Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Rich Girl

Book Description:

Emma Naylor and her best friend Sydney Shue always share their secrets. And now they have a big one. They found a duffel bag stuffed with money. They swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise. She told her boyfriend, Jason about the money. Now Emma is terrified. She doesn't trust Jason-and she thinks he would do anything to get the money for himself. Even kill...

My Description:

Emma and Sydney are gossiping while on the job at the concession stand in the Cineplex at the Division Street Mall. Cathy Harper and her on/off boyfriend Marty Griffin are on again. We'll probably never hear from these two again so who cares?

You would. Anyway, as Sydney refills the napkin dispensers, she thinks about how Emma hates her new boyfriend Jason Phillips. Naturally she invites Emma over to eat pizza with she and Jason after work. Emma declines because she's gonna talk to the manager after her shift to see if she can get MORE shifts. Why would a teenager want more work, you ask. Emma's mom hurt her knee when she was younger, it never healed properly, and now she needs an operation so Emma needs to make as much cash as possible. Does she think she'll be paying for the expensive surgery? Because she's gonna have to work a hell of a lot more than three nights a week. You may as well quit school now, Emma, and get a couple more jobs. Maybe you'll work yourself nearly to death, develop a deadly disease from the stress, and get cast as the frail heroine of a Lurlene McDaniel book. Yeah, you'll be dead within a month and won't be able to enjoy your new success, but at least your mom's rotten knee will be all better. Emma goes on to say that her mom is close to being fired (she works at Shadyside Diner) because she moves too slow. Her boss says she moves like a racehorse with a lame leg and if she doesn't get her knee fixed, he's going to put her down. I kid, I kid! (But he really does command her to do something about it.) In a bit of foreshadowing, Emma says "Plus, we don't have any insurance so we have to pay for the operation ourselves. And we can't unless I find a way to make more money!" Perhaps she'll find a giant sack of cash, hmm? Thanks for ruining the big surprise, Mr. Back Cover. We're through! You can keep the velvet paintings and the stuffed moose, but I get the house.

Um, anyway, we've now come to the part where Sydney and Emma are held up for comparison. Emma is blond (because the main character in a Fear Street novel must always ALWAYS! be blond. How dare you even consider anything else?!), short, has parents who are divorced, and lives in the Old Village (the shitty part of town). Sydney is a tall brunette whose parents have been married for 20 years and lives in a giant mansion in the North Hills (the ritzy part of town). Sydney thinks about the fact that she's working because her parents want her to learn responsibility and Emma works because she has to. "[Sydney] knew she could walk away from it without worrying about how to pay for food or clothes. Or operations." You're a good friend, Sydney. A friend who deserves to be in a box floating down the river. Sydney and Emma go into the alley behind the mall to take out the trash. Sydney's silver charm bracelet falls into the dumpster and since it's a family heirloom, she dives in after it. Unfortunately, she comes upon a smelly rat and completely loses her mind. The rat hops out, hisses at her, and runs away in disgust because it's home was invaded. Eventually Sydney finds the bracelet...and a bag filled with money. I love how nonchalant these two are. Like this happens every other day. I frigging wish. Sydney wants to take it to the police, but Emma lights up at the thought of all the things she could do with her half of the money. Sydney whines about how it's not theirs, but then she comes around because she's a poor little rich girl: "I do know what it's like to want things I can't have. My parents don't give me everything I want, you know." Oh? What about your car? "Yes. But I have to pay insurance on it. Mom and Dad don't want me to get spoiled and they keep me on a tight budget. There are plenty of things I'd like to buy with this money." Shut up, Sydney. She goes back to whining and a moment later about the police maybe finding out they have it (HOW?) so Emma compromises and says they'll keep the money for a while without spending it. If there's anything on the news about it, they'll turn it in. If not, they'll go on a spending binge. Neither one of them wants the filthy loot in their house so they decide to bury it under a willow tree in the Fear Street woods. They get there and Emma is excited, Sydney is nervous, and the raccoon that scared the hell out of them both is now scarred for life by Sydney's banshee shrieks of terror. What a warm and fuzzy moment.

When Sydney gets home, she sees her boyfriend Jason in the driveway under the hood of one of her dad's cars. He needed something to keep him occupied while he waited for Sydney and their "study" date. As soon as she gets out of the car, he goes ballistic: "You're hiding something. I can see it in your face. (She denies it) Yes, you are! What's your secret, Sydney? Another guy? Were you out seeing somebody else while I waited here like an idiot? (She denies it AGAIN) Then tell me the truth. Where were you? What were you doing?" When she doesn't answer, jason pouts and starts to walk off, but she catches him and decides to tell him about the money and where it's hidden. In the words of Michael Scott: you ignorant slut! Jason says it's too bad that Emma found it and the only way he and Sydney can split it is to kill Emma. Sydney is shocked but Jason just says he saw a movie once with that plot and he wasn't serious. "Is that what you think of me?" Uh, YES!

On Monday afternoon, Emma catches up with Sydney in the hall at school to report that there hasn't been any news about the money. Sydney isn't as enthused as Emma. In fact, she's been a total wreck all day. As the girls approach the stairs, a large group of people come up behind them. Everyone is trying to hurry down the stairs and Emma ends up getting shoved down them. Sydney tries to run down to her, but she gets shoved against the bannister by that man child Jason. He's staring at Emma with a smile on his face -- surely he just killed Emma and he can now cash in! Mwhahahaha!

Unfortunately for Jason (a.k.a. the devil's ugly stepson) Emma is alive. She didn't even break anything; she's just really sore and bruised. Sydney is at Emma's house after school. Sydney says Emma looks pretty good for someone who fell down a flight of stairs. Emma says she didn't fall, that she was pushed by Jason. She says he came up behind her , put his hands on his shoulders like he was joking (I really don't know what that means), and then he pushed her. Sydney freaks out and says that isn't true even though she was standing next to him immediately after Emma fell. He even pushed her against the rail! Quit being an idiot, Sydney. Emma asks if Sydney told Jason about the money and Sydney confesses everything. Emma says that's why he pushed her, but Sydney says Jason doesn't need money THAT badly. Emma then points out that Jason is a greedy asshole who constantly gets Sydney to buy him pricy things he can't afford himself. Sydney's parent don't "spoil" her so how can she afford to "spoil" him?

The next morning at school, Sydney confronts Jason and tells him what Emma said. Of course he denies it all and makes up some dumbass story about tripping and accidentally pushing her. Oh, and he wasn't smiling, that was just shock. Right. Jason says he'll try to make it up to Emma by fixing up her crappy car. Five bucks say he cuts the brake lines...

Later, Sydney gets a call from Emma who says her car is "actually purring like a kitten!" instead of rattling like an old garbage truck, all thanks to Jason. Emma says she still feels crappy, but a trip to the mall to window shop for all the things she's gonna buy with her money would make her feel so much better. Sydney agrees to go with her and Emma says she'll drive. A moment later, Jason calls and when Sydney says she's going to the mall with Emma, he starts acting suspiciously like someone who messed with someone else's car hoping to KILL them. Jason tells her to call Emma and cancel, but Sydney's mom just got home so she says bye and hangs up. A few minutes later, she drives to Emma's house and they leave in Emma's rat trap. As they're going down a hill, Emma steps on the brake, but it's not working. That Jason. So original. The car flies through an intersection, nearly side swiping several people on the way. Finally Sydney reaches over and pulls the emergency brake just before they crash into a minivan. Emma says Jason really is trying to kill her and once again Sydney defends him because abusive psychos are not capable of murder. HA. The girls get out of the car to take a look under the hood and immediately spot the cut brake lines. Emma repeats that Jason wants her dead and at first Sydney claims it isn't true. But she thinks about her earlier conversation with jason and how strange he was acting. She tells Emma how Jason tried to convince her not to go and Emma takes that as a sure sign he purposely cut the lines. Then she tells Sydney that after he finishes her off, he'll go after Sydney. "After he kills me, he'll decide he wants all the money for himself." And these two call themselves FRIENDS. Sydney says she'll talk to Jason (as if that will help) and they start looking for a pay phone to call a tow truck. While they wait for it to arrive, Sydney says maybe she should just turn Jason in to the police, but Emma brings up the fact that they have no evidence. True. Then Sydney says the stress over the money is just too much and they should turn it in to the cops. Emma nixes that idea because her mom is getting that damn operation no matter what and that convinces Syd to shut up. In Emma's opinion, the only way to deal with Jason is to give him a cut of the money. That way he'll be happy and no-one will have to die! Judging by the number of pages I have left (77) I predict this won't go smoothly. But really, what do they expect?

Later at Emma's house, Sydney calls Jason and tells him to comve over so they can talk. He arrives pretty quickly and Sydney immediately tells him about the brakes. He says they were fine when he tested them and sometimes they get brittle and just snap due to old age. Emma pulls Sydney aside and says she's not sure whether she believes him or not. OF COURSE Sydney automatically believed him the moment he opened his mouth. Then they offer him his share of the money: $33,000 (they figure there's roughly $100,000 in the bag. How they came to this conclusion by only looking in the bag one time and never counting ANYTHING I do not know.) Jason gets all excited and dances around the kitchen. "I'm too excited to stand still!" Do it anyway. Jason begs them to go look at it with him and they agree to...

It's already dark when they reach Fear Street Woods. Jason gets a shovel out of the trunk, perfect for burying lifeless teenage girls...or just digging up a bag o' cash. Halfway into the woods, Sydney runs back for her sweater. Suddenly she hears an ear-splitting scream and runs toward it. She finds Emma and Jason fighting over the shovel. Emma finally gets it and when Jason turns away to look at Sydney, Emma cracks him in the head with it. Jason falls face down in the mud and both girls run to him. He appears to be dead although neither of these geniuses bother checking for a pulse. Emma tells Sydney that Jason was going to take all the money and run and he tried to hit her with the shovel so he could get away. Sydney wants to call the police because they're MURDERERS! FUGITIVES! But Emma says she was the one who killed Jason so she'll take care of everything. "Taking care of it" consists of dragging him over to Fear Lake (which is apparently only a few feet away) and dumping him in like the toxic waste he is. But he refuses to sink (a middle finger from the beyond!) so Emma yells for Sydney to find something they can weigh him down with. Sydney is too nauseous to even move and says she can't help. Emma says she'll find a big rock and asks for Sydney's belt so she can tie it to Jason. "Take it. I'm sorry, Emma. Sorry I'm not helping. I feel so sick I can't think!" Emma says she'll be right back and runs off to find the rock. The moment she leaves, Sydney vomits everywhere. Finally it's over and as she's leaning against a tree trying to calm down, she hears voices. And this time they're not inside her head. Uh-oh. She panics, spots Emma coming, and asks if she heard voices. Emma heard nothing so they leave.

Sydney pulls up to Emma's house and tries to comfort Emma as she cries about what she did. Heavy (and for once I'm not being sarcastic). At home, Sydney takes a bath and goes to bed. She wakes at 3:30 AM to the sight of Jason's algae coated corpse standing at the foot of her bed. It's only a dream, but it intensifies her guilt.

The next morning as Sydney is getting dressed, she spots two muddy footprints on the carpet. Dun dun DUN! I'm getting a sinking feeling that instead of a zombie Jason we're gonna get living Jason who's in with Emma somehow which makes me SICK. Fear Street needs a zombie! Anyway, at school, Emma tells Sydney that it had to be a dream. She goes on to say that the footprints were probably Sydney's from their trip to the woods. Throughout the day, Sydney is repeatedly asked where Jason is. Instead of telling them that he is now fish food, she says he must be sick or something. To put a cherry on top of this reeking mess of a day, Sydney finds an envelope in her locker containing Jason's class ring. She nearly chokes on her own tongue and when Emma walks up a moment later, she shows her what she found. But Emma is armed with plenty of excuses, none of which seem too plausible. Emma manages to calm Sydney by saying "Come on. Let's get out of here. Today was the worst. It will get easier after this." Is she speaking from experience? Once they reach Sydney's car, they both freak out (how many times have I already used that phrase?) because the dirty, bloody shovel is in the back seat.

Emma swears she didn't put it there last night, that when she was finished cracking Jason's skull with it, she just threw it down. Then she claims that those people Sydney heard last night must have seen everything and now they're harrassing her! Let's assume these people (if there was anyone there at all. Emma is looking more suspicious by the minute) are somewhat intelligent. Why would they bother messing with this instead of going to the cops? If Sydney would just THINK for a five seconds instead of freaking out and listening to Emma's bullshit, she would realize that something ain't right here. Sydney puts the shovel in the trunk and she and Emma drive away. A few minutes later, she notices a blue car that appears to be following them. Paranoia or a true stalker? I think you know the answer to that. When Sydney and Emma get to Sydney's house, they go upstairs to her room where Sydney finds a note for her in a stack of mail. "I saw you in the woods. I know your name. It's Murderer." This is just getting pathetic. It's laughable! Sydney proceeds to FREAK for the millionth time today (a new record) and says she and Emma have to go back to Fear Lake to get her belt before someone finds it. I'm speechless. Really, she has reached new heights of stupidity. Emma agrees to the plan so they go to the lake. In a shocking twist (by shocking, I mean the total opposite) there is no body. Emma is certain they're in the exact spot where she dumped him. Back in the car, Emma says someone had to have moved him and Sydney just sits there shaking.

Sydney drops Emma off and goes home where she sneaks upstairs to prevent her parents from seeing their precious spawn covered in lake slime and guilt. After Sydney takes a shower, her mom comes upstairs to tell her that she and Dad are going out for a while. Once they leave, Sydney goes into her room where she finds a gift: her red belt and a piece of paper that says 'Murderer'. She recognizes the handwriting as Jason's, starts screaming, and calls Emma. Emma listens to Sydney's hysterical rambling and calmly says she received an identical note and she believes it's just someone from school, maybe a friend of Jason's. That doesn't make any fucking sense.

A few minutes later, Emma comes over and tells Sydney to show her the belt. They rush to her room and the belt and note are missing. Of course they are. Sydney trashes her room looking for them until Emma tells her to chill out because there's nothing there. Sydney decides to go downstairs to get a Coke...and spots Jason lurking right outside the sliding glass door. He's all moldy and gross and Sydney thinks she can smell rotting flesh. Her belt is tied around his leg for some reason I don't care to know. He creeps inside, whispers that she helped murder him, and starts choking her.

Later, Sydney is at the hospital...the mental hospital. Emma and Jason are nearby, overjoyed that their plan to drive Sydney crazy and get rid of her actually worked. Indeed it was all for the money. They both believed Sydney got more than enough from her rich parents and didn't need a cent more. To prevent her from telling anyone about it, they had to put her away. Now, if she mentions it, no-one will believe her because she's gone daffy.

Emma and Jason go on a little shopping spree. At least they attempt to. At the first store they go into, the cashier laughs when they hand him the money: "It took Emma a few seconds to see what the clerk was talking about. She was totally confused until she read the words across the top of the bill: United States of America. Then her eyes lowered to the engraved portrait of Benjamin Franklin. His eyes were crossed and he wore a backwards baseball cap over his wig. Emma grabbed the counter to keep herself from falling. Slowly she raised her gaze to the red-haired salesclerk. 'Did you bring any real money?' he asked." You idiots truly deserve it.

Conclusion? This book is filled with more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. I've got plenty of questions: were Jason and Emma enemies in the beginning when he sliced her brake lines and shoved her down the stairs? Or was that part of their idiotic plan? Who in their right mind discovers a bag of money and doesn't even examine it to see if it's fake or not? How did they fake Jason's death? Sydney saw Emma hit him HARD so how they did they fake that? Why didn't Sydney think of calling Jason's parents? If she had, they would've TOLD HER HE WASN'T DEAD! Considering how long they had been together, I should think she would have been fairly close to his parents. Next to last question: how fucking stupid can three people be? Last question: how did this get published?

Next time: "What Holly Heard"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Babysitter II

Book Description:

Jenny's last baby-sitting job nearly killed her-for real. But she's a survivor. She's getting over it. The crazy guy who was after her is gone. She's even got a new baby-sitting job. Then the phone rings. When she answers, she hears a familiar voice. A voice from the past...from the grave...Hi, Babes, I'm back.

My Description:

I just have to ask: why the hell does this book exist? Why are there FOUR of the Babysitter books? The killer got his head smashed open after falling off a cliff in the first book and I should think after all the shit he put Jenny through, she would never want to babysit again. Yet here we are. AGAIN. *sigh* Let's just get it over with...

We begin this useless tale of woe with Jenny recapping every event of the first book to her therapist Dr. Schindler whom Jenny finds extremely attractive. "Dr. Schindler doesn't really look like a shrink, Jenny thought, turning her gaze on him. For one thing, he is too handsome." Apparently it's a prerequisite for "shrinks" to be as ugly as homemade sin. Schindler is a curious fluke of some sort. Anyway, Jenny has been a complete wreck since Mr. Hagen (the psychopath who had been avenging his daughter's death by killing babysitters and who nearly killed Jenny by attempting to shove her over a cliff except she got out of the way just in time to watch him plunge over the cliff instead, spilling his demented brains all over the rocks.) died. She blames herself for his death and has been having nightmares in which a dirty, bloody, zombified Mr. Hagen comes back to kill her. OoOoOo! Dr. Schindler's response is to stop the session there and save her kooky dreams for next time. I hope she's not paying this guy much. Seriously, she could've gotten the same response from the wino on the corner for much less money. Before she leaves, she asks him if she should take a babysitting job she was recently offered by the Wexners for their son Eli. She actually mentioned this to Schindler at the beginning of the session, but the dumbass forgot about it which pisses Jenny off. She says it would only be a few nights a week and she really needs the money, but she's scared. Schindler tells her she has to move forward. Then he stares at the clock as if willing time to go faster so he can get the hell out of dodge. I think I hate this man.

On the way out of the office, Jenny stops by the receptionist's desk (her name is Miss Gurney. Yes, GURNEY.) to make another appointment since this one was such a success. Once outside, Jenny realizes its gotten dark. In a painfully predictable scene, she hears someone following her, starts running, and is stopped five seconds later by her "stalker" who turns out to be stupid Chuck. No introductions needed because I'm pretty sure we all remember this fool from the first book. It's now pouring rain, but Chucky Ducky wants to talk and make his stupid jokes. And just for fun: "He was wearing a faded Bart Simpson T-shirt over jean cutoffs. His white Nikes were mud stained and soaked." Sexy. The only thing that occurs more often than dead animals and dry kisses in these books are jean cutoffs. I once saw the cover of a romance novel that had a really sweaty, greasy looking dude sitting on a horse and all this guy was wearing was a pair of badly cut jean cutoffs and a red bandanna tied around his dainty neck. So everytime I see the words "jean cutoffs" all I can think of is that damned filthy Tonto. Now where the hell were we? Oh yeah, anyway, Jenny acts like a total bitch to Chuck, but he doesn't seem to get the message and keeps yapping away. Eventually Jenny walks away, Chuck follows her, and they have a little fight because Jenny has changed a lot since she was almost slaughtered and Chuck doesn't like it. Cry me a river, douchebag. Finally Jenny's bus comes and she leaves.

We now arrive at the pivotal moment: Jenny's arrival at the Wexner's home to babysit 10 year old Eli. I really don't understand why she didn't bother finding work elsewhere. She's not being forced to babysit; she acts like it's her calling or something. There are other jobs in this world! Anyway, Jenny follows Mr. Wexner around the house as he talks about Eli and such. She's relieved to see the house is cozy and nice, not at all like the Hagens' house which looked like something the Munsters would have lived in.

I actually really dig that house. I always wanted to be a part of the family...yes, I have a few problems in the brain frame. Anyway, Mr. Wexner says that Eli isn't like other 10 year olds and Jenny wonders just what he means by that. Of course he wanders off without explaining. A few moments later, Mrs. Wexner comes in and blabs about Eli being very emotional and so smart. HOW emotional? Will he cut off Jenny's ear if his Chef Boyardee isn't hot enough? Or does he just cry over Hallmark commercials? It might be a nice gesture to explain these things, you degenerates. After the parents leave, Jenny goes upstairs to see Eli. He's in his room typing at a computer that he himself built. Jenny says hi a couple of times before Eli finally decides to turn and say hello. See, Eli is a genius and thinks everyone else is below him. Bow down to the giant brain! Although it's hard to take someone who's wearing a "Turtle Power" T-shirt and tight spandex shorts very seriously. I know, I know--he's only 10. But he's got brains beyond his years so I don't feel TOO terrible about making fun of him. Plus, he doesn't exist. So there. Eli tells Jenny a little about himself: "I don't need a babysitter. I built this computer. From a kit. But I modified it. I put in a graphics card and extra memory. I really don't need a babysitter. You could go home right now and I'd be perfectly fine. I'm a mechanical genius, you see. At least that's what the testing people said. I took all these tests at this place downtown and they said I was a mechanical genius. Know what my IQ is? It's over 180. That's really high. And it'll probably go higher when I get older and know how to take tests better." 1) I find this hilarious for some reason. 2) What a little jerk! Jenny has an urge to lecture the kid about modesty, but before she can, he asks what her IQ is. She says she's never been tested to find out and Eli says "Why? Because you're too dumb?" and then laughs like a hyena. Then he shows Jenny a phone he made himself because his parents wouldn't buy him one for fear of spoiling him. *sigh* He says he doesn't have too many friends (that's surprising) because all the kids at school are stupid dweebs. Those peons are not fit to even lick his shoes! Eli says he wants to show Jenny his real friends. He takes out a shoe box and tells her to close her eyes and reach inside...

We find out what was in the box at Jenny's next session with the worthless Dr. Schindler: "It was a tarantula. Do you believe it? The kid put a tarantula in the box. He has three of them. They're his pets." Slap me sideways! He has TARANTULAS?!?! Seriously, what's the big deal? Well, Jenny IS terrified of spiders. Schindler responds to this by looking at the clock. Ass. Jenny goes on to say that Eli is a sick little creep who got way too much pleasure from her fear. He wasn't apologetic and got pissed when she scolded him, ignoring her for the rest of the night. His parents acted like it happened all the time and weren't worried about it. Schindler says "Eli sounds like an interesting kid. Maybe he'll be sitting on my couch soon." I am going to set this man on fire. Jenny stops by Miss Gurney's desk to pick up her bill. Gurney compliments Jenny's hair and then says "Dr. Gurney is a wonderful man. I-I mean Dr. Schindler. I was a patient of his, too." How comforting.

Jenny goes to the mall to meet up with her friends Claire and Rick at Pizza Oven. Because pizza is LIFE. Claire mentions that Chuck was looking for her which makes Jenny (and the rest of the free world) want to heave. Then they talk about Eli and soon Claire and Rick have to leave. Jenny decides to wander around the mall for a while. In the record store, she looks up from her browsing and sees some blond dude staring at her. Of course she freaks out and runs to the back of the store, finds herself trapped, and waits for the impending DOOM! "You dropped this." The guy hands Jenny her bill from Schindler's office. She's embarrassed for acting like a paranoid lunatic and thanks him. They striked up a conversation and Jenny learns that his name is Cal and he's new to town and will be starting at her high school in the fall. He says he would like to go out with her Friday night so he can corner her in a dark alley and cut off her limbs to repair his broken, legless mannequin. Nonono, I mean he just wants to party! Jenny says she babysits on Friday night, Cal asks about Saturday, and the page ends with Jenny NOT answering the question.

It's now Friday night and Jenny is at the Wexners. Mrs. Wexner tells Jenny that Eli is in a bad mood, but Mr. Wexner says Eli isn't some kind of monster and Mrs. W. needs to tone it down. Uh-oh. "Why do you always defend Eli? Why don't you defend me once in a while? That kid drove me crazy all day and you want to ignore it and pretend he's a perfect angel!" BURN. Finally they leave and Jenny goes up to check on Eli who is sitting in his room in the dark watching a horror movie. Some deranged loon chops up some chick with an ax and Eli laughs his ass off which disturbs Jenny. Eli tells her he had a bad day because his parents don't like his pets. Then he starts ignoring Jenny so she goes downstairs to read and think about her upcoming date with Cal. But she's interrupted by the ringing phone. "Hi, Babes. I'm back." AHHHHHH! The psycho hangs up and Jenny starts to slowly lose her mind. She hears something in the kitchen...it's Mr. Wexner. He forgot the tickets to whatever the hell it is. Jenny never mentions the phone call and Wexner leaves a moment later. Jen goes upstairs again and tells Eli it's his bedtime. He says he'd rather read for a while and picks up a Stephen King book. Jenny is shocked. Again. Because she's a spineless jellyfish who is scared of her own shadow and can't understand why anyone would watch horror movies or read anything Stephen King ever wrote. Shut up, Jenny. Eventually Eli falls asleep and the parents come home. They offer to drive Jenny home, but she refuses.

Outside, Jenny finds Chuck waiting. Does he not have a freaking life?! He starts whining about the fact that she never talks to him and she broke up with him for no reason (I can think of at least 10 reasons not to go out with this guy) and blah blah blah. She tries to walk away, but he goes berserk and throws her to the ground like a gorilla with a rag doll. He tells her she'll be sorry and walks off like nothing happened. Jenny makes her way home...where she receives a phone call. *sigh* HATE. But it's just Eli calling on his homemade telephone to see if it actually works. Jenny quickly ends the "conversation" (which consists of nothing but Eli giggling and saying "It's so awesome!" repeatedly) but a few moments later it rings again because Stine is nothing if not creative. It's Eli AGAIN: "Good night, Jenny." Giggle giggle giggle.

It's now Saturday night and Jenny and Cal are at some party (a.k.a. teenage orgy). Party outfits: Cal is wearing a Hawaiian shirt with black jeans and Jenny is rocking her green T-shirt over an orange sleeveless shirt and white shorts. Cal...no. Just no. Jenny isn't too impressed with the "party" which consists of nothing but horny teenagers making out and some dumb cave men trying to figure out how to get beer out of the keg in the kitchen. Really, Cal? THIS is the best you could do? Even Cal recognizes it sucks and he and Jenny leave a moment later. They get into Cal's abused Dodge Dart, he says he's embarrassed about the sucky party and he really wants to show Jenny a good time. She responds by telling him to pull over and they start making out. When they come up for air, Jenny suggests they go roller skating. Cal agrees even though he's never been. "I've had a tough life." Dude.

At the rink, Cal proves that he's a big fat liar whose pants are on fire--he can skate really well. What else is he lying about? Hmm? HMM? I'm watching you, Cal...or something. Finally Cal drives Jenny home. As they're kissing on the porch, Jenny hears rustling in the bushes. Suddenly someone steps out from behind them and runs off. Jenny and Cal couldn't see the person's face (it had to be that pathetic loser whom we all call Chuck) but they both assume it was a burglar and brush it off. During all that kissing they obviously sucked each other's brain cells out. Jenny goes upstairs to her room, reads for a while, and finally gets ready for bed. As she's drifting off, the phone rings. What else is new? Jenny assumes it's Eli... "It isn't Eli, Jenny. I'm back. Are you all alone, Babes? Company's coming." So. Annoying. Later, Jenny dreams that she's waiting for Cal in a dark deserted parking lot, but Mr. Hagen's ravaged corpse shows up instead. "A black bug crawled over his swollen tongue. He repeatedly licked his dry lips, but his tongue was dry and caked with dirt." Kiss me, lover.

At her next session with Dr. Schindler, Jenny tells him about the dream. He just sits there like a drooling fool, fiddling with his stupid CLOCK. Why is she still seeing this turd? The good "doctor" asks more about Cal and if Jenny suspects him of making the phone calls. She says no because there's no way Cal would know exactly what to say. The caller always repeats all the creepy shizz Mr. Hagen said. Jenny gets ticked off when Schindler suggests her imagination is playing tricks on her. Instead of listening to her argument, he simply says time is up. This jackhole needs a swift kick in the teeth. He prescribes her some sleeping pills and sends her on her way. As she's walking home, she finds a dead tarantula in her bag. Things are really looking up. Put on a happy face!

When Jenny gets home, she calls the Wexners to tell them about what she assumes is an evil trick on Eli's part, but no-one answers. She remembers she promised to meet Claire and Rick for some tennis so she grabs her racket and leaves. Outside, she runs into Cal and invites him along because he looks so sexy in his denim shirt and JEAN CUTOFFS. Jean cutoffs are the devil and only Nazis wear them. Spread the word. Anyway, Cal claims he's not good at tennis, but once again he's lying through his teeth because he rocks at tennis. Rick and Cal get into the game intensely. Eventually they tire themselves out and quit. Claire whispers to jenny that Rick has a major crush on her and was only showing off for her benefit. Jenny glances over and she and Rick share a Meaningful Glance.

At the Wexners, Jenny tells the Mrs. about the dead tarantula. She's shocked to hear it and calls Eli down. He says he would never kill one of his pets. Then he bursts into tears and runs to his room. Jenny keeps apologizing, but Mrs. Wexner tells her to leave him alone and when/if he comes out, be extra nice. After a while, Jenny goes upstairs and attempts to talk to Eli, but he completely freaks out: "Go away! Go away! Go away! I don't want to see you! I DON'T!" Then something heavy falls to the floor and there's silence. Jenny goes into the room and sees that he's trashed the place. She sees him lying in the middle of the floor with a puddle of blood beneath his head. Of course he isn't dead. No, that would be too good to be true. It's just a shitty joke. Stupid plastic blood. Jenny is pissed, Eli is happy, and they go downstairs to eat.

At 4:30 PM, the phone rings, but Eli tells her not to answer it because they're playing Monopoly and how dare someone interrupt him when he's about to buy Boardwalk?! Jenny answers anyway...unfortunately it's Chuck. Barf. Jenny screams at him to never call her again and slams down the phone. I really don't care about this whole Chuck thing. He's just a tired, played out red herring. And not even a good one. Later that evening, Jenny can't stop thinking about the weirdo and his creepy words. When she hears a knock at the door she nearly wets her pants, but it's just Rick and Claire. Eli comes downstairs and isn't happy to find them there, but quickly warms up to Claire for some reason who goes with him to check out the room of a "mechanical genius." Rick attempts to kiss Jenny while they're alone and gets all pissy when she says she's not into it. Does he really think his dry, crusty lips are going to do anything for her? A moment later, Jenny hears Eli shout "No, you can't! I said no!" and a loud thumping sound. Dear sweet Eli shoved Claire down the stairs and looks pretty pleased with himself.

Another visit with Dr. Schindler. No comment. Jenny talks about the incident (Claire is suprisingly unbroken) and Schindler is his usual useless and ineffective self. Later, at the Wexners, Mr. Wexner tells Jenny that Eli is really upset about what happened to Claire, but he gives no explanation for why Eli pushed her in the first place. Eli comes running in to give Jenny a kiss before running back upstairs. The kid deserves an Oscar. The parents leave a few minutes later and Jenny goes upstairs to see if Eli wants to play a game, but he's busy with his computer. Not long after, the weirdo calls with his usual message: "Hi, Babes. Are you all alone? Company's coming, Babes. Company's coming." WHEN? Riddle me that one, sir. Jenny slams the phone down and heads for Eli's room. She stands outside his door, horrified: "It was him! The whisperer. He was there-in Eli's room!" She bursts inside and finds only Eli talking on the homemade phone. He says he's calling people and saying "funny things". She asks if he called her a moment ago, but he's only been calling kids from school. Then he asks a strange question: "Jenny, tell me about your other babysitting job." The plot thickens! Sort of. Ok, not really.

That night, Jenny goes to the mall to wait for Cal to get off work (he has a job at Mulligan's, the ice cream shop). She waits in the parking lot and suddenly realizes that this is a LOT like the freaky dream she had a few nights ago. All this scene is missing is that hobgoblin Mr. Hagen. Suddenly Jenny hears footsteps and starts to run. Who's coming? A drooling moron from hell! Also known as Dr. Schindler. What the hell is he doing out here? Don't tell me he's the psycho. Grrr. Jenny says she's waiting for a friend and Cal shows up at that precise moment so they leave. I guess Schindler was just wandering aimlessly around. Nut. Cal and Jenny go to Wendy's. GASP! NO PIZZA?! They've angered the pepperoni gods. A Frosty won't protect you now, kids. Jenny talks about the phone calls and such and suddenly a lightbulb goes off in her tiny head: "It came to Jenny in a flash. She stopped in midsentence, her mouth dropped open, her dark eyes growing wide. She had solved the mystery." She wishes. She says she assumes it's Dr. Schindler because he's the only one who knows all the things Mr. Hagen said. Cal tries to convince her that Schindler couldn't possibly have a motive, but Jenny doesn't care and says she's going to set a trap for him to prove he's the creep. Is it over yet?

The next morning, Jenny goes to Schindler's office. She tells him that she thinks the best way to end her nightmares and incessant fears is to go back to the rock quarry where Mr. Hagen died. Tonight. Schindler simply wishes her luck because he's an inattentive fool.

That evening, Jenny's "shift" with Eli has just ended and she goes home to eat dinner with her mom. Afterward, Cal picks her up and they head for the quarry. Once there, they hide behind a rock and spot a car pulling up. Here it comes...the BIG reveal. Sadly, this is the most disappointing shit ever--it's Miss Gurney. Yes, the hoarse voiced, dowdy receptionist who is in love with Dr. Schindler and completely jealous of Jenny. As if Jenny (or anyone with half a brain) would want that steaming pile of dog doo. Seriously, is this REALLY how this is going to end? Anyway, Miss Gurney starts screaming about how Jenny gets all Dr. Schindler's attention (does he not have other patients?) and blah blah. She dives for Jenny in a feeble attempt to push her over the quarry (feeling any deja vu?) but Cal jumps in her way and he gets shoved instead. Lucky for him the quarry is filled with water so Cal is okay and crawls out. Jenny and Gurney wrestle, plunge into the water, and suddenly, out of the wild blue yonder, the police and Dr. Schindler show up. Cal helps Jenny out of water and Schindler tells her that Gurney has had violent episodes in the past so he predicted that's what she was up to tonight. Asshole. The police drag Gurney away and the books ends with Cal and Jenny kissing.

Conclusion? This book is piss. There's no reason for it to even exist! It's nothing but a shittier version of "The Babysitter". And if you're going to make your psycho a jealous woman, at least make the object of her insane, misdirected affection somewhat LIKEABLE. Not cool, Stine. Not. Cool.

Next time: "The Rich Girl" Money kills.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Seniors #7 - Fight, Team, Fight!

*NOTE* I'm back. *END NOTE*

Book Description:

Phoebe Yamura loves being a cheerleader. And her senior year at Shadyside High couldn't be more perfect! First she's voted captain of the squad. And now she's seeing Ty Sullivan. But if Phoebe is so perfect, why does somebody want her dead?

My Description:


An angry random soul really hates Phoebe as evidenced by the very first line of the book: "I hate her." He/she hates Phoebe's perky attitude, her hair, her body, and the fact that she's a cheerleader. This person probably spends all their time cursing Phoebe's parents and pissing on the graves of her ancestors.

On to chapter one. Phoebe is under the bleachers meeting her huggle bunny Ty Sullivan. If you guys remember, I really HATE Ty. I can't even fully remember why, but he's on my shit list, baby. Anyway, Phoebe has to sneak around with Ty because even though she's a senior in high school, her parents won't let her date. Ty says she needs to convince them of how great he is (you ass!), but Phoebe says they wouldn't be interested. HA. Then she says someone is watching them and it's freaking her out. And this time it's not even the pot talking. Ty responds by kissing her because a dry, crusty, mealy mouthed kiss is sure to protect her from whatever is killing off Shadyside seniors. Ew. Finally they break apart, Ty heading back to football practice and Phoebe joining the cheerleaders.

The girls are indeed cheery, discussing the various deaths that have occurred over the recent months. Finally they start practice and I refuse to mention the stupid cheer. No, no, a million times NO! *sob* Unfortunately, the dumb cheer kills one of the girls. Actually, Jade and Dana failed to catch the girl (Samantha) and she crashes to the ground. Her body is so twisted the girls think she's dead, but she gets up without even a broken bone. Because bones are made of titanium. *sigh* The cheer coach, Ms. Bell, comes over to make sure Samantha is ok and once she realizes she is, she berates Jade for her low chemistry grade and says if she can't bring it up, she'll be on probation. Why is this more important than, uh, actually focusing on practice and making sure no one gets their skull cracked? You suck, Bell. Dare I say that I miss Ms. Green? Eventually Ms. Bell shuts her yap and the girls do stretching exercises. Phoebe is sitting next to Jade and offers to help her with chemistry, but Jade just acts all bitchy and Dana joins in, saying Phoebe is the one who needs help...at being a better cheer captain. "You're FAILING!" How clever, Dana. You have the mental capacity of a dead goldfish. Congratulations.

After practice, Phoebe is in the locker room when she's approached by a new girl named Gina Quinlan who wants to try out for the squad. Phoebe says no way because tryouts were months ago, but Gina begs and pleads and shows off her moves until Phoebe agrees to ask Ms. Bell about it. Gina leaves and a moment later, Phoebe overhears Jade and Dana complaining about her. "Queen Phoebe thinks she knows everything. Ordering us around. Who does she think she is?" Dana knows: "Head cheerleader." Mensa, meet your new president. Phoebe doesn't understand why Jade hates her so much and decides to confront her. It's all pretty lackluster. Phoebe says "I heard what you said." and Jade says "So what?" Snore. Things go from cool to lukewarm when Phoebe opens her locker and finds her uniform shredded. There's also a note: "Give me an H-E-L-P" Phoebe is horrified, but does anyone find that as funny as I do? Phoebe automatically assumes it was Jade, but Jade just snaps "Prove it" and walks off. And since Phoebe can't prove anything, she sulks off to Ms. Bell's office to discuss Gina Quinlan. The team needs an alternate blah blah blah Gina gets a tryout. Hoo rah.

The next morning, Phoebe takes a chemistry test and simultaneously congratulates herself on SURELY getting an A while snickering at watching Jade struggle through it. Fast forward a few hours later to Gina's tryout. Phoebe and Ms. Bell watch as Gina does her routine which is predictably awesome. Ms. Bell tells Gina to wait in her office while she and Phoebe talk. Phoebe brings up Jade and the chem test and Ms. Bell informs her that Jade actually did really well. Ooo.

The next morning, the chemistry tests are handed back and Phoebe sees that she got a C minus . She also notices that the paper is all smudgy and the writing isn't even her's. She hears Jade squealing with joy over the fact that she got an A and Phoebe realizes what happened. After class, Phoebe confronts Jade, accusing her of switching the tests. Jade confesses because she's a bitch with nothing to lose. Phoebe turns back to talk to the chem teacher, but Samantha, Dana, and another girl from the squad named Joey stop her. They beg her not to say anything about what Jade did because the squad desperately needs her. OF COURSE Phoebe caves.

At lunch, Phoebe tells someone that she gets to retake the test and Jade's ass is saved for another day. Phoebe is still pissed because all the other girls took Jade's side. Shut up, Phoebe. It's your own damn fault! Samantha leaves a moment later and Dana decides to come over and rain on Phoebe's already sodden parade by dumping a rubber spider down the back of her shirt. Phoebe screams bloody murder, everyone laughs, and I'm left wondering why this is still funny if you're over the age of 12. Phoebe turns on Jade, but all Jade has to say is "Remember, Phoebe, I know how to get you. I know exactly how to get you." That's nice...

At cheer practice, Phoebe notices that Gina is acting less than enthusiastic, but she ignores it because all she can think about is the fact that everyone in the free world likes her except Jade and Dana. *sigh* Lady, get over it! I've got over 100 pages left and I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend them listening to you whine over and over again! Anyway, practice goes perfectly...so perfectly that Ms. Bell films it for private viewing on those cold lonely nights. Ew. After practice, Phoebe heads for the locker room where she's cornered by Gina who's just a wee bit angry: "How long am I supposed to put up with this? You said you would help me. You said I could be on the squad." Phoebe tries to speak, but Gina interrupts: "Look, you and I both know that I'm better than most of the other cheerleaders. Including you. You're no help at all." Gina storms off to cry and suck her thumb in the shower while Phoebe just stands there wondering what the hell just happened. A few minutes later, Gina opens her locker and a locket falls out, pops open, and lands near Phoebe. She says the picture of Gina inside is nice, but Gina quickly corrects her: "It's not me. It's my twin sister." There are two of you? That sounds awful. "She's dead." Oh, well, that's a relief. Phoebe goes over to her own locker and...something happens. "Fear closed around her as she stared inside. She fell back in horror. The sour odor made her gag. And the color... The color swirled before her eyes. Bright. Bold. Sickening. The ruby-red shade of blood." There's a doll dressed in a bloody cheerleading uniform hanging inside. There's also a note: "Score: Me 2. You 0." You've been served, Phoebe. AGAIN. Ms. Bell comes in and decides to get the vice principal. Phoebe sits in Bell's office and thinks about how sick Dana and Jade are to do something like this. Then she becomes all determined and shit that they will NOT get rid of her. She loves to cheer TOO MUCH! Great.

Football game. Shitty cheers. Phoebe keeping a close eye on Jade. Me keeping a closer eye on The Office. Phoebe goes to get her pom poms and as she's cheering, she feels a stinging pain in her hands. The pain intensifies until Phoebe completely freaks out, throwing her pom poms to the ground and screaming for help. "Her hands were covered with ants. Hundreds of swarming, shiny red ants. They traveled up her arms, moving as one. A colony of hungry insects." Even the insects in Shadyside are murderers. The other girls douse Phoebe with cold water which gets rid of the ants, but her hands are covered in bites. The team doctor coats them in some kind of cream and tells her she'll be ok. Thanks, doc. Gina, who just happens to be in charge of equipment (uh-oh), comes running up. Everyone is suspicious of her, but she denies she poured ants on the pom poms. Phoebe knows (she just KNOWS, dammit!) that Jade is behind it.

After the game (once again, Shadyside loses) Ty and Phoebe head to Pete's Pizza where everyone and their mother has gathered. Seriously, the place is like a sardine can. ALWAYS. It's just pizza. Unless it's covered in gold flecks or something, I don't get it. Anyway, they manage to find a table and Ty goes to order the food. Samantha comes over and says she and Phoebe should go talk to Dana and Jade and sort everything out. As they're walking over to the evil harpies, Samantha sees her ex-boyfriend, freaks out, and bails which leaves Phoebe to deal with Jade and Dana alone. It goes as predicted: Phoebe tells them to stop, they deny they did anything, Jade acts like an evil bitch, and Phoebe walks away nearly in tears. She finds Ty and begs him to take her home which is right on his way since they both live on Fear Street. Even though it's pitch black and Fear Street is a creepy, dangerous place, Ty drops her off blocks away so her parents won't see him. He could at least walk wih her. He could hide in the damn bushes or something, but no. Phoebe goes alone...and someone pops out and grabs her. It's Gina who looks like she's been toking the crack pipe. She just wants Phoebe to know that she had nothing to do with the ants (which probably means she had EVERYTHING to do with the ants). Once Phoebe says she doesn't blame her, Gina runs off into the darkness like a psycho. Later that night as Phoebe is trying to sleep, she gets a phone call. It's a bunch of girls cheering and then they hang up. How terrifying. Outside, Phoebe hears a car squeal away and thinks Dana and Jade must be stalking her. *sigh*

At cheer practice on Monday, Phoebe complains to Samantha about Jade yet again. When it's time to do the pyramid, Phoebe loses her grip and Dana falls which prompts her to tell Phoebe that she's the shittiest cheer captain who ever lived and she should quit now so the team won't lose the upcoming state competition. When Dana flips her ponytail in Phoebe's face, Phoebe completely loses it. She screams "Leave...me...alone!" and rips Dana's ponytail out of her head, blood gushing everywhere. Sadly, that was just a dream. No comment. Phoebe is doing nothing but staring at Dana so Dana has some words to snap her out of it: "Why are you staring at me like that? Are you a moron? Letting me fall, then gloating? This practice is over!" Dumbass. After Samantha politely suggests that maybe it WOULD be best for Phoebe to take a break from cheering for a while, Phoebe runs to the locker room in tears. Finally, when Ty's football practice is over, they leave, but instead of driving her home, he decides they'll go to the cemetery. Because when you're depressed there's no better place to be than knee deep in dead people. It's already dark and they get out of the car because Ty apparently wants to make out while leaning against a headstone. Phoebe keeps telling him she just wants to talk, but Ty keeps kissing her. Suddenly something flies out of the bushes right at them. It's not a rabid werewolf, it's just Kenny Klein. Unfortunately, Jade is with him and immediately starts harrassing Phoebe who gets her backpack out of Ty's car and starts walking home. And since Ty is a total tool, he just stays with Kenny and Jade. I really hate you, Ty. When Phoebe gets home, Ty finally jogs up and says he's sorry, but Phoebe's awesome mom basically tells him to get lost and shuts the door in his face. When Phoebe gets to her room, she sees muddy footprints on her floor and notices that a framed picture of the cheer squad is missing. She knows someone was here yet she says nothing to her mother because she thinks it's just another stupid prank from Jade and Dana. It's not Jade and Dana! That's too freaking obvious...it's probably Gina. She seems like she has a few screws loose.

Another football game, this time against Waynesbridge. Of course Phoebe's mind is a million miles away. Eventually everything starts going really well and Phoebe gets into it so you know something baaaaaad is going to happen. And when the flaming batons come out, Phoebe does indeed get scorched like a shrimp on the barbeque. Flames travel up her arm until she passes out. When Phoebe wakes up, she's in the hospital. Samantha is there and tells her that her hand was mildly burned, but overall she's ok. All Phoebe wants to know is how it happened. Samantha makes the mistake of saying that the rumor is that someone rigged the baton to burn which just gets Phoebe started again on Jade and Dana. YAWN. Jade and Dana are actually right outside the door and Phoebe tells Samantha to get them. When they enter, they actually seem *GASP* concerned. Phoebe's paranoid ass just accuses them of doing this to her which they deny because it's in the script. Jade and Dana tell her that GINA is responsible for equipment so if the finger should be pointed at anyone, it should be her.

The next morning at school, Phoebe gets a hero's welcome for nearly getting cremated. Gina runs up to make sure Phoebe doesn't blame her for the baton even though she's starting to look pretty damn suspicious and the fact that she's so adamant that Phoebe not blame her just makes her look even more guilty. Phoebe says everything is cool just to get rid of her. And the cycle continues.

That afternoon, Phoebe and Samantha hide out in Ms. Bell's office to call Oswego High, Gina's last school, to ask about Gina's cheer record. Turns out Gina was never a cheerleader there. The plot thickens! I wish. Ms. Bell walks in a moment later and the girls tell her the news. Ms. Bell isn't too impressed because the morons called the wrong school: "Gina attended Lake Oswego High-in Oregon. You had the wrong state." Oops. Ms. Bell mentions that there's been a lot of backstabbing going on lately and she wants to talk to everyone out on the bleachers. She makes her little speech and says maybe they won't go to the upcoming competition since everyone can't seem to find the time to stop acting like petulant children. After some arguing from the girls, Ms. Bell ends the talk by saying if there's one more incident, there will be no competition. HORRIFYING!

It's now Friday and the cheerleaders are off to the competition because they managed to restrain themselves and act like human beings for a week (it won't last. Once that competition is over, the carnage will begin. I hope.) Before the girls board the bus, Gina lets Phoebe know how pissed and betrayed she feels that she and Samantha checked up on her...or tried to. Then Ms. Bell tells everyone that Samantha has the flu so Gina will be taking her place. I'm sure this will turn out well. (Choking on the sarcasm?) Even better, Phoebe and Gina will be roomates at the motel they're staying in.

Once they arrive at the (Bates) motel, Gina asks Phoebe if they can be friends, but Phoebe says she just doesn't trust her. BURN. Probably literally...expect a burning bed, Phoebe. This chick is cuckoo. Eventually Phoebe changes her mind, though, because Gina seems so sincere and Phoebe has no spine. The girls changes into their uniforms and a moment later they hear a knock on the door. Since Gina is busy twirling like a sugarplum fairy ("I love the Shadyside colors!") Phoebe answers the door. It's Jade who is an hysterical mess: "It's Dana! I need your help. She's hurt really bad!" Jade explains that Dana fell into the empty (as in drained of water) pool. Phoebe and Gina follow her outside which is stupid because if Dana were truly hurt, why the hell would Jade run for those two instead of Ms. Bell? Once outside, Phoebe sees no sign of Dana. As she's looking around, someone comes up behind her, shoves a cloth into her mouth, and drags her away screaming. And it only took 100 pages!

Phoebe is shoved into a big dirty van and sees two men shoving Jade and Gina in after her. Huh. Dana is also passed out inside. Eventually she wakes up and wants to know what's going on, but no-one says anything. After a while, the van stops and some weirdo opens the door and says "Hello, girls. Welcome to Camp Kidnap." Idiot. The girls get out of the van and look around. They're in front of a log cabin which appears to be in the middle of scenic nowhere. The dude who welcomes them to "Camp Kidnap" (his name is Mitch and his head is shaved and he has his ear pierced so you know he's a real tough badass) throws handcuffs on them and shows them a switchblade just in case they misbehave. When Mitch is distracted, the girls take off running toward the road and miraculously are saved by Griffin, the dude who drives the cheer van to take them to games and such and has been completely insignificant up until now. She realizes he's the one that has been harrassing her when he starts singing the stupid cheer that Phoebe heard over the phone a few days ago: "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna get you! Oh, yeah, I'm gonna catch you!" Didn't see that one coming. As Griffin drives, Dana and Jade confess that they hired Mitch and the whole kidnapping thing was just a joke. HA HA HA! Not.

Eventually Griffin tells them to shut their yaps so he can explain his convoluted motive. He has a vendetta against the cheerleaders of Shadyside because his sister Laura was once one of them. But all the other cheerleaders made life a living hell for Laura. It all ended when Laura died after jumping from the top of a pyramid (or something) and no-one caught her. She broke her neck and Griffin vowed revenge from that moment on. He stops the van and the girls see that they're at a loading dock which is totally deserted so no-one will hear them scream. Good thinking, Griff. He takes them to an empty "meat factory" and ties them to some chairs. He then picks up "an electric saw with a mammoth blade" and approaches Phoebe. "This will only take a minute!" Phoebe closes her eyes and prepares to lose a hand or two, but Griffin just cuts off everyone's handcuffs which really sucks. When is someone gonna get CUT?! When someone gonna bite the dust? Throw me a frigging bone, Griffin. After all, you're supposed to be a deranged lunatic driven crazy by his sister's untimely death at the hands of irresponsible cheerleaders who were probably thinking of dry kisses and Gary Brandt's back seat instead of focusing on your sister and you're supposed to be burning with the feverish desire for revenge and you're not even really acting on it! Stop messing around and show me some blood!!! Ok, I'm calm now...mostly. Anyway, Griffin just continues with the yakkity yak yak instead of doing anything productive. He tells Phoebe he's basically been stalking her, knows everything about her, and wants to kill her because she has the life his sister should have had. Yeah right. A shitty boyfriend, shitty friends, overprotective parents, and a psychotic stalker? I think you would want better for your sister, dude. Griffin continues to prove he sucks by untying all the girls so they can perform a cheer for him. Dude. I'm beginning to think the Laura story was a lie and Griffin is just some fetishistic pervert. He tells them if they screw up, someone dies. Liar. Jade is completely hysterical and wants to bail, but Griffin says it's time to perform. Why don't these idiots just RUN? He doesn't even have a weapon! Anyway, Gina interrupts and starts talking about her twin sister Angie who also died. She distracts Griffin momentarily, but it doesn't last and two seconds later, he's screaming and waving around a rusty meat hook. The poster boy for sanity tells the girls it's show time and they start cheering. Phoebe does a cartwheel, stops near Griffin, and beats him over the head with a flashlight that was lying on his lap. Cha-ching! The girls run, but they don't make it out. Gina ends up on a conveyor belt heading for a meat grinder, but of course Phoebe rescues her before she's grinded into hamburger. Then they go searching for Jade and Dana. They find Dana and dumbass Griffin, but no Jade. Griffin takes Phoebe, Dana, and Gina back into the warehouse to tie them up AGAIN. Everyone just assumes Griffin killed Jade.

A little while later, Griffin says "Time for another cheer!" *sigh* Seriously? WHY? Phoebe says they already did what he wanted, but Griffin isn't satisfied: "But the last one wasn't perfect. That means you still owe me a cheer. Otherwise I'll have to kill you. What'll it be?" Actually, why don't you just go ahead and kill me? This book has made me sick of life. They cheer, Gina collapses with a twisted ankle, and Phoebe makes a run for it. She finds herself inside a meat locker where she discovers something rather nasty: "The dim light cast shadows over Jade's stony face. Hanging from a meat hook, her body swung like a pendulum. Very cold. Very dead." How descriptive. Thank you for telling us she's "very dead", Stine. We never could have figured that out alone. I hope you can see my eyes rolling because I'm doing it as hard as I can.

When Phoebe gets back to the girls, she finds Dana tied to a table, Griffin sharpening a knife nearby, and Gina lying uselessly on the floor. As Phoebe distracts Griffin, Gina manages to get to her feet, tackle Griffin, and claw at his face like a feral liger. He throws her off, she cuts her head on the concrete floor, and a moment later, a fire truck comes barreling up because Phoebe lit a match a little earlier and waved in front of the silent fire alarm in a throwaway scene that I thought would amount to nothing. So I guess these fuckers are finally safe. Totally anticlimactic.

A few weeks later, things are back to normal because this stuff happens all the time. The books ends with a cheer (and my comments):

We can't be beat (You can)
Won't meet defeat (You will)
'Cause when it's time (It's not)
to face the heat...(You can't)
We know just what's the thing to do (You don't)
Teamwork! Teamwork! (Out! Out!)
Gets us through! (Get out of my life!)

Conclusion? Uh, this book sucks.

Next time: "The Babysitter II" Apparently Jenny didn't get enough the first time...

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 ...