Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bad Dreams

Book Description:

Every night Maggie Travers has the same horrible dream. Every night she is forced to watch the same murder. And every night the girl in her dream cries out for help. Maggie is afraid to go to sleep again. But when the terrifying dream starts to come true and the gruesome accidents begin, staying awake is the real nightmare!

My Description:

- Prologue-
Not much to tell...a girl is lying in bed, twisting and turning. Suddenly someone pops out of the darkness with a large knife and stabs the girl. We then segue into the first chapter...

The Travers family is moving to Fear Street! Joy of all joys! Well, not for them...and probably not for us, but lets wait and see. Anyway, Ma Travers and her daughters, Maggie (age 17) and Andrea (age 16) and their dog, Gus (please be merciful, God, and let this animal live! LIVE!!! At least through the first five chapters.) are crammed into the car seraching for Fear Street. One would assume that everyone in Shadyside would know where the most notorious street around is, but I suppose not. The Travers family is from North Hills, an upscale area of Shadyside (how fucking big is this town anyway?) and they're not used to being around trashy, haunted dumps like Fear Street. Why are they moving there? Daddy Warbucks...uhhh, I mean TRAVERS passed away a few months back and the family can no longer the afford the luxury of North Hills. Or something. Who cares why they're moving? Everyone ends up on Fear Street eventually! Yee-haw!

While Mom is driving, Maggie and Andrea are bickering like 5 year olds. I'm serious, these two act like total babies for the majority of the book. Whiny babies with diaper rash. Yeah. The arguements are basically variations of this: (paraphrased for your convenience)

Andrea: WAHHHHH! Maggie, you get everything! You're so much better than me! WAHHHHH! I have man shoulders and ugly hair and I used to be popular, but now I'm not and you are, Maggie! Since I can't hang out at the country club with my North Hills friends and make fun of the crippled and elderly, I'm going to bitch about it everyday and treat my family like shit! WAHHHHH!

Maggie: First of all, fuck off, Andrea. Second, you're just jealous of my sexy, airheaded boyfriend Justin and my bitchy, competitive friends from the swim team. Yeah, you're on the swim team, too, but no-one cares because you suck! Now shut up while I make sweet lurve to my boyfriend, you poopy head!

See what I mean? Totally childish. Their poor mother should have tied cinder blocks around their ankles and thrown them in the river. Unfortunately, she's too nice for such hate crimes. Anyway, they finally manage to locate the house. The movers are already there, hauling all their things inside. Mom opens the trunk of the car so they can retrieve the things they brought with them. Maggie reminds Andrea to NOT let Gus out yet. Of course Andrea walks her manly shoulders right over to the car door when Maggie isn't looking and Gus comes springing out. Mom and Maggie see Gus running full speed down the sidewalk and Mom yells for Andrea to grab him. Andrea responds predictably: "It's Maggie's dog. Let Maggie get him." What a useless sack of crap this girl is. She isn't even helping her mother and sister get things out of the trunk and God forbid she grab the FAMILY dog before it gets ran over. Maggie chases Gus and suddenly he runs into the road...right into the path of an oncoming truck. NOOOOOOOOO! It can't be! Stine, you cruel bastard! WHHHYYYY?!?!? Oh, never mind. Maggie grabs him just in time. Phew. He's safe...for now. Maggie drags him back to the house and goes to check out her new room. She's surprised to find a gorgeous canopy bed sitting inside...a canopy bed that wasn't there when her family first viewed the house. She loves it and marvels at her good luck. Of course that rat Andrea has to ruin the good mood by coming in, begging sweetly for the bed, and promptly throwing a shit fit when Maggie says "Finders keepers." HA! In your fat face, Andrea! I'm sorry, but I truly loathe this that so bad? Don't answer that.

That night after dinner, Justin (he of the sexy and the airheadedness) calls Maggie. Maggie can't believe Justin ever even wanted to go out with her because he's so popular and dreamy and wonderful. Maggie's swim team pal, Dawn, briefly dated him, but wasn't so impressed. One lady's trash is another lady's treasure! I use the word 'treasure' loosely. Maggie dutifully complains about the dreary house ("It's like something out of The Addams Family." Except even the Addams wouldn't stoop that low.) and Justin says he can't wait to see it so they make a date for the following afternoon. Immediately after they hang up, Dawn calls. The girls carry on about swimming and Andrea stares menacingly at Maggie because Maggie is so popular! WAHHH! Go play in traffic, Andrea.

That night, the girls are at their bullshit antics again. They have to share a bathroom and Andrea has been holed up in there for quite some time, not allowing Maggie her turn. Of course Maggie keeps yelling and banging on the door. Instead of telling Maggie that she has explosive diarrhea and it's going to be a while, Andrea simply doesn't respond which only makes Maggie angrier. Finally Andrea emerges in a cloud of steam and tells Maggie "The water pressure stinks! And I had to let the shower run for a year before the brown water stopped coming out!" A likely story.

Maggie eventually gets to bed and has the first of a series of "bad" dreams. In this particular dream, Maggie sees a girl lying in bed. That's all. But Maggie just knows that girl is in trouble, dammit! People don't just SLEEP like that for no reason! *sigh* Maggie wakes up screaming, drawing the attention of her mother and Andrea. Are you serious, Mr. Stine? Are you really? That was NOT a bad dream! Nothing happened! Maggie tells them about the dream and when she mentions that the girl in the bed had blonde hair, Andrea tells Maggie that she dreamed about Dawn. Whatever.

The next morning, Maggie begins setting her room up to look the way it did in her old house. But it doesn't look quite the same because Fear Street sucks, remember? She gets dressed and goes downstairs to wait for Justin. The hours pass and he FINALLY shows up at around five o'clock. Maggie is pissed, but her anger fades away when she looks into Justin's baby blues. *BARF* And check this shit out--he brought her a freaking bag of sponges as a gift because she mentioned they were doing heavy duty cleaning around the house. This guy is a class act...he didn't show up on time and as an apology, he gives you a damn bag of sponges? What the hell is wrong with you, Maggie? I don't care HOW good he looks! He's a jerk! Maggie gets the sweet prince a can of Sprite (what? No Coke?) and takes him on the grand tour. And by 'grand tour' I mean she takes him to her room and they make out. This chick is compltely whipped. Justin could tell her to peel her own skin off and she'd do it. Maggie confesses that she's incredibly nervous about swimming tryouts the next day. Justin really isn't all that useful in calming her nerves. Maggie also tells him about her stupid dream. Justin's response? "He says "Weird." just before sticking his tongue down her throat. *sigh* I give up. Maggie glances at the door and sees Andrea there. Maggie accuses her of spying on them. Andrea denies it, saying she just needs to borrow a pair of socks because she can't find her's. Maggie finds a pair while Andrea tries to engage Justin in conversation by complimenting him on his baseball skills. Why do you people insist on blowing smoke up this guy's ass? He treats you both like crap! Actually, he doesn't treat Andrea like anything because that would mean acknowledging her presence (which he doesn't). After Andrea leaves, Maggie mentions her dream again. Justin shows he cares by pretending to die. Seriously. He grabs his throat, makes a choking sound, and collapses to the floor. Is that his way of telling her he'd rather die than listen to her for one more second? Maggie, that idiot, actually buys it! She honestly thinks he's dying until he starts laughing. Is anything interesting or scary going to happen anytime soon? The only terrifying thing about this book so far is Justin's total lack of a brain and Maggie's gelatinous spine. They wrestle and Justin leaves. My brain is now throbbing.

The next day, the swim team is in the locker room preparing for tryouts. Apparently there are a few slots open for something called the 200IM (Individual Medley) taking place at the All-State meet. Coach Randall (a 40 year old who almost made it to the Olympics in her formative years but wasn't good enough so now she has to coach these jokers) has chosen four girls (Dawn, Andrea, Maggie, Tiffany Hollings) who will tryout for the coveted slots. Andrea whines about losing her bathing cap and accuses Maggie of stealing it. One of the girls tells Andrea that her cap is sticking out from under her backpack. Andrea blushes in embarrassment as everyone laughs at her. They all leave the locker room and once by the pool, Coach tells them to get over to their places and wait for the whistle. They dive in and Maggie ends up winning the race. Andrea is last. I'm sure she'll mope and bitch plenty. After an hour of regular pratice, they all hit the showers. As Maggie emerges from the locker room after dressing and gathering her things, she sees someone floating facedown in the pool. It's Dawn. Maggie automatically assumes that one of the best swimmers on the team has done gone and drowned herself! She dives in to save the day, but Dawn is fine and gets pissed off at Maggie for acting like a damned fool. Then the girls laugh like hyenas at Maggie's wet clothes. Har har. NOT.

On Tuesday night, Maggie has another dream. This time, the girl is writhing on her bed again. Suddenly a figure holding a knife (we saw all this in the prologue) bursts out of the darkness. The girl slams her head against the headboard and Maggie wakes up. She thinks about the bed the girl was in...the bed with a pink canopy...ruh-roh! Andrea comes in then and Maggies freaks out because she thinks it's the girl. Maggie rehashes the entire dream and Andrea tells her that she's only having these dreams because she's under a lot of pressure with the swim team and such. That is always the excuse in these books! Bad dreams? You're just under pressure. Got cancer? It's just pressure. Whatever! Maggie ruins this sisterly moment by bringing up her win which inevitably leads to Andrea throwing a hissy fit and storming out.

On Friday, as Maggie is heading to geology class, she spots Dawn on the stairs. She calls to her and tries to push through the crowd, but she can't manage. Suddenly, Dawn goes tumbling down the stairs. She starts screaming that her arm is broken and someone pushed her. Maggie rushes to her side at this moment and Dawn accuses her. Maggie swears she didn't do it, but Dawn doesn't really believe her. Maggie runs off to the girls room to cry her eyes out. She eventually makes her way to geology class where the teacher is more concerned about discussing the class trip than actually teaching them anything. Next Wednesday, they'll be going to the caverns at Glenn Rock Mountain and you better believe something stupid will happen there.

On Saturday morning, Maggie goes outside and sits on the creaky old swingset that resides in the backyard. Then she gets up, squashes some berries from a bush for no apparent reason, and falls asleep sitting against a tree trunk. Ok then. Wonder how much she had to drink. She wakes up to an old man asking if she's been baking long. He points to the sun and then introduces himself as Milton Avery. He and his wife, Claire, live next door. He tells her that he's so glad someone finally moved into the empty house. Maggie is curious as to why her home stood empty for so long. Mr. Avery invites her over for tea and says his wife will tell her the whole story. Hopefully they'll kill her and we can end this thing now. Ok, ok, I don't really mean that, but dammit, man, this book is BORING! We're more than halfway through and NOTHING has happened. Throw me a frickin' bone, Stine! Oh why do I even bother asking? He'll never change his wicked ways. Anyway, the Averys tell Maggie that a girl named Miranda Helfer was stabbed in her own bed in that house. Then the chapter ends and how I wish it hadn't because...

On Saturday night, Maggie and Justin are on a date at the movies. Maggie's mind is a million miles away, though. She can't stop thinking about the dream. These pages are a little boring, but at least I'm not reading about these two fools playing tonsil hockey in a darkened movie theater. In the parking lot after the movie, Maggie spots Dawn and Tiffany hanging out. They'll hang out in the parking lot, but they won't go in to watch anything...smells like teen spirit. Maggie signs Dawn's cast while Justin acts like a whiny child, tugging on Maggie's hand and telling her he wants to leave. Maggie glares at him and cracks his skull open with a hammer. Just kidding. That scene only occured in MY dreams. They leave, but instead of taking Maggie home, Justin pulls off onto a deserted street. This has 'date rape' written all over it. They kiss for a few minutes, but Maggie starts thinking about the damn dream again and pulls away. She says it's too uncomfortable in this tiny car and Justin says they can sit under a tree instead. Just shut up, Justin. Why don't YOU sit under the tree while Maggie drives far far away. Maggie starts rambling about the dream. She thinks the bed remembers the murder and it's making her have dreams about it. Yes, you read that correctly. THE BED REMEMBERS. Justin looks at her like she's crazy, but she's just says she must be right. Then Maggie says the dreams could be messages from Miranda. Justin just giggles at this. What kind of 17 year old guy GIGGLES? Oh's the end of the chapter, mercifully.

At the next swim practice, Coach Randall informs the team that Maggie and Tiffany will be representing them at the All-State meet. Yippee. She tells Andrea that she gets to be the alternate in case Tiffany or Maggie is unable to compete. Andrea just sulks like she usually does. I'm so sick of her immature bullshit. GROW UP!!!

That night, Maggie has another dream. This time, the girl (Miranda) gets stabbed, but Maggie still can't see the murderer's face. She wakes up screaming and screams some more when she spots Andrea standing in the corner holding a gleaming object. A knife? No, a curling iron. She tells Maggie that she couldn't sleep so she was going to play with her hair for a while and needed Maggie's curling iron. Ok? Andrea leaves the room and Maggie decides to go downstairs to read or something. She grabs Moby Dick with the thought that it's so long and boring, it should make her sleepy soon. But once she goes downstairs, she can't concentrate...her thoughts are filled with the dream. She decides to go back to bed in the hopes that she'll dream again so she can see the killer's face. When she reaches her room, she flips on the light and screams. The big knife is sticking out of her pillow! And her blanket isn't the way she left it! Give me a break. She runs to get her mother and drags her back to her room. Of course when her mom looks, nothing is there. Maggie is pissed because she believes Andrea set this all up. She sprints to Andrea's room and starts screaming at her. Andrea tells her that she's crazy, Mom tells them both that they'll all talk about in the morning, and Maggie storms off in the typical manner.

Tuesday afternoon at swim practice, Coach Randall reminds everyone that the big meet is on Friday and then tells them to swim 10 laps. Three of the four girls who raced earlier in the book (Tiffany, Maggie, and Andrea. Dawn's arm = busted.) race again for no reason. Are there any other girls on the team? If so, they're never mentioned even in passing. Tiffany wins the race and I don't even have to tell you who loses because she's just a loser in general. After practice, as Maggie is exiting the locker room, Coach Randall asks to talk to her in her office. Maggie thinks this is weird because the Coach is a woman of few words. I think it's perfectly normal because this is nothing more than a plot contrivance as you will soon see. They talk about swimming and Maggie's home life and the conversation is over within minutes. Maggie walks out of the office and spots Tiffany lying face down beside the pool in a puddle of blood. Maggie runs over and sees a stab wound in Tiff's side. The knife is lying nearby! AIIIIEEE! Maggie stupidly picks up the knife (never disturb the crime scene!) just as everyone comes running. Maggie says "I didn't do it! Really!"

Later, Maggie is lying on the sofa at home while her mother tells her that no-one really suspected her of the crime. They didn't suspect you, Maggie, they just...suspect you. Andrea comes in with a shit eating grin on her face--now that Tiffany and Dawn are sufficiently incapacitated, Andrea gets to compete in the big meet! Motive much? Maggie tells Andrea that people might think SHE stabbed Tiffany, but Andrea just laughs and says "What an idea!" Yeah... Anyway, Maggie has another dream that night, but I'm not going to rehash it because it's the same shit all over again basically. The only difference is that Maggie chases the girl and asks her if she's a ghost. The girl nods and Maggie wakes up. But the ghost girl is still there! She's holding a knife and preparing to stab Maggie. Maggie screams "Miranda! Don't! Please!" Just as Maggie's mom comes in, the ghostly Miranda dives out an open window. Why would she need to do that? She's a freaking ghost...couldn't she just make herself disappear into thin air? Mom sees Maggie lying on the floor mumbling about ghosts and almost immediately tells Maggie that she's getting her some professional help. You're just wasting your money, Ma.

And now we come to the day of the geology trip! Fun times...creeping through caverns. The teacher, Mrs. Harrison, has divided the class into groups. Maggie is in a group with a few other girls whom she doesn't know well. Their teacher must be a moron...she's letting all the groups split up. Wouldn't it make more sense to stick together? What if someone got lost or hurt? Oh well...if none of them care about these things, I suppose I shouldn't either. Maggie somehow gets seperated from her group and becomes lost in the twisting tunnels. She hears footsteps behind her in the dark and freaks out. She starts running blindly through the tunnel. Someone says her name and shines a flashlight on her. It's Justin, her knight in dull armor. He tells her that everyone is on the buses and they're waiting for her. Maggie blurts out "I thought you were the killer from my dream." Good God, will it ever end?!?! And how is it that everyone is already back on the buses? They were only in this cavern for like 5 minutes. I guess there are other things to see. Or something. Anyway, Justin gets ticked off because she mentioned the dream AGAIN and they walk out of the cavern in silence.

The next day, as Maggie is walking home from school, Justin comes running up to her like a lost little puppy. Maggie tells him that she's been seeing a psychiatrist and Justin, in all his sensitive majestic glory, says "A shrink?" Please excuse me while I slam my head into the wall a few thousand times. Justin says that they can go out Friday to celebrate her winning the big swim meet because he's sooooo sure she'll win. As they're hugging, Maggie glances over his shoulder and sees Miranda standing on the sidewalk. NOOO! And Maggie sees this as her chance to prove to Justin that she isn't completely crazy. She tells him to look, but there's nothing there when he turns. Maggie, embarrassed, says "Later" and trudges home.

When she gets home, Andrea tells her that the Averys are having a cookout and they're invited. They head over (Mom is already there) and eat burgers and fries. Andrea is all jokes and smiles for once instead of moping around like a suicidal emo chick. Maggie is the one moping this time. She ends up leaving early. At home, she decides to go to sleep and figure out the rest of the mystery. Yes. Please do that. Quickly. But surprise surprise! The bed is gone! It's been replaced with a totally different bed...NOT A CANOPY IN SIGHT. Maggie completely flips out. Andrea comes in and tells her that Mom moved the bed to the attic because the damned thing was obviously making Maggie nuts. And it still is. Andrea says that Mrs. Avery made chocolate pie for dessert (Maggie's favorite) and Mom wants Maggie to come back for a slice. So she does.

Later that night, Maggie waits until she's certain Andrea and Mom have fallen asleep. She climbs out of bed and up to the attic as quietly as possible. She gets a shock when she sees someone is sleeping in the canopy bed. Prepare yourselves for the dumbest ending ever, kids. The girl lying in the bed leaps up, grabs her handy dandy knife, and heads toward Maggie. Maggie thinks this is Miranda's ghost, but it's just gotta be more convoluted than that. It's Miranda's sister, Gena. Gena killed Miranda because Miranda was mean. Yes, that's really her reason. Gena's parents shipped her off to a mental hospital, but Gena is straight up crafty, man, and she managed to escape. She's been living in the attic all this time! She sneaks out for food and such when the Travers aren't in the house. She stabbed Tiffany and shoved Dawn down the stairs and put the knife in Maggie's pillow that time. Why? Well, Maggie is mean to Andrea (as if it isn't also the other way around) just like Miranda was mean to Gena and mean people have to die! Andrea enters the room then and Gena says "Hi, Andrea. I'm going to kill your sister for you now." Oh Gena...I think I love you. Maggie suddenly thinks that Andrea was in on this, but Andrea never knew about the psychopath in the attic. Gena steps toward Maggie to stab her. The girls wrestle a little until Andrea throws the canopy over them. She lifts a corner and tells Maggie to hurry out. They hold the canopy down over Gena. Why doesn't Gena just slice the fabric with that stupid knife? The hand holding the knife pokes out from beneath the canopy and Andrea grabs the weapon and throws it down.

The last few pages are of Mom, Andrea, and Maggie sitting around the kitchen table talking about what happened. They called the cops after Andrea got the knife away and Gena was hauled back to wear she came from. Hey, wonder if she knows Nancy Casey? The bed is permenantly relegated to the attic and everything is all better. The last line of the book? "Goodnight...and sweet dreams." Oh fuck off!

Conclusion? This isn't a book at all. It's a soul sucking demon sent directly from hell to torment all who dare touch it. Seriously, though, don't waste your time with this isn't worth it. The only good thing about it was that Gus LIVED! YES!

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