Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Party Summer

Book Description:

Cari Taylor and her three friends look forward to a "party summer" working at the Howling Wolf Inn, an old hotel on a tiny island off Cape Cod. But to their dismay, the hotel is completely deserted and someone warns them to leave immediately. The mysterious owner, Simon Fear III, allows Cari and her friends to stay, giving them the run of the hotel. The four teenagers are thrilled...until they realize they have been put up in the "haunted wing"...until Simon's weird and frightening brother appears...until they hear a woman screaming "No party--please, no party!"...until the walls and faucets begin to drip blood! When Simon Fear is murdered, Cari and her horrified friends want out. But they can't escape. They're trapped on the island. And THAT'S when the "party" begins...

My Description:

*After that epic description above, I'm not sure if I even have anything to add...*

Part One: Summer Plans

*sigh* After reading about Debra and her stupid spirit conjuring in the last Fear book I read (please God let me forget that tragedy) I hoped I wouldn't have to hear about anymore spirits anytime soon. Unfortunately, I'm saddened to report that this book begins with some doofus named Jan whose only hobby is conjuring up the spirits of the damned and depraved in her attic. This party summer is already tainted and I'm not even through the first chapter. Once again, you've churned out a winner, Stine! Which is precisely why I have to kill you and your merry band of ghostwriters. Ok, enough with the death threats. Back to the abomination at hand. Jan is up in the attic trying to ignore the sounds of the rain punding outside and the dog barking downstairs. She touches a pentagram she drew in chalk on the floor over and over until she thinks she feels a ghostly presence. There's a presence alright--the presence of her douchebag friends who were standing behind her the whole time and now can't stop laughing and making fun of her. I guess these are the skeptics of Shadyside. I always thought they were just a myth. Huh. Anyway, her three friends are Cari, Eric, and Craig. Craig stupidly proclaims he didn't know Jan was a witch. Yeah, Craig sucks...and so does Eric. The two trade jokes about Jan, only stopping when she starts to cry. Cari finally changes the subject and tells Jan that they're all allowed to go to Piney Island. Apparently Jan is going with her aunt Rose and invited the three stooges. Prepare for a long, painful summer, Jan. Enjoy!

In the next chapter, Aunt Rose and Jan come to fetch Cari for the trip. We get a drawn out description of how great Cari look because Stine has a hard on for blondes. Of course Cari thinks she's so hideous and pales in comparison to Jan, the buxom brunette. Secret: I've never used the word 'buxom' before and I hope it means what I think it means. As they all travel to pick up Eric and Craig, we get descriptions of the two who both sound like major dorks who think they're totally awesome. "Eric was short and thin. He wore an oversize yellow and red Hawiian T-shirt over Day-Glo orange baggies. His dark brown hair was pulled back into a short ponytail. He had a diamond stud in one ear and wore silver wire-rimmed glasses." He sounds like someone's middle-aged uncle who is trying desperately (and failing miserably) to be cool and down with the kids these days. *cringe* I bet he wears sandals with white tube socks. And Craig? "Craig was more casual than cool." Time out. Are they insinuating that ERIC is cool? I'm cooler than him and I'm the biggest nerd I know so I don't even know what that would make him. Moving on. "[Craig] kept his blonde-brown hair short and neatly parted on the side. He was always dressed nicely, very preppy, that day in khaki, cuffed cotton shorts and white tennis shirt, but Cari had the feeling that Craig never gave much thought to what he wore." And I get the feeling that if you always look like perfection, you probably put A LOT of thought into it so suck it, Cari.

The group finally heads off to Piney Island where they'll be staying at the Howling Wolf Inn. Everyone of them keeps screaming "Party summer!" at the top of their fucking lungs and Aunt Rose must have loads of patience because she doesn't toss them in a ditch like I would do. I'm sure she'll need a stiff drink later, though. Plus, I don't know why these idiots think the visit is gonna be such a party. First of all, Rose has told them repeatedly that the place is fairly deserted. Who are they gonna party with? Surely not each other...they're too lame. Second, we know from the back cover description that they end up WORKING at the inn for some creep that probably spends his time trolling elementary school playgrounds in his big dirty van. Party? Uh, NO. Anyway, since no normal adults are allowed to be around when bad things happen, Rose falls ill on the way. The drive to her sister's house. The woman was fine two seconds ago. Now she's suddenly got tumors exploding in her stomach? Of course Rose tells the sweet children to go on without her. She'll stay with her sister for a while and catch up to them later (see what I mean? No normal functioning adults on the island means the creepy freaks can harrass the kids without consequence.) They manage to catch the boat just in time. "Party summer!" SHUT UP! Seriously, they've said that like 500 times already and it makes me wanna strangle them all. My only consolation is that they'll be dead soon anyway.

Once they reach the island and step off the boat, the man who drove them over apologizes for the rocky ride. Craig actually says it was better than any ride at Six Flags. Right. They all stand around for a few minutes whining like babies about the fact that no-one came to pick them up at the dock and now they'll have to walk uphill to the inn. Eric screams "Party summer!" and that gets them going. Of course it does. I hope Eric dies first. They make it to the gate, find it locked, toy with the idea of sleeping on the beach like a bunch of hobos, and proclaim Craig a genius when he finds the latch and unlocks the gate. No comment. When the inn comes into view through the trees, they're all amazed at how beautiful it is and how very deserted it seems to be. That should be a red flag within itself--when no-one wants to be at such a gorgeous place, there's obviously a problem. They step up to the door where some crazy haired weirdo tells them the place is closed. Guess you'll be spending the night on the beach after all, kids. Cari decides that there must be ANOTHER Howling Wolf Inn on the island because that makes plenty of sense (not really) and Jan and Eric agree on a theory that is even dumber than Cari's: "Maybe he's building a monster down in his basement laboratory. He's about to bring it to life tonight and he doesn't need four teenagers interfering with his plans." The sad part is that Jan is totally serious about this. Just as Eric screams (because he's completely incapable of talking in a normal voice) "Welcome to Castle Frankenstein!" the front door opens and a Vincent Price look-a-like in a safari jacket steps out. He apologizes for his servant Martin's behavior and introduces himself as Simon Fear III. He explains that the phones are out so he sent Rose an overnight letter the day before to tell her the inn was closed for remodeling. Either Rose didn't receive it or she was too drunk to read it. Probably both. Simon invites them in for dinner and they take a look around. He explains that his workers left the inn in disarray because they left to work on a rich psychiatrist's house. Uh, don't they have to finish one job before they begin another? Oh well. This guy is a Fear. He could wreak some havoc on their asses if they don't return. Fear the Fears!
As they're eating barbeque chicken and salad, Simon informs them that his brother Edward is upstairs, but he's very depressed and won't come out when people are around. I'd say his problems are greater than mere depression. He's probably a poor deformed oddball that Simon keeps locked in the attic for "security purposes". Anyway, Simon rambles on about the repairs that still need to be done and Eric says he and Craig could help out. After all, they got A's in Woodshop! I think you all know what I think of this so I won't even comment. Martin agrees with me and says the work should be done by professionals and it isn't safe for two stupid boys. He adds that they should all leave, but he's just a lowly servant so Simon completely disregards his opinion. In fact, Simon seems downright adamant that there should be young people around which makes me believe that my big dirty van comment hit the nail on the head. Ew. He says they should stay and hang out by the pool which prompts another round of "Party summer!" Dammit.

After dinner, Martin shows the group to their rooms in the ominous OLD wing. I guess it's supposed to be creepy, but the only scary thing about it is the freaking mothball stench. Martin freaks them all out by saying there are strange things going on in this place and if they had any sense, they would leave tomorrow. Well, you're talking to a group of kids whose IQs are barely higher than a rock's so I guess you're stuck with them, Martin.

The next day, the gang is hanging out at the beach, roasting their bums in the sun. They take a break from tanning to make fun of Jan a little because they feel she's a real weirdo. At least she's somewhat interesting! That's more than I can say for the rest of you schmucks. They all admire the scenery and Eric wonders aloud when Gilligan and the Skipper are going to show up. For the record, those two were the most irritating human beings on that forsaken island. Now the Professor...THERE'S a man! While I think about my attraction to a man who's probably dead, Cari thinks about how cute she finds Eric. "It must be the great mood I'm in, she thought. I'm attracted to EVERYBODY today." Hmm. I'm sure Simon will be thrilled to hear that. He's probably got his high powered telescope out and is watching them frolicking in their skimpy shorts and swimsuits. Ok, I'm grossing myself out so let's move on. Jan finally gets fed up with Eric's silly bullshit so she goes back to the inn. Everyone else immediately forgets her and goes for a swim. Nice.

That night, they eat their dinner on the beach while watching the sunset. Such a Hallmark moment. Doesn't exactly make my crusty heart melt, but sweet nonetheless. Eric even apologizes to Jan for his jackassery. They have lobster, clam chowder, salad, and French bread, courtesy of the magical Martin. And they don't mention drinks. I guess they'll just slurp some saltwater. As they're eating, they notice Simon standing on a sand dune, watching them. See? He's a total creep! He's dressed like a pimp and is carrying a bottle of wine. Good ahead and get the kids drunk. Good one, Simon, you perverted freak. Simon joins the group and Cari immediately starts begging him to tell her stories about his family history. She lives on Fear Street and wants to know about the old burned out mansion located there. *sigh* I really HATE hearing about the Fear history. They're all a bunch of psychotic maniacs. The end. Anyway, Simon tells the story of his great-uncle whose name was also Simon. I'm not going to repeat the story because it's long, boring, and painfully predictable. The only interesting part of it is the part where Simon's children were found in the woods...without their bones! Mwahahaha! Jan suddenly takes a chill and says she's running back to the inn to get a sweatshirt. A few moments later, they hear her blood curdling scream. They all come running and Jan says she saw the ghost. No-one believes her of course so she gives a drawn out description of the ghostly lady to make herself seem more credible. But she kind of cancels out all credibility when she says the ghost has snowman eyes. What? Are those like Bette Davis eyes? "She had these eyes. They were big and black. They looked like lumps of coal. Like snowman eyes." Thanks for clearing that up, Jan. Too bad everyone thinks you're a lying kook.

Later, Cari has trouble falling asleep so she thinks about home and then Eric. What is his appeal? He's an annoying dork! "He was so cute. She didn't even mind the diamond stud in his ear which at first she had thought was a silly affectation." Puke. Then she starts thinking about the ghost and it's black lumpy eyes and decides she should go down to the kitchen for a drink of water to forget about it. Yeah, I'm sure nothing will happen. Only it does. She hears someone (something?) calling her name and runs away. She literally runs all over the inn, going down every hallway and taking every stair. Does that make any sense whatsoever? Didn't think so. She only stops when she hears a man and woman arguing in one of the rooms. Cari decides to help the situation by eavesdropping. *sigh* Where the hell did the ghost go? Oh well. Cari hears Simon say "Listen to me!" and the woman replies "Please, Simon, I'm begging you! Please--no party! No party! Please!" What kind of party is this sicko trying to throw that would make this woman so nuts? I don't even wanna know....this entire sequence is stoopid.

Part Two: The Invitation

Cari stands there staring at the door like she's suddenly been struck blind, deaf, and dumb. Finally she decides to go tell Jan about it. I'm sure Jan will enjoy being awakened for something so pointless. Once Cari gets to Jan's room, though, it's obvious Jan hasn't yet been to sleep. Cari explains everything and says they really have to get out of this place soon. Just figuring that out, eh? You kids are really very slow. The next scene is so ridiculous that I can't help but laugh. Cari and Jan walk to Cari's room where they discover some gooey crap on the doorknob. Jan says it's probably some sort of "protoplasmic substance" left by the ghost.

"Like in Ghostbusters?" Cari asked.
"Yes," Jan replied, bringing her shadowy face close to Cari's. "But this AIN'T NO MOVIE."

Seriously? Seriously?! They're acting like the fucking world is coming to an end because they found some jelly on a doorknob. And Jan? Cut the melodramatic bullshit. "But this AIN'T NO MOVIE." No, it's a shitty book that considers itself cool because it drops Ghostbuster references and quotes from Frankenstein. Bah!

The next morning over blueberry muffins, Cari and Jan inform the boys of what happened. As usual, no-one believes the story because it sounds like the idiotic crap that it is and as usual, Jan makes the situation worse by adding another convoluted theory to the mix: "The woman you heard in Simon's room HAS to be a ghost, too. Maybe she and Simon are lovers. Maybe they've been lovers for a hundred years. Maybe Simon is really a vampire and the woman..." This girl is on crack. First of all, I don't want to think about Simon making love to ANYTHING. Second, why in hell would he be a vampire? He's given no indication of it which brings me to my third point: shut the fuck up, Jan. There is no ghost and no vampire. All I see is a bunch of too-stupid-to-live kids and a couple of creepy perverted old men. Seriously, what is up with the vampire shit? Is this really the direction this is going? *sigh* Why ask?

Martin enters with a toolbox and tells them it's time to get to work. After a while, Jan, Craig and Eric take a break, but Cari says she wants to finish something first. She turns and spots a man who is presumably the mysterious Edward. Of course he's Simon's total opposite, a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing (how I wish I was reading that rather than this). Simon is very put together and neat whereas Edward is sloppy and carries a rifle for no apparent reason. Uh, yeah. BANG! Anyway, we get more about Edward being sooooo depressed yet we're never given a reason. Then again, I suppose being locked away like a dirty little secret would make anyone sad. Just before he leaves, he tells Cari "I insist you stay for the party. Make no plans to leave." Does she even have a choice?

That night, Cari and Eric go for a romantic walk on the beach while I prepare to slit my wrists. Cari admires how cute he looks with his tan and cutoff shorts. What is it with Stine and denim cutoffs? Is that his outfit of choice on hot summer days? I just had a most disturbing vision of Stine in nothing but a pair of cutoffs, sitting in a plastic kiddie pool with a beer, yelling at his son to hose him and his big sweaty mole. *BARF* Moving on! The two start to make out, but cut it short when they hear something shuffling behind a boulder. This is a new low, Simon!

The next morning involves more blueberry muffins and plenty more work. These morons finally realize that they haven't attempted to contact Rose so Jan does so and gets no answer. A convenient "accident" in which Eric yanks off a bunch of wallpaper revealing a hidden door gets them all excited. Rose could be dead somewhere and they're worried about a stupid door that probably leads to absolutely nothing. I'm glad they have their priorities straight. Jan tells them to get away from the door because she can feel the EVIL, baby. It's positively radiating EVIL! Predictably, everyone laughs at her. Will she never learn her lesson? Eric opens the door, peeks inside at a "secret passageway", and everyone freaks out when a bat falps out and quickly exits through an open window. They decide to enter despite Jan's protests. Why does she go along if she has such bad feelings? Save your own ass, Jan. We get more terrible monster impersonations from Eric (this time, he's butchering my beloved Count Dracula. Lugosi is rolling in his grave as we speak.) Normally, I love finding horror movie references in books, but these shitty impersonations SUCK. They're not even accurate! Ok, so I'm being a giant nerd right now. But Eric needs to be muzzled. They go down into the passageway and find that it forks. They make a turn and walk until they hit another door. Inside is a small room that has a wooden table and benches in the center. On the table is a human skull that is covered in protoplasm (a.k.a. grape jelly) and Jan claims a ghost materialized her recently. Here we go again. They freak out and run all the way back up the tunnel until they reach the door they came though. Unfortunately, it won't open. Tee hee. They bang on the door, but no-one opens it so they decide to attempt to find another way out. This should be interesting. Or something. They walk through tunnel after tunnel before coming to the conclusion that they'll be trapped down here with the spiders and Eric's half assed impersonations forever! AHHHH! Oh never mind--they find a way out about 2.5 seconds after they start freaking out. A tunnel opens up to the beach for reasons I don't really understand. They trudge back to the inn and find that the scaffolding Eric had been working on earlier is shoved against the "secret" door. Someone deliberately trapped them. SHOCK! Not.

That night, dinner is chowder. I don't see how anyone could possibly eat, though, with Edward flashing his old man boobs (a.k.a. moobs) at everyone. "He was wearing the same safari jacket Cari had seen him in during their first encounter. It was open, revealing a pale yellow sport shirt underneath with two buttons missing." Cover that shit up! Simon is gone for the evening so I guess Edward was commanded to hang around and make everyone uncomfortable. He ignores everyone and leaves immediately after eating. I'm beginning to like him and his saggy moobies.

After eating, the gang plays Scrabble until Simon comes home. He supposedly went to visit Rose and says she's been at a spa. That's right, Rose, dump those kids and enjoy yourself. Simon says Rose is "as fit as a fiddle. I guess that expression really dates me." No, the fact that you're 150 years old dates you.

Later, when everyone has gone to bed, Jan chalks a pentagram on the floor of her room and gets her witch on. Or something...I don't know what the hell she's doing. "I am drawn to the supernatural because I can sense it all around me. I have spirit powers, she thought, rubbing the penacle, her hand throbbing with pain, with fire, with LIFE." Uh, ok, crazy lady. She feels the energy of a spirit in the room and suddenly there's a loud knock at the door. She opens it, freaks out, and the chapter ends there. Thanks for nothing, Stine.

The next morning, Jan doesn't come down for breakfast, but no-one seems to care. They eat and begin working. What are they working on exactly? It says they exhaust themselves working, but it's quite vague as to what they're actually doing. I guess it doesn't matter. It's not like they're getting paid or anything which is probably the strangest thing about this book. A group of teenagers wasting their summer doing repairs in a stuffy inn for absolutely NO money? I don't think so.

At lunch, they all realize that Jan STILL hasn't made an appearance and instead of going up to check on her, these dirtbags just assume she and Simon went to visit Rose or something. That alone should disturb them--no young girl should be left alone with Simon. He's a perverted weasel! A few hours later, Cari FINALLY goes to Jan's room and finds it empty. As usual, no-one cares. That evening at dinner, everyone suddenly develops a conscience and begins to worry about Jan. I find this to be unfreakingbelievable. If one of my friends suddenly went missing, I'd immediately be searching. These assholes just sit around not giving a damn, not even really acknowledging the fact that something could have happened to her. Grrr! Martin comes into the dining room and asks about Jan. Even the damn BUTLER who has only known her for a few days care more than they do! Cari says she thought Jan and Simon went to visit Rose, but Martin says Simon was elsewhere today and wouldn't have seen Jan. Eric claims the ghost must have gotten her which prompts all three of them to go upstairs and play Hardy Boys, searching Jan's room for "clues". They find nothing and begin searching throughout the inn and outside. No sign of Jan so they decide to go up to Simon's room and tell him she's missing. They freeze outside his door, listening to him, Edward, and a woman arguing. The woman starts blabbing about a party and then she and Simon scream at Edward to stop...then there's a gunshot. Edward is obviously sick of "Party summer!" and decided to do something about it. Viva la Edward!

The stupid children just stand there and a moment later, Edward stumbles out with his rifle and starts yelling that Simon has had a terrible "accident". Martin gallops up the stairs and completely freaks out because good old Ed just killed Simon. Ok, but what about the crazy broad who was in there with them? No-one has time to think about it because Edward has pointed the gun at Martin. Martin manages to calm Ed and the two go downstairs. The teens sneak into the room where Simon was killed and find...absolutely nothing. No corpse, no blood or gore, and no kooky lady. So they decide to look at old photos instead. Are you kidding me? What the hell, man? They find a picture of Rose and Simon that Simon has labeled "My distant cousin Rose. I wish we weren't so distant." I'm not quite sure how to interpret that. Anyway, this means that Jan is related to the Fears as well which explains a lot. Eric believes that Rose set this whole thing up. WHY? He doesn't explain that theory, but he does go on to say that he thinks Edward slid Simon's body through a trapdoor in the room to hide it. *sigh* I think Simon and Edward are the same person. They've never been seen together at the same time and they both have a fondness for safari jackets and dumbass teenagers. Eric actually finds the trapdoor. How very (in)convenient. I think this is the moment in which this book (which is pretty awful to begin with) takes a turn for the worst. Meaning it's about to get hella convoluted. They don't find a body, but they do find a strange letter.

Dear Rose,

I am so sorry to tell you that I fear a terrible tragedy has occurred. Your niece Jan and her three friends have disappeared without a trace, without an explanation. I have been frantic, wracked with sadness, with fear, with remorse. The police from Willow Island have combed every inch of the island without success. Without a single clue. I've been trying to call you night and day. You didn't answer your phone. So I am sending this letter special delivery. So sorry to send such tragic news by mail. I am saddened and mystified. I pray that the four young people turn up unharmed. But the police offer little hope. I know their parents will grieve as I do. Rest assured that I am doing everything in my power to discover what has happened to them. I will not stop until the mystery of their disappearance is solved. I pray they are alive although all indications are that they tragically are not. I know you will pray with me.

Edward Fear

Why did he ramble on when he could've gotten straight to the point?

The kids are missing. They're probably dead. Call me--555-FEAR.

Butterflies & unicorns,

They all freak out and immediately begin packing in the hopes that they can sneak out to Simon's boat and get the hell out of dodge. Luckily Craig is not only a handyman; he's a sailor also so he can "pilot the boat". Another handy dandy coincidence. Instead of leaving ASAP, they decide to find a phone and call the police. Just GO! Call the cops AFTER you're out of the inn, you idiots! They come upon a room that is full of hunting trophies. Oh and human heads. Just another day in the life...

After they see the heads (I hope they're actually real and not just plaster or plastic. Stine is such a wimp about these things) they flee. Screw the phone! They're almost to the dock when Cari stops and says they should take the canoes that are tied behind the inn. Ok, dumbass, why didn't you mention that five minutes ago before everyone started hauling ass in the opposite direction? I hate this chick. She's a moron, Eric is annoying, and Craig is a piece of cardboard who thinks he's king of the world because he can hammer a nail. So why did the least irritating member of the group have to go missing? Anyway, they go back and the damn canoes are missing. Great. And now it's raining. God obviously hates them as much as I do. They take shelter in the pool house and Edward finds them shortly after. They tell him they want to leave, but he tells them he's formally inviting them to the party and they MUST stay. He informs them that it's a hunting party and guess who will be prey for him and Martin? Yeah, those heads mounted on the wall suddenly make sense. They all run away into the pounding rain...

Part Three: The Party

They run into the woods and discuss what they should do. They're surprisingly calm for people who are being hunted like filthy animals. They shut their mouths when they spot crazy Edward staring down the barrel of a rifle that is pointed directly at them. How's your PARTY SUMMER! now, kids? They run, find themselves on the beach, and make their way back to the inn where Martin is probably waiting. They make it and call the police which is probably the most intelligent thing any of them have done so far. Cari hangs up the phone and spots Simon standing in the doorway of his office. Uh-oh.

Simon steps out and they're all shocked to see he's wearing a gimp suit. Just joking--he's dressed like a gay cowboy in a white suit and red bandanna. He's so ALIVE. He is perfectly calm and acts confused when they tell him what's going on. Cari says they have to stop Edward and Martin, but Simon says there's no need. Then he basically starts stripping and I laugh until it huuuuurrrrts. The funniest line of the book: "What is that he's pulling from his pants pocket? Cari wondered." Oh Cari, you don't wanna know! I knew this guy was a freak. Anyway, he transforms into...Edward. They WERE the same person. He starts cleaning his gun (not THAT gun) and tells them he's giving them an hour's head start before he comes after them. They stand there like they haven't got any brains so Edward blows a couple of holes in the wall to get them running. Yee haw!

They choose to hide in the passageway until the police come. Right. Cari freaks out when she gets caught in a spider web. "We're caught in Edward's sticky web." Gross! They reach a door that leads to a tiny room that has a phone. Of course it's dead and they remember that all calls have to go through a switchboard in Simon's office. Cari realizes that she wasn't talking to the police earlier; it was Simon. You're dead, kids. That's the price of starring in a Fear Street novel. They get out of the room and walk until they reach a closed door with light spilling beneath it. For some reason, there's a big hole in the floor and Eric falls in. SCORE! Craig and Cari manage to haul Eric's fat butt out and they all open the door. Jan and Rose are inside. Surprise. There's no interesting story here. Simon shoved them in and locked the door. And Jan confesses to leaving the "protoplasm" around and trying to scare everyone with the ghost story. So. Lame.

They go to the kitchen to feed Rose and Martin enters. He says he though he could control Simon, but things got out of hand. Martin has worked for the Fears for 30 years (what a waste of life) and knows all of Simon's issues which is why he warned the kids to leave. Other tidbits: the heads on the wall were wax and Simon used to be hot according to Rose, which is disgusting since they're related. Martin says Simon snapped after his wife Greta died in a hunting accident. Suddenly "Edward" bursts in looking the fucking Swamp Thing and screaming that Simon is dead because he had no taste for the hunt. Ok then. He ends up cracking Martin over the head with the barrel of the rifle and instead of helping him, everyone runs for the door which is locked.

What happens next ENRAGES ME BEYOND BELIEF. Cari stands in front of Simon, tells him to shoot her, and he does but she doesn't die because she's a ghost. She's a fucking GHOST. Why? WHY?!?! What is the point of this shit? I can't even talk about it. Damn you, and your pathetic TWISTS, Stine! A pox on your private no-no parts! May your balls shrivel like dead autumn leaves! May your Vienna sausage fall off and become scraps for angry feral alley cats! Anyway, Simon starts talking in the voice of his dead wife (yes, his OTHER other personality. This was the mysterious "woman" they heard earlier) Cari grabs the gun and Simon is Simon again. And he wants a sandwich. *sigh*

The next morning, as everyone is on the boat going home, we find that Cari isn't a ghost--Simon's rifle was loaded with blanks. Everyone screams "Party summer!" and Cari and Eric make out. Shoot me, Edward.

Conclusion? That ending fucking SUCKED. Even if the rest of the book had been some Pulitzer Prize winning shit (which it most certainly was NOT) the ending would've killed it. I hate you, Stine.

Next time: "Into the Dark" Blind girl + murder = instant classic (or instant pile of shit)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cheerleaders: The New Evil

* I am simultaneously disgusted and amazed by this cover. I mean, the cover artist should obviously be shot, but I kind of love it. I know--I have mental problems. But come on! Santa Claus is about to bitch slap a cheerleader! And he's on ice skates! It's awesome! *

Book Description:

Corky and the Shadyside cheerleaders are sure that the evil spirit is destroyed. The terror is over. Then Hannah is mysteriously thrown through the car window. And Naomi is nearly burned to death. One horrifying accident after another. And now Corky can no longer keep her greatest fear to herself--the evil is back! But where is it? Corky, Kimmy, and Debra aren't waiting to find out. They have a plan to draw the evil out. Draw it out and destroy it for good. Unless, of course, the evil destroys them first...

My Description:

God, this book is gonna suck...

Part One - Party Time

We begin this book with *gulp* a cheer. Yeah, it's crap:

HOOP--there it is!
HOOP--there it is!

LAMMMMMMEEEE as hell! *sigh* Dammit, Stine, I hate you. I want Santa now! Corky, Hannah, and my lesbian lover Kimmy Bass are cheering in the snow covered student parking lot until they decide to have a snowball fight. Then they stop throwing yellow snow to do the same cheer again. Then they throw more snow. What the hell? This is like a broken record. Just get in the fucking car and go home, morons! We don't need paragraph after paragraph of you three prancing around like demented leprechauns on acid and throwing snow in each other's faces. Snow, by the way, that is probably coated in cat pee. Where were we? Oh yeah, those HORRIBLE AWFUL SICKENING cheers.

Where are we putting it?
Where are we keeping it?
Slam it, Tigers, slam it!

Dear sweet merciful GAWD. The first four lines of that sounds like something a group of drunken frat boys would sing to their date rape victims. Anyway, these idiots finally realize that it's colder than a witch's tit so they get into Kimmy's car to leave. During the drive, they talk about the newest cheerleader, Naomi Klein. Naomi replaced Ronnie Mitchell who had the good sense to get the hell out of Shadyside. Take me with you! Miss Green has also been replaced with Ms. Closter because she couldn't stop touching the cheerleaders in their danger zones. Only joking, Miss Green. I know you only LOOKED, never touched! Corky starts thinking about her new boyfriend Alex who is a total slut. "Alex was one of the most popular guys at Shadyside High. TOO popular, Corky told herself. On Saturday, she had seen him at the mall kidding around with Deena Martinson. The week before Kimmy had reported seeing Alex's car parked in Janie Simpson's driveway." Of course Corky completely ignores the fact that her boyfriend is a dirty tramp because he's oh-so-pretty! And smart! And good at basketball! *sigh* I'm drowning in the stupidity. Suddenly Kimmy's car spins out of control, she crashes into a tree, and Hannah is slammed through the windshield. Ouch.

The next chapter is titled "The Evil Is Back" and I think in every Cheerleader book there is a chapter with the same title. Points for originality! The girls are at the hospital. Kimmy and Corky are in the waiting room, holding out for news about Hannah. Kimmy says "The evil is back." because she would rather blame the EVIL! for busting Hannah's head instead of her shitty driving skills. Corky says no way, but Kimmy insists she felt it. Corky says the brakes simply failed and Kimmy just needs to shut the hell up. Yay! The next few paragraphs are basically a summary of the first Cheerleader book to prove that the ghostwriter did indeed read the previous books. Kimmy says Debra says the evil will return, but Corky scoffs because she knows (as we all do) that Debra is a paranoid loon: "Debra has always been weird. A few days after I met her, I found her trying to cast a sleeping spell on her dog." I assume that's supposed to be funny. *crickets* A few minutes later, Hannah's parents enter and the girls ask how Hannah is. Mom starts crying and the chapter ends there. Ok then.

The next chapter begins with a cheer and NO I'm not going there! It's two days after the accident and cheerleading practice is in full swing. Hannah is still in the hospital. She needed a lot of stitches in her face, broke her collarbone, and had some internal bleeding. Nice one, Kimmy. Speaking of Kimmy, the insensitive bitch can talk of nothing but the Holiday Tournament and who they're gonna get to replace Hannah. They begin the cheer again and Corky looks over, noticing the basketball team practicing on the other side of the gym. She spots her favorite asshole, Alex, and wonders why he isn't looking at her. Uh, because he's obviously busy? Corky fakes a leg cramp so she can go talk to Alex. She asks him if they can take a drive after practice to the river and he agrees.

Alex and Corky meet after practice and drive to the stinking river, home of Shadyside's EVIL! Corky feels better when she sees that the river is totally frozen and the evil can't escape. If the evil is so powerful, I don't understand how a sheet of ice could hold it back. But then again, I live in the real world so what do I know? Anyway, Corky flips out when she sees a hole in the ice and the evil vapor rising out of it. Oh that crazy evil. I knew it would find a way! She tells Alex they have to leave NOW. Oooo...

That night, as Corky is lying awake in bed thinking about the dark pit that her life has become, she spots that damned vapor floating across the room. She's scared, but she can't move and the mist flows over her...yeah, this is a dream sequence. Grrr! Her parents wake her from the nightmare and her dad says "That was a bad one. You haven't screamed like that in a long time." Helpful! So comforting! And slightly skeevy...

It's now Friday night and Corky and friends are gathered at Pete's Pizza (where else?) Alex is pissed at himself for missing a crucial shot at the basketball game earlier. I'm glad you're finally coming to terms with how much you suck, Alex. Jay convinces Alex that they didn't do THAT badly (keep telling yourself that...) and Alex seems to cheer up real quick. Corky realizes that he isn't even paying attention to anyone at the table. He's staring over her shoulder with a goofy ass smile on his face--Deena Martinson (star of the craptacular The Wrong Number) has entered and is flashing her pearly whites at Alex. Corky is pissed, but not pissed enough. She calls him out on it, but he just laughs and says "What's your problem, Corky?" I think it's pretty freaking obvious, dumbass! Corky is also a major dumbass, pretending that her boyfriend wasn't just staring at another girl's badonkadonk and changing the subject to basketball. And check this shit out: "[Corky] joined in the laughter. But didn't feel like laughing. Alex had stopped smiling at Deena, but now he avoided Corky, too. Is something going on between them? Corky wondered. Why do I suddenly have such a bad feeling about Alex? About the tournament? About everything?" Are you kidding me? Because you're sure as hell kidding yourself. Someone tell me, was Corky such a deluded MORON in the other Cheerleader books? Because I don't recall her being this dense. Anyway, I assume we're being led to believe, due to Corky's "bad feelings", that the evil is inhabiting Alex. Yeah, I'd buy that...if he wasn't an evil little shit to begin with.

Over the weekend, Corky wrings her hands over Alex. He broke a date on Saturday night and Corky knows he was lying because his excuse sucked: he had to watch his little sister. Does he even HAVE a little sister? God, you're stupid, Corky! She stays home and plays Mortal Kombat with her brother Sean, the master of the known universe. Sunday afternoon, she goes to Debra's house where she comes upon Debra and Kimmy making sweet love by the fire to the sounds of Barry White. Just kidding--they're conjuring up spirits! Yawn. Corky unloads her problems with Alex on Kimmy because everyone hates Kimmy and Corky is no different. Then Debra says the power will be stronger with all three of them chanting. I hate Debra and her psuedo voodoo queen, fake witchy poo bullshit. She's not even good at it! Corky asks where Debra got the book she's chanting from and Kimmy says it's from a used book shop. Yeah, because all used bookstores carry ancient spell books. *sigh* Corky uses this opportunity to tell them about the hole of ice and Debra says the evil must have gotten into one of them because they were in the car when Kimmy crashed. Pay attention, you stupid ghostwriter! Corky didn't discover the ice hole until AFTER the crash and she was with ALEX when she saw it and spotted THE EVIL VAPOR! rising out of it. And since you've been leaving little hints here and there that Alex has gone crazy, we can safely assume that HE is possessed by the evil. "Good work, Sherlock." Fucking elementary, my dear Watson. Anyway, they chant and the walls start rattling. Instead of blaming it on an earthquake, they excitedly exclaim that the spirit is here. Do these morons think for even a moment that they could've conjured something that is incredibly pissed off and wants to kill them? Guess not. Debra calls to the spirit, but apparently it's as repulsed by her as everyone else is because it immediately disappears.

Now it's time for more cheers!

Tigers claw!
Tigers ROAR!
Send the ball down the floor
Two points more!

The PAIN! Why do I torture myself? Anyway, Corky and Kimmy are watching the girls who are trying out to replace Hannah. They've narrowed it down to three: Ivy Blake, Lauren Wilson, and Rochelle Drexler. Corky and Kimmy squat in Ms. Closter's office to discuss their decision. As soon as they leave the room, the EVIL strikes in the form of a screwdriver. A screwdriver lodged in Rochelle's neck. I'm no doctor, kids, but I think your little friend is dead. The girls don't think so even though Rochelle's blood is spurting everywhere, coating the walls. Ms. Closter shows her stupidity by running over and saying "So much blood! Did she fall?" Yes...after she was jabbed in the jugular by that damned screwdriver. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people? The girl is dying, but no-one seems to sense the urgency of the situation. Corky thinks Ivy was responsible because Ivy looks a little strange: "No. Not a smile. Ivy wasn't smiling--was she?" At this point, WHO CARES?!? Paramedics arrive and haul Rochelle's still breathing body to the hospital. Meanwhile, Corky is sobbing in Closter's office. But not for Rochelle. I mean, who cares about her, right? She's remembering how Bobbi bit the dust in the locker room blah blah EVIL! blah. Closter tells the girls they can leave and Ivy has the audacity to ask Corky who got the position. The girl has brass ones. Kimmy and Corky are horrified that Ivy could be so cold, but inform her that she got it. Lauren flips out and screams "I know why you didn't choose me. I know why. It's because of Alex and me!" *groan* Only 54 pages in and this ship is already sinking/ It's like the writer has completely lost ideas and is just throwing out things that MIGHT keep us interested. I don't give a damn about Alex's cheating ways. I'm only reading this turd for the psychotic Santa. Only he can save us now!

Of course when anything bad happens, Corky runs to Debra. Again I ask WHY? She can do nothing but tell you the obvious--the evil wants your asses on a platter. See? I just saved you 100 pages of bullshit. So why do I still have 100 pages left? Never mind. Anyway, it's the following afternoon and since school is out, Corky is wasting her time at home with Deb. Corky mentions what Lauren said about Alex and I swear if this idiot does not break up with him, I am using this book as toilet paper. Hell, I'll probably do that anyway. But Alex sucks! Corky blurts out that she called Alex 12 times and as soon as the phone rings, she dives for it. 12 times?!? It's him and Corky cuts right to the chase. He says he helped Lauren with a project at her house last week, but that was it. Liar! Corky asks if he'd like to come over and study later, but he says he can't. This chick is completely braindead. She's ignoring the fact that her boy toy is a total slut and liar instead of calling that bitch out on his crimes! I used to like Corky...now all I have is Kimmy. *sigh* How the mighty have fallen. When Corky returns to the living room, she's surprised to find Naomi talking with Debra. She has news--Lauren will be an alternate in case the EVIL decides to lay the smack down on anyone else. And with any luck, it will.

Thursday night cheer practice.

A tisket, a tasket,
We want a BASKET!

Shut. Up. The next day is the tournament and the girls will be firing "cannons" loaded with confetti into the audience. Ms. Closter wants to test them tonight. Since this chapter is titled "BOOM" I get the feeling that this ain't going as planned. Say goodbye to your head, Kimmy! Sadly, the cannon thing is a total disappointment--the blast snaps Heather's head back, she falls, and she's ok. Zzzzz.

After practice, Kimmy and Debra catch up to Corky in the parking lot because they're worried about the fact that Ivy smiled when the cannon backfired. Seriously. Maybe she's just one of those types that thinks it's funny when people get hurt. Corky refuses to believe that the EVIL is in Ivy or that the EVIL is back at all. Uh, WHAT? You saw it, dumbass! You're not Corky. You're a pod person created by a mentally deranged ghostwriter who can't keep even simple plot points straight. Corky starts crying and says she doesn't wanna face the EVIL because it's too scary. Debra comforts her by saying she (Corky) could be next. Gee, thanks.

When Corky gets home, she finds Alex wrestling with her brother. Don't worry--they're still dressed. When Sean sees Corky come in, he says "Guess you two want me to leave. So you can go smoochy smoochy." Oh Sean. Please don't leave me alone with these two! Corky asks Alex why he came over and he says because he's excited about the tournament tomorrow. He also says he needs to tell her something, but before he can, the doorbell rings. It's Jay and Corky really doesn't want him here because she wants Alex to keep talking. Or something.

And now it's time for the tournament. Yee-haw, Tigers! Someone kill me. The cheerleaders are doing their thing perfectly until they bring out the fire batons and Naomi catches fire. It's always something!

The next morning, Kimmy, Corky, and Debra are walking through Shadyside Park. We find out that Kimmy put out Naomi's fire while everyone else stood around like trees. Naomi was pretty badly burned anyway. Sad. This makes Kimmy believe even more that the EVIL is in Ivy. Suddenly they spot Ivy and Lauren beside the frozen river. Ivy is skating in some weird pattern because the acid just kicked in and Lauren is just watching because she was too afraid to take a hit. The girls realize that Ivy is skating around a hole...and the EVIL is rising out. NOOOO! So it's settled--Ivy is evil and Debra wants to drown her. Wow.

YAY! The next chapter is titled "A Surprise From Santa". Finally! This better be good. Corky is calling Alex to ask him to a party...an ice skating party at the river. Tee hee. She says it's tomorrow afternoon and although he thinks it's a weird idea, he agrees to go. They hang up and Corky thinks about how awesome the party will be for everyone except Ivy. The party sucks as much as we all thought it would. Corky gets on the ice and becomes dizzy. She looks up and sees my best friend Santa coming toward her on skates. "The wind ruffled his bushy white beard. His red cap waved behind him. His eyes--his eyes glowered menacingly at Corky." Ok, that's kind of awesome. He's holding a big pointy icicle and Corky freaks out because she's afraid he'll stab her. But sadly (oh so SADLY!) it's stupid Alex. Don't tell me that's it!! There must be more Santa! Damn! He just wanted to make Corky laugh. You still suck, Alex. You sicken me! Debra, Corky, and Kimmy decide it's time to put their plan into action. It involves the usual--candles in a circle, the mystical spell book, and chanting. They hear rumbling, the ice starts cracking, and thick black smoke comes pouring out. The girls realize that the EVIL wasn't in Ivy after all and they've just unleashed it. What the hell?

Part Two - Game Time

The girls have traveled to a nearby town for the tournament which I could've sworn already took place. They're staying in a shitty motel called Cliffside Inn. Everyone is in a good mood despite the fact that they recently unleashed an unholy EVIL upon their town. It's time for a game and the cheers are as bad as ever. The girls are scoping out the opposing team's cheerleaders. The basketball team plays for a while and then we get more cheers. *sigh* Finally, the Tigers win the game and as the girls are about to set off their cannons, they see black tar spewing out of them. People are getting splashed with the foul smelling crap. The EVIL spoils everything, kids.

Afterward, in the locker room, Corky, Kimmy, and Debra discuss who the EVIL is inhabiting. And that night, Corky dreams a little dream about some evil crap that really has no significance whatsoever. She wakes up an hears a tapping noise. It's Alex smacking at the window. Grrr. It's freezing and this idiot wants her to take a walk with him and since she's got the fever, she does. He's pumped up because he knows the Tigers would've won the game if the evil black tar hadn't interfered. I thought they DID win? Guess not. This book is unnecessarily confusing. What happens next is so frigging stupid that I really can't believe it. Corky works up the courage to ask Alex why he's been acting so weird lately and he says it's because he got a tutor. SO?!? What does that have to do with him hanging out with all those girls? Once again, Corky, you are an idiot for believing this shit. They make out and Corky breaks away, spotting Jay who is being a little pervert, watching them from the shadows. "As Corky gazed back at him, she saw Jay's eyes glow red, an angry, evil red. Animal eyes. Inhuman eyes." So Jay is a wolf boy. Great. I'm more upset about the fact that the cover of this book is such a lie! *sob*

The next morning, everyone goes to the arena to finish the game. Jay ignores Corky and she gets upset and I couldn't care less. The game is about to start when Jay completely flips out on the coach for pushing him too hard. He starts throwing things and runs away. He must be on his period. Just lie back and think of England, Jay. It'll all be over soon. After that little episode, the head cheerleader of the opposing squad can't stop doing back flips. The other cheerleaders pin her down while she screams her head off. I really don't even know what to say anymore. This crap is comically bad. Oh, and Ivy is smiling while all this is going on and since no-one is allowed to be happy, that means she's evil. The Tigers end up winning the game and afterwards, Corky finds the basketball coach's corpse. Someone filled his body with all the water from the cooler or something and he drowned and his body is all bloated and such and I hate this book so much that I'm physical pain.

Later, they begin their next game even though their coach was just murdered. No comment. That night, Kimmy, Corky, and Debra decide they'll call their parents early tomorrow to come get the, if they survive the night. Corky wakes up halfway through the night and spots Ivy (who they're sharing a room with. Uh-oh!) putting on her clothes. She climbs out the window. When she's gone, Corky and Kimmy sneak out to follow her. They spot her talking to Heather and Lauren and the entire basketball team. I have no clue why these people are standing around the parking lot at night in the freezing cold. Oh yeah--they're morons. Debra joins the girls and they all follow far behind the group. The group stops at a frozen lake in the woods and they all start dancing on the ice because they're all possessed by the EVIL. Yes, ALL of them. A dog jumps on the ice, snarling, and growling. Jay calmly picks it up and tosses it across the lake where it gets up and walks away. Yeah, I doubt that. Also, could you get any more random? Stine can't resist a little animal abuse. Bastard. Where was I? Oh, Corky freaks out because she thinks they've been spotted.

Part Three - Good-Bye Time

Yes, please say good-bye before I murder you all myself. The group on the ice turns toward the girls and they all begin howling like rabid dogs. The girls run and manage to get split up in a matter of seconds. Corky gets caught by Alex who pretends that he isn't a howling maniac and says she should come to the lake. She gets away and flees again, searching for Kimmy or Debra. It is a sad day indeed, my friends, for our beloved crinkly haired, red faced Kimmy Bass is dead. SOB! She was drowned by those howling freaks. WHYYYYYY?! Corky hides when she hears some of the howlers calling to her. Finally the woods grow quiet. She runs back to the motel and spots the crazy ones boarding the bus to go to the next game like nothing just happened. Then the driver gets off and goes into the motel office. Corky sees her chance to get revenge on the howlers. The driver is seperated from the kids by a partition so the group doesn't know it's Corky when she gets behind the wheel and drives away. Go Corky! She drives to a cliff and jumps out just as the bus rolls right over it. I'm speechless. Corky just killed a busload of her friends in the name of Kimmy Bass. SHOCK!

Corky is relieved that she has drowned the evil, but sad because her friends are gone. She stumbles to the arena to tell Ms. Closter that everyone is in a watery grave, but gets the shock of her life when she sees the team and the cheerleaders she just killed filing into the gym. WHAT? Their bodies are swollen and waterlogged and as they begin stumbling toward her, she passes out.

Corky wakes up in the hospital with her parents on the way and a nurse hovering over her. She has a concussion and surprise! Her friends are in the hospital, too! Corky is terrified that they'll come for her. She decides to escape as soon as possible as soon as the nurse leaves. She runs out of the room and right into Debra. She freaks out and runs down the hall. She finds Alex sleeping, kisses him ("I'm kissing a dead boy."), and he wakes up. He says it was all so horrible, everyone thought they were going to drown. Corky is relieved that only the EVIL died and not her friends. Besides Kimmy. SOB! The last line of the book? "Merry Christmas to us all. Now when can we go home?" *sigh* Shut up, Corky.

Conclusion? This was as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe worse. I mean, there wasn't even a psychotic Santa to ease the pain all the stupidity caused! And Kimmy! Oh my Kimmy! *sobbity sob sob*

Next time: I don't know. I'm in mourning and can't be expected to think about such things. *cough*It's gonna be "Party Summer"*cough*

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dead End

Book Description:

Natalie Erickson and her friends share a terrible secret. They were all in the car that foggy night--the night someone died at the dead end. Now someone knows too much and there's danger ahead. Natalie just wants out of this nightmare. But that's the problem with dead ends--there's no way out!

My Description:


Natalie talks about accidents. That's it. Seriously. Why this warranted a two page prologue I do not know.

We begin this blatant rip-off of I Know What You Did Last Summer with a raucous party. It's Friday night and Talia Blanton's parents are away which means the kids will play. Talia (star of the crap fest The Thrill Club) only invited seniors from Shadyside High, but some underclassmen creeps have infiltrated the premises. BOOOO! Talia and Natalie talk and we find that they became friends because they both love to write. I wish I could say the same about the person who wrote this book. Natalie spots her boyfriend Keith stuffing his face with pretzels and walks over to him. She doesn't seem too interested in this guy. In fact, she makes it seem as though they were forced together by her friend Gillian. Keith says he's going upstairs for a beer and invites Natalie, but she hates the stuff: "It tastes like soap!" I've personally never had a beer so I can neither confirm nor deny that. I'm surprised they even know what alcohol is. Anyway, Keith scampers off to get wasted and Natalie mingles with her friends and I sit in boredom. Natalie's friend Randee comes over and says "Hey, Gillian and Carlo are really getting it on, aren't they!" And for the next few minutes, these freaks watch Gillian and Carlo sucking face. This party is offcially shit. Did I mention they're crammed into the basement? Yeah. Randee and Natalie are chatting when suddenly they hear someone scream. They turn and spot someone tumbling down the stairs. It's just Keith who is drunk off his ass and stumbles off to the bathroom to be sick. Nice. Some guy named Todd asks Natalie to dance, but she declines because Todd's nickname is Caveman meaning he looks like a neanderthal. "He'd actually be kind of good looking if his forehead didn't jut out so far which makes him look a little like a caveman." Todd is blissfully unaware of this fact and is quite vain. Ok then. The gang eats pizza and Natalie chats with some friends from camp. Zzzzzzzzz. Keith comes up and asks her if she's ready to go and she says no, but totally contradicts herself five seconds later when she grabs her jacket and leaves. I guess she means she didn't wanna leave with HIM? I dunno. I'm kinda tuning out because this all so dull.

Natalie heads for Randee's car where Randee, Gillian, Todd, and Carlo are piling in. She asks if she can have a ride since she came with Keith but really doesn't wanna leave with him. She gets in the car just as Keith comes running down the street. Go home before your ass gets ran over! It's been raining and is really foggy outside so Randee is having trouble seeing clearly. Everybody is talking...blah blah blah...these people are basically cardboard cutouts. Totally lifeless and boring! I mean, I hated almost every character in the last book *cough*Double Date*cough* I reviewed, but at least they were somewhat interesting! Anyway, Randee flies over a pothole and Todd tells her to make a left. Instead, Randee slams on the brakes beside a 'Dead End' sign (tying in to the title. Isn't that nice?) and the car begins to slide. It skids and slams right into another car. Uh-oh, kids. Randee screams at Todd for not warning her about the turn sooner because she really doesn't wanna take the heat for this one. Too late, little girl! Randee decides to simply drive away without seeing if the person in the other car is ok. She speeds toward Todd's street while screaming "I can't! Don't you understand? I can't stop! I can't!" And just why the hell not? "I'm not supposed to be here. I'm grounded. My parents grounded me for two weeks. I'm not allowed to go out. And I'm not allowed to have the car." Yes, go on and on, Randee. God knows this is alllllll about YOU. By the way this reminds me of that scene in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" where Barrie freaks out after Ray hits the man with Barrie's car. The comparison between this book and that movie (based on a book by Lois Duncan who should totally sue Stine's ass off) is too close for comfort. No imagination or originality is to be found here and I'm really not looking forward to the rest of this book. It's dry, plodding, and someone has done it better already. What a waste of paper. Ok, I'll step off the soapbox. Where were we? Oh yes, Randee's TRAGIC! grounding. I thinking getting in a little trouble (ok, a LOT of trouble) is a small price to pay if you can possibly save someone's life. Randee, Gillian, and Todd refuse to go back because their parents don't know that they're even out. Randee gets out of the car to examine the bumper. "Just one scratch on the bumper." You're more worried about the damn car than about the people you just plowed into? In some circles, you would be considered an asshole, Randee. She convinces the others that if they're all ok, the people in the other car are also ok. And they leave. *sigh*

As Natalie tries to fall asleep later, she keeps replaying the accident in her mind. "I especially didn't feel good about racing away like that. But what choice did we have?" You fools totally had a choice! Stop trying to excuse the fact that you ran away! She finally falls asleep and is awakened in the morning by the phone ringing. It's Todd and baby, he has bad news. The woman driving the car they hit is D-E-A-D. I hope these little shits feel guilty. Feel the pain of remorse! They deserve to suffer for not going back. And for being boring lamewads. SNORE. Todd goes on to say that he heard about it on the radio and now they REALLY can't tell anyone because Todd's dad works for the mayor and the dead lady was the mayor's sister. Uh-oh spagetti-o's. Natalie immediately feels horrible and wishes they had gone back. Someone should've kicked Randee's ass out and drove back anyway. Natalie hangs up the phone and tries to process the fact that she and her friends are "hit-and-run killers". As she's becoming lost in thought, the phone rings again. It's Keith who has absolutely HORRIBLE timing. She says she really can't talk right now, but he doesn't listen and whines like a little bitch until Natalie hangs up on him.

That afternoon, the fab five meet at Shadyside Park to talk. Todd, being the insensitive bastard that he is, attempts to make light of the situation, laughing and joking. He mercifully shuts his trap when he realizes no-one is laughing. They discuss the accident and Carlo says they should just confess. Everyone stares at him as if he'd just sprouted a second head. Finally, Randee says it's easy for him to say that because he wasn't the one driving. Which is true. Carlo doesn't let it go, though, and says they're gonna get caught anyway so they may as well confess. This causes Todd flip out, grab Carlo, and scream "You die next, Carlo!" into his face. Why is Todd even here? As a caveman, he should be frozen in a block of ice or chilling out in his loin cloth, polishing his club, and picking bugs out of his hair. Anyway, Todd's reasons for not wanting to confess are incredibly selfish of course. He doesn't want his dad to lose his job and he doesn't want daddy to find out he was in the car either. Someone is DEAD and you're worried about getting grounded? Go fuck yourself! Randee says they need to forget it: "Todd is right. We can't go to the police. We just can't. We have to hope and pray that no-one saw us, that no-one can identify my car." How predictable. Natalie does what she does best, coming up with excuse after excuse as to why they shouldn't tell anyone. I really hate Natalie. She acts as if she's so much more moral than the rest of them when she's just as bad! They all take a vow of secrecy, swearing to never reveal the truth. They feel confident that nothing will happen to them if they just keep their mouths shut. But something WILL happen. Otherwise I wouldn't have 100 pages left to read.

That night, Natalie is sitting in her room attempting to write a happy poem to make herself feel better. Her mom comes in with some laundry and they talk. Of course Natalie can't say "Mom, me and some friends killed a person. Do you still love me?" so she talks about the party and Keith. When her mom starts to ask if she and Keith are having problems but simply trails off instead, Natalie thinks "I had her well trained. She knew better than to ask personal questions. She knew it always made me angry." I hope you're referring to your talking dog, Natalie. What? Oh, my sources are telling me those don't exist. So stop acting like such a bitch! She's your MOTHER! It's her job to pry into your life. If you get sent to jail for your "vehicular indiscretion" you'll miss having her around. Mom leaves the room, Natalie kicks herself in the ass for not being able to forget about the accident, and Keith shows up. Once again, his timing is crap. She's incredibly rude and basically tells him to get the hell out, but he refuses to leave. "No! We have to talk NOW. Natalie, I know your secret." Ooooo. Oh. Never mind. It isn't THAT secret. "You want to dump me, don't you? That's your secret wish. You want to dump me and go out with Todd." Uh, that isn't a secret. You suck, Keith. And so does Natalie which is why Todd won't touch her. Even neanderthals have standards. Natalie hugs him and says she still wants him. Then we have to get her thoughts about how vulnerable she suddenly feels: "I suddenly felt as delicate as a butterfly. As delicate and vulnerable. An image of a crushed butterfly, it's wings crumpled and torn, flashed into my mind." SOB! Not. She says she's actually afraid of Todd because "He's such a truck! And I think he has a real mean streak." And since she's such a bitch most of the time, he'd probably lose it and use his meaty paws to beat her to death. Not a good match. Keith says AGAIN "Listen, Natalie, we've got to talk." What the hell did you just do? See, when you were both moving your mouths and words were coming out, I assumed you were talking. Forgive my ignorance. Natalie puts on her bitch mask AGAIN and says "Bye. You're out of here." and pushes him out the door. But before he leaves, he asks her if she's going to Carlo's uncle's lodge next Saturday. Keith can't make it, but says Natalie should totally go "Because your precious Toddy Woddy will be there!" For some reason, this causes Natalie to shove her tongue down Keith's throat. *sigh*

Later, Natalie calls Todd to see if there are any updates on the case and he gets all pissed off. "Are you going to call me every hour for updates?" Natalie is used to being the bitch and is shocked to get a taste of her own nasty medicine. Todd tells her he can't talk now and he'll call if he hears anything. When he hangs up on her, she slams the phone down and yells "What a pig!" Tee hee. Over the next few days, Natalie concentrates on school and manages to put the accident out of her mind. Until Tuesday afternoon when Todd comes up with news. "My dad is kind of worried about the mayor. He and his sister were really close. Mayor Colletti can't stop talking about her." Apparently the mayor has offered up a special bonus to any police officer who turned up an important clue. Yeah, that won't happen. Shadyside officers are the worst.

Friday night, Natalie is packing for a weekend at the lodge. She's thinking about her friends and the fact that maybe no-one will ever know about what they did when the phone rings. It's Todd and he says something needs to be done about Carlo who is cracking under pressure. Todd says to meet him and the gang at Pete's Pizza in 15 minutes to discuss what to do about Carlo. When she arrives, Todd, Randee, and Gillian are already in a booth. Carlo wants to go to the police and Todd says maybe Carlo will have an accident of his own. THE HORROR! When everyone acts shocked, he says he's joking, but no-one really believes him.

On Saturday morning, everyone piles into Todd's jeep and heads for the lodge. The conversation consists of guns and chipmunks so I'm not even going there. "The chipmunk was vicious." Shut up, Todd. They arrive at the lodge which is in the middle of nowhere so you know something wicked will happen and are greeted by Uncle George and Carlo. George is dressed like Elmer Fudd. (Blogger is being an a-hole and won't let me post my Fudd picture with my clever caption "Quiet. I'm hunting wabbits." Not that you really needed to see that anyway...) Yikes. They go inside for breakfast and amusing stories from George. Then everyone except Natalie and Gillian grabs guns and prepare to go hunting. Natalie thinks Randee is only doing this to impress Todd. "How can she like that big moose? I wondered silently." Shut up! You're probably jealous. At least she has a moose. All you have is Keith. For some stupid reason, Natalie and Gillian decide to go along anyway even though they refuse to hunt. Everyone heads outside, but Natalie has to run back in for her gloves. When she comes back out, she hears a gunshot and a loud scream. It was Gillian who screamed and Todd who fired the shot. He didn't hurt anyone, but we all know what this moron is trying to do: "accidentally" hit Carlo. Sadastic bastard. This is what happens when you raise children in Shadyside! Someone needs to ban people from ever bringing kids into this town. Stine? No? Fine then. Be the way. See if I care! *sob*

The group continues on into the woods. Since not a damn thing is happening, the dear author pads the pages with Natalie's flashback about getting lost in the woods when she was a kid. Unfortunately, that sequence is about as interesting as dirty dishwater. Natalie gets lost in the woods this time, too. *sigh* She's confused as to how she lost track of everyone. A few words of advice? Get your head out of your ass! She freaks out for a moment, no doubt thinking about the time she was lost all those years before and had to spend the night in the woods with the crickets and squirrels. She decides to attempt to find the lodge when she hears gunshots. She keeps walking and comes upon a horrifying sight. Someone blew Carlo's brains out and his body is lying before Natalie which causes her to completely lose it: "Where is his head? WHERE IS HIS HEAD?" Bad Todd! Go to your room! Natalie can't stop screaming and staring at the bloody pulp that was once Carlo's head. Suddenly Todd comes up, grabs her by the shoulders and says "Don't tell." Oh yeah, I'm sure she's gonna keep this one to herself, you stupid asshole!

Carlo's death is ruled as an accident so apparently Natalie kept her trap shut after all. She reads the newspaper the next day and finds the article with the "official explanation": "Carlo tripped over an upraised tree root. The shotgun stock banged against the tree trunk. The gun went off, shattering his skull." That's some top notch reporting right there, folks. If Natalie's conscience was hurting before, it is positively WRECKED now. Seriously, who in their right mind would sit by and say nothing?!? She doesn't even like Todd!!! He shot someone's brains out and she's just gonna sit there and wring her hands? Let me repeat this yet again: I hate you Natalie, you dumb bimbo. Someone needs to shove you in a box and send it floating down the river. She reads the article again and actually questions whether it was an accident or if Todd did it. Yes, this stupid piece of shit is unsure even though Todd practically signed a confession and handed it over. Grrr. Suddenly Todd bursts into Natalie's room. AHHHH! Oh, never mind. It isn't Todd at all--it's Keith. Natalie's parents aren't home and the door wasn't locked so Keith just let himself in. Nice manners. They hold each other and Natalie cries about Carlo which just pisses me off to no end. When Keith asks what happened, she blurts "Todd killed him!" Good work, Sherlock. Before long, Natalie has told Keith about everything including the car accident and the vow she and her friends took to never tell (oops). As Keith is proclaiming his shock, the doorbell rings. They down to answer it and sadly, it's Todd. For real this time. He says he just wanted to see how Natalie is doing (i.e. he wants to make sure she hasn't blabbed to anyone.) and instead of inviting him in, she says "Todd, did you kill Carlo?" Could this chick possibly get any more STUPID? Does she honestly believe he'll truly confess with Keith standing there? Todd makes a joke out of it: "Sure, Natalie. I killed him. See, I kill a friend of mine every week. It's my hobby." That's probably not far from the truth. He gets pissed off and Natalie ends up apologizing. Just before Todd leaves, he says "Hey, you know something, Natalie? I wasn't the only one in the woods with a rifle yesterday morning." OOOO!

On Thursday night, Randee and natalie are at Gillian's house to study for a test and comfort Gillian--she was pretty close to Carlo. Gillian carries some apples and cheesecake to the kitchen table and the girls consider this a feast. First, that ain't a feast. Second, apples aren't comfort food. Cheesecake rocks, but where are the mashed potatoes and fried chicken and other heavy, starchy stuff guaranteed to put you in a food coma? The girls start gossiping about stuff at school. "Did you see the lip lock Gina Marks had on Bobby Newkirk (NOOOOOOO! You will NEVER mention him to me again!) after school in front of the library? What was THAT about? The hall was full." Who the hell is Gina Marks? I thought Suki Thomas and Gary Brandt were the only sluts at this school. Oh well. I'm not involving myself in the lives of people who don't even exist. Randee says she and Todd are going out Saturday night and she defends him before Natalie can start her trash talk: "You know, Todd isn't a bad guy, Natalie. Just because he's a jock and he's built like a bear and likes to act tough sometimes doesn't mean--" Of course Natalie interrupts and says she isn't giving Randee a hard time about Todd. No...but you were thinking about it which is almost as bad and deserves a SMACK. Ever since Todd made the comment about other people having rifles the day they were hunting, Natalie has been puzzling over who it could be. I still say it's Todd for no reason other than I hate him. Anyway, the girls eat some cheesecake and then start their studying. Gillian opens her backpack and a foul smell wafts out. "As she unzipped the pack, a large chunk of green-and-purple spotted decayed meat slid out onto the table. Thousands of white maggots crawled over both sides of it." Well, that's just beautiful. *barf* Gillian flips out and asks who put it inside her pack. The sandman? An evil leprechaun? A disgruntled butcher? YOU? Gillian sees a note inside her pack and pulls it out. I guess we're all ignoring the fact that the kitchen table is shellacked with maggots? Ok then. The note reads "You can be close to Carlo again. In the grave. This is you. Dead meat. If you talk." Clever...or something that mean the exact opposite of clever.

The girls move to the living room (uh, hello? MAGGOTS!) to comfort Gillian. Natalie makes the mistake of bringing up Todd and Randee is quick to both defend Todd and tear Natalie a new one. Natalie simply believes randee is protecting Todd for some reason. Well, duh. He's her lover boy! A cave wench is honor bound to protect her hairy cave mongrel. Natalie then mentions that Keith knows about everything which really pisses Randee off. I wish Randee would kick Natalie's ass, man. She deserves it! Keith picks Natalie up a few minutes later before Randee can properly lay the smack down. Once outside in the pouring rain, Natalie boo hoo's on Keith's shoulder then makes out quite aggressively with him. She breaks the kiss to ask him if he told anyone about what she told him and he says no. They get in the car and Keith tells her that it's almost over anyway. "It's been nearly two weeks. The police don't have a clue about who killed the mayor's sister. That's what they said on the news tonight." Natalie is instantly relieved. HATE!

On Friday afternoon, Natalie finishes a math test she's sure she did poorly on (hahaha!) just before the bell rings signaling the day's end. Natalie heads for her locker and finds Gillian standing there. She's been crying and immediately says "Natalie, I'm going to the police. I have to. I can't eat. I can't sleep. It's driving me crazy." Just go. Just do it. P.S. I know you can eat--you devoured half that cheesecake before the maggots decided to have a slumber party on your table. Gillian says that Carlo told her things at the lodge and there's so much Natalie doesn't know about. The girls turn and stupid Todd is standing there. And the chapter ends there so I guess that was completely insignificant. Unless he was spying. I'll assume he was.

Later, Natalie and Keith go to the ice rink. As they skate, they talk about Gillian and whether or not she should go to the police. It's really not for these two to decide. Natalie wants to convince her not to go, but she has to play the saint also and thinks Gillian should just tell. Natalie is truly a wolf in sheep's clothing. I wish Keith could morph like a Transformer into Godzilla and devour Natalie in one bite. RAWR! He wants to leave, but Natalie doesn't want him to and keeps pulling on his arm and whining when he turns to go. He finally pulls away and leaves. Good for him. Natalie stays for a while longer before leaving. She makes her way out into the darkness and starts walking home. It isn't long before she starts RUNNING home--someone is following her. She turns and it's just Randee and Todd who said they called out to her, but she started running. You fuckers didn't say anything! You just chased her which makes me almost positive you're both partners in trying to eliminate all your friends. Natalie turned around just as you were planning to grab her, right? Oh well. Kill her. I don't care. They say they all need to go to Gillian's to convince her not to go to the police. Right. They've probably already killed her. They arrive at her home and ring the bell, but no-one answers. They wait and ring again then Natalie hops off the porch and peeks into a living room window. She's shocked to see Gillian's lifeless body sprawled at the bottom of the stairs. She screams and they all rugh in through the conveniently unlocked door. Gillian's neck is broken and is twisted almost completely around, Exorcist style. Randee and Todd act sufficiently shocked even though I'm sure these turds are the culprits.

Later that evening, we get more of Natalie's bullshit. She's toassing and turning, wondering who killed Gillian and Carlo because she's positive those weren't accidents (NOW you get it. Fool) and blah blah fucking blah. I couldn't care less at this point.

The next morning, Natalie hurriedly gets dressed and is about to climb into the car to go to the police with everything (SHOCK) when Randee pulls up. Natalie explains what she's doing and Randee says she'll go with her because that's why she came over anyway. Liar! They make it to the station and blurt out the story to Lieutenant Frazer who is probably regretting his choice of becoming a cop right about now. He asks several questions and then asks to see Randee's car. The girls lead him outside, he checks the car, and says "Why are you confessing to a crime you didn't commit?" Oh give me a fucking break! He leads the girls inside and says they're looking for an older car and they found particles of blue paint on Ms. Coletti's car. Natalie is elated that they weren't responsible for the woman's death, but she needs closure on the death's of her friends. Lieutenant Frazer says the girls are still in trouble for leaving the scene of an accident even though the person was already dead. So they hang around the station a little longer until their parents can be called. When they leave, Todd shows up looking all angry and says "Hey! I told you not to go to the police!" And I told YOU to bury yourself so I guess neither of us listened. The girls tell Todd the accident wasn't their fault after all. Randee tells the two to get in her devil car and she'll take them home. Natalie hesitates because she really doesn't trust these two for some reason. Because they killed your friends! Wake up, Natalie! She decides to walk home even though it's pouring rain.

When she gets home, she spots Keith's car in the driveway and runs to the porch where he's waiting. Natalie hugs him and starts to explain what happened at the station but then she looks at Keith's BLUE car. "I lowered my gaze to the dented bumper with its rusted chrome. And then to the tires. I let out a low gasp when I saw the tiny spare tire was still on the right front wheel. One wide tire and one skinny tire." She thinks about a photo the Lieutenant showed her of tire tracks found at the scene of the crime...one wide track and one skinny track. Ruh-roh! Keith realizes she's on to him and shoves her into the car.

As they drive around town, Keith tearfully confesses to hitting the woman. But he was only driving drunk because he was chasing Natalie because he thought she wanted Todd. WAHHHH! What. A. Dumbass. It sickens me that people to die because of other's sheer stupidity. Keith also killed Gillian and Carlo just because he could. He sent Gillian the maggot infested rotten meat message but when that sailed over her head, she had to go. I wanna know where he got all those maggots...I'd hate to see his room. Anyway, Keith still has a loose end to tie up--Natalie! He speeds around a corner and heads straight for a cliff. Unfortunately, his dinky spare tire pops, he loses control of the car, Natalie dives out, and Keith goes over the cliff with his death machine. A second later, Natalie hears a loud explosion and sees a fireball which pretty much seals Keith's fate. She realizes she's clinging to the dead end sign and I COULD get into Natalie's philosophies on the irony of the sign, but I really just want this fool to shut her damn mouth. She stands and bgins walking back to town. A totally unsatisfying ending. In MY version of the ending, Natalie gets smashed by the rogue driver of a truck full of cheesecake and maggots. Yee haw!

Conclusion? It's pretty damned sad when you have more sympathy for the murderer than his victims because they're so fucking vapid and irritating. DIE NATALIE!

Next time: "Cheerleaders: The New Evil" Pray for me for I am about to enter the lion's den. I'm actually scared of how BAD this book is gonna be. But really, what can you expect from a book whose cover depicts a menacing Santa Claus on ice skates standing behind a fallen cheerleader who's looking up at him like she's wondering where her gifts are? As laughable as the cover is (ice skates!) the material inside is only gonna make me cry.

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 ...