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.

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 ...