Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheerleaders: The First Evil

Book Description:

Newcomers Corky and Bobbi Corcoran want more than anything to make the cheerleading squad at Shadyside High. But as soon as the Corcoran sisters are named to the team, terrible things happen to the cheerleaders. The horror starts with a mysterious accident near the Fear Street cemetery. Soon after, piercing screams echo through the empty school halls. And then the ghastly murders begin... Can Corky and Bobbi stop the killer before the entire cheerleading squad is destroyed?

My Description:

Part One: The Cheers

It's early morning and Bobbi has been struck with an idea that's pure genius (note the sarcasm). She's going to stick a fake rat outside her brother Sean's room because he's terrified of rats and she wants to hear him scream. Lame. That shit is entertaining when you're 10, not 17. The girls head downstairs to the kitchen where they complain to their parents about having poached eggs for breakfast AGAIN. We're only four pages in and I'm already really irritated with these two. Anyway, just as their mom asks them if they woke Sean up, they hear a loud scream. Poor Sean. Damn cheerleaders. Conversation turns to cheerleading tryouts that afternoon and Mom uses the opportunity to carry on about how WONDERFUL GLORIOUS TALENTED her girls are. Puke. Bobbi heads upstairs to get dressed and Corky soon follows. She freaks out when she sees Bobbi dangling halfway over the stair railing. But of course it's just another one of Bobbi's stupid jokes. Bobbi DOES die in this one, doesn't she?

School has just let out and Jennifer Daly, captain of the cheerleading squad, is waiting in the gym psyching herself up for the Corcoran's tryout. Stine gives us a glowing description of Jen which makes me think this is his list of traits for his ideal woman: energetic, nice laugh, soft-spoken, and looks like Julia Roberts. Kimmy Bass, the squad's assistant captain, is also hanging around: "Kimmy buzzed around Jennifer like a frenetic bumblebee (I would compare her to a pesky gnat rather than a bee) . With her round face topped by a mop of crimped black hair, her full cheeks that always seemed to be pink, and her slightly chunky shape, she proved to be a striking contrast to her friend." That's just a polite way of saying that Kimmy is the ugly one that makes all the other cheerleaders look better by comparison. Anyway, Kimmy is pissed because the Corcoran sisters are trying out; she thinks the squad is perfect the way it is. But Jennifer insists the Corcorans are perfect because the squad they were on at their old school won a national competition. Who the hell cares? Less talking, more pyramids! cartwheels! murder!

Corky and Bobbi start their cheer which the other cheerleaders think is great for some reason:

First and ten,
Do it again!
First and ten,
Do it again!
Go Tigers!

Sounds like major suckage to me. Seriously. That's crap. After they finish the routine, Jennifer tells them they were awesome. Define 'awesome', Jen. All the other cheerleaders think they're great, too, except for Kimmy and her friend Debra (an icy, blond bitch. Pardon my French.) But it doesn't matter what those two think because Bobbi and Corky are now officially on the squad. After the Corcoran sisters leave, Miss Green (the incredibly manly advisor) tells Jennifer that they only have funds to add one more girl to the squad. Rather than eliminate one of the amazing Corcorans, Jennifer decides to make Ronnie, a freshman, an alternate. Kimmy, as usual, gets all pissed off and fetches Ronnie so Jen can break the news. Ronnie cries (BOO HOO!) and angrily tells Jen that she doesn't really have to do this and then runs away.

In the showers, Kimmy, Debra, and Ronnie bitch some more about Jennifer, Miss Green, and the sisters. Get over it, crybabies. I don't get why Kimmy and Debra are so upset. Maybe they see the Corcorans as a threat? What do you think, Debra? "If only the Corcorans would go back where they came from. With their long blond hair and their big eyes and phony smiles. Yuck." Thank you, Debra. Now kindly shut the hell up. Kimmy turns on the shower and starts screaming--the water is scalding hot! The HORROR! The girls turn off the water and leave. Guess Kimmy wasn't hurt too badly. Darn.

Two weeks later on a Friday night, the Shadyside cheer squad is headed to their first away game. WOOO! If my enthusiasm seems false, that's only because it's false. The girls are all extremely excited and even do a cheer on the bus:

Tigers are yellow,
Tigers are black.
Push 'em back, push 'em back,
Push 'em waaaaay back!

Wow that's horrible. A thunderstorm has just begun and I'm almost certain it's a direct result of those cheers--God doesn't want to hear it anymore! Bobbi and Corky tell Jennifer that they forgot the fire batons at their house so the bus driver needs to make a stop on Fear Street so they can get them. Are they serious? The bus drivers around here would tell you to sit down and shut your trap; it's a one way ticket with zero stops. The driver turns on Fear Street and opens the door so he can see better (the windshield is fogged). Suddenly the bus starts speeding out of control and Jennifer, who was standing beside the driver, flies out of the bus. Then the freaking bus skids a little further before tilting over on it's side. This is what shitty cheers will get you. The girls and the driver manage to escape through the windows and are shocked to realize they wrecked in the Fear Street cemetery. Spooktastic. They soon spot Jennifer's body lying at the foot of a tombstone belonging to Sarah Fear. They run over and discover that Jennifer is dead. Someone must have seen the wreckage from their house and called 911 because an ambulance shows up and paramedics attempt to revive Jennifer. And they do! Bobbi was the one who checked Jen out and pronounced her dead before the ambulance arrived. Idiot. Kimmy is also pissed at Bobbi. Why? Because Bobbi insisted that the driver turn on Fear Street so everything that just happened is her fault. Ok, I'm not Bobbi's biggest fan, but Kimmy is such a ridiculous piece of crap. Step off already!

Part Two: The Fall

It's two weeks after the bus accident and the squad is at the most unholy and pointless of all high school events--a pep rally. Even Ronnie (who is now back on the squad) and Kimmy (who believes she is about to become captain) are happy. After the cheerleaders end their routine, Jennifer comes out on the floor in a wheelchair and gives a short speech to which everyone responds by screaming and cheering. The sweetness is clogging my arteries. Then Miss Green announces who she has chosen to become the new captain. Kimmy is all smiles because she just KNOWS it will be her. But her hopes are totally smashed when Miss Green says Bobbi Corcoran. *laughs maniacally* In your face, Kimmy! Bwahahahaha! Naturally, Kimmy is sad and angry and decides on the spot that she quits the squad. She's not gonna be stood up by a perfect blond princess who's only goal is to destroy her life! Has no-one ever told this girl that nothing you do in high school really matters in the long run? Kimmy flees the gym with thoughts of revenge. Give me a break.

Bobbi is on cloud nine and as she walks home from school, she can think of nothing but her new position as captain. Oh, she thinks of Kimmy momentarily, but don't worry--thoughts of that hag won't ruin the good mood! Her thoughts are broken when someone touches her shoulder and says hi. Bobbi turns to see a cute guy: "He was handsome with friendly dark brown eyes that crinkled at the corners, a shy smile, and lots of unbrushed brown hair that seemed to be tossed around on his head." His name is Chip Chasner and he's a quarterback. Of course he is! He just wanted to congratulate her, but the conversation turns to football. After some really boring chit-chat, Chip cuts to the chase and asks Bobbi if she's seeing anyone. When she says no and asks if he is, he replies "No. Not anymore. Want to meet me after the Winstead game? We could go get a pizza. You know. Hang out with some other guys?" Bobbi agrees and they part ways. Do these people ever do anything else for dates? It's always pizza! Only the psychos are ever creative with their dates. But we just won't go there...

The next night, Bobbi goes to Jennifer's house to study. Ever since the accident, the two have become good friends. Nothing like unbearable tragedy to bring people together. The girls talk about Kimmy and Jennifer says that she convinced Kimmy to come back to the squad. Why the hell would you go and do a thing like that? Kimmy is just awful. The conversation then turns to the wonderous Chip. When Bobbi mentions that he asked her out, Jennifer gets a little defensive and asks "You didn't say yes--DID you?" Bobbi asks why and Jen explains: "Don't you know that Chip is Kimmy's boyfriend? I mean, he WAS Kimmy's boyfriend until a couple of weeks ago. Then he dumped her. Just like that. After two years." Why would a god date a troll? Oh well. Bobbi is upset because she thinks Kimmy will think Chip broke up with her to date Bobbi. Who cares?!?

The next afternoon (I THINK it's the next afternoon anyway) Kimmy is being her usual bitchy self at practice. She wants to get home to prep for the game later. You can't improve your level of crap, Kim, don't even try. Bobbi says they'll meet back here at seven. All the other cheerleaders leave, but Bobbi needs to get something from her locker first. As she's walking down the hall, all the lockers start swinging open on their own. As if that isn't enough, a girl's shrill scream rises over the noise of the banging lockers. Bobbi races around the corner, but there's no-one there. So the school is haunted much like everything else in this town. Big deal. She goes back into the hall of swinging lockers and finds the lockers now closed. She opens her own, grabs her things, and flees the school.

At home, Bobbi and Corky are sitting in their room. Bobbi has just finished telling Corky about the lockers and the scream and Corky is ready with that age-old explanation that we've all seen about a million times in these books: "You've been under a lot of pressure." *sigh* Bobbi is upset because Corky doesn't believe her. Suddenly, both girls gaze across the room at the closet door that is opening by itself! NOO! If you thought it was anything but little Sean then you really shouldn't be reading this. He bursts out and then the girls tickle him. Hard. But they have to cut the fun short because it's time for the game. Sean follows them downstairs saying "Shadyside's going to lose. Shadyside stinks." Undoubtedly true.

At the game, the cheerleaders are giving it their all:

Tigers growl! Tigers roar!
Do it again-more more MORE!

I don't know who made the cheers up, but that person should be tarred and feathered because the cheers are hella lame, man. Bobbi watches Chip on the field and thinks to herself "Was he thinking about the Winstead linemen staring at him from under their helmets, about to come charging toward him? Was he thinking only about the play he had called? Was he nervous? Was he scared to death?" This isn't a battlefield and you're not a war widow, Bobbi, chill out. A few minutes later, Bobbi glances over at Kimmy and notices that she's staring straight ahead as if she's in a trance. Bobbi's attention turns back to the game because who really gives a crap about Kimmy? To make a short story shorter, Chip ends up getting buried under a pile of sweaty football players. When they haul their asses off him, he's unconscious. He's taken away on a stretcher and I'm blaming Kimmy! The Tigers lose the game which proves that Sean was correct--Shadyside stinks.

After the game, Bobbi hangs around the door to the boy's locker room and asks the first guy who comes out if Chip is in there. He is and he'll be out shortly. Oh good. Chip comes out a few minutes later and tells the worried Bobbi that he's fine, he just wants to go home and lie down. She offers to drive him home and they head for her car. On the way to his house, Chip tells Bobbi that when he was on the field, just before he got hit by the players, it was like he was totally paralyzed. It's Kimmy's cheerleader voodoo! Bobbi pulls over to the curb and they start to make out. Stine makes it a point to tell us how steamy the windshield is getting. Don't make me gag!

Just before practice on Monday afternoon, Kimmy comes running over to Bobbi. I don't even have to tell you that she's ticked off. She wants to talk about Chip. Oh shit, here we go. Kimmy says that Chip is HER boyfriend and Bobbi replies that Chip is the one who asked her out which causes Kimmy to pounce on Bobbi like a dog on a juicy bone. Miss Green and Jennifer come over and the fight is over before it really started. Miss Green says practice won't start until they apologize to one another. At first they refuse, but Miss Green threatens to suspend them both from the squad so they finally give in. Finally the actual cheering begins. They're preparing to do a stunt in which Kimmy will stand on Corky's shoulders and dive off into Bobbi's waiting arms. Unfortunately, as Bobbi is waiting, she's totally paralyzed just like Chip was. Since she can't speak, she silently prays for Kimmy NOT to jump. But prayers go unanswered in these parts and Kimmy jumps, landing with a crack on the floor. Let the bitching commence! I have to admit, though, that Kimmy has good reason to bitch because that had to hurt like a motherf!@$er. She landed on her elbows and knees and cracked her forehead against the floor. Damn. As Kimmy lies there, Ronnie and Debra really let Bobbi have it: "You didn't try to catch her! You didn't even try! You just let her fall! We saw you! It was deliberate." Then Kimmy gets her turn and I don't even wanna go there. Miss Green says an ambulance is on its way and she'll have a long talk about this with Bobbi. Uh-oh. Bobbi finally breaks down and runs out of the gym and the school. She only stops when someone grabs her shoulders. It's Chip who wants to know what's wrong. Bobbi sobs that the paralyzing thing happened to her, too. Chip is headed to the doctor for tests and recommends that Bobbi do the same, but she ain't gonna. *sigh*

Later, Bobbi heads to Jennifer's house to vent and complain. Yes, please throw your problems onto the paraplegic. I'm sure she doesn't have any of her own or anything. But like a good friend, Jen listens...and listens...and listens. Shut your freaking yap, Bobbi. Bobbi finally asks about Kimmy and Jen says she has a broken wrist. But Bobbi doesn't really care and immediately switches the conversation back to her issues. Boring. Dull. Zzzzz. Bobbi finally decides to go home at 11:00. As she's getting into her car, she sees Jen WALKING back and forth in front of the window. What the hell?!? Not so crippled after all! Bobbi walks to the front door and rings the bell. But when Jen answers, she's in the wheelchair which makes Bobbi believe that she's going crazy. It isn't that you're crazy. It's that Jen is a liar. LIAR! Bobbi makes some excuse and leaves. Once at home, she wakes Corky to tell her about seeing Jennifer walk. But Corky doesn't believe it. In fact, she brings up a few things she believes to be lies on Bobbi's part: the slamming lockers and Bobbi's paralysis. Bobbi calls Corky a traitor and Corky responds with "You're crazy, Bobbi! Crazy!" Nice.

Part Three: The Evil

So we're at practice again. Stifle your yawns. Corky had to stay late in the science lab so she's missing all the cattiness. Kimmy is being a royal bitch to Bobbi even when Bobbi asks how her wrist is. Bobbi just ignores the attitude and gets practice started. At least she tries to. Everyone is being uncooperative with Kimmy at the lead saying they should wait until Miss Green arrives. Bobbi argues with the chubby little slimeball until Miss Green shows up and asks to speak with Bobbi privately. Then she cancels practice. Sweet relief. Kimmy turns to give Bobbi a smug smile before leaving. Hate! Miss Green tells Bobbi that the girls on the squad obviously don't trust her anymore after Kimmy's accident and she'll have to step down from the squad. It's the first sign of the apocalypse! Bobbi just says "I understand" and heads for the showers where she promptly bursts into tears while undressing. She's momentarily startled because she thinks she hears someone, but dismisses it. A few seconds later, she hears a loud clanging noise as the shower doors close. This isn't gonna be good. Bobbi doesn't think it's anything to worry about so she turns on the shower...and immediately starts screaming. The water is scalding hot. She dodges away, but ALL of the showers are now spraying unbearably hot water. Holy shit! She runs for the doors, but they're predictably locked. The steam is so thick that she can't breathe and eventually passes out.

Corky comes to the gym at around 4:30 and is confused to find it empty. She checks Miss Green's office and the locker room before deciding to try the showers. Heeeerrreee it comes. She goes inside and sees Bobbi's cheerleading uniform lying on a bench and hears all the showers running, but finds it strange that none of the other girls' things are there. She steps toward the showers but stops when she spots something shiny on the floor. It's Kimmy's silver megaphone pendant. Oooo! Corky pockets it and continues toward the showers. She pushes open the doors and is shocked when a flood of steam and a rush of hot water come pouring out. She tiptoes inside calling Bobbi's name. Sadly, she finds Bobbi lying facedown under the showerheads. Her skin is as red as a lobster. Corky turns her over and sees this: "Bobbi stared back at her with vacant, wide-eyed terror, her flesh swollen and red, her mouth locked open in a silent scream." Corky simply sits there holding her dead sister in her arms. *sob*

Two weeks later on a cold moonlit night, Corky takes a trip to the Fear Street cemetery. She finds Sarah Fear's grave, the grave Jennifer landed at when she flew out of the bus. And then she looks upon Bobbi's grave and can't help but cry. She thinks about the funeral, how it was raining that day. Corky starts talking to her sister's grave: "I know you can hear me, Bobbi. I just wish you could answer. I just wanted to tell you the news. They made Kimmy captain of the cheerleaders. You probably guessed that would happen, right? Well, everyone seems real happy about it. Especially Kimmy. The news sure made her wrist get better in a hurry." Damn that stupid Kimmy! Corky goes on to say that she wishes she hadn't been so mean the night before Bobbi died. She starts crying and repeating "I'm sorry" People, this is seriously depressing. I'm sinking, man! She reaches into her pocket for a tissue and Kimmy's pendant falls out. It suddenly dawns on Corky that Kimmy could possibly have had something to do with Bobbi's death. "Yes, Kimmy was there. Kimmy was there when Bobbi died and I have the proof in my hand." YES! Torch Kimmy's ass!

Corky rushes to Kimmy's house and just barges in like she owns the place. YES! Debra and Ronnie are there, too. Yuck. Corky thrusts the pendant in Kimmy's face and says "You were there. You were there when Bobbi died. Here's my proof. I found this in the locker room." And Kimmy, that unbelievable piece of shit, says that the pendant isn't even her's: "It isn't mine anymore. I gave it to Jennifer." No fucking way! Ok, MAYBE it's true. Kimmy goes on to say that she gave the pendant to Jen a month ago because the clasp was loose and she didn't like it anymore. She says it probably came loose and fell from Jen's neck, but that doesn't make Jen a murderer. Corky knows better, though--Jennifer never changed in the locker room so she couldn't have dropped it there unless she was in there to mess with Bobbi.

Corky runs out of Kimmy's house and drives to Jennifer's house. The house is dark, but she sees a car pull into the driveway and then turn around. Jennifer is driving! Corky decides to follow her. Jennifer turns on Fear Street and stops when she reaches the cemetery. Corky gets out of the car and hides behind a tree, watching Jennifer's every move. Jen starts doing this crazy dance with a Shadyside Tigers penant. Weirdo. Corky realizes that Jen is dancing around Sarah Fear's tombstone. After Jen curtsies before the grave, Corky's curiosity gets the better of her and she steps out from behind the tree: "Jennifer, what's going on?" Jennifer's reply? "I'm not Jennifer!" Oh no. Don't tell me she's possessed by Sarah Fear's spirit or some shit. Jen raises her hand and suddenly Corky is trapped in a swirling tornado of dirt from Sarah Fear's grave. Corky begs to know what's going on so "Jen" explains: "I am not Jennifer. Jennifer died weeks ago. Jennifer died in the bus accident. She was dead that night in the rain. She died on top of Sarah Fear's grave. I waited so long, so long... Buried down there for a hundred years with Sarah Fear." What the hell is going on? When Corky asks if she's Sarah Fear, the thing replies "Not anymore." Ok, so she's Sarah Fear in Jen's body. Why can't evil spirits say what they mean? Then Sarah/Jennifer tells Corky that it's her turn to go down into the grave.

Sarah/Jennifer tells Corky to look at her new home. Corky gazes into the open grave at an old wooden coffin with a hole in it through which she can see a nasty ass skeleton crawling with worms inside. Sarah/Jennifer shoves Corky into the grave. NOOOO! Thankfully Corky manages to land on her feet and drags herself out of the hole. Sometime throughout all of this, Debra, Kimmy, and Ronnie showed up and Sarah/Jennifer is distracted for the time being. Corky grabs her and attempts to throw her down into the grave. Sarah/Jennifer opens her mouth and out flows some dank, nasty breath that chokes Corky. Spirits have no sense of hygeine. Somehow Corky manages to choke Sarah/Jennifer. As she does, a vapor pours out of her mouth and into the grave. Corky realizes that it's all the evil pouring out of the body. The vapor goes into the coffin and dirt rains down, filling the grave once more. Wow. That was fucked up. The girls crowd around one another until some Shadyside officers show up out of the blue because they have nothing better to do than troll cemeteries.

Corky finally gets home at 3:00 am after spending quite a bit of time at the police station. In her room, as she's changing for bed, she cries out "Bobbi, I miss you so much!" Aw. Poor little lamb. She climbs into bed and freaks out when she feels something against her leg. She turns on the light and reaches for the mystery item. It's Jennifer's cheerleading penant. The book ends with Corky screaming.

Conclusion? I hate cheerleaders. Especially ones with evil vapor breath.

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