Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Prom Queen

Book Description:

A spring night..soft moonlight...five beautiful Prom Queen candidates...dancing couples at the Shadyside High prom--these should be the ingredients for romance. But stir in one brutal murder--then another and another--and the recipe quickly turns to horror. Lizzie McVay realizes that someone is murdering the five Prom Queen candidates one by one--and she may be next on the list! Can she stop the murderer before the dance is over--for good?

My Description:

So there's some weirdo murdering people around Shadyside. For some reason, this is big news even though it happens every other fucking day. Lizzie and her friends can't stop talking about it and everyone around town is afraid. I bet the people on Fear Street aren't scared. Because the killer is probably one of them. Anyway, it's Tuesday afternoon and Lizzie and her friends Dawn and Rachel are in the locker room after gym class. These three are all aflutter about the most recent murder: some teenage girl none of them knew. Rachel lives on Fear Street and since the bodywas found in the Fear Street Woods, she's extra scared. I'm pretty shocked at how insensitive all the girls in the room are. Every one of them makes some sick joke about the poor girl's murder. Bitches! It could be you all next! Unless you're a blonde. Rachel says she's getting a dog to guard her and Lizzie thinks about how poor Rachel's parents are. "I doubted they could swing for an alarm system, even with a serial killer on the loose." Did I mention these girls are bitches?

The bell rings and everyone heads for class. As they're preparing to leave the locker room, Dawn brings up prom and brags that four of the cutest guys at Shadyside High have already asked her out. *sigh* Gag me with a rusty spoon. Lizzie doesn't have a date because her boyfriend Kevin is an army brat and his father dragged him to Alabama. No-one cares about whether Rachel has a date because she's the weakest link. The girls finally exit the locker room and go to the auditorium for a prom assembly. The purpose: to announce the five prom queen candidates. Mr. Sewall (the principal whom everyone calls the Muppet) takes the podium and speaks about the most recent murder for a moment before completely downplaying it with a laugh. Are you people kidding me? Nothing about that situation is even remotely amusing!!! If the dead girl's mother knew you were laughing about this, you fat fugly Muppet, she'd probably set your bald head on fire with a blowtorch. Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the stupid prom queen candidates. First up is our very own Lizzie McVay who didn't even see it coming. Second is Simone Perry. She has long dark hair and is wearing a silk top and tight leather skirt and totally thinks she's the shit. Third is Elana Potter, a bouncy, perky, popular girl with no brains to speak of. Fourth is Dawn Rodgers, Lizzie's BFF and the new bane of my existence. Dawn gives a few Jersey Shore fist pumps which makes me hate her even more. The last candidate (and certainly the least) is Rachel West which makes no sense whatsoever because Rachel is a wallflower who's ignored by her own friends (as seen earlier in the locker room with Dawn and Lizzie). So how the hell did she manage to become a candidate? Oh well. The excitement dies pretty quickly when Muppet Sewall announces where the prom will take place. "But what you seniors don't know is that as a special treat, I've been able to rent the newly refurbished Halsey Manor House. That should make for quite a party, don't you think?" You cheap motherfucker! First of all, I call you 'cheap' because the place is located in the Fear Street Woods near the place where that girl's body was found so you probably got it for a steal. Second, I don't give a damn if the place is "refurbished" or not because it's still gonna be a dark, dank dump in the middle of the dark, dank woods. The prom is supposed to be fun which means it should NOT take place on Fear Street next to a crime scene. To say you dropped the ball on this one, Mr. Muppetbutt, would be a huge understatement. Everyone in the audience is just as disappointed as me. Lizzie is upset and completely tunes the principal out and thinks about her fellow candidates (note: this is just a plot contrivance so Stine can ramble on about how these girls look which kind of creeps me out). Let's keep it brief:

Simone = dark, dramatic (star of the drama club), and a complete psychopath (a la Fatal Attraction) about her boyfriend Justin.

Elana = pretty, preppy, popular, rich, smart

Dawn = she looks exactly like Dawn Schafer of Babysitter's Club fame, good at sports and snagging guys (is that Lizzie's way of calling her a slut?)

Rachel = poor white trash, shy, red hair, pretty. May I ask why we have to be beaten over the head with the fact that she's poor? I'm still on the first chapter and I've already been told this like five times. Seriously, who cares? Unless Racehl is the killer and she's murdering all the wealthy people that have given her shit over the years. As for the prom queen candidates...well, there IS a $3000 scholarship for the winner. And Rachel could sure use it.

After school, everyone goes to their safe place, Pete's Pizza, to celebrate. Or something. I don't think these people really need an excuse to show up at Pete's. The prom queen girls sit together and the first thing that comes up is the killer. Finally, Lizzie suggests that they do each other's speeches. Simone pretends to be Dawn and vice versa and they both get big laughs (yes, I may have tittered a few times. Yes, I just used the word 'titter'.) When Elana pretends to be Rachel, it's cringe inducing because all she talks about is Rachel's poverty. Then Rachel strikes a nerve when she pretends to be Elana and takes the spoiled little rich girl act a little too far. The table gets quiet until Simone leaps up and screams "No! Stop!" and runs out of the restaurant. She's acting like someone was just murdered, but it's just Justin talking to some cute girl outside and Simone ain't having it. While she's away, Dawn has a dirty little secret to unveil: "I went out with Justin last week." She doesn't regret it, but I imagine she will when Simone puts her in traction. But Rachel drops another bomb. Dawn asks her what she would do if Justin asked her out and she says "He already asked me. I said yes." Bad girl!

That night, Lizzie is back in the auditorium for play rehearsal (she does props). Some dude named Robbie wants to know where Simone is and tells someone to call her. They get no answer so Lizzie decides Simone is somewhere in the school and goes to look for her. She manages to get herself locked in a dark stairwell because she's a genius. Then she starts screaming like a deranged loon because she hears someone coming. It turns out to be Mr. Santucci, the janitor, who wants to know what the hell is wrong with her. Lizzie apologizes and walks out to the parking lot where Dawn is preparing to leave. Dawn is acting an awfully lot like a prom queen killer in Lizzie's opinion. She gets in her car even though it's obvious she sees Lizzie coming, starts the car, and attempts to drive away even though Lizzie is standing right there. Finally she rolls down the window and Lizzie is shocked to see that her face is covered in scratch marks and she's got blood on her shirt. Dawn says she was playing tennis and crashed into the fence surrounding the court. Uh-huh. Dawn drives away before Lizzie can say another word. Robbie and Eva come out to the parking lot and say that rehearsal is cancelled because Simone is a no-show and she's the lead.

Lizzie heads to Simone's place where her dad says she's upstairs in her room. The room is totally trashed and there's a huge puddle of blood in the middle of the floor. Lizzie sees a flash out of the corner of her eye and runs over to the window where she spots some dude (or could it be someone of the female persuasion for once?) running into the woods carrying something wrapped in a big gray sack. I'm sure it's just some dirty laundry, Lizzie. No need to scream so loud.

The next afternoon, Lizzie and pals are at Simone's house eating peanut butter cookies and watching Simone's mom cry over her missing daughter. Assholes. A couple of police officers show up to ask questions. They tell Simone's parents that they've got people searching for Simone. Who cares? She's already dead and even if she wasn't, they'd never find her because they suck. The officers ask everyone where they were last night. Everyone has an alibi so the cops leave. Everyone else leaves a moment later. Outside, some cross-eyed weirdo named Lucas Brown comes running up to Lizzie screaming "I killed her! I killed her!" He didn't. He's just an insensitive ass who thinks that's funny. Lucas badgers Lizzie until she gets into her car. He makes the mistake of putting his fingers on the open window and she nearly crushes them as she rolls the window up. As she's driving home, she remembers something about the person she saw running in the woods last night...and the chapter ends there with giving details. Typical.

Two weeks later, Simone is still missing and no-one seems to give a shit anymore. Once again: these people are assholes! Lizzie claims she can't stop thinking about Simone, but I don't believe it. Anyway, it's Wednesday night and Lizzie, Dawn, and Rachel are driving to Division Street Mall. Lizzie brings up the fact that Lucas Brown (the cross-eyed guy) asked her to prom. The girls find this hilarious of course. Lizzie shot him down because she suspects he had something to do with Simone's disappearance; that person running in the woods with the giant sack was wearing a maroon baseball jacket just like Lucas wears. That proves nothing, Detective Liz. Plus, Lucas dated Simone for a very short time before she dumped him and broke his achy heart so maybe he killed her in revenge. *sigh* Suddenly Lizzie announces they're making a stop at Simone's house. Why? To remind her parents of what they've lost? Dawn bitches about it, but Liz insists. Dawn stays in the car while Lizzie and Rachel go knocking on the door. Simone's dad fills them in on what's been going on (nothing) and shuts the door in their faces. They get back in the car where Lizzie and Dawn exchange some fighting words. Lizzie accuses Dawn of being insensitive about this whole Simone thing which makes me laugh because it ain't just Dawn who's being insensitive. They finally change the subject to prom which is about two weeks away.

When they reach the mall, they make a dash for the prom dresses. Dawn acts like a total bitch, telling the other two girls that they don't look too good. Then Lizzie and Dawn fight over a dress and Dawn ends up "winning" because she's bitchier. Eventually they leave the store and go to the movie theater. Lizzie spots Suki Thomas, Shadyside's notorious harlot, clinging to Justin, Simone's slutty boyfriend. During the movie all Lizzie can think about is those two. Dawn gets up to go get a drink and tramples all over Lizzie, effectively breaking her trance (and possibly her toes). After about 10 minutes have passed and Dawn still hasn't returned, Rachel goes to check on her. A moment later, she comes running back and tells Lizzie something terrible has happened to Dawn. Maybe she drowned in the toilet. Never mind--she just passed out. When she wakes up, she mumbles that some dude came out of nowhere and hit her in the head. The cops come, Dawn explains it all, and the manager offers her free tickets for another movie since she didn't finish this one. Thanks. Cheapskate. (If I almost get my head caved in at your theater, I expect some cash.)

At home, Lizzie sees that she received a letter from her old lover Kevin. Nothing interesting there. Kevin sounds like a 75 year old retiree living in Boca. A storm is raging outside which means something bad is going to happen soon. Lizzie starts a letter to Kevin: "Dear Kevin, Simone is dead." Seriously, that's how she begins. Couldn't she at least ask him how he's doing before launching into the obituary? She doesn't get much further because Rachel calls: "Help, Lizzie--please!" The line goes dead and Lizzie rushes to Fear Street. As she's driving past the cemetery, she runs over something...someone? She gets out of the car, realizes she just killed a raccoon, and almost gets her own ass ran over by a passing truck. Geez. Lizzie manages to get to Rachel's house in one piece. When she gets inside, she runs up to Rachel's room expecting a bloody corpse, but Rachel is fine. So why the theatrical phone call? "Gideon is breaking up with me." That's it?! You call someone screaming for help because your stupid boyfriend is over your mess? Screw you, Rachel. She rambles about Gideon getting with Elana and blah blah it sucks blah blah. Lizzie leaves a few minutes later without beating the fucking tar out of Rachel for being such a whiny little creep.

When Lizzie gets home, her father excitedly informs her that the murderer has been caught. She's disappointed that it's just some nut that broke out of prison and not Lucas. No comment. Lizzie decides to stuff her face with chocolate and veg out in front of the TV to calm herself. She turns the channel to the news and sees the rotten-toothed murderer who claims he did nothing. Lizzie goes to bed, but doesn't get to sleep for long. She hears knocking at the door and she and her parents go downstairs and find a cop on the porch who informs Lizzie that she was the last one to see Rachel alive. Two down...

It's been a week since Rachel's murder (she was found stabbed to death on her bedroom floor) and everything is just peaches and cream. No-one knows what the hell is going on and no-one seems to care. La di da! Side note: I think the killer is Simone...and I only JUST started thinking that because I'm incredibly dense. Anyway, it's Thursday night and Lizzie is checking props for the play rehearsal. Dawn comes up to her and says she never should've taken Simone's part because wearing a dead girl's costume is too creepy. Then she says this killer is obviously targeting prom queen candidates and she could be next! One can only hope. Dawn goes on stage and Lizzie suddenly gets the idea that DAWN could be the killer. Why? "She desperately wanted to win. She was crazy about winning. We all knew that. Crazy... What if Dawn gotsome guy to kill the other candidates?" Why do they aways assume it's a guy? Women are perfectly capable of murder!

Lizzie starts thinking about Rachel's ex, Gideon, and thinks maybe he did it. *sigh* Then a sandbag comes tumbling down to stage, distracting Lizzie and nearly creaming Dawn. After comforting Dawn who makes a big production about someone trying to kill her, Lizzie leaves. As she's driving through the pouring rain, she sees a face pop up in her rearview mirror. It's stupid Lucas who carries on about wanting to get to know her better and blah blah blah. When Lizzie realizes he's wearing a maroon baseball jacket, she freaks out and forces him out. She speeds all the way home. When she gets there, the lights are out and her parents are gone. She turns on the kitchen light and finds Justin sitting there. He tells her that her parents went to the airport to pick up Lizzie's aunt. Why did they leave this fool in their house? Justin starts hitting on Lizzie after mentioning how lonely it's been since Simone went missing. What. An. Asshole. Lizzie tells him to take a hike which he does.

That night, Lizzie has a nightmare about zombie prom queens and wakes up screaming. The next day at school, it's all she can think about. At lunch, Lizzie walks right past Elana and Dawn and sits with some nerdy freshman dude instead who's in heaven because a senior is paying attention to him. Once Lizzie is done eating, Elana comes up to Lizzie and says they need to talk. Since they've got 20 minuest left in the lunch period, they take a walk to Shadyside Park. I'm surprised they're allowed to leave at lunch. At my high school, we were practically shackled to the tables. And the loony (and when I say loony, I mean it. This chick was fucking daffy.) "monitor" Kathy had her beady eyes on you so you couldn't exactly slip away. Anyway, Elana cries over her guilt at dating Gideon (she was the reason he broke up with Rachel) and Lizzie tells her it's ok. You're both bitches. Lizzie asks if Gideon ever mentioned the prom queen contest. When Elana says no, Lizzie says "His family's about as poor as Rachel's, you know." SO?! Lizzie's theory is that Gideon is offing all the candidates except for one who he will seduce so he can steal her $3000 scholarship. Just be quiet, Lizzie. Just shut up for two minutes and think about the crap that's flowing from your mouth. The girls talk about their prom dates. Elana is going with some dude named Bruce Chadwick and Lizzie says she'll probably end up going with her cousin Seth because Kevin's dad won't let him come. Is it a sin to go alone? She doesn't sound too enthused about Seth so why take him? Why am I still asking questions?

That evening, Lizzie drives to play rehearsal and thinks about how comforting Shadyside High is: "I knew that old school smell so well--a combination of floor wax, sweat, peanut butter, and sour milk. How could anything bad happen here?" How could it NOT? And sweat and peanut butter? What the hell? She goes into the dak auditorium, turns on the lights, and begins screaming bloody murder. Elana's twisted corpse is lying on the stage in a pool of blood. The janitor calls an ambulance and when it arrives, Lizzie gets a closer look at Elana's smashed up face...and the swatch of maroon fabric clutched in her dead fist.

As Lizzie is trying to get to sleep that night, Justin calls her because he has no manners and thinks harrassing her in the middle of the night is A-ok. He says he needs to tell her something important, but he needs to say it in person. Lizzie actually agrees to turn her house's alarm system off so Justin can sneak in without waking her parents. Moron. Does she honestly think he just wants to talk? He comes over and just when Lizzie starts getting nervous because he's acting weird, her dad comes in and Justin leaves a moment later Lizzie goes back to bed, but she can't go to sleep because a tree branch is tapping at the window like some grody vampire begging to be invited in.

On Monday, Lizzie manages to avoid Justin all day. When she gets home, she finds a letter from Kevin stating that he can go to prom with her after all. Blah blah dress rehearsal blah blah Justin acting sweaty and weird and asking Lizzie to prom like the jackass he is blah blah Dawn gets stabbed. Yes, some shadowy figure (the Phantom?) shows up, he/she and Dawn struggle, and he/she endsup burying a knife in her chesr. Lizzie watches the entire thingand finally sees the killer's face. It's our darling Simone! I don't want to say I told you so, but dammit, I told you so. Simone is oh-so-pissed: "I'm killing everyone who betrayed me, everyone who sneaked out with Justin." Because that's reasonable. She goes on to say that she's been living in the prop room, sustaining herself on cafeteria food and theater mice. As Simone takes a step toward Lizzie, Lizzie pulls a rope causing a sandbag to come down and crush Simone's dainty foot. Simone passes out and Lizzie runs over to Dawn who is somehow STILL ALIVE. Whatever. Simone regains consciousness, she and Lizzie have the obligatory wrestling death match, and I have absolutely no idea what happens to Simone. Seriously, the paramedics come for Dawn, but there's no mention of whether Simone is alive or dead. LAME!

It's now the night of the prom. Lizzie is dancing with her cream puff, Kevin, and all is right with the world even though people are dead and everyone is in a house in the middle of the Fear Street Woods.

Conclusion? This book is a jerk.

Next time: "Fear Hall: The Beginning" Yes, folks, the Fear family built a college dorm for whatever reason and now someone is killing people who live there. Should be...predictable.

Friday, March 19, 2010

99 Fear Street: The First Horror

Book Description:

Twin sisters Cally and Kody Frasier aren't thrilled that their family has moved to Fear Street. They've heard the strange stories. They know about the centuries of nightmarish terror. But what they don't know is that they've moved into the one house that even the neighbors on Fear Street are afraid to enter. The house that has stood mysteriously empty for the past thirty years. They moved to 99 Fear Street. Now they must learn the secret of 99 Fear Street or they will become the next victims of the house of evil.

My Description:

Prologue (1960)

Some guy named Jimmy Lunt (dude, seriously? LUNT?) and his friend Andy Skowski are in a dark basement talking about all the guysthey've lost on this building project. Through their extremely expositional conversation (is expositional the right word? Oh well. If it isn't, feel free to shoot me.) we learn that school starts in a week and this crappy summer job will be over. Also, this house they're working on (located at 99 Fear Street. NOOO!) was built over some unmarked graves. Nice way to respect the dead, assholes. Anyway, Jimmy wants to get the hell out of here because he has a Beach Boys concert to get to and if he misses it, someone's ass is grass. Jim, you just announced that you're into the Beach Boys. Nobody is gonna buy your tough guy act, trust me. They turn a flashlight on the wall and a spot a crack with a fat rat coming out of it. A moment later, a giant black shadowy thing flows out of the crack, covers the boys, and disappears a moment later leaving both boys dead and surrounded by rats. Those two are totally fired--you don't go dying on the job.

Now we come to chapter 1 (look excited, dammit!). It's moving day for the Frasier clan and they're a little lost in Shadyside. The kids are no help--Cally and Kody and their bratty little brother James do nothing but complain. Yes, Shadyside sucks eggs, children. But you'd better get over it now because it only gets worse. They finally locate 99 Fear Street and everyone piles out of the car. Like every other house on Fear Street, the place is a damn dump. Dark and depressing atmosphere? Check. Gnarled trees and uncut grass? Check. Broken shutters and chipped paint? Check. Welcome to Fear Street! Cally stands in the long, ragged grass thinking about how dank the place looks and sweeping her long blonde hair (of fucking course!) over her shoulders like she's posing for Vogue. Cally is the perfect one and Kody...just exists. Basically the first chapter consists of nothing but these two and James whining and complaining about everything under the sun. As for the absolutely worthless parental units, I assume they're counting down the minutes until they can make a break for the nearest bar.

As they're all dragging boxes and such into the house, a heavy tree branch breaks off for no apparent reason and nearly crushes Cally and her pristine blonde head. It crashes into the roof instead and startles Cally so much she drops a box of china, shattering every piece. Is it wrong that I care more about the broken plates than the fact that Cally almost became a splattery mess? Oh well! A few moments later, Mr. Lurie, the real estate agent, shows up and the girls use the opportunity to complain some more. He leaves a moment later because the Frasier family sucks.

Inside the house, we get yet ANOTHER giant dollop of the bitching and moaning that these people do so well. *sigh*

Upstairs, Cally and Kody argue over who gets the bigger room and Mom tells Kody to stop complaining. No comment. James goes batshit about seeing the basement. Apparently rusty pipes, cobwebs, and rat droppings really turn this kid on. Cally and Kody go down there with him and find the aforementioned cobwebs. A couple of rats also make an appearance and one attempts to score with Cally, but she freaks out and kicks it away. They all run back upstairs where Mom asks what they want for lunch. (I'll take a rat sammich, easy on the mayo.) The doorbell rings and Dad answers it, finding a neighbor standing on the porch. "He had straight black hair down to the collar of his gray T-shirt. He wore gray denim overalls. His eyes were small and black beneath bushy eyebrows and he had a black mustache." The guy introduces himself as Glen Hankers and asks if they need any help around the house because he just happens to be a handyman. For all these people know, this guy could be a psychotic maniac (and in this town, the chances are HIGH) but Dad acts like he's an old friend and invites him right on in. They explain about the rat issue and Mr. Hankers says he can take care of that right away.

That night, Cally sits in her room writing in her diary. Is it a snooze? You bet your sweet ass it is. She recaps her day ("I never expected such a run-down, dark, gloomy, tacky place!"), confesses that she can't stop thinking about Rick, the boy toy she left behind in her old town ("I wonder if he's been thinking about me." Not if he's smart.), and pretends to care about Kody's feelings ("I hate it that she's so jealous of me! What am I supposed to do?" For starters, shut your face.) Cally falls asleep to the sound of rats shuffling their feet.

The next morning at breakfast, Cally says she's going to look for a job and she's gonna meet glamorous people and become famous before summer's end. Where the hell does she think she is?! Kody mumbles that she's gonna look for a waitressing job, but everyone pretty much ignores her because she's not Cally. Mom asks Kody to go open the window because they need some clean air in here/ She does and a moment later..."My hands! My hands!" The window crashed down on her hands for no reason, but they're not broken or amputated or anything so I don't care.

At 5:00 PM, the girls meet up at The Corner to talk about their job search. After looking all day, Cally got a job at a boutique called Two Cute that sells cheesy shit to couples. As if finding a job is that easy. Kody is still unemployed and depressed. They finally head home and when they get inside, something jumps out of the dark onto Cally! SQUEEE! It's just a cute cuddly puppy that Dad picked up at the ASPCA for James. He named it Cubby. Awwww.

If it got any cuter, I'd have to kill myself. Anyway, it's now time for dinner. Dad says that since Kody couldn't find a job, she could help with the household repairs because Mr. Hankers could use it. Kody agrees and the rest of dinner is spent talking about Cubby...until Dad gets knifed. He's preparing to carve some meat off the roast when somehow the knife ends up in his side. he blames Cally even though it's obvious she didn't do it. HA! Mom rushes Dad upstairs to check the wound and see if it needs stitches. While they're out of the room, Kody tells Cally "A ghost pushed his arm. I know it." I'm gonna go with Dad's theory and blame Cally.

That night, Kody and Cally talk about what happened earlier (Dad ended up needing 12 stitches) and Kody insists she felt "a cold presence" which Cally just shrugs off. Kody gets pissed: "You don't know everything! I hate it when you act so smug and superior!" Hallelujah. They argue for a few minutes until Kody stomps off to her room. Cally goes to sleep, but is awakened a few hours later by "a soft knocking on her bedroom door." She opens it...but there's no-one there. OoOoOo! The knocking continues through the night...

The next morning, the new housekeeper, Mrs. Nordstrom, arrives. Then Mr. Hankers shows up and a few minutes later, Cally gets a call saying she won't start work until Monday so Dad volunteers her to work with Hankers and Kody. This should be a disaster. Cally and Kody go outside to start working on the roof. Well, KODY works on the roof. Cally's only job is to hold the ladder for her. Once again, this should be a disaster. Kody starts climbing and the ladder starts shaking. When she's almost at the very top, the ladder starts jiggling out of control. Kody screams at Cally, but it's not her fault. The ladder eventually topples backward and Kody falls HARD. We learn from one of Cally's diary entries that Kody is sore, but she didn't break anything. She also confesses to being totally freaked out by everything that's been happening lately. Oh, and she's damn sick of being blamed! After she's finished writing, Cally tries to fall asleep, but that knocking starts again. Ghosts suck.

Cally wakes the next morning and finds that all of her clothes have been taken from her closet and strewn across the room. She runs downstairs and demands to know where the dog is. Unless the dog suddenly sprouted opposable thumbs and grew a couple feet overnight, I doubt he did it. It wasn't you, was it, Cubby?

See? Anyway, no-one can find Cubby and Cally is pissed that they're more worried about the puppy that Cally's stinking wardrobe. She steps out onto the front porch and screams. "The porch was splattered with blood. Cally raised her hands to her face as she saw the huge blood-scrawled number on the house wall. 99" Everyone comes running at the sound of Cally's blood curdling screech. Mom and Dad declare this is paint and just the work of some prankster. Everyone quickly forgets all about it and starts searching for Cubby (that damn well better not be HIS blood). Cally goes around the house and spots this dude named Anthony that works at The Corner. He's mowing a lawn, but stops to come over and talk to Cally because he's seen her around and thinks she's cute or something. Since Cally thinks this guy is hot, she forgets about Cubby. He tells her he doesn't actually live on Fear Street and proceeds to give her Fear Street's sordid history. He says he lives in the Old Village and calls it "pretty nice" which is a total lie because everyone knows that's the shitty part of town. When Cally tells him she lives at 99 Fear Street, he looks pretty spazzed out, but he doesn't get a chance to explain why because James comes running up and demand that Cally help him look for the dog, dammit!

Later, Anthony comes over even though he's freaked out by the place. Cally, Kody, and Anthony eat sandwiches and potato chips and then Cally starts begging to know about the evil behind 99 Fear Street. Basically there were a bunch of coffins with the Fear family crest on them that were found on this land. Instead of leaving them alone, they were dug up and the house was built. Ever since then, horrible things keep happening. Suddenly James's screams interrupt the story. They run to see what happened and find him standing in the kitchen repeating "Where is he?" He keeps hearing Cubby barking and it sounds like it's coming from the house, but James can't find him. Anthony leaves a few minutes later because he has better things to do than find the lost dog (you suck, Anthony!) but Cally, Kody, and James keep searching. They don't find anything. SOB.

That night, after writing in her diary as usual, Cally thinks about Anthony until her mind wanders to the knocking she hears every night. She decides she'll stay awake until she hears it and right after the first knock, she'll open the door. What's that gonna do? If it really is a frigging ghost, it'll immediately disappear. A moment later, she hears the knock and opens the door only to find KODY standing there. Yes, it turns out she's been doing the knocking in a feeble attempt to get Cally to believe in ghosts. She also was the one who scattered Cally's clothes everywhere and painted the '99' on the porch. What a disappointment. At least before there was the possibility of a ghost. You're killing my spirit here, Kody. Cally basically tells her to shut up. Good idea.

Later, Cally still can't fall asleep. She goes into the bathroom to splash some water on her face (why would that help her sleep? It would cause you to be MORE awake if anything. Idiot.) and gets a disgusting surprise. "Chunky green liquid, as sour smelling as vomit, poured out of the faucet, plopping into the sink. It ran down Cally's cheeks, dripped on to her neck, then on to the front of her nightshirt." Yum. She pukes and Kody comes in to see if she's ok. The chunky green soup just keeps on rolling out of the faucet and Dad comes in to try and shut it off but he has no luck because this shit is evil and you can't stop the evil! Mwhahahahaha! James comes in and says he can hear Cubby and the sounds are coming from the basement so he rushes downstairs. Mom comes in next (why are these fools still standing in that nasty ass bathroom?!) and they all freak out because she's covered in blood, but it isn't hers, it just dripped on her. Yeah, I have no idea what's going on. James comes running back in, sobbing because he hears Cubby, but he can't find him. Sad face :( Dad decides there must be something in the attic causing all this and he goes up there. He comes down a few minutes later and he's going nuts because he found some human heads and a while lotta blood. Well, that's just DANDY.

Later, the police come, but they find nothing in the attic. A doctor also shows up (as if) to give Pops something to knock his hysterical ass out. Mom and the girls clean up the bathroom and wonder what they can do to rid the house of the eeeeevil presence.

The next morning, Dad decides he'll call Mr. Lurie (that real estate guy) because the crooked bastard obviously knew something was up with this house when he sold it to them. Lurie's business card doesn't have a phone number, but his address is there and he's conveniently located on Fear Street. Cally goes with her dad to visit Mr. Lurie and when they reach the address, all they find is an empty lot. Dad is understandably sad and mad because Lurie took their money and ran. Ass. Cally mentions that Anthony told her the town historian knows everything about everyone and he can be found at the library so that's where they go next. The historian, Mr. Stuyvesant, finds the info about Lurie and it's very unappetizing: "Jason Lurie, real estate agent. In July of 1960, found his family murdered in a new house he had built for them. Hanged himself one month later in the same house. House located at 99 Fear Street." So a dead guy sold them the house. Guess they won't be getting that money back after all...

More from Cally's diary. Everyone is completely numb about the Lurie news. They're saddened by the fact that they continue to hear Cubby bark and howl, but they still can't find him. But who gives a damn! Cally has a date with Anthony! Yeeeeee- hawwwww! *sigh* Repulsive. Just repulsive.

On Saturday night, Anthony comes over to eat dinner before he and Cally leave for the movies. The menu: spaghetti and brownies. Mom, Dad, and James are visiting relatives so it's just gonna be Kody joining them at dinner. And then they're gonna leave her alone in the creepy haunted house. Nice. They make out for a few minutes and then go into the kitchen to eat. Afterward, Anthony helps clean up and all he gets for his trouble is having his fingers eaten by the garbage disposal. "The hand was a mangled pulp, a pink and red mass of skin, blood, and bone." Wow. *cough*thatsurewasawesome*cough* The girls manage to find his fingers and take him to the hospital where the doctor sews the digits back on.

The next evening, everyone is very tense. James is pacing the floor in worry over Cubby and Dad is losing his mind because he doesn't have the money to move away from this cursed shithole. Eventually, they all just go to bed and try to forget everything for at least one night. Cally writes in her diary until she hears James crying out. Everyone runs into his room and they can plainly hear him calling to them, but he's nowhere to be seen. The puppy AND the child? You're a real class act, Stine. Mom starts screaming that James is in the wall, and Dad starts clawing at the wallpaper until his fingers bleed. They've officially lost it. Dad says they need the sledgehammer in the basement. Let's just not question why they have a sledgehammer. Cally goes down to get it and is greeted by dozens of rats. Looks like Mr. Hankers has been slacking on the job. Cally grabs the sledgehammer and an iron pick and races back upstairs without any problem from the rat community. Dad makes a giant hole in the wall for nothing: James isn't there, but they can still hear him. They run to the stairs and Mom ends up falling down them and breaking her arm. Could it get any worse? "Mommy, where are you? Come get me! Hey, I found Cubby!" That's great, James, but Mommy's gonna be pickled on painkillers pretty soon so be a good boy and put a sock in it. Since their father doesn't give a shit about his wife (he's climbing up to the attic) the girls try to help. Cally attempts to call an ambulance, but the phone is dead. (Is there anything MORE cliched?) Cally watches her father climb the ladder to the attic and sees a black mist come down and cover his head. It's only there for a moment, but once it disappears, Dad says he's gone blind. *sigh* Off to the hospital we go...

Mom gets her arm set in a cast and the girls take her home, but Dad has to stay at the hospital. They all head for bed. Cally can't sleep and sits in her bed and cries for James instead. Then she hears three knocks at her door. She assumes it's Kody and storms across the room to open the door. But there's no-one there and the house is pitch black. She sees a white figure at the end of the hallway, mistakes it for Kody, and runs to it. When the figure turns, Cally finds herself staring at...herself. The ghostly figure tells Cally to go read what she wrote earlier in her diary. The pages reads "I DIED TONIGHT." Why write it down? As if you would need a reminder! Cally freaks out, but her ghost simply laughs in her face. How the hell are there TWO of her? Oh well. Cally finds herself drowning in bubbling hot tar and surrounded by decayed faces of the dead. The evil of the house has consumed her and now she's nothing but a pissed off ghost.

The family moves from 99 Fear Street (no mention of Dad. I assume he's dead.) Kody vows to come back someday, but Cally laughs and says to herself that Kody will pay dearly if she returns to this place.


The deceased Mr. Lurie has sold 99 Fear Street to a new family. Cally is very attracted to Brandt, the teenage son. "Watching Brandt, Cally was already making plans." Gross.

Conclusion? I really liked this one. But I'd like to know how Cally died. Is that revealed in the next book? And what about Cubby, James, and Dad? Did they just disappear forever? THE HUMANITY!

Next time: "The Prom Queen" Someone is offing the prom queen candidates one by one. Will the police find the murderer before all these girls are dead? SPOILER: No.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cataluna Chronicles: The Evil Moon

Book Description:

Bryan wants the Cataluna more than he's ever wanted anything. The sleek white car is all he can think about. And he'll do whatever it takes to get it. Steal. Even kill. But Bryan is the one who could end up dead. Inside the Cataluna lives an ancient evil. And it wants him.

My Description:

Let's just get this out of the way: I am not going to compare this to Christine. Promise! Ok, let's get started...


Two boys, Matt and Chris, are touring a used car lot in the middle of the night. They're admiring the white Cataluna and realize that it's the only car on the lot that doesn't have a price "soaped" on the windshield. Matt gets excited when he sees that the keys are in the ignition and they decide to take it for a joy ride, claiming they'll bring it back in a hour. You two probably won't be alive for another hour. They speed off to Fear Street (didn't see that one coming) blaring Aerosmith when suddenly they hear a woman's voice: "Having fun, boys?" They start to freak out when the car speeds up by itself and starts swerving all over the place. Matt and Chris are geniuses and decide to jump out of the car even though it's going over 80. They land in the middle of the road and promptly get ran over by a truck. "Bump, bump. Bump, bump. The trucks middle tires hit. Bump, bump. The rear tires." Damn. The driver gets out, sees the bloody broken bodies, and vomits on the side of the road. He turns to look at the Cataluna and says "It's staring at me." Indeed. The end of the prologue is from the point of view of someone who was a victim of the car in 1698 which makes no frigging sense because as far as I know, there were no cars then. Unless my old history classes lied to me. Fuck the public school system!

Part One - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

We will now step back in time to Ye Olde Village. 15 year old Catherine Hatchett is peeking in the window of Ye Olde Schoolhouse (ok, I'll stop with that) listening as Master Porter teaches the boys Latin. Once, Catherine got her hands on a hornbook and got in trouble for reading it. Sinning wench! How dare she let her desire for learning get in the way of her household drudgery?! Catherine is a feminist who thinks it's total bullshit that she can't learn along with the boys. After the teacher puts the switch to a couple of kids who don't know the answer to his question, class is over. Upon coming outside, the boys spot Catherine and start taunting her. They keep screaming that she's bad luck until she runs off, but they chase her. Some jerk named John North says if she thinks she's as good as any boy, then she should prove it by wrestling him. Kick him in the nads and let's call it a day, Cath. Instead, Catherine picks up a rock and hurls it at the circle of boys, hitting one named Charles. In her defense, they WERE threatening to cut off her head with a hatchet. Catherine freaks out, but the boys start laughing because the little bastard isn't REALLY dead. She runs away and heads home where her mother Martha gets on her case for not helping make dinner and for getting so dirty. This chick is having the day from hell. When she tells her mother that the boys were calling her Bad Luck Catherine, Ma is absolutely no comfort: "You are bad luck and that is the shameful truth. Born under a bad moon.: You, Martha Hatchett, are a real bitch. And THAT'S the shameful truth! She doesn't stop there. She carries on about Catherine's moon-shaped birthmark and how she has cursed the entire family and finally Catherine flees the house. She runs into the woods until she reaches the tiny house of Crazy Gwendolyn, the obligatory witchy woman that all Olde Villages had. Even though Gwen is a little kooky, she's very kind to Catherine and totally my favorite character so far. She and Catherine drink tea and talk until dusk. Even though Catherine doesn't wanna go back to her shitty family, Gwen insists that they'll be worried (she obviously doesn't know them. They've probably completely forgotten Catherine is alive.) So Catherine finally goes.

In the woods, Catherine freaks out and starts running after thinking she hears footsteps. Unfortunately, she trips on a tree root and two assholes named Joseph and William take the opportunity to surround her. They proceed to list all the bad things that have occurred lately and blame Catherine's bad luck. There are no words for how utterly stupid the people in this town are. The boys tell her that she'll soon be banished from the colony, but until then...well, it's not really clear what they plan to do. Joseph says he'll take of her and tells his brother to go home. Joseph ends up kissing Catherine and telling her he cares about her. Does. Not. Compute. Sadly, she's stupid enough to believe him and agrees to meet him again.

Three weeks later, Catherine is setting the table for dinner and daydreaming about marrying Joseph. Fool. Since that first kiss, they've met in secret several times because Joseph is a jackass who would be horribly ashamed if anyone knew. A storm is raging outside and Catherine's father comes in dripping wet. He says he was at a town meeting to discuss what to do about Catherine. At least her family is on her side. *sigh* 1698 sucks.

Part Two - Shadyside (1995)

Bryan Folger is getting chewed out by his boss, Mr. Robbins, for screwing up some mundane detail. He works at Happy Burger (no, he's not in trouble for poisoning the customers) and hates it and in turn, his boss hates his crappy attitude. All Bryan wants to do is cruise around in the white car he saw at Denny's car lot (ruh roh) with his girlfriend Misty. After royally screwing up a customer's order, Mr. Robbins flips out and fires him. Bryan sobs into a pile of soggy French fries and stale Happy buns because he won't be able to save up enough money to buy the car now! I guess finding another job is out of the question. Anyway, Bryan's sadness turns to rage and he ends up sloshing hot grease all over Mr. Robbins. At least he thought it was hot. Robbins laughs in his face and tells him to get the hell out.

Bryan rides his bicycle home in the rain, changes into dry clothes, and decides to ride over to Misty's house since the rain has finally stopped. Misty is a rich blond who lives in a giant house. Of course she does. Bryan doesn't like her wealthy father because he looks down on Bryan for being poor. After Bryan tells Misty he lost his job and tried to maim his boss, they make out and then Bryan starts yapping about the Cataluna. Misty doesn't like hearing about this car all the time so she changes the subject to their upcoming date on Friday night. She wanted to go to a fancy restaurant, but Bryan says he doesn't have the money so Misty suggests they stay home and rent movies instead. Ok, I really don't get it. She has gobs of money so why the hell can't SHE pay? Misty sucks.

After leaving Misty's palace, Bryan goes to his friend Alan's house. Alan is also sickeningly rich. They drive to Denny's car lot in Alan's mother's car to admire the stupid Cataluna. After Bryan says "Do you think it's possible to fall in love with a car?" Alan suggests they just steal the damn thing. But he's just joking! HAHAHA! He's so rich he doesn't HAVE to steal anything! Unlike his piss poor friend! HAHAHA! *sigh* Alan sucks.

We're now back at the car lot (no idea what day this is). A salesman offers to let Bryan test drive the Cataluna and Bry nearly wets his Underoos in excitement. As they're driving, Bryan hears the girl's voice: "Hi, Bryan. You and I are going to have fun together." She starts laughing...and Bryan ends up plowing the car into a lamppost. Smooth. The salesman completely loses his freaking mind, but amazingly the car doesn't have a scratch on it, a fact that neither of these dudes finds odd. The salesman kicks Bryan out of the car: "Come back when you learn how to drive, kid!" Oh Bryan.

Two weeks have passed since the Happy Burger incident and Bryan now has a job delivering flowers. He stops at the Sandersons' house, but no one answers the door. Bryan is pissed because he'll have to take the flowers back to the store and some other delivery boy might end up with the tip Bryan deserves. So Bry decides to let himself in. The front door is unlocked (how convenient) and Bryan peeks inside. He sees a wallet lying on a table and takes a couple hundred dollars. Suddenly a woman calls out "Hey-is someone there?" You bet your sweet ass there is! And he's ripping you off! So get off the toilet and get him! Bryan dashes inside a closet before she can catch him. He politely leaves the flowers in the hall, though. As soon as the woman walks off, Bryan runs back to the delivery van to admire his stealings. He decides that this is the perfect way to get the rest of the money he needs to buy the car. "Steal it. So easy. What could wrong?" You're an idiot, Bryan.

Part Three - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

Crap. I thought we put 1698 behind us. My drugged out English teacher was right when she said history repeats itself. Anyway, everyone is gathered in the meeting all to verbally bash Catherine Hatchett. They all take turns talking about all the tragic things that have been happening and blaming Catherine because she's such bad luck. Assholes. Her unbelievably shitty parents stand up and tell everyone that she's not really their child, they found her on their doorstep when she was a baby. "How could we know she was a child of evil!" Catherine flees the building (yes, she was eavesdropping on this ugly mess) and runs to Joseph's house...where she find him getting cozy with some red-haired skank. Yes, it gets worse. When Catherine tells him she needs help, he just says "And what do you expect me to do about it? Did you want me to ride you out of town myself?" Then he and his fugly ho have a good laugh at Catherine's expense. This girl's life is so bleak, I think I might cry....

She runs to Gwendolyn's house and tells her everything. Old Gwen is ready to care of business: "Gwendolyn stood slowly. She pulled back her lips and let out a long animal hiss. Gwendolyn's whiskery face began to darken. The whiskers grew longer. Then Gwendolyn uttered a longer hiss. A hiss of pain. Needle-sharp claws popped out of her outstretched fingertips. [Her] long silver hair whirled around her body as if it had come alive. Wherever it touched her skin, the skin turned black. And furry. Moments later, tall old Gwendolyn Parrish no longer stood before Catherine. In her place stood a black cat. The old cat stretched, arching its back. Then the cat cried "Come, Catherine, you can do it, too! You are a shape-shifter! You are my daughter." First of all, her whiskers are sexy. Second, OF COURSE Catherine is her daughter. Third, what in the bloody hell does any of this have to do with a car?!

The cat tells Catherine they were both born under an evil moon and she commands Catherine to change. Catherine does and both black cats leap through the woods until they reach Joseph's house where Catherine proceeds to claw both of his eyes out. Sweet! As Joseph screams, Catherine laps up the blood that is splattered everywhere until she realizes that his brother William is also in the room. He's freaked out, but breaks his fear (a little too late) and starts to choke Catherine. She bites him and runs off into the night. She makes her way back to her house to gather her belongings (she's in human form now). Her father greets her at the door with a gun. "The bad luck must die."

Part Four - Shadyside (1995)

Blah blah blah car lot at night blah blah the Cataluna rocks the casbah blah. *sigh* Either buy the damn thing or shut up about it! Bryan is with Alan and Misty who doesn't care about the car and has on her bitch face. Finally they leave because Misty won't stop whining. THEN she gets pissed because Bryan doesn't wanna go to a movie with her and Alan. Shut. Up. They drop Bryan off at his house and once they're gone, he starts walking to Canyon Road where a lot of wealthy people live. He plans to rob some of them blind. What could happen? Don't answer that. He creeps up to a huge Victorian and realizes the television is on so someone must be home and he better get the hell away. But he's not discouraged. He just trots over to another house, judges it empty and shatters a back window with a rock. Did Brinks Home Security not exist in 1995? Anyway, he hauls himself inside and fumbles through the dark until he scores: he finds a box filled with cash shoved in the back of a drawer. Just as Bryan is preparing the grab it, someone grabs him. It's the frigging COPS. Turns out Bryan DID set off a silent alarm. Stupid boy. Of course he gets off fairly easily: 3 months of community service. He's more upset about the fact that Misty broke up with, claiming her parents don't want her dating a dirty criminal.

So Bryan starts his community service which turns out to be cashiering at the hospital gift shop. That's supposed to be punishment? Bullshit. Bryan has Cataluna fever and pretty much has no idea what's going on half the time because the car takes up all of his brain space. I'm going to assume that's the reason why he robs the cash register. Yes, this idiot takes a big wad and honestly doesn't think he'll get caught even though he JUST GOT ARRESTED for the same thing! He races home on his bike (I guess he got away with it after all), finds that he finally has enough to get the car, and makes his way to the lot only to find the car isn't there. *sigh* Will this shit never end?

Part Five - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

So yeah, Catherine's father is holding a gun, but doesn't shoot her (he threatens to if she ever shows her face around here again). She sleeps in the woods and wakes to the sound of villagers' voice nearby. They think she must have fled to another village and if they find her in THIS village, they'll hang her. She makes her way to Gwendolyn's house and finds quite the shitty sight: "Blood. Pulpy red flesh. Bones. The remains of a cat. A cat that had been skinned." The only character in this book I cared about, the only awesome one, has to go and die! SOB! Catherine runs deeper into the woods and check this insanity: she comes upon the Cataluna (she calls it "white monster"). She approaches it, but two man grab her...

Part Six - Shadyside (1995)

What happened to the Cataluna? Alan bought it. Yep, this is gonna be the ass kicking of the century. Bryan goes to Alan's house and demands he hand over the keys. When Alan refuses, Bryan goes completely apeshit and starts smashing him in the face. Once Alan is on the ground and helpless, Brayn turns it up a notch: "Bryan locked both hands together like a club and swung at Alan's jaw with all his might. Alan's head jerked to the side. He sagged onto his back, his body twisted at an unnatural angle. Blood poured from his nose and mouth." Two words: psych ward. He digs through Alan's pockets until he finds the Cataluna's key and drives away. He immediately hears the girl's voice. She blabs on about how they'll be together forever. Suddenly the car is out of his control and swerving all over the place. They almost kill some little kids, crash through a garage, and end up cutting off this dude's hand...which is still holding his football. Sick.

The Cataluna is now back in Alan's driveway looking completely pristine. The police along with Misty and Alan are standing around it. Bryan is still inside. "Burst blood vessels had turned his face reddish-blue. A terrifying silent scream twisted his features. His blank eyes bulged. His dead hands still gripped the wheel." Wow. Turns out Alan had gotten his parents to buy the car for Bryan's birthday. No comment.

Part Seven - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

The men are roughly dragging Catherine through the woods by her hair. They reach a group of villagers and a noose hanging from a nearby tree. Catherine pleads with them to let her go, but no-one pays any attention. As she's hanging from the rope barely breathing, she remembers she can shape-shift. She changes into a tiny white rat and dives down Edmund Parker's (he's Joseph's father and the ringleader of this entire thing) throat, effectively choking him. Cha-ching! Catherine runs into the woods and transforms into a white horse. As she gallops away, William (Joseph's bro/Edmund's son) screams that he will have his revenge. Yeah right.


More of William's vows of vengeance. Waste of paper.

Conclusion? I loved the gruesome gory stuff. Yes, I'm sick in the head. The one thing I really hated? The fact that the car was sitting in the woods in 1698. Why and how?! For that matter, what the hell did ANY of the Catherine stuff have to do with the modern stuff?

Next time? "99 Fear Street: The First Horror" It's EEEEEEVILLLL! OoOoOo!

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 ...