Monday, June 30, 2008

The BORING Next Door

Book Description:

Lauren (TYPO: that's supposed to be 'Lynne') and Crystal think Scott has it all. He's handsome. He's the new star of Shadyside High's football team. And he's moved in right next door! Both girls will do anything. Say anything. Try anything to get the chance to go out with him. That's all either of them want. But that's all Scott's last girlfriend wanted, too--and now she's dead.

My Description:


Scott Collins is attending his girlfriend's funeral, fighting tears (of joy?) all the way. As he's listening to the reverend talk, he has a flashback to the night of her death. *CUE HAZY FLASHBACK* The night was hot and humid, perfect for getting nekkid and diving into the neighbor's pool. Dana (the girlfriend) and Scott forego the nudity for swimsuits which is just ridiculous. Dana climbs up the ladder and dives into the EMPTY pool. Yes, folks, the pool is devoid of water and poor Dana gets her brains bashed out on the cement bottom. Scott, horrified, climbs the ladder and steps down into the pool to watch helplessly as Dana takes her last breaths. *END HAZY FLASHBACK* As Scott watches Dana's coffin being lowered into the grave, he thinks "Oh Dana! Why did you make me do it? Why did you make me kill you?" But of course he did no such thing and immediately scolds himself for even thinking it. But wait! "No-one suspects me. Everyone feels sorry for me. It had to be done. I had no choice. Everyone would agree with me." So did the little psycho do it or not?! Did he push her, Stine? Huh? Did he?! Indeed he did.

Dana was a sweet girl at the beginning of their relationship, but as time wore on, she became wild and started dressing all slutty and shit and Scott couldn't have that so he murdered her. It wasn't like she actually did anything! So her skirts got a little shorter. Big deal. If you didn't like it, Scotty, you should have ended the relationship instead of ending the girl. But we learn that Scott will never make the mistake of dating a girl like Dana again. "I don't want to watch another girlfriend die in front of my eyes." Something tells me that's a big fat lie (because if it was the truth, we wouldn't have a book.)

One Year Later

Crystal Thomas and her friend, Lynne Palmer, are chatting away on the phone. They've been talking for over an hour about make-up. If you love it so much, why don't you marry it? The previous day, the girls bought three lipsticks each and now they're trying them on and giving feedback over the phone. Damn this is boring. "Hot huh? I told you it's a great shade." And I told you that I'd rather rip out my spinal cord and jump rope with it in the middle of a busy freeway than talk about lipstick for one more second! Anyway, the next day is the girls' first day of their junior year, but they're acting like they're gonna be seniors. Junior year kinda sucks because you're so close yet so far away from the end. Lynne isn't quite as excited as Crystal and Crystal can tell because they're BFF and can read one another so well. Lynne's problem? "I feel like I'm never going to meet a guy who really interests me. Someone I want to be with." *eye roll* You're better off alone than with some hormone addled teenage boy. The night before, Lynne had gone out with a guy named Kyle, but there was no chemistry. Plus, he was a terrible kisser: "His lips are too wet. He practically drools on you." Gross. And she had another admirer named Jake, but he's also no good because he calls ten thousand times a day. Give me a break. At least you know he's into you! I think Lynne just likes to complain. Finally the conversation changes to the neighbors who are moving in next door to Lynne right this second. She spots Scott and tells Lynne how gorgeous he is: "Tall. Kind of athletic looking. Short brown hair. He sort of reminds me of Keanu Reeves." 'Matrix' Keanu or 'Bill and Ted' Keanu? Neither? Ok then. Crystal can't believe her good luck: his room is right across from her's! She watches him take his shirt off and admires his washboard abs, promptly freaking out when she thinks he sees her watching. And he very well may be because he closes his shades a few seconds later. Are you bored? Because I...zzzzzzzzz. We gets Scott's point of view now. He saw Crystal and was disgusted by her low-cut shirt and make-up. He vows to keep his distance so as to avoid any more "accidents". Hurry up and kill someone, Scott, I need some action!

Later, Lynne comes over to Crystal's to scope out the hottie and eat ice cream (specifically Haagen-Daz Triple Brownie Overload) . As they're gabbing about Scott, Crystal's mom comes into the kitchen. Crystal's father passed away a few years before and Crystal worries about Mrs. Thomas and the lonliness factor. Touching. Crystal doesn't understand why her mother hasn't dated anyone because she's really pretty and could get any guy she wants. This pisses me off. Maybe the woman isn't over her husband! Maybe she enjoys being single, God forbid! Just because you've got your eyes on every good looking guy (and maybe some girls, too) in Shadyside doesn't mean your mother is the same way! Dammit, Crystal! Ok, I'm cool now. Mom makes some tea and retreats to the den. Then Crystal's frumpy sister Melinda comes in. As Melinda is fetching a glass of water, Lynne tells Crystal that she recently ran into Todd Winters. Apparently Melinda really liked Todd last year, but he was into Crystal who went out with him a few times. That sucks. Blood before manwhores! Melinda and Crystal exchange a few words and Lynne tries to diffuse the situation by asking Melinda what she thinks of the sexy new neighbor. Melinda, living up to her awkward girl status, blushes and admits that Scott is pretty awesome looking. As Mel stands there, Crystal thinks to herself "What a sad case. Melinda blames me for stealing Todd (because you did!) but she is so shy around guys, she can't even talk to them without getting embarrassed. And her clothes. How can she expect to attract a guy's attention in those awful brown sweaters and sloppy, wrinkled jeans? It's as if she's terrified of looking good." I am literally gritting my teeth in anger at this very moment. I'd like to bitch slap Crystal until she begs for mercy and cries uncle. Damn her straight to hell! Before Melinda can escape the evil clutches of that demoness she calls a sister, Crystal pipes up and says they should make some rules regarding Scott. You've got to be joking. The first rule = if any of them get with Scott, the other two will be happy for that person. The second rule = no dirty tricks; no-one can sabotage someone else's chances. Thank goodness that's all of the rules. Melinda goes to her room to read and Lynne announces she's off to the john. Crystal is left alone and feels as if someone is watching her. She turns and sees Scott in his backyard holding a gardening hoe and glaring at her. He slams the hoe to the ground and storms into his house. Uh, ok. Why couldn't he have been burying someone back there or something? If something good doesn't happen soon, I'm going to skin someone alive and boil them in oil for the absolute hell of it. And by 'someone' I do mean Stine.

At school the next day, Lynne announces she's tired of waiting for Scott to notice her and seeks him out in the cafeteria. Why does she think she's so special? There are tons of other girls in the school. Lynne finds him, wedges herself between he and Jake, and makes silly small talk. Scott totally disses her by practically ignoring everything she says. She eventually introduces Crystal and Scott who actually smiles and acts friendly. Lynne invites Scott over to her house for an unsupervised pool party on Sunday. Scott declines and Crystal gets all giddy because Scott obviously doesn't like Lynne therefore her chances of getting him are better. Yee haw.

It's now Saturday afternoon and Crystal is bored so she decides to go to Melinda's room presumably to harrass the poor girl. Melinda is reading 'Jane Eyre' ("It's so romantic") but Crystal interrupts. I think we all know where this conversation is heading. Melissa has an English class with the almighty Scott and says she has spoken to him a few times. From those few words, she has determined that he's sad and trying to get over something in his past. How do you get that from "Can I borrow a pencil?" ? Is she psychic or something? Crystal dismisses this completely and goes on to tell Mel about the little contest she and Lynne are running to see which of them he'll ask out first. So fucking stupid! Why doesn't one of the girls grow a pair and ask him? This isn't the dark ages...girls are allowed to ask guys out! Crystal goes on to complain about how Lynne will surely win the "contest" because she's soooooo popular and how she's (Crystal) only gotten one phone call from a guy this week. Melinda just sits there thinking about how she would love to get even one phone call from a guy. Do you see how you're making your sister feel, Crystal? No, I suppose not because you're too busy kissing your own ass. Lynne calls then and Crystal finally goes back to her own room to talk. Lynne OF COURSE complains about the fact that Scott hasn't called her even though she put a Valentine's Day card in his locker. Yeah. A Valentine in September. Crystal tells Lynne that Scott and Jake have become pretty good friends and this makes Lynne squee with excitement for reasons unknown. They hang up a few minutes later (mercifully) and Crystal goes downstairs to get the mail. Lo and behold, a magazine addressed to Michael Collins accidentally got sent to Crystal's house. She assumes it's for Scott's dad and feels incredibly excited because she can use this as an excuse to go to Scott's house. Pathetic. Crystal decides to take the magazine over and ask Scott out. She compares her daydreaming and waiting on Scott to "an ancient Nick-at-Nite sitcom." None of those shows could have sucked as bad as this girl does.

And now we're subjected to Scott's POV. He's thinking about a recent daydream of his in which he kills a big, white, shaggy dog. It wasn't a dream at all. The dog belongs to a woman that lives on the next block. "The one who parades around in her front yard in those tight short shorts. The one with the cheap peroxide blond hair and the nose ring. The one who embarrasses me every time I walk by on my way to practice." She embarrasses him by making kissing noises at him so he cut her dog's throat with some hedge clippers. Another dead animal. This blog has become a pet cemetery. By lunchtime, Scott had the dog buried and washed his hands clean of the entire ordeal. Creep.

So back to Crystal--she picks up the magazine and walks over to Scott's house. She knocks a few times, but no-one comes to the door so she politely lets herself in. She hears noise coming from upstairs so she goes toward it. Someone jumps out at's just Jake. Crystal goes into Scott's room and gives him the magazine. She admires all his athletic trophies and they make painfully awkward conversation. She flops down on Scott's bed like she owns the place while Scott goes to answer the door. Damn it, damn it all to's Lynne. She and Scott enter his bedroom and Crystal is in awe at Lynne's ensemble: "She wore hot pink and black skating gear with black tights. The shiny material clung to her skin, showing off her long legs." Barf. Lynne is shocked to see Crystal, but says "We're all here! It's a party!" Right. A "party" that none of you were invited to. Scott grows more and more uncomfortable until he finally tells them all to leave because he's got a ton of homework to do. Oh, and he promised his dad he'd trim the hedges. You've trimmed enough today, Scott. Everyone except Crystal leaves. She wants to kiss Scott, but she gets the feeling he doesn't want her to. DUH. On her way out, Scott grabs her arm and tells her he would never spy on her through the window. Good to know, weirdo.

After Crystal leaves, Scott is disgusted with himself because he touched her. Cooties! He thinks he would have done something very bad if she had tried to kiss him. Perhaps he would have choked her or snapped her neck like a chicken bone. The world may never know. He picks up his dad's magazine (no, it isn't 'Hustler'. It's called 'American Family'.) which happens to be in plastic wrapping. Scott is all sweaty and such and can't get a grip on the plastic to tear it open so he grabs a pair of scissors. Psychos cannot be trusted with sharp objects and Scott proves this when he shoves the scissors into the back of his hand. *sigh*

Three days later, Crystal is walking home from school with Scott in her thoughts. She doesn't understand why he hasn't called her. What a moron. He's made it more than obvious that he isn't she really that arrogant to think that he will only be after her and no-one else? Anyway, when she nears Scott's house, she spots Lynne sitting on his porch with some Cokes and a bag of potato chips. Scott and Jake are just arriving as well. Crystal walks up to them and sees Scott's bandaged hand. He tells her that he burnt it while taking a pizza out of the oven. Good one. They all go inside and watch TV. Crystal tries fruitlessly to engage Scott in conversation, but he's too entranced by the football game on TV. She asks why he doesn't have a girlfriend and he says he isn't ready. She persists and he gets more and more upset. If she knew what was good for her, she'd shut up. Lynne asks Scott if he wants to go to the lake and hints that Crystal and Jake could stay behind. Who knows what Lynne wants to do at the lake...she can barely keep her panties on in Scott's presence. Scott finally tells them that he needs to study for a test. The gang leaves, but Lynne runs back inside because she forgot her backpack. A likely story. Jake and Crystal wait for her on the sidewalk and after five minutes, they question this "backpack's" existance. Lynne finally comes back out with a huge grin on her face (no mention of a backpack). They all go to Crystal's house. Jake leaves after about an hour or so of listening to these fools jabber and Lynne tells Crystal that she kissed Scott. Crystal is hurt, but Lynne doesn't notice (or care), saying "Crystal, he and I are really going to have fun now." That's just low. I know they had those stupid rules and everything, but it's still really shitty to rub salt in the wound, Lynne!

Lynne may be happy about the whole thing, but Scott sure isn't. In fact, as soon as Lynne left, he ran to the bathroom and scrubbed his lips with scalding hot water. "It's like a fungus. Something slimy growing on me." Ha. While in the bathroom, he spots a razor blade and imagines using it on Lynne: "...slashing it across Lynne's throat. Slashing it through muscles and tendons. Watching her blood spray out. Hearing her pitiful whimpers." Operator, get me Happy Acres Loon Asylum quick! He vows to get his revenge on Lynne...

That night, he drives to Lynne's house. He spots her in the kitchen drinking milk out of the carton. He creeps to the back door and finds it unlocked and easy for him to slip on through. Lynne turns and sees him, but she doesn't freak out or anything. He tells her they need to talk and suggests they take a drive even though Lynne just wants to make out. They go to a deserted cliffside...the place has murder written all over it. Scott gets out of the car, but Lynne doesn't wanna and drags him back inside. He realizes that she's going to try to kiss him again and he grabs a handful of her hair, ready to slam her head into the dashboard. Fortunately for her, a man comes by and knocks on the window. He's lost and needs directions. It's the cliffside strangler! AHHHH! I wish. Lynne gives him directions and after the man walks away, Scott decides that he really shouldn't bash Lynne's brains out up here because that man might remember seeing them. Ok?

A week later, Lynne and Crystal are hanging out at Lynne's house. She's doing nothing but obsessing over the fact that Scott hasn't called. He's busy planning your murder, you dumb bimbo. That was mean of me...but I can't afford to care at this point. She's literally been losing sleep. What is it about this guy? Is it because he's so aloof? Does his aloofness make her want him more? Because he seems pretty flat and boring. Crystal is getting tired of Lynne being so mopey so she takes it upon herself to call Scott's house. And since she's a moron, she fakes a "French" accent: "Hallo? Ees zees Mrs. Collins? Oh, hallo. Zees is Francine callink. From Paree. Is your son Scott in zee house by any chance?" That's it...I don't think I can handle this book much longer. They're just so fucking stupid!!! Just call him and ask what the deal is, straight up! Stop playing stupid games! For the sake of my crumbling sanity, act like an adult!! I wish Scott would take his handy-dandy hedge clippers and decapitate them both. It's pretty sad when you like the psycho better than the would-be victims. I now sympathize with you, Scott. Anyway, Crystal starts giggling and has to hang up. So Lynne calls and does the same damn thing. Monkey see, monkey do. But this time, Scott answers and recognizes her voice so she has to come clean. She tells him it's just a joke. Then she tells him that her parents will be gone tonight so he should come over. He has a lame excuse of course (he has to "clean his room") which sends Lynne right back into her bad mood.

Later, Crystal is sitting in her room trying to get hold of Lynne who isn't home even though it's fairly late. Crystal wanders into Melinda's room and finds it empty. She notices a light coming from the attic and finds Melissa sitting up there, reading as usual. They chat for a moment and Crystal goes back to her room to call Lynne AGAIN. No answer. She decides to drive to Lynne's house. Why does she need to see her so badly? Is she just worried that Lynne is out with Scott? *JEALOUSY* She knocks but no-one answers so she lets herself in as she tends to do often. She goes into Lynne's room and finds a note on the desk that says "Dear Mom and Dad: I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I know what I'm about to do will hurt you very much. All I can say is that you didn't really know me. Everyone always thought I was so wild, so happy. But inside I always felt so miserable. I only acted wild to cover up my true feelings. I've done so many things I regret. I realize now this was no way to behave." Crystal throws the letter down and runs outside. She hears a motor running inside the garage. She pulls open the garage door and sees Lynne's lifeless body slumped in a car. One down...

At Lynne's funeral, Scott feels no remorse whatsoever for what he did to Lynne. He stands there thinking "Why did another disgusting girl throw herself at me? Why did another girl have to make me kill her?" I love how be blames the victims for his diseased mind and murdering ways. Scott ruminates on what he did to Lynne: "I held a knife to Lynne's throat until she wrote the suicide note. When she finished the note, I held a pillow against her face until she lost consciousness. I stuck her in the car and turned on the engine. I locked the garage from the inside. Another perfect job!" Smug bastard, isn't he?

Three weeks later, Crystal is moping around her room while Melinda tries to convince her to go somewhere with her. The girls have a heart-to-heart and Mom steps in to tell them she has a date. Go get 'em, Ma. It's a guy from her office named Paul Sloane. Hmm...maybe not such a good idea to date within the workplace. Mom leaves the room a few minutes later and Crystal's phone rings. It's Jake, the poor schmuck who was in love with Lynne. He tells her that he's having a get-together later and wants her to come. At first she doesn't feel like it, but all Jake has to do is utter the magic words ("Scott's going to be here") and she changes her tune saying she might come. They hang up and a few minutes later, the phone rings again. It's Scott. He tells her that he's been thinking a lot about her and how he wouldn't want what happened to Lynne to happen to her. Sooooooo creepy. Crystal takes that to mean that he's worried about her. Sooooooo deluded. She waves Melinda out of the room so she can chat in private with her sadistic lover boy. Then Scott drops a bomb: "The reason I called is...I wanted to talk to Melinda." Awwww hell yeah! Crystal is shocked and mildly horrified, but she calls for Melinda like a good girl. When Melinda picks up the phone, she's just as shocked as Crystal. Scott tells Melinda that he'll be at Jake's later if she wants to hang out. Melinda hangs up a few minutes later after agreeing to it. She asks Crystal what she should wear so Crystal picks out a short skirt for her. "You look great!"

Now we get more of Scott. Yeah, I know you're excited. Contain yourself! He enters Jake's den (that sounds vaguely dirty) and finds a bunch of football players watching MTV. "All these girls in bikinis dancing to rock music on a beach. Disgusting." I admire your moral stance, Scott. He grabs the remote and changes the channel to a football game which pisses everyone off, but he really doesn't care. He goes into the kitchen and two guys spray him with whipped cream. He gives them a stare until they back off. Someone tells him that Melinda has arrived and boy-oh-boy does she look hot! Scott, alarmed, runs outside and sees Melinda. "I stared at the dress Melinda wore. So evil. So bad." She greets him and he imagines punching her in the face. Nice. Instead, he punches through the door screen, making a joke of it when she asks him if he's ok. Har har har. He leads Melinda inside, thinking about how nice and sweet she is...

Later, when Melinda arrives home, Crystal grills her for details. Melinda tells her that they talked a lot and Scott ended up telling Mel about the death of his last girlfriend (he even cries a little for maximum effect). Crystal is jealous because SHE wanted to be the one he opened his heart to. SHE wanted to mop up his tears! WAHHHH! But some good came out of the night: Scott asked Melinda to the movies for next Saturday. Whee!

Flash forward to Saturday: Crystal is attempting to tart Melinda up, but Mel just won't hold still. Crystal manages to dab some blush and lipstick on her before she runs downstairs to greet the amazing Scott. Of course Scott is sickened by the make-up. "It's so cheap" he thinks. The guy is literally having a meltdown inside. And all because she's wearing a tiny bit of blush and lipstick. On the way to the movie, Scott drives like a maniac. He realizes that he didn't shut Melinda's door good enough and it's rattling like crazy. So he presses the button to unlock all the doors in the hopes that Mel's door will fly open and she'll fall out. Because of some blush!! The door doesn't pop open by itself so Scott takes matters into his own hands. He unbuckles his seat belt and reaches across Melinda to open her door and shoves her. She screams and he grabs her arm and pulls her back inside. He also shuts the door and tells her "Your door was rattling. Had to close it. Sorry if I scared you." Ass! Sorry is right! And Melinda apologizes for screaming even though she had every right to scream. As Scott drives, he thinks "One good shove and she would have been road kill. I'm too softhearted I guess. She deserves a second chance." I have absolutely nothing to say...this guy is too unbelievable for words.

At home, Crystal wanders aimlessly around the house. She can't believe that she's home while Melinda and her hot mom are out on dates. "What's wrong with this picture?" Nothing. In fact, I think it's perfect. Crystal settles down to read some magazines. An hour later, Melinda returns from her date/near death experience. Crystal asks her how it went and Melinda bursts into tears and says "He hates me!" She explains that Scott just sat there the whole time without speaking "as if he couldn't wait to get rid of me." Crystal the idiotic meddler tells Melinda that she's sending the wrong signals. She insinuates that Melinda needs to change her look. NO, the look she had is what Scott wants! He wants someone plain and unassuming. Not a dolled up harlot which is what Crystal believes all guys want (Note: I do not think that women who wear make-up are trashy whores or anything of the sort.)

At school on Monday, someone mistakes Melinda for Crystal because of Mel's new look. Crystal comes and remarks upon how fun it is to fool people. Scott spots them then and starts pounding his fist into his locker and muttering "No way to behave!" He turns and sees Crystal standing behind him. He tells her he forgot his anti-psychotic meds...oops...I mean, his locker combination. Right.

Later in the week, Melinda is preparing to go out with Scott again and Crystal is going to Red Heat, the shittiest club in Shadyside, with her friend Meg. Crystal only stays at the club for a little while because she can't stop thinking morbid thoughts, specifically about Lynne. Crystal arrives home and finds the house empty. She tries watching TV, but she can't concentrate. All she can think of is the weird way in which Scott behaves. Can we please talk about something BESIDES Scott? Anything at all! Rainbows, puppies, the weather, the Brady Bunch...anything! Crystal goes upstairs to take a shower and wonder what Scott's doing. As it turns out, Scott is driving along in the rain with Melinda. He's thinking about how much he hates her and wants her dead. Oh goody, I sense a murder coming! We get more of the same old thing: he's disgusted, he's fighting his anger, he envisions her death. He pulls over and tells her he can't see through the rain. She confesses that Crystal is the one who dressed her up like this and in a rare bout of direct communication, Scott tells her that he liked her the way she was. He also promptly decides that Melinda will be allowed to live; it's Crystal he'll have to kill.

When Melinda arrives home, she tells Crystal that the date wasn't so good all thanks to Crystal's stupid wardrobe suggestions. And then she says that Scott told her some things about Crystal: "He told me everything, Crystal. How you always liked him. How you kept flirting with him. Coming on to him. How you got so jealous when he decided to go out with me. You wrecked my relationship with Scott on purpose!" Damn. Let her have it, Mel. "Scott hated you and Lynne for the way you dressed and flirted." Crystal is shocked even though a damn monkey could have figured it out. She tells Mel that there is something seriously wrong with Scott. You think? She believes he had something to do with Lynne's death. Why? Because she heard him utter the words "No way to behave" and those exact words were found in Lynne's suicide note. That's hardly evidence. Melinda is pissed because she thinks Crystal is just trying to sabotage her relationship: "You're unbelievable! I finally go out with a guy and you decide he's a psycho killer! How about THAT coincidence? HUH?" Rock. On. Crystal goes to her room and sees Scott through the window. He's just hanging out in his room...playing with a big knife...nothing special. A few minutes later, she sees him running across his backyard toward her house. Here we go, kids...

The door bell rings and Melinda races to answer even though Crystal tells her not to. It is, of course, Scott. He's standing there with his big knife and says "Don't worry, Melinda. I won't hurt you." He will, however, gut your sister like a fish. He lunges for Crystal, but she runs for the stairs. He manages to grab her ankle and she kicks him in the chest as hard as she can. He pins her down, prepared to slice her open, but he hears Melinda calling to him. I thought the rest of this book was ridiculous, but what happens next takes the cake. Melinda tells Scott that she is actually Crystal and he's holding the real Melinda. No. Please. Don't do me like this, Stine. I read your stupid books FAITHFULLY and this is how you repay me? With plot twists that only serve to make one scream with rage and sorrow? *sob* Scott believes her and charges toward her with his knife raised. Just as he prepares to stab the life right out of her, Crystal smashes a vase over his head, knocking him unconscious. They run to the phone and it's dead like we all knew it would be. So they run to the attic to hide. May I ask why? Couldn't they run to a neighbor's house and get help? Scott quickly regains consciousness and climbs up to the attic after them. The girls hide in the darkness, but Scott finds them. He says "Goodbye" as he raises the knife. He steps forward...and falls through a hole in the floor. *pause for laughter* The girls creep over to make sure he's dead, but he pops up and grabs Crystal's ankle, grins, gurgles up some blood, and THEN dies.

A few weeks later, the girls are hanging out in Crystal's room when they notice a new family (and a new hottie) moving in next door. "I saw him first!" NOOOOOO!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bad Moonlight

*That cover is searing my retinas. SO. PAINFUL.*

Book Description:

Danielle Verona can't believe the band picked her to be their new lead singer. She's on the road, performing at all the hot clubs. The adoring fans, the bright lights-it's a dream come true! But when nighttime falls, Danielle can feel the terror in the darkness. There's eerie howling outside her window. And then a band member is killed, ripped to shreds by a wild animal. Danielle knows something is out there, lurking in the moonlight. Something savage...and hungry.

The Band:

Danielle Verona - one lead singer & guitar/main character. She really warrants no introduction here because we learn plenty about her later...probably more than we want to.

Billy Dark - the band's 21 yr. old manager.

Kit Kragen - 19 yr. old roadie; resident hottie.

Dee Waters - the second lead singer. Harbors an unyielding grudge for Danielle because before Danielle came along, Dee was the ONLY lead singer and she doesn't wanna share the spotlight.

Joey - the "sound guy" and all-around irritating human being.

Mary Beth - the drummer; described as "intense and precise".

Caroline - the blonde keyboard player who never stops smiiiiling. I picture Natasha Bedingfield as Caroline.

*I don't know why Stine only gave four of them a last name. I don't think Joey, Caroline, and Mary Beth are famous enough to be one-namers (i.e. Cher, Madonna, Prince)*

My Description:

This particular tale begins with a prologue, as most Super Chillers do. The aforementioned Danielle is at the supermarket with her 10 yr. old brother, Cliff, and her Aunt Margaret. Cliff and Danielle's parents died in a car accident a few years ago and Aunt Margaret moved across the country to take care of them. How selfless/masochistic of her. In case you're dying for physical descriptions, Stine doesn't disappoint. Cliff is a short and chubby with "straw colored hair", quite the opposite of 18 yr. old Danielle who is tall and thin with dark hair and eyes. Auntie Margaret, ever the hottie, is described as small and sturdy (WTF) with a pointy chin, "bleached red hair" (I don't follow), and steely blue eyes. Phew.

As the three make their way through the fruits and vegatables section ("Yuck! Carrots!") Aunt Margaret asks Danielle if she's thought of a name for "the band" yet. Nope. Apparently Danielle is home after two weeks on the road with the band...and they STILL haven't come up with a name? The life of a musician isn't all Danielle thought it would be. "Two weeks on the road. Bumping along in the van. Playing tiny music clubs." At least they get gigs. Some poor bastards never make it out of their parents' garage. Aunt Margaret changes the subject then, asking Danielle what she wants for dinner. "The special chicken you make. You know. With the pineapples. Sort of oriental? And mashed potatoes." As they're discussing Aunt Margaret's culinary skillz, they don't notice that Cliff has wandered off. Danielle goes to find him. What follows is simply strange...

Cliff comes up to Danielle and asks her what she's doing. She's confused, glancing down at the package of raw beef she's holding. The package is open and Danielle is holding a chunk of raw, oozing meat. "Her mouth was full. She swallowed the raw meat she had been chewing. It felt cold and slimy as it slid down her throat." Yummy. Cliff repeats his original question and Danielle is suddenly horrified, saying "I don't know!" as blood drips down her chin. I hope she plans on paying for that meat...

Segue into the next chapter. Joey is driving the van like a frigging maniac, hitting every pothole he sees and laughing gleefully when everyone gets pissed at him. When Danielle tells him he really needs to slow down, he says "I'll slow down if you come up here and sit on my lap!" Ew. Danielle says no so Joey speeds up. *sigh* I think the reason Joey is driving crazily is because he's wearing sunglasses. At night. How can that idiot possibly see anything? And what's the reasoning behind that? They're called sunglasses, not moonlenses. Danielle moves to sit next to Caroline and Mary Beth and Joey starts flirting with all three. I've got more game than this loser and that's seriously pathetic. Thankfully, the intrepid Caroline shuts Joey up with "I only flirt with members of my own species." Hee. As they bump along in the van, Danielle reminisces about the day she auditioned for the band. *cue hazy dream sequence* The audition took place in Caroline's garage (typical). It was a magical garage, full of dusty junk and wannabe rockstars. Danielle was nervous, dying to please the small audience of four with her original songs. And she impresses them because they allow her to join. All is dandy...except for Dee's attitude. She catches up to Danielle and tells her "You don't belong in this band." Buzzkill! *end hazy dream sequence* Dee suddenly says she doesn't know why she stays with a band that doesn't even have a name. Then leave! No-one needs/wants your shitty attitude bogging them down. Joey tells her that she sticks around because she's hot for his bod. I doubt she's that desperate. I picture his bod as being ghostly pale and thin with an ass as flat as pancake.

As Dee and Joey verbally spar, Danielle screams at Joey to watch the road because he's getting a little too close to a steep cliff. Suddenly the van plunges over the edge. Danielle starts screaming, sure they're all going to die. But wait! It was just a vision, it didn't actually happen. Phew. Thank goodness it's just Danielle's mind that is dying and not Joey. NOT. Caroline tries to calm Danielle, but she can't help but freak out. Everybody in the van is staring at her, wondering why the hell she was screaming. Everyone except Joey of course who keeps on driving. The rest of the drive consists of Danielle telling Caroline and Mary Beth about her parents' accident, how they slammed through a guardrail and the police found their bodies slashed from the rocks below. Heavy stuff, man. They finally arrive at the Midland Hotel. They're staying here because it's located conveniently across the street from the Rocket Club where they'll be playing later.

As Danielle is about to get out of the van, she notices Caroline staring at her. "Danny, it's your hair. It's standing straight up!" Really, Stine? Really? This is your idea of scares? A bad hair day? Come on! Danielle touches her normally smooth and silky hair and realizes that it is indeed standing straight up as if charged with static. It's also feeling fairly rough and bristly. They don't dwell on this and head to the hotel. The place isn't luxurious, but it's comfortable and warm. Kit and Joey have already gone to the club. Billy comes to tell the girls that they should check in and then join the guys. After they put their things away, they make their way to the club. Dee grabs Danielle and tells her "You'll be sorry." Is this chick ever gonna let up? Danielle tells her to give her a break and runs ahead to catch up with Caroline and Mary Beth.

Once inside the Rocket Club, someone comments that it's the biggest club they've ever played. Regardless, it sounds like every other club I've encountered in these books (perhaps every club on the planet): very dark with crazy strobe lights and sweaty, gyrating bodies. The only thing that distinguishes it is it's old-fashioned jukebox. Yeah, I don't get it either. Anyway, Joey hits on Danielle some more and although she's uncomfortable, she doesn't verbally (or literally) castrate him like I kept hoping she would. Instead, she pretends to be sleepy and says she's going back to the hotel. What a spineless liar. Billy comes over and displays his alpha male status by telling Danielle that he'll take care of it if Joey ever bothers her again. Danielle leaves and Kit (a.k.a. Adonis) catches up to her. She's astounded by Kit's good looks. Ooo la la. They kiss, but the moment is ruined by Kit who suddenly screams bloody murder. Why? Danielle is biting his lip like a dog gnaws a bone. Kissing 101: NO TEETH! I could understand a little nibble, but this girl drew blood. She apologizes and runs to the hotel. Poor Kit...all alone...bleeding like a stuck pig. The least Danielle could have done is soaked up the spurting blood.

When Danielle gets to the room she shares with Caroline, she starts crying. She tells Caroline she has to go see Dr. Moore (her psychiatrist) the next day because something is seriously wrong with her. No shit. Wonder if Hannibal Lecter used to be her psychiatrist ...she DID try to chew someone's face off, after all. Danielle takes a shower and when she returns, Caroline is gone. Danielle decides to use her alone time to strum her guitar. Out of nowhere, a song comes to her. Unfortunately, it sucks. "Bad moonlight, falling over me. Bad moonlight, shining down on me. Bad moonlight, makes me feel so strange and new. Bad moonlight, I want to die for you." Once, when I was like 10, I wrote a song while in the john and it was about a million times better than this. Seriously. Anyway, Caroline happened to hear Danielle singing and thinks her song is the greatest. She actually says it's "the best thing ever written." Are you fucking kidding me? If that's the best thing ever written, I'd hate to hear the worst. Caroline runs to get the others so they can listen to Danielle's "masterpiece". She wakes them up so they can come listen to this trash. Of course they all love it: "It's a killer!" Everyone except Dee that is. But no-one cares what she thinks because she's a bitter hag who hates everything. Based on this AWESOME tune (someone kill me) they all decide to call the band 'Bad Moonlight'. Everyone leaves the room a few minutes later, Caroline included ("I'll talk to Billy about getting you a ride to Shadyside tomorrow.") Danielle lies in bed thinking about Kit. She's about to doze off when suddenly she hears "an animal wail". She walks to the window, looks up at the moon, and feels an almost irresistable urge to join the howling. She quickly closes the shades and gets back in bed, trying to ignore the howling. She hears another sound: someone tapping on the door. She doesn't answer so the person tells her shes gotta talk to her now. It's Dee. Dee knocks for a few seconds longer but gives up when she realizes Danielle ain't gonna answer.

The next day, Danielle drives to Shadyside in the club owner's car to visit Dr. Moore. The doctor welcomes her inside; lucky for her, another patient cancelled. Danielle tells him all anout the strange things that have been happening to her. When she brings up the Kit incident, the good doctor wants to know if they're attracted to one another. Why? "Two young people, kissing in the moonlight. Teeth sometimes get in the way, you know." Wipe that shit eating grin off your face, doc! This is serious business! A man almost bled to death at the mercy of someone's teeth! And he was beautiful! Beautiful people aren't supposed to... I thought this was going somewhere, but it really isn't. Pardon me. Anyway, Danielle confesses that she's been having very violent fantasies so the doctor decides to hypnotize her to bring them to the surface. There are handcuffs and whips and lots of leather...oh my bad. That's MY violent fantasy. *cough* Danielle's violent fantasy involves the full moon, lots of running, and bloody battles in the street. Dr. Moore snaps Danielle out of it. He blames these fantasies on her anger at the world because of her parents' deaths. Before Danielle leaves, she glances down at the chair she's sitting in and realizes that she's clawed the arms to ribbons. Good work. *applause*

That night, the band takes the stage at the Rocket Club for the first time. The crowd is riled up and wanting more from Bad Moonlight. And they give the people what they want, unfortunately for me. Is it possible for that many people to wanna hear that stupid song again and again? Apparently so. Afterwards, the band is on a high...especially Joey who grabs Danielle and kisses her on the mouth. She shoves him off and he says "Come on, Danny. You know you're hot for my bod!" So. Lame. It. Hurts. Billy cuts the tension by telling everyone to head on down to the coffee shop for some cheeseburgers. Does he mean a diner? Because coffee shops normally don't serve burgers...that's why theyre called COFFEE shops. Danielle tells Caroline that she'll catch up to them. "I think I'll take a quick walk. Order me a cheeseburger, rare." Rare...of course. Stine really wants to pound us over the head with this wolf stuff. Danielle finds herself alone with nothing but the full moon and the deserted sidewalk for company. She mutters "Go" then takes off running as hard as she can. She comes upon a wall and leaps over it "like a horse". Man. I wish I could do that. When she lands on the other side, she sees that her hands have changed. Her nails are now giant claws. She's positively wolfen! She hears someone (something?) behind her. It's Larry Talbot!

Oh wait. Never mind. It's just Joey. *sigh* He has horrible timing...

...and we get proof of that the next morning. No-one can find him. Mauled by a crazy wolf lady? Perhaps. Everyone is sitting around the hotel "coffee shop" eating omelettes and drinking lots of coffee because they partied a little too hardy last night. They're wondering why Danielle never showed up last night. Why don't you ask your friend Joey where Danielle was, kids? Oh right. You can't. When Billy asks Danielle if she saw Joey, Danielle says no. Liar! Billy and Kit decide to check the club for any trace of the missing Joey. The girls are just finishing breakfast when the guys return WITHOUT Joey. They can't hang around waiting all day so they decide to pack up and leave. "Maybe we'll find Joey walking along the road somewhere." Doubtful. And how shitty is that anyway? He could show up and they'd be gone. What the hell would he do then? I mean, we know he isn't coming, but still. As they pull away in the van, they notice an ambulance hauling ass towards the park. They follow it and lo and behold: Joey's mutilated body is lying there, his clothing and skin completely SHREDDED. Ouch.

Three weeks later, Danielle is sitting in Dr. Moore's office again. She tells him that she has a feeling she had something to do with Joey's death because of all the crazy things that have been happening to her lately. She says that after she left the others to "go for a walk" she can't remember anything, her mind is a total blank. That's the mercy of being a werewolf--you don't recall all the terrible shit you do. Dr. Moore assures her that she did nothing wrong. Psh. Shows how little he knows.

Later, the band is barreling down the road in that rickity ass van of their's. Everyone is pumped about doing the next show. Everyone except Dee, as usual. She's pissed because no-one is thinking about poor Joey. "Joey was killed. Slashed to pieces, in case you've forgotten. Doesn't anybody care?" Billy tells her that they care and Caroline says that they have to get on with their lives. In an effort to change the subject, Danielle tells the crew that she recently wrote another song. Does it suck? HARD. It's practically the same damn song she wrote earlier, just tweaked a little: "Stop me, whoa. Bad moonlight, stop me. Keep me, stop me. Hold me like a friend." Yeah, I'll hold you...if you hold my hair while I vomit from overexposure to this tripe! Of course these assholes rave about it like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Danielle sings "Stop me, don't let me kill again." and Dee goes crazy, screaming "You killed Joey!" She lunges for Danielle, but Kit and Billy manage to pull her away before she does any major damage. They all calm down and get going again. By the time they pull up to their hotel, a thunderstorm is in full swing. They get out of the van and Danielle stands in the rain for a moment before running full speed down the sidewalk. No-one chases her. She runs until she gets thirsty and stops to lap up some water from a puddle. Just a day in the life of a wolf girl.

The next morning, the band rehearses at the Roadhouse, a smal club. Oh man, the manager of this place is such a cheeseball. He tells the band that the place will probably be packed tonight. Then he looks at Danielle and says "We've got you to thank for it, honey. Dave from the Rocket said you were dy-no-mite." *CRINGE* Moving on before I slash my wrists...

Later, the girls are deciding what to wear when Billy comes to their room to ask them if they've seen Kit. Uh-oh. They all go to search for him. When they get outside, Danielle takes off, running away from the others because she's certain something horrible has happened. When she reaches an empty lot, she sees Kit lying on the ground. Dee is standing over him, grinning like a fool. Then she lunges for Kit, tearing into his flesh. Danielle screams and Caroline comes running up which prompts the following exchange:

Caroline: "Danielle, what's wrong?"
Danielle: "Kit! Dee, stop! Caroline, she's going to kill him!"
Caroline: "What are you talking about? Kit and Dee aren't in there, Danielle. It's just two kids! Look!"

Awww. I hate when shit isn't as it seems. Caroline leads Danielle away from the lot and promises she won't tell anyone about this little incident. When they arrive back at the hotel, they spot Dee, Kit, and Billy in the lobby. Kit explains that he got caught up with some friends and lost track of time. Dee's excuse (as if anyone really cares where she was) is "I took a walk." Sure. I bet those two were off making out in an alley somewhere. "Two young people kissing in the moonlight..." Ugh, get out of here, Dr. Moore!

After the show, they all decide to walk down to the river. Is this really what aspiring rock stars do after a show? What about the sex, drugs, and excessive boozing? The times, they are a-changin'! Danielle wants to go, but decides not to because the moonlight is "cold and evil" and makes her loopy. She almost changes her mind when she looks into Kit's baby blues. But she knows she has to get back to the hotel. When she reaches her room, she considers writing another song (please don't). Out of nowhere, she hears rustling noises. The closet door opens and out pops Dee who tells Danielle "Don't even try to get away this time." How the hell did this nut get back to the hotel before Danielle? Oh well. Dee says she knows the truth about Joey, but before she can finish, Kit comes in. Dee leaves abruptly and Kit and Danielle proceed to bust a sexy move, making out until Danielle hears horrible howling. "Please make it stop!" Kit is totally confused; he doesn't hear a thing. Danielle tells him he should leave because she's really tired. She goes to bed, waking at a little after two. She notices that Caroline's bed is still empty. She's "restless and wide awake" so she decides to get a sode from the machine down the hall and work on a song (NO!! The humanity!!) In the hall, she spots Billy lying on the floor seemingly lifeless. But then she sees his chest moving up and down. He lives! Danielle smells alcohol on his breath and sees that he's holding a beer can. Oh. Well, let the man sleep off his bender in peace. Danielle wakes him up and drags him to his feet. He says that he's got a lot on his mind, but refuses to explain further. Instead, he drunkenly stumbles to his room to pass out all over again.

The next day, Danielle is back home with Aunt Margaret and Cliff. After they eat lunch, Cliff runs outside to play in the cardboard fort he built the day before and Aunt Margaret and Danielle discuss Danielle's troubles. She tells Margaret that she's considering quitting the band. Auntie Margaret tells her she shouldn't quit, but she should take it easy. When Danielle tells her she wants to know exactly what happened to her parents so maybe she can make sense of her violent fantasies, Aunt Margaret swiftly avoids the subject: "Oh look at the time! I've got laundry to fold and errands to run!" Geez, woman, could you be any more transparent? Auntie goes into the next room and Danielle picks up the phone to call Caroline. Margaret is already on the line with Dr. Moore and Danielle hears her say "It's Danielle! I'm very worried about her" Dr. Moore tells her to come right over so they can get it on...uh...I mean, talk about Danielle. Margaret says she'll be there in 15 minutes. Danielle hangs up, wondering how long her aunt has been discussing her with Dr. Moore. Aunt Margaret comes in then and tells Danielle that the laundry can wait because she's going shopping. She's lying! Throw rocks at her head! Daniells opts instead to go through Aunt Margaret's belongings. Eh, good enough. She wants to know if Auntie has been lying about anything else. Turns out she did indeed lie about something else: the cause of Danielle's parents' deaths. Danielle comes across a newspaper article stuffed in Margaret's desk. The headline reads "Cause Unknown In Mysterious Death Of Shadyside Couple" But Aunt Margaret said it was a horrible car accident! Nope. Their bodies were found at the bottom of a ravine and according to one eloquent police officer "It looked like the work of a wild animal." Shocker!

The next day, Danielle is back at Dr. Moore's office discussing the fact that Aunt Margaret lied about ma and pa's deaths. Dr. Moore explains that Margaret wanted to protect Danielle and Cliff from the awful truth. I think being killed in a horrible car accident is just as bad as being torn apart by some animal; Auntie missed the mark on this one. Danielle asks why he and Margaret have been talking about her behind her back; she overheard their phone call, after all. Dr. Moore tells her that they haven't been doing any such thing, that their lovemaking takes up too much time and they can't spare a minute to even THINK about Danielle! Ok ok, so he doesn't say that. He actually says that yesterday was the first and only time Margaret contacted him and she only did so because she was worried blahblahblah. Dr. Moore decides to hypnotize Danielle again. This time, she envisions a brutal fight with Dee. She snaps out of her trance before she can see the end result (personally, I think Dee would kick her ass). Danielle exits the office and searches for Caroline who was supposed to sit in the waiting room. She isn't there so Danielle assumes she decided to wait in the car. No dice. Danielle walks around the parking lot calling Caroline's name and who should walk up at that moment but Dee. WTF? Why is she here? She tells Danielle "I want you out of the band. Are you listening to me? I want you out!" She's a like a broken record! Danielle asks where Caroline is and Dee says she had to leave. So Danielle tells Dee that she isn't leaving the band no matter what. This only serves to piss Dee off. The girls start to fight and Dee ends up on the ground cutting her cheek against the gravel. Danielle catches the scent of blood and starts howling. She's suddenly filled with the urge to kill Dee. As soon as shit starts to get really interesting, Caroline shows up and breaks it up. Dee runs off and Danielle asks Caroline where she was. Down by the river, of course! Caroline's favorite things = wolves and old man river.

The next afternoon, Danielle is in the backyard having a Super Soaker battle royale with Cliff. He's hiding behind his fort and when Danielle finds him, he calls time out because he hurt himself. He fell and scraped his arm. Danielle catches sight of the blood and promptly licks it right off his arm. Yeah, that isn't gonna freak him out.

That night, Danielle writes another song. Why don't you just fucking shoot me? This one is the worst, in my opinion: "I'm at the window, howling at the moon, crying out my love, trying to get through, through to you." Blah. Of course everyone will worship her for it. *barf* She happens to gaze out the window down at Cliff's fort. Billy is standing there like an idiot. She calls down to him and then runs downstairs to talk to him. First, he makes small talk about the next show they'll be doing (it's in Shadyside) and then he tells her that he has bad news. "Dee quit the band." Hell, that isn't bad news! That's the best thing that has happened in this book so far! Billy leaves a few seconds later (is he living in the fort?) Danielle feels weirded out because she has a feeling that he's hiding something. She wants to talk to someone about it so she decides to call Kit who doesn't live very far away. Lucky for her, he's awake. They chat about Billy and Kit offers to come over. Danielle is all for it, telling him she'll wait for him on the sidewalk. She gets dressed and Kit pulls up in his white Mustang a few minutes later. They walk along for a bit until Danielle gets an inexplicable urge to RUN. So she does. Kit goes after her, but he can't catch up. The chapter ends with Danielle stalking a rabbit in the woods. Run, Thumper!

The next day, the band is rehearsing. They're going to be playing at Red Heat, Shadyside's most popular dance club. They've already got someone to replace Dee--Shawna Davidson, a "friend" of Kit's. They run through all their songs and afterwards, Billy tells them to be back at 8 pm which gives them a couple of hours to do whatever they want. At 8 sharp, everyone congregates back at the club. Shawna has left her bass upstairs and Danielle offers to fetch it for her. When she opens a storage closet, Dee's mutilated corpse tumbles out. Danielles backs up, horrified, and wonders if she killed Dee unknowingly. Billy comes up then and tells her he can't let her go. She manages to get past him, but he chases her. Danielle runs outside and into the woods. Caroline pops out of nowhere and tells Danielle that everything will be ok. Danielle smells something strange emanating from wet dog. And then "Caroline's blue eyes gleamed out at Danielle from a face covered in gray fur. The same bristly gray fur has sprouted from Caroline's arms and legs." Holy shit, she's turning into my grandpa! Caroline starts growling and bares her fangs at Danielle. Danielle runs toward a pair of headlights. It's the Mystery Machine! Billy and Mary Beth jump out and run toward Danielle. Danielle watches in horror as they transform into werewolves also. She just can't catch a break. As soon as a heavy cloud shrouds the moon, the three return to human form. Danielle knows that she has only a brief time to get away before they become wolves again. Suddenly, she hears Kit's voice. She runs to him and he tells her they have to get to his car. Danielle wants to take the van instead because it's closer, but Kit doesn't have the key. Billy pipes up and tells Danielle that Kit is also a werewolf. The moonlight come back then and Billy and Kit start fighting. Danielle manages to get to the van and thankfully the key is in the ignition. She dives in and Caroline and Mary Beth start throwing themselves against the side of the van. Danielle drives off, leaving the howling wolves in the dust. She worries about Kit, but she doesn't look back. She figures she'll bring back help. Right. She drives to her house and races upstairs to get Aunt Margaret. She finds her and tells her the whole sordid story. Aunt Margaret simply smiles and says "You can't call the police. You have to go back to the others, dear. We've all worked too hard. You can't spoil our plans for you now."

Say WHAT?! Then Aunt Margaret tells her that she's not really her aunt. "You hadn't seen your real aunt since you were a child. Your real aunt is dead. Just like your parents. All three of them died the same way. It was all part of the plan. They had to get your relatives out of the way so I could care for you. So I could get you ready. Ready for your husband!" Wow. Convoluted much? Danielle runs to the door and finds Billy on the other side who asks where she's going. To the river probably. She runs to the van and tears down Fear Street. She decides to go to Dr. Moore for help. She tells him everything and he tells her to calm down. She hears a voice coming from another room: "Dad, where is she? Is she there with you?" To which Dr. Moore replies "Yes, Kit. Your bride is waiting for you in here." This is too much to process! Werewolf brides? A fake Aunt Margaret? Dr. Moore is a father?!

Kit tells Danielle that Billy and the others are all under his control. And Dr. Moore tells her that the hypnosis sessions weren't treatments at all. He was planting ideas in her head to make her fall under the moonlight's spell. Whatever THAT means. Oh, and he was the cruel soul behind those damn songs she wrote; he "planted" them, too! Someone revoke this guy's license to practice. Kit confesses that he killed her parents and her aunt...and Joey and Dee. Joey because he kept flirting with Danielle and Dee because she knew way too much. All along we thought Dee was just a hateful, bitter hag, but she was trying to warn Danielle. Oh Dee...I rue the day I ever cursed your name! Kit tells Danielle that it's time for them to marry. Dr. Moore will perform the ceremony outside under the moonlight. Danielle responds by throwing a stapler at Kit's head and running for the door. Hoorah! But damn, Kit catches her and tells her she's marrying him whether she likes it or not.

Outside, a little wedding party has gathered. It's just the band members and "Aunt" Margaret. Kit forces Danielle to sing "Bad Moonlight". When she finishes, Dr. Moore begins the ceremony. Danielle transforms into a snarling beast and immediately rips Kit's throat out. He dies instantly and since he was the werewolf master, his minions change in some way. For Margaret and Dr. Moore, it means death: their bodies slowly fall apart. Their heads fall off their shoulders and explode. Their arms and legs fly off. Sick, man, sick. For Caroline, Mary Beth, and Billy, the curse is broken. They're normal people now. Danielle tells them she's looking forward to some bright sunlight. The End.

*Exploding heads! DUUUUUUUDE!*

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Broken Hearts

Book Description:

There's someone out there, someone who kills on Valentine's Day. Josie and Melissa are scared, especially when they receive threatening valentines. Then the murders begin. Who is sending these horrible valentines to the girls of Shadyside High? And who will be the next to die?

My Description:

September (Prologue)

14 year old Erica McClain and her older sisters (who happen to be twins), Josie and Rachel, are going horseback riding with Josie and Rachel's friend, Melissa Davis. We find out that Erica is quite jealous of her sisters and their gorgeous red hair, popularity, and ability to attract/manipulate the opposite sex without even trying. Erica is shocked that the girls even invited her to go with them and has high hopes that this outing will make them view her as an equal rather than a "creepy kid".

On the way to the Shadyside Riding Club, the girls chat about boys and the fact that Josie constantly changes boyfriends. Is that a roundabout way of calling her a slut? Melissa tells the others that they'll really love the blonde stable boy, Chuck. I doubt they'll love the fact that he probably smells like horse shit and shame. When they arrive at the club, Erica starts to get really nervous upon seeing how big the horses are. The others are too busy mooning over sexy, sweaty Chucky to notice Erica's nervousness. Erica's thoughts on him? "Chuck was a great looking guy. Josie sure knew how to pick them." Good Lord! Josie doesn't even know the guy and Erica is already assuming that Josie has dibs. Chuck leads four horses out of their stalls, but shirks his full responsibilities by telling them they'll have to saddle up themselves because he has to help some new arrivals. Everyone except Erica starts to saddle their horse. Erica lies and says she has a stomachache so she'll just wait for them here. Melissa gets a little pissed: "We already paid for your horse." Josie is also ticked off: "Everytime we do something fun, you always say you have a stomachache." Cut her some slack, dammit. Horses ARE kind of big and scary if you're not used to being around them. I practically had a seizure the first time I rode one so shut up!

Melissa says they're wasting their time just standing around and they finally head off on the dusty trail. All of them are wearing helmets except Rachel who doesn't wanna mess up her perfect hair or something. Messy hair or brain damage? Take your pick! As they're riding, they bash Erica ("She's such a kid." She IS a kid, stupid, and so are you pretty much!) and gossip about school, Chuck, and Jerry Jenkman (Josie's current flame). Josie basically says she'd be all over it if Chuck asked her out. Poor Jenkman...caught in a web of deceit. A few minutes later, Rachel's horse starts going nuts and suddenly a dog races onto the path out of nowhere. The horse is spooked and bucks Rachel off. She lands on her head with a "sickening crack". That helmet is looking good right about now. Melissa tells Josie to get help, but Josie is completely freaked out and can do nothing but scream "She landed on her head!" over and over again. *sigh*

Part One: The Following February

The first chapter opens with Melissa having a horsey nightmare. Her mom runs into her room and wakes her up, of course. The parents in these books are extremely attentive, sleeping right outside their child's bedroom door for maximum listening power. Mom tells her it's been five months since the accident and she's still having the same old horse dream, but it will eventually go away. What will her dreams be about then?

Awwwww yeahhhhh.

Melissa tells her mom that Josie blames her for Rachel's accident. Rachel is still alive, but due to brain damage, she has the mentality of a child and doesn't recognize many of the people she was once close to. Mom tsk tsks and Melissa falls asleep again. Wow, that was boring.

Segue to Steve (Josie's boyfriend; Jenkman who?!) and Josie playing snow games IN THE HOUSE. Scandalous! Actually, this "game" just consists of a single snowball that Steve throws at Josie. Snore. Go outside and bury her face in the snow! Shove some down her pants! Pee your name in a snowbank! Steve choose to forego these options, opting instead to make out with Josie. Muggy, Josie's little terrier, comes running in and Steve expresses his dislike: "How can you stand that little rat? Why don't you step on it and put it out of it's misery?" Funny, I was thinking the same about you, Stevie. Josie tells him to shut up and picks Muggy up, allowing him to lick her mouth. Steve says "Yuck. You let that rodent lick you? How do you know what he's been licking before he came in here?" I kinda agree, but Steve doesn't have to be such a douche about it. Muggy makes his escape a minute later. Steve and Josie make out some more and Josie keeps her eyes open so we, dear reader, can learn what Steve looks like: "He's so good looking in an all-American sort of way. Wavy, blonde hair. Clear blue eyes. Perfect straight nose. Lopsided grin. Broad shoulders." What exactly does she mean by 'all-American'? He could easily be from Sweden or something. Blah, who cares? He's just a hollow shell of a man which pretty much sums up every male in Shadyside. Zero substance. Anyway, Steve breaks away and asks if they're "going to the mall or what?" Josie says sure, but she should let Erica know first. She heads for the stairs but stops by the hall table to look at the mail. She got a valentine! Unfortunately, it's anonymous and creepy as all hell:

Violets are blue
Roses are red
On Valentine's Day,
Josie will be dead.

Such a poet. Josie automatically assumes it's from Jenkman; ever since she broke up with him, he's been calling her and following her around begging for attention. Steve tells her to ignore it. Someone sends a death threat of sorts to your girlfriend and you tell her to ignore it? Some might call you an asshole, Steve. They're about to leave when someone wraps their hands around Josie's throat (Stine's favorite chapter ender). It's just Rachel who lets go and laughs gleefully because she scared Josie. Erica and Luke (Rachel's old boyfriend) come downstairs. No, Erica isn't scamming on Rachel's ex. Luke just wants to be there for Rachel which is pretty cool of him. Josie tells Erica that she and Steve are leaving, but Erica says no way: "You promised you'd watch Rachel so I could study for my social studies exam." Josie says maybe another time which pisses Erica off (me too). Erica flips out because she has no life anymore since Josie won't help her out with Rachel. Their mom works long hours and their father is frequently gone on business trips and such so they aren't always around to help out. As those two fight, Rachel picks up the mail and scatters it across the floor. Erica retrieves it and spots Josie's valentine. She reads it aloud and Rachel bursts out laughing. HA! Josie and Steve finally get their lame asses out the door and Erica takes Rachel to her room to brush her hair (Rachel's favorite thing). Erica and Luke talk about Josie's bad attitude regarding Rachel and Luke confesses his belief that Josie was responsible for Rachel's accident because Josie was the one who fastened Rachel's saddle that day. When the horse started to buck, the saddle came loose. I think Rachel would have went flying whether or not the saddle was fastened properly. As Luke rambles on, Erica suddenly comes to the conclusion that he is the one who sent the valentine to Josie. Good work, Columbo.

Wednesday afternoon, the snow is coming down in buckets. Josie is going to meet that goon Steve. Erica comes running up to Josie and tells her she has to go home to watch Rachel because she (Erica) has an audition for the school play. Josie totally blows her off ("Tomorrow I'll watch her. I have to meet Steve.") Erica pleads with her and accidentally lets something slip: "I can't believe you don't take more responsibility for Rachel. After all, it WAS your fault..." SLAM. She apologizes immediately even though Josie is a bitch and deserved it. Before Josie can reply, someone hits her in the head with a snowball. It's like Christmas morning every time karma sticks it to Josie. It was Dave Kinley, Melissa's boyfriend/one of Josie's cast-offs. He laughs at her and Josie storms off. Melissa tells him he shouldn't have done that (and just why the hell not?). He just looks at her and that is Stine's cue to give us the 4-1-1 on Dave's hawtness...or lack thereof: "With his long, scraggly black hair down to his collar, small, round eyes, and a bent nose, Dave wasn't exactly handsome." But thank heavens, Dave has "an easy-going attitude, a winning smile, and a great sense of humor." Yeah, no wonder Josie didn't want him...he isn't blonde, boring, and stupid. Melissa tells him that Josie dumped him HARD so he shouldn't feel anything for her. Dave replies that Josie also dumped Melissa. Deep. He then tells Melissa a story she's heard too many times before: Josie's dad was gonna hire Dave at his hardware store, but suddenly he didn't and Dave thinks it was because Josie convinced him not to. This somehow leads to Dave and Melissa wrestling in the snow. If it were summer, they'd probably be nekkid. Suddenly, they hear the sound of breaking glass. Jenkman just broke a window with a damn snowball. HOW? Unless it was made of solid ice, I don't see how it's possible to break a window with a snowball. Not gonna dwell, though, because my mental state is fragile as it is thanks to these books. "He's scary." So sayeth Melissa.

Josie arrives home at about six and gives Muggy a big wet kiss. Erica and Rachel are upstairs; Josie hears Rachel laughing through the intercom system they had installed after her accident. Josie doesn't bother to join them and I'm sure they appreciate it. She goes to the den to start her homework. Luke comes in and pretty much chews Josie's head off because she never pays any attention whatsoever to Rachel. Josie tells him he's a total loser who is wasting his time dwelling on the past. Luke picks up a silver letter opener and brandishes it as if he's going to stab Josie, but he doesn't because there are over 100 pages left and the "good" stuff never happens this early on. "Almost. Almost, Josie." He jams the knife into the desktop and leaves. After Josie composes herself, she notices that day's mail lying on the hall table. Of course there's another morbid valentine waiting for her.

This Valentine's Day
No memories to save.
The only flowers for you
Will be on your grave.

The cherry on top of a perfect day! *SNORT* Josie is unsettled, realizing that Valentine's Day is Saturday. Will someone actually kill her? Tune in to find out!

That night, Josie is awakened by the sound of the intercom crackling (there's one in every room). She hears Rachel's voice begging her to come to her room. When she reaches Rachel's room, though, Rachel is fast asleep. Hmm. Josie is confused, but she just brushes it off and goes back to bed. A few minutes later, she hears the same thing: "Josie, please come. Hurry." Once again, she walks to Rachel's room only to find Rachel in the exact same position, snoozing away. When she gets back to her room and lies down, she hears soft laughter. Sneaky, sneaky Rachel. This entire interlude was totally pointless...

After school the next day, Erica is brushing Rachel's hair and silently seething: Erica had arranged for a private audition with the drama teacher for the play, but had to break it because Josie decided to run off with Steve or something instead of watching Rachel. Rachel tells Erica that Josie doesn't like her anymore and then starts screaming "I HATE Josie!" repeatedly. She's only saying what everyone else is thinking. The phone rings and Erica runs to answer it. It's Jenkman. He asks for Josie, but that little harlot isn't home so Jenkman asks Erica instead "Did she get my valentines?" Wha? Stupid Stine and his damned cliffhangers!

It's Thursday and Dave and Melissa are headed to math class where a killer exam that is waiting for them. Dave views this as a catastrophic event because he sucks at math. Melissa reassures him that it won't be terrible, but she's full of shit and he knows it. A few minutes after the test begins, Melissa sees Josie walk up to Mr. Millen and from her place in the front row, Mel hears Josie ask if she can move somewhere else because Dave is copying off her paper. After class, Mr. Millen asks to speak with Dave. Ooo! Melissa waits for him in the hal. When he comes out, he announces what we all knew: "Josie turned me in. Can you believe it? Can you believe that little rat would do that to me?" Ok, I hate Josie as much as the next person, but I think she was justified in telling on Dave. Mr. Millen gave Dave a zero which means Dave will probably be kicked off the wrestling team because he won't be able to drag his grade back up and he won't get an athletic scholarship and he'll DIE, he'll just DIE! WAHHH! What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Dave spots Josie walking by and he grabs her and screams in her face "Why'd you turn me in?" Josie doesn't really give him an answer and runs off. Dave goes ballistic and runs away as well. What the hell is in the water?

That evening, Josie is sitting in the den trying to study, but she can't stop thinking about Dave. She can't believe she ever wanted to make that greasy haired donkey her love slave! Or something. Rachel's voice comes drifting through the intercom, cutting through Josie's thoughts. Josie tells her that Erica will help her with whatever she needs. Then she grabs her coat and flees the house because she can't stand feeling trapped. Damn her for turning her back on her family! Out of all of them, Rachel and Erica are getting the raw deal here. Josie has it way too easy and all she does is bitch. Anyway, Josie is OF COURSE making a beeline for Steve's place. Spare me.

Steve and Josie go ice skating and have some hot chocolate in the rink's adjacent cafe. Josie gabs on and on about how she feels guilty over Rachel (yeah right) and how Erica only feeds the fire. She says she stays away so much because she feels sorry for Rachel. You still suck! Steve is uncomfortable and doesn't say anything because he's almost as insensitive as Josie tends to be. Then Josie takes the latest valentine out of her pocket.

Who's sending these cards?
Don't bother to wonder.
On Valentine's Day,
You'll be six feet under.

Steve asks her if she still thinks Jenkman is sending them and Josie says yeah. Steve maintains that they're just some sick joke because to think otherwise would mean that he actually cares about his girlfriend's well-being, God forbid. At this moment, Josie looks up and sees someone peeking around the food stand, watching them. She assumes that it's Jenkman. I am sure this guy has better things to do. She and Steve decide to leave. In the parking lot, Josie lets Steve know that she isn't THAT upset by sticking her tongue down his throat. These people could be on their death beds and they would still find a way to make out with someone.

When Josie gets home, she finds something that makes me want to throw this damned book across the room. Muggy is dead, the silver letter opener buried in his little stomach. What is the dead animal count up to on this blog? I think Muggy is the third. After 'The Stepsister 2' (I'm still recovering from that trash; anyone wanna take it off my hands?) I didn't think I'd be encountering a dead dog so soon, but there you have it. Josie starts screaming and crying and Erica and Rachel come running into the kitchen. Rachel starts laughing at the sight of Muggy and Erica has to drag her back upstairs. Geez. I don't even know what to say about this mess.

Across the street, Melissa is spying on the McClains' house from her bedroom window. Melissa pulls away and decides to call Dave. She called earlier, but his mom said he wasn't home and I guess Mel just wants to make sure he didn't go off and kill someone after school. Dave tells her that he's just been out driving aimlessly. His coach cut him from the wrestling team as he predicted and now he believes his life is basically over. Then he yammers on about how much he hates Josie...yeah, that's getting pretty old. Dave eventually says "I don't feel like talking now." and hangs up on Melissa. He doesn't feel like talking? He was the one who yakked away without letting Mel get a word in edgewise!

Back at the McClains' house, Erica and Josie are talking about Muggy and how one of the policemen looked sick when he saw the dog. They called the cops to get the dog? Ok. I mean, yeah, someone broke in and killed the dog, but what could the cops do about it? There was no evidence really other than probable fingerprints on the letter opener, but the killer could have worn gloves or something...and I think I'm reading way too much into this. Josie tells Erica that she knows who did it: Jenkman. Shut up about him! Why would he kill your fucking dog?! He's in love with you! He wouldn't harm your innocent animal even for attention from you! Erica tells her the same thing basically, but she has the decency to clean up the language. She tells Josie that Jenkman sent some valentines. Not those creepy ones, but some funny ones that he signed 'Secret Admirer'. Josie doesn't believe her, saying Jenkman is a creep and a dangerous liar. She has no proof whatsoever that he's a dangerous liar so I'm not sure where that's coming from. She just assumes things as usual. Their mother walks in then and tells Josie that Rachel wants her to come brush her hair. Josie complains a little ("It's after midnight.") but she goes. When she enters Rachel's room, Rachel smiles at her and says "Somebody hates you. Somebody really hates you." Somebody? Try EVERYBODY.

After school on Friday, Josie goes to the card shop with Erica. When they get inside, they find the place fairly crowded because Valentine's Day is the next day. Erica spots the famous Jenkman and goes to chat with him. Did I mention Erica has a crush on the guy? He's too into Josie to notice Erica, though. He tells her he's buying a card for his mom...he's all twitchy and weird about it. That's sad. He immediately asks if Josie is around and pushes past the heartsick Erica as soon as he spots Josie. Jo totally blows him off by saying "Were you spying on me at the skating rink? I don't believe you. Why don't you get a life? Bye, Jenkman." She leaves and Erica comes stumbling after.

The next day (uh-oh! It's Valentine's Day!), Steve and Josie are performing their usual mouth-to-mouth. They go to Josie's house and run into Luke. He just stopped by to give Rachel some chocolates, but he's leaving now BYE. After Luke is gone, Steve says he isn't sure if Luke is a good guy for sticking with Rachel or just mentally deranged. Josie mercifully changes the subject. She tells him she received another valentine.

Roses are black
Violets are gray.
On Valentine's Day,
You'll start to decay.

Are these empty threats or is someone actually gonna end this chick? I'm getting antsy! The book has been decent so far, but there's little action other than the cards and Josie and Steve's frequent grope fests. Steve asks her what she wants to do and at first, she says "Let's rent a movie and stay in." But when she hears Rachel's voice coming through the intercom ("Somebody hates you, Josie.") she changes her tune and tells him she wants to go ice skating again. Erica's voice comes over the intercom asking Josie if she's really leaving because it isn't fair! Josie runs out of the house like it's on fire, dragging Steve along. And I hate them both.

Erica wakes up at 2 a.m. Her father is on a business trip and her mother is sound asleep as if Rachel. But where the F is Josie? Erica calls Steve and he explains that he and Josie got in a fight at the rink and she left with a group of people. The doorbell rings so Erica quickly thanks Steve and runs to answer it. It's two policemen (the same ones who came when Muggy was killed). As it turns out, those valentines came true: someone murdered Josie. The officers found her body in an alley behind the rink. The weapon? An ice skate. Someone stabbed her in the back with the blade of an ice skate! Will I go to hell if I laugh? Because I kind of can't help it. I was more upset when Muggy died. Mom comes downstairs and freaks out at the news. Rachel also comes down and says "Someone hates Josie." Obviously.

The next morning, Melissa wakes to the sound of the phone ringing. It's Dave and he's done a bad bad thing. She meets him at The Corner and they talk. Mel brings up Josie's death and that's exactly what Dave wanted to talk about. You see, Dave sent those creepy valentines to Josie. He didn't kill her! But he's afraid the police will find those valentines and manage to link them to him. So Dave has a "genius" plan: he'll sneak into the McClains' home while they're at Josie's funeral, get the valentines (if they're still there), and all will be well. Dave = deluded. I think we all know where this is going and it ain't gonna be good.

Just past 11 the next morning, Dave parks across the street from the McClain home. It's dark and stormy outside which sets the mood so perfectly. He walks up to the house and wonders briefly how he'll get inside. He tries the front door and it's his lucky day--the thing is unlocked. In reality, those people would probably have become EXTRA careful about locking up considering how someone once broke in to kill their dog. He makes his way to Josie's room and begins pawing through her things. He never finds the cards, but someone is about to find him. He hears footsteps and starts to panic. He makes it halfway to the stairs when he spots Erica lying in a puddle of blood. Suddenly, two officers are running up the stairs toward him. He's holding a blood covered letter opener...somehow. This whole scene is incredibly confusing. The chapter ends with one of the cops telling Dave that he's "in a lot of trouble." No shit, Sherlock.

Part Two: February, One Year Later

Melissa and Luke are now an item and we learn this because the chapter begins with them making out.The usual. Because couples don't do anything but slobber all over one another like dogs. Anyway, Melissa says she got a letter from Dave. Apparently everyone in town believed Dave was the one who killed Josie/stabbed Erica (she lived!) and Dave was so tormented that his parents sent him to a boarding school upstate where no-one knows his story. Luke has since stopped going to see Rachel which was a "major setback" for her. But he had to move on! Melissa has become close to Erica because Erica is a lonely, miserable girl. Luke tells Melissa that there will be a party on Fear Lake for Valentine's Day. MORE ice skating? There must not be much to do in Shadyside besides killing and stalking...but not everyone is into that. Melissa picks up the mail and notices she has a valentine. Here we go again.

Roses are red
Violets are blue.
On Valentine's Day,
You'll be dead, too.

Erica is brushing Rachel's hair as she does every single day until her arm practically falls off. Rachel asks where Luke is and Erica says "Luke is with Melissa now." Rachel is pissed and starts shouting "I hate Melissa!" repeatedly. I pity Erica. A lot. I know Rachel can't help it, but it would have to be extremely unnerving to deal with that day after day. The phone's Steve. Come on! I thought he would be out of the picture for sure since Josie's mishap. He asks Erica if she wants to go to the V-Day party on Fear Lake with him. At first she says yes, but then has to retract it because she remembers she has to watch Rachel. She returns to Rachel's room, but Rachel is gone. She runs downstairs and finds the front door hanging wide open. She races outside, screaming Rachel's name. Eventually, Rachel pops out from behind a tree. Clever little shrew, isn't she?

After school on Monday, Melissa shows Luke the latest valentine.

Flowers mean funerals
Flowers mean death.
On Valentine's Day,
You'll take your last breath.

At first these things were creepy. Now they're just annoying and repetitive. In addition to killing me softly, they're also making Melissa retarded, as evidenced by the following exchange: "...she turned to him, stood on tiptoes, and kissed him. 'Happy Birthday,' she said when the kiss had ended. She licked her lips. 'It isn't my birthday,' Luke replied. She chuckled. 'So?' " Uh, ok? They turn their attention back to the freaky valentine. Since Dave was the one who sent the valentines to Josie, Luke figures maybe he's sending them to Mel also. Mel mentions she still has the letter Dave wrote her recently. Handwriting analysis anyone? They'll just compare the letter and the valentines and see if the writing matches! Ain't sleuthing fun? Melissa runs upstairs to grab the letter and the phone rings while she's in her room. It's Dave's mom. Dave ran away from his boarding school and his mom wants to know if Melissa has seen him. Apparently he ran away the night before...and the school is upstate...would he have made it to Shadyside so quickly? Well, in any case, Melissa hasn't seen him. She goes back downstairs where she tells Luke that Dave is on the run. They the compare the writing and *GASP!* it matches! Of course Melissa is convinced that Dave is on his way to her house where he will commence with the cutting and slashing. I doubt it...Stine would never allow this mystery to be solved so quickly.

Later, Melissa trots across the road to tell Erica about Dave. Yeah, that's right, Melissa. Just spread the panic around real nice and easy. God knows we all want to hear your paranoid ramblings and accusations without hard evidence. Melissa goes home and a few hours later, Erica's mom leaves also; she's headed to her sister's house for tequila shots and...oh. Never mind. She's just going to look at some fabric samples. A storm is blowing through and the lights are flickering so we know some bad junk is about to go down. Rachel is in bed and Erica is in the living room working on a school report when she hears heavy footsteps in the den. She goes into the den and finds...a big scary monster RAWWWWRRRR! Just kidding, it's only Luke looking embarrassed. He says he just came over to give Rachel a valentine, but he didn't wanna disturb anyone so he was gonna drop it somewhere and leave. Makes little sense but whatever. He hands Erica the valentine and splits.

Melissa is across the street playing Scrabble with her dad. When it's over (she lost), she must be exhausted because she goes straight to bed. Just as she dozes off, Dave climbs through her bedroom window. He smells like fear and onions and is as greasy looking as ever. His eyes are extremely red which prompts the question, who's your dealer? Anyway, Dave tells Melissa that he came back to Shadyside to clear his name, to prove that he didn't kill Josie or stab Erica. Melissa asks about the valentines she assumed he sent to her. He swears he didn't send them and asks to see them. As soon as he looks at them, he declares "Now I KNOW who the killer is!" Rather than enlighten us, Dave jumps out the window. Thanks for nothing!

The next afternoon, Melissa tells Erica all about her encounter with Dave. Erica wants to know who the killer is, Mel says she doesn't know, and Rachel politely informs Erica that someone hates her. Nice. Melissa heads home and Luke comes around the side of the house and tells her he locked himself out of his house. And oops! Melissa did the same damn thing! Instead of doing anything about it, they make out. Good grief.

That night, Melissa is doing her homework when she hears loud noises coming from outside. She runs to her window and see someone with long red hair running across her yard. Rachel? Melissa's parents come running in and then two policemen come knocking. Melissa's dad called them and since the Shadyside fuzz seems to be lurking around every corner, they got there quick. They ask them when they found the body. Huh? "The body of the teenage boy on your driveway." Cliffhangers huuuuuurrrrrt.

The cops show up at the McClain house next. They want to talk to Rachel. They believe she might be connected to the death of...Dave! Mrs. McClain explains that Rachel is mentally disabled and there's no way she could have done anything like that. After speaking to her, the cops realize this and leave. Strange stuff going on here...

At school the next day, the scene on the cover comes into play. After discussing Dave's death with Erica, Melissa goes to her locker and finds the painted heart that's also smeared with blood and the words "You're Dead". Not yet, but she will be when the school sees this vandalism!
It's finally time for the ice skating party on Fear Lake. Melissa is looking totally sexy in her oversized men's wool overcoat. Then again, I might wanna rethink that statement. She and Luke join the others on the ice and someone tells them to stay away from the empty area to the right because the ice is hella thin. Luke drags Melissa over there anyway a few minutes later claiming he wants to give her a private lesson. Ass. Melissa hears the ice cracking around them, but Luke the fluke refuses to go back. He does stop and try to force his tongue down her throat, though. No comment. Melissa tells Luke to get away from her, to skate on and she'll catch up later. As soon as Luke leaves her, she seems someone in a hood skating right towards her and they're holding a giant, gleaming knife. AHHH! As the skater bears down on her, the hood flies back a little and Melissa catches a glimpse of long red hair. "Rachel!" The skater plows into her and as she starts to fall, she pulls the red haired wig off her attacker's head. It's Erica!

Turns out Erica is sick of being a nobody, the one everyone always overlooked. Not anymore! Erica explains that Josie had to die because she never helped with Rachel, she didn't care about Rachel or Erica period. Wow. You couldn't have just TALKED TO HER? Erica has an explanation for everything. Her own stabbing? She did it to herself ( "It was easy compared to the pain I already felt." How emo.) The valentines Melissa received? Erica copied Dave's writing by using the valentines he sent Josie. Basically, she tried to frame Dave in as many ways as she could. But in the end, she had to kill him, too, because he was on to her. And now it's Melissa's turn to die. Why? "You've got everything, Melissa. Poor Rachel lost everything. You even got Luke. You even took Luke away from Rachel. And that made me even more of a prisoner because after you took Luke away, I was all Rachel had left. You have to die, Melissa. It's only fair. You killed Rachel and me. Now you have to die, too." Damn. Melissa asks why Erica wore the wig. "This is Rachel's revenge, too. In some ways, she's here with me." Yeah, it's safe to say the girl has completely snapped. Erica tries to stab Melissa, but suddenly the ice breaks and both girls go tumbling into the water. Luke manages to drag Melissa out, but Erica is nowhere to be seen. Then they see her floating beneath a sheet of ice. She's still alive, but she makes no move to swim free. Melissa and Luke assume she wants to die and I suppose they just let her. I'm speechless. The books ends with Melissa and Luke agreeing to never send one another valentines. "Groundhog's Day cards...what a romantic idea." Give me a break!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

She's Baaaaaack!

Book Description:

The doctor says Nancy is cured. She's over the murderous rage that made her try to kill her sister Emily last year. Now she's home for good...or EVIL. Emily wants to forgive and forget, but the nightmare has started all over again. Someone wants to hurt her. Is it Nancy? Or is there someone else who wants Emily dead?

My Description:

* If you weren't around for the first installment, check it out. *

A year has passed since Nancy Casey went completely batshit crazy and tried to kill her sister, Emily, in an open grave. Wow. Best opener EVER. Anyway, Emily and Jessie are waiting around the house for Hugh (yuck) and Mama Casey (still as spineless/nameless as ever) to bring Nancy home from the mental insitution. Jessie is dragging all her junk out of Nancy's room where she's been rooming for the past year and throwing it back into the room she used to share with Emily. Jessie is just about to place her beloved glass swan on the dresser when Rich (Stephen King fan-slut) bursts into the room. Jessie, startled, drops the swan and it shatters. She calls Rich a "dirty rotten creep!" but he isn't interested in insults. He just wants to rip Emily a new one: "Dad grounded me for last night's party. Thanks to you. Don't bother lying. You were there. You saw me. The next thing I know, Dad is grounding me. I can put two and two together." Well, ladies and germs, it seems that little Richie has turned into quite the angry asshole over the past year! Emily denies saying anything, but Rich rails on and on, saying he can't finish filming "Night of the Living Eyeballs" with his friends. With a name like that, I doubt it would have been a hit anyway. NIGHT OF THE LIVING EYEBALLS? Are you kidding me? Rich ends his tirade with "I'll pay you back, Emily!" Promises, promises.

A few seconds after Rich runs out of the room like a whiny little baby, Butch, Emily's dachshund (she had to get something to replace poor Tiger) comes running in and jumps all over Jessie. Of course she's totally repulsed and pushes him away. This is one of many scenes in this book that is reminiscent of (i.e. an exact replica of) scenes in the previous book. In the next moment, the girls hear someone knocking on the door. They assume it's Nancy and their parents which makes no sense whatsoever because they LIVE there and would have no reason to knock. They answer the door and it's Cora-Ann, Jessie's friend. We learn that Cora-Ann spends a lot of time at the Wallner/Casey house because her parents are insensitive assholes who spend the majority of their time duking it out. After several minutes of gossiping and scarfing Oreos, the girls hear car doors shutting outside and assume it's Nancy and the parentals. They open the door and Nancy is standing there holding a knife. Looks like that expensive mental therapy went down the drain quick. But wait! Thank our lucky stars, it's just one of Rich's props that Nancy found in the bushes! Emily stops screaming long enough to figure that out. Yeah, she freaked out over a shitty prop. Anyway, everybody hugs Nancy and welcomes her home, but she doesn't seem that enthusiastic. Her eyes are glazed and she keeps looking around as if she's lost. But it's a huge contrast between where she was and where she is so her temporary zombification is understandable. Ah, and to sweeten the homecoming, Hugh decides to start in on Rich. He screams at him to come down and greet Nancy. Rich comes down, says hello to Nan, gives Emily dagger eyes, and attempts to head back to his lair...uh, cave...dungeon? I mean, his ROOM. But Hugh nips that idea in the bud: "Are you insane?!" Cora-Ann diffuses the situation by asking Rich about horror movies (namely, 'Gnaw' and 'The Shining') Nancy heads upstairs to unpack and everybody goes about their business. Emily goes into her room and is horrified at what she sees. An empty bottle of perfume! WHHHHHHYYY?! Apparently Em's boyfriend, Josh, bought her this bottle of Ma Cherie while he was on vacation in France. It was special and someone poured every drop out onto the floor. Em automatically assumes it was Nancy, perhaps Rich. She confronts Rich asking if he did it and he just grins and says "Maybe."

The next morning, the whole gang (excluding Rich) heads on down to the pancake house for a nice, artery-clogging breakfast. Hugh orders "a tall stack of pancakes with eggs and steak on top. When it arrived, he drowned it all in butter and maple syrup." Yum? As he's shoveling it in, Hugh makes a truly terrble joke: "Know what you call a waffle made with spoiled eggs? An awful waffle!" Har har har! NOT. Two painful hours later, they go home. Emily enters the den and goes to open the shades. As she's doing so, Nancy comes up behind her and wraps her spindly fingers around Em's throat. She lets go when Emily turns around and asks "Why did you do that?" Nancy says she had to prove a point. She's noticed that Emily has been acting really weird around her and she knows she tried to kill her with a shovel and everything, but she's changed, I tell ya, she's changed! Nancy cries a little and they head up to the room for a long, meaningful, Oprah-esque talk. Nancy mentions the various activities she participated in while at the mental hospital: clay sculpting, storytelling sessions, wood shop, car repair. Emily apparently thinks this place sounds like a rockin' good time because she says she wants to go. We'll only let you go if you attempt to bludgeon your family to death. No? Then quit bothering me, I'm trying to watch TV. Nancy just laughs and then brings up the reason for her instability: her father's death. She tells Em that she's sorry for ever believing she killed their dad. I kind of wish you still believed, Nancy. It would make this book a lot more interesting. Butch comes waddling in and interrupts this Hallmark moment. Nancy picks him up and that leads to the grossest line in this book: "His body hung down from her hands like a long, furry sausage." I may have just thrown up in my mouth a little.

Later, Emily is ice skating with her love muffin, Josh. They're both clumsy and keeping falling down. EMILY is clumsy, at least. I think Josh just wants an excuse to lay on top of her. Ew. They kiss a little and then they talk about Nancy. As if this fact hasn't been driven into our heads about a trillion times already, JOSH USED TO DATE NANCY. She tells him Nancy is good and she's been painting a mural in her room that she keeps covered with a sheet; Emily hasn't been allowed to see it yet. Hmm. The two finally get tired of "skating" and start walking back to Fear Street. They hear the roar of a motor and Rich comes riding up on his dirt bike, almost running them over. Two little punks are riding with him. Rich leans forward and starts BARKING like a dog at Emily. Emily tells him that he's supposed to be grounded, but Rich is a rebel, dammit! He doesn't care about rules! He tells Em "I suppose you're gonna tell [Dad] huh, snitch?" He threatens Em ("You'll regret it.") and drives off with his minions. Josh explains to Em that 14 is a hard year for a guy. Is that supposed to be a double entendre? Emily says that Rich was like this last year, too, but I have to disagree.

At Emily's house, they make hot cocoa and snuggle on the couch. 50 pages in and this is the scariest thing that has happened so far. Emily suddenly sits up and says someone is standing outside the door to the den. What, she's psychic now? She walks over to the door, sees a shadow moving under the door, opens the door, and finds Cora-Ann. Spooky. Cora-Ann sees Josh and must assume that he and Em were about to make sweet love or something because she runs away all embarrassed and such. Emily decides it's time for Josh to leave. She walks him to the door, but he doesn't leave right away. *Wink Wink* Then he asks her if she wants to go to Red Heat on Saturday night. "It's a date." He leaves and Em goes upstairs to her room and finds Jessie playing Tetris on the computer. Emily picks up the Ma Cherie bottle and Jessie says "Give me a break. The way you moon around after Josh comes over, it's sickening. Do you know how lucky you are?" Emily just grins. I'll take that as a yes. Jessie goes downstairs to eat and Em starts her French homework. After a while, she decides to head downstairs for something to drink. On the stairs, she comes upon Nancy heading up with some paint brushes to work on her mural. As Emily passes her, she sees Nancy stick out her foot. Em falls all the way to the bottom, but doesn't hurt herself at all. Somehow. Nancy runs down and apologizes profusely. Emily tells her she saw her stick her foot out on purpose, but Nancy has an explanation for that: "It's the pills I have to take. They relax my muscles. They turn me into a total klutz." Anti-psychotic meds also serve as muscle relaxers?

The next day, Emily is in the school cafeteria getting a sloppy joe. She spots Cora-Ann sitting alone so she goes to join her. Cora-Ann confesses to Em that her family is falling apart: her father left the fam last week. She hasn't mentioned it because she was too embarrassed. I'm not much of a hugger, but I kinda wanna give Cora-Ann a giant hug right now. Yeah, yeah, a little sappy. Don't worry, I'm moving on. Em tells her she's sorry and Cora-Ann will always have she and Jessie. Speak of the devil: Emily spots Jessie in the food line, but when Emily waves, Jessie just stares at her and turns away. Interesting...Zzzzzzzzz. Jessie catches Emily after Em's chemistry class and she's kind of pissed: "What were you and Cora-Ann talking about? I said, what were you talking about? Every time I looked over, it was like you were having the world's most serious discussion." Em explains Cora-Ann's family issues and Jessie doesn't understand (and doesn't want to) why Cora-Ann would tell Em instead of her. Em just says "You weren't there." to which Jess replies "She's MY friend! Don't forget it!" and storms off. Two words: chill pill.

Saturday night ping-pong! Jessie, Em, and Cora-Ann are hanging out in the basement growing bored with the game. Em is just killing time until her date with Josh and Jess is a little bitter because she's perpetually single. Wonder why? Yeah, she looks good, but she's sort of crazy herself. She'd quickly turn into a jealous stalker type, the kind you find in Lifetime movies. Nancy comes down holding Scrabble and asks if anyone would like to play. Em declines, but Cora-Ann and Jessie say yes. Nancy smiles and does a little jig. Scrabble AND ping-pong?! Heaven help me, I'm having a heart attack here! Em goes upstairs to get ready for her date. She opens her closet and takes out her little black dress, still in its dry-cleaning bag (Jessie wore it, stained it, and promptly sent it to be dry-cleaned like a good girl). Em opens it and freaks out: it's been slashed down the middle. The other girls come running in: they heard Em's blood-curdling screams even in the basement. This girl is the queen of overreacting. Yes, it sucks that your dress is ruined, but must you wake the neighborhood with your banshee-like screeching? Em says this was no accident and looks directly at Nancy. Nancy is upset at being accused of something AGAIN and runs to her room. Em knocks on Nancy's door, but she doesn't answer. So she walks to Rich's room on a whim and a plot device and finds him sitting in the floor cutting construction paper for no apparent reason. Rich looks at Emily and says "Snip snip."

The next day, Emily tells her mom about this little incident, but Mama Casey really doesn't care. She just wants to scrub her stove in peace. She just tells Em that Rich is a disturbed boy and she and Hugh are searching for a good therapist to send him to. Grrreat. Em goes outside where Cora-Ann and Jessie are building a snowman. Nancy comes walking out of the woods carrying a toolbox and grinning like Hannibal Lecter does just before he eats someone's tongue. But it's cool, kids. Nan was just fixing the treehouse! Um, why? You all are seniors in high school (or older, in Nancy's case). Why would you want a treehouse that you can't even fit in? *sigh* God hath cursed me with a thing called 'logic'. Nancy spots Jessie and Cora-Ann's snowman and tells them it's pathetic which results in a snowball fight. Woooo! Seriously, is anything even remotely horrifying going to happen anytime soon? There's about 50 pages left and I have little hope for them.

Emily leaves for Josh's house "around six". It's already very dark and the roads are pretty icy which is pretty much a recipe for disaster here. The car is racing around curves and such, but when Emily presses on the brake pedal, nothing happens. Of course. Someone screwed with the brakes! Em skids off the road and slams into a tree. The car is totaled and Em wakes up in the hospital. Hugh is the only one there. Mom, Nan, and Jessie went to the movies before the cops called so they have no knowledge of this travesty. *cough* I doubt they'd care anyway *cough* What? I'm just being as passive-aggressive as the rest of this family! Hugh left them a note and came straight to the hospital. Em tells him that she knows it was Nancy who cut the breaks. After all, she learned about cars while institutionalized AND she was seen with the toolbox earlier! That's hardly evidence, doll. Hugh doesn't buy it either and tells Emily that the brakes were loose and he kept meaning to get them fixed, but he didn't and he blames himself for the entire thing. Oh good. He helps Em out of bed and they go home. Say what?! The fucking car was totaled so one would assume this chick would be pretty damaged as well and spending quite a bit of time in the hospital. Ok, fine. I'll overlook this...yep, I'll just turn my head like I always do, Stine, even though you are seriously driving me batty with shit like this...Em must have about 900 lives, though, considering how many times she has escaped death/serious injury with hardly a scratch on her.

When they arrive home, Rich comes out of the kitchen eating ice cream out of the carton. Hugh reacts predictably: "That belongs in a dish, mister. How many times do I have to tell you these things? Aren't you even going to ask Emily how she is? She just had a very serious car accident, you know." It couldn't have been THAT serious, man, if she's up and walking around like not a damn thing happened. Rich replies robotically with "I hope you're ok."

Later that night, Emily wakes up to the sound of someone crying. It's Jessie. Em asks what's wrong and Jessie tells her she had a nightmare about Jolie (her dead friend). Jess apologizes for waking Em and tells her she wants to show her something. She takes out a picture of Jolie and Em takes one look and freaks out for the 5848947 time since this book began. No, Jolie isn't hideously deformed or anything. She looks exactly like Cora-Ann. Ooo!

The next afternoon, Emily is attempting to work on her English paper, but she really REALLY wants to call Josh. Prioritize! She picks up the phone and hears Rich talking to his friend, Willy (my hate for that name knows no bounds). Willy wants Rich to come over because his parents are gone and he has a six-pack that's just begging to be drank by two underage boys. Em hangs up and waits 5 minutes before picking up again. As soon she does, Rich bursts into her room: "Don't bother listening in. I'm already off. Why do you keep spying on me? I heard you! I heard you on the line! I've had it, Emily! What do I have to do to you to get you to stay out of my life?" Emily tries to explain, but he's having none of it and leaves.

Later that night, Jessie and Emily are watching a movie. It's late and when the film ends, the girls start to go upstairs for bed, but they hear someone knocking on the door. It's Cora-Ann and her white overnight bag. Her father returned home and the tension at home is greater than ever. They all head for bed.

Em's alarm goes off the next morning, but she keeps hitting snooze and eventually turns the whole works off. When she finally drags herself out of bed, she realizes it's after 9 and they're all late for school. Emily rushes into the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. And my my my, someone put superglue in the toothpaste. Em's frigging teeth are glued together. Guess you're gonna be even later to school. Jessie and Cora-Ann run into the bathroom. Jess grabs the empty superglue container out of the trash can and reads the label. It says to rinse with water and seek immediate medical attention if the stuff comes in contact with your eyes or mouth. They drive Em to the emergency room where a nice doctor swabs her mouth with some special liquid (no, not water, you little smartass) and the glue comes right off. And the girls head off to school even though they've pretty much missed half the day by now. I've never seen kids who are so eager to get to school and seem to find the concept of missing a day absolutely unthinkable.

In French class, Jessie and Emily pass notes. Jessie writes that she's getting suspicious of Cora-Ann because earlier Cora-Ann mentioned that her mom wants to move back to Parkerstown where Cora-Ann is originally from. Coincidentally, Jolie was also from there. Cora-Ann asked Jessie if Jolie was "the girl who died" and Jessie thought that was weird because she never mentioned Jolie to Cora-Ann. Phew. I think we're caught up now.

Flash forward to Saturday night. Emily is driving for the first time since the accident. She's driving home from Josh's house. How is it that she got a new car? Insurance or something? Hugh and Mama Casey don't make that much, that I know. Oh well. This book is like a slice of swiss cheese, filled with more plot holes than I can count. Anyway, you are about to experience some serious deja vu. When Emily arrives home, she finds it strange that Butch doesn't come to greet her like he usually does. She walks into the living room and spots what appears to be a brown sweater crumpled on the floor. It ain't no damn sweater. It's poor Butch's corpse. ANOTHER dead dog. This is the EXACT SAME SCENE from the first book! It's as if Stine literally just copied and pasted. Emily screams and Jessie comes running from the den. Em tells her it was Nancy who did this. She runs upstairs screaming Nancy's name over and over again and pounding on her bedroom door. Nancy opens it and Em attempts to choke her, but Jessie pulls her off just in time. Emily says "Butch is dead!" and she hears Rich say "Another dog bites the dust." She looks at him and he's standing there with a smirk on his face. Way to incriminate yourself, moron. And to think I once liked you!

The next day, while Hugh is burying Butch, Jessie and Em take a drive to Cora-Ann's house. On the way, they discuss the fact that Mama Casey and Hugh will be visiting sick uncle Mark that evening (when the adults are away, the psycho will play). When they arrive at Cora-Ann's, they get out and as they're heading for the door, a man and woman come out. Jessie tells Emily that they have to hide, she doesn't want them to see her. "Jolie's parents!" What the hell is going on? They spot Jessie and say hello. Mr. Bowen tells the girls that he and Mrs. Bowen were just going out or else they would invite them in. Mrs. Bowen pipes up with "You must be here to see Jolie's cousin, right? Cora-Ann." Ah. So that's it. The Bowens leave and Jessie tells Emily that they have to leave NOW before Cora-Ann spots them. In the car, Jessie tells Em "I forgot that Jolie had a cousin. A cousin who was so upset that she didn't come to the funeral. A cousin who was totally freaked when Jolie died. And now she's wormed her way into my life." Look, I've got crazy cousins, too, including one who is in prison and one who believes he's a "demon hunter", but I don't automatically assume they're murderous stalkers! Jessie believes Cora-Ann wants revenge for Jolie's death. Oh here we go. She blames all the bad things that have been happening (Butch's death, the ripped dress, the superglue) on Cora-Ann. She says those things were meant for her instead of Em. Em buys it and immediately feels guilty for blaming Nancy.

When they arrive home, the dark clouds that have been threatening rain all day finally break open, drenching them both. Once inside, Em runs up to Nancy's room and talks through the locked door, apologizing. Nancy tells her to go away, she's working on her mural. Em goes to change her wet clothes (she puts on a giant smock, of all things). Jess comes into the room and the phone rings. She picks up and it's the dreaded Cora-Ann. Jessie tells her to never bother them again and slams the phone down. The electricity suddenly goes out and this book just turned into every slasher film I've ever seen. The girls stumble to the kitchen in search of candles or matches or a flashlight. Em suddenly remembers there are matches and candles in the dining room beside the "deck of cards Mom won't let us play with." Dirty playing cards...nice one, Mom.

Before they can get to the dining room, someone starts banging on the door. They rightfully assume it's Cora-Ann and Jessie picks up the phone...the line is dead blahblahblah. At this moment (it's all falling into place too perfectly) Cora-Ann bursts through the kitchen door holding a knife. Nancy comes running in and smashes Cora-Ann in the head with a frying pan. Jessie thanks her for saving her life and Nancy responds by hitting Jessie in the head also. Way to go, slugger. Nancy tells Emily that she's next. So, uh, I guess this means she's not cured after all, huh?

As if all this shit weren't convoluted enough, check it out: "Cora-Ann must have taken my bag by mistake. My white canvas bag. She must have thought it was her's. She opened the bag and found my knife. She found my knife and came running over here in the rain. She couldn't wait to show you what she'd found. She almost ruined it for me." Will it never end?! "I waited a whole year to pay you back. I kept my knife hidden in my bag and I waited. I fooled the doctors and pretended to be cured." She takes the knife and lunges at Emily, but the knife just tears through that giant smock she's wearing instead of cutting flesh. Em runs upstairs to Nancy's room and catches a glimpse of the uncovered "mural". The "mural" is just the word 'HATE' written over and over in red paint. Such an artist, that Nancy. Nan runs in and Em grabs her, hugs her, and tells her she forgives her. Mama Casey and Hugh come in then, saying the road was washed out and they had to come back.

Too much action for my brain to process. Seriously, it's like Stine crammed all the action in at the end to make up for the dullness of the rest of the book and it's just way too much! One plot contrivance after the next does not a good book make. I can't even think coherent thoughts...
The last paragraph or so takes place three weeks after the Nancy debacle. Cora-Ann lived; things are better at home and her parents are going to couples therapy. Nancy has been shipped back to Happy Acres or wherever the hell she was before. Jessie, Em, Mom, and Hugh are about to eat dinner. Hugh yells at Rich to get his butt to the table, but Rich is watching TV and wants to see the last bit of his show. What's he watching? Family Feud. Please excuse me while I shoot myself in the face.

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 ...