Saturday, December 18, 2010


Book Description:

Shadyside. It sounded like such a nice town, the perfect place for a runaway like Felicia. Nobody here would know about her dark powers. Nobody would know what she had done. For once, she could be a normal girl. She could be safe. But someone in Shadyside discovered Felicia's secret. Someone found out about the awful things her parents made her do. Felicia doesn't want to run away again. But if she stays, she might lose control. And then people would start to die.

My Description:

I'm finally back. It's a Christmas miracle! Or something.

Felicia Fletcher walks into Shadyside on a rainy afternoon. She's never heard of the place which explains why she isn't screaming and running in the opposite direction. She thinks that Shadyside could be a good place to start over (HA!) since she can't return home, not after what happened. She also thinks about all the doctors that were studying her, especially Dr. Shanks. Yes. Dr. Shanks. Let that one sink in for a moment. Dr. Shanks (not a butcher...although I'm sure some would beg to differ! HAR HAR HAR!) is a bad man. We can tell because he has greasy hair, a beaky nose, and EVIL eyes. Felicia remembers a very scientific test Dr. Shanks conducted in which he commanded her to move a pencil with her mind. She nearly moved it right into his eyeball, but he dived away at the last second and the pencil stabbed a cork board instead. Felicia is horrified that she actually wanted that pencil to pop Dr. Shanks's eyeball like a juicy bing cherry. She realized the power she possesses is pure EVIL. Dr. Shanks didn't care that he was almost blinded. He was too excited about witnessing her telekinesis.

Felicia is snapped out of her trip down memory lane (a.k.a. Shanky Road) as a car almost runs her over. Damn teenagers! The car is a red GTO and the driver turns and pulls up next to Felicia to inform her that wandering in the road is a good way to be killed. Thanks, genius. Felicia admires his goatee and shaggy hair. We know this guy is a real bad ass because he has acne scars, muscle-y arms, and a barbed wire tattoo with drops of blood. WOW. He apologizes for nearly killing her and offers her a ride which she accepts. He introduces himself as Lloyd and says his friends call him Homicide. "Because I'm a killer!" Are you sure your friends don't call you Brain Damage? Felicia is freaked out by Homicide and asks him to let her out, but Homicide views this as disrespect and pulls out a switchblade. "I gave you a ride. Now you have to pay for it." This isn't the meaning of hospitality, LLOYD. He stomps on the gas and the car is going at breakneck speed, but Felicia still considers leaping out. She doesn't have to, though, because Lloyd crashes the car into a tree. He's bloody and unconscious, but after a few moments, it seems like he's waking up so Felicia attempts to get out of the smashed car, but she's trapped. She climbs out the window and runs to flag down a car. Apparently she didn't learn a lesson from her joy ride with Lloyd. Just as he starts screaming that he's going to kill her, a guy picks her up. He immediately says that hitchhiking is stupid. THANK YOU, Captain Obvious! Any other nuggets of wisdom for the girl who was almost killed and couldn't give a shit less about what you have to say? "Guess you're having a bad day." *sigh* Never mind. The guy's name is Nick and Felicia tells him all about her adventures with Homicide. Nick doesn't seem too shocked which is a sure sign he's from Shadyside. He doesn't bat an eye when she says she doesn't wanna go to the police. Speak of the devil...a cop car with siren on and lights flashing pulls up behind them. Felicia nearly wets her Tweety bloomers because she thinks they've found out about the deaths she's responsible for. (WHAT?!) But Nick pulls over and the car speeds past, much to Felicia's possibly urine soaked relief.

Nick wants to know what's up, but Felicia refuses to tell him anything and demands he drop her off at the Donut Hole. He does and Felicia feels bad about being so hostile toward him so she kisses him. He drives off and she goes to the bathroom to change into the dry clothes in her backpack. She orders a bagel and coffee and listens to some college lumps in the next booth talking about how Bobby (one of these guys) has to take care of Professor Jones's house and cat and how he can't go on a vacation full of debauchery with his buds. TRAGEDY! Felicia pretends that she knows the prof and offers to take Bobby's place. He quickly agrees, not even bothing to ask if Felicia is a kitty killer. He tells her that Professor Jones is gone on safari for the next month and all Felicia has to do is feed the cat, water the plants, and check on the house to make sure no-one is robbing the place or squatting there like Felicia is planning to do. He gives her $50, the house's address, says he'll be back in two weeks, and bails with his friends. Fool.

Professor Jones lives in a big Victorian mansion on Fear Street. Felicia lets herself in and is greeted by a big gray tabby cat. He collar reads 'Miss Quiz' because her owner is a professorial dork. Felicia makes herself comfortable...

The next day, she worms her way into Shadyside High by telling the secretary that the transcripts from her old school are on the way. First, what school would allow a kid to enroll without their parents present or without asking any questions? I mean, this secretary just enrolls Felicia in classes, gives her a schedule and books, and sends her on her way. Doesn't she want to know if Felicia is a telekinetic murderer who's illegally hanging out in a stranger's house? Second, why is Felicia even bothering with school? She's not going to be here that long anyway. You're really stretching this one, Stine. Anyway, Felicia is happy to be doing something normal and ordinary. At the end of the day, as she's putting books into her locker, she spots Nick coming over. He seems really happy to see her. Probably trolling for more kisses. Dry lips are more addictive than a crack rock. Nick asks where Felicia is headed and when she says "Fear Street" he starts acting all weird. He tells the age old story we've all heard before about how horrible things happen on Fear Street. Actually, that's all he says before asking if Felicia wants to get a hamburger. Smooth. He works at Burger Basket so the only reason he asked her is because his shift is about to start. Again, smooth.

When they arrive, Nick gets to work and Felicia asks his boss, Barry, about a job. He agrees to let her work this weekend and asks if she would be good with nights. She definitely is and a few moments later, she meets Zan. "I'm Zan. It's short for Alexandria." Zan is cold one moment and all smiles the next so Felicia better watch her back. When the girls are alone together, Zan points a knife at Felicia's chest and says "You might owe Nick your life. But he's going with me. Remember that." What a psycho. And what are the odds of Felicia being threatened at knifepoint twice in two days?! This confrontation triggers Felicia's power and suddenly french fry grease is splattering everywhere, the lights are flickering, and trays are falling to the floor. Then it stops and everything continues as normal. Zan apologizes for pulling a knife on Felicia and all is ok. For now.

At school on Monday, Felicia sits with Zan and Nick at lunch. They talk about work, the girls make fun of Nick's messy eating, and they congratulate Felicia on doing the job she was hired to do as well as she possibly can. They toast with Cokes because no other drink exists in Shadyside. Later, Felicia is at her locker thinking about Nick and her comfy set-up at the Professor's house when she notices an envelope taped to the inside of the door. It contains a note which reads "I KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU!" Either Miss Cleo attends Shadyside High or Felicia is being stalked! Below the message is a photocopy of Felicia's driver's license which has her real name (which is?) and her address back in Ridgely where she accidentally killed those people. She notices that her photo has been burned away. Extreme. Of course Felicia freaks out and all the locker doors swing open and shut over and over again. Spooooky. Thankfully, this is the end of the day so no-one witnessed Felicia's EVIL power. She flees the school and runs to the Donut Hole where she calls Nick from a pay phone and begs him to meet her. Zan is off today so there's no chance of Felicia getting her chest flayed open and her heart cut out. Felicia sits down with Nick and tells him she may have to leave. After all, she's a runaway. It's in her nature to run. And lie. And kill. ACCIDENTALLY! Nick says he really wants her to stay and after a bit, Felicia feels better. Nick goes back to work and Felicia stays behind thinking about her past. "...the way I hurt Andy and Kristy. I'll never use my power that way again. My power to kill." This leads to a flashback...


Felicia and her friend Debbie are walking on the beach and talking about the amazing Shanks. Debbie is extremely intelligent which is why she is involved with Shanks's experiments. But her whip smart brain has not rendered her telekinetic and she is jealous of Felicia's powers. The two stop in front of an old, delapidated beach house and Debbie tells Felicia to tear it down. Felicia says she can't do it, but Debbie goads her on until she does. The house explodes and crumbles. Then the girls hear screams. They spot two cars nearby that they recognize as belonging to Andy Murray and Kristy List, a couple they go to school with. Debbie and Felicia run over to the rubble and uncover the maimed bodies...


Felicia shakes the memory away and hurries home. Once united with Miss Quiz, she realizes the door was not locked and she was certain she locked it before she left. Then she hears a creaking noise. Footsteps? She clicks on some lights and goes into the den where someone has trashed the place. They destroyed what few things Felicia owned and ransacked the Professor's desk. They also left a quaint message on the wall in what looks like blood but is almost certain to be red paint: "RUNAWAY! GET OUT NOW! I KNOW EVERYTHING!" Why don't you do something more productive than writing stupid anonymous notes and save us the trouble of plodding through 80 more pages? No? Be that way then! Felicia checks the entire house to make sure no-one is lurking about and after finding it empty, begins scrubbing away the not-yet-dry message. Once she finishes cleaning the room, it's nearly 5 AM.

That night, Felicia is sitting with Nick as he finishes his Burger Basket Bellybuster. She confesses she's been having nightmares and not sleeping well lately which is why she looks like a microwaved corpse. Then she blurts out some things about her past. Her parents are dead, she lived with her Aunt Margaret, and the local college was performing tests on her brain. She never mentions the power or the deaths because, obviously, Nick would be horrified and stone her to death in the village square. She goes on to say she felt totally alone in Ridgely so she ran away. They kiss (ON THE LIPS!), but Barry interrupts and they get back to work. Mercifully, Zan isn't working tonight. But at 10 PM, a knock comes at the back door. It's Zan and she's there to pick up Nick. A few moments after they leave the building, Felicia follows and hears them arguing. She hears Zan say "You watch yourself, Nick. I know the truth about Felicia. I know everything!" If only that were true. Zan goes on to shout at Nick to stay away from Felicia. Felicia is already freaking out over Zan knowing something so she races home.

The next morning, Felicia catches Nick at his locker and asks about Zan. He says she likes Felicia, but she's really jealous of any girls who pay attention to Nick. He tells Felicia not to be mad at Zan because she has had a hard time lately, but he can't tell her about it because it would break Zan's trust. Shut up already, Nick.

On Friday, after school, Zan asks Felicia is she wants to spend the night at her house and Felicia agrees. I'm scared! That evening, Felicia arrives at Zan's palatial mansion and is in awe at the house and Zan's room and rich people are amazing and blah blah. They eat popcorn and watch The Birds ("It'll scare you to death." Except not.) After the movie, Zan leaves the room for more soda and snacks and Felicia takes the opportunity to snoop Zan's shelves. She pulls out Zan's yearbook from her sophomore year and giggles over Nick's goofy picture. The next two pages are stuck together and Felicia slowly peels them apart. She sees a photo of Zan with a guy whose face has been marked over with what appears to be brown marker. But Felicia scratches at it and thinks it has the metallic scent of blood. Uh-oh. Zan comes back a few minutes later with nachos and Diet Coke and Felicia immediately asks where the bathroom is so she can scrub the so called blood off her hand. When she comes back, she asks Zan how long she and Nick have been together and Zan says since freshman year. Felicia believes that's a lie because that dude in the picture with Zan definitely wasn't Nick. Also, that bloody photo had a caption that was partially obscured by "blood": 'The Couple Most...'

At school on Monday morning, Felicia goes to the library to find the yearbook identical to Zan's. She locates it and finds the photo of Zan and the mystery man. The guy with her is Doug Gaynor and the caption reads 'The Couple Most Likely To Last Forever' (or at least until one of them finds something better). She recognizes the name and remembers where she's seen it. She walks down the hall until she comes to a plaque on the wall that reads 'In Memory of Douglas Gaynor'. "Zan's old boyfriend is dead!" Freaking A, Sherlock.

After school, Nick drives Felicia to the Burger Basket. Their shift starts in 15 minutes, but Zan doesn't have to be there for a few hours. In the parking lot, Felicia tells him how she came to be living on Fear Street. Nick thinks nothing of it. Then she tells him someone is stalking her and knows about her past. She also mentions the messages and he holds her against his flannel clad chest because he's such a MAN. Such a strong teenage MAN! But Nick feels guilty because he supposedly loves Zan. Felicia brings up Doug Gaynor and Nick says Zan killed him. ACCIDENTALLY! The story: Zan and Doug became boyfriend and girlfriend in 7th grade. They lived in bliss until Doug started getting bored and went on a date with a girl named Kathleen. Zan found out and lost her damn mind. One night, she and Doug were arguing on the balcony outside her bedroom. She started hitting Doug, he pushed her away, she pushed back, and he fell over the railing. Doug's death was rather nasty. He fell on the pointy iron fence that surrounds Zan's property. "Four spikes slashed through Doug's back. Another slashed through his left arm. The TV news said that he didn't die right away. It took some time." RIP. Felicia is horrified and begins thinking that if Zan was capable of killing her own boyfriend, what could she do to Felicia? Felicia suddenly believes it is definitely Zan who has been leaving her messages and says so to Nick. He tells her to get a grip on reality and she makes him promise to never tell Zan. Unfortunately, Zan has quietly creeped up to the window of the car and heard Felicia say her name and now she wants to know what the hell they were talking about. Felicia says Nick was just asking her advice about something. Nick says "I wanted to take you out someplace special. I thought Felicia might have some good ideas." Except she's only lived here for a few days and has no clue about ANYTHING in Shadyside, idiot. But this makes Zan's bitchy attitude fade and she apologizes for being so suspicious. They all walk inside and get to work.

Later, Zan asks Felicia to change the lightbulb in the storage room. Felicia agrees to and finds that someone spilled the mop bucket in the room. She decides to leave it for the messy slob who spilled it. She climbs a stepladder to change the bulb and realizes that someone cut open the copper wiring and Felicia could have been fried. She jumps down and runs to the breaker to turn off the electricity before anyone gets hurt, but before she can, Barry enters the room, pulls the chain to turn on the light, and gets quite a nasty shock. In a moment, the entire place is on fire. Felicia pulls Barry out, but realizes Nick is still inside with Zan and some customers. She goes back inside and uses her power to push the flames back enough so that everyone can escape through a window she shattered with a chair.

Felicia awakens outside about 15 minutes later with Nick hovering over her. She looks at the wreakage of the restaurant and can't believe how quickly it burned. But everyone survived thanks to her. Suddenly TV reporters are swarming and Felicia panics. Nick gives her his keys and tells her to take his car; he'll keep the news buzzards back. Felicia almost makes it to the car, but Zan has other plans. "Why didn't you just die?" She pushes Felicia to the ground and starts babbling about Nick being her's. Then she begins chocking the life out of Felicia. Will this girl never catch a break?! Nick pulls Zan away before she can do any more damage. Felicia sees them hugging and hears Nick say "Why can't you stop trying to hurt [Felicia]? She's nothing! She means nothing to me!" Felicia is incredibly hurt by this and puts Nick's keys in his glove compartment before beginning her long walk to Fear Street. So sad.

Once she reaches the Professor's house, she decides to pack her things and leave before something else happens. But she remembers that she taped the only photo she has of her father in her locker and she can't leave without it. She decides she'll get it first thing tomorrow and then she's gone. She has to leave before anyone else gets hurt...


Kristy and Andy are decaying corpses and they're talking to Felicia. And she's probably not even high! They say she killed them and they want to know why. They always thought Felicia was their friend. This turns out to be nothing more than an unhappy dream. Felicia wakes up and sees Debbie tapping on the window. Felicia motions for her to come around to the front door, then they both go to Felicia's room. Debbie says she just got away from the police station after being questioned for 4 hours about Felicia's powers. Good old Shanks told the cops all about Felicia and now they're gonna pin the deaths on her. Debbie tells her to pack a bag and run. Felicia agrees and Debbie lends her car and her apologies for daring Felicia to tear the house down. Felicia drives off, but she doesn't get far because her powers have flared up and she gets out of the car just before it explodes. Sorry, Debbie.


Felicia hurries to school to grab her picture so she can get the hell out of hell. Unfortunately, Nick interrupts by grabbing her and kissing her. He apologizes for everything, but Felicia says she still has to go. Then Zan appears out of nowhere, walking down the hall with a knife. She cuts Nick across the knuckles and grabs Felicia, holding the knife against her neck. Students scatter screaming when they see her, but no-one runs for help. Felicia makes the mistake of mentioning Doug and Zan flips out, but she admits she killed him because he made her feel bad. Just as Zan prepares to cut Felicia's juggular, the POWER! rears its ugly head. The tip of the knife bends back on itself, windows shatter, and lockers rattle. Zan is slammed against some lockers and Felicia commands Nick and another guy to hold her down. Felicia does nothing but grab her picture from her locker and run just as the principle and some teachers approach.

Felicia bursts into the house, grabs her things (or what remains of them), and flees. But someone grabs her's Debbie. Who wants to kill Felicia because she was on the news for her heroism. Well, no-one knows it was Felicia who saved everyone in the fire, but Debbie had a feeling it was her and it made her sick so she came to kill Felicia. Seriously? It turns out Debbie has powers, too. In fact, she used them to make her car explode in the hopes that Felicia would be killed. But noooo. Also, she never talked to the cops and neither did Dr. Shanks. She only said that to get rid of Felicia before Felicia's guilty conscience drove her to tell the cops herself. Oh, and Debbie was in love with Andy Murray, but he wouldn't leave Kristy so she killed them both in the beach house collapse. Felicia's response? She slaps Debbie in the face. Their exchange is hilarious:

Debbie: "What was that?"
Felicia: "That slap in the face you deserve!"

Justice is served! They engage in the obligatory wrestling match that occurs at the end of every Fear Street book ever written (almost)...except they use their massive minds instead of their puny fists. Debbie uproots a tree and Felicia snaps up a light pole, but Debbie destroys it. Debbie picks up a recycling bin and dumps the contents on Felicia's head. Felicia gets cut by a Coke bottle. Out of all the things that could have gashed her head open, it HAD to be the damn COKE bottle! Just before Debbie moves in for the kill, Nick comes speeding up. Debbie nearly beans him with a mailbox, but Felicia pushes her powers and Debbie is suddenly in a comalike trance.
Nick and Felicia are talking about Zan and Debbie ending up at an insitution (hopefully in the same room) and Felicia going back to Ridgely. She already contacted her aunt and everything is fine. Nick tells her she'll never have to run away again.

Conclusion? Not too shabby. Although double doses of psychopathia make my brain hurt. Unless that's just my powers coming to life...

Next time: "99 Fear Street: The Second Horror" Behold! The house of eeeeeeevvvvillll.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Still More Tales To Give You Goosebumps

* I meant to post this hours ago, but it's still technically Halloween so let's get on with it! *

Reader Beware--You're In For Ten Halloween Scares!

Will Charlie's recipe for pumpkin juice cause him some hair-raising terror? Are Dave's awesome ants biting off more than they can chew? Can Max's Halloween wish turn him into an endangered species?

1. Pumpkin Juice

"I screamed when I opened the kitchen door." Too bad it's only Charlie's friend Frank in his goofy alien costume and not something SCARY. They're going trick-or-treating together soon, but first Frank wants to show Charlie a recipe he found in Monster Brews to Bring out the Best in You on Halloween. He flips to a page with a recipe for something called Pumpkin Juice Supreme. He brought a pumpkin with him so they could make this disgusting concoction. Ingredients: flesh of ripe pumpkin, milk, molasses, butter, garlic, and chicken broth. (I'll give my copy of this book to anyone who tries that.) Barf-o-rama. They mix it all together, trash the kitchen in the process, and each have a couple cups. They both thoroughly enjoy because they're dirty little monster boys. Eventually they set out for a night of trick-or-treating. Charlie suddenly feels like he's starving and begins devouring his candy like it's going out of style. He notices Frank doing the same thing. Frank's insatiable hunger causes him to shove open a woman's door for more candy because she didn't give him enough the first time. At the next house, Charlie gets pissed at a little boy who tried to give him a stinking LOLLIPOP so Charlie shoves past him, runs into the kitchen, and starts gobbling eggs and raw liver. GAG. He stops only when he sees thick black hair sprouting out of his hands. As the little boy's enraged mother swats Charlie out of her kitchen with a broom, Charlie has an epiphany: "The booklet didn't promise to bring out the best in me. It promised to bring out the beast in me. And it worked!" Outside, Charlie slurps a worm right off the ground before getting into a fight in an alley with an incresingly furry Frank over a stupid cookie. They eventually stop fighting, go to Charlie's house, nearly eat his cat, and realize there must be something in the book to cure them. Of course there is and the cure is basically the ingredients for pumpkin pie which Charlie's mom has just baked. What a coincidence. After eating some pie, the boys are back to normal. Unfortunately, Charlie's mom drank some Pumpkin Juice and is now devouring raw hamburger.

Trick or treat? A stomach churning TRICK.

2. Attack of the Tattoo

No joke. That's really the title. Anyway, Jeannie is really disappointed in her Halloween haul. The only thing of any interest in her trick-or-treat pillowcase (NO BAGS!) is a temporary tattoo of an evil looking snake. "It was the coolest tattoo I'd ever seen." Then you obviously haven't seen many. She runs to the bathroom for a wet washcloth to apply the tattoo (this is really taking me back to the years when I thought Lisa Frank temp tattoos were the shizz. Rainbow unicorn rocks.) but the directions say "To apply, use water scorched by the sun." This is the morning after Halloween so the sun is shining bright. Jeannie takes a bottle of water outside, lets the sun shine through it, and dumps the entire thing on her arm to apply the tattoo. It works. What a waste of water. She's incredibly excited and bikes to her friend Maggie's house to show it off. On the way over, she feels something slithering over her legs. She screams and pulls the bike over, but sees nothing and continues peddling. Maggie takes a break from wolfing chocolate to admire the tattoo: "Jeannie, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" What is it with these kids? Turns out Maggie also got a tattoo, but hers is just a centipede. A centipede. A CENTIPEDE. Which is why she didn't bother applying it.

That night, Jeannie wakes up to three black snakes slithering through her bed. She freaks out, wads them in the sheet, and tosses them out the window. She runs to the bathroom to scrub the eeeeeevil tattoo off, but it stays put.

The next day at school, Jeannie runs to Maggie to tell her about the sun water, the snakes, and how she can't remove the tattoo. Maggie tells her to read the directions. Genius! After school, Jeannie finds the paper which reads "To remove, use water struck by the full moon." Original. Jeannie calls Maggie to tell her and asks when the next full moon will be. Maggie checks the calendar...the moon will be full TONIGHT.

Once the moon is out, Jeannie goes outside where a snake begins working its way out of the tattoo. Then another and another until Jeannie is surrounded. And the tattoo is STILL there even though it just gave birth to a bunch of full grown snakes. Hm. Jeannie kills the snakes with her potent moon water and rinses her tattoo away. Yay. The next day at school, Jeannie finds that everyone has applied their evil tattoos. Some dude named Zach has two sun water soaked tattoos for Maggie (a tarantula) and Jeannie (a rat) and he immediately slaps them on their arms. "Maggie, is the moon still full tonight? Or do we have to wait a full month?"

Trick or treat? A slimy, itchy, creepy, crawly trick.

3. The Wish

Max's shitty 15 year old brother Eugene has locked Max in a closet. He's screaming for help because he's going to be late for trick-or-treating with his friend Alex. Max's mom lets him out of the closet and laughs when he says Eugene locked him in. Parent of the year. Finally Max and Alex leave and Max thinks about how cool his mask is: "A long scar ran down one side, dripping with blood. Warts and boils covered the other side. Totally gross." Indeed. The boys cover the whole neighborhood and end up with loads of candy. Unfortunately for Max, Eugene knocks the bag out of his arms and candy spills all over the street. He walks off eating Max's favorite treat, a jelly apple. Max spots a house he and Alex must have missed so he runs over to get a little candy (some is better than none...although he could have just gathered it off the street). A nasty old lady who is nearly bald and closely resembles a skeleton answers the door and drags Max closer. She gives him a jagged rock as his "treat" and tells him "Don't throw away the power!" before cackling and slamming the door. A mental patient escapee. Always a Halloween favorite. Max runs home and throws the rock out the window after wishing he was an only child.

When Max wakes the next morning, things are very off. Eugene's room is a study and Max's school is missing and every person that Max comes into contact with runs away screaming! A group of angry adults begin chasing him so he dives into Ms. Greenway's pet store. He tells her he needs help, but she immediately lets the adults in and they trap him in a net. He sees the weird old lady holding her rock of power and Max realizes his wish came true and he should never have thrown away the power. Max is the only child on planet earth and now resides in a cage labeled 'Endangered Species'.

Trick or treat? A trick of epic proportions.

4. An Old Story

Tom's neglectful workaholic parents forgot to go the store again so he and his brother Jon have resorted to fighting over a few Oreos. The doorbell rings and Tom peeps out a window to get a look at the visitor. It's a tall old woman in a blue coat and floppy black hat pinned with a rose. Jon says not to answer the door because that old hag is a STRANGER! But Tom says she's just a defenseless old lady and opens the door. The windbag seems to know them both and introduces herself as Aunt Dahlia. She says they probably don't remember her because they were little when she last deigned to make a visit. She barges in and makes them cookies with giant prunes in the center. "Don't skip the prunes. That's the best part." LIAR! Dahlia sticks around for weeks which gives Tom's parents permission to work even more than usual since they now have a crazy lady who babysits for free and makes sure their sons are getting their nutrition by shoving prunes down their throats every day. One morning, Tom and Jon wake up feeling stiff and elderly. They're also balding and going deaf. Prunes really are the devil. Tom wants to go to the doctor to flush the old out of his system, but Aunt Dahlia says he isn't going anywhere. Her crusty friends have arrived for a rousing game of bridge and they're going to teach Tom and Jon how to play. The old crones flirt with the youngish oldish boys and when Dahlia asks if one of them will run out for some milk, Tom quickly volunteers. The cashier at the corner store offers Tom a senior's discount on antacids, but he refuses. He catches his reflection and sees that he's extremely wrinkled now. "I was turning into an old man!" It's the demonic PRUNES! Jon is also changing rapidly. "His face was wrinkled up--like a prune." NOOOOOO! Jon and Tom decide to search Dahlia's room for proof that she made them old. They overhear one of the old ladies say that she wants to marry Tom. "Aunt Dahlia was turning us into old men--so these old ladies could marry us!" EW. They still have the minds of kids, no matter how wrinkled and decrepit they become! The boys hear Dahlia say the old ladies can have them after they pay her fee. "Aunt Dahlia is selling us to those old ladies! She turned us into old men so they could marry us and move to Florida!" Where old boys go to die. The two find some anti-wrinkle cream; Aunt Dahlia enters the room and attempts to take it, but they smear it on and instantly become young again. After a heated chase, the boys end up splashing prune juice on Dahlia which causes her to disintegrate. Later, Tom's stupid parents figure out that Dahlia was in no way related to this family. *sigh*

At school on Monday, Tom notices that his crush Becca has a prune loaded lunch, courtesy of her old auntie Susan: prune juice, prune cookies, and prune on rye. Tom hands her a ham sandwich and tells her to run for her life.

Trick or treat? This story is a mixture of dirty tricks, mothballs, and PRUNES PRUNES PRUNES! The only thing missing? Any mention of Halloween.

5. The Scarecrow

Darleen, Scott, and Melanie are on their way to school, but have gotten sidetracked by the scarecrow in the hundred dollar scarf on the lawn of the old Swofford place. They think it's strange because no-one lives in the delapidated house. Also, the damn thing has an expensive cashmere scarf tied around its neck. Seriously. It's also wearing a red baseball cap and blue leather gloves. Coincidentally (by 'coincidentally' I mean 'not coincidental in any way') the scarf is just like one that Melanie has been coveting, the hat is like the one Scott has been looking for, and the gloves are the ones that Darleen has been admiring for a while. But the kids think nothing of this and run off to school where they're late and assigned detention. That afternoon, Darleen and Scott realize that Melanie didn't show up for detention. When they pass the scarecrow on their way home, they see that the straw man's designer scarf is missing. A moment later, Melanie jogs up wearing it, not remorseful at all that she stole it. She tells Scott and Darleen to take what they want. After all, anyone stupid enough to put nice things on a scarecrow deserves to get robbed! Neither Scott nor Darleen takes anything. Darleen does, however, get up in the middle of the night to stand in front of the scarecrow and admire the gloves. But her mom yells at her to get inside.

The next day, Melanie calls Darleen and says she has a horrible sore throat and asks Darleen to get her homework for her. Darleen agrees and leaves the house. She sees Scott wearing the red hat and he tells her to take the gloves, but she says she'll wait until after school. At the end of the day, Scott has become very rattled in the brain, confused and forgetful (has he been eating prunes?). Darleen drags him home, drops off Melanie's assignments, and doesn't steal the gloves because the scarecrow is too scary. Booga booga!

The next day, Scott is worse and Darleen decides to steal the gloves because she hasn't been paying attention to the irony of her friends' situations. She takes the gloves, the scarecrow grabs her and she passes out. When she wakes up, Melanie and Scott are standing over her. Everything was just their idea of a Halloween joke. (How the hell did they get the money for leather gloves and a cashmere scarf?!) Except the scarecrow is smiling now...and he wasn't before...and this ending sucks.

Trick or treat? A straw-coated trick.

*We have now reached the mid point and so far, these stories have tragically misfired again and again. Let's have a toast with our smelly cups of Pumpkin Juice in the hopes that the next five stories are a little better.*

6. Awesome Ants

Dave is at home with his friend Ben. They're doing homework when the doorbell rings. It's a deliveryman with Dave's giant ant farm from Awesome Ants Inc. The glass case is bigger than a pool table and Dave is concerned that he won't be able to observe the ants for his science project. Because ants are the most fascinating creatures in the world. Except not. You'd be better off watching the grass grow, Dave. The farm came with a box of blue gel capsules with instructions to ONLY feed the ants the capsules and nothing else. For some kids, this wouldn't be a problem, but Dave is a character in a shoddy Goosebumps book so you know he's going to do something stupid and instantly regrettable. The following day, sure enough, Ben and Dave begin feeding the ants people food such as cookies. A few days later, Dave realizes that the ants have shifted into overdrive. They're bigger and constantly moving. He feeds them some of his Halloween candy...and that is the only mention of Halloween in the entire story. Dave gathers a few ants in a cup to take to school to show his science teacher. The day after THAT, Dave arrives at school to find nothing in the classroom except a few giant ants. Yes, the ants have mutated and are now larger than the average human. Dave flees the school, runs home, and finds his yard infested with giant ants. One of them picks him up and places him in the center of a circle of ants. They force feed him a blue pill which puts him to sleep. When he wakes, he realizes he's been shrunk and placed inside the ant farm. His teacher Mr. Lantz and kids from his science class are also in there. Mr. Lantz says they better get busy building rooms and such. He tells Dave that this will be a great learning experience and Dave agrees that it will be "Awesome."

Trick or treat? Are you kidding me?

7. Please Don't Feed The Bears

Sarah is pissed because her family is taking a trip over the Halloween weekend to Cuddle Bear Land instead of Monster Mansion. Monsters are too scary for her little sister Katie, but Cuddle Bears are just right. When they arrive at the park, Sarah cheers up a little because her parents allow her to go on the Roarin' Roller Coaster by herself. She rides five times and on the fifth time, she gets the privilege of sitting next to a Cuddle Bear on his lunch break. After riding, Sarah goes off down Honey Comb Lane to meet up with her parents and sister. But she gets sidetracked by the pathetic, horrible wails of terrified children! Never mind--it turns out to be some kids on the roller coaster having FUN. Sarah feels like an idiot and keeps walking. She seems to be lost and ducks into 'The Cave: Caution. Employees Only' to ask for directions to the Hibernation Rest Center where her parents are hanging out and growing ever more furry-ous (see what I did there?! I can be a Cuddle Bear, too!) A Cuddle Bear named Kira says she'll help Sarah, but first Sarah will have to eat a bag of Honey Crackers (also known as graham crackers) so she does...and instantly begins sprouting hair on her elbows. She screams and flees the Cave. She didn't eat enough Honey Crackers to become a full on Cuddle Bear so she simply covers her hairy elbows and keeps walking. She finds her parents and sister and they all go home. Sarah's little sis finds a bag of Honey Crackers in Sarah's backpack (bad Kira!) and eats them all. Sarah realizes she'll have own Cuddle Bear soon.

Trick or treat? A honey flavored treat. Who doesn't love cuddly bears with an evil streak?

8. The Goblin's Glare

Mike is a great artist who has made the most realistic, repulsive goblin ever! If you consider construction paper to be realistic. Mike plans to hang the goblin by the front door to terrify trick or treaters. Me thinks he is overestimating the power of construction paper. He keeps saying it will give people nightmares, but he's the one who ends up having a nightmare. The goblin comes to life and tries to steal his soul or something. The goblins motives are unclear. Mike has the same nightmare the following day in class. Everyone laughs at him for freaking out. On Halloween night, Mike makes some changes to make the goblin seem less insane. It obviously doesn't work. As Mike and his friend Karen are trick-or-treating, Mike gets a very bad feeling and runs home to find the goblin standing in the front hall. We know it's waiting for him because it says it's been waiting for him. Magical prose. Mike runs upstairs, away from the goblin's gurgling laughter and brittle yellow fingernails, only to find HIMSELF asleep in bed which means this yet another dream. The GOBLIN'S dream and Mike is about to be eaten...

Trick or treat? What the HELL was this? It makes no sense! Trick!

9. Bats About Bats

This is becoming unbearable (another bear joke? Hell no.) ... Suzanne and Liz are walking to Suzanne's house for a sleepover. It's dark out and a bat swoops out of nowhere and dive bombs the girls. They make a run for Suzanne's house, but the bat stops swooping and the girls see a very pale blond girl standing there watching the bat flutter away. She introduces herself as Dorrie Morrow and says her family just moved into the neighborhood. Her parents are "bat scientists" which is why she's so interested in bats. The girls become friends and begin spending a lot of time together. One afternoon, Liza and Suzanne go to Dorrie's house. For some reason, they're shocked at the amount of bat paraphenalia in Dorrie's room. On the way home, Liz and Suzanne discuss how gross bats are and how much they hate them. This leads to the two hatching a plan to scare Dorrie at their next sleepover. The plan: Liz's brother Mike (the goblin artist?) will dress up as a vampire to spook Dorrie. Wow. Great idea. Or something. They have the sleepover and Mike scares Dorrie. Dorrie cries wee wee wee all the way home. But she forgives them the next day.

Halloween comes and the three go trick-or-treating together. Liz is dressed as a clown, Suzanne as a gypsy, and Dorrie as a praying mantis. Kidding--she's a damned bat. At the end of the night, they go back to Dorrie's house to sort through their candy. A bat flies in through the open window and attacks Suzanne's head. Dorrie grabs the bat and cuddles with it while berating Suzanne for scaring it. Then she tells the girls there's something in the basement that she wants to show them. It's her parents. When she said they were bat scientists, she meant it--they're giant bats in lab coats.

Trick or treat? Zzzzzzzzz

10. The Space Suit Snatcher

Laura is a psychopath who believes she can transmit messages into space with her homemade "superpower transmitter". She's at a yard sale with her sister Tammy who is pissed because Laura is wasting time looking at a bunch of junk that she believes will make her superpower transmitter even more super. *sigh* The man who's selling the crap also believes in aliens and takes Laura to his garage to see his old radios and canvas space suit. He gives the suit to laura and tells her aliens gave it to him when he was younger. The aliens told him if he ever wanted to see them again, he should just put the suit on and they would come. I think he made the suit of his old straitjacket.

That evening, Laura sends out her nightly radio broadcast for people of the stars, signing off by saying "Peace to all" in different languages. Suddenly she's interrupted by an alien. He tells her she will be kidnapped and taken far away to Ebulon. Laura freaks out, but her dad just yells at her to go back to bed. Is he not at all worried about her? Not because of the aliens, but because his daughter genuinely believes she's going to be taken away from her home to another planet. Again, another case of extremely crappy parenting. That's the most horrifying thing about this book.

The next day, all Laura can think about is the impending alien invasion and whether or not she should wear her spacesuit on Halloween. That night, Laura spies an ugly green alien scratching at her window. She screams for her parents and the alien disappears. Laura accidentally broke her radio when she jumped back in fear from the window and her dad says he's really sorry about it. Then he says the alien was just a dream. Or possibly the weirdo from the yard sale, sending transmissions through Laura's window. Right.

The next night is Halloween and Laura is too freaked out by the space suit to wear it so she goes as a praying mantis. Kidding--she's a damned radio. She goes out and is almost immediately accosted by a nutty alien in a space suit identical to her own.Laura runs, falls down, and looks up to see the alien revealing itself as Tammy who is laughing her ass off. She says everything (including the alien on the radio and the one at the window) was just a joke played by her and her friends. In the next moment, Tammy is gone and the purple blob who replaced her tells Laura that Tammy put on the suit therefore she volunteered. For WHAT? Before vanishing, the alien thanks Laura for the radio broadcasts and requests rock music for the next one.

Trick or treat? An intergalactic trick even though I found myself laughing through most of it. It's completely ridiculous!

Well, it's over. And I can state with certainty that this is the WORST Goosebumps book I have ever read. Someone actually got PAID for this.

~~~HAPPY HALLOWEEN to the beasts, snakes, young children, old children, scarecrows, ants, bears, goblins, bats, and space cases of the world!~~~

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Perfect Date

Book Description:

Brady Karlin is getting on with his life. The memory of his girlfriend--killed in a gruesome sledding accident last year--is beginning to fade. Now he's met Rosha Nelson, the girl of his dreams. And he's never been happier. Until Brady starts to see a strange figure--with a terribly scarred face--following him everywhere. Until the horrible accidents start happening--every time Rosha's around. Has dating Rosha made Brady's dreams come true? Or brought his worst nightmares back to life?

My Description:

A few quick notes first...

1) I was going to do Phone Calls but it was so unbearably boring and stupid that I put it down and picked up The Perfect Date instead. But don't worry. Phone Calls will be here eventually to plague your feeble mind with its horrible powers.

2) The description of this book is ridiculous. It's only been a year and this dude is already forgetting his poor doomed girlfriend? "And he's never been happier." A-S-S.

3) This cover is absolutely hilarious. The longer I look at it, the more amused I become.

4) It's sad that this is how I get my jollies.

On with the show!


Brady (one of the few males in Shadyside who gets to be the star of his own book! Too bad that means absolutely nothing.) is hanging out at Miller Hill, the steepest sledding hill in Shadyside Park. He's with his darling girlfriend Sharon who is NOT BLOND. Yes, you heard correct! Sharon is a brunette who is freezing her ass off because Brady wants to sleeeeeed. Brady insists that they sled down the steepest point and even though it makes Sharon nervous and she doesn't want to, she goes anyway. They hop on their sleds and start sliding down the hill. As Brady giggles like a crazed hyena, Sharon's sled starts slipping out of control. She screams as the sled veers through pine trees and a patch of thorns. Then...silence. Brady spots her lying face down and motionless at the bottom of the hill and laughs as he says "Okay, Shar, you were right. From now on, we'll sled on the kiddie-" He shuts his mouth when he realizes she isn't breathing. He turns her over and gets a gruesome surprise: "Sharon's face! Her cute, button-nosed face! Nothing was left of it. No eyes, no lips. No face! Nothing. The thorns and metal sled runners had sliced it to red mush. Nothing remained but a pulpy mass of skin and crushed bone. A bright red puddle of blood on the crisp white snow." Um. Ouch. Maybe just put a band-aid on it...

The Following Winter

Brady and his friend Jon are eating pizza (because there's nothing else to eat in Shadyside) and talking about some girl named Lisa. Jon has a crush on her, but she's more into Brady and judging by the big douchebag grin on his face, Brady enjoys rubbing this fact in Jon's face. But Brady already has a girlfriend...who happens to have the dumbest name ever: Allie Stoner. Seriously. Anyway, Brady isn't all that into Allie because she takes their shoddy relationship more seriously than he does. But she's really cute so he'll continue to lead her on. Damn you, Brady. A moment later, Brady spots a gorgeous pouty BLOND enter the restaurant and oh baby, he's just gotta have her! Is that her on the cover? I've seen better. The same goes for you, Brady, you egomaniacal ass. He checks himself out before going over to the girl. "He knew he was good-looking." And I know he's NOT. The cover proves this. He's a rinky dink asshole! *sigh* Ignoring Brady's raging ego...

He walks over to the girl and she introduces herself as Rosha Nelson and asks if he wants to sit down. It's pretty obvious he does and he can't believe how smoothly this is going. I guess Allie is now dead to him. Brady mentions that he's never seen her around Shadyside High and she says she goes to a private school across town called St. Ann's. Then he asks her about her unique name. Nothing too interesting: her mom got it from some trashy romance novel. He tells her how special she is (even though he just met her and know NOTHING about her) and asks her out for Saturday. He doesn't need to know her any better. He can tell she's a sophisticated lady. After all, she wears red lipstick, drinks coffee, and has a husky smoker's voice. She's a real live 17 year old WOMAN. They agree to meet at the mall. Because that's the sophisticated thing to do. Before they part ways, Rosha accidentally spills steaming hot coffee all over Brady's tender hand. "His hand. His hand was on fire!" Rosha cuts my cackling short by touching his hand and making the boo-boo all better. Then she leaves and Brady goes back to sit with Jon. He drools about how perfect Rosha is and he's sure he's in love and blah blah blah. Jon is only concerned about the hot coffee burn: "That girl almost charbroiled your hand!" Brady claims he felt nothing. That's how third degree burns are supposed to feel! P.S. I hate you, Brady.

The next day, he attempts to avoid Allie, but she catches up to him. She asks about his puffy hand and then wants to know if he'd like to go to Pete's after school for the daily fix. He says he has homework to do. So Allie asks about the basketball game the next night (which happens to be Saturday) and what time he'll be picking her up. He says he has to babysit his sick cousin and can't go to the game. FAIL. He runs off because he can't stand to see the disappointment on her face. He DOES promise he'll come over on Sunday with Jon to study...if he isn't punch drunk from staring at Rosha's lady lumps. As he's leaving school, he briefly thinks about Sharon. But by the time he's outside, he's forgotten about Sharon AND Allie and can only think of Rosha. Such a creep.

It's now Saturday evening and Brady is hanging out beside the fountain at the mall. He's freaking out wondering if Rosha will actually show up. She does and they go see the new Brad Pitt film. Which happens to be a horror movie. Ok then. After the movie, they leave the theater and Brady spots a disfigured girl standing in the shadows. He sees that her face is horribly scarred: "Scars crisscrossed the girl's forehead like railroad tracks. Twisted, ropelike scars almost fused her eyelids shut. Her cheeks and chin wrinkled like shriveled apples." Brady immediately forgets about her. Typical.

In the parking lot, Rosha begs to drive Brady's father's shitty Oldsmobile. I don't get her enthusiasm. Brady eventually relents and comes to regret it because she drives like a drunken Mr. Magoo. She ends up losing control and crashing into a parked car. Brady's head cracks the windshield; he blacks out and wakes up a bit later, bloody but mostly ok. Somehow. Rosha is completely spazzing out. She says the cops will be here any minute and Brady has to switch places with her and say he was driving because she has no license and could get into trouble. I know Shadyside cops suck, but does she really think they won't notice Brady's bloody, concussed head and the cracked windshield on the PASSENGER side? When the cops show up, they simply think Brady hit one of the many patches of ice on the road. They never even ask him any questions. I guess Rosha pegged them correctly--they're stupid. She bailed before they got there. What a sweetheart.

Brady gets nothing but a slap on the wrist for the accident. The car wasn't too damaged so Brady's dad didn't kill him or anything. That Olds is a precious artifact. On Sunday, Brady and Jon go to Allie's house to study. She asks questions about the night before, Brady feeds her a stream of lies, and Jon tries to change the subject. He puts on some music and dances around the room with Allie while Brady mopes on the couch wishing he were with Rosha. When Allie and Jon go to the kitchen for chips and Cokes, Brady tries to look up Rosha's phone number, but he doesn't know where she lives and there are tons of Nelsons listed. He can't sit still for another minute so he says his head is killing him (he has a huge lump on his head from the night before) and abandons Jon and Allie to look for Rosha. You are truly a fool among men, Brady.

Brady goes home and finds a cop waiting for him. He shows Brady something the cops found under the seat of his dad's car: Rosha's purse. Brady simply says his girlfriend lost that and boy howdy, will she be happy to see it! *sigh* Calm down, Jethro. The useless cop leaves and Brady takes the purse upstairs to sniff its contents. He's shocked to find it empty. He expected at least some ID or a penny or a loose cough drop. Nada. He thinks it's weird, but since his attention span is that of a very stupid goldfish, he almost immediately forgets about it and starts thinking about his unsinkable desire for Rosha. The phone rings a moment later and he's disappointed to hear Allie's voice. She's calling to check on him and to ask if they're still going to Mei Kamata's party on Saturday. (Remember Mei from What Holly Heard? Her parties suck.) He gives her a vague complaint about his head to get her off the line quicker without giving her a straight answer and it works. Brady then opens a phone book and starts calling every Nelson listed in the phone book. In between calls, the phone rings. It's a strange girl who tells him to stay away from Rosha. He's going to need more convincing than that...

After school the next day, Brady tries to get out of the building without speaking to Allie, but she catches up to him anyway. HA. She asks him if he wants to come over to her house for junk food and studying. He says he has to go home and look through the want ads for a job. He also says his mom has a bunch of chores for him to do. Since when did stalking become a chore? Once Allie is gone, Brady gets all excited because he remembers that Rosha goes to St. Ann's which is only about 10 minutes away and St. Ann's conveniently lets out 10 minutes after Shadyside High so maybe he can just catch Rosha. He runs across the parking lot to Jon and "asks" him for some help: "We're going to St. Ann's to look for Rosha. I'll stake out the front and you park in the back. That way one of us will see her for sure." Jon says he has to be at work in 20 minutes, but Brady says that's plenty of time. Jon tells Brady that he needs to get a grip and quit obsessing over Rosha. This pisses Brady off and he leaves alone.

Brady arrives at St. Ann's and watches all the students pouring out of the school, but Rosha isn't among them. This is completely unacceptable (how dare she not be where he can see her at all times?!) so Brady heads inside to harrass the secretary about Rosha. He says he needs her number and it's an emergency. The lady says they can't give out information on students. Especially not to obsessive teenage boys with stalkerish tendencies. Brady finally gets it through his thick head that this woman isn't going to help him and off he skips to accost some random guy out on the sidewalk. He figures this virile male specimen will SURELY have noticed hot Rosha, but the guy has never heard of her so Brady shoves him to the ground. The boy jumps on a bus before Brady can attack. He's convinced the guy was lying about not knowing Rosha.

Brady finds himself walking alongside the football field when he spots a girl who, from the back, looks just like Rosha. He runs over to her and when she turns, he sees nothing but massive scarring. It's the girl he saw outside the theater a few nights ago and Brady just can't stand the sight of her so he turns and runs. And lo and behold, he crashes right into Rosha. He tells her about the scarred girl and how he was looking for Rosha. She gets mad at Brady for sniffing around her school and stomps off like a prissy little girl. Since Brady has been completely emasculated by Rosha's sophistication (some might call it 'bitchery') he runs after her, pleading for forgiveness and telling her how crazy he is about her. Oh, he's crazy alright. Rosha forgives him and they hop in Brady's car. He hands her the purse the cop gave him and she claims it's empty because she was excited to meet him, she grabbed the wrong bag. Brady eats it up like a fat kid gobbling cherry pie. They make out and Rosha says she wants to go dancing on Saturday. Brady is in a state of intense ecstasy right now and would agree to anything so they make a date. He briefly thinks about Mei's party and the fact that he was going to take Allie. But that doesn't matter now. Alienating everyone in his life to spend more time with Rosha is SO worth it. Stupid boy.

When Brady gets home, he decides he has to break up with Allie. Before he can call her, the strange girl who warned him about Rosha before, calls again. "Stay away from Rosha. This is no joke. Stay away from her." Brady screams "Forget it! Just leave me alone!" Doesn't he even want to know WHY he should stay away? Of course not. Because Mr. Johnson is doing all the thinking for him.

The next afternoon, as the two are weight lifting in the weight room at Shadyside High, Brady tells Jon that he wanted to break up with Allie, but he couldn't. He lied (didn't see that one coming!) to her about Saturday night: "I told her I'm grounded because I haven't found a job to pay for the car yet." Is he even aware of how much he SUCKS? Brady goes on to tell Jon about the scarred girl and the phone calls and he knows it's the same girl. A moment later, he stares out the window, sees the scarred girl, and drops the weights he's holding. He feels like he's dying until Jon hauls the weights off his chest. Brady starts screaming about the scarred girl and Jon says the reason Brady is so freaked out is because the scarred girl reminds him of Sharon. Brady agrees and has a mini flashback to the accident. He decides he has to talk to Rosha and figure out what connection she has to the scarred girl. He goes to a pay phone outside the locker room and dials the number Rosha gave him the day before. He only gets a recorded message: "You have dialed a nonworking number." This message combined with the fact that Rosha told him she lives on Fear Street should be huge red flags that something in the milk ain't right. But Brady isn't getting it and he leaves for Fear Street without saying anything to Jon.

Once Brady reaches Fear Street, he quickly realizes that the address Rosha gave him doesn't even exist. BURN. The next afternoon, Brady is completely losing his mind because he can't find Rosha. I think he has officially descended into madness. Over a girl he doesn't even know. I'd call him a moron, but at this point it's just too pathetic. I really feel sorry for him...even though I hate him. Brady thinks about Rosha, then Allie, then Rosha's kisses. The doorbell rings and there stands Rosha. Brady summoned her with his pitiful moping and incessant, obsessive thoughts about her! He wishes. She comes in and Brady tells her he tried to find her house, but the address was wrong. She claims she wrote it correctly, but the ink must have smudged or something. Liar. Brady brings up the nonworking phone number and Rosha says she has no clue what's up with that. Liar. Then Brady starts freaking out because Allie's car just pulled up outside. He practically shoves Rosha out of the kitchen, but she trips on a throw rug and "accidentally" stabs him in the side with a letter opener she was holding. Uh, anyone think she's trying to kill him? The burning, the car accident, the stabbing?

Rosha pretends to be so concerned but she yanks the opener out of his side like it was only stuck in butter, not in someone's FLESH. Brady collapses, bleeding all over the place. At that moment, Allie comes running in and starts freaking out. "You stabbed him! You stabbed him!" Rosha says it was an accident and tells Allie to help her get Brady to the hospital. He wakes up in the hospital later with his parents at his side. They tell him they're going down to the cafeteria and the moment they leave, the scarred girl comes in. She tells him that she warned him of Rosha, but he wouldn't listen therefore he got shanked with his own letter opener. The girl asks if Brady is ready to hear the truth about Rosha and he says yes. Unfortunately, a hateful doctor masquerading as Nurse Ratchet comes in and yanks the girl out of the room before she can say anything.

On Saturday, Brady goes home. Naturally, he can only think of holding Rosha and telling her it wasn't her fault that she rammed a sharp object into his gut and then pulled it out like she was carving a Thanksgiving turkey. Allies shows up instead and Brady can barely conceal his disappointment. Allie doesn't waste time in letting Brady know that Rosha told him all about their sneaky "relationship" and they break up. Well, that was uneventful.

After Allie leaves, Brady's mom leves for the store and his dad is at work so you know something HORRIBLE! is about to happen. He goes to his room and gets a phone call from Jon. He tells Brady he's got some interesting news about Rosha and he mentions the girl with the scarred face, but then he's cut off. Brady calls back, but no-one answers so he decides to go to Jon's house to see what the hell is going on.

Cops are at Jon's house. They don't want Brady going inside, but he dashes in anyway. Jon is lying in the living room. He got his windpipe crushed by a marble candlestick. Real classy. An officer takes Brady into another room to ask him some questions. Brady is in shock but manages to tell them about Jon's last phone call and Rosha and the scarred girl. He goes home and listens to a message from Rosha on his machine. She wants him to meet her in the park for SLEDDING. And he goes!

It's snowing and the car is swerving all over the place, but Brady makes it to the park in tact. He finds Rosha...on Miller Hill. She says it looks the way it did on their sledding afternoon. Brady is confused, but Rosha is quick to explain: "Don't tell me you've forgotten, Brady. I haven't forgotten. After all, that was the day you killed me." Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Rosha says Brady is an idiot for never realizing that she is Sharon. Rosha Nelson is an anagram for Sharon Noles. Rosha says she came back from the dead and took a different body to take revenge on Brady because he was the one who practically forced her to go sledding. As much as I hate to defend Brady, he didn't force Sharon to do anything. He kept badgering her, but she easily could've told him to fuck off and walked away. Rosha starts choking Brady and she almost finishes him off, but someone intervenes. "That's enough, Sharon! You're finished now!" It's the scarred girl who says she wants her body back. She goes to say that Sharon killed her, stole her beautiful body, and...this really makes no sense whatsoever. Apparently they traded spirits. Basically. I think. Or something. ANYWAY, the two undead girls battle and it actually becomes resonably awesome. They literally rip each other apart, tearing off limbs and snapping one another's head off. Once they behead each other, they go rolling down Miller Hill and disappear in the snow.


Brady is walking to Allie's house. He finds her shovelling snow and tells her he wants to apologize again for what happened between them. He begs Allie for another chance and tells her he has a question for her before she answers. First he explains that Rosha killed him on Miller Hill which is why he looks like death. "I'm dead." Thanks, Brady. Allie assumes he's joking, but she can't deny that he's as cold as the grave. "So cold. So cold. Because I'm dead." Yeah, we get it, Brady. He wants Allie to take him back even though he's a dead man. The book ends with Allie screaming.

Conclusion? Wow. I really want to like this one. I DO like this one! But there are so many questions that went unanswered. Who was the scarred girl? How did Sharon have the power to rise from the dead and trade spirits with some unsuspecting girl? Why did they both vanish into thin air after dismembering one another? How was Brady still walking and talking at the end? I also don't understand why Brady was such an unlikable jerk. Shouldn't we have at least some sympathy for the main character?! Well, we can't when he's an arrogant, cheating asshole. Oh well. When the girls ripped their heads off, that kind of made up for Brady's low points. I'm a sucker for decapitation.

Next time: On Halloween, I'm posting Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps. I know it isn't Fear Street, but the stories are all Halloween related, short, and totally ridiculous so that should be entertaining. The next Fear Street book, though, will be Runaway. (If she doesn't control her super cranial powers, people are gonna start dropping like flies!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Overnight

Book Description:

"Nothing bad will happen," Della O'Connor assures her friends in the Outdoors Club. So what if their advisor can't go on the overnight to Fear Island - won't it be more fun with no adults around? But it's no fun at all when Della gets lost in the woods, and the dangerous stranger appears, whispering threats, driving her to a violent act. Suddenly all of her friends are involved, prisoners in a conspiracy of silence, trying to conceal the terrible truth. But someone saw what Della did. And he's threatening them all, forcing them back to Fear Island to find the evidence they forgot to bury...

My Description:

We begin with Della digging through her locker. She's disgusted because someone scratched 'Della and Gary' inside a heart on the the inside of the door. (WHO did?) She doesn't wanna think about Gary since she dumped him a few weeks ago. I pray this is Gary Brandt we're talking about. I'd like to know if he's MORE than just a disgusting slut. (Doubtful) Anyway, Della starts thinking about the upcoming Outdoors Club overnight and how Gary will be there. Unfortunately, Suki Thomas will also be there and she only joined the club to be near Gary because she's a skank. Dude, it has to be Gary Brandt! Suki and Gary are always mentioned together because they're partners in whoredom! (Why does this excite me so much? I hate myself right now.) We get a quick description about how beautiful Della is. Naturally, she's blonde and blue eyed because Stine apparently thinks any other hair color is the devil's work. Della shuts her locker and finds her ugly friend Maia Franklin (she's described as a brunette Orphan Annie with short frizzy curls and giant glasses. WHY?!) who probably only exists to make Della look better. They talk about the overnight and Maia's strict parents which leads Maia to make a quick reference to sex: "I guess [my parents] think if I spend the night camping out on an island where there are boys, I'm going to behave like a rabbit in heat." Thank you for that disgusting visual. Della's response: "And what's wrong with that?" What the hell is going on here?! I thought Shadyside teens were sexless androids! My entire belief system is shaken to the core. If someone says there actually ISN'T a pet cemetery on every corner, my head will explode.

The girls walk to Mr. Abner's classroom for a meeting of the Outdoors Club. Suki and Gary are talking and we have to get a description of Suki's looks because "very punky looking" girls shouldn't be in the outdoors, apparently. She didn't join for the nature. She joined for the Gary. ZING! The girls take their seats and soon after, Ricky Schorr comes bouncing in. I can't remember what other book this guy is in, but I do remember that he is incredibly annoying, thinks he's hilarious, and never shuts the hell up. He drops some leaves on Gary's desk and challenges him to identify them since Gary is the club president. Since this is Ricky we're talking about, the leaves are poison ivy. Gary didn't know which means Gary ain't no outdoorsman. He wrestles Ricky to the floor just as Mr. Abner walks in. He tells them to knock it off, informs Gary the leaves are grape ivy (Gary is a dumbass), and tells everyone he can't take them on the overnight Saturday because of a personal emergency. Everyone is really disappointed and Mr. Abner leaves after telling them they'll go sometime soon. Suki, because she's bad and rebellious, suggests they go alone. I really can't believe they're all so shocked at the idea. They're teenagers, not 6 year olds! Maia keeps screaming that her parents will kill her. THEN DON'T GO, GENIUS. Everyone agrees to go and Della persuades Maia. "Trust me, Maia. Nothing bad will happen." And we all know how that turns out...

It's now Saturday and Della is finishing her packing with Mom's help. Mom wants to know why the overnight has to be on Fear Island since it's so spooooky and Della says that's the point. I'm sure you want to know more about Fear Island. you go: "Fear Island was a small uninhabited island, covered with pine trees, in the center of the lake behind the Fear Street Woods. Even though it was the perfect spot for picnics and camping and only a few minutes' boat ride across the lake, few people ventured there because of the dreadful stories about it." Had enough? No you haven't: "Some said that strange animal mutations, hideous dangerous creatures that didn't exist anywhere else, roamed the woods. Others said the island was infected with poisonous snakes. And there were stories that the island had been used long ago as an Indian burial ground and that ghosts walked the woods at night, seeking revenge for their fates." Have fun, kids!

A guy named Pete from the club arrives in his Subaru to take Della to the lake. He has a crush on her, but she's still mooning over Gary...even though SHE broke up with HIM. They arrive and see that everyone else is already there. Della can't get over how good Gary looks, but the sight of Suki curling around him like a feral cat really kills her buzz. They get into a couple of canoes and start paddling toward the island. Once there, Suki starts whining about a broken nail and Ricky won't stop making stupid jokes and I think it would be better is everyone just drowned them both now and saved themselves a lot of pain later. They set up two tents, one for boys, one for girls. At one point, Della realizes Gary is alone for once without Suki hanging all over him. At least Della THOUGHT he was alone. She walks along a short trail and finds Suki and Gary slurping each other up like they're cherry Slushies.

Later, Ricky takes out what we today call "paintball guns". In the faraway land of 1989, however, they're referred to as "pistols" for a "ZAP war". Actually, I can't even call them paintballs because the paint isn't in ball form. They're just squirting streams of paint at each other. The teams are boys vs. girls (of course) and Della hates having to associate with Suki. The girls decide to split up. Maia heads off first, leaving Della alone with Suki for a moment. Suki uses the opportunity to bring up Gary: "Gary's really nice. You broke up with him, right?" Della immediately runs off into the woods without answering. HA! After managing to hit Ricky with a blob of yellow paint, Della runs deeper into the woods and realizes she's lost. Dark clouds are rolling in and Della is starting to get really freaked out. The fact that she hears footsteps nearby isn't helping any. She thinks it's just one of the others sneaking up on her, but it turns out to be some creepy stranger. He's dressed nicely and is really hot so Della isn't as scared as she should be. Handsome strangers with nice coats aren't dangerous! Only dirty derelicts with ripped jeans are. *sigh* You poor stupid girl. Della explains what she's doing out in the woods, but the guy is really vague when Della asks him what he's doing out here. Eventually he says he's a college student from Boston doing a project on trees and that's how he came to be in the woods of Shadyside in the middle of the semester. "Lots of trees to study on the island. I'm doing my paper on tree reproduction." You're joking, right? Because that has got to be the lamest excuse in the history of EVER. He's acting really shifty, blatantly lying, and won't even tell Della his name yet she continues to chat and joke like he's her BFF. When Della FINALLY becomes suspicious, it's too late. The guy grabs her hair and yanks her toward him. She starts to scream, but the guy tells her it's useless because no-one will hear her. He starts babbling about communication and how the old man wouldn't listen to him and it's about time he got something he wanted. The boy ain't right. Della somehow manages to shoot him in the forehead with her paint gun. She runs, he catches her, they struggle, and she ends up shoving him down a ravine. Della makes her way down even though it's obvious he's D-E-A-D. She decides she won't let a random creep's death ruin her life so she just won't tell anyone. That's nice. She starts grabbing handfuls of leaves and piling them over his corpse...until she looks up and sees Ricky and Maia staring down at her. Uhhh-ohhh.

Della starts climbing out of the ravine screaming "He attacked me!" and starts rambling that his fall was an accident blah blah blah. He's still dead and it's still your fault. Pete, Gary, and Suki wander over to gawk at the dead man. Ricky asks plenty of stupid questions, Gary wants to know whether the guy is really dead, and Maia is crying that her parents are going to kill her. Because this is all about her and the fact that she might get grounded for 2.5 seconds. Let's all ignore the dead man! I'm beginning to hate them all. How surprising. Instead of getting the hell off the island and going to the police, they decide the best thing to do is to cover him with leaves and forget all about him. Then they go back to camp and choose to spend the night because their parents might get suspicious if they went home early. They cook hot dogs around the fire and Ricky tells plenty of stupid jokes that no-one listens to. Gary says that before they go to sleep, they all need to take an oath of secrecy. As if anyone will be able to keep this a secret. He's dumber than I thought. They all agree and head for their tents.

A few hours later, Della wakes up and thinks she hears someone outside the tent so she wakes Suki and Maia. Not once does any of them think it might be one of the guys out for a midnight pee. When Della creeps outside, she doesn't see anyone but notices the backpacks have been knocked over and assumes it was a raccoon or muscular chipmunk that she heard.

The next morning, everyone finds the canoes missing along with Ricky's backpack. Ricky whines like a little bitch and everyone else wonders what they're going to do. Can none of them swim? Why am I still asking questions? Maia is STILL worried about her parents finding out she's here UNSUPERVISED! THE HORROR! Shut up, Maia. A moment later, Ricky the Royal Jackass announces that HE moved the canoes yesterday as a joke. Everyone hates him even more than before, but they're relieved to be getting off the island and away from their dirty little secret.

Once Della gets home, she struggles not to tell her mom what happened because Mom would probably have a heart attack if she knew her perfect spawn just killed a man. Della sleeps all day and wakes at 4 PM. She makes herself a sandwich, eats it with a Coke, and does some Government homework without thinking about her victim very much at all. At dinner, she realizes she no longer has an urge to tell her mom anything and talks about the paint war instead. A little later, Maia calls. She's totally paranoid, convinced her parents suspect something, and begs Della to come over. Della searches for her wallet before leaving (will she have to show ID before Maia's parents let her in?) but can't find it.

At Maia's house, Maia answers the door and drags Della to her pink frilly room where she breaks down and sobs. Della tells her she needs to get some sleep and forget about the man in the ravine because he was crazy, not some innocent boy. Eventually Maia calms down and Della leaves in a fairly good mood. That doesn't last long, though, because someone left a little surprise for Della at home. She finds an envelope on the porch and opens it. Out falls a tiny silver skull (the dead guy was wearing a necklace with one on it) and a note that reads "I SAW WHAT YOU DID." Of course you did.

On Tuesday night, the Outdoors Club gang (except Pete who is late) meets at Della's house to discuss the note. Della assumed it was one of Ricky's jokes, but even Ricky has higher standards than that. Gary also received a skull, but no note. How very sinister. Gary mentions he lost his wallet and Della says she did too and that must be how the sneaky skull gremlin got their addresses. After discussing that, they hear someone knocking on the door. But when Della answers, there's no-one there. NOOO! She runs to make sure the other doors are locked and a moment later, the knocking starts again. Gary answers, there's nobody there, and they chalk it up to neighborhood kids playing a joke because that makes them feel better. Since Gary is a total dumbass, he decides the best plan of action is to take the prankster's picture. He grabs Della's Polaroid and tells her that the next time the person knocks, jerk open the door and Gary will snap a picture. The knock comes, but the guy leaps off the porch and runs. All Gary got was a blurry photo of the screen door. A second later, Pete walks in and they explain what just happened. He says he didn't see anyone, but that doesn't make sense because he was practically right there. I'm watching you, Pete...

Maia has had enough and says she's leaving, but Pete stops her with a newspaper article (the almighty power of print). It tells the story of a recent burglary/murder. Two men broke into the tiny cottage of a gardener who was rumored to be an eccentric millionaire who kept his money hidden somewhere in the cottage. I'm sure. The burglars found nothing but the gardener so they killed him for not being rich. A picture of one of the burglars shocks everyone: it's the man they (accidentally!) left for dead in the woods. They believe that the man who is half-heartedly stalking them must be the dead guy's partner out for revenge. They all argue over the guy's possible motives because they're all morons--didn't they just say he wants revenge? Maia doesn't join in the conversation because the only thing she gives a damn about is whether or not she gets in trouble with her parents. Della finally loses it: "Oh, Maia - stop thinking about yourself for once! You're only worried about your parents finding out that you went on the overnight without a chaperone. You don't care what happens to the rest of us!" And none of you care about the deceased gent who's currently rotting away under a pile of moldy leaves in the woods. Your parents obviously raised you right. *sigh* Maia shuts her mouth and everyone starts arguing again. Until they hear a knock at the door. But don't get too excited--it's just Della's mom and her friend Mr. Garrison.

Mr. Garrison is probably more than just a friend, as evidenced by his hasty explanation for walking Mom home: "Your mother forgot her house key." That's just fine and dandy, Mr. Garrison. But if she did indeed "forget her house key" what the hell could you do? There's no mention of you being an expert locksmith so me thinks you were over for super happy fun time. Don't worry, Mr. Garrison, we won't tell. Anyway, everyone explains they were having an Outdoors Club meeting but they're done now and they all leave. Pete stays behind to ask Della out for Friday night and she says yes. Love blossoms even among the darkness of murder and lies. NOT!

It's now Friday night and Della and Pete are dancing at The Mill (a dance club that was once...a mill). After a while, they get all sweaty and tired and decide to leave for a burger before going home. As they're driving, someone starts tailing them. Pete, who is proving to be as stupid as Gary, pulls over and starts to get out to confront the driver. But Della stops him and begs him to just drive. He speeds away and the other car immediately follows. It starts bumping Pete's dad's precious car so Pete makes a sudden U-turn in the road and the car speeds past them. But of course it isn't over. The car turns around and promptly crashes right into a tree. NOW it's over. Pete drives over to check the damage and decides to get out to see if the driver is still alive. The car is completely totaled but the driver's side is surprisingly unscathed. The car is empty.

It's now Monday afternoon and Della is telling Maia about the car. Maia freaks out a bit and then they go to the Outdoors Club meeting. Mr. Abner comes in looking like Howdy Doody and begins apologizing for not being able to take them on the overnight. But he has great news! He'll be able to take them Saturday! Damn it all. Della and Ricky at least attempt to act enthusiastic, but the other pretend they have plans and might not be able to go. The meeting is over so they all head out after promising to meet with Mr. Abner on Wednesday to let him know if they'll be able to go. They stand around in the student parking lot trying to think of a way out of the overnight. Ricky brings up his missing ZAP gun and asks Della if she can bring it to his house. Unfortunately, it's lying at the bottom of a ravine with a dead man. Ricky completely loses it, saying when the cops find the corpse, they'll see his gun and know it's his because he's known for his ZAP guns. Yes, he's serious. Ricky angers them all by saying if he gets caught, he'll take them all down with him. Della says everything is her fault so she'll go back to Fear Island for the stupid gun. They all decide to go on the overnight if for no other reason than to retrieve Ricky's gun. "It couldn't be any worse than the last overnight - could it?" Shut up, Maia.

It's now Saturday and the Outdoors Club is floating across the lake to Fear Island. Once they come ashore, Mr. Abner says they'll go on a hike now and set up camp later. Della and Pete decide they'll get the gun after the hike when everyone is gathering fire wood. After what seems like an eternity of walking, they finally go back to build a fire. Della and Pete attempt to run off to the ravine, but Mr. Abner assumes they're going to go make out or something and tells them to come back. He goes on ahead and a moment later, they hear someone screaming. It's Maia who is sitting on the ground with Abner's bloody head in her lap. The creepy man has followed them here and Maia saw him hit Abner with something and run away. Gary, Suki, and Ricky decide to go back for help and as they're leaving, Ricky reminds Della about his damned stupid gun. There are much bigger things to worry about!!! Della decides to go for it now and Pete says he'll go with her. Maia doesn't want to be left alone so Della tells him to stay. At first he argues, but Della has a whistle and says she'll blow it if anything happens. He gives her a flashlight and she runs off into the woods.

As Della nears the ravine, she spots a flash of light (possibly made by one of those newfangled FLASHLIGHTS) and realizes someone else is out here. She starts runningand ends up falling down the ravine. Smooth. She thinks she's fallen on the dead man but the leaf pile is flat. She searches for her flashlight and finds it, but it's dead. Then someone shines a light on her from above. "No! It can't be! You were dead! I know you were dead!" The man ignores Della's screams and jumps down into the ravine. She cracks her flashlight over his head and it suddenly flashes on. Har har har. She doesn't recognize the man and thinks it must be the "dead" guy's partner in crime. She crawls out of the ravine and starts running toward camp. Except the "dead" man steps out from behind a tree and stops everything. Della says he's dead. Obviously not, smart one. The man says he has a very faint pulse and was NEVER dead! I can feel my brain cells dying the longer this conversation goes on. Della asks him why he's been messing with her and her friends and he says he thought he could blackmail them and get some money since the old gardener didn't have any. Then he starts smacking Della in the face and telling her to shut up. He pulls out a pistol and Della thinks she's about to die, but it's just that stinking ZAP gun. He starts laughing as paint drips down Della's forehead. She runs, but he catches her and tells her she shouldn't have done that because he has a real gun and now he might have to use it. Of course Super Pete saves the day by running in just in time and shooting paint into the crazy man's eyes. Yee haw! Della and Pete make it back to the campsite with the man on their heels. But the cops have arrived and play time is over.

A week later, Della is preparing to go to Pete's house. He comes to pick her up with a folded tent in the backseat as a joke. It would be funny if it weren't so unfunny. The book ends with Pete asking if you can roast marshmallows in front of a TV and Della replying "We can try." Tune in next time as these lovesick fools go up in flames!

Conclusion? I would have liked this book a lot if there hadn't been so many holes in the story. I'm left with more questions than answers: is Gary's last name Brandt? What happened to Ricky's backpack? How deep was that ravine? Why didn't Della check to see if the man was actually dead? On the second overnight, why didn't they just convince Mr. Abner to go somewhere besides Fear Island? Why was Mr. Abner dressed like a deranged cowboy? Why did Della break up with Gary and why did she want him back? I kind of wish this book had been about the adventures of Della's mom and Mr. Garrison.

Next time: "Phone Calls" Another sad attempt at comedy. This one could get ugly...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Holly Heard

Book Description:

Do you want to hear a secret? Holly did. She learned a terrible secret and now her friends know it too. Someone wants to make sure they never talk about it. Someone who'll go to any length to keep them quiet. Lying... Threats... Even murder.

My Description:

This better be a damn good secret...

The very first line of the book comes from Holly: "Guess what I just heard!" She's clopping down the hall at Shadyside High toward her friends Miriam Maryles (is that the WASP version of Morales? You suck, Stine.) and Ruth Carver. Holly is a notorious gossip and Ruth really doesn't wanna hear any more of this crap (Miriam, on the other hand, loves it.) But that doesn't stop Holly from yakking away: "I just heard that Mei Kamata has been having huge fights with her mother for the past two weeks. She told me she might run away!" Holly, you're getting entirely too much pleasure from someone else's pain. Since Mei is one of the richest kids in Shadyside, this is BIG news. Because rich people usually don't have any problems whatsoever. *sigh* Anyway, Holly goes on to say that the fights are usually over Noah Brennan, Mei's rebel-without-a-brain boyfriend, because Mei's mom hates him. You know Noah's a bad ass because he has long hair, a double pierced ear (DOUBLE!), muscles, and a baaaaad attitude. Basically identical to every other "wild" one in Shadyside. Cliches hurt me. Holly says she really hopes he and Mei break up because she wants a shot at him. She has a thing for greasy hair and uneven piercings. Ruth asks about Gary Foster (no Brandt?!) Holly's BOYFRIEND, but Holly simply says "Gary's nice, Ruth. But I don't know what it is about Noah. I think about him all the time." He's got an unforgettable stench. Holly notices Noah coming down the hall and she just can't believe how gorgeous he is: ripped jeans, black T-shirt, leather bomber jacket, shaggy hair, silver arrow earring. I don't see the appeal yet Holly is practically having an orgasm right in the hall. A moment later, Mei comes up to rain on Holly's parade. Mei is gorgeous and has a "hot" boyfriend so naturally Holly is harboring the green-eyed monster. Mei and Noah walk off together, presumably to Mei's house since her parents won't be home until much later so they'll have plenty of time to drink Coke, play Scrabble, and rub their dry lips together until the friction causes a fire that Noah will put out with the cold congealed chicken grease on his head. That stuff has to be good for something.

After they leave, Miriam and Ruth carry on about what a jerk Noah is and how Holly is a complete fool for even thinking about him since she has Gary. Holly doesn't listen (as usual) and says tonight at Mei's party (since when is she having a party? I really need to pay better attention to the trivial aspects of these peoples' lives. Something interesting might happen!) Holly will make her move. Miriam is freaked out by the way Holly is acting and when Holly says "I would do absolutely anything to get Noah." Miriam gets scared. Why why WHY is this such a popular plot in these books? No girl in her right mind aspires to be this:

After school, Holly and Miriam are walking to Holly's car when Miriam spots her hunk of jock meat, Jed. Jed is the "tall, muscular captain of the Shadyside Tigers basketball team. Miriam had been dating Jed since the beginning of their senior year and it was now February." Jed is Miriam's superhero which is why she understands what Mei and Noah have together. She knows what it's like to let a teenage boy become the center of your universe, she knows what it's like to LOVE! Gag. Me. Unfortunately, Jed has been acting like a complete ass lately, losing his temper and screaming when Miriam even looks at him wrong. Miriam blames this on "a dark, angry creature [that seemed] to slide into his body." Wow. I was going to blame 'roid rage, but I guess being violated on a daily basis by a shadow creature could also be the culprit. Miriam asks him what's wrong (because he looks like mummified shit) and then asks if they're still going to Mei's party. He gets pissy, tells her he'll pick her up at eight, and storms off. Maturity is obviously his strong suit. Except not.

As Holly is driving Miriam home, she asks what's wrong with Jed. Miriam says that sometimes he's really sweet and other times he's completely psychotic and she has no idea what's up. Since Holly is a snoop who likes to butt her fat head in other people's business, she says she'll start keeping a really close eye on him to figure out his issues. Yeah, this won't end badly.

That evening, Jed, Miriam, Ruth, and Miriam's dorky cousin Patrick are on their way to Mei's party. Jed is all sunshine and rainbows now so Miriam is happy because every aspect of her life is dominated by Jed. When they arrive at Mei's house, they can hear a local band playing. They're called the Dustmites. Really? No, REALLY? In spite of their incredibly stupid name, they apparently rock because almost every kid in Shadyside is packed into Mei's giant house. Patrick immediately runs off to get his freak on and Ruth, who Miriam cruelly set up with Patrick for the night, stands nearby looking bored. Meanwhile, Miriam attempts to get Jed's attention back on her; he's spotted Holly who's dressed in a tight slutty dress and he can't take his eyes off her: "Wow!" Creep. Miriam drags Jed over to talk to Holly and her dimwitted boyfriend Gary who is on the basketball team with Jed. Miriam and Holly walk off to talk and Holly confesses that she's dressed like a 10 cent hooker to attract Noah's attention. It's working a little TOO well and Mei seems pretty pissed, but instead of kicking Holly's ass out of her house, she just gives her dagger eyes. Miriam is disgusted by her skanky friend and drags her back to Gary and Jed. They all start dancing...until every light in the house goes out and a loud scream comes from the kitchen. Don't worry--absolutely nothing of interest happened. The band blew a fuse, Mei's mom screamed, and everyone is still alive which just sucks. When the lights come back on, Miriam sees that Holly is clinging to Noah. Mei looks ready to KILL! KILL! KILL! and Noah goes over to settle her. Holly claims that she got scared and grabbed for someone who just happened to be Noah. Shut up, Holly, you filthy stinking liar.

The next night, Miriam and Ruth are hanging out at Ruth's house, waiting for Holly to pick them up for a basketball game. Unless a glass backboard falls on Jed, slicing and dicing, I really couldn't care less. While they're waiting, the girls talk about Jed's twisted psychosis, Holly's urges for Noah, and how cute Ruth's hamsters, Tilly and Lizzy, are. What a glamorous life. I'd rather be a hamster. Anyway, Ruth says she can't stand how Holly treats Gary and Gary told her that he knows that Holly isn't interested in him but he stays with her to be nice. I think it's the other way around, stupid. Seriously, what is wrong with him?!

Finally Holly shows up and immediately starts yapping away about how awesome the party got after Ruth and Miriam left. Mei and her mom got into a huge fight in front of everyone about Noah (Mei's mom said he was an "irresponsible creep". I think I love this woman.) Eventually her mom kicked everyone out and got her car toilet papered and beer cans thrown all over her lawn for her trouble (the group who did this was led by Noah. Because he's such a bad ass, sticking it to the oldsters like that). Holly heard (oh how Holly HEARS) that Mei became hysterical after everyone left and her mother told her she was never to see Noah again. Why can't this book be about Mei's AWESOME mom? Even if it was just a chronicle of her bowel movements, it would be so much better than this. Anyway, Holly is obviously elated that Noah is probably free now so she can move in for the kill. What a wicked little harpy. Thankfully, Miriam and Ruth remind Holly that Mei will never listen to her mother and she and Noah are probably going stronger than ever. Holly has to admit it's true. HA. Then Ruth and Holly get into a fight over how Holly treats Gary and blah blah blah. Miriam breaks it up before it gets interesting. Ruth decides not to go to the basketball game so Miriam and Holly leave without her.

Throughout the game, Jed plays pretty badly. He's mad about it and when a player from the other team blocks one of Jed's shots AND elbows him in the face, Jed totally loses it. He punches the guy in the mouth and blood gushes everywhere/ But that's not enough for dear Jed. He grabs the kid in a choke hold and hangs on until he starts to turn purple. Finally someone pulls them apart before Jed kills the guy. The coach tells Jed to get lost and the game continues like nothing ever happened. Miriam is freaked out because she's dating a homicidal maniac. But who cares? Shadyside wins the game! WOOOO!

After the game, Holly waits in the car while Miriam goes to find Jed. When she asks him if he's ok, he responds with "No, Miriam, I'm not. I came this close to getting kicked off the team, okay? Is that enough information for you and your friends?" What a little bitch. He goes on to say that he doesn't like being elbowed which is why he had to lose his shit on the court. To bring his point home, he starts shoving and poking Miriam, asking if she likes that. Then he grabs her hand and grips it so hard, Miriam starts to scream. He stops and says he's sorry, but Miriam isn't buying it. It took him almost breaking her hand for her to realize he's a total creep?! *sigh* Miriam turns to run but turns back to tell Jed if he touches her again, they're through. Once should have been the deal breaker, fool. Anyway, Jed says "I never wanted to hurt you, Miriam. I just...I only wanted you to know how it felt for me out there. Playing basketball has never been this hard for me before." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? To make matters worse, Miriam actually buys this bullshit: "She could actually feel some sympathy for him. She reached out and gave his hand a squeeze." I'm going to barf. Seriously, this is truly sickening.

After that disgusting display, Miriam walks back to Holly's car. Holly has been eavesdropping (as usual) and heard something juicy (is this "What Holly Heard"?). She overheard Mei and Noah arguing about what happened on the night of the party. "I heard them say they were going to kill Mei's mother!" Oh joy. Miriam doesn't take this seriously and even laughs at Mei's exact words ("I'll kill my mother for this.") Miriam says that Mei has said that many times after a fight with her mom. Homicidal threats are big among Shadyside's teenage set. Eventually Holly calms down and as an afterthought, asks how things went with Jed. Miriam spills everything and instead of driving back to run him over a couple of times, Holly just says "Are you okay?". Um...NO. Holly DOES try to convince Miriam that Jed isn't worth her time, but Miriam just spews off that basketball is stressing him out and that's why he's acting like a lunatic who just popped out of Happy Sparrow Insane Asylum. Damn you, Miriam!

On Monday morning, Miriam tells Ruth about what happened with Jed. Ruth says Miriam should get him some help. I agree that he needs help, but Miriam's friends should be more worried about HER than her psychopathic boyfriend. Anyway, Ruth and Miriam have a good laugh at Holly's expense over her hysterics the night before. They choke on their laughter when Holly walks up a moment later and tells them that Mei's mom is dead. She was found at the bottom of her spiral staircase with a broken neck. Did Mei push her or was it just an unfortunate accident with a banana peel? Hmm. Holly is certain that Mei and Noah were involved, but Miriam predictably denies it. Holly wants to go to the police, but Miriam tells her to shut up because Noah is coming. Noah looks like he spent the night in a bong which scares Miriam. Red rimmed eyes equal MURDERER!!! Noah stops and says "I guess you heard about Mei's mom." Miriam blurts that they're all really sorry about it and Noah goes on to say that Mei is a wreck and he's just here to pick up her homework. Then he turns to Holly and says he saw her in the parking lot on Saturday night. All Holly can do is look at his hands and wonder if those are the hands of a killer. Killerhandskillerhandskillerhands. "They saw me, Miriam! They know I heard them plotting to kill Mei's mom. They know and now they're going to kill me too!" Dare to dream. Holly freaks out for a few more minutes until all three girls decide not to speak of it anymore. Which means we'll be hearing about it until the last page of this horrible book.

That evening, Holly calls Miriam at 7:30 PM from the school where she stayed to help decorate the gym for a "victory rally" and everyone else has left and she's scared to be alone and wants Miriam to come. Oh, and she has some important news about Jed. Miriam rushes right down (anything for Jed!) and wanders around the creepy deserted gym searching for Holly. She spots the edge of Holly's blue scarf on the floor, partially hidden by a giant sign. She steps closer and sees that the scarf is wrapped tightly around Holly's neck. She's sprawled across the floor with blood trickling from her nose. Miriam only starts screaming when she sees Holly's eyes: "Her beautiful green eyes. No longer green. They had rolled back into her head. Like two egg whites, they stared up blankly, lifelessly at Miriam." Yeah...Holly's dead. Miriam starts freaking out and out of nowhere, Jed pops up. He goes to make sure Holly is REALLY dead and runs to call 911. Then he and Miriam go outside to wait. Jed immediately starts acting crazy, kicking the tires of Holly's car and beating his fists on the hood like a deranged ape. Miriam tells him to stop and just hold her. But once his meaty arms are wrapped around her, she starts wondering what the hell he was doing inside the school. Supposedly he was weight lifting with Gary who left a little earlier. And Gary's tape player was on so they couldn't hear a girl being murdered or anything. A likely story... Anyway, it doesn't matter what Jed or Gary was doing because Miriam has already convinced herself that MEI murdered Holly. *sigh*

The next afternoon, Miriam hangs out at Ruth's house. Ruth lives on Fear Street and no-one has suspected her of the murders? Morons. The girls talk about how upset Gary was. I doubt it. In fact, he probably killed her. After all, everyone knows she treated him like crap. Anyway, Miriam rambles on about how miserable she is and Ruth gets pissed when Miriam says she doesn't want to think about who could've murdered Holly. Ruth believes Mei and Noah were involved and even though Miriam was thinking the same thing the night before, she's apparently changed her mind. Five seconds later, she goes back to believing they did it because Ruth says they're the only ones with a motive. But they have no proof so they're not saying anything. There are no words for how much I want to sucker punch them both. Eventually Ruth changes the subject and says she got Miriam's homework for her since she was too upset by the sight of those egg white eyeballs to attend school. Ruth reaches into her backpack, pulls out her notebook, and is shocked to find it covered in blooooood. Someone scrawled a message with the red stuff: "We know you know. That's why you die next!" Typical. Murderers in these books have no sense of creativity. Ruth automatically says it had to be Mei. I am so SICK of this Mei crap! First, they have absolutely no proof that she killed anyone. Second, even if she and Noah knew that Holly overheard them talking that night, why in the hell would they have cared? Even if they actually murdered Mei's mom and Holly told the cops what she heard, that's not enough proof! I HATE THIS BOOK!

So the bloody notebook prompts Ruth and Miriam to talk to the cops. Because their best friend's corpse wasn't enough. Damn these fools. What's gained from the trip to the Shadyside police? The knowledge that the notebook was coated in RED PAINT, not blood. That's it. Afterward, Miriam calls Jed and begs him to come over. Inviting Jed over is always a mistake. He starts ranting about how Holly treated Gary like crap (this should be a drinking game. Drink everytime someone says "Holly done gone and wronged that boy!") and how Holly was snooping around, asking Gary questions about Jed. Jed ends his screaming tirade by saying Holly got what she deserved because everything was her fault. WHAT was? Miriam says she was the one who told Holly to ask about Jed because she wants to know what the hell is wrong with him. He blames it on "Pressure." again. Then he runs to his car and speeds away. My brain is bleeding...

The next day, the school has a memorial for Holly. Miriam bitches to Ruth about not wanting to get up in front of everyone to speak about Holly. This isn't about you, Miriam, so shut your damn mouth. Ruth goes into the gym, but Miriam runs to a bathroom stall because she thinks she's going to be sick. Nothing happens so she just splashes her face with cold water...and nearly pees her pants when she turns and sees Noah and Mei standing in the doorway. They're extremely pissed because Miriam told a bunch of lies to the cops. Mei screams that she loved her mother and never would have hurt her. She says her mother's fall was an accident and keeps screaming that Miriam had no right to say those things. So now Miriam thinks it was just Noah. Just when you think she can't possibly get any dumber.

After school, as Miriam is walking past the boy's locker room, she hears Jed and Gary arguing. To make a stupid story short, Gary says he's going to tell someday and Jed says he better just forget everything he knows. Jed comes storming up to her a moment later and apologizes yet again for how he's been acting and asks her to come to his basketball game tonight. It's his last chance to get a scholarship so if he messes this up, he'll probably kill everyone in the school. Unfortunately, Miriam chooses this moment to bring up Holly yet again and accuse Jed of hiding something about her murder. He flips out and screams that he doesn't want to talk about her anymore. Miriam asks him what he was really doing at the school the night Holly was killed and he tells her again that he was lifting weights. He then says he's done with this conversation and walks off. Miriam can't just let it go, though, so she calls to him at the door and tells him she'll be at the game tonight. Of course.

That evening, Miriam begs Ruth to go to the game with her. This somehow leads to the two arguing yet AGAIN about whether or not Mei killed her mother and Holly. This got old about 100 pages ago. And I don't even care anymore. I'm just praying that this ends soon so I can move on with my life! Miriam leaves Ruth with her hamsters and runs on home to get ready for the game.

Miriam's mom drops her off at the school about an hour early so she can have a moment with Jed for some unholy reason. She spots Jed near the water fountain, popping something into his mouth before taking a sip ('ROID RAGE!). When Miriam asks him what it was, he says "Oh, um, it's a high potency vitamin. I found it at a health food store in Waynesbridge. It gives me energy before the game." Liar. Miriam wishes him luck and Jed jogs off.

It's now the middle of the third quarter and Shadyside is losing. Tee hee. Miriam takes her eyes off the game for a moment...and notices Noah sitting alone and staring at her. She turns her attention back to the game just in time to watch Jed work himself into a fury. He ends up punching someone from the opposite team in the jaw, rocking the guy's head back so hard, Miriam is afraid his neck might be broken. Then Jed grabs the guy by the throat and starts pounding his head into the floor. Is no-one going to stop him?? As Miriam watches in horror, she realizes that Jed killed Holly. Ok. She freaks out and runs to the parking lot. She decides to head for Ruth's house since she doesn't live too far away. As she's running, she hears someone behind her, but she doesn't stop. It turns out to be JED, of course, and he calls out to her, but that just makes her run faster. Eventually she stops and looks around. Jed seems to be gone...until he pops out from behind a shrub and grabs her. *cue generic horror movie music* She elbows him, runs to Ruth's house, and becomes even more creeped out when Ruth tells her Jed isn't the murderer. Miriam asks her how she knows and she just says "Two other murders. Tonight." Ruth drags Miriam upstairs and tells her that Mei and Noah broke in and killed her beloved hamsters. The note: "Dead hamsters today...Dead girls tomorrow." You have got to be joking. I mean, COME ON. Miriam dials the police and the girls sit down to wait. While Ruth sits in her mom's room, Miriam goes into Ruth's room to cover the hamsters with something so Ruth won't have to see them. When she opens Ruth's closet, a bloody claw hammer falls to the floor.

Ruth enters the room, immediately becomes furious when she sees the hammer, and attacks Miriam. She attempts to smash Miriam's brains out with the hammer and the girls wrestle around until the hammer comes in contact with Miriam's kneecap. Miriam manages to punch Ruth in the face which somehow leads to the two having a conversation about why Ruth killed Holly. Holly had to die because she treated Gary like crap (drink) and Ruth is in love with Gary. "There is no hope. All of us were put on this earth to suffer and Holly never suffered." How...deep. Just as Ruth prepares to finish Miriam with the hammer, Jed bursts in. Sadly, Ruth throws the hammer at Jed's head and he's down before he can do anything. But it's ok because Miriam ends up smashing the glass hamster cage over Ruth's head, effectively ending the fight.

Miriam runs over to Jed who is just regaining consciousness. He says he killed Holly. Damn this book. He goes on to say that he's been taking steroids (duh) and if he hadn't been so messed up, he could've saved Holly from Ruth that night. The end of this book is painfully stupid:

Miriam: "We've got to call the police. Right away."
Jed: "Does this mean-you-you're going to keep seeing me? If I promise never to take another pill. Will you-will you stay with me?"
Miriam: "That's the latest gossip."


Conclusion: This is one of the WORST books I have ever read in my entire life.

Next time: "The Overnight" Fear Island + unsupervised teenagers + a creepy stranger = the perfect storm.

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 ...