Friday, October 31, 2008

The Sleepwalker

Book Description:

One week after she starts her summer job on Fear Street with old Mrs. Cottler, Mayra Barnes begins to sleepwalk. How terrifying to wake up outdoors in the middle of the night and not know where she is! Mayra becomes even more terrified when she discovers Mrs. Cottler may be a witch. Is the old woman casting a spell on Mayra to make her sleepwalk? To add to Mayra's horror, she is being followed by a menacing stranger who seems to recognize her. But she's never seen him in her life! Mayra's sleepwalking is leading her into more and more peril. She soon realizes she must take action. She must find out what is happening to her--or she may never leave Fear Street alive!

My Description:


It's the middle of the night and Mayra is sleepwalking. She stops at the edge of the street and wakes up confused. And that's it. The most pointless prologue in history!

One Week Earlier

Mayra is eating breakfast with her mom and ten year old sister, Kim. Kim is an annoying little shit who can't resist complaining about the eggs ("They look like puke.") and mimicking everything Mayra says. HATE! Thankfully Mom will be tossing the little brat out at day camp in just a bit. She asks Mayra is she's excited about her new job with Mrs. Cottler. Mayra isn't too enthused because she doesn't waste a perfectly good summer. Mom is a nurse who took care of Cottler in the hospital LAST summer and apparently the old lady is a total pain in the ass. Good luck with that, Mayra. Better you than me. Mom thinks that Mayra hit the jackpot, though: "I mean, five dollars an hour just to straighten up, prepare her lunch, and read to her in the afternoon? Come on, Mayra, you lucked out." Doesn't sound too lucky to me. Plus, what if there's more that old Cottler forgot to mention? Like changing her crusty diapers or washing her wrinkly, saggy body? I may have thrown up in my mouth a little just thinking about it. Anyway, a few minutes later, they all head out. And joy of all joys--Cottler lives on Fear Street! Ain't life grand? *barf*

It's now Wednesday afternoon, Mayra's third day with Mrs. Cottler. As it turns out, Cottler is only SLIGHTLY bitchy and Mayra gets along with her fairly well. Anyway, it's lunchtime and Cottler's stupid black cat, Hazel, has just broken Mayra's favorite necklace, beads scattering across the floor. Cottler says she'll restring the beads while Mayra dishes out some soup. How sweet. A little later, they go for a walk out by the lake. Cottler can't resist mentioning that her son drowned in this lake years before. The lake is near Fear Street so I seriously doubt her son is the only one who met his untimely end there. Back at the house, Mayra reads to Cottler from "Nicholas Nickelby" by Charles Dickens while Cottler pets the cat and dozes off a few times. I don't think this could possibly get any more boring. Sleeping geriatrics aren't scary, Stine. Cottler wakes up long enough to ask Mayra to fetch her a sweater. Mayra runs upstairs to Cottler's bedroom and randomly opens a drawer. She's amazed by all the black candles she finds inside. This kid must be starved for entertainment--even I'M not that easily amused. Hazel enters the room and lets out a loud shriek. Mayra quickly finds a sweater and dashes out of the room because she doesn't like the way Hazel is staring at her: "All the while she could feel the cat's eyes on her, admonishing her for looking where she shouldn't have looked, accusing her, warning her..." Cats can do many things, but I've never met one who could admonish, accuse, or warn.

On the way home, Mayra can't stop thinking about Hazel and the black candles. She also contemplates her deadbeat father who left the family a few years back and her boyfriend, Walker, who has been away for a few weeks. Where? No idea. I'll just assume it's a sordid story involving a mental institution. Or something. Anyway, Mayra is mooning over Walker's kisses when someone grabs her shoulder. A homicidal maniac?! No, just a regular maniac--it's her ex-boyfriend, Link. Who the hell names their kid Link? Is his last name Sausage? Yes, I'm lame. *sigh* She broke up with him a month ago and the poor sap is still trying to get back with her. He says he really wants to talk. Mayra refuses because Link the sausage is very conceited and she's completely over him and she has Walker now. She runs off and screams "Have a nice life!" at him to which he replies "You'll be sorry!" Whatever.

The next afternoon, Mayra is about to begin reading to Mrs. Cottler when they hear a loud knock at the door. Mayra answers it and finds a very angry bald man on the other side. His name is Mr. Kleeg (Cottler calls him Mr. Clean) and he has a complaint: "The peaches from your tree fall all over my backyard. I can't mow the lawn! I can't walk in my yard because of your peaches!" Cottler simply says that she cannot make the fruit stay in the tree. Mr. Clean storms off after threatening to cut down the tree. Cottler picks up a handkerchief that he dropped and pockets it like a good old thief. The ladies get back to their reading, but Mayra can't concentrate because all she can think about is Walker. A few facts about Walker: he's very shy, has blond hair, and is obsessed with magic. In fact, he wants to be a professional magician. That's probably where he was for the past few weeks--magic camp! "This one time at magic camp..." He comes home on Saturday and Mayra can't wait to get her hands on him. Hawt. Cottler interrupts the reading to tell Mayra that she's tired and wants a nap. Mayra helps her upstairs and prepares to leave early. When she gets downstairs, she notices that Cottler's cane is still there and decides to take it up to her. She peeks into the room and spots Cottler sitting up in bed, facing the wall, and holding Mr. Clean's handkerchief. She's completely motionless and that worries Mayra, but not enough for her to do anything about it. She props the cane against the wall and runs home. Good one.

The next day, she calls her friend, Donna Cash, and confesses that she thinks Cottler is a witch. You must be shrooming, Mayra. A black cat and black candles are hardly evidence of witchcraft. This isn't the dark ages! Donna doesn't think Cottler is a witch and tells Mayra that she should just ask the old lady if she is. Girls, you're both addled in the brain. Mayra mentions Stephanie, Link's sister, and the fact that she was so interested in the occult and witchcraft. And that statement leads Donna to mention something that has never been mentioned before in a Fear Street novell (at least not so directly). Let us all gaze in wide-eyed wonder at the ground breaking statement: "Yeah, Stephanie was really into [the occult] for a while. I think it was before she discovered sex!" SEX! Stine finally acknowledged that some teenagers have sex! And was Donna calling Steph a slut? Catty. The conversation steers toward Walker; Donna thinks that Mayra spends too much time with him and now his magical beliefs are starting to rub off on her. Blah blah blah. The girls hang up and Mayra heads to Cottler's house. When she reaches Fear Street, she sees an ambulance and Mr. Clean being wheeled out of his house on a stretcher. She asks Cottler what happened and Cottler says that Mr. Clean broke his hip. Cottler seems pretty pleased as she says "I warned him something bad would happen the way he was carrying on yesterday." Oooo...witchy woman.

On Sunday, Mayra meets up with Walker at his house. Walker wasn't at the asylum after all; he was traveling out west with his family. Yee haw. Mayra randomly mentions that Walker has big hands and he says "Big hands are good for magic." *cough*That's not what I heard*cough* After some boring card tricks, they head off to Ray's Pizza Place (what happened to Pete's?) These two have some extremely engaging conversation over pizza...

Walker: "I like your sundress. I've never seen your shoulders before."
Mayra: "I have two of them."
Walker: "I know. I counted."

Dear. God. Are they serious? This book is truly an enigma--we go from sex to THAT? Anyway, when Mayra gets home, her mom tells her Link Sausage called which both disgusts and flatters Mayra. She goes to bed and has a dream in which she's standing on the shore of the lake. She steps into the lake and discovers she can walk on the surface. As she's walking, she notices someone standing on the opposite short watching her. Before she can figure out who it is, she wakes up. She's shocked to find herself standing on her lawn. This book isn't called "The Sleepwalker" for nothing.

After "work" the next day, Mayra walks to the mall. As she passes the cemetery, a man steps out of a house across the road and stares at Mayra as if he knows her. We get the obligatory description: "He was nearly seven feet tall, powerfully built, and had a football player's neck, almost wider than his head. He was wearing black spandex bicycle shorts and a red, sleeveless T-shirt that showed off his commanding chest and bulging muscles. With his square, red-cheeked face and short, blond flat-top haircut, he looked like the stereotype of a marine drill sergeant or a pro football middle linebacker." Sounds like a prize. *snort* Why does this guy get such a lengthy description? We didn't get half that about Mayra and she's the main character. Oh well. The man calls out and chases Mayra for a few blocks before giving up. She dives on a bus and rides the rest of the way to the mall, still shaken by the man. Her bad day gets a little worse when she stops in front of the pizza place and spots Walker inside holding hands with a girl named Suki Thomas who is, according to Mayra, "the trashiest girl in school." Magicians have such class. Mayra runs inside and interrupts the moment by rambling about her freaky experience with the big necked man. Then she takes the time to accuse the two of getting a little too close. Walker explains: "I was showing her a coin trick. You know, which hand has the coin? That's all." Mayra believes him because he's Walker. *sigh* She sits with them for a few moments before dashing home. So awkward.

After dinner, Mayra and Mom chat about the sleepwalking incident and coffee. Yes, coffee. Mom likes it strong: "I like it strong. Strong and greasy." Is that how she likes her men, too? And just how the hell can coffee be greasy? My brain hurts. Mayra is incredibly upset about sleepwalking outside and Mom, like all other Shadyside parents, wants her to see a "shrink". I don't think these people ever say psychiatrist. It's always shrink. Suddenly the doorbell rings. It's Stephanie. She and Mayra go up to Mayra's room to talk. Steph says that Link is really messed up and Mayra needs to stop hurting him. Say what? Steph is pissed off and tells Mayra she needs to get back with Link. Bullshit! Mayra just says that Link has to grow up sometime. The conversation ends just like Mayra's last conversation with LINK ended; Stephanie says "You'll be sorry." and Mayra says "Have a nice life." You weren't even trying with this one, were you, Stine? Oh, and Stephanie steals a scarf from Mayra. These people are hella lame.

That night, Mayra has the dream again and wakes up on Fear Street where she's found by a police officer because the police force has nothing better to do than chase sleepwalkers. So very sad. Back at home, Mom says she's going to take her to a doctor. Then Kim comes in and pretends that she's also a sleepwalker. Stupid little Karen Brewer wannabe.

The next day, Walker comes over just before Mayra has to leave for work. He tells her that maybe he could hypnotize her and figure out why she's sleepwalking. I think you misjudge your abilities, Walker. She refuses and says she's gotta go to work so Walker walks her there. She goes inside Cottler's house, but the old lady is nowhere to be seen. Upstairs, Mayra hears the shower running and uses the ooportunity to snoop around Cottler's bedroom. She spots her beads (still unstrung) lying beside a melted black candle and freaks out. The shower shuts off and she scampers downstairs and fixes some tuna salad. You just gotta love the random nature of this book. Cottler comes downstairs a few minutes later and they have lunch. Later, a thunderstorm prevents them from taking their usual walk to the lake. They read for a while and Mayra leaves afterward. Zzzzzzzz.

As she's walking home, Link comes jogging up. Not this again. He asks Mayra if she'd like a ride home and at first she refuses, but when Link promises not to ask her out, she agrees. The ride isn't as tense as one would expect. He drops her off and Donna is waiting on the porch for her. They go inside and talk for a bit and Donna mentions that some big muscly guy who said his name was Cal stopped by a little earlier and asked for Mayra. Uh-oh. He said Cottler gave him the address. Makes sense. NOT.

That weekend, Mayra, Mom, Kim, and Donna go to Lake Monolac to stay in a cabin owned by Mayra's uncle George. Mom thinks a peaceful weekend away is just what Mayra needs. Yeah, take your kid to a lake when she's been having nightmares about A LAKE. Just leave...but don't forget to tie a cement block around Kim's ankle and throw her in the middle of the damned lake before you go. That would REALLY help Mayra. Mayra tells Mom that she wants to quit her job, but Mom gets all pissy and won't let her. Oh well. Mayra walks over to Donna who is laughing while Kim pretends to sleepwalk AGAIN. Mayra gets ticked AGAIN. But Kim's friend, Andy, interrupts by throwing a plastic toy car into the lake: "Look! It floats!" Mayra looks and starts screaming "NO!" over and over again. Shut up already. ALL of you.

Monday morning, Mayra is back at Cottler's. Cottler says she has something to tell Mayra. Her sister, who lives in Vermont, is ill and she's going to visit. She wants Mayra to come by and feed Hazel, get the mail, and water the plants and she'll pay her the usual salary. Mayra is ecstatic and thinks "I'll pay you to go away." Nice. Cottler goes back to chopping something at the kitchen counter. Mayra looks over her shoulder and thinks it's a human hand on the cutting board, but Cottler says it's pig's knuckles. God, this book is stupid.

When she gets home, her mom calls and tells her that Donna has been in a bad car accident. So Mayra calls Donna's room to see how she is. She's got a broken leg, a broken wrist, and bruised ribs. Ouch. Donna says some nut in a red pickup truck ran her off the road and Mayra automatically assumes it was Link because he drives a red truck and is pissed off at Mayra (Donna was driving Mayra's mother's Toyota for some reason). Shut up, Mayra. Please. Later, Mayra goes to visit Walker. He doesn't seem to happy to see her: "What are you doing here?" Nice to see you, too, jackass. Anyway, they talk for a few hours about witches and Donna and other crap I couldn't care less about at this point. Mayra tells Walker her idiotic theory about Mrs. Cottler: "Mrs. Cottler was in the hospital a while back and my mother was her nurse. And somehow Mrs. Cottler got the crazy idea that my mother was trying to kill her. She complained to the hospital and made a big fuss. [I think] she hired me and cast a spell on me to pay back my mother." You've got to be kidding. Does this moron not realize that plenty of people sleepwalk and it has NOTHING to do with witchcraft? Walker gets excited when he finds out that Cottler is going away for a few days because that will give him and Mayra a chance to look for clues in the house. No comment.

The next day, Mayra and Walker head over to Cottler's. As soon as Walker sees Hazel, he says "A black cat. Well, that proves the old lady is a witch!" No, it doesn't! It proves NOTHING! The color of the fucking cat doesn't mean anything! Do us all a favor and disappear. They go into the library and find a bunch of books on sleepwalking which inspires Walker to once again proclaim that she is a witch. Walker, I swear I will send you back to your maker if you say the word WITCH again. They're about to leave the room when Mayra spots two photos lying on the desk. One is of Link and the other of Steph. She opens a desk drawer and finds more photos of them and a birthday card signed "Happy Birthday, Aunt Lucy. Love, Stephanie." Mystery solved. Mayra remembers her beads and runs upstairs, but they're gone.

Later, Mayra visits Donna at the hospital and explains what she found at Cottler's. Donna says that doesn't really mean anything (thank you!) but Mayra thinks it makes perfect sense. Donna gets sleepy a few minutes later so Mayra leaves to brood some more. She decides to go visit Steph. Real intelligent. The front door to Steph's house is open so Mayra pulls open the screen door and calls for Steph. No-one answers so Mayra lets herself in and goes upstairs. She pushes open the door to Steph's bedroom and is shocked at what she sees. Steph is sitting in the floor chanting. Three black candles are lit and she has Mayra's scarf tied around her head. Predictable much? Steph stops her chanting and turns, asking Mayra what she's doing here. She tells Mayra to let herself out. HA. But Mayra needs to know why Steph is using her scarf to cast a spell on her. Steph laughs and says she wasn't casting spells and she was using the stupid scarf to hold her hair back. Mayra brings up Cal, but Steph doesn't know him. They argue for a few minutes. Then Steph drops a bomb: "I thought you had come to make up with Link since Walker dropped you." BOOM! "Everyone knows he's going with Suki Thomas now." Never trust a magician. Mayra refuses to believe it and the girls end up apologizing to one another about fighting. Mayra exits the house just as Link pulls up. She makes sure to examine his truck for dents or anything that would indicate he ran Donna over. She finds nothing and feels guilty for her suspicions.

That night, she has the dream again. This time, she's able to see the person standing on the short--it's Walker. Then she starts to drown. She wakes up and she really is drowning. Luckily, a man in a speedboat (S.S. Plot Contrivance) who just happens to be fishing in the middle of the night drags her out of the water just in time.

The next day, Mayra goes to the hospital's psychiatric ward to visit Dr. Sterne about her corroded brain. Unfortunately, she spots Cal. She realizes that he's after her because he's a mental patient. I don't know how many times I have to say this...shut up, Mayra. He sees her and starts to come after her. She freaks out and runs. Some nurses grab him as Mayra ducks into Dr. Sterne's office. She tells him all about her dreams and sleepwalking episodes and he says he believes it's occurring because of repressed trauma. That's just fancy talk for "Go ahead and allow yourself to drown because we're sick of your shit." He prescribes her a pill and tells her they're out of time. Mayra goes up a few floors to visit Donna and report the latest news. And that's it.

That night, Mayra decides to go to the lake while she's awake. Why? I guess it doesn't really matter. Nothing in this book makse any sense anyway. She sits down on the short and takes off her shoes. As she does, she hears someone behind her. It's Link. He saw her walking down Fear Street and followed her. Creepy. After some small talk, Link can't control himself any longer and grabs Mayra. He says he misses her and won't let go until she admits she misses him, too. She flips out, punches him in the head, and dives into the lake. I really hate this chick. The water suddenly helps her remember something horrible that happened a few weeks ago. She makes it to short and asks Link to take her home. She just punched the guy in the side of the head and now she expects him to take her home? She's got balls. Once home, she runs to her room and struggles to piece together the events of that night. Prepare yourselves for a flashback. I'm sure we're in for a convoluted ride (yes, even more convoluted than the rest of this book):

Mayra and Walker were at the mall on that fateful night and some kids were making fun of Walker because of his fondness for magic. So when he and Mayra reach the parking lot, he finds a car with the keys in the ignition and decides to steal it to prove that he isn't a nerd, he's a rebel, dammit! He speeds, plows into another car, and that car rolls into the lake. Mayra freaks out, afraid that the people in that car won't make it. A man splashes to the surface, but Walker pretends he doesn't see and drags Mayra to the car and drives away. Asshole! End flashback.

Mayra calls Walker and tells him to meet her at Cottler's tomorrow evening. They meet and end up at the lake. Where Walker hypnotizes Mayra. Put me out of my misery. Anyway, as Walker is attempting to hypnotize Mayra by waving a lighter back and forth in her face, he says "You will continue to forget about that night at River Ridge. You will not be troubled by the yellow car." Oh shit. Mayra's eyes fly open and she is pissed: "You filthy creep! I knew that's what you did to me that horrible night. My sleepwalking! It was all your fault and you've known it all along!" Mayra freaks out further because someone died that night and Walker really doesn't give a shit. And she REALLY loses it when Walker says "I've been going out with Suki. Everybody in the world knows that. I just hung around you to make sure your memory didn't come back." This guy is a worldclass asshole!!! She says she's telling the cops about the accident, but Walker can't allow that to ruin his chances of becoming a famous magician so he shoves Mayra's head underwater to drown her. But Hazel comes out of nowhere and starts clawing the living hell out of him and he's forced to let Mayra go. This book makes no fucking sense!

Mayra flees to Cottler's house where she calls the cops and finds Hazel in the kitchen licking her paws. How the hell did the thing get back so fast? Suddenly a rock flies through the window and Walker climbs in through the hole. Mayra runs to the door and finds Cal on the other side. If this isn't a crazy night from hell, I don't know what is. Cal looks at Walker and screams "You killed my brother!" Oh, I get it now. He pins Walker to the floor with his cane, but the police burst in at that moment. Cal explains that he thought Mayra was the one who was driving the car that ran him and his brother off the road and that's why he came after her. But he heard her and Walker talking by the lake and found out the truth. Also, it was him who ran Donna off the road because he thought Mayra was driving. But don't worry--he only wanted to scare her! If I only had a nickel for every time I've heard that crap.

One Week Later

Link and Mayra are making out, but they break for air so Link can drive her over to Cottler's to pick up her paycheck. On the way over, Mayra mentions that she thought Cottler was a witch, but Link dispells that: "She has a Ph.D. She taught occult studies at several universities until she retired a few years ago. She's published about a dozen books on the subject!" Of course she has. Cottler gives Mayra her paycheck and her beads. After one last look at the amazing Hazel, Mayra walks away with Link.

Conclusion? This book is totally ridiculous, but it takes itself so seriously. The result is a convoluted mess that made my head hurt.

Next time: "Ski Weekend" I'm not sure when the next post will be because my computer has gone haywire (I'm using my aunt's computer to post this) but hopefully it'll be sometime in the near future.


Sunday, October 19, 2008


* I must say that this is my favorite Fear Street novel of all time so it might be hard to make fun of it. It's seriously THAT good. But I'll find something to say. Let's begin... *

Book Description:

There's a little cabin in the Fear Street woods where a girl can really lose her mind. In fact, she can change it into someone else's. That's what happened to Nicole and Lucy. Now Lucy is in Nicole's body and Nicole is in Lucy's. What a trip! But for Nicole, what a trap! Because Lucy is using Nicole's body to get away with murder!

My Description:

Part One - The Switch

Nicole Darwin is a self-described loser whose life is "the total pits". Depression meds, Nic. Make friends with 'em. This particular day is like all the others--a steaming pile of crap. She tore a fingernail earlier. Dear God! NO! In her defense, her nails are very long and prettily painted and a source of pride for her. Ok, never mind. Fingernails are no reason to sob like a baby. The next few pages give us a bit of background on her parents (WAY too strict) and her boyfriend David (WAY too distant) and her recent academic problems. Apparently Nic was supposed to write a report for biology, but she didn't and the teacher ripped into her right in front of everyone. As if that wasn't enough, he also made her stay after class for a little chat. I think we've all had our fair share of asshole teachers, unfortunately.

After school, Nicole meets up with David in the hall. They kiss, but he breaks away because he has something important to say: he wants to break up. Of course this would happen on Nicole's Worst Day Ever. His reason for ending the world's greatest romance? "It's just too much." That's it? That doesn't explain a damn thing and Nicole wants more of an explanation. But David totally bails, disappearing down the hall and around the corner. Bastard. Nicole gathers her things and slumps out of the building. She spots her friend, Lucy Kramer, heading toward her looking awfully cheerful. Nicole thinks Lucy is a cutie: "Lucy has straight blond hair. But hers is shorter than mine and she usually pulls it back into a ponytail. She has green eyes, a tiny upturned nose, and a sweet smile." Sound a lot like Barbie...or maybe Skipper. Nicole runs up to Lucy, hugs her, and starts to cry. Lucy doesn't really react so something tells me that Nicole does this often. Lucy simply says that she has also had a bad day, but she has a plan that will make them both feel better: "Let's switch bodies." On what planet?

A little later, Nicole follows Lucy to Fear Street and into the woods. As they're walking through the trees, Nicole thinks about how cool it would be to be Lucy. Lucy has a hot boyfriend named Kent Borden who is smart and funny in addition to being a sexy piece of work. Also, Lucy's parents don't put restrictions on her like Nicole's do. In fact, they barely pay attention to her at all. The boyfriend thing is ok, but I'd rather have overprotective parents than parents who couldn't give a shit less about me. The girls stop walking when they reach a stone wall. Lucy tells Nicole the story behind this ancient wall. It's called the Changing Wall (so very original) and over 100 years ago, evil people started using it to switch bodies with unwilling victims. Spooky. Lucy explains how it works: "We climb up on the wall. We hold hands. We jump off, down to the other side. When we land, we'll be switched." Simple enough. A little TOO simple, actually. The girls boost themselves to the top of the wall, hold hands, and jump. Nicole keeps her eyes closed the entire time and when she opens them, she's shocked to see that it actually worked. It's like a twisted Fear version of "Freaky Friday". The girls become momentarily hysterical, laughing and twirling around like deranged forest pixies. The wall must have switched their brains with mud. Finally the two get serious and head off to their homes.

Nicole walks into Lucy's house and can't stop screaming at the scene she finds. Blood is everywhere. Lucy's parents are lying dead on the living room floor, their bodies ripped and slashed. Nicole panics and runs outside intending to tell Lucy what she found. I guess calling 911 is out of the question? Once she reaches her own house, she pukes in the driveway before pounding on the door and peeking in all the windows. No-one home. She frantically thinks of someone to tell about the gruesome scene back at Lucy's. Uh, how about the fucking COPS? "How could I tell the police before I told Lucy? How could I tell them before we switched back into our own bodies?" That really doesn't matter now! The police aren't gonna know you switched, dear. Not even Shadyside cops are THAT good. Suddenly she thinks of Kent. He'll believe her! He'll have to! Yeah right. Keep telling yourself that, Nic. You might start to believe it. She runs down the street to Kent's house and knocks on the door. He answers and asks her what's wrong. She just asks if his parents are home and he says no. Now isn't the time for sexy moments, kids. Nicole can barely keep herself together as she walks into the house. As soon as she's inside, she blurts out "Lucy took me to Fear Street. Her grandfather told her about the Changing Wall. We switched bodies, Kent. We both wanted to and we did it." Smooth one. As if he's gonna believe it. Surprisingly, he seems to buy it, calling her Nicole even though she plainly looks like Lucy. She breaks down crying and tells him what she found at Lucy's house. He tells her he's going to get her a glass of water, but she overhears him talking on the phone in the kitchen: "That's right, Officer. I'm keeping her right here. But you better hurry. She might try to get away." So he thought she was nuts all along! Nicole freaks out and runs for the door with Kent hot on her heels in a pathetic attempt to stop her. She runs down the street and hides behind a tree, listening for police sirens. Finally she goes back to Lucy's house (corpses still intact) and goes to Lucy's room so she can change her filthy clothes. Except all of Lucy's clothes are gone. There is, however, a big bloody knife on the desk. It wouldn't be a Fear Street novel without a bloody knife!

Part Two - The Murderer

The knife is pinning a blood spattered note to the desk:

I had to kill them. I couldn't take it anymore.

Lucy K.

Nicole freaks out AGAIN as she realizes what Lucy's evil plan was: she killed her parents and switched bodies with Nicole so she could escape punishment. Clever little wench. As Nicole thinks about what she can do to get back into her own body, she hears someone knocking at the door. Uh-oh. In the living room, she peeks out the window and silently freaks out for the millionth time. Two police officers are standing on the porch. You're screwed, lady. Anger takes the place of fear; there's no way in hell Nicole is going down for something Lucy did. She flees out the back door, running across the backyard. Unfortunately, about halfway across, one of the officers spots her and screams for her to stop. She just keeps going...until she reaches a wooden fence. Crap. She thinks she's caught, but suddenly she remembers a trick board that she and Lucy used to play around with when they were little. Frantically, she searches for it, finds it, and dashes into someone else's backyard. She can hear the officers fumbling through the fence and knows she has to hide. Her hiding spot? A little kid's playhouse. As she crouches inside, she can hear the two officers yelling back and forth. Don't worry, Nicole--the Shadyside police force sucks and they'll never find you.

The officers eventually run off and Nicole climbs out of the tiny house. She remembers that she left her car at school. If she can make it to the school parking lot without getting caught, she's got a good chance of getting the hell out of dodge. Once she reaches the car, she finds the spare key and drives the streets searching for any sign of Lucy. She wracks her brain trying to think of a reason for Lucy doing this to her. There isn't a reason, Nicole. Some people are just bitches. After driving for several minutes, she finally spots Lucy in Pete's Pizza. OF COURSE. Everything worth mentioning goes down at Pete's. I hope Lucy gets bitch slapped. HARD. No-one has ever deserved it more! Lucy is sitting with two girls, Margie and Hannah, having an awesome time masquerading as Nicole. The REAL Nicole runs inside and heads toward the table. Margie and Hannah call her Nicole which instantly makes her suspicious. How could they possibly know she's Nicole? Unless Lucy spilled the beans. Nicole gets pissed off because Lucy promised to keep the switch a secret. She tells the girls that she really needs to talk to Lucy, but Margie says Lucy is gone. Great. Nicole freaks out when the girls tell her that Lucy was NEVER there. Nic insists that she saw her, but the girls just look at her like she's nuts. She runs out of the restaurant and into the rest of the mall, searching for Lucy. She realizes that it's totally useless--Lucy could be anywhere. She leaves the mall and finds Margie and Hannah waiting for her beside her car. This isn't gonna be good. The girls grab her and say they just wanna talk. Nicole does what she does best--freaks out and shoves them away. She dives into the car and almost runs over both girls as she speeds away.

She decides to go talk to Kent again. You must be joking. Kent thinks you're batshit crazy! He isn't any help! But Nicole thinks that if Lucy left Shadyside, she would've told Kent where she was going. *sigh* Ok then. At his house, Nicole doesn't bother knocking on the door. She lets herself in and heads toward the den where she hears loud music playing. She picks up a large knife from the kitchen just in case she has to scare the information out of Kent. Good one. Sort of. But Nicole never gets to talk to Kent at all: "Kent's body lay on it's back on the tile floor, arms and legs outstretched. His head had been sliced off. Puddles of bright red blood had streamed from the neck. The head stood upright a few feet from the body, propped against the leather couch. The mouth was frozen open in a wide O of horror. The blue eyes stared lifelessly up at me." Holy. Shit. Nicole sinks to the floor, crying over Kent's lifeless body. She glances up and gets a shock when she notices those two officers that chased her earlier looking in a sliding glass door at her. Did I mention she's still holding that knife? She drops the knife and the officers burst in the front door. She manages to escape to the basement and into a coal room where she crawls into a coal chute and finally gets outside. She runs until she gets to Fear Street. Like that's so much better. She finds herself back at the Changing Wall and after finding a photo of Lucy in her pocket, develops a hairbrained plan: if she holds the photo and jumps over the wall, maybe she'll get her old body back. That makes no sense whatsoever. Of course it doesn't work and Nicole is tired of worrying about it so she curls under a tree and falls asleep.

The next morning, Nicole wakes up covered in dirt and finds a giant bug in her hair. Pleasant. She realizes she really needs a shower and thinks she can probably sneak into her parent's house because her parents have already left for work. Yeah...we'll see if this actually works. She hides behind a tree and watches her parents pull out of the driveway. Then she creeps inside and takes a shower and such. In the kitchen, as she's eating a Pop Tart, she decides she'll go to school and force Margie and Hannah to tell her where Lucy is. As soon as she reaches the high school, she spots those damned officers standing by the door. Crap. She turns and runs until she spots a bus. She leaps on, realizes she doesn't have any change, and tells the driver she's sick so he'll let her off. How far did she get from the school? Oh, about a block. Your plan sucks, Nicole. She goes back to the school and hides until the officers go away. She dashes into the school and wanders the empty halls before going to the empty gym. She heads for the girl's locker room because she knows Marcie has gym class fourth period. She hides in a dusty closet and listens to the girls talking. How is she going to wait in that hot little closet until fourth period? The hours pass and FINALLY fourth rolls around. Nicole hears Margie's voice among the other girls' chatter. And then there's a loud thump. Nic gets curious and opens the door a crack to see what happened. Margie is lying on the floor and Nic pushes through the circle of girls surrounding her just in time to see Margie sit up and say "Those leg cramps are the worst!" Give me a break, Stine. Somehow no-one even noticed Nicole so she simply slips back into the closet.

After a bit, the other girls leave, but Margie stays a little longer. Nicole uses this opportunity to exit the closet and have a little chat with Margie. Nicole blurts out that she needs to find Lucy because Lucy is an evil bitch who used Nicole's body to commit horrible crimes. Wow. Margie says she knows where Lucy is, but before she can say more, some girls enter the locker room and Nicole has to dash back inside the closet again. Nic hears voices and then there's total silence so she opens the closet door. Margie has met her unfortunate end--someone bashed her skull in with a shot-put. Wouldn't Nicole have heard that? Guess not. She assumes Lucy has struck again which is odd because I thought Lucy had fled Shadyside. Nicole runs out of the school and keeps running until she reaches an empty lot two blocks away. As she's catching her breath, she thinks about how Lucy must be following her because everywhere she goes, someone dies. She wanders aimlessly around Shadyside for the rest of the day. At dark, she makes her way back to the Changing Wall and falls asleep there.

The next day, Nicole decides that she'll go visit Lucy's Grandma Carla in the small town of Conklin. Lucy was close to her granny and if anyone knows where Lucy is, it would be Carla. The day before when Nicole was at her own house taking a shower and such, she snagged $40 from her room so she has enough money to get breakfast and a bus ticket to Conklin. The bus takes her to the end of Grandma Carla's road and Nicole walks the rest of the way to Carla's farm.

Part Three - The Reunion

Grandma Carla is so happy to see her and let's her right in. When Nicole says "Is Nicole here?" Grandma starts acting a little funny. She tells Nicole to sit down at the kitchen table and she'll bring her some soup. But first she has to make a phone call in the next room. I think we all know where this is going. Nicole hears Grandma calling the police so she runs into the living room and demands to know why. Grandma just says "It will be ok. I called for help." Nicole gets really upset and runs outside where she hears a car door slam. Those cops travel fast. She runs to the barn and decides to hide in a stack of straw. SURPRISE! Lucy is already hiding in there! WTF? Nicole hugs her and asks her why she did all those horrible things. Lucy says she can't explain and then things get incredibly weird.

Nicole says that they have to switch back right now. Lucy's reply? "We can't switch back. I'm not Lucy. Lucy switched bodies with me this afternoon. My name is Nancy." And my head just exploded. Nicole refuses to believe it, but Lucy or Nancy or whoever the hell she is insists that it's true: "Lucy forced me to switch. She forced me. Then she took my body and ran away." Suddenly the girls hear footsteps outside the barn and Nicole says they really need to hide. But "Nancy" starts laughing and says "Nicole, you really are an idiot! You really believed that dumb story!" Dear God, make up your mind, woman! Lucy runs out the back of the barn and Nicole follows. Unfortunately, someone tackles Nicole to the ground. It's Kent! He tells her that he's come for her. No shit. She protests that she saw his corpse, but he just keeps telling her that everything is going to be ok. Suddenly Nicole hears Lucy crying for help. She's about to fall down the well! She's barely clinging to the edge! Hurry, Lassie! Nicole tries to break away from Kent, but he won't let her go. All he has to say about Lucy is "Let her drown." Death has really changed you, Kent. Keep that attitude up and you won't have any friends at all!

Nicole finally gets away from him, but it's too late. Lucy has already fallen in the filthy water below. Nicole can hear her splashing around and begging for help. This is a very sad scene, Stine. How dare you make me feel the pain! Kent comes over and hold Nicole while she sobs: "I couldn't help her. I couldn't save her. I couldn't do anything for her. Nothing at all." Kent guides her toward the house and about halfway across the yard, fucking LUCY steps out from behind a tree. Are you serious?! She's soaking wet and covered in mud and leaves. She completely ignores Nicole, focusing her attention on Kent. "Let's switch, Kent. Let's switch, ok?" She reaches out and PULLS HIS HEAD OFF. Then she starts dancing around screaming "Come on, Nicole! You switch heads with Kent and then I'll switch with you!" Nicole has no time to think about this crazy shit because those two officers come up and grab her. She looks back and Kent and Lucy are gone. A car pulls up and Kent and Lucy's parents climb out along with Nicole's parents. Nicole's mother comes up and hugs her, crying and saying "Nicole" over and over. Then we get the following: "Nicole has been ok for nearly a year. No wild nightmares. No hallucinations. No identity problems." Nicole's father then says to Kent "That was so good of you to tell us that Nicole had slipped again. And so decent of you to follow her here. We've had these two doctors from the hospital on her trail. But we never would have found Nicole without you." What the hell, man?!? This only gets crazier: "Poor Lucy has been dead for three years. That horrible, horrible car accident... Nicole started having the hallucinations right after Lucy died. She started seeing horrible deaths. They were all in her mind. They were so real to her. After Lucy died, Nicole started talking to her, imagining that Lucy was still with her. Sometimes Nicole even imagines she IS Lucy." So basically this entire book consists of the paranoid delusions of a madwoman. Normally I'd be pissed, but this thing was too crazy/good for me to be too angry at it.

6 months later, Nicole's fuzzy brain is doing much better. Mostly. She still sees Lucy. "I think the doctors will let me out soon. Won't that be great, Lucy? Maybe they'll let me go back to school in time for graduation. And you and I will graduate together. That will be just perfect--won't it, Lucy? That will be just perfect. Don't you agree?" Indeed I do, you sweet little psycho.

Conclusion? This review does this book no justice because the book is AWESOME. Seriously. Which is why I sincerely doubt Stine wrote it.

Next time: "The Sleepwalker"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fear Park #1 - The First Scream

Book Description:

Would you open an amusement park on Fear Street? Would you take the risk and go against the ancient curse of the Fear family? Dierdre Bradley's father would. He is opening Fear Park in a few days. But he doesn't know someone-or something-will do anything to stop him. Soon the screams of joy will turn to screams of terror. And Dierdre will be caught in a nightmare ride that never ends.

My Description:

Part One - 1935

Meghan Fairwood is standing at her locker when she notices an ink stain on her sleeve. Starting this book off with a bang! Her expensive new fountain pen (it cost $4...expensive by 1935 standards I suppose) is leaking again. She glances over at some cheerleaders hanging a banner about baseball and it makes her think of her boyfriend, Richard Bradley, Shadyside High's star baseball player. Oh, and he's also an arrogant son of a bitch. A cute weirdo named Robin Fear comes up to Meghan (his locker is beside her's) and she says hello, but he blushes and rummages through his locker. Meg drops some movie magazines on the floor and Robin helps her pick them up which leads to a discussion about Clark Gable. Ah, the '30s. Show me a high schooler these days who even knows who Clark Gable is and I'll eat my own underwear. Anyway, Richard interrupts this peaceful moment by coming up to Meg and kissing her. Scandalous! He then turns into an asshole, accusing Robin of staring at him and Meg: "What are you staring at? You want to see smooching? Go to the movies." Then he wipes his filthy hands on Robin's necktie and walks off. Asshole! Meghan turns to apologize to Robin, but he's already gone. Poor little Fear.

As Robin walks home, he thinks about what just happened. He's extremely upset and embarrassed about the fact that he allowed Richard to humiliate him like that. To make matters worse, it's starting to rain. Those Fears really ARE cursed. When he gets home, he finds the house seemingly empty...until he hears a noise coming from the library. He opens the door and finds his freaky father hovering in the air in a cloud of purple smoke. Purple haze, man! Robin silently freaks out and shuts the door, praying that his father didn't see him. Apparently Dad is really into sorcery and the occult so Robin isn't as surprised as one would think. But it's still totally weird and he's pretty freaked out. He wonders if his mom who died when he was four was also into sorcery and such. Suddenly the doorbell rings and Dad exits the library and tells Robin to answer the door because all the servants have quit. So? You can't walk three feet over to the door and open it yourself? You wouldn't even have to walk, actually. You could just float, Sir Wizard. Dad goes to the sitting room while Robin opens the door for some of Dad's business associates (fellow warlocks?). In a bout of cruel irony, one of them is Richard's dad. Yuck. Robin listens in on the conversation. Richard's pop, Jack Bradley, tells Dad that he thinks an amusement park is exactly what Shadyside needs. May I ask why? Apparently the town has nothing going on to generate a substantial income and an amusement park would do the trick; it would provide lots of jobs for the destitute citizens of Shadyside and it would become a popular tourist attraction. Right. Mr. Bradley wants Dad to donate a section of the woods behind Fear Street, but Dad gets pissed and says NO. Mr. Bradley stands up, informs Dad that he won't take no for an answer, and then proceeds to turn purple and collapse to the floor. Guess Dad is working his voodoo again. Robin screams at him to stop and suddenly Mr. Bradley is fine again. The men leave a few minutes later. Well, that was completely pointless.

On Saturday afternoon, Robin and Dad go for a walk in the woods. Suddenly Robin spots Mr. Bradley holding what appears to be a rifle. Robin freaks out because he thinks he's about the be blown away. But as Mr. Bradley comes closer, Robin realizes that it isn't a rifle, it's some kind of "surveying tool." Ok. Dad is once again pissed off (I think that's his permenant state) and asks Mr. Bradley why he's trespassing. Bradley is still pushing the amusement park thing and says the town council has lots of ideas. This is so fucking boring. Seriously. I read these books for psychotic teenagers and sloppy make outs, not land surveying and town councils! Mr. Bradley rambles on, Dad storms off to the house, and Robin heads off deeper into the woods to find some much needed peace and quiet. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll find a sharp stick to stab Mr. Bradley with or something. I know, I'm sick and I need help. Anyway, instead of a sharp twig, Robin comes upon Meghan. Does everyone in this town hang out in these woods? They're surprised to see one another and make awkward conversation for a bit. Meg can't stop thinking about how cute Robin is. Hawt. Of course she'll never do anything about it because Richard would probably cut her to pieces if he found out. Richard sucks eggs. Or something. Anyway, Meghan gets something in her eye and Robin gently checks it out. Aww. Normally I'd barf at a scene like that, but Robin sounds adorable. So sue me! Unfortunately, that troll Richard comes running up. WHY IS EVERYBODY IN THE FREAKING WOODS? Is this all there was to do in 1935? Rich is extremely ticked off because he thinks Robin has been kissing Meghan. Meghan explains the situation ("He was helping me!") and Rich seems to cool off a little. Then he starts laughing and says "I was just kidding. I wasn't serious." Whatever. Robin tells them he's gotta go and as he walks away, Richard sticks out a foot and trips him. This obnoxious jackass is stealing my soul. Hopefully Robin gets Dad to perform some witchcraft on Richard's dumb ass. Rich kisses Meghan and asks how Robin found their meeting place and she says it was by accident. Blah blah blah.

When Robin arrives home, he spots his father lying on the floor and assumes he's dead. No, daddy, don't die! We need your evil! A purple cloud floats into the room, hovers over Dad, and he opens his eyes. He's totally confused about what just happened and Robin tries in vain to explain it. Then something even stranger happens: Robin's DEAD mom drifts in on a cloud of purple smoke. Awesome. Dad is flipping out and keeps saying "It is she! I've tried for so long! Ruth! It is she!" We get it! Shut up! Mommy dearest gets closer and Robin screams when he sees her face...or what's left of it. "And Robin saw his mother's face. Saw the gray-green bone of her rotting, mold-spotted skull. Saw the black, gaping pits where her eyes had been. Saw her hollow, gap toothed grin. Her jawbone hanging slack." I didn't know Amy Winehouse lived on Fear Street. Robin screams even louder when a fat worm falls out of Mom's nostril...

...and then he wakes up. Son of a bitch! That was just a DREAM?! I thought we were friends, Stine! Robin sees his father and a nurse standing beside his bed and thinks about the fact that his father has done this to him before: "Dad has tried his sorcery before. And succeeded only in frightening me. And then called it a nightmare. Hired a nurse and called it a nightmare. Paid her to say it was a nightmare, too." Yeah, that makes sense. NOT. Dad tells Robin that it's now Monday and Robin has been screaming since Saturday. I guess Dad couldn't be bothered to cut the shit and wake him up.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bradley is out in the woods marking off the area that will be used for the amusement park. Yes, he got permission from the town council to build it here. Yes, he is a complete moron for building an amusement park in the middle of the woods and honestly expecting it to be a huge success. One of his helpers, Ken, accidentally nails a wooden stake through his foot so this outing has to be cut short so they can take the dum dum to the hospital. This book is incredibly random. Seriously, why are we expected to care about these people? Anyway, Mr. Bradley ends up staying in the woods while some guy named Barney drives Ken to the hospital. Bradley is just standing around doing nothing when he suddenly starts to feel extremely itchy. He starts clawing at his skin, drawing blood. And of course the chapter ends there. *sigh*

The next chapter begins with Meghan waiting for Richard in the woods. She's preparing to break up with him, but isn't sure if she can actually go through with it. Just do it! He's an asshole! Richard finally shows up all sweaty and such: "Sorry. Coach kept us late." They start walking through the woods and Richard rambles on about baseball and other crap that Meghan really doesn't give a shit about. She can't stop thinking about Robin Fear. Oooo. The two stop walking when they come across a skeleton sitting on the ground against a tree. A skeleton holding a "surveying tool". A skeleton that still has hair and a's Mr. Bradley. Richard completely loses his mind when he realizes the skeleton was once his father. Damn. Karma is a bitch, Rich.

Part Two - 1935

It's STILL 1935? Crap. It's just a week after Mr. Bradley's remains were found. Apparently he was quite the popular man and his odd death is all anyone is talking about. Robin has a feeling that his father is behind the death and decides he'll just ask Dad straight out. He stops outside the library door because he hears his dad saying "Ruth" over and over again. Not this Ruth shit again! He also hears music and a woman's voice. But when he opens the door, he only sees his father dozing in an armchair with a big book in his lap. Dad wakes up and when Robin asks about the voices, Dad dismisses everything. Typical. Robin manages to ask him if he had anything to do with Mr. Bradley's death. He says no, but Robin doesn't believe it. Who would?

One afternoon, Robin is walking home from school when Meghan runs up to him. They chat while they walk and Meghan just can't restrain herself for one more second: she kisses Robin full on the mouth. Oh the shock! The good feelings are short lived, though, because, as usual, that fuckhead Richard is nearby and saw the whole thing. He says to Meghan "I don't believe you! You sneak out with him while I'm mourning my father?" First of all, go to hell, asshole. Second, why didn't she break up with him when she had the chance? Richard decides to unleash his fury on Robin's face. Robin's nose is gushing blood, but that isn't enough. Richard punches him in the stomach and when he's on the ground, Rich kicks him repeatedly in the side. Good Lord! The 1935 horror of it all! Meghan finally manages to drag Richard off of Robin and helps Robin to his feet. Robin runs away as fast as he can.

Later, Richard calls Meghan to apologize. Excuse me, shit for brains. I think you should be apologizing to the guy you tried to kill. Meghan just hangs up on him. Good. But like five minutes later, Richard shows up at her house. He'll never go away! Richard pouts like a baby and Meghan ends up forgiving him. Give me a break! It isn't HER who deserves an apology! The only character in this book who is even remotely tolerable is Robin. Then Richard tells her he has good news: "The town council voted to claim a section of Fear Street Woods for the town. In honor of my father's memory. It means the amusement park will be built." Oh goody. But wait! There's more! "After the trees are cut down, the town is going to hire as many kids as possible to chop up the stumps. Girls, too! They're going to pay us a dollar a day and free admission when the park opens." Meghan can hardly contain her excitement. Yeah, I can't think of anything more enjoyable than busting my hump for slave wages. Thanks, Shadyside! 1935 sucks, man.

On Tuesday afternoon, Meghan goes up to Robin and tells him he doesn't look too bad considering what happened. Then she says that Richard doesn't want her to talk to him. I'm sure you cheered the little Fear right up, Meg. Now go drown yourself in the bathtub like a good girl. Robin wants to meet her later for some reason and they agree on Roger's, an ice cream shop. At 4 o'clock, Meg enters the shop and spots Robin in a corner booth. She sits down and they both order chocolate malteds. The first words out of Robin's mouth? "My father is an evil man." Duh. That goes without saying. Anyway, Robin goes on to say that his Dad is pissed off because the amusement park is being built on land that he once owned and Robin wants to show him that he has no right to do evil deeds in an effort to stop park construction. So Robin has decided to join the work crew as an act of defiance. Except he isn't even gonna tell his dad about it. This makes absolutely no sense. Robin tells Meghan that his main reason for joining the crew is so he can see her. Ok, NOW it makes sense. He says he really likes her and she confesses she feels the same. It's rainbows and sunshine all around! But don't worry, it won't last long. This is Fear Street after all.

School has been out for a week now (summer vacation I assume) and stump chopping has begun. As Meghan is gleefully hacking away at a stump, Robin comes up to her. He's late because his dad kept asking all sorts of questions, but he managed to get away. A photographer from the local paper is there to snap photos of these pathetic kids chopping stumps. Guess who else decided to show up? Our old pal Richard! He comes running up, angry and holding his hatchet high. The psycho tries to chop off Robin's head, but thankfully Robin drops to the ground. A boy rushes over to stop Richard and Rich buries the hatchet in the poor boy's chest. As soon as the boy drops to the ground, Richard cuts off his head. Sweet merciful 1935! Will it ever end?! It finally DOES end when someone comes over and shoves a hatchet into Richard's back. That isn't all, though. These kids have suddenly gotten blood thirsty and are lopping off limbs right and left. When the carnage ends, Meghan gazes at the bloodshed and dismembered bodies in horror. Even I'm shocked! A purple mist is hovering over the scene and I think we all know what that means. Meg and Robin flee to get help. I'm not sure where Meghan goes, but Robin runs home. He finds his father and says "Dad, it worked perfectly. They chopped each other to pieces. I did everything right. And they all went wild and hacked each other up. The park will never be built now." What the hell?!? I thought you were GOOD, Robin! My entire belief system is shattered! Dad simply says "You learned your powers quickly." Robin's reply? "Of course. I'm a Fear." And I'm a fool. A fool for trusting a fucking Fear!

Part Three - This Year

We're finally out of the pure hell that was 1935. Dierdre Bradley (a probable relation of Richard Bradley) and her boyfriend, Paul Malone, are feeding each other cotton candy at Fear Park. Her father owns the place and he's allowed the public free access for this night only. Paul says he doesn't have much time to hang out because he's in the Hatchet Reenactment Show at 10:15. Yes, these nutjobs actually reenact the hatchet scene. I wish I were joking. Why would anyone want to remember that shit? Anyway, they ride the Ferris wheel first and then the Inferno, the biggest scariest roller coaster at Fear Park. Yee haw. Kind of. When the ride is over, Paul hurries off to rehearse for the show and Dierdre runs up to some guy named Rob who is lurking around in the shadows and kisses him. What a two-faced tramp! She keeps thinking about wrong it is, but that doesn't stop her from smothering this guy in kisses.

After Dierdre manages to break away from Rob, she goes to her dad's office trailer and finds him chatting about the park to reporters. Someone asks about the Hatchet Show and Mr. Bradley answers "[It's] partly in tribute to the kids who died. They died on this ground. And we don't want to forget them. Also, it's such a dramatic story, such a mystery. We know people will be curious about it. We think the Hatchet Show will become one of our biggest attractions." Tribute my ass. You've got dollar signs in your eyes, Mr. Bradley. Just admit that it's all for the money! The reporters leave and Mr. Bradley decides to drag Dierdre to the show. She doesn't wanna go because she has a terrible feeling about it, but she goes along anyway. They take a seat in the theater and Dad informs more reporters that it's all rubber hatchets and fake blood. The lights go down and the show finally begins. As the kids are chopping away, a purple cloud floats into the area and they all start fighting. I don't think I have to describe the other events...we already went there in 1935! Dierdre is shocked at how real everything looks. At the end, all of the performers take a bow...except Paul. Dierdre notices that he isn't moving and she freaks out and runs onstage. Of course Paul is ok: "Cramp in my side. This show is dangerous!" Hahahah. As the two kiss, Dierdre spots Rob in the crowd watching them. Pervert!

The next night, Dierdre is back at the park waiting for Paul at the main gates. She gazes over at the Ferris wheel and thinks that maybe he's already on duty. The wheel is running strangely, bumping along, and Paul is nowhere in sight. A moment later, she realizes what's making the wheel so bumpy and screams: Paul's headless corpse is stuffed beneath the wheel. "The legs and shoes jumped up as each car bumped over the body." She also spots Paul's head lying nearby on the pavement. Oh Paul. *sob* Dierdre starts crying and out of nowhere, Rob comes up to comfort her: "It's ok. I'm here now. I'll take good care of you."

Two weeks later, the police are still investigating Paul's death. The park was shut down immediately after Paul's body was found. Dierdre is sitting in the office trailer with her dad. Dad says that many workers have quit because they think the park is jinxed. Rob suddenly appears and says he would be able to help out. Dad doesn't know this guy so Rob introduces himself: "My name is Robin. Robin Fear, sir." I think we all kinda saw that coming. Dad asks if he's related to THE Fear family and Robin says he's a distant cousin. Liar! The last line of the book comes from Robin: "I've waited a long time for this job!" Oh I bet you have, you little weirdo.

Conclusion? It's a toss-up. Some parts were good (the kids hacking each other up with hatchets) and other parts were incredibly dull (I'm talking to you, 1935!) I have high hopes for the next two novels in this trilogy, though.

Next time: "Switched"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Truth Or Dare

Book Description:

What else is there to do, with all seven of them stuck in Dara Harker's luxury ski condo? There are three guys and four girls - some of them friends, some nearly strangers - all of them trapped. A blinding blizzard has stilled the lifts, blocked the roads, and killed the phones. A game, they think, will help them break the ice. Who will tell the truth? Who will take a dare? And how far will each of them go? But then the game turns deadly. One of them, it seems, would rather kill than tell the truth. And kill again.

My Description:

We begin the book in a white limo with a bunch of teenagers. They're on their way to Dara Harker's big fancy ski condo and she hooked them up with this sweet ride. We get names: April Leeds, Ken Knight, Jenny Byrd, and Josh (I suppose Josh isn't good enough to get a last name since he isn't from Shadyside. Shocking!) Dara is riding with her parents...I dunno why she isn't with her friends but whatever. April is staring at Ken and Jenny with a disgusted look. Ken and Jenny are apparently one of those couples that are sickly sweet--finishing each other's sentences, kissing, cuddling...and it's all on display for the free world to see. Kenny + Jenny = 4-ever! *barf* While those two are making out, April struggles to make conversation with the very quiet Josh. When they finally reach the house, everyone is in awe: "Built of redwood panels, with enormous windows along the front, the house looked like a traditional ski lodge--a ski lodge that had been stretched out to cover the entire hilltop." Fancy. A jeep pulls up beside them and Dara hops out, but her parents are nowhere in sight and they aren't coming. She probably threw them out in a ditch on the way over. Dara tells the limo driver, Frank, to bring the bags around and leads her friends up to the mammoth house. They hear people creeping around inside and when Dara switches on the light, they spot a boy and girl. The guy's name is Tony Macedo and his family shares the house with Dara's family. Ok? The chick is Carly Rae, Tony's girlfriend. And yes, the two were making out like their lives depended on it, as evidenced by the purple lipstick marks covering Tony's face. Dara is pissed because this is supposed to be HER weekend dammit! Tony says he knows how they can settle it: share! Dara agrees because it's good for the plot and they all walk off to check out their rooms.

A little later, they sit around the fire and talk. Well, everyone talks except Tony and Carly who prefer to sloppily make out. *sigh* Anyway, Ken says they should play truth or dare to get to know one another better. I don't consider that game a good way to get to know someone, but whatever. Josh doesn't know how to play and when they explain, he still doesn't get it. If there is a simpler game to play than truth or dare, I don't know what it is. You, Josh, are an idiot. Ken goes first and takes truth. His question: "What is something you did that you're really ashamed of?" He says he was in a comic book store, saw a kid drop a ten dollar bill, picked it up, and bought comics instead of returning it. Dara is disappointed because she wanted a sexy story. Most 17 year old boys aren't too sexy, lady. April is next. Dara asks "What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you while you were making out with a boy?" April says she was chewing gum, it got transferred to his mouth, and he choked on it. Next, April asks Dara "Out of all the guys you've kissed, who was the worst kisser and why?" Dara grins and glances at Josh...and he completely freaks out: "Shut up, Dara! Shut up, I mean it!" He grabs the fireplace poker and charges at her, but throws it against the wall instead of dismembering her. Darn. Everyone stares in shock as Josh runs out of the room. But Dara has to be a bitch about it and drags him back into the room. Leave him alone! He's embarrassed and angry...let him cool off. At least she apologizes. Now Dara has another question for April: "What secret do you know about someone that you wish you didn't know? April replies "I wish I didn't know about the girl on Sumner Island." Hmm...what? April regrets mentioning it because she has to explain and she really doesn't wanna. Thankfully, Tony starts acting like a moron which distracts Dara enough to forget about Sumner Island girl and give Tony a dare. She dares him to climb up to the roof and get her Frisbee. There's no way in hell that this will end well. Everyone goes outside to watch Tony climb a rickety ladder up to the roof. Once up there, he slips and almost falls, but he grabs the gutter just in time and jumps to the ground. Well, guess I was wrong. Dara only cares about the fact that he didn't get the Frisbee. Tony couldn't care less: "Get it yourself. I'm out of the game." They all go play in the snow, but April isn't having much fun because she can't get Sumner Island out of her head. Prepare yourself for a flashback...

Last summer, April was working as a mother's helper on Sumner Island. One day, she spotted Ken making out with a girl that wasn't Jenny. Oooo. She wanted to call Jenny and tell her that Ken was cheating, but she never did and it still lies on her conscience. The end.

That's all? I thought she had at least witnessed a freaking murder or something! The gang goes inside to warm themselves by the fire and drink hot chocolate. How pleasant. And by 'pleasant' I mean incredibly cliched. Dara wants to continue playing truth or dare, but everyone is tired and elects to go to bed instead. Time really flies when you're wandering around in snow. Dara decides to go out to the woodshed to get more fuel for the fire, but I somehow doubt that's all she's doing. For some reason.

The next morning, everyone is excited because Jack Frost took a dump on the hill: the snow is piled up high and they can go skiing. Yay! Is this false enthusiasm doing anything for you? Me neither. They all realize that Dara and Josh haven't come downstairs yet. Interesting. They make breakfast: pancakes and bacon. When they're finished, Jenny and April decide to go up and wake Dara, but her room is empty and the bed hasn't been slept in. Josh is also missing, his bed empty and such. They notice that the jeep is also gone. Guess they went into town to buy more plot devices. I don't know why they're so worried...Dara is bitchy and no-one even notices Josh most of the time so what's the big deal? April actually wants to call the cops! Give me a break. Maybe they just wanted to get away from your paranoid ass, April. A few hours pass, they eat lunch and play cards, and then they hear knocking at the door. Who's there? No-one. Ooo, it's a creepy boogeyman messing with their heads! He must have crawled up from Fear Street...which reminds me--where the hell are they? Definitely not in Shadyside anymore. Oh well. They go into the living room and the knocking starts again. No-one there. April looks out the window and spots the tapping culprit: "It's the ski locker. On the porch. See? The door has come loose. It's banging against the locker." Damn. I desperately wanted it to be some deranged murderer.

Ken and April go out into the swirling snow to shut the locker and they get quite the little surprise: Dara's frozen corpse is stuffed inside the locker. A hatchet is buried between her shoulder blades. As Ken is examining the body, April tosses her cookies over the porch railing. Yum. They go back inside to tell the others. Carly and Jenny freak out and Tony just says they can't call the police because the line is dead. Didn't see that coming from a mile away or anything. Thank you for writing something original, Stine. *sigh* Tony says the killer must be Josh, but he doesn't really have a reason for that theory so no-one buys it. They go into Josh's room, though, to search through his things. He didn't take anything with him so they automatically assume he's been murdered also. Back in the living room, April finds a ridiculous note:

Dear Dara,
I can't go on like this anymore. No matter how cruel you are to me, I always take it. You humiliated me tonight. How could you? I always thought you were someone worth caring about. But I guess I made a big mistake. But I have to talk to you one more time. I won't take no for an answer. Meet me at midnight. Alone!!!

Why the hell would he write a note when he could've just went up to her and started talking? They were in the same damn house. I'm a fool for logic. Jenny panics because she's sure Josh is gonna come back and slit her throat or something.

That night, April is lying awake in bed trying to drift off. She hears footsteps in the living room and thinks it's Josh even though there are four other people in the house and it could be one of them. She goes downstairs and grabs a ski pole to protect herself. But it really doesn't work because someone grabs her and drags her into a corner anyway. It's...Tony! He thought SHE was Josh. You people need to calm down. I know, I know--there's a probable psycho on the loose and you're a little jumpy. But still! April asks if he used to date Dara and he says yes, but not for long because Dara is horrible and hurt him just like she hurt Josh. Speaking of Dara, what did they do with her body? Did they throw it in the woodshed? Bury it? Left it in the locker? Guess we're just ignoring this. They go into the kitchen because April wants a glass of water. Suddenly Tony looks seriously freaked out. When April asks what's wrong, he points to the door. Josh is staring in at them! RUN! 911! MAYDAY MAYDAY! April screams and everyone else in the house comes running. Josh starts pounding on the door and Tony lets him in. I can't wait to hear his convoluted story, whatever it may be, and you know he has one. Tony immediately accuses him of killing Dara, but he just keeps saying he's cold and needs something hot to drink. Carly starts making coffee while Tony interrogates a confused Josh. Josh has no idea about Dara's murder and swears he didn't do anything. He says he's been walking in the snow all day. Where the hell did he go? He's also confused about the letter; he swears he didn't write it. Then who did? I'm beginning to hate this book. No matter how much Josh protests, everyone still believes he killed Dara. Finally he tells his side of the story.

He says he got pissed off about Dara embarrassing him when they were playing truth or dare. How embarrassing could it have been? She didn't even say anything about him! Anyway, he says he took the jeep as revenge. His intention was to strand Dara, but I guess he forgot about the fact that there are OTHER PEOPLE there, too. The dumbass got himself stuck in a snow drift and kept the engine running because he needed to keep the heater on. Eventually the jeep ran out of gas and he was forced to start walking back. All that shit because someone looked at you the wrong way during a game of truth or dare? You are a gibbering idiot, Josh. Everyone believes him, but now they're more afraid because the murderer is still on the loose.

The next morning at breakfast, Ken tells April that he needs to talk to her about something. She assumes it's about the Sumner Island girl and she says they can talk later. She isn't in the mood to eat or socialize so she goes back to her room and finds Josh digging through her dresser. When she asks him what he's doing, he says he's looking for the red pen that was used to write the letter. He figures if he can find it, he'll know who wrote it and killed Dara. That's hardly enough evidence. She screams at him to get out and as soon as he leaves, she decides she has to get out of this house no matter what. She goes to the pile of coats beside the front door to search for her's, but can't find it. She remembers that Dara's corpse was wearing a blue coat...could it have been April's coat? Ooo...I think I know what happened. Dara was wearing April's coat for some reason and the killer thought she was April and murdered her ass. I bet it was Ken...he wanted to silence April so she can never tell anyone about Sumner Island girl! I can play detective, too. She runs out to the garage where Dara is currently being stored. Seriously. They propped her frozen body against the wall beside an old bicycle in case she takes a notion to ride off into the sunset. And Dara is indeed wearing April's blue coat. April realizes that the killer intended to kill her, not Dara. Exactly!

She runs back to the house and grabs someone's red coat. She takes off down the road thinking that she'll probably be able to get to the nearest ski lodge. Yeah right. As she walks, she thinks about how big the red coat is and how it must be Ken's because he's the biggest person in the house. She puts her hands into the pockets and finds a red ballpoint pen. Aha! April predictably flips out and proceeds to flip out some more when she see someone running towards her. Ken? The person tackles her to the ground and she sees that it IS Ken after all. He says he was worried about her because she'll never make it to town or a ski lodge. He also says he was yelling for her, but she ignored him. LIAR. She goes back to the house with him and brings up Sumner Island. He just says "Did you tell Jenny?" April says she didn't, but she wanted to. Then he asks if she's known the entire time which is an incredibly stupid question because she just said she knows! Of course she says yes and Ken grabs her arm and says "I'm so sorry, April. I'm so sorry." The expression on his face says he's anything BUT sorry. She breaks away from him and goes to toss his coat back on the pile. He still wants to talk, but she runs to find Jenny.

The two girls decide they will try to ski into town. April hasn't told Jenny anything about Ken so Jen is just following blindly. They manage to get to a ski lodge where they take the chairlift to the ski patrol station. About halfway up, Jenny looks at April and says "I'm sorry, April, but what choice do I have?" Then she lifts the safety bar and shoves April. But April manages to keep herself in the seat. They wrestle around and April asks Jenny why she's doing this. Jenny says "Because of the girl on Sumner Island. Because you know about her, April."

If Sumner Island girl knew she would cause such trouble, I think she would have stayed away from Ken. Then Jenny says that during the truth or dare game when April mentioned the girl, that was a sign that April knew what Jenny did. "Well, I didn't mean to kill the girl! I didn't mean to! It was an accident!" HUH?! Jenny goes on to say that the girl's name was Barbara and Ken wouldn't stop seeing her even after the summer was over. So one day Jenny went to talk to Barb, they fought, and Jenny shoved Barb. Barbara hit her head and died. Jen has felt overwhelming guilt and anxiety ever since. She says she wrote the letter and killed Dara (dammit, I really thought it was Ken! No more predictions from me.) and now she has to kill April because she knows too much. She shoves April again and this time it's effective: April goes sailing to the ground. Luckily, the lift has reached the top of the hill so April didn't fall very far. Jenny then tries to impale April on a ski pole, but that doesn't work. Jenny doesn't seem to understand that April is the main character and therefore cannot die. Ken shows up then with two ski patrolman. He says he realized it was Jenny when he looked more closely at the note and recognized her handwriting. April explains that truth or dare got Jenny riled up. "Next time, maybe we should stick to trivial pursuit." Get off the stage!

Conclusion? Not TOO terrible. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that this is a Fear Street novel with absolutely no mention of Fear Street. Then again, maybe that's a good thing...

Next time: "Fear Park #1 - The First Scream"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Best Friend

This cover is so ugly and misleading. The girl looks like she's a) 30 years old and b) made of wax. And this scene never happens!

Book Description:

Who is Honey Perkins? She's been telling everyone in Shadyside that she's Becka Norwood's best friend. But Becka's sure she's never met Honey before. Honey systematically moves in on Becka's life, copying her in every way. But when Becka presumes to have more than one "best friend," the horrible accidents begin. Does Honey just want a friend? Becka wonders. Or does she want more--much more!

My Description:

It's late Friday night and Becka is sitting with her boyfriend, Eric Fraser, in his car. She's preparing to break up with him because he's hella needy. Oh, and he doesn't listen to her, he just wants to grope her and make out with her 24 hours a day. Typical teenage male behavior. She finally blurts it out ("I don't think we should see each other anymore.") and he giggles (GIGGLES!) and says that's cool. It's pretty obvious things aren't cool at all but whatever. As he drives Becka home, the mood is tense and uncomfortable. They arrive at Becka's house and as she gets out of the car, he says "See you at school. It's been real!" while keeping a shit eating grin on his face. Stop trying to be macho, Eric, it's ok to cry! Eric speeds off, but Becka isn't ready to go inside yet. She decides to drive around town for a bit to calm her nerves. I don't get what she's so upset about...she broke up with him, after all. If you hate something, set it free. Becka gets lost in her thoughts and ends up slamming into a car at an intersection. Ouch.

Apparently Becka wasn't harmed at all because she's telling her friends, Trisha and Lilah, all about it the next day (Saturday) at her house. She brags that only one headlight got smashed and her dad was hardly mad about it at all. Why does Stine always make it seem so much worse? The way the accident was described, I would've thought the damn car was totaled. Anyway, the conversation eventually turns to Becka's break up with Eric. Yawn. They also talk about Becka's ex-boyfriend, Bill Planter. Bill is a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks who was hated by Becka's parents which made Becka want him more. Why the break up? I dunno. It's never explained, but it doesn't matter because Becka wants him back, baby. No-one gave foot rubs like old Planter. *sigh* In the midst of conversation, a girl bursts into Becka's room screaming "Becka! I can't believe it! It's really you!" What the hell, man? Becka is shocked because she's never seen this chick before in her life. We get the following description of the trespasser: "She wasn't exactly pretty. But she was very dramatic looking with her flowing auburn hair past her shoulders, round gray eyes, and full lips coated in a dark lipstick. She wore a bright orange sweater that clashed with her hair and a green miniskirt over black tights." Stine, you need to learn how to color and green? She looks like a pumpkin! Anyway, the girl just keeps gushing about how excited she is that she moved right next door. WOOO! She doesn't seem to notice that the other girls don't have a damn clue who she is. Lilah and Trish introduce themselves and the girl says "I remember you two. I'm Honey Perkins." HOW does she remember? Everyone else obviously doesn't. And this doesn't seem like a girl who would be easily forgotten. Honey tells Lilah and Trish that she and Becka were best friends in 3rd and 4th grade, but Becka silently disagrees. Lilah and Trish keep trying to make conversation with Honey, but she totally ignores them and zeroes in on Becka. Becka's mom comes in a few minutes later and Honey freaks out screaming "Mrs. Norwood!" and rushing to hug her. Mrs. Norwood is just as confused and disturbed by Honey as Becka is and she quickly makes an excuse to leave. Good one, Mom. Just go ahead and leave your daughter alone with the psychotic nut.

After several more minutes of Honey's incessant, mindless jabber, she finally leaves. Becka drags out her 4th grade class picture and the girls spot Honey. Suddenly they all remember her and what a weirdo she was. She didn't have any friends at all so why the hell was she all over Becka? No answer. Trish and Lilah prepare to leave, but they stop when Becka says "My parrot pin! It's gone!" Just before Honey left, she was trying on one of Becka's pins...guess she stole it. Becka is pissed because Bill Planter gave her that pin, dammit! Did he get it from Claudia Kishi? Because it totally sounds like something from her collection. Trish tells her to go ask Honey for it because it's probably still attached to her sweater. Becka says "Honey looked like a pumpkin in it." Ha, exactly what I said! Trish and Lilah leave and Becka puts on her coat in preparation to jog over to Honey's house. Before she can leave, Bill the Planter calls. He wants her to sneak out and meet him later at the mall, but she refuses because her parents hate him and if they found out, they'd kill her. They hang up and Becka heads over to Honey's house. She gets a shock when she realizes the house is totally empty and Honey lied. LIAR! Becka knocks on the door of the seemingly empty house. When no-one answers, she peeks into the windows, but only sees darkness.

One afternoon, Lilah and Becka are walking home together and gossiping about Mary Harwood who is apparently Shadyside's biggest tramp because she kisses a lot of boys. There's a difference between kissing and sexy time, girls. Mary isn't having sex...just like the rest of you! Then they start talking about Trish's upcoming Christmas party: "It's going to be a mob scene! Trish has invited everyone in the world!" Including Bill. Ooo la la. Becka has already picked out her outfit: a short silky silver dress over a black catsuit. It's only legal for Catwoman to wear a freaking catsuit. Everyone else should be arrested for public indecency (unless it's Halloween).

When Becka gets home, she walks up to her room, but stops when she hears a voice. The door is open slightly and she can see Honey inside trying Becka's clothes on. She rushes in and asks what the hell she's doing. Honey just says that Becka's mom said she could come up, but Mom left a little earlier. Ok, when everyone leaves, that's your cue to leave also, stupid. Anyway, Honey carries on and on about how cute Becka's clothes are and how they used to share clothes (that never happened). Becka asks her about the empty house and Honey says the furnace was out and it was freezing so they had to spend the weekend in a motel. Ok. Then Becka brings up her parrot pin and Honey reaches out to choke her. The fucking nutjob is choking the life out of her over a stupid parrot?! Oh, my bad. Honey was just kidding: "I gotcha that time! Don't you remember our Gotcha game?" No. Probably because it NEVER HAPPENED. Then that little piece of crap tells Becka that she (Becka) gave the pin to her. Whatever! Oh my God, I literally cannot list all of the irritating things that Honey does in just a few short minutes. She finally leaves after running her mouth nonstop. Becka, just shoot her in the head. No-one will notice and if they do, they sure as hell won't care.

After Honey leaves, Becka calls Bill. They discuss seeing one another again, but Becka still refuses to sneak out and Bill is a trifle disappointed because he wants to corrupt her a little. His words, not mine. Becka's mom pulls up in the driveway so she quickly hangs up the phone. Mom comes inside with an armful of groceries and Becka asks her why she let Honey in. Mom is confused because she hasn't been home all afternoon and couldn't possibly have let Honey into the house. Can anyone say 'restraining order'?

On Wednesday afternoon, Becka and Lilah are walking to the bike rack after school when they spot Honey. *sigh* Not again. Honey wants to walk home with Becka, but Becka explains that she and Lilah are riding their bikes. Honey totally ignores Lilah as usual and says she really needs to get a bike. Honey goes away a few seconds later and Becka and Lilah ride away. As they're rolling down a hill toward an intersection, Lilah freaks out because her brakes don't work. She speeds toward the intersection where a brown delivery truck is also headed. Uh-oh. Lilah flies over the handlebars...

...but the next chapter informs us that she's alive. In terrible shape, but alive. The ambulance hauls her away while the cops talk to the truck driver. Becka walks over to Lilah's mangled bike and notices that one of the brake cables is missing. HoneyHoneyHoneyHoney. A police officer comes over and tells her it's time to go home. Of course she calls the magnificent Mr. Planter as soon as she gets there. She tells him that she WILL sneak out on Saturday night and they can go to a movie or something. Yeah, OR SOMETHING. Becka turns and sees that troll Honey standing in the doorway of her room. She hangs up the phone and asks her how she got in. I can't help but laugh at how delusional Honey is. Becka obviously can't stand her yet she just keeps hanging around. Honey expresses her sympathy about Lilah and wraps Becka in a bear hug. How sweet...except for the part about Becka not being able to breathe. Honey lets go and Becka says she really wants to be alone now, but Honey doesn't leave. Becka starts to cry and Honey just pats her on the back and such. Trish comes in then, but Honey takes care of her real quick. She grabs Trish's arm and pulls her out of the room: "Sorry, Trish. Becka wants to be left alone." The audacity! At least Honey is gone...for now. I don't understand why Becka won't tell her to fuck off already!

It's Saturday night and Becka and Bill are heavily making out in her car which is parked on River Ridge. Bill finally has to break for air ("I can't breathe.") and Becka uses this opportunity to complain about Honey. We've already discussed this--either kill her or tell her to get lost! Becka says that since Lilah's accident, Honey calls constantly and comes over to her house every single day and it's driving her nuts. She doesn't wanna say anything because Honey means well. Whatever! Becka, you live on Fear Street. Most people there don't have good intentions and Honey is no exception. Becka then tells Bill about something Lilah said : "Lilah told me that Honey had been asking questions about her bike. A day or two before the accident. You know. Questions about what kind of bike it was, how the brakes worked. Stuff like that." So she's a bicycle aficionado. What of it? "I didn't remember until I talked to Lilah this morning. But Honey was at the bike rack when Lilah and I came for our bikes. She was examining a bike..." I'm surprised it took you this long to figure it out. Next, Honey will be after your beloved Planter! Becka gazes out the window and screams that she sees Honey out there hiding behind a tree. She dives out of the car and runs to the tree. Of course no-one is there and Bill thinks she's out of her frigging mind.

On Monday, Becka is sick and doesn't go to school. Her mom brings her some tea and toast and then leaves for work. I think we all know where this is going. Mom says that Honey will bring Becka's homework to her later. Oh good. Another excuse for her to get inside the house. At a little after 3:00, Trish calls and says she thought Becka would be in the hospital because of her breakdown. Say what? "Honey told everyone about your breakdown." Oh that is it. I have had it with this girl! I've never wanted to kill a fictional character this much. Well, I have, but it's been a while. Trish goes on to say "She said it was because of Lilah's accident. Honey said you totally freaked out. She was telling everyone." What an asshole. Becka says that she only has a virus and doesn't understand why Honey would lie. Because she's CRAZY, that's why. Trish tells her a few more things before hanging up: there will be no adults at the party on Saturday, Lilah is getting better, and Honey looks really different. Spare me. Honey arrives a few minutes later and surprise! She's cut and styled her hair to look exactly like Becka's. Thankfully, the moron doesn't stick around for long.

That night, Becka is awakened by the phone. It's R.L. Stine calling to tell her she's trapped in a shitty novel. Just kidding--it's Honey. She just wanted to tell Becka that she's always around if she needs anything. Unfortunately. She also says that she never said anything about a breakdown and Trish is just a big fat liar. Just be quiet, Honey. Becka attends school the next day even though she feels like roadkill. It's the last day before Christmas break so she'll have plenty of time to lay in bed over the next few weeks. Her friend, Cari Taylor, comes over and asks her how she is. She thought Becka was sick in the head which makes Becka realize that Honey did indeed tell everyone a pack of lies. In homeroom, she sees Honey wearing a blue silk shirt that belongs to Becka (Honey took it home under the pretense of "cleaning it" and Becka was stupid enough to actually believe that shit) and Becka's parrot pin. And Becka STILL says nothing!!! You've got to be kidding. No more nice girl. It's time to lay the smack down, Becka! I can't believe I'm getting so worked up over this...I've truly gone astray.

At lunch, Trish suggests what I suggested earlier: "Why don't we just murder her?" YES! "It was just a joke." Oh Trish, you are a terrible human being. I may murder you just for that. The girls go for a walk outside (they're allowed to do that during lunch?) and Becka spots Honey making out with Eric Fraser (remember him?) Becka freaks out for some reason...I mean, she really hates them both so what does she care what they're doing together? Honey spots them and comes running over. Becka gives her the cold shoulder and Honey gets upset and runs away. That won't be enough to keep her away, though. Trish and Becka go back inside where Becka heads straight for her locker. She finds it completely trashed and assumes this is the work of Honey as payback for ignoring her. She catches up to Honey in the bathroom and verbally abuses her. She accuses her of trashing the locker and Honey vehemently denies it and tells Becka that this is just because she's with Eric now. Becka explodes, screaming that she doesn't care about Eric, she just wants Honey to stay the hell out of her life. Honey starts crying and says "You can't talk to me that way, Becka! I'm your best friend!" Then she reaches into her jacket and pulls out a pistol. A freaking pistol. The damned thing isn't even real, it's just a water gun. Honey starts laughing and tells Becka they used to squirt each other all the time. Becka runs away screaming "No no no!" I can't help but laugh hysterically...I don't know why.

That night, Becka goes to Bill's house for some TLC; after the Honey episode, she probably needs it. But of course once she's there, she only wants to freak out about Honey some more. *sigh* When she mentions seeing Honey with Eric during lunch period, Bill interrupts: "Did you hear about the guys who broke into the school during lunch period today? They ran through the halls, trashing lockers." Worst. Plot. Contrivance. Ever. It doesn't even make any fucking sense! Who were the guys? What motive could they possibly have had for ransacking teenagers' lockers in the middle of the day? Were they searching for something? WHAT?! Anyway, Becka feels bad because she accused Honey of something she didn't do and since Honey is an unstable maniac, Becka will probably suffer the consequences. I look forward to some real action. No fake pistols! Before she leaves, Becka asks Bill if Honey ever came on to him and he says "Maybe. But it was no big deal." Ooooo.

When she arrives home, it's a little late, but her mom is waiting up for her. And boy, is she pissed! Mom rails on and on about Bill being a bad influence and blah blah blah. She's mostly angry about Becka sneaking out so she grounds her. Tragedy = Becka will have to miss Trish's big Christmas party. Becka runs to her room and thinks about how ticked off she is. To make matters worse, Honey was hiding in the closet and chooses this moment to pop out. She says she came over earlier, but Becka wasn't home so she snuck upstairs to wait in the closet until Becka arrived. Why didn't she just sit on the bed or something? Why am I still asking questions at this point? Honey apologizes for telling Becka's mom that Becka was at Bill's house, but Becka doesn't accept the apology. Instead, she tells Honey that they are not friends and never will be. She says that Trish and Lilah are her only friends. Honey stares blankly at her for a second then smiles and says "I broke up with Eric today. Just like you did." Which means that she is now available to prey upon Bill Planter.

On Saturday night, Becka ends up going to Trish's party; her dad convinced her mom to allow her to go. The place is packed with people and a giant glittery Christmas tree. She chats with Trish for a moment and grabs some hot cider before searching for Bill. She finds him goofing around with some guy named David. Looks like he already has a date, Becka. Things are going well...until Honey comes skipping up to her: "Hiya, twin!" Yep, that's right. Honey has on the same catsuit and skirt ensemble as Becka. Becka completely flips out: "Go away! Leave me alone! You're not my friend, Honey! You look ridiculous! You look gross! You look pathetic! Leave me alone! I don't want to see you anymore!" Ouch. Honey runs out of the room and Becka just stands there while everyone stares in shock. But they all get over it and start partying again like nothing ever happened. Becka looks up the stairs and spots Trish coming down with a cake. She also sees Honey standing behind Trish...Honey reaches out and shoves Trish down the stairs. Damn. Everyone runs over to see what happened and someone calls 911. Becka sees that Honey hasn't moved from the staircase. But as soon as she realizes that Becka is watching her, Honey turns on the waterworks: "I tried to catch her. But I wasn't fast enough." Honey, I regret to inform you that you are a lying bitch. Becka looks back at Trish and notices that she's still breathing, but it's loud and irregular. Honey comes up behind Becka and says "You still have a friend. I'm right here. I won't go away. I'm still here." Will she never learn?! Becka runs to the door just as two police officers enter. She tells them that Honey pushed Trish and then she passes out.

Becka wakes up on Sunday morning in her bed. Her mom and a doctor are there with her and Becka asks them about Trish (she broke her neck, but she'll be all right). The doctor leaves a few minutes later and Becka falls asleep. For the next few days that's pretty much all she does. One afternoon, her mom comes in and tells her she's going out for a bit. The moment she leaves, the phone rings. Oh we go again. I don't even need to tell you that it's Honey. Becka sits silently while Honey tells her that she has a surprise for her and she should come right over to see what it is. Becka doesn't want to, but she changes her tune when she hears a voice that sounds like Bill in the background. She walks over to Honey's house, but pauses at the kitchen window. The window is thinly covered in frost, but Becka thinks she sees Bill and Honey holding hands at the table. Uh-oh. Becka bursts into the kitchen, grabs a knife off the counter, and lunges for Honey. SCORE! Sadly, she's too weak to kill Honey and she collapses to the floor. Bill freaks out and says to Honey "You told me Becka knew I was here! You told me she was coming to see me!" Honey tells Bill to stay away from Becka because Becka is HER friend. She and Bill wrestle for the knife and Honey ends up stabbing him in the chest. And check this shit out--she places the knife in Becka's hand!! I have officially gone insane. Becka is slowly regaining consciousness. Honey hugs her and says "Don't worry. I won't tell the police what you did. We won't let them know you murdered Bill. I'll tell them you did it in self-defense, Becka. I'm your best friend and your only friend." Becka's reply? "Thank you, Honey." NO! Damn this book!

Conclusion? The fact that there is a sequel makes me not want to live anymore. But that won't stop me from reviewing it eventually, don't worry.

Next time: "Truth or Dare"

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 ...