Saturday, May 17, 2008


Book Description:

The perfect suntan. Soaking up the rays. Fun on the beach. That's what Claudia Walker had in mind when she accepted her friend Marla's invitation to spend the weekend at her cliffside beach house. Little did she know that horrible accidents - fatal accidents - would occur on the beach and in the house. But Claudia knows they're not "accidents." She's sure somebody is out to get them...out to kill them. The week of "fun in the sun" has turned dark and deadly!

Main Characters:

Claudia Walker - the auburn-haired leading lady.

Marla Drexell - tall, strawberry blond hair, preppy, and quite rich.

Joy Birkin - she's described as exotic-looking with "slightly slanted green eyes, olive skin, dark, full lips, and straight black hair." She likes to flirt, as you'll see later on.

Sophie Moore - short with light brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses. Sophie is definitely the "baby" of the group, the one everyone else looks out for.

My Description:

Wow, some incredibly convoluted things take place in this one. Even more so than usual! Oh, and that scene on the cover doesn't happen.

The book begins with Claudia waking up on the beach. Her friends buried her in the sand and left her there to experience high tide, apparently. She fell asleep and doesn't know how long she's been out there. All she knows is that she has a wicked sunburn and can't figure out how she's going to dig herself out. As she's lying there, Claudia thinks about how she came to be on the beach in the first place. A few weeks earlier, she had received a letter from Marla that I will transcribe for you here:

Dear Claudia,

How the heck are you? I know this is short notice, but I'm inviting you to the first annual reunion of Bunk 12 from Camp Full Moon. The four of us had such a short time together last summer that I got to thinking it would be great to see one another and catch up. (None of us has been terrific in the letter writing department, especially me.) My parents will be away the first week in August. They told me to invite some friends to stay at our summer house on the beach so I won't get lonely. So how about it, Claud? Can you come? It'll be just the four of us from Bunk 12--you, me, Sophie, and Joy. I hope you're having a really boring summer in Shadyside, so you'll say yes. I promise it won't be boring here! Please come!


First of all, what kind of parent allows their teenage daughter to invite whoever the hell she wants to their home? She'll be alone for the whole week and although a week doesn't seem like such a long time, plenty can happen *cough* orgy freak fest *cough* Anyway, Claudia is excited by the prospect because her summer has totally sucked thus far: she broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job a week after that. Plus, she hasn't seen her friends since camp and she misses them (WORD). When she calls Marla (why didn't Marla call instead of sending a letter?) to tell her that she's excited to see her and the beach house, Marla tells her that it's just a "quaint little shack". Oh, Marla, we all know you have money falling out the ass. You don't have to pretend with us!

Two weeks after receiving the letter, Claudia is on the train to Summerhaven to visit Marla. AGAIN with a train (remember College Weekend?) No-one takes the train anymore! Seriously! I've been on a train one time and it was on a field trip in 6th grade and it was a novel concept and not something that someone does everyday. At least not around here. Anyway, Claudia gets off the train and spots her friends (they haven't changed since camp) and Marla's silver Mercedes. Damn, she's lucky. The girls greet Claudia, but only briefly because Marla is aching to get back to her mansion. When they arrive, the girls are shocked at how large Marla's mansion truly is. Claudia compares it to a "fairy tale castle." I kind of want to barf.

And then we're taken back to Claudia on the beach, still buried in the sand. She's starting to get a little panicky because the waves are rolling closer and Claud is afraid she's going to drown. What a shitty way to die. Thankfully, this shirtless hottie named Daniel comes by and asks her if she needs help. No, Sherlock. She's buried up to her neck in the sand and the tide is rolling in. Why on earth would you think she needs any help?! As he's digging her up, he says "You've got a bad burn." He's intelligent as well as cute. We've got a real winner here, folks. Daniel helps Claud back to the Drexell's. He somehow knows the code to open their gate. He doesn't explain how he knows, he just says "I know lots of things." I somehow doubt it, but whatever. Daniel leaves and Claudia makes her way up to the mansion. The girls are shocked to see Claudia. Because they assumed she'd be dead by now? Claudia is confused at the girls' surprise. Joy explains: "After we buried you, we went for a walk. When we came out, Marla said you'd gone back to the house. So we came in, too!" I'm even more confused than before. Came out of WHERE? Sophie says they honestly didn't see Claudia. They should have went back to where they buried this poor chick and made damn sure that she wasn't still there! Claudia tells them that Daniel helped her out, but of course Daniel left so the girls think Claudia is lying.

That night at dinner, Claudia, Sophie, and Joy are introduced to Alfred, the only servant on the premises. He's serving cheeseburgers that he fixed on the grill and french fries. Yum. There's also a salad. Why would you serve salad with cheeseburgers and french fries? The burger and fries kind of cancel out any healthful benefits of the salad. They all sit down to eat and Marla fruitlessly attempts to engage the girls in conversation when suddenly Joy screams. She found a big, fat worm in her salad. Yes, it's gross, but hardly scream-worthy! Alfred comes in and begins apologizing for the worm food. His explanation? "The lettuce is locally grown." Ok? Claudia jokes that "The worm must have been locally grown, too!" Claud, I like you, but that joke sucks. After Alfred leaves the room, Marla brings up the subject of Daniel. Claudia tells her that he said he had gone for a swim and spotted Claudia. Marla flips out because she doesn't want anyone swimming on her beach. Since when does the beach belong to HER? The others are just interested in how he looks. And just in case you're wondering: "Tall, very good-looking actually, black hair. A great bod, like he worked out." Not bad, I must say. Marla comments that she's never seen him around and Claudia tells her that she must have because he knew the code to open the gate. Marla says that's impossible and tells Claudia that she spent too much time out in the sun. Claud's reply? "Thanks to you." Burn! Literally. Since this is a Fear Street book, it was inevitable that there would be mention of the supernatural and Marla doesn't disappoint, saying she thinks Daniel is a "Ghost Boy". *sigh* Everyone is subjected to Marla's stupid ghost story: "I thought he was real, too. I thought he was real the times I saw him. But he isn't. He's a ghost. He lives in the guest house, I think. That's where I've seen him the most. Once, I saw him on the tennis court. He was dressed in white, in old-fashioned clothes, very starched. He was holding a weird tennis racket, made of wood, I guess. He had the saddest look on his face. I waved to him. He turned toward me and realized I could see him. He stared at me a second, that sad expression on his face--then he disappeared." I'm speechless. No-one else really believes this story, but Marla insists that it's all true. When she thinks she finally has the girls believing her story, Marla bursts out laughing and tells them she made everything up and she can't believe they fell for such a dumb story. Damn you! The girls just laugh it off, even though they're kind of pissed.

After dinner, they watch a movie called Bye Bye, Birdie and laugh at the "funny way the fifties-style teenagers were dressed and at the hilariously sexist attitudes." Those teens would probably laugh at you for the same reasons, girls. Sophie says "Those girls were so dumb! They only cared about pleasing boys!" Five bucks says that these four ladies are pretty much the same way. Finally, they go to their rooms for bed. Claudia is standing at her bedroom window, staring out at the guest house. She sees a light flicker on and someone's shadow. She thinks it's the Ghost Boy! I thought we already established that the Ghost Boy was all made up. As she's standing there, someone with hands "as cold as death" grabs Claud's shoulder. She screams, but oh look--it's just Marla! Claudia tells her that there is definitely someone in the guest house, but Marla refuses to believe it, saying "Probably a reflection. Those spotlights are so bright. Daddy had them installed to discourage prowlers. But they throw so much light. You must have seen a reflection in the guest house window. That's all." Whatever helps you sleep at night, friend. Claudia doesn't really buy it, but she's tired and decides to forget about it and go to bed.

The next day, we get outfits! Claudia is wearing "a yellow T-shirt, black spandex shorts, and white sneakers" Claudia Kishi weeps--no accessories?! And Marla is also looking plain in a pink T-shirt and white shorts. Unfortunately, Joy and Sophie have yet to wake up so no go on the outfits, yo. Anyway, Claudia and Marla head outside to play some tennis after eating some fruit salad that sounds pretty appetizing. Claudia wins every game and Marla goes berserk, throwing down her racket and yelling "My muscles are tired or something!" 'Or something' = you suck. Marla also says "I'm out of practice. I haven't had time to play this year." Claudia uses this opportunity to poke at old wounds: "Maybe you're upset at seeing us again. You know, you haven't seen us since the accident. Since your sister died." Marla doesn't want to talk about it, but Claudia can't take a hint and just keeps going. Marla finally screams at Claudia that she REALLY DOESN'T WANNA TALK ABOUT! and storms off towards the house.

When Claudia finally makes her way to the house, Marla has cooled off and is sitting on the terrace with Sophie and Joy. Marla tells the girls that Alfred has packed a picnic lunch for them and they can all go down to the beach to eat. They gather their things and start walking to the gate. When they reach it, Marla tells Sophie (who is leading the pack) that the gate isn't locked. Sophie goes to open it and gets a shock! Who electrified the freaking gate? Marla helps a mostly unharmed Sophie to her feet and Claudia picks up Sophie's glasses which flew off when she fell. Marla says that the electrical system is supposed to be turned off during the day and yells for Alfred. Poor Alf...he can't catch a break. First a worm, then a shock. Fortunately for him, he isn't within earshot. Marla keeps pacing back and forth, muttering in anger...or something. Sophie assures her that she's fine so everybody picks up their things and gets going again.

At the beach, Claudia and Sophie sit under an umbrella while Joy flaunts her stuff in a tiny bikini and Marla fumes. STILL? Oh well. As Claudia is slathering on sunscreen, she notices two guys wearing wetsuits (no Speedos?) and carrying surfboards walking out of the water towards them. For a brief moment, Claudia thinks one of the guys is Daniel (a.k.a. Ghost Boy). But no, it's just another tall, dark, and handsome dude. They're a dime a dozen! His friend has blonde hair...did someone say clichè? Marla is being incredibly rude to the guys for no apparent reason whatsoever. The guys finally introduce themselves after some mindless chit-chat. The dark haired one is named Carl and blondie is Dean. Dean pretty much invites himself to the girls' picnic, opening the cooler and pawing through it like a bear. Marla is standing nearby, getting more ticked off by the second. I'm on Marla's side here--I hate when people welcome themselves to things that aren't their's without even asking. Joy tells Marla that there is plenty to go around and the guys should be allowed to join them. Joy, you just wanna show off your ASSets! Everyone eats except Marla. She stands off to the side, sulking and pouting. No-one is digging the attitude, understands it either! But hunger finally gets the best of Marla and she marches over to ask if they even left her a sandwich. Dean tells her she can have one if she asks nicely. Marla just says "I'm going to ask you nicely one more time to LEAVE!" Dean tells her that he and Carl are nice guys and after the picnic, they wanna go back to her house and party. Kind of forward, no? He doesn't even know these chicks! Marla politely informs him that she has an attack dog that will tear him a new one if he even thinks about setting foot on her parent's property. Dean gets pissed because Marla won't invite them up and smacks her. Holy crap. He claims he saw a bug on her arm and that's why he hit her, but I somehow doubt it. The guys leave a few minutes later. Claudia wants to know why Marla was so bitchy and Marla says she promised her parents that she wouldn't have guys over and she doesn't need any trouble. Ok then. They pack up and go home.

Later that day, Claudia, Joy, and Sophie are hanging out in Claudia's room talking smack about Marla. Joy tells Claudia that Marla wouldn't allow them to go back for Claudia when she was buried in the sand. "Marla said she was sure you had left the beach. She insisted we go up to the house with her." Claudia just says "Weird" rather than "PSYCHO" and touches her face which is still crispy-crunchy.

That evening, the girls are gathered in the huge dining room for dinner. Joy is telling "hilarious stories about her attempts to break up with a thick-headed boyfriend who refused to get what she was saying to him. The girls were roaring with laughter." It doesn't sound too funny...kind of pathetic, actually. Then Marla pipes up with a story of her own "about her father showing up in the wrong country for a business meeting and being totally confused as to why everyone was speaking Italian!" Marla, your dad might be a moron. After the laughter has died down and Alfred has cleared their dirty dishes, Marla mentions that they could hang out at the boardwalk. Everyone gets pretty excited about it, especially Sophie: "We've got to do bumper cars--and the house of mirrors. I love seeing myself skinny!" Aw. They all hop in Marla's Mercedes and arrive at the boardwalk 20 minutes later. They go the House of Laffs first in search of the mirror that will make Sophie look skinny. Next, they ride the Sizzler and after waiting in line for 20 minutes, they finally get to the bumper cars where Sophie suddenly turns into a "demon driver, intent on ramming everything in sight!" They go get some cotton candy next and unfortunately for Marla, they run into Carl and Dean. What are the odds? Marla immediately pounces, saying "What are you two doing here?" Does she own the boardwalk, too? Claudia wanders off on her own as the others jump in line for more bumper car action. She eats the rest of her cotton candy and stops to throw away the paper cone. As she does, she notices someone standing nearby watching her. Guess who? "The Ghost Boy!" Damn it, Claudia, he is NOT a ghost! He comes over and says "What did you call me?" Ha. Claudia makes some lame excuse about him disappearing like a ghost the day he helped her out of the sand. They walk along together and decide to ride the Ferris wheel. Ooo. I've always thought of the Ferris wheel as the make-out point of amusement parks. They talk on the ride, but Claudia doesn't really learn anything about this guy because he keeps his answers vague and stupid. Example: When Claudia asks where he lives, he says "I live everywhere. I float through the night sky. I haunt people." Geez, man, just answer the question and leave the ghost references out of it. Even though he's kind of dopey, Claudia suddenly realizes she really wants to kiss him. He never makes a move, though, and she's an old-fashioned kind of girl who believes the guy should ALWAYS make the first move. He starts rambling about the ocean and the full moon and tells Claudia that he's going to touch it. He actually stands up and pretends to grab for the moon. Dumbass. Claudia imagines him falling out to his death. Morbid much? She snaps back to reality and realizes that she was thinking of Alison, Marla's dead sister, and the tragic accident that resulted in her death.

We finally get the story about Alison through Claudia's flashbacks: it's the previous July at Camp Full Moon and Claudia, Marla, Joy, and Sophie are sitting around their bunk playing Truth or Dare. Alison "bops in" interrupting their game. Alison is a year younger than Marla, but the way she's described, I picture her as being like 7 or 8 years old. Even though Alison looked a lot like Marla, she wasn't as sophisticated or athletic as her sister and no-one really liked her. Which is why everyone treats her like crap as soon as she enters the bunk. Marla calls her "fish face" and Joy tells her they aren't doing anything that she would be interested in. We get inside Claudia's mind for a moment and learn her thoughts on Alison: "...had to admit she was a world-class brat. She never hung out with kids in her own bunk. She acted desperate to be accepted by Marla's friends and become part of Marla's group." See what I mean when I say they act as if she's 7 years old? Claudia even tells Alison that she's too young to play Truth or Dare. I don't consider 14 or 15 years old to be too young for that game. Marla starts harrassing Alison, but Alison insists that she wants to play. So finally they let her. She chooses the dare. Marla tells her that "tonight you cross Grizzly Gorge under the full moon." She only says this because she knows Alison is terrified of heights. But Alison, dying to impress, says she'll do it. The other girls manage to find some shred of humanity in their black hearts and try to persuade Alison to not do it, but she's determined. That night, the girls gather down by the gorge. Alison is standing at the tip looking at the log that has been laid across it. She makes it about two-thirds of the way across before her knees start to buckle. She begs the others for help, but they're too busy freaking out: some counselors are coming! They tell Alison to come back. As she's making her way back, the other girls start running towards the woods, away from the counselors. They assume that Alison is close behind, but "they didn't see Alison fall. They didn't hear the hard crack as Alison dropped into the boulder-strewn river, the splash as she was tossed into the rushing water."

Claudia is shaken out of her thoughts when Daniel asks her if she's ok. She blinks and realizes that she's in a Ferris wheel, not at camp. They get off the ride and they get seperated as Claudia goes to search for the other girls. They find her first. Joy comes running up holding a "hideous pink teddy bear" that Carl won for her. Marla says the bear looks just like him. Lighten up already!

When they get home, they all go straight to bed. As Claudia is lying in her room fully awake, she hears screams coming from Joy's room. Claudia gets to Joy's room first with Sophie and Marla following close behind. There are three giant leeches on Joy's arm. Gross. Joy is completely freaking out because, as evidenced by the worm situation, Joy hates all things creepy , crawly, and slimy. Joy tells everyone that someone must have the put them in her bed because they sure as hell weren't there when she got in it. Marla, of course, says she's telling Alfred about this. Cut him a break. After all the years of putting up with your shit, Marla, the man is probably contemplating suicide by now. After Marla leaves the room, Joy tells Sophie and Claud that she is sure Marla invited them to her mansion simply to torture them because of Alison? It kind of makes sense--Marla has thus far escaped any sort of "torture" which can only mean that she's the one doing it. Maybe. Marla comes in a few minutes later and says that Alfred is "just as baffled as we are." Duh. Did she honestly think he would know anything about it? Oh well! They all go back to their respective rooms. Claudia stays in her's for a nanosecond before deciding she's extremely thirsty. She goes down to the kitchen for some water and sees a "figure half-hidden by the pantry." Claudia automatically thinks it's Daniel. WHY? Well, at least she didn't say "GHOST BOY!" Thank heavens for the small things. But wait--she steps closer and sees that there is nothing there after all. My head is in my hands. Alfred comes in for a sip of water a few seconds later. Claudia asks if someone is living in the guest house or something and he tells her no. Claudia tells about the boy she thought she just saw and Al tells her that there is no way someone could get in what with the electrified fence and the gigantic guard dog. Claudia says "Oh." and goes back to bed. Is anything even remotely scary going to happen anytime soon??? Seriously, we're more than halfway through the book and we've gotten nothing but a sunburn and some leeches. Throw us a freakin bone here, Stine!

The next day, Claudia tells Marla about "seeing" someone standing in the kitchen the night before. Marla orders Alfred to call the cops so they can search every inch of the grounds. And then the girls go waterskiing! Well, kids, I wanted some action and I'm about to get it. Things get seriously screwed up from this moment on. Sophie is the first one to take a turn on the water ski. Everything is cool until Claudia glances behind the boat and notices that Sophie is nowhere to be seen. Finally, Claud spots her thrashing around in the water. Claud screams for Marla to turn the boat around. The boat slows and then stops completely. Marla claims the boat is stuck. HOW? Sophie is drowning and the other girls are sitting on their asses doing nothing. FINALLY Claudia jumps into the water and swims towards Sophie, but the current keeps pulling her in the other direction. After fearing that she will drown also, Claudia gets control and eventually makes her way to Sophie. And surprise! Look who pulls up in their boat just in time--Carl and Dean. Do these guys stalk these girls or something? They're always conveniently nearby. The guys take the girls to the Drexell's dock where they're reunited with Joy and Marla. The boys leave and Marla keeps saying how happy she is that Sophie is ok. Uh, what about Claudia? Claudia looks at the end of the rope hanging off the boat and uses her sharp detective skills to deduce that someone cut that rope. Marla denies that anyone could have done that, but then she changes her tune and suggests that maybe Carl and Dean did it. Ugh, Marla, shut up. They just saved your friends when you couldn't (or wouldn't) so cut them some slack. They all decide to drop the subject for now and go into the house for lunch.

Later, Joy once again brings up her theory that Marla invited them here only to torture them. Claudia and Sophie are still skeptical. Claud asks Joy why Marla would want to do such a thing to them. Joy's reasoning? "Because Marla must know that Alison's death wasn't an accident." Then what the hell was it? Through more of Claudia's flashbacks, we learn the answer. Apparently, when the girls were running away before the counselors saw them, Claudia heard Alison scream for help and then her body hitting the rocks below...and she didn't bother turning back or even telling anyone what she heard. Wow. Claudia tells Sophie and Joy that she'll call her mom to come and pick them up ASAP. Unfortunately, her mother can't be there until the day after tomorrow which leaves plenty of time for Marla to off them all. The girls think they can make it until then, though, if they just lie low. Marla walks in and the others freak out a little, worrying that she heard too much. But she just offers them some chocolate. Random much? I'd like some chocolate, though...

The next afternoon, everyone is doing seperate activities: Joy is in town with Carl (ooo la la), Sophie is taking a nap, Marla is writing more of those letters she's so fond of, and Claudia is off for a walk on the beach. She sees someone running along the beach ahead of her and thinks it's Marla. She calls out to her, but this girl just keeps running until she's out of sight. Claud just thinks it was some chick that looked like Marla. Everything after this moment is horrifying. Seriously. Claudia turns around and sees an "enormous white Irish wolfhound. Its narrow snout was lowered and its matted, wiry fur appeared to be standing up on its back." It stares at her for a few moments and then bares its teeth and starts growling. I would have wet myself by now, but Claud is pretty cool about it, saying "Easy now. Go home. Go home, boy, ok?" As soon as Claudia starts to back away, the dog starts running towards her. Claudia starts running as fast as she can, but the dog is gaining on her. She flips out and dives into the ocean in a last ditch effort to get away from this mutant mutt. The dog gets her anyway, sinking its teeth into her ankle. It eventually lets go, but it doesn't completely back off. It keeps snarling and growling at her. She swims harder thinking the dog will eventually get tired and back down. When she surfaces, she glances around for the dog and sees a SHARK instead. As if this situation couldn't get any worse! She (reasonably) panics and starts thrashing around in the water, but she tries to regain her composure by thinking of the fact that sharks are drawn to violent movement...and the blood pouring out of her ankle, but she really can't help that so she concentrates on the movement instead. She realizes she has swum into the riptide; its carried her away from the shark to her intense relief. She takes a deep breath and starts swimming again until she hears an "anguished squeal of pain." She turns and sees the shark attacking the dog. THE SHARK IS EATING THE DOG. "As Claudia gaped in horror, a geyser of blood boiled up from beneath the water. The foamy crest of a wave turned pink. The metallic smell of blood floated out over the tossing waves. Even from where she swam, Claudia could see the water darken from the wolfhound's blood." My stomach is turning just reading this. It gets slightly worse: "Claudia shut her eyes. But she opened them wide when something coarse bumped against her. Treading water, Claudia goggled at the disgusting object. She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. What is it? She didn't want to look at it, but she couldn't pull her eyes away. She soon realized that it was a hair-covered chunk of meat. Part of the dog." I normally don't have a weak stomach, but I seriously feel pretty damn sick right now. Anyway, Claudia starts screaming, but realizes she can't just float around in the ocean screaming forever. So she starts swimming. She doesn't know where she's at and eventually blacks out.

When Claudia wakes up on the shore, Marla is hovering over her. She tells Claud that she saw the water carry her up onto the sand and she ran as fast as she could. Claudia stands up. Her ankle is killing her, but she's too upset to clearly explain to Marla how she injured it. Claudia suddenly realizes that Marla WAS the girl she saw running on the beach and that the wolfhound was Marla's dog. Did Marla actually set her dog on Claudia? It seems so. Claudia is even more sure of it when they near the house and she sees the fenced area where the dog was normally kept--the padlock to the gate is thrown to one side. Someone obviously let the dog out. Marla says she's going inside to find some antiseptic and bandages for Claud's ankle. Claudia uses this opportunity to hobble inside and search for Sophie and Joy. I don't blame her for wanting to get as far away from this place as she can. Claudia finds Sophie and tells her they have to get away quick. Sophie tells Claud that Joy hasn't come back from town. Marla comes into the room and fixes Claudia's wound. Marla goes to set up dinner and Joy bursts in a few minutes later. Claudia explains what happened to her and that they have to get out of here!!! The girls pack up and devise a shoddy plan to run into town and get the police. It's pouring rain and the girls can barely see through the downpour. They notice that something really stinks and that the smell is coming from the shed. Of course they have to investigate before they leave. Claudia pulls open the shed door...and Marla's lifeless body tumbles out. The body is a) smelly and b) turning purple. One would conclude that this person has been dead for quite a while. Another problem I have with this situation? The girls say they just saw Marla a few hours ago. It seems like it was literally 5 minutes ago. The girls stand around, trying to figure out what to do next. Alfred the Great isn't around and when they go inside to try the phone, it goes dead. How eerily convenient. They decide that they'll stick with the original plan of running to town for the cops. But the gate is electrified! They're trapped behind the gate with a killer! Claudia realizes there's a switch "in the back" that deactivates the gate. But before the gals can get to it, someone steps out of the shadows. I would welcome Ghost Boy right about now. But it's...Marla? Marla holding a pistol? This "Marla" tells the girls that the REAL Marla has been dead for a week. "Couldn't you tell by the smell?" "Marla" says she's actually Alison back from the dead. I hate these endings...they get so incredibly convoluted. Alison explains what actually happened after she fell off that log at Grizzly Gorge: "No-one in my family cared if I lived or died. So when a family pulled me out of the river, all broken and beat up and half drowned, and they were so nice and caring, I decided to stay with them. I pretended to have I wouldn't have to go back to my disgusting family! I decided this was my chance to start a new life. To be with a happy family. So I pretended I didn't know who I was, and and I stayed with them." Ok, time-out for a sec. How did these idiots not know it was Alison? How did they not recognize her? Seriously! I doubt their memories of Marla completely vanished within the span of a year. This is blowing my mind.

Alison asks the girls which one of them wants to die first. There are no takers so Alison points the gun at Claudia. Just as Alison is about to pull the trigger, someone bursts out of the guest house. It's Ghost Boy! I mean, Daniel! He dives at Alison and the lights immediately go out. So many coincidences! Alison starts running towards the gate, but Joy reminds her that it's electrified. Alison isn't worried ("The power is off, idiot!") and keeps running. Another coincidental occurance: just as Alison grabs the gate, a generator hums on and Alison is electrocuted. Daniel comes over and asks if she's dead. Must you ask? He really is a dummy. He better be glad he has his looks going for him... He tells the girls that he is Alfred's son and he's been secretly staying in the guest house because he's on break from college and wants to visit his dad. He didn't think the Drexell's would think too kindly of him staying there so he and his father never said anything. Ok? The book ends with Daniel and Claudia kissing and walking into the house. Hello? Two deads girls on the premises and all you people can think about is making out? Help me, God.

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...