comes out of the bathroom and asks Chris for a soda. He goes to get it and Tina runs to the door which is locked. She unlocks all the bolts and such and runs into a hallway where she cuts her foot on a giant shard of glass. She finds the outer door locked, too, and she needs a key. She goes back for it and Chris catches her, saying "Come back, Judy. I don't want to have to kill you again!" Or so he says. They wrestle a little (hot!) and Chris ends up shoving her into the darkroom and locking the door. She turns on the light and finds hundreds of pictures of herself. She opens a closet door...and Josh's stiff corpse falls out. "The skin had been eaten away, exposing his nose and cheekbones. The skin on his forehead flapped loose. Tina saw tiny red lines along his hairline. Most of his hair had been burned away. Had Chris used chemicals to kill Josh?" No, as it turns out Chris surprised Josh by throwing the chemicals in his face and then smashing him over the head--Tina figures this out just by looking at the deep gash on Josh's head.

Chris bursts in and Tina tells him he won't get away with any of this because people will eventually search for she and Josh. Chris politely replies "No-one will try to find you, Judy. They don't send out a search party for someone who is already dead." Makes sense...but what about JOSH? Tina ends up smashing Chris in the face with a tripod, breaking his nose. But that isn't enough so she bashes him in the back of the head, too, for good measure. She walks out of the room and hears a noise coming from a nearby closet. She opens the door and finds Holly tied up inside. She unties her and they start to leave, but Chris comes staggering out of the darkroom. He isn't going down THAT easily, Judy! He picks up a pair of scissors and prepares to stab Tina, but Carla and Steve (where the hell was HE?) burst in (I thought the door was locked?) Steve tackles Chris to the floor and someone calls the cops. The last line of the book? "Tina knew that no matter how hard she wished, she would never be able to erase this weekend from her memory." And why would she want to? Didn't the frozen bananas make everything worth it?

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