Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Face

Book Description:

They say something horrible happened that day. But Martha can't remember any of it-not the smallest detail. They say it will come back to her in time. But someone wants her to remember NOW. She draws his face over and over-the face of a dead boy. She can't control her hand. And she can't remember how he died. But she's going to find the answer. Even if it lies with the dead.

My Description:


Martha is dreaming of drawing a silver line on a sketch pad. But the silver turns to blood and seeps over the page. She wakes screaming...

We begin this sordid tale with Martha making vague statements about the accident that caused her memory loss. Her doctor says her memory will return someday, but what if "someday" never comes?! Martha's friends aren't the same as they used to be. She hates the fact that they treat her so delicately. I guess she would prefer they be the insensitive a-holes they always were. Speaking of friends, this leads Martha to describe them and herself. Martha is "preppy looking. I'm more J. Crew than grunge. I have blond hair [OF COURSE you do] long and very straight. Olive eyes. Big and round. My best feature. And light freckles on my cheeks that make me look about twelve years old!" Typical. Stine's fetish for blonds never fails. The friends don't get as much of a description as Martha. They're not blond, after all. Justine has red hair, blue eyes, and pillow lips. Adriana is "beautiful and dark and exotic looking." Apparently neither of them have anything even remotely resembling a personality. Once again, typical.

Martha is hanging out with her boyfriend Aaron and they're making out like they haven't seen each other in years. He breaks away for nacho chips and Lethal Weapon (BTW: Martha thinks Aaron looks like Mel Gibson.) and Martha uses this opportunity to bring up the fact that she's worried about Adriana. Aaron shows his concern by stuffing his gaping maw with more chips, grunting like a hog, and making lame jokes. And then they kiss again. *sigh* This completely useless chapter ends with "And then, the next afternoon, Adriana's brother tried to kill me."

Adriana's brother, Ivan Petrakis, is a faux thug who thinks he's the shit because he's got sideburns and an earring. He's one of those douchers who act like they came from the streets when in reality they've lived in safety in the suburbs their entire life. I hate you, Ivan. I get a little giddy when I read that Ivan has been hanging with a bad crowd from Waynesbridge. Could they be the same HARD DUDES! in The Confession? HARD DUDES! That never fails to amuse me. Anyway, after school, Martha runs into Ivan at the Division Street Mall and he offers her a ride which she foolishly accepts. As he's driving, he jokingly says they should run away and Martha acts shocked so he gets all sullen and pouts like a baby. Martha changes the subject to Adriana and Ivan says she hypnotizes herself to help her sleep. Uh...ok? Then he completely freaks out. "It isn't easy to sleep at my house, Martha! Nothing is easy at my house these days. It's a war zone." He says this like he's a grizzled veteran who just finished a couple tours in Vietnam. His parents have been fighting a lot and General Thugstein can't handle it anymore! He starts swerving all over the place and screaming "It's too much, Martha! Too much!" Then they crash into a tree. Neither of them is hurt so they cry and hold each other and try to ignore the fact that they pissed themselves on impact. Apparently they're also ignoring the fact that they just slammed into a tree because Ivan simply puts the car in reverse and they drive away. I'm so sure.

It's now Saturday afternoon and Martha is telling Adriana "Your brother is really messed up." Understatement of the motherfu*!ing century. The kid will probably spend the rest of his days in therapy. Anyway, Adriana doesn't really give a damn about her loopy brother. She just wants to know which lip gloss looks best. *sigh* They talk about other things until meddling Martha (someone has a Liz Wakefield complex) brings up Ivan again. Adriana already knows the source of all his angst and suicidal tendencies: "Ivan's problem is Laura." I know you're absolutely DYING to know who this Laura character is. Better grab your barf bag. "Laura Winter is another friend of ours. With her sleek black hair and shimmery blue-gray eyes and perfect cheekbones, she is the most beautiful girl at Shadyside High. [I don't believe it. I've heard it too many times before.]" It goes on like that ad nauseum (and believe me, I'm definitely nauseous. If Laura were a blond, I'd kill myself.) Anyway, Laura dumped Ivan and that was a huge blow to his overinflated ego so he's going around making everyone even more miserable than himself. Once again, I hate Ivan. Martha says Adriana should talk to him, Adriana says hell no because he can take care of himself, and Adriana leaves while Martha sits in her (Martha's) room thinking about how drafty it is. What a glamorous life.

Martha finally picks up her drawing pad and starts sketching that dude that's splashed all over the cover. "As if guided by a ghostly hand, I continued to draw. Staring down in amazement-in fear-I let my hand finish the drawing. I knew I couldn't stop it." THE HORROR! By the time she's finished, Martha is winded and sweaty which makes me wonder just what the hell she was REALLY drawing. She takes a look at her "masterpiece" and doesn't recognize the face. It's so detailed she realizes she must have known this person, but that pesky damaged brain of her's won't let her remember. After a few moments Martha gets an urge to draw Laura. She has drawn her before and it's never a pleasant experience: "Laura is so vain, I told myself. My drawings never satisfied her. She claimed I made her look like a brainless bimbo. [That's because she is one.]" Martha starts to draw again with Laura's big fat head in mind, but her hand isn't having that mess and draws the boy again instead. Martha freaks and rips the drawing to shreds while asking herself if she's cracking up. Like an egg, baby, like an egg.

That night, Martha (or should I start calling her The Artist?) has a date with Aaron. Ugh. She drives to the theater to meet him and finds her so-called friend Justine hanging all over him. Martha is pissed but does nothing about it because guys are just like that. GRRRR. Justine says that Aaron invited her along even though this is supposed to be a DATE. Inside, Aaron sits between the girls. "A couple of times I saw Justine's hand brush against Aaron's. I wondered if it was deliberate. Each time she touched him, I felt a cold chill." Dump them both! Seriously, you'd be better off hanging out with some angry badgers.

A little after midnight, Martha is woken by the sound of the phone ringing. It's Justine. Blah. They talk about the movie and Aaron. At his name, Justine blurts "I'm really so jealous of you. You heard me. I said I'm jealous. Aaron is such a great guy." Uh, no he isn't! He sucks! Justine changes the subject to the fact that she's poor and won't be able to go to college next fall (did financial aid not exist in 1996?) and goes on and on about how lucky Martha is. When Martha says "You're wrong. I know you think I have a perfect life, but-" Justine interrupts with "No, I don't, Martha. Your life isn't as perfect as you think." before hanging up. Ooooo.

It's now Sunday night and Martha is hanging out with her cat Rooney. She's home alone watching skiing on ESPN when she suddenly has "a flash of memory". Bits and pieces come back to her: two cabins, snow, Martha, Adriana, Justine, Laura, apple cider, a fireplace, someone knocking at the door... Martha can't remember anymore and looks down in horror at the face she drew AGAIN.

On Monday morning, Martha wakes and remembers that she has no school for no apparent reason. Martha does some errands and when she returns home, Laura is waiting in the kitchen for her. She's a little ticked because Martha promised to go with her to a photo shoot in the shitty part of town (a.k.a. Old Village) and I guess they're gonna be late or something. They get into Martha's old Volvo and Laura gabs on and on about insignificant bullshit until they arrive. The shoot goes well and on the way home, Laura blabs some more. She mentions a party at Gary Brandt's house. (I wish that skank had his own book. I get the sinking feeling, though, that it would be filled with nothing but his dirty sexcapades.) Laura says Ivan was there and he got totally wasted and passed out on the coffee table. The subject then changes to Justine and Laura has a word of advice about her: "Watch out for Justine." Will do.

The next day, Martha pays her weekly visit to Dr. Sayles, her psychiatrist. Dr. Sayles is an older fart who thinks he's hip and cool. Fortunately, he's kinda hot so he can get away with it. Also, Martha likes his Jimi Hendrix poster. Anyway, Martha tells him about her flashbacks and she's disappointed when he does nothing more than nod. What did she expect, a ravishing? Then she pulls out the drawings and the good doctor looks shocked!

Yeah, the chapter ended there. *sigh* It's now Saturday morning and Martha is sitting in her room with nothing to do but stare at her drawings of the mystery boy. Suddenly Laura and Adriana burst in and demand that she come with them because it's a gorgeous day outside and Martha shouldn't be cooped inside staring at creepy drawings and hitting the bottle. What is so important? "It's perfect sledding. The snow sort of froze. There's an icy crust on top. You've got to come to Miller Hill with us, Martha!" Martha isn't that enthused about the crusty crustiness on the hill and thinks the girls are acting like children, but she goes anyway. They actually have fun...until Martha loses her mind. She picks up a lot of speed going down the hill, starts screaming "in horror", and blacks out. Or something. She makes it home where her parents make her soup and call Dr. Sayles. While Martha is in bed, she has another flashback. This time she sees herself, Aaron, Justine, Laura, Adriana, and Ivan having a snowball fight. It's all kicks and giggles until Justine starts hurling snowballs as hard as she can at Martha, deliberately trying to hurt her. She also remembers being inside a cabin kissing a boy that isn't's the boy in the drawings.

The next afternoon, Martha shoves the drawings into her backpack and sneaks out to meet Aaron. She runs to his house, but when he answers the door, he acts pretty damn shifty and hesitates to let Martha in. When he finally does, Martha realizes that Justine is also here. Busted! Aaron makes some lame excuse about Justine stopping by to borrow his graphing calculator. They claim Justine was hiding in the kitchen because they didn't wanna upset Martha. WTF? Of course Martha accepts this without question and Justine leaves a moment later. Aaron and Martha sit down to talk and he mentions that when Martha gets her memory back, it'll be difficult for her because something horrible happened. She takes the opportunity to pull out the drawings and Aaron has the same reaction that Dr. Sayles has, looking like he just swallowed a giant junebug. Martha demands to know who it is, but Aaron refuses to tell. He does, however, mention that this gentleman is as dead as a doornail. Well, that's just dandy.

On Tuesday night, Martha finishes her homework and brings out her drawing pad. She stares at the dead boy she can't seem to get enough of and decides he might be controlling her hand from beyond the grave so she'd better draw a cat instead. No comment. A moment later, her mom yells that Adriana is here. Adriana enters the room a moment later and she's all upset and such because her dad moved out. Adriana says she's worried about Ivan because she found a new tape player and Discman in his room (I miss the 90s) and she wonders where he got the money. She thinks he's been stealing and those HARD DUDES! from Waynesbridge probably put him up to it! Bastards! Suddenly Adriana stops talking and gets an angry expression on her face. Martha looks down and realizes that she drew the dead kid instead of a cuddly kitty. Adriana finally gets hold of herself and asks Martha if she wants to go to a basketball game on Friday...

Laura goes with them to the game and they all have tons of fun. Yee haw! Go Tigers! About halfway through the game, the girls start to go to the food counter which is outside the gym. But they don't even make it down the bleachers because Martha thinks all of the players look like the dead guy and she freaks out and falls down in the aisle. Laura and Adriana drag her outside and Adriana sits with her while Laura runs back inside to get her a drink. Adriana decides to calm her lunatic friend by hypnotizing her with a coin. But Laura returns and Martha brushes Adriana away. Martha once again loses it a moment later when neither of the girls will tell her who the dead boy is. Will you assholes just tell her?! She'll find out sooner or later so why torture her? Instead of going home, they all go back inside where Martha spots Aaron and Justine making out in a shadowy corner. As if we didn't see that one coming. If you show even the slightest SHRED of shock, Martha, I will slap the taste out of your mouth. Martha is speechless so Adriana tells them to take a hike. A few moments later, Martha runs home in the dark and once there, she has more flashbacks.

The flashbacks include Martha kissing some guy who tastes like chocolate in the cabin that repeatedly shows up in these visions and when she starts to break away, she says "No. Sean-please." They fight, she slaps him, and her memory grows fuzzy again. Martha notices the light blinking on her answering machine and she plays the following message: "You keep drawing him because you killed him." How helpful, anonymous caller. Martha thinks it sounds a little like Laura and is horrified at the message.

The next day (I assume?) Martha visits Dr. Corben who is going to hypnotize her in an attempt to pull all her sordid forgotten memories to the surface. I'm sure this won't end badly. Dr. Corben is a short, older lady who likes Garfield and asking lots and lots of questions. Martha mentions Adriana (Dr. Corben is also her doctor) and the doctor freaks out when she learns that Adriana attempted to hypnotize Martha. When Martha asks if Dr. Corben can hypnotize her, the doctor says she'll have to talk to her parents. I assumed you already did that which was stupid of me because you're as useless as every other psychiatrist in this hellhole. Martha flees the office and outside it's dark and rainy (what day is this? Where am I? Where are my freaking meds?!?!) and she finds Aaron waiting in the parking lot to explain about him and Justine. Is a dark, soggy parking lot really the place for this? Oh well. He says he and Justine have been sneaking around for several months, but Martha really doesn't seem to give a shit. She just wants to know who Sean is and how he died, but Aaron refuses to tell her even though he owes her BIG time.

After school on Wednesday, Martha is at her locker when she hears the sound of some fool getting his ass kicked. Yes, it's Ivan. The principal intervenes all too soon and leads Ivan away to bleed in the office. When Martha gets home, Laura calls her to gab about Ivan which leads Martha to suddenly remember something: "Laura- You broke up with Ivan to go out with Sean!" Interesting. Kinda. Martha begs Laura to tell her about that week at the cabin Laura predictably refuses and hangs up the phone, and a moment later, memories come flooding back to Martha. "I was going to remember it all. All the fun. All the trouble. All the horror." Don't be so dramatic--we all know it's not going to be that fun, troublesome, or horrible.

Prepare for the flashback. Snow, sledding, everybody is having fun, blah blah. We learn a few tidbits about Sean: he's good looking and is from Old Village which means he's poor white trash and a friend of Ivan's. After sledding a while, they all decide to ski next and Sean wants to go first down the hill. Instead of reaching the bottom, he meets his death somewhere in the middle thanks to a wire that someone has stretched across the path. "The wire caught him at the throat. Cut through his neck. A straight line. A silver line. It cut through his neck. [Yeah, we get it.] Bright red splashed on both sides of the silver line. I still didn't move. I didn't believe it. No-one moved. We all stood at the edge, staring down in silence. The silver wire sliced off Sean's head. I watched his body continue to ski. The skis carried it for several yards before it collapsed. And Sean's head bounced onto the snow. And emptied out. Emptied out. Emptied out. Staring up at us. Puddling the snow dark red." Nuh-uh.

Martha snaps back to reality and finds herself staring at a drawing of Sean. She's incredibly disturbed by the memory of Sean's gruesome death and by the fact that the night before his death, she and he had a big fight. A moment later, Adriana calls and Martha says she remembers almost everything. Adriana fills in the few its that Martha can't recall, saying the police came to investigate who had strung the wire and why (could a wire actually slice off someone's head? Someone call the Myth Busters!) but they never figured it out. Adriana says she's coming over and after they hang up, Martha sits and wonders why she was the only one out of everyone who was there when Sean died to lose her memory and also, who could have killed Sean? Martha digs in her closet to find something to change into before Adriana arrives and conveniently comes across the bag she brought to the cabin which she never unpacked. She finds things stuffed at the bottom. It's a ROLL OF WIRE! And WIRE CUTTERS to cut the ROLL OF WIRE! NOOOOO! IT'S SOOOOOO DRAMATIC!

Adriana shows up and Martha tells her that she must have killed Sean and shows her the ROLL OF WIRE! and the WIRE CUTTERS! Then Ivan shows up for absolutely no reason and informs Martha that HE killed Sean. YOU killed Sean. I killed Sean. We ALL fucking killed Sean! Seriously, make up your minds. Ivan's excuse for killing Sean is as stupid and lame as you thought it would be: "[Sean] found out that I stole a car. I stole a car [You people really enjoy repeating yourself repeating yourself.] and I wrecked it. I ran away. I wasn't caught." And? "I made a mistake. I told Sean about it. I thought he was my friend. I had to tell someone. I-I was kind of scared. I couldn't keep it to myself. But I never should have told him. Sean started asking me for money. He said he'd turn me in to the police if I didn't give it to him." And you wouldn't pony up the dough so you just HAD to lop off his head with a wire instead of owning up to what you did, right? Jerk. Ivan says he never actually intended to kill Sean, he only wanted to hurt him so he put the wire low to the ground to trip him up. "I don't know what happened. I guess the snow shifted. The wind blew the snow away during the night. So the wire was much higher." Dude, just shut up. Ivan wants to call the police and confess, but Adriana flips out: "Martha killed him! You KNOW Martha killed him! She did it! She did!" *sigh* Adriana demands to know why her brother is screwing everything up and blah blah blah. Eventually she says that Martha was supposed to die, not Sean.

As much as it literally PAINS me to say it, Adriana wanted Martha dead because Sean liked Martha and Adriana liked Sean and if she couldn't have him, no-one could. Or something. I don't know. I'm over it. Adriana says she hypnotized Martha to make her lose her memory. I'm so sure a 17 year old girl would be so skilled at hypnosis. Then Adriana, who has completely lost her damn mind, grabs the wire and starts choking Martha, but she stops when she spots a drawing of Sean. "She stared unblinking, hypnotized by the face. The face that had puzzled me, upset me-horrified me for so long. The face that had saved my life." And now we're in a Hallmark movie.

Conclusion? 150 pages of bullshit.

Next time: "Seniors #6 - The Gift" A necklace that forces the wearer to commit acts of atrocity? Yes, please.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Confession

Book Description:

All Julie's friends hated Al. They all wished Al were dead. But that doesn't mean one of them killed him. [Yes it does.] Julie knows her friends. She knows they are innocent... Until one of them confesses. Julie and her friends promise to keep the killer's secret. After all, they know he would never kill again. Or would he?

My Description:

Part One

We begin with Julie asking questions that no-one wants to answer: "What would you do if one of your best friends took you aside and said he had a confession to make? What if your friend confessed to you that he killed someone? And he begged you not to tell anyone. He begged you to keep his horrible secret. What would you do? Tell his parents? Call the police? Try to convince him to tell his parents? Tell your parents? Or keep the secret?" That's a lot of questions, Julie. Luckily I have an answer that covers them all: I would tell my stupid friend to read this book. I'm sure it's full of great ideas on how to keep your murdering ass out of jail. Anyway, Julie thinks back on a fateful day last May...

Julie and her friends Hillary Walker and Taylor Snook (yes, SNOOK.) are just hanging out at Julie's house after school. It's a lovely day in the neighborhood so they're outside sunning themselves. Taylor asks Julie if she's ever sunbathed nude and gets pissed when Julie says "You mean in the backyard?" even though it's obvious Taylor was talking about the beach. DUH! Yeah, Taylor's a bit of a bitch. After a while, they go inside for chips and Mountain Dew (NO COKE?!?! NOOOO!) and gossip about boys, namely Vincent Freedman and Sandy Miller. Vincent is Julie's friend, but she's got a raging passionate crush on him. Sandy is Taylor's boyfriend which automatically makes me hate him. Then the girls start talking about a party that Reva Dalby (if only I could forget her) is throwing. Since Reva is disgustingly rich, the party is going to be epic and the girls are excited because they managed to get invited even though they hate Reva. Everyone does, after all.

As they're gabbing their lives away, someone barges into the kitchen. It's just some dirty diaper named Al Freed. Al is bad news, baby. He's big, blond, and tough looking. He used to be a part of Julie's circle of friends until he started hanging out with some "hard dudes" (that is one of the gayest things I've come upon in these books. HARD DUDES!) from Waynesbridge. He reminds Julie of a vulture. Hawt. Al lamely flirts with Taylor, pausing every few minutes to take a gulp of beer and expel gas through his bird beak. When he's done, he throws his can into the sink because to walk two feet to the trash can would be something akin to death, apparently. Julie asks him why he's here and he says "You're my favorite, Julie. You're the best." He goes on to say that Hillary and Taylor are trash and then asks Julie for $20. She says she doesn't have it and he reponds by lighting a cigarette and tossing his used match onto the floor. *sigh* Julie tells him to get the hell out, but he doesn't budge. "How about if I burn a little hole in the table, Julie? Do you think you could find twenty bucks then?" Ass. He finally starts harrassing Hillary until she gives in and hands him a twenty.

Al finally flaps away and Julie's mom comes home. She finds Al's lit cigarette on the floor and his empty beer can in the sink and gets pissed at Julie for letting him bring those things in. "Julie, you're grounded for the weekend." Julie completely flips out because she'll miss Reva's party and she'll just DIE, I tell you, she'll DIE! Julie rants and raves like a madwoman, but her mom doesn't give a damn. Julie thinks about Al and wishes he were dead. Fortunately for her, that wish will soon come true.

So Julie misses Reva's party and it makes her sick. It's now a week later and Hillary and Julie are walking to Sandy's house after school. Hillary is STILL talking about how awesome the party was. Rub it in a little deeper, Hil. Anyway, they start talking about Sandy and Hil says he's kinda pathetic, always following Taylor around like a puppy even though she flirts with other guys right in front of him. Hillary even saw her dancing and making out with some guy at the party. Poor stupid Sandy. Oblivious to the fact that his girlfriend is a dirty skank. Or maybe he's just in denial. Either way, he needs to dump the trash. Julie's dumb ass actually says that maybe Hillary is being too hard on Taylor and maybe being with Taylor is good for Sandy because it could pull him out of his shell. Shut up, Julie. Why are you even defending Taylor? She treats everyone including you like dog shit! Grrrrr. Never mind. Hillary changes the subject to Al "HARD DUDE!"Birdboy who recently borrowed her car even though he can fly. The reason she feels compelled to give in to him? He got her the answers to a chemistry test and he keeps threatening to tell her uptight parents about it if she doesn't do what he wants. Who the hell cares? I would rather have my parents angry at me than have some dumbass blackmailing me! Oh well. Al will be dead soon. I need to remember that.

Hillary and Julie arrive at Sandy's house. He answers the door with "Did you hear about Al?" Oooooo! They go inside and spot Taylor and Vincent sitting on the couch. We're led to believe that Al has kicked the bucket, but no. He's just been suspended for getting into a fight. He got his ass handed to him on a rusty platter by a guy named David Arnold who is on the wrestling team. Hehe. Everyone quickly loses interest in Al because he's worthless and they all eat salsa and black tortilla chips. Hillary notices Taylor really wolfing it down and asks her how she stays so thin to which Taylor replies "I try to throw up every night." Everyone laughs because eating disorders are side-splittingly hilarious. HARHARHAR! Or not. Their good time ends when they hear a knock at the door. Of course it's Al who attempts to break the door down when they don't answer quick enough. Sandy finally opens the door and Al stumbles in drunk off his ass. He searches for beer even though his blood alcohol level is about a million. When Sandy tells him there is no booze to be had, Al gets really nasty. After a verbal slap fest, Al punches Sandy in the face, effectively knocking out a tooth. Hillary goes nuts and shoves Al into the refrigerator. He responds by shoving Sandy before running out the door. Drunks are just a barrel of laughs.

It's now Thursday afternoon and Julie is supposed to be heading to Vincent's house to work on a chemistry project. "I hoped maybe it would help get a special chemistry going between us! Ha-ha." Oh Julie. *sigh* But Julie gets hung up in the school parking lot with Corky Corcoran and some other cheerleaders about helping with the school car wash. She doesn't get to Vincent's house until 4:30 and he's pissed, but not at her. Al "borrowed" Vincent's mother's car by forcing Vincent to hand over the keys and he hasn't brought it back yet. I'm amazed that these people just keep catering to this idiot. Vincent's excuse is the same as Hillary's: he's done something bad that he doesn't want his parents knowing about and Vincent threatens to tattle unless all of his demands are met. In this case, Vincent took his parents' car without permission while they were down the street at a party and ended up getting a speeding ticket. Once again, just talk to your parents and stop letting some drunken fool have his way with you! Anyway, Al pulls up a moment later and to no-one's surprise, the car has been completely trashed. Al keeps saying it wasn't his fault, there were leaves covering the stop sign, at least he got it back on time... this last line causes Vincent to totally lose it. He lunges for Al and punches and scratches until Julie drags him off. "Al had turned away and was jogging down the driveway. Without calling to us, without uttering a word, he turned at the sidewalk and disappeared, jogging, behind a tall hedge. Al never looked back. That was on Thursday. The next night-Friday night-I killed him." Uh, WHAT?

Part Two

"Well...some people thought I killed Al. But of course I didn't." Then why the hell did you say you did? Dammit, Julie! Anyway, on Friday night, everyone heads to the Shadyside Rink for some Rollerblading. Julie calls Vincent, but he's grounded for the rest of his life because of the car. Since Julie spends about a year telling us how horrible Vincent is on skates, I doubt he views this particular trip as a huge loss. They hang up and Julie runs outside to jump into Hillary's blue Bonneville so they can get going. Taylor and Sandy are in the backseat and Julie tells everyone about Vincent. No-one really seems to give a shit. Everyone deserves friends as good as these. HA! At the rink, Julie and Hillary skate while Sandy and Taylor get busy slobbering all over each other. Hillary abandons Julie for a moment to talk to some guy she knows. She skates back over a moment later and asks Julie if she wants to go to a party. She says no so Hillary leaves with the guy. Julie leaves a few hours later (I guess Taylor and Sandy smothered each other) and comes upon a nasty sight in a nearby alley. "Al. Dead in the alley. Strangled by skates. Strangled and smothered. And dead." And dead? As if we wouldn't have figured that out on our own, genius. But yeah, somebody choked Al with their skates. They even shoved the front of a skate into his mouth. To prevent the corpse from talking, of course. Julie pokes around the lifeless body for a bit because she's never seen a dead person before. Before she can touch the skate sticking out of his gob, someone bursts through the back door of the rink and immediately accuses Julie of killing Al. Others follow and dear Julie is taken to the police station.

Officer Reed is asking Julie questions while her parents sit nearby wondering where they went wrong. Reed believes Julie when she says she didnt't do it. He just can't make sense of the murder since there was no theft involved. People kill people for motives other than money, Officer Doofy. Reed asks if Al had any enemies and I think I might laugh myself to death at this. Julie mentions those HARD DUDES! from Waynesbridge that had been such baaaaad influences on Al and then she blurts that everyone hated him. Yes!

Al's funeral takes place on a beautiful sunny day. Julie debated over whether to go because she keeps having horrible nightmares about Al and the skate in his mouth, but she shows up anyway. Nothing interesting happens. No visions of the corpse rising up, no urinating on the grave. Afterward, Julie and friends meet at Sandy's house to eat sammichs and forget that Al ever existed. Then Sandy says he has a confession to make: "You see, I'm the one. I'm the one that killed Al." Taylor suddenly transforms into a rabid chimp and throws herself across the room. Everyone else just sits there because they think he's joking. But Sandy is very serious and goes on to say that he did it for all of them because Al was going around ruining everybody's lives and had to be stopped. TIME OUT. Yes, Al totally sucked. But they allowed him to "ruin their lives." They all but begged him to do all the stupid shit he did! If these morons had simply cut ties with him (and been honest with their parents) they would have had no problem. *sigh* I'm just gonna forget about this before the throbbing vein in my forehead explodes and sprays my life blood all over the floor. So anyway, everyone is going nuts because Sandy has involved them in this by confessing. I love how they're totally cool with the fact that Sandy is a murderer, though. They all start arguing over whether or not they should turn Sandy in. Eventually they decide not to because Sandy killed someone that everybody hated therefore he was performing a valuable service for his community. Plus, Sandy swears he'll never kill again. "A week later, Sandy killed again." Don't worry--Sandy only killed in a stupid dream Julie had. The dream is laughably ridiculous. The way Julie describes Sandy, he comes across as the demon spawn of Chucky and Freddy Krueger: "Chubby little Sandy with his round, baby face. Now he was evil. Now he was an evil figure, come to scare me in my dreams." A freaky little murderer who shows up in your dreams to choke you to death with a pair of skates? Let go of the crack pipe, Julie...

The next evening is graduation rehearsal. Graduation gives Julie and the other seniors a bad case of the sads: "We don't want to leave Shadyside High. It's been our home for four years. We've had so many good times here." I'm not even going to bother with a comment on that one. It speaks for itself. After rehearsal, Julie and Hillary start walking home. All they talk about is Sandy. Blah. In the middle of this ENTHRALLING conversation, they think they hear someone following them. When they turn, no-one is there, but they've got a strong feeling someone is out there. They reach Fear Street and see a police cruiser parked at Julie's house. Officer Reed has a few more questions for Julie. He just asks about the HARD DUDES! from Waynesbridge, but Julie knows nothing about them so Reed leaves pretty quickly. Hillary and Julie sit there talking for a minute until they see movement in the front yard. It's Sandy creeping around like the weirdo he is and the girls realize he was the one following them earlier. They go to the door and Sandy slinks off into the night at the sight of them.

Two days later, Julie is walking past the gym after school and spots Vincent and Sandy playing basketball with some other guys. Vincent runs up to her and tells her to wait and he'll walk home with her. He runs to finish the game, but doesn't get a chance to because Sandy gets pissed for some reason and hurls the ball directly at Vincent, knocking his breath out. "Sandy is our enemy." You're a sharp one, Julie.

On Saturday night, Hillary and Julie go to see a new Keanu Reeves movie. They meet at the theater and Julie tells Hillary to go ahead and save their seats because she has to tinkle. As she enters the restroom, she bumps into Taylor. Julie admires Taylor's "hot and sexy" look which includes dark lipstick and a blue scrunchy. I'm not sure what that is, but it sure as hell isn't hot and sexy. "Very hot and sexy." Shut up, Julie. Taylor is being a bitch as usual, talking about Sandy and screaming in Julie's face "Sandy isn't a killer!" Uh, he admitted he was, dumbass. What is WRONG with these people?

Monday night brings another grad rehearsal and more idiotic shenanigans. Julie gets home fairly late and her parents aren't there so we know some shit is gonna hit the fan. As she's standing in the garage searching for her house key, the garage door starts to rattle closed and Julie is trapped inside. In the darkness, she can see Sandy coming near. "Hi Julie. It's me." No shit. He's holding his handy dandy Rollerblades...and puts them on a shelf. "You shouldn't leave these on the floor. Someone could trip over them." Thanks, Dad. He's ticked because Julie has been talking to Officer Reed. Then he tells Julie that she's gonna have to get over the fact that he killed someone if they're going to remain friends. Sounds reasonable. He leaves after glaring at her like a petulant five year old and saying "I'm warning you." Oooo!

The next day at lunch, Hillary tells Julie that Sandy "threatened" her, too. They spot he and Taylor looking at them, but they refuse to sit next to them and find an empty table. I don't know why this scene was even added because absolutely nothing happens. At the end of the day, Julie and Hillary run into Taylor. Here we go AGAIN. And yet AGAIN she goes nuts because they're hurting Sandy's feelings and he's such a nice guy and he only killed someone that ONE time and blah blah fucking blah. Hillary makes the mistake of telling Taylor to leave them alone. "Red-faced, exploding in rage, Taylor uttered a hoarse cry and grabbed Hillary's braid. Taylor tugged hard, snapping Hillary's head around. And then one hand swung across Hillary's neck and in an instant, deep scratch lines darkened across Hillary's throat." Damn. Julie FINALLY yanks them apart and Taylor pukes on the floor before running away. What the hell?

In the student parking lot, they get into Julie's car where they sit and talk MORE about Sandy. Hillary thinks the only reason Sandy confessed was because he wanted them to admire him. "Now Taylor is so nuts about him, she's ready to fight anyone who hurts Sandy's feelings." Hil decides she's going to Sandy's house to convince him to turn himself in. Otherwise, SHE'S going to. Because she has a death wish. Julie drops her off at Sandy's house and speeds away. Nice one.

A few hours pass and Julie sits by the phone wondering why Hillary hasn't called. Because you delivered her directly into the hands of a maniac! Eventually Hillary's mother calls asking if Julie has seen Hil and Julie lies and says no. She goes down to dinner a few minutes later and even though she's silently freaking out, she does nothing. *sigh*

Part Three

"Can you come over? Right now? I killed him. I killed Sandy." Shit. Julie rushes to Hillary's house and finds that Taylor and Vincent are already there. Hillary decided to wait until Julie arrived before telling them. The more witnesses, the better. Predictably, Taylor starts acting deranged, but Hillary makes her shut her yap so she can tell her story. She says she attempted to get Sandy to agree to confess to the police, but he just went cross-eyed with rage so Hillary cracked his head with his mom's sculpture of someone's bronze head...and this is just so damn convoluted. Seriously. Anyway, blood was spouting everywhere so Hillary freaked out and ran home. To make this crap even crazier, Taylor adds her two cents: "You don't understand! You don't understand anything at all! Why did Sandy have to die? He didn't do anything! He didn't do anything at all! Don't you understand? [I think that we've established that no-one, in fact, understands, you nitwit.] Sandy didn't kill Al! I did!" Ok, this is just bullshit. Does anyone really wanna know why Taylor did this? Well, you're getting it anyway. Al was "forcing" Taylor to steal money from her parents to give to him and she was sick of it. They got into a fight at the rink and since Taylor isn't known for thinking things through (or thinking AT ALL) she went wild and choked Al with her cruddy skates. Just as Taylor is gearing up to beat the crap out of Hillary for murdering her man, the door opens, and fucking SANDY walks in. That's it. I'm over this. I can't...I just can't! Ok, fine. I CAN. I just really really don't wanna. The entire thing was a set-up to get Taylor to confess. Sandy couldn't protect her anymore because he was sick of his friends thinking he was a homicidal maniac. Is it over now?

Two weeks later, Vincent and Julie are walking home from school when Vincent turns to her and says "Julie, I have a confession to make." And what, pray tell, would that be? "I've had a crush on you since third grade." Julie's response? "I screamed."

Conclusion? I liked most of this even though the characters made me want to set myself on fire at times. But what seriously pissed me off was Part Three. I wouldn't wipe my dog's ass with Part Three.

Next time: "The Face" Portraits of a dead boy drawn by an uncontrollable hand! Mwahahahaha!

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 ...