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!


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 ...