Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The New Year's Party

Book Description:

P.J. wasn't supposed to die. It was just a practical joke, no big deal. But P.J. had a bad heart... The kids at Reenie's Christmas party couldn't tell the police what they'd done, so they hid the body...and then it disappeared. Now someone is killing them one by one. Someone is taking P.J.'s revenge...but who? By midnight they'll know. Because when the clock chimes, they'll all get a kiss. The kiss of death.
My Description:

Part One - 1965

Flashback, baby! Prepare yourself for gratuitous use of the word 'groovy'. Anyway, Beth Fleischer and her friends are at a New Year's party. Beth is feeling good--she's wearing her GROOVY white boots, there's plenty of Coke, and the Beatles are on the hi-fi. What could be better? *cough*acid*cough* Beth is dancing when Todd Stevens comes up and yells "Wow! GROOVY party!" All you need to know about Todd is that he's a sexy dish that looks like Paul Newman and every girl wants him, especially Beth. Ain't 60s teenage lust grand? Beth starts thinking about her best friend Karen (this is her party) and the Beatles and how far out they are. A few minutes later, everyone starts counting down the new year. Beth ends up getting a kiss from Todd and afterward, he really wants to make out. But Beth is distracted by some kid named Jeremy who is obviously being harrassed by some un-GROOVY assholes in the corner. I'm not sure if Jeremy is Beth's friend or brother or what, but Todd tells her she can't always stick up for him. Shut up, Todd. You just wanna round the bases be GROOVY under Beth's shirt. Todd starts tugging Beth toward the door when suddenly two men in ski masks burst in. AHHHH! NOOOO! I'm more disturbed by their masks than the pistols they're carrying. They make everyone line up against the wall and when poor Jeremy makes a move to scratch his butt or something, one of the bad boys presses his pistol to Jeremy's head. But wait! It was all a joke! HAR HAR HAR! Isn't it funny when you make someone shit their pants in fear because they think you're gonna blow their brains out?! NO. Beth gets pissed when she realizes Karen set the whole thing up. Then Todd gets pissed at Beth for paying too much attention to Jeremy and storms out. Go to hell, Toddy. Beth chases Jeremy outside, but he's not in the mood to chat: "Beat it, Beth! Leave me alone! I'm sick of being made fun of!" He jumps into his Ford Fairlane and Beth says he's too upset to be alone and jumps in with him. I guess she didn't take "Beat it, Beth!" as the hint it was.

As Jeremy speeds down the icy road, Beth wonders why she's his only friend and why no-one will even give him a chance. One of life's great mysteries. Beth tells him to slow down, but Jeremy ignores her and ends up running over someone. GROOVY! He freaks out and wants to go back, but Beth says no way. "You'll lose your license--maybe forever." Because his ability to drive circles around the 7-11 is much more important than someone's ability to walk or, uh, BREATHE ever again! Jeremy's stupid ass listens to Beth and flees the scene...and ends up wrecking the car in a snowbank. "Jeremy! You've killed us! You've killed us both." Oh karma. You're so GROOVY.

Part Two - This Year

It's November of THIS YEAR (which would be 1995, when this baby was published) 30 years after Jeremy and Beth got what was coming to them. Reenie (what the eff is that short for?) Baker is hanging out with her friends Greta Sorenson, Artie Hodges, and Ty Lanford in her room. They're supposed to be working on a project for school, but instead they're joking around and generally acting like jackasses. Greta and Artie are a couple and Reenie finds this hilarious because Artie is all grungy with his plaid shit, ripped jeans, and earring and Greta is little miss perfect prep. Yeah, that's real funny. Or something. They're all waiting on a moldy turd named Sean who is late and keeping them from their work. As if they would be doing anything anyway. A fact that we're being beaten over the head with: Ty is hot. If you forget that at any point during this story, your penis and/or breasts will fall off into a land populated entirely by dragons with giant moles instead of wings who will then eat it. You may be wondering what drugs I'm on. That information is classified. Back to the story. They talk about school and Reenie gets hot and takes her sweater off and goes to hang it up in the closet and finds some dead freak in there. If you guessed it was stupid fucking Sean playing a stupid fucking prank, you're a genius. Or perhaps a very lonely person who has nothing to do but read this blog. If so, welcome to my world. After they finish laughing at Reenie's freak out, they talk about all the idiotic shit Sean has pulled over the years. Trust me, it's all hella lame and I won't waste valuable space on it. Then they "work" and get basically nothing done. Great job, kids.

The next day at school, Reenie complains to Greta about how they got nothing done even though she was just as much to blame as the rest of them. Greta doesn't care about the stupid project. She just wants to talk about Artie and the fact that he's falling in with a bad crowd that slicks their hair back and works on their muscles instead of doing hours of homework. NOOO! And they're trying to get him to quit school. THE HUMANITY! THE HORROR! THE HELLLLLL! And to add to this unbelievable dookie-filled day, someone is breaking into Reenie's locker! WHY?! *sigh* It's just a new girl who got mixed up. She introduces herself as Liz and her brother as P.J. Uh-oh. We all know what P.J.'s fate is thanks to the all too informative back cover. Oh and Reenie thinks he's hot. Put it back in your pants, lady. P.J. says he has Mr. Meade for English next and Reenie says he's cool if you don't mind a lot of reading. Then Liz makes fun of him for reading so much. Why is it that any character in these books that gives any indication of being literate is automatically a freak? If P.J. got a chance to grow up (damn his bad heart!) he would own your asses! So suck it! P.S. Stine, you're an illiterate bastard and your ghostwriters deserve to be shot. Anyway, Reenie opens her locker and finds Ty hiding inside, waiting to scare her. Ok, I don't know about you guys, but the lockers at my high school were so tiny you would have to be made of rubber to wedge yourself in there. Reenie doesn't get scared anyway so Ty just caused himself a lot of pain for nothing. Idiot. Reenie introduces Ty (who is looking at Liz like she's a slice of honey baked ham he'd very much like to gnaw on) to P.J. and Liz and Ty says he'll show Liz to her locker. Greta offers to show P.J. to his next class but he ignores her and takes off after his sister. Either he realizes Ty is a total player and wants to save his sister from a heartbreaking fate or he wants Ty's sweet ass for himself...

After school, Reenie and Greta hang out at the Burger Basket. Yes! Screw you, Pete's Pizza! Bwahahaha! They're talking about Corky Corcoran (our favorite cheerleader) and her new love bug, Ricky Shore. Then they blab about how much Ty likes Liz and how weird P.J. is and blah blah blah. They're mercifully interrupted by Artie and his bad boy friend Marc Bentley. The guys ask if they wanna take a ride in Marc's bad boy car. The girls agree and Sean joins them. Once they're on the road, Marc predictably starts acting like a psychopath. "I want to show you something. This will only take a minute. It'll be fun. I promise." I regret to inform you that your promises are worth about as much as pile of horse shit. He starts driving like a bat out of hell and heads for Fear Street. It's a party! WOOOO! Someone help me. Marc, being a total fuckwit, drives the car through the Fear Street woods on a damn bike path. The car is bumping all over the place, but he doesn't stop until they reach Fear Lake. He steps over to a hill and falls down it. What the fuck is wrong with this idiot?? Reenie steps over to the hill because she's worried about the mentally handicapped douchebag that just plunged down it and ends up falling herself, landing on the icy surface of the lake. The ice cracks and she's plunged into the freezing water. Sean rescues her and all Reenie can say is "What happened to Marc? Is he okay?" As much as I hate to admit it, I was wondering where the hell he went, too. Marc "faked the fall" as a joke. Just admit your dumbass fell. Everyone bundles Reenie into their coats and they leave for home.

The next day at lunch, Greta and Reenie rehash the accident. Greta blames the entire thing on Artie even though he didn't really do anything. If you wanna castrate someone, take Marc. Sean joins them and Greta goes to get some ice cream. Sean and Reenie spot Greta and P.J. flirting and they gossip about that because it's soooooo important. *sigh* Unfortunately, Artie enters a moment later, sees his woman yapping with another dog, and decides to make use of the bad boy lessons he got from Marc by rushing up to them....and doing absolutely nothing. Well, that was sufficiently pointless.

As Reenie is walking home from school, she's joined by Liz and the subject of P.J. is brought up. Liz says he has a heart murmur and can't do anything too physical. I guess that rules out the love that Greta desperately wants to make with him. Ty interrupts a moment later and Reenie decides to leave them alone before they do something embarrassing like stare at each other. SHOCK! As Reenie walks on, Artie pulls up beside her and offers her a ride. He's driving Marc's car and Reenie really doesn't wanna, but it's cold so she gets in. That proves to be a mistake because Artie wants to show off and ends up speeding into an intersection and getting rammed by a van. No-one is hurt, but it could've been avoided if Artie would stop pretending to be Marc. Why does he have his car anyway? Speaking of Marc, I hope he's bound and gagged in the trunk. Anyway, they get out of the car and realize that the driver of the van is P.J. and he isn't looking too lively. He seems ok, just dazed. A second later, Artie completely goes off on him: "You creep! Look what you did! You plowed right into to me! Marc's going to kill me!" First of all, it was YOUR fault. Second, Marc would never kill his personal ass licker so chill out.

The next day at lunch, Greta informs everyone that Marc went ballistic on Artie. Tee hee. Then she bitches and moans about how much Artie has changed since he met Marc. Shut up. Then Sean changes the subject to the upcoming holidays. Reenie's parents will be out of town so she's throwing a Christmas party. Oh cruel fates! Before anyone can say anything else, some chick with big boobs comes running up and tells them to get to the weight room. Don't worry--Artie is hurt but alive. He blames P.J. for not spotting him which is why his barbells fell. Artie lunges for P.J. (why is he still in the room?) but the coach interrupts and tells everyone except Artie to get out. But Artie isn't through with P.J.! He's a bad boy, remember? Prepare to get glared at, P.J.! Artie glares SO HARD.

That evening, everyone gathers at Reenie's house to discuss P.J. and the fact that Ty has a date with Liz tonight. You people need to get lives of your own and shut up about the boring lives of others. Reenie finally pulls out some paper to make a list of people to invite to her party. The only names they call out are people we've already heard too much about in the past: Corky Corcoran (when she's not fighting unholy spirits, she's pretty popular), Deena Martinson (I don't get it), and Gary Brandt (useless. He'll just hang out under the mistletoe, trying to scam on every girl that passes. Why is this slut mentioned in every book?!) Artie mentions that they really gotta invite P.J. because he and Marc have a surprise for him. *cue evil grin* Their plan is so incredibly stupid it hurts. They're gonna get some chick named Sandi to ask him out to the party and once they're there, Sandi is supposed to kiss him and pretend to die afterward. "The kiss of death." So many shades of lame. Seriously. I'm going blind just reading this shit. P.J. has to die because of THIS? Sometimes I really hate you, Stine.

It's now the night of the party, but no-one comes because they all got explosive diarrhea from some bad chili in the caf so P.J. is saved! And then I pulled my head out of my ass and realized that none of that is true. *sigh* Dammit. Everyone is having fun and such. Apparently Reenie and friends abandoned the list because no-one but them showed up. BURN. No sign of Sandi or P.J. yet and Marc and Artie are already drunk. Yeah, this is gonna be interesting. Maybe. Possibly. Sort of. Probably not at all. Anyway, everyone acts like the devil himself has arrived when Sandi and P.J. show up together. THE SHOCK! THE HORROR! How could Sandi date outside of her own species?! That's actually what someone says. Why the hell are these morons acting so horrified? They're the ones who set this up!!! It takes about five seconds for Sandi to set the stupid little plan into motion. After Sandi collapses, Artie announces that Sandi is "dead". Oh well. Artie screams that it's P.J.'s fault and P.J. completely freaks out. Of course he ends up dead and these stupid assholes are to blame. Where the hell was his sister? Why didn't she stop them? I mean, she's with Ty 24/7 so she must have known. Why am I even asking? Save me, Valium...

Part Three - 1965

Just when I thought we'd never see 1965 again, it rears its tie-dyed head. We're back where we left off. Jeremy has just crashed his car, but he and Beth make it out unscathed. Instead of getting out of the snow, Jeremy insists on looking for the dead boy he ran over. But he's nowhere in sight. OoOoOoO. They try to flag down a few cars that pass, but the vehicles just fly right by them. Are the drivers simply cautious about picking up strangers in the middle of the night? Or are Beth and Jeremy...ghosts? I'M SO SCARED! Beth eventually spots a house through the trees. They hammer on the door, but no-one answers even though they can hear people talking and laughing inside. Yep, now I'm convinced that Beth and Jeremy died in the accident and now they're ghosts who don't know they're dead. Yawn. And how does any of this shit tie into the other plotline? Oh well. If I ask too many questions, it could get ugly in here. Real fucking ugly. Anyway, the two finally decide to get back in the car even though the damn thing is turned upside down. I'm not going to comment on their amazing logic. They look inside and *GASP* find a dead boy and girl. I think you all know where this is going. Beth realizes it first: "The dead boy and girl in there. I recognized them. They're...US." At this point, Jeremy starts screaming "NO!" and wringing his hands and pulling his hair and making yellow snow. He attempts to jump back inside his lifeless body (what opening did he use? Just wondering...) finds it useless and suddenly he and Beth begin ti fade into oblivion. If only they'd stay there.

Part Four - This Year

Back to good old 1995, the year I crapped my pants and told my father it was an alligator in my underwear. Uh...pretend you didn't hear that. Ok, so P.J. is dead and in typical Fear Street fashion, no-one has done a damn thing. FINALLY Reenie performs CPR until Sean pulls her away because poor P.J. has crossed that rainbow bridge to the other side. Before they can think of what to do (it's called 911. Use it.) Reenie's parents pull into the driveway and everyone completely loses it, dragging P.J. to the basement and stuffing him behind the furnace. Nice. When they go back upstairs, they realize it wasn't Reenie's parents after all. It was just some random car turning around in the driveway. I don't get why these paranoid lunatics are freaking out. Yes, it's terrible that P.J. died and it sucks that their stupid ass prank led to it. But they're acting like they murdered him with an ax. Why not just call 911 and explain the situation? It's not like they're all going to prison! Plus, if P.J.'s heart was THAT bad, why wasn't he being treated? He was a ticking time bomb. ANYTHING could have set him off. *sigh* Why the hell am I talking about this like I'm Dr. G? I just hate when the sons of bitches in these books care more about getting in trouble with mommy and daddy than the person who just DIED. Finally someone shows an inkling of common sense and calls 911. Unfortunately, P.J.'s body is gone. Well, that's just dandy. Everyone automatically believes P.J. was playing a joke all along like some modern Houdini who can stop his heart and all brain function at will. *sigh* They go back upstairs and an officer knocks on the door. They explain that the entire thing turned out to be a joke, the officer searches the house to make sure they're not hiding a moldy corpse, and leaves a moment later. The party is dead so everyone cleans up and leaves Reenie alone. Liz calls and freaks Reenie out by asking if P.J. is there. My brain hurts.

The next day, Reenie and Sean are walking to school and talking about Liz's call. They think Liz and P.J. are both in on the joke and just won't let it die. But no-one sees P.J. at school and it plants a seed of doubt in their pea-sized brains. Between classes, Reenie spots Liz crying in the hall, but she dashes off before Reenie can come over and ask what's wrong (as if you need to ask!) Reenie shows how much she cares by immediately thinking about something else: "The English assignment! I didn't read it. And the way today is going, we'll get one of Ms. Roper's hideous quizzes." With any luck, you'll fail. She rushes to the gym of all places to study and overhears Ty and Liz talking. Surprise, surprise--P.J. has vanished. And since there's a tragedy at hand, a make-out ensues between Ty and Liz. Because dry kisses cure all. Reenie watches like the dirty pervert she is. The bell rings a moment later and Reenie creeps out a moment after Ty and Liz. She gets called out of English class by the principal. The officer who came on the night of the party is there to ask her a few questions. She and all her friends who were at the party are interrogated in the cafeteria. I assume the station is clogged with other teenage delinquents. Shadyside sucks. They actually tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and the detective informs them that P.J.'s jacket was found in the Fear Street Woods and he didn't come home last night. Ok...that really isn't all that weird. If I were humiliated by a bunch of moronic apes, I'd hide out for a while, too. Maybe P.J. realized how shitty Shadyside is and is running back to where he came from. Maybe I don't know what's going on or where I am right now. Maybe. By the time the detective is finished, school is over for the day and no-one seems that worried about P.J.

A week later, P.J. is still missing. Reenie and Greta are in Reenie's room talking about how they regret the joke. A little late for that. Then they start talking about Christmas and the fact that Greta is breaking up with Artie because he seems to have a hard on for Marc and won't stay away from him. Greta begs Reenie to go with her to break it off with Artie and she agrees. Unfortunately, Marc is at Artie's house. Artie answers the door and tells them to beat it because he and Marc are taking a shower and it's his turn to use the loofah. Kidding. Marc and Artie are actually working on Marc's beloved car and Artie says he'll go tell Marc that the girls are here. A moment later, the girls hear a blood curdling scream. They rush into the garage and find Marc covered in blood with his head facing the wrong way. Damn. Artie claims Marc was fine when he left him. I'm sure he twisted his own head and bashed his own face in, you idjit. I think it was P.J., that conniving little wretch. They think it's just some random killer who's picking them off one by one. But instead of saying something and getting the hell out of town (yeah, yeah, that would incriminate them, but who cares?) they'll just sit around like logs waiting for the killer to off them.

It's been a week since Marc was killed and everyone is totally paranoid. One evening, Reenie drives to the Burger Basket to pick up Sean and Ty because his car broke down. When she reaches the door, Sandi (the chick whose lips are made of FAIL) runs up to her and says she's here to get Ty. She wants to grill him about P.J's disappearance. Why the hell does she care? And why ask Ty? Why not go to Liz herself? Ok, I'm shutting up. Reenie goes to the bathroom and when she comes out, the place is deserted. Maybe if she had lit a match or something...never mind. Anyway, Reenie finds Sandi shoved into a trash can and screams until Sean and Ty come running. Sandi got the same head treatment as Marc. All Ty can say is "Wow!" If all that comes to mind is "Wow!" just don't say anything at all.

The gang is hanging out in Reenie's room discussing the murders. Everyone except Reenie believes that P.J. is hiding out in the woods somewhere, living like a mountain man and only coming out of the trees to kill people close to them. WHY? WHY?! Is there any logic to that whatsoever? Until they find his one room shack, outhouse, and collection of human skin, they can't exactly pin anything on him. I understand these idiots are upset, but I wish they'd cut the Scooby Doo shit. Their plan is to basically harrass the hell out of Liz until she gives them some info. How do they know she know anything? Ok, I'm not questioning their motives anymore. It just pisses me off and makes me wanna set my face on fire. So Reenie pays a visit to Liz (did I mention she lives on Fear Street? It just gets better and better.) Liz is pretty damn cold and basically tells Reenie to fuck off because she'll never forgive her and her little friends for what they did to P.J. Burn.

A few days later, Reenie receives a letter from Liz.

December 29

Dear Reenie,

I've been thinking about what you said and we do all need to stick together. I need my friends to get through this horrible time. So I've decided to have a New Year's Eve party. I know P.J. is gone and this has been a hard year for all of us. But let's put this year behind us and celebrate. And hope that next year is a better year for everyone. Please come. I'm inviting all my closest friends to my house around nine. Hope to see you then.

Can you say 'trap'? Because Liz is gonna get all these fools together and totally whale on them. Am I excited? Oh my hell yes!

It's now the night of Liz's party (a.k.a Death Fest '95) and Reenie and friends are suspicious as they pull up to the house--it appears that no-one is home. They knock on the door and Liz answers in her red velvet dress (so that psycho on the cover is her) and lets them inside. She's decorated the entire place in black because this is a funeral, after all. Even though the place looks like a funeral parlor and Liz is acting like Lurch, no-one seems to find it too odd. Like I said, these kids aren't the brightest crayons in the box. They hang around and talk until Liz announces a toast for their long lost friends. Then she breaks down and starts crying. She stops long enough to inform them why she REALLY invited them: "The reason I gave this party is because I decided it would be easier to kill you all at once instead of continuing one by one." Groovy.

The next chapter is titled "Reenie Dies First" which means Reenie won't die at all because that's how Stine rolls. Anyway, Liz confesses to killing Marc and Sandi for reasons unknown and rambles on and on about how much she enjoyed it. Put a sock in it, killer. Liz says they're going to die because P.J. died and it was their fault. Sean screams that he can't be dead, but Liz isn't listening to any smack talk and asks which of them would like to go first. I hate when the killers ask this. Like anyone will actually volunteer. Liz lunges toward Reenie with a carving knife, but Sean knocks it out of her hand, grabs it, and forces her to unbolt the front door. But Liz has completely lost her mind and starts acting like a feral cat, clawing at Sean until she gets the knife and presses it to his throat. Before she can shove it in, P.J. enters the room and tells her to stop. What the hell? This asshole has some explaining to do. Seriously, look at the mess he's caused! Instead of explaining anything, he simply says "I'm glad you waited, Liz. I would be so disappointed if you started without me. I want to watch them die, too." Oh come on! P.J. has been around all along and watched Liz kill Sandi and Marc and blah blah blah. A moment later, Liz somehow gets stabbed, but there's no blood. We're about to get our tie to 1965. Liz is Beth Fleisher and P.J. is Jeremy (Philip Jeremy Fleisher to be exact). So why are they doing this? Because they died "because some cruel kids played a mean joke on my brother. Thirty years later and you did the same thing." Ghosts are such fucking asshats. In this case, what happened to Beth and Jeremy in 1965 AND 1995 wasn't really anyone's fault!! Yes, the kids who pulled the pranks were shitty, but they weren't directly responsible for Beth and Jeremy dying! Anyway, after some more talk of revenge, Ty steps up to Liz and says "You weren't brought back from the dead to have your revenge. I was!" Are you kidding me? Turns out Ty is the kid that Jeremy and Beth ran over before crashing. The clock chimes midnight and Ty says he has to kill Jeremy and Beth. You can't really kill what's already dead. They all spin around in some frosty, ghostly whirlpool before vanishing in a puff of smoke. Everyone is freaked and Reenie says "It was all so sad, so sad and frightening. What more is there to say?" Sean pipes up with "How about happy new year?" That's it? You just saw ghosts fight their way to the netherworld and all you can say is HAPPY NEW YEAR? Screw you, Sean.

Conclusion? I actually liked this one. SHOCK! I just wish the characters hadn't been so dense.

Next time: Since I've temporarily run out of Fear Street novels, I'm going to be doing random novels until I get more Fear (which should be fairly soon). So next time will be "Funhouse" by Diane Hoh, a Point Horror about MURDER! HORRIBLE PRANKS! and A WICKED AMUSEMENT PARK! I've gotta say I'm a little relieved to take a break from Fear Street. One can only take so many animal homicides and dry, crusty kisses.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Date

*This cover is just awful. The girl is high on roofies and Mr. Man back there looks like he turns furry under the full moon. Seriously, the hair on his arm is like 10 inches long. Run, little girl!*

Book Description:

Chelsea Richards is shy, lonely, and looking for love. She would give anything to finally go on a date. Soon there are two new boys in town and they BOTH ask her out. Too bad one of them is a crazed killer. Poor Chelsea. Will her first date also be her last?

My Description:

We begin this tale of deluded teenage love (or something like it) with two horndog teens steaming up the windows of a car. The boy, Joe, pulls away because he's getting a little TOO hot. He feels like he can't breathe and needs to gets away from the little bimbo whose name he can't even remember. She runs her hands through his hair and tells him she likes curly haired boys. Joe is disgusted and can only think "Mom used to do that to me." I'm not sure I want to know what kind of relationship he has with his mother. He finally suggests they go for a walk. As they're getting out of the car, he drops his wallet. She hands it to him and notices that his license says his name is Lonnie Mayes, not Joe Hodge. He lies and says it belongs to someone else because that makes so much sense. He's about to choke the life out of her is she asks any more questions and she must sense that because she shuts up. Yeah, I think it's safe to assume this guy just escaped from the local insane asylum. And Random Teenage Girl is lucky victim #1! They walk for a bit as Joe thinks about how he wiches he didn't have to murder her. But since she was all up in his grill about the license, he really doesn't see any other choice. A moment later, the girl is dead and Joe is on his way to Shadyside. Yee-haw!

Now we meet out "heroine" Chelsea Richards. She's a dullard and a loser. *sigh* I just got finished with a book in which the main character was a boring heap of mud with no confidence and a misguided belief that having a boyfriend would solve all problems instead of creating a whole array of new ones. Guess I get the pleasure of going through it all again. Anyway, Chelsea is practicing saxophone (at least she has hobbies) but stops to tell her mother how much she hates her life and to complain about the family. Instead of smacking her across the face and telling her to grow up like MY mom might have done, Mom quietly tells her she's not in the mood for complaints. She then proceeds to make fun of Chelsea. Ah, now THERE'S the Shadyside parent we've come to know and despise. Chelsea thinks about how dumpy she looks next to her beautiful mother before complaining how much Mom works. But don't worry. Mommy Dearest puts Chelsea in her place: "I'm very sorry, but your father and I have to work very hard. It's not like you're bringing in a fortune with your saxophone playing." BURN. I don't know whether to love or hate this woman. She's so deliciously bitchy. Then Chelsea whines about moving to Fear Street and having to live in a creepy house and why can't her hair be straight like Mom's and why is her hair so mousy colored (for the record, I see a lot of mousy hair in these books and I'd like to remind Stine that fucking MOUSE is a not a color!) and she whines so much that Mom starts throwing out the zingers: "Chelsea, you're a very attractive girl. If you'd lose a little weight and put on some lipstick..." We also have: "Frankly, your looks are great. It's your personality I'm not crazy about." Mama Richards takes no prisoners. She keeps talking until Chelsea starts to cry. Harsh. She gives Chelsea a hug before running out the door. What a bitch. I kind it. I'd rather listen to her insults than Chelsea's whining.

Once alone, Chelsea decides to visit her only friend in Shadyside, Nina Darwin. They met in marching band (Nina plays the flute) after literally marching into one another. OF COURSE Nina is gorgeous, blond, and perky. Because if you're a dumpy brunette, you need something to remind you of how ugly and unimportant you are. Chelsea reaches Nina's house and Nina answers the door with her magnificent blond boy-toy, Doug Fredericks, in tow. They were just headed to Doug's cousin's house and ask Chelsea to come. She refuses and starts walking back home. She's stopped by some creep who calls out "Hey, how about a date?" She turns and sees a Honda Civic full of teenage boys pull up. The greasy one in the passenger seat keeps talking and his friends join in, all of them making sick comments until she freaks out and screams at them to leave her alone. Oily boy flicks a cigarette at her after frying her some chicken with the grease oozing from his fat head. All Chelsea can think of as the boys speed away is "If only I could meet a guy who liked me." Yeah. Too bad no-one will ever take you up on that. Go eat your chicken.

Chelsea is sitting in homeroom ogling the new boy, Will Blakely. *sigh* And it begins. She wants to say hello, but she's too shy. Aw. After the bell rings, Chelsea stands and "accidentally" spills the contents of her backpack all over the floor. Will rushes to her rescue, picking up her crap but never saying a single word to her. Chelsea doesn't seem to realize he's just as shy as she is and mentally kicks her own ass for not thinking of something clever to say. "Nina would have had him asking her out before her stuff was back in the backpack." Would you shut up about Nin already?!?! You're not her, you'll never be her, and you need to accept that and MOVE THE FUCK ON! Ok, rant over.

That evening, as Chelsea is working in her dad's restaurant, she can think of nothing but Will. She daydreams so much that she spills coffee all over the place and runs smack into some "tough guy" (wearing lots of leather and a Metallica T-shirt does not automatically mean you're a bad ass) He orders a burger and Coke and introduces himself as Tim Sparks. "But everyone calls me Sparks." Chelsea is extremely uncomfortable around Sparks because he's such an asshole. A moment later, he shocks Chelsea by asking her out to a movie and when she says nothing, he storms out like a big baby. Yeah, that's the tough guy way. If someone won't give you what you want, run home to your assless chaps. Chelsea continues serving the customers and thinking about Will. She gets all hot and bothered at the idea of asking him out instead of waiting for him to ask her. But she dismisses the thought because everyone knows that's just some scandalous shit right there. *sigh*

It's now closing time. As Chelsea and her father are preparing to lock up, some greasy thugs (because if you're a bad man, it's unthinkable that you would have good hygiene) break in and demand that Dad empty the cash register. He claims there's nothing in it and gets a lead pipe smashed into his head, courtesy of the littlest, greasiest thug. What is Chelsea doing? Screaming instead of calling 911 for her busted daddy. She's probably pissed that the guys are giving her dad more attention than her. I think I hate you, Chelsea. The guys bust open the register, find it empty indeed (oops!), and flee the scene. Once they're gone, Chelsea FINALLY decides it would be in her best interest to call the damn police. Bravo! Dumbass.

Two hours later, Chelsea finds herself home alone and pacing the floors in worry. Her dad is in "serious but stable" condition at Shadyside General under the care of Dr. Kevorkian (come on, you know he worked there at some point). It's nearly 10 PM and Chelsea wishes her mom would hurry home because she hates being alone in this big creepy house. If you want Chelsea to shut her mouth, raise your hand. Anyway, she ends up calling Nina, explaining the situation, and begging her to come for a sleepover. Nina agrees and shows up with her lover Doug because being alone with Chelsea for an entire night is a fate worse than death. They talk about the situation and then Chelsea goes to make coffee. While she's in the kitchen, she peeks into the living room and sees exactly why Nina dragged Dougie along--so they'd have a place to make out of course. Get a room! And they don't stop when Chelsea comes in and turns the TV to MTV. Chelsea doesn't care because she's too busy doing what she does best--moping about how lonely she is and blah blah blah. Shut up and do something about it! Quit whining! Why can't this book be about Chelsea's mom? You suck, Stine. Then Chelsea starts thinking about Tim Sparks and those bad boys that broke in. She wonders if Tim was one of them. How could she not know? They weren't even wearing masks! She starts getting nervous because *gasp* what is he comes back? Two words: who cares? Maybe he SHOULD come for you, Chelsea, you selfish turd. Your dad is half dead and you're whining about your lack of a boyfriend. You deserve a good kick in the ass!

Now we're back to Joe Hodge (or whoever the hell he is). I'm sure you're all dying to know what he did after murdering that braindead bimbo. Well, he's not doing a whole hell of a lot to be honest. He's just wondering around Shadyside...MENACINGLY! Or something. He thinks about how many girls in this town deserve to die. "Girls like you, Mom, he thought." I wanna say his mommy issues are disturbing and uncalled for because usually in these books, that's the way it goes. But it turns out his mom ran away with his sister which left him with his dad who would get drunk and beat the hell out of him. Damn. That's pretty heavy for a Fear Street book. Usually the motives are stupid things like "Once, some girl rode her bike in front of my car and I had to slam on the brakes and I got wicked whiplas. I got out intending to slit her throat and bury her in the Fear Street Woods, but she was kinda hot so we made out even though she was bleeding from a head wound the size of Texas. I was going to let her live, but her mustache rubbed my baby smooth skin raw--RAW dammit!--so I bashed her brains out with my spare tire. I was wearing my lucky X-Men Underoos that day so the cops never caught me." Anyway, the bastard gets a sudden urge to kill and ends up strangling a helpless kitten by the Conononka River. *SOB* Your animal bloodlust sickens me, Stine!

It's now been four days since Chelsea's dad got hurt and Chelsea is back at the restaurant. She doesn't like working there when her dad isn't there, though. Boo hoo. It's nearly closing time and she and Ernie the cook are the only two people there. She thinks Ernie has stepped out for a smoke because he doesn't answer when she calls to him. So she goes back to thinking about Will and the strange tightening she feels in her loins when she pictures his face. What are these strange feelings? I'm not ready for the changes! WAHHHH! *sigh* As Chelsea stands there with her head in the clouds, two guys walk in and since they don't know what the word 'shower' means, we know they must be bad news. Chelsea automatically assumes they've come to rob the place, but they do nothing but stand there and tell her she's kinda cute and ask when she gets off work. She tries to ignore them and suddenly Sparks comes in. The guys leave because their Dave Matthews Band T-shirts are no match for his Metallica shirt. Apparently all you need to be the baddest motherf^&*er in town is a T-shirt advertising a metal band. Chelsea says the guys seemed afraid of him and he says they should be. I just can't take this guy seriously. He's like a caricature of someone tough. Lame! Ernie leaves a few minutes later and Chelsea realizes she's alone with Sparks. She wants him to ask her out, but he doesn't bother and when he leaves, she's all disappointed. I don't get this chick. She was totally repulsed by him a few days ago and now she's suddenly hot for his bod. Her desperation must be getting the best of her.

Now for no apparent reason whatsoever, we get Sparks' thoughts as he enters his crummy apartment. I'm sure this will be ENLIGHTENING. And by 'enlightening' I mean stupid and pointless. He paces around the living room and growls like a rabid dog, all while thinking about how he wanted to ask Chelsea out. He gets pissed off because he didn't do it and ends up ripping the phone out of the wall and throwing it against the window. What a gentle lamb.

The next day, Chelsea searches for Nina after the last bell. She finds her standing against her locker, crying. Apparently her precious Doug has fallen prey to Suki Thomas's slutty siren song. Nina, dear, you should have known this would happen. Suki's vagina is a Venus fly trap--nothing escapes! Actually, all Doug was doing was talking to her so I'm not sure what Nina is freaking out over. Is he not allowed to have female friends? Anyway, Chelsea shows that she really cares by changing the subject to Sparks. As she's babbling about him, Nina is babbling about Doug. You both suck. Nina suddenly spots Doug and runs toward him, leaving Chelsea alone to realize that Nin wasn't listening to her and probably never does. "Nina's a good friend when Doug isn't around, she thought unhappily. But when he's around, I'm invisible." It's time to face facts--Nina has her head so far up Doug's butt, I can't tell where he ends and she begins. He's not going anywhere anytime soon and if that bothers you, make new friends! Just shut up. SHUT UP! Quit whining and complainig about trivial things you could easily change! GRRR. Suddenly Will comes up to Chelsea and asks her if she wants to take a walk. Oh Will. Prepare to have your brain melted and your soul drained. Chelsea eagerly accepts and they walk to the Conononka (I HATE spelling that) River. On the way, Chelsea talks about this and that, but Will barely says anything. It starts to snow and Chelsea says she has to go to work. Before she leaves, Will asks if she wants to go to a movie on Saturday and she spazzes out and blurts "Yeah. Great! My first date!" Will says it's his first date, too, and they should keep it private. Is he THAT embarrassed to be seen with her?

The next afternoon, Chelsea is practicing saxophone when her mom bursts into the house. She's only home to change out of her nursing uniform (the one she's wearing is coated in someone's blood) and then she's going right back to the nursing home. God help those old people. I don't think I have to tell you that Chelsea whines about this. Then she tells her mother that she has a date on Saturday with a real live boy. Mom basically ignores this and says Dad will be out of the hospital in a week or two. She also says she'll drop Chelsea off at the restaurant on her way back to work. Chelsea spends most of her time doing geometry homework...until Sparks comes in. Here we go. Yuck. She gets him coffee and a doughnut and they talk a little. Chelsea asks him if he has a job and he says he just had an interview at the mill...except the mill has been closed for years. Liar! Then he asks Chelsea out for Saturday, she says she already has a date, and he gets incredibly pissed and storms out like the child he is. Have I mentioned I hate this guy? Because I hate this guy.

It's now Saturday night and Will and Chelsea are on their way to Waynesbridge for a movie. These two are about as interesting as a couple of cardboard cutouts. Seriously. My cat speaks more. I understand shyness (more than I want to) but come on! I don't care if you talk about the damn weather or your latest bowel movement. Just SAY something. Anything! Finally they talk about how klutzy they both are and soon they're at the theater. After the movie (which is described as a "comedy with John Candy and at least two Quaid brothers." I thought there were ONLY two Quaid brothers. Huh.) they drive up to the infamous River Ridge where Shadyside teens gather to have unsafe sex. When they arrive, no-one is there and Will kisses Chelsea. Unfortunately, it sucks: "The kiss was awkward and brief." Don't forget dry...oh so DRY. They take a little walk and Will lets Chelsea get ahead so he can take a cord out of his pocket and prepare to strangle her. Yep, Will is Joe Hodge. Chelsea reminds him of his sister Jennifer who got to go away with mom while Will was left to endure nightly drunken beatings. Just as he prepares to wrap a cord around Chelsea's neck, a car pulls up. It's just some naughty teens, but they've stolen Will's buzz and now he just wants to leave. He's sad that he can't kill her and dump her in the river, but then she invites him to her place (her parents obviously won't be there) and he realizes he can just kill her there. Perfect! Chelsea mistakes his evil grin for happiness, happiness caused by being with her. *snort*

Once in Chelsea's house, they make out until neither of them can breathe. She compares it to a magic carpet ride. I doubt it. Will drags out his handy dandy choking cord, but Chelsea jumps up and says she's going to make hot chocolate. Damn. You'd think killing her would be easy, especially for a seasoned murderer such as Will. He decides to try again, sneaking into the kitchen and coming up behind her with the cord. Of course she turns around before he can do anything. This is getting ridiculous. If you're gonna kill her, do it already! What the hell does it matter if she sees you coming or not? It's not like she'll be alive to tell anyone! Anyway, this time he's interrupted by a knock at the door. It's Nina who just had a big fight with Doug. I am so over this crap. Call Gary Brandt. He'd be more than happy to help you through this difficult time. Chelsea heads back into the kitchen to tell Will that their date is cut short and she's sorry, but he's already gone.

It's now Sunday afternoon and Chelsea is playing sax while her mother attempts to read and wonders why she never got an abortion. Chelsea whines about Mom never supporting her and gets this as a reply: "I don't want to encourage you. I hate the saxophone!" Lady, I hate your daughter as much as you do, but that saxophone is the only thing between her and suicide. So chill the fuck out. A few minutes later, Will calls with a pack of lies for Chelsea. He says he told her goodnight before he left and blah blah blah. She eats it up and says they could meet up tomorrow night to continue the date. Yay! NOT. They hang up and Chelsea's mom leaves for work after harrassing Chelsea about her new boyfriend. Nice. Later, Chelsea opens the door to stare out at the falling snow and comes face to face with some psychopath. AHHHH! IT'S THE FEDS! No, really. It's an FBI agent who asks her a few questions about a suspect they're searching for. He gives her a physical description that sounds just like Tim Sparks. Ooo. Chelsea tells the agent, he gives her his card, and leaves a moment later. Are you kidding me? The fucking FBI?!?!

It's Monday afternoon and Chelsea and Nina are eating lunch together. Just another opportunity for Chelsea to bitch and moan: "Nina must think I'm a total pig." Since Nina is on the anorexic diet and is only having an apple and a small vanilla yogurt, Chelsea assumes she's hogzilla because she's having a ham sandwich, potato chips, a chocolate pudding, and a Coke. For the 55849476th time: SHUT UP!!! Anyway, Nina says she and Doug made up last night *wink wink* Then Chelsea quietly chews on her sandwich and thinks about Will and the fact that he wasn't at school today. Who. Cares.

That evening at work, Chelsea acts like a complete spazoid because she's afraid of seeing Sparks. Toward closing time, it's just Chelsea and Ernie who steps out for a cigarette. As Chelsea is emptying the cash register, she hears someone. She shoves the money in a desk drawer and comes out to the counter where she spots Sparks sitting at a table grinning at her. He starts giggling like some demented baby doll and when he's close enough, Chelsea smells the booze on his breath. He tries to grab her and she runs into the kitchen where Sparks ends up burning his entire hand on the grill. Moron. Chelsea runs to call 911, but calls the agent instead who says he's on his way and will call the ambulance. Even though his hand is a crusty, pus-filled mess, Sparks says he'll just go home and slap a bandage on it. Chelsea freaks out because she needs to keep him there. Fortunately, the ambulance comes, they pack him up, and the agent tells him once he's released from the hospital, the FBI has a few questions for him. What the hell? Oh well. Chelsea locks up and leaves. She spots Will on the corner and runs up to him. He's happy to see her because tonight's the night he's going to kill her. How romantic. They go to Chelsea's house and Will can hardly contain his laughter at the fact that Chelsea handed the wrong guy to the FBI. Oops. As Chelsea babbles on about her pathetic existance, Will thinks about his numerous neuroses involving women. I'm losing steam here. I hate every character in this book (except for that innocent kitten. WHY?!?! SOB!) and I just don't give a damn what happens to any of them. Where is the logic, Stine? We're expected to feel sympathy for the poor girl who's inadvertently dating a murderer. So why make her so freaking annoying that you end up WANTING her to die?! *sigh* Anyway, Chelsea finally says something that Will actually pays attention to: "I have a confession to make, Will. I told my friend Nina all about you." And just like that, he decides Nina will also have to die. Did Chelsea not think it was odd when he basically flat out said he didn't want to meet anyone close to her? Plus, she has no idea where he lives or anything about his family. For all she knows, he could be *GASP* a murderer! But of course that will never enter her feeble mind because Will is just so cute and shy. Chelsea goes into the kitchen to call Nina so she can come over and meet Will *cough*and die*cough*. Chelsea hangs up the phone and as she's grabbing Cokes from the fridge, it rings. It's the FBI agent who says Sparks is not their guy. Chelsea peeks into the living room and realizes the in the house! NOOO! Yes! NOOO! Oh YES! She tells the agent who tells her to get the hell out of there. She runs out into the night, but good old Will catches her. Dammit. Will this never end?!

Will demands to know where she's going, but she doesn't answer so he tries to lead her back to the house. She breaks away and screams that she knows who he really is. Now might be a good time to run, stupid. She wastes too much time thinking about what to do and Will takes the opportunity to wrestle her to the ground and wrap the dreaded cord around her neck. Once he believes she's dead (as nice as that would be, we all know it ain't so) he drags her to the side of the house and decides to wait on Nina to arrive so he can dispose of her, too. It's a party! He ends up going inside just a moment before Nina arrives. He answers the door like he owns the place and tells Nina that Chelsea is upstairs and will be down in a sec. She mentions that Chelsea has said a lot about him and he thinks "I know, he thought bitterly. That's why I have to kill you." Just a barrel of laughs. Nina says she wants to go check on Chelsea, but Will says "Oh. I just remembered. She went out. To get ice cream." You're a terrible liar. Nina knows this, too, so Will lunges at her with the cord. She manages to get away and he says "Sorry." Sorry? SORRY? He tells her he killed Chelsea and grabs her. But before he can finish her off, CHELSEA shoves him away. He freaks out because he thought he killed her. There's some struggle with a knife and then the FBI agents enter. Finally. FINALLY this shit is over. And I still have a shred of sanity left.

Later, Chelsea visits Sparks in the hospital. He tells her his whole life story which is unimportant at this point and then asks her on a date. Her reply? "It's bound to be better than my FIRST date!" Gag me with a chainsaw.

Conclusion? Yuck.

Next time: "All Night Party" Secluded location + psychotic teenager = good old-fashioned fun.
*EDIT* Since I can't find my copy of "All Night Party", the next post will be "The New Year's Party", yet ANOTHER rip-off of "I Know What You Did Last Summer"...sort of. Can you feel the excitement?!? Me neither.

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 ...