Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goodnight Kiss

Book Description:

Matt, his girlfriend April, and best friend Todd look forward to a summer of sun and fun at the beach. But as dark shadows flutter over the sand, they soon find themselves plunged into a horrifying world of endless night. "What's happening to April and Todd?" Matt wonders. "Why are they so pale, so weak, so...changed." The twin puncture wounds on their throats give Matt a clue. The menacing bats hovering over the beach offer another. April has been lured away by the kisses of another boy - strange, intoxicating kisses that leave her weak, hungering for more. The kisses of a vampire. Can Matt rescue April in time? Only he realizes that her next goodnight kiss may be her last.

My Description:

*I'll try to keep the cursing to a bare minimum. *cough* Who am I kidding? We all know I'll be red-faced and screaming "Fuck Stine and the bat out of hell he rode in on!!!!" before this post is done. This was a useless disclaimer...*

Part One - First Kiss

Some chick named Jessica is walking through Sandy Hollow, window shopping. She stops at the Beach Emporium to gaze at the colorful (and probably totally skimpy) bikinis on display. She goes inside and finds a few things that she likes. Well, good for her. I've never been able to walk into a store and find something within five seconds of being there. But enough about me. Jessica comes across a girl she's known for years named Lucy Franks who recently got a job at this here Beach Emporium. Lucy compliments Jessica on her grrrreat hair and that leads to a description of how WONDERFUL! AMAZING! FANFUCKINGTASTIC! Jessica looks: "Jessica's skin was pale and flawlessly smooth and creamy white, her best feature. The almost translucent skin contrasted with her dark brown eyes and her full red lips. The long cascades of red hair framed her high cheekbones and made Jessica appear very dramatic [and made Lucy appear to be very dog-like in comparison] and very sophisticated." Gag me with a spork. Lucy wisely changes the subject, asking what Jessica will up to this summer. Jessica just says she'll be hanging out and then asks Lucy what she thinks of the dress she's just picked out. She's gotta look good for her blind date tomorrow night with some dude named Gabriel Martins. "Everyone calls him Gabri." What happened to good old Gabe? What the hell is GABRI? Oh well. Jessica has picked out a navy blue sundress and Lucy tells her to try it on: "It'll probably look fabulous on you. You're so tall and have such great long legs. You really look like a model." So basically Jessica is the Jessica Wakefield of Sandy Hollow. Oh kids, you better bet I'll be doing some hardcore cussing before this book is over. I'm already feeling the beginnings of rage over the pathetic way Lucy is kissing Jessica's perfectly toned ass. Jessica tries on the dress, buys it, and heads for home.

Well, it is now the next evening and Jessica is waiting for the magnificent GABRI to arrive at the theater. He's late, but Jessica can't be too pissed off because when he finally DOES arrive, she sees that he is a hottie: "Gabri Martins was tall and very thin with a pale, narrow face, straight black hair swept back from his forehead, intense black eyes, and a broad, friendly smile that didn't seem to belong on such a serious face." He reminds me vaguely of a ferret. Whatever floats your boat, Jess. They head inside the theater and Jessica notes that the place smells like cats and mildew. What. The. Hell? The movie turns out to be incredibly shitty so they cut out early and Gabri suggests they go to the beach. Alllll alone on the beach where a ferret who's probably a vampire will try to scam on you before drinking your precious blood. This is why blind dates are a bad idea, fool. Once they're at the beach, Jessica says she feels like running. Gabri runs alongside her like a damn dog and then they roll around on the sand together like the mutts they are. When they drag their butts out of the sand, they stand there staring at one another and Jessica knows Gabri is about to kiss her. He pulls her closer...and promptly sinks his fangs into her throat. But wait! Turns out Jessica is a vampire, too! "You idiot! I'm an Eternal One, too!" Is that what they call themselves? Me am Eternal One! Anyway, Jessica is pissed off at Gabri and verbally rips him a new one for reasons I don't fully understand. Gabri isn't angry; he's worried: "Without the nectar, I'll perish." Jessica laughs at him: "Where'd you get that line? Out of an old horror movie?" I have to side with her on this one, Gabri. You're lame, man. Totally lame. The two spot a group of teenagers walking by and decide to go after them for some of that sweet, sweet nectar. Good Gawd, this book is ridiculous. No, not just ridiculous...riDONKulous. Gabriel is desperate to get his hands on fresh meat so turns himself into a bat and Jessica follows suit moments later.

Two girls, Monica Davis and Elly Porter, are walking along the beach and are unknowingly about to become victim to a couple of whiny ass vampires, I assume. I mean, being cursed to roam the earth for all eternity is no reason to be such a whiny little asshole. The girls are talking when suddenly they spot the two bats. Elly screams "Run!" because she has a brain, but Monica says there's nothing to worry about, that the bats live on a nearby island. Uh, SO? That doesn't make them friendly, cuddly, fuzzy-wuzzy teddy bears. A second after the words are out of Monica's mouth, one of the bats swoops down upon Elly, tangling itself in her hair in an effort to get to her throat. SEE? Luckily, these bats are retards, fighting with each other over Elly's throat even though there are TWO girls and eventually flying away.

Further down the beach, the bats transform into humans. *sigh* Do we really have to spend any more time with these two? I'm sick of Jessica's stupid ass jokes ("Sucker! Idiot, that was a joke!" HAR HAR HAR! NOT.) and Gabri's sullen moping. Gabri is pissed because Jessica interrupted his feeding and she says she couldn't allow him to drink because there were too many people around. Why are there droves of people on the beach at night? Why do I care? Why does this book have to be a Super Chiller with over 200 pages? The world may never know. Jess and Gabri argue for a few more minutes and I'm not sure I get this. If they hate each other so much, why are they STILL hanging together? I know they're completely stoopid, but still. Gabri accuses Jessica of thinking she's better than him (she thinks that about everyone) and proposes a little challenge: "Why not see which of us is better at getting the nectar? Why not see which of us is more successful with the young humans, which of us is more attractive, more appealing?" Let me save you some time: you both suck (pun not intended) and no humanoid will want anything to do with either of you. Gabri doesn't seem to realize his major suckitude and goes on to say "I will get a girl within my power before you can get a boy to succumb to you." This guy is hundreds of years old and he's acting like such a child. Any minute I expect him to stick his tongue out and scream "Nyah nyah nyah!" Instead, he continues explaining his DEVILISH plan: "Three sips, Jessica. Three small, measured sips on three different nights. That's what it takes to turn a human into an Eternal One. Take too big a drink, and the human dies. Three small, measured sips--and the human lives FOREVER as we do." Unless, of course, the human gets a little wild and drives a pointy stake into your cold, dead heart. Anyway, Jessica displays her total lack of brain cells by asking him if he means they should each pick a person and change them into Eternal Ones. Well, Sherlock, since that is EXACTLY WHAT HE JUST SAID, I assume that's the plan! These two are so frigging'd think that after a century or so of "living" on this earth, they'd be a little brighter by now. She agrees to the challenge and says she has an idea to make it even more interesting that it already isn't: Gabri will choose her victim and she will choose his. Awesome. Just get to it. God knows I won't be able to sleep until you bitches make those poor suckers your ETERNAL ONES. *sigh* I think tonight is the night I become an alcoholic...

We are now introduced to the chick mentioned on the back of the book: April Blair. She's being tortured by her fat sisters, Courtney and Whitney, who happen to be twins. They're six years old, but their pudge makes them strong. As they're slamming April's head into the living room carpet, Mom comes in holding shopping bags. Mom doesn't care that the twins are trying to split April's head open like a ripe melon. She just wants to know two things: why April doesn't stick up for herself and why April isn't getting off her can and helping her carry in the shopping bags. First of all, you irresponsible piece of crap, it's not her job to discipline YOUR daughters! I don't care if she's older--the twins are demonic and outweigh her by about 5658474 pounds so yeah, I'd say they have the upper hand here. As April drags herself off the carpet, Mom berates her for not opening the windows and whines about how stuffy it is. In case you couldn't tell, I hate Mom. Anyway, we find out that the Blair family is visiting from Shadyside because they need a break from the supernatural bullshit. Well, they won't be finding it here. Damned vampires. Anyway, Mom and April start discussing April's boy toy, Matt. Mom doesn't want April hanging around with the same old kids she knows from Shadyside; she wants her to meet some Sandy Hollow kids. Mom believes that Matt is WAY immature with his sports and video games and horror movies. Those things don't necessarily make someone immature, Mommy, and I should think you would be a fan of horror movies yourself, considering you were the star of one.

April escapes her mother's harping, going outside to help her dad drag in the shopping bags. The rest of the afternoon is spent helping her parents unload the car and clean and such with breaks here and there to fight with the Terror Twins. Yawn. That evening after dinner, April rushes out to meet Matt. As she's walking, someone jumps out from behind a tree and grabs her. AHHHHHH! Oh, never mind--it's just Matt. His friend, Todd, steps out also, seemingly embarrassed at his friend's antics. The three chat for a bit and Matt expresses his enthusiasm for Sandy Hollow to Todd who has never been before: "You won't believe what a great place this is. It's awesome. Bodysurfing all afternoon, soaking up the rays. Then party on the beach all night. Then throw up all morning and start all over again!" For someone who spends most of their time in Shadyside, I suppose that is the HEIGHT of fun. The three make their way to Main Street where Matt creams his pants over a video arcade and a horror movie festival at the theater. April hates both video games and horror movies so Matt gets pissed off and says they can just go to the beach instead. Ok, I must say I'm beginning to agree with April's mom--Matt is a baby. A group of kids have started a bonfire and one of them, Ben Ashen, comes running over. Ben is a douche: "Hey--the Mattster! How you doin'? You still so ugly?" Give me a break! Am I going to come across a single likable character in this book? They all go over to sit beside the fire. Ben runs off once he finds out that Matt won't come to the arcade with him. April and Matt make out while Todd sits alone and plays with his lighter. Sad.

Meanwhile, Gomer Pyle and Barney Fife are sitting nearby watching April and Matt suck face. Jessica says that she chooses April for Gabri to seduce. He whines a bit: "No! That big lunk of a boy has his arm around her. He's kissing her. She has a boyfriend, Jessica. I really must protest." Ah, I love his stuffy schoolmarm-ish way of speaking. Jessica makes fun of him and tells him it doesn't matter if the girl has a boyfriend; Gabri has to seduce her anyway. He doth protest once again, but stops when he sees how delish April is: "The girl is so luscious, so ready, so ripe." Yeah, buddy, we get it. They revert to bat form and while they're swooping through the air, Gabri says he chooses the "little skinny one with the red hair" for April. Poor Todd. Jessica says that Gabri has definitely lost this challenge because Todd will be no problem at all: "I'll warm that boy up easily--and then he'll be COLD forever!" Please excuse me while I slam my head into the wall. It's

The next evening (I think), Todd is standing alone on the beach, wondering where all the bats come from. HELL! As he starts walking, he comes across a girl who tells him she's lost. Todd is stunned by how beautiful she is and I just lost my lunch--we don't need to be beaten over the head yet AGAIN with the fact that Jessica is a hottie! Grrr...anyway, Jessica tells him that her family is renting a cottage on the beach for the summer and she can't remember how to get back there. Todd says he knows where most of the summer houses are and he'll take her there. Does he know where the bat cave is? Because that's where she belongs. They begin walking and Todd nearly loses it when April holds onto his arm. They make introductions and a few seconds later, Jessica thanks him for helping her, planting a big kiss on him which makes Todd hyperventilate. His frantic thoughts are hilarious: "Oh wow, he thought, oh wow. She likes me. Then she was kissing him as no girl had kissed him before." Uh, I get the feeling that no girl HAS kissed him before. "Oh wow!" Anyway, Jessica slurps at his face and neck until he's out cold.

Meanwhile, April is searching the arcade for Matt so they can head to the beach and meet up with Todd. Matt isn't to be found amid the games so April moves her search to Main Street. She storms around, peeking in every shop she passes and growing more pissed off with each passing second. Forget his ass! Go to the beach and save Todd from the clutches of an evil she-beast! April makes her way to dreary outskirts of town (also known as Dune Lane) and sees that some weirdo is spying on her. He's standing in the fog, but she manages to notice his ethereal hotness: "He was very handsome, she saw, with straight black hair, very pale, almost white skin, a slender, serious face, and dark eyes which he turned away when he realized she was staring back at him." ALMOST white skin? Is he biracial? Recovering from jaundice? April finally turns away and starts pacing in front of the arcade waiting for Matt even though we already established the fact that he isn't there. She turns and walks smack into the almost white hottie. They chat a bit and introductions are made. "Gabri? That's an odd name." Yeah, I hate it, too, April. She's really into his lemony aftershave and gorgeously gorgeous good looks. Matt who? April tells Gabri that she's supposed to be heading to the beach, but she doesn't wanna go alone because it's so dark and scarrrrry. Gabri offers to walk her there and she foolishly accepts. On the way, he blabs on and on about the fog and the ocean which prompts April to call him a "science expert". HA. They finally reach the beach and April realizes that they're totally alone. And Gabri just can't resist that sweet sweet nectar for one more second: "It was the nectar that kept him going after so many long years. It was the nectar that made him an Eternal One." Nectar nectar motherfucking nectar! Shut up already!! Gabri doesn't get his chance to drink because a big ugly bat one can only assume is Jessica (where are the other vampires?) swoops upon April and Gabri has to beat it senseless. Tee hee. The bat flaps away and April starts running. She keeps running until she hits Matt's big slab of a body. She explains what happened, but when she turns back to where Gabri was standing, no-one is there. OOOOOooooo. I wish I cared.

Gabri and Jessica meet on a rocky ledge to bitch and moan like they usually do, making me wish I had a razor blade to slit my wrists and end this torture. He asks her why she interrupted and she says that he can't just attack April; he has to make her desire him first. WHY??? Why does that matter in the least? You are both killing my soul. Gabri tells her he can play dirty, too, but I seriously doubt it. He won't want to sully his almost white hands. A moment later, they both turn batty and fly off into the night.

The next chapter is titled "A Quick Bite In Town" and...that just ticks me off, man. Quit trying to be funny, Stine! A comedian you are NOT. Anyway, it's early in the morning and Matt is sitting in the kitchen with his dad who likes to wear his bathing suit around the house. Who wants to see their dad in a Speedo while they're trying to eat breakfast? I just puked in my mouth. A pox on your private no-no parts, Stine! Ok, moving on. Matt calls Todd's place to ask if he wants to go bodysurfing. Todd's ma picks up and goes off to wake Todd up. I think it's funny that Matt thinks it's odd for Todd to still be asleep at 10:00 AM. I mean, it's summer--sleep as late as you want! Todd immediately tells Matt that he met a girl: "She is awesome, Matt. I mean, she's HOT." Todd goes on to say that things got really hot and heavy and Matt should totally check out the gigantic hickey on Todd's neck. Gross. Todd says he doesn't wanna do anything today because he feels so weak and tired, but Matt and April should meet up with him and Jessica tonight. For what? A vampire orgy? Gabri will put a stop to that, children. Matt hangs up and tries to think of some people to hang out with. Why is it a crime to be alone for a while? Matt decides to play tennis with Dad. Yee-haw.

Flash forward to this evening. Todd and Jessica are sitting in a booth at Pizza Cove, waiting for Matt and April to arrive. Why is it always ALWAYS pizza? I'm not sure if I really paid attention to this before, but every stinking time teens in a Fear Street novel go to a restaurant, they always get pizza. I love pizza as much as the next person, but not enough to eat it every night of the week. Does it seem like I'm purposely veering off subject to avoid writing any more about these vapid wastes of space that R.L. Stine dare call characters? Because I think I might be purposely veering off subject to avoid writing any more about these vapid wastes of space that R.L. Stine dare call characters. *sigh* Matt and April finally arrive and introductions are made. Jessica is acting like a total skank, rubbing herself against Todd and barely restraining herself from slurping at his neck like a damned animal. The pizza comes and everyone takes a slice except for Jessica who says she already ate. Har har har. Maybe Jessica lost her appetite when she saw who just entered the place: Captain Nectar himself! April calls him over and Jessica pretends that she doesn't know him. Hee hee. Matt shoves some pizza toward Gabri, but Gabri also already ate. What a coincidence! April relates the story of how Gabri saved her from that rogue bat the night before. She can't help but notice that Matt looks a little jealous like he wishes he were the one playing Spiderman to her Mary Jane. She also can't help notice how Matt drools when Jessica stands up as she and Todd prepare to leave for the beach. Yes, let us announce to the world for the 5383748th time that Jessica has everything that everyone wants. Except for a personality. Or a soul.

Jessica and Todd are walking along the shore when she suddenly suggests they take a swim. Unfortunately, Todd can't swim too very good so instead they walk on the dunes. Just as Jessica's fangs descend and she prepares to lap up the SWEET! JUICY! SOOPER DOOPER! nectar, a girl begins screaming "Help me! Somebody--please help!" Todd and Jessica run down to the beach where a small group has huddled around the screaming girl. Turns out she was bitten by a bat. Some jerky teenager pretends to be my lover, Bela Lugosi, serving up this pale imitation: "I vant to bite your neck!" Lame. Painfully lame. The true Lugosi is rolling in his grave at your insolence, peasant. *cough* Where am I? Oh yeah. Jessica gives an Oscar-caliber performance, acting as if she's terrified of bats and blah blah blah vampire something something. She has a feeling that Gabri did this since, apparently, there are no other vampires in this entire town. Did Stine never watch The Lost Boys? That town was overrun with vampires; it wasn't just two weaklings flopping around the beach talking about nectar and eternity and making shitty jokes that aren't even in the realm of funny. Where are the Frog brothers when you need them?

"You'd better get yourself a garlic T-shirt, buddy, or it's your funeral. "

Sweet. Anyway, Jessica believes this was Gabri's way of distracting her from the seduction of our hapless Todd. I choose to believe that the maniac just wants that INTOXICATING! FANTABULOUS! ARTERY CLOGGING! nectar. She grabs her precious Todd and they walk away...

A few nights later, April is once again traipsing Main Street to meet Matt. As usual, Matt isn't anywhere near the vicinity of where they agreed to meet. Bastard. She finally finds him in the arcade with Ben whats-his-face. She drags him outside and asks if he wants to see if the carnival has opened yet. He reallllllly wants to see the Friday the 13th triple feature at the theater and so does Ben, but April has to whine like a little biotch about it even though they ALWAYS end up doing what she wants to. "Why do I want to see a bunch of pretty girls get sliced and diced?" Why WOULDN'T you wanna see it? It's beautiful! Ok, maybe not beautiful, but...I don't know where I'm going with this...I just really love horror movies. Matt makes it pretty clear that he's going to watch those movies whether she's there or not so April storms off in a huff. Keep your hissy fits to yourself, my dear. She predictably runs into Gabri who asks her if she wants to check out the carnival. She quickly agrees and Gabri is silently pleased that April is falling under his spell. At this point, I don't care about either of them.

At the carnival, April and Gabri are deciding what to ride first. April says she has an idea and drags Gabri over to *GASP!* the House of Mirrors. Oh my. A vampire in a house of mirrors; what a gut busting good time! Or something. April fumbles her way through the maze of mirrors and calls out to Gabri. He answers once and then she loses track of him. Finally she spots him crouched down and realizes that she doesn't see his reflection. Gabri decides that now would be a good time to suck the nectar right out of April, but oh sweet merciful heavens! Everytime he reaches for April, his hand smacks a mirror! It's comedic gold, I tell you, pure GOLD! HAHAHAHAHA! And by "comedic gold" I mean "I've seen piles of dog shit that are funnier than this scene could ever hope to be." Before Gabri can get his bony hands on April, some kids thunder into the House and Gabri says he'll meet April outside. She exits a few moments later and they get in line for the Ferris wheel. When they're settled in and their car starts rising, Gabri starts forming a plan: "When we stop at the very top, April will be helpless. I will taste the nectar, taste deeply of the sweet, precious nectar without being interrupted." Fuck the nectar, man! The wheel stops and their car is at the very top. Gabri kisses April a little too deeply and when he pulls away, April begs him to do it again and that's when he goes for the throat. PRAISE STINE, GABRI FINALLY HAS HIS NECTAR! I may die in peace now.

The next morning, Matt wakes up and decides he should call April to put a stop to her seeing Gabri. Too late. Her mom picks up and says April is still sleeping, she doesn't feel well. She's come down with a case of preciousnectaritis and the only cure is...MORE COWBELL!

I just couldn't resist. I needed a bright spot in this epic failure of a story! Anyway, Matt calls Todd next and tells him to meet him at the beach. They meet and as Matt sits next to Todd on the sand, yapping away, Todd falls asleep. Zzzz. As Matt sits watching his sleeping friend, he sees that Todd has gotten noticably paler. Hmmm...

That evening, Jessica waits for Todd on the shore. "This was to be a night of triumph, after all. A night of victory and then of celebration. A night of nectar. A night of renewal." I'm going to shove the word "nectar" up someone's butt, STINE. Todd approaches and just as Jessica is about to make her move, she spots a bat flapping overhead. She knows it's Gabri so she quickly sinks her fangs into Todd's neck, drinking deeply. The chapter ends with Jessica completely freaking out: "No! No! No! No! It was an accident! I-I don't believe I did this!" Did she kill Todd? Well, we mortals won't be finding out because as I said, the chapter ends. Grrrr.

We begin the next morning the same way we began the last: with Matt trying to call April and getting nothing. So he puts on his tight spandex bike shorts and goes for a jog along the beach. He gets quite the little surprise when he comes upon a lifeless body floating face down in the water beside the dock. Matt heaves the body out of the water and gets another shock: it's Todd! Todd's corpse is bruised and battered from banging against rocks and such. Matt just doesn't understand and sits there for several minutes instead of notifying someone until finally, two fishermen come upon the scene. Good-bye Todd. We hardly knew ye.

Now that the only likable character in this book has met his untimely demise, I really REALLY don't wanna finish this thing. But I want to see Jessica and Gabri meet the business end of a wooden stake so I'm plodding on, baby. That night, Gabri is on that island that Monica Davis mentioned much earlier in the book. He's waiting in a darkened house that he claims as his. Jessica swoops inside and she's in her usual state of pissed offness. She blames Gabri for her accidental murder of Todd, saying that if Gabri hadn't swooped overhead and made her nervous, she would never have killed him. She says the challenge isn't over, though, because she'll simply find a new victim. *groan* I assume it will be horror lovin' Matt...and it is. "Todd's friend Matt will be my victim. In fact, Matt will be easy prey." Nuh-uh!

Part Two - Last Kiss

Four nights later, Matt has a dream about his beloved Todd. Toddy is running Baywatch-style on the beach when suddenly the sunny sky turns black with a swarm of chittering bats. They swoop upon him...and Matt wakes up. Matt is pretty quick on the uptake, realizing that the dream surely meant that vampires killed Todd. He rushes to April's house to tell her about his recent groundbreaking discovery. When he sees April, he's shocked at how pale she is, but the damned twins start leaping all over him before he can say a word to her. April finally leads him outside and away from the horror inside. Seriously, I'd rather take on a hoard of hungry vampires than those two trolls. Anyway, Matt cuts right to the chase, describing his dream and telling April he's sure vampires are lurking about and they're responsible for Todd's death. April doesn't believe a word of it and Matt trudges home just as it starts raining. Awwww. April's scolding has made him doubt his vampire theory to which I reply NOOOOOO!

Later, Matt is hanging out with Ben after spending the entire day sitting alone in his living room with nothing but Todd's lighter for company. As they're walking along the beach, Matt stupidly confides in Ben about the April incident. Ben is an insensitive asshole: "You must feel like a jerk already, right?" Yes, he feels stupid! Please keep rubbing salt in the wound, jackass. Why couldn't April choose HIM to be her nectar donor? Ben heads off to Main Street with these parting words: "Cheer up. It'll only get worse." May the earth open up and pull you down into the fiery pits of hell, Benjamin. And take this book with you. *sigh* Matt spots someone crouched on a dune and runs toward it. The "person" is Jessica and she's once again pretending to be the damsel in distress in an effort to reel in an unsuspecting victim. She claims she's crying because of Todd. Oh the irony. As Jessica continues to blab on and on, Matt feels himself becoming dizzy with the scent of Jessica's perfume. That's the smell of death, Matt. A smell, as I understand it, is quite similar to that of Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds. They begin walking down the beach and Jessica takes a notion to run on the ledge of a cliff which results on her flipping right over the edge. REJOICE! Oh, never mind. Stop your jumping and jiving--she's still alive and waving from the shore. Puke. Matt can't believe she survived the fall, but he ignores this and rushes down to her where they make out until Matt blacks out.

Gabri is rising from his musty old coffin for a night of nectar-filled debauchery. Jessica flutters in and they argue as they always do. *eye roll* Gabri flies away and Jessica throws the dirt from his coffin across the room. Ok?

Gabri is now at April's house receiving some justice in the form of the Terror Twins. Yes, yes, ATTACK! The parents finally start acting like parents and pull their demon spawn off Gabri. He and April leave and as they're walking in the sand, April shows Gabri the gift her father recently gave her: a silver necklace with a cross hanging from it. It comes loose and nearly falls off so April asks Gabri to clasp it for her. He pretends to, deliberately leaving it loose so it will fall off. It does, of course, and everything can go according to plan.

Later this same night, Matt arrives home from his date with Jessica very weak. He stumbles to his bedroom and is surprised to find someone sitting on his bed. I think I just found the only genuinely creepy scene in this book. The person is turned away from Matt, but when Matt touches their shoulder...the figure turns and it's Todd! Todd is looking pretty broken: "Todd's face appeared in the light, green and swollen. His eyes were open but had sunk back in his head. Encircled by pus, the pupils were white. A tear in the flesh of one cheek allowed the skin to sag like a pocket. When Todd finally opened his mouth to speak, his jaws grating as they opened like a squeaking, rusty door, Matt saw that several teeth were missing." Hawt. As Matt slowly freaks out, Todd informs him that in the evenings, he isn't dead at all. He's trapped between life and death. He goes on to say that he came to warn Matt of the vampires. Matt tries to stay focused, but he's sooooooo tired and falls asleep before he can hear the rest of what zombie Todd has to say.

The next morning, Matt wakes up and wonders if the entire thing was a dream. It better not be. We've managed to get through this entire book without a single dream sequence (except for the very short one involving Todd and the bats) and if they start now, my rage will know no bounds! RAWR! Ok, I'm cool now. Matt knows it wasn't a dream, though, when he takes a big whiff of the foul stench that Todd left behind. He looks in the mirror and sees the tiny wounds on his throat indicating that Jessica definitely had her way with him. Matt remembers that April had the same marks so Gabri must be a vampire, too. YES! Now stake them both and let me regain my sanity. Matt choose instead to go back to sleep. *sigh*

A few hours later, he's shaken awake by his mean old dad: "Wake up! Lazy bum! We let you sleep till ten." What is it with these people and the tenth hour?! Who the hell cares how late he sleeps? It's summer, he has nowhere to be, and even if he did, it wouldn't matter when he got there. DAMMIT. Matt tells Daddy that he's too sick to go out on the boat today so Dad leaves him alone. After his parents leave, Matt freaks out, sweating and getting the dry heaves until his stomach aches. When he's calmed down, he decides he has to call April. He does and there's no answer...

Matt calls a few more times, but there's never any answer so he gives up. He heads into town and runs into stupid Ben. They talk for a few minutes until Matt spots April which makes Ben take his leave. Mercifully. April acts like a total bitch, putting her hand in Matt's face as he tries to tell her about the vampires and telling him that she's meeting Gabri and she doesn't wanna hear anything about vampires. She eventually agrees to listen for a few minutes, but as soon as Matt says "Gabri is a vampire" April is over it. She flips out and tells him to go away, but Matt keeps trying. Unfortunately, Gabri shows up and April walks off with him. But Matt has a plan to save her life. To the Bat Cave!

Later, Matt borrows his dad's camera and heads off to the carnival with the intent to take a whole roll of pictures of Gabri and April. When Gabri shows up invisible in every shot, April will have to believe him! We pray. He finds them in line for (what else?) the Ferris wheel. He follows them everywhere and once, April turns and spots him. But she pretends she doesn't know him and starts making out with Gabri. Weak. Matt leaves a few minutes later and rushes to the photo store to get his film developed. But wouldn't you know it--the damn place is closed.

The next morning, Matt drops his film off at the photo place and wonders aimlessly around town until the pictures are done. He goes back to the store and finds out that the machine is down. You've got to be joking, red-haired photo boy! He tells Matt to come back around seven. Grreat. Matt spends most of the day sleeping and worrying about April. He goes back to the photo store that evening and picks up his pics. He bolts home to look at them and is pleased to find that Gabri is missing in every photo. Matt runs all over town looking for April when he doesn't find her at home. He finds himself on the beach and Jessica comes running up: "Were you looking for me? Here I am. I missed you yesterday, honey. I missed you so much, Matt. Where were you, honey?" Shut. Up. Matt is tempted to kiss Jessica, but the sight of Gabri leading April into a row boat shakes him out of his hypnosis. Almost. He stands there until Gabri and April are rowing away and THEN he starts running toward them. By then, it's too late--they're gone, baby, gone.

Matt saddles up another rowboat and takes off after them. Jessica keeps calling to him, but he just ignores her. HA! He rows until he reaches the bat island and spies the other rowboat sitting onshore. April and Gabri are nowhere to be seen. He hurries inside the old musty house the Gabri "lives" in and finds April sitting in a chair barely breathing. He spots the coffin and starts shaking April trying to wake her before Count Nectarula comes back. Just as April's eyes open, Gabri pounces on Matt from behind. Matt manages to shove the oar he was holding for whatever reason into Gabri's chest. Gabri is now nothing more than kitty litter. YAY! Unfortunately, Jessica is here now and they'll have to contend with her. She sinks her fangs into Matt's throat, but that doesn't last long because April is kicking her ass. Never mess with another woman's man, Jess. As Jessica and April wrestle, Matt thinks of a way to defeat Jessica. He grabs Todd's lighter out of his pocket and shoves it in Jessica's face. But the flame goes out. *sigh* Matt tries again and this time, he succeeds in lighting Jessica's hair on fire. The flames cause Jessica to melt like a candle. YAY! The fire has also started to burn the house down so Matt and April quickly run out to the beach where April tells Matt she'll never make fun of his horror movies again. Considering he just saved your ass, I wouldn't be making fun of him for ANYTHING again.

A few nights later, the lovebirds are walking on the beach. Matt finds April's silver cross in the sand and she tells him to drop it. Oh no. Nonononononono. Don't tell me she's actually a vampire. DON'T EVEN! Matt drops it, turns back to April, and sees her fangs. Dammit! Matt is confused: "It-you-can't be! Back on the island, you-you saved my life!" to which April replies "I know. Why should Jessica have all the nectar? I was saving you for me!" before sinking her fangs into his juicy throat. I'm in pain.

Conclusion? Horrid. A vile abomination. A dark stain on the once pristine (almost) white purity of my mind.

Next time: "Goodnight Kiss 2" Mommy, make it stop!!!

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 ...