Monday, November 7, 2011

The New Boy

Book Description:

What a hunk! When handsome, mysterious Ross Gabriel comes to Shadyside High, all the girls want to date him...even the ones who already have boyfriends! Janie, Eve, and Faith go so far as to make a bet...which one of them will he go out with first? But then the murders begin and it starts to look like dating Ross means flirting with a gruesome and untimely death. Will Janie's dream date with Ross turn out to be the night of her life? Or the night of her death?

My Description:

Two weeks before the first murder occurs, Janie spots Ross for the first time. His athletic body, curly hair, and broooooooding eyes make her a wee bit hot beneath the collar (and panties). She sees Corky Corcoran and Kimmy Bass (everybody's "favorite" cheerleaders) giggling and shoving their way down the hall. This has nothing to do with anything. It's just a random observation which makes me fairly certain that Kimmy's crimped black hair wrote this book. Anyway, Janie is wondering where Faith and Eve are. The three girls were in charge of the committee for the most recent school dance and need to meet with Mr. Hernandez, the new principal, to turn over the money they earned from ticket sales and such. Little Janie doesn't like thinking about the dance, though, because her gorgeous friends had dates and she was lonely. She walks to the office to see if the girls are already there, but the place is empty. Until Eve comes bursting in with BIG news: "Did you hear the news? Deena Martinson broke up with Gary Brandt!" Why is this so exciting? Gary Brandt is a filthy whore who has a new woman every week and Deena Martinson is about as interesting as a block of wood. The bubbly mood vanishes when the two realize the money is missing. It turns out to be an incredibly stupid joke on the gullible Janie. HAHAHAHAHA! Fuck.

Janie, Eve, and Faith (whom the other two ran into in the hall as they were rushing to "find" the money that was in "Faith's" "bag" "the whole time") begin walking back to the office when Janie spots the new boy with blood dripping down his arm. The three girls run to him and he tells them he cut his arm on the fence beside the parking lot as he was helping a girl free her bike. Your story smells like rotten eggs, pretty boy. Don't play with me! I read the back of the book, you murderer!! Uh, anyway, he introduces himself as Ross Gabriel and Faith and Eve jump to guide him to the nurse's office, ignoring Janie who tells them she'll take the money to the office. "It's not fair," she muttered to herself. "I saw him first." Poor little Janie. I guess this would be the time to mention how these girls look (because that's why Janie feels so inferior to the other two). Eve has long luscious black hair and olive eyes. Faith has long luscious blond hair and blue eyes. Janie is short, blond, thin, and kind of shy. I have a soft spot for you, Janie. Everybody ignores me, too! *SOB*

Janie is counting the money when Faith and Eve walk into the office carrying on about how cute Ross is. Janie says she saw him first, but Faith and Eve couldn't possibly care any less. The two start arguing about their shitty boyfriends until Janie tells them they need to help her stack and band the money before Hernandez shows up. Ian and Paul (Eve and Faith's boyfriends) pop up out of nowhere and pretend to shove the money into their pockets. This starts plenty of gag-worthy play fighting between the boys and their girls. The door opens just as Paul throws a a banded stack which ends up hitting Mr. Hernandez in the forehead. He has a sense of humor about it, though, and no-one gets in trouble. Sad, isn't it? Paul said he stopped by to give the girls the key to the filing cabinet where the dance committee keeps its stuff. Then the boys leave along with Mr. Hernandez...even though I assume he's supposed to be putting the money in a safe spot. Fool.

Later, the girls come back to the office to give Hernandez the grand total ($1,241.65) but he's on the phone. JUST TAKE THE DAMN MONEY. He hangs up a few minutes later, but Janie nor the other girls can remember the stinking total so Janie runs back to the filing cabinet where she wrote down the total. She's shocked to find the money missing. Oopsy daisy! (I thought the whole point was to give Hernandez the money so he could put it in a safe or something? I guess I don't understand the intricacies of this book's plot).

Janie is totally depressed about the stolen bills. So depressed she can't even do her homework that night so she tells her parents that she's going out and drives to Faith's house where stupid Paul is also hanging out. Janie brings up the money and she notices Paul and Faith acing pretty shifty at the mention of it. THIEVES! Or not. Or yes? Only time (and about a hundred more pages) will tell. Then Janie decides to reminisce about the time she, Faith, and Eve broke into one of the hovels on Fear Street and got caught by the cops. Janie was relieved because she really didn't want to find ghosts or anything in the house. Two words, Janie: FEAR RATS. Ghosts don't gnaw upon your soul like those damn Fear rats. (The things mine eyes have seen!) What was I saying? Oh yeah. The subject turns to Ross. Paul thinks he's a stuck up jerk, Faith thinks he's cute, and, as usual, no-one cares what Janie thinks.

Janie hangs around after Paul leaves and Faith asks "So are you going to ask Ross out, or am I?" Janie is shocked because Faith already has the talking turd known as Paul, but Faith says he never has to know. Faith decides to be cruel and starts a bet: whoever goes out with Ross first gets $10. Eve calls a split second later and Faith gets her in on it, too. Janie feels bad because she's certain she'll lose, but Faith doesn't notice because Faith is a bitch. There. I said it. Seriously, Faith (and Eve, too) shows so little regard for Janie's feelings, it's hard to believe they're friends. As Janie prepares to leave, she asks Faith why she and Paul were acting so weird. Faith blames it on Janie: "Well, Janie, it's just that--uh...Paul and I know that it was you who stole the dance money." Oh HELL no! "April fool. I tried, but I couldn't keep a straight face." I hate you, Faith.

In chemistry class the next afternoon, Janie gets a chance to work with Ross. Ross says they'll do great because he did this stuff in 7th grade and it's just "Mickey Mouse stuff" to him now. You're dangerously close to arrogant ass territory, sir. But Ross sets up camp there when he combines two chemicals to make a "stink bomb" that makes the room reek of rotten eggs. The teacher removes the smelly tubes and the class cheers for Ross's stupidity. He tells Janie he likes to mess with people which she thinks is an odd thing to say, but oh well! She wonders if she should ask him out, but just as she starts to say something, he freaks out at the sight of this blond girl in the hall and runs away. Janie has no idea who the girl is, but she was staring hard at Ross. Possibly because he was acting like someone who had never seen a member of the opposite sex before? Eve comes running up to Janie a moment later: "Guess what--I win! I have a date with Ross Friday night!" Good luck with that...

It's now Friday night and Janie and Faith are talking about Ross and Eve and how jealous they are of her. Janie mentions that Eve borrowed her blue blazer and Faith says "And she's wearing those sexy red denims she saves for special occasions." Sexy. Red. Denims. Are you kidding me? No, really, is that a joke? Sexy red denims?! DENIMS! Faith changes the subject to something more serious: she thinks her parents are going to seperate because they're rarely at home at the same time and when they are, they spend too much time in their room talking. Faith, you really are an unbelievable idiot. She goes on to say she's pissed at Paul because he asked her for $300 for a new transmission for his car (net value: $2.30) and she's sure he only dates her for her riches. It ain't for your brains, smart one.

Meanwhile, Eve and Ross are sitting in his Civic at the edge of the Fear Street woods. Are we in for some dry lipped action? "He reached across the seat, pulled Eve to him, and kissed her. His lips felt dry and hot against hers." It never fails. Ross pulls away and says he usually doesn't make moves on a girl on the first date. (No, he just kills them.) He says they should take a walk, but Eve doesn't want to because this is the Fear Street woods and those trees are just not right. Ross doesn't want to hear the horrible stories about Fear Street because he LIVES there so he's probably heard the stories already from every human being (and a few talking dogs) within a 50 mile radius. He convinces her to take a walk.

On Saturday morning, a very worried Ian calls Janie. He says Eve never came home last night. Her parents have already called the police and the sexy red denim store to tell them their best customer may not be returning. Ian wants to come over and Janie says ok because he's whining like a baby. She calls Faith, but there's no answer so she calls Eve's house and talks to her sobbing mother who informs her that Ross is missing, too. I bet. Ian arrives and he and Janie go driving around town while Ian grills her about what she knows. She insists she knows nothing and Ian backs off. They go by Fear Street woods where Janie spots Eve's fly riddled corpse. Her skull is partially caved in and half buried in mud. Janie screams at Ian that they need to call the police, but neither of them is moving too quickly. Ian is in shock and Janie is too busy watching the pretty pretty flies buzz all over her dead friend's face.

Eventually they call for help and the cops show up. Ian tells Janie he believes Eve was killed because Eve stole the dance money and somebody wanted it. Then Janie tells him about Eve's date with Ross and Ian loses it. Janie takes away his car keys so he can't do anything crazy and when he demands them back, she throws them in the weeds. Later, they're dragged down to the police station where they see Ross. He tells them he was out of town with his parents this morning and just got back. He claims he took Eve home at 11 PM. Ian thinks he's a liar. And he is! I read the back of the book, murderer!

On Sunday afternoon, Janie meets Faith at Pete's Pizza, the perfect place to mourn your dead friend. Nothing says 'Rest In Peace' like a greasy pepperoni. The girls talk about the fact that Eve couldn't have stolen the dance money because she was so very honest. Then Ross shows up and immediately becomes infuriated because he believes Faith thinks he killed Eve. Faith spots Paul and Ian outside and goes to join them, leaving Janie alone with Ross. She asks Ross why he went out with Eve and he says she told him all about the stupid bet and he agreed to go out with her so they could split the $20 she'd win. He says he can't believe something like this happened, not after what happened in New Brighton (his old town). Guess they experienced an unexplained rash of murders that only ended when you finally decided to leave. Murderer! Out in the mall (was Pete's Pizza always in the mall? Does it move from book to book?) Faith, Ian, and Paul are waiting. They all believe Ross slaughtered Eve, but the focus soon turns to Paul's new transmission and how he got the money for it. WHO CARES?! There's a murderer on the loose!

On Monday night, Ross shows up at Janie's house in need of help with his French homework because he heard Janie is good at French. Afterward, he starts rubbing her arm and invites her to get something to eat with him. She agrees and suggests a place in the Old Village so no-one she knows will see her out with a murderer. But Ross's car runs out of gas about a mile from Janie's house and she's suddenly alone in the dark with a murderer who has murder in his eyes and even more murder in his heart. He says they need gas and he'll push the car while she steers. They reach a nearby gas station where Janie pays because Ross "forgot" his wallet. He says he should go by his house and try to find his wallet because he shouldn't be driving without his license. Janie is shocked he lives on Fear Street. Of course she is. Ross finds his wallet and they decide to go to White Castle for burgers because it's getting late and Janie wants to go home before Ross decides to decapitate her. Later, he takes Janie home where they make out in the car for a moment before parting ways. Janie goes inside and realizes she still has Ross's French textbook and decides she should really return it RIGHT NOW. She drives to Ross's house, but some old lady answers the door and says no-one named Ross Gabriel lives there.

The next day, Janie is determined to find out the truth about Ross before she falls in love any further. Gross. Faith doesn't think it's such a good idea for Janie to be spending so much time with Ross. She's heard plenty of rumors. Plus, he's a murderer. She mentions a girl named Jordan Blye, the blond that Ross freaked out at the sight of. She just transferred from Ross's old high school and knows plenty about him. Before Faith can say more, Paul interrupts. Apparently Ross has been arrested for MURDER! Except Paul is an idiot and Ross wasn't arrested at all. Janie spots him across the cafeteria and runs to him. She asks him about the house and the old lady and he claims that's his senile grandmother who doesn't know who he is half the time. He goes on to say he was at the police station this morning because the cops wanted to know about the missing dance money. They searched Eve's place, but found no trace and her parents' bank account is empty so they automatically turned to Ross. Which makes not much sense at all. Then he says he has something for her. It's a blue scarf that looks an awfully lot like the one Eve was wearing the night she was killed. Janie runs away and avoids Ross for the rest of the day.

After school, Janie sees Paul and Faith fighting in the student parking lot, but she doesn't intervene because violence is never very serious. Faith runs off and Paul drives away. That night, Janie goes to the mall and talks with Ian at the Doughnut Hole where he works. Then she goes home and calls Faith who has something to tell her about Ross. She tells Janie to wait while she takes another call. When she comes back on the line, she begs Janie to come over. When Janie arrives at Faith's house, the door is ajar. RUN. She goes inside and calls to Faith, but receives no answer. RUN. She goes into the den where she finds Faith who has been bludgeoned with a fireplace poker. RUN. She calls 911 and gives her info to the nice lady. Then she hears footsteps and tells the lady that she thinks the murderer is still around. RUN. The lady tells her to get out of the house. RUN!!! But it's too late. Someone is standing in the's Ian. He says Faith called him a little earlier because she had something to tell him about Ross. He seems as upset as Janie, but you never know...

Three days after Faith's funeral, Janie gets a chance to talk to Jordan Blye. As the girls walk through the park, Jordan says that Ross's real name is Robert Kingston, but he changed it when he moved...after he killed his girlfriend. Her name was Karen Anders and Ross was never convicted of her murder because he had an alibi (he was off murdering some other girl so he couldn't have killed Karen) but everyone at school knew it was him. He and his parents moved to Shadyside so he could kill and kill again and no-one could stop him because the cops are stupid.

As Janie is walking home, it begins pouring rain. Ross pops up out of nowhere and tells Janie to get in his car. She refuses and he gets angry. He says he just wants to talk and proves this by shoving her into a wall. She says she'll meet him at Pete's Pizza at 8 PM and he finally leaves. At home, Janie reads a note from her mom stating that she and Dad will be back later. The phone happens to be dead because that's creepy. At 8:30 PM, someone knocks on the door. It's Ross and he isn't too happy she broke their date. He pulls out the scarf and says Janie left it in his car and he wanted to return it. Then he asks what he did wrong. He starts telling her about what happened in his past. He says he found Karen's corpse, but he didn't kill her. Rumors started and he and his family moved to get away from it. He also denies killing Eve and Faith. Janie responds by fleeing the house, but she only makes it to the driveway where Ross tackles her to the ground and says he won't let her up until she tells him why she doesn't believe him. He disappears when her parents pull into the driveway.

Janie spends the next day worrying about seeing Ross. She manages to avoid him until after school when he catches up to her. Luckily (or not) she comes across Paul and a few of his friends. Paul tells Ross to back off and then punches him in the gut. Janie runs to the park and cries. Eventually she calms down, remembers that she left her backpack in the hall, and decides to go back for it. The back door is still open so she slips inside, but doesn't find her backpack where she left it. She starts walking toward the office and overhears Mr. Hernandez talking to Ross about violence. Janie dives inside a closet to avoid being seen. Because that's perfectly logical. She thinks she feels damp hair brushing over her face so she panics and starts screaming and pounding on the door, but she can't get out. A second later, the door bursts open and the hair? Just a damp, dirty mop.

When Janie recovers from her horrifying experience and gets home, Ian calls and tells her to come over because he has proof that Ross killed Eve and Faith. Ian drives Janie to Fear Street woods. Oh shit. He takes a baseball bat out of the trunk, shows her the dried blood on it, and says "I killed her [Eve]! Here's the proof!" Well, kids, it appears I judged Ross too harshly (it was great fun while it lasted) when I should've been casting my judgemental eye on IAN all along. You're a slippery little eel, Ian. Now for the ridiculous motive. Eve stole the dance money for Ian so he could pay for a bit of college. But she felt guilty and wanted to return it so he killed her. Oh, and he saw she and Ross making out which gave him further incentive to murder her and also make people believe Ross was the killer. Faith suspected something so she too had to die. Before Ian can cast Janie from this life, Ross shows up and immediately gets smacked in the head with the bat. But he's back up a minute later and Ian is soon pinned to the ground. Janie runs to call the police and decides Ross is ok after all even though she's been accusing him of being a cold blooded murderer and he probably hates her now.

Conclusion? All that for $1,241.65? He can't even GO to college now because he'll be behind bars for the rest of his life.

Next time: "The Mind Reader" A book called The Mind Reader...that really has nothing at all to do with a mind reader.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

99 Fear Street: The Third Horror

There is no way in hell that house is on Fear Street. It's too attractive.

Book Description:

Kody Frasier always swore she'd come back to 99 Fear Street. She knows the spirit of her dead sister, Cally, is trapped there, waiting to be set free. Now Kody is starring in a movie about the evil that murdered Cally, set in the very house that destroyed their family. If she can just find Cally, she can help her... But Cally doesn't want to be saved. She's been waiting all this time for revenge. And once the movie camera is rolling, Cally is going to give Kody the surprise ending of a lifetime!

My Description:

It's been two years since Kody Frasier was last in the horrid house at 99 Fear Street. It doesn't hold good memories--her brother James and her twin sister Cally died here. Kody is standing on the sidewalk having deep thoughts (as deep as a mud puddle) about how sunny the day is yet 99 Fear Street remains dark and creepy and death trap-y. Then the door opens and Kody is shocked to see Cally step out. Except not. It's just the snobby actress Persia Bryce who will be playing KODY in the movie being made about the never ending horror that is Kody's life. I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly, but I think Kody is playing Cally...which really makes no sense.

Bo Montgomery is the director of 99 Fear Street (the film's overly creative title) and he believes this is his "big chance" since everything else he's ever directed turned out to be crap. Bo isn't happy because he has to make the film at this dump of a house. He also didn't want to use an amateur like Kody to fill the role of Cally, but he has no choice."This role has Winona Ryder written all over it. Instead, I get Kody Frasier." Be happy you have a job at all, asshole. His associate producer, Sam McCarthy, reminds Bo that he's getting great publicity because the movie is based on TRUE EVENTS, but Bo continues to whine about his pathetic sham of a life and how this movie could make or break him. A few moments later, Bo and Sam are suddenly surrounded by a horde of Fear rats. But they make it out of the basement unscathed thanks to Bo's trusty clipboard. I always thought Fear rats could only be killed by an ancient Fear dagger soaked in the blood of a Fear, washed in Fear Lake, and put out to power up beneath a full moon before being used by a dry lipped bumpkin from Fear Street. But apparently a 99 cent clipboard from Staples works just as well. Bo trots off to tend to the high maintenance Persia while the remaining rats presumably begin procreating as a form of revenge. You won't make it out next time, Bo. Nuh-uh. And there WILL be a next time!

Meanwhile, Kody is talking to Rob Gentry, a blue eyed actor who moves with the "easy grace" of a cute little kitty.

Any excuse to mention cute little kitties. Don't you feel warm and fuzzy now? Well, hold on to that the end of this book, you'll need a reason to keep on living. Anyway, Rob is a total flirt (in this town, it's against the law to be anything else if you look as perfect as Rob) and pulls Kody close as they walk to the caterer's table. Kody admires him: "He's the handsomest boy I've ever met, Kody found herself thinking as she lowered herself onto the grass beside him." Too bad he'll probably be dead soon. But it doesn't matter because there are plenty of vapid pretty boys walking around so Kody will have a shoulder to cry on when the love of her life that she's known for one whole day dies. *sigh* Kody mentions that Persia is evil and treats Kody like a mutt and Rob says that Persia is jealous because she wanted to play Cally, not Kody. Once again, this makes NO SENSE. Why isn't Kody playing HERSELF? What is the purpoe of someone else portraying her when she's still around? Why am I asking questions? I'm only hurting myself. Anyway, Rob decides that Kody really isn't upset about Persia at all. She's upset about being back at the center of hell where her life was completely ruined. Wow, Rob. You are truly a genius among men. Dumbass. Kody says that being back at the house is difficult, but she wanted to be part of the film for two reasons: "One, it was such an incredible opportunity. I mean, my life was so terrible, Rob." Dad went blind, Mom was never the same, life sucked. On to the second reason: "I made a promise to my sister that I'd come back." She tells Rob about her sister's ghost and he thinks that's so normal that he can't leave fast enough when the assistant director calls for him. Kody wanders off, almost trips over a box of blood (yeah), and then can't stop thinking about the house's bloody history. But the sight of Cally (Persia?) in the window breaks through her thoughts.

And now the moment we've all been dreading: Cally's point of view. Gag. have I mentioned that I hate her? Because I really really do. Cally is furious because Kody came back to be a "movie star", not to visit dear old dead sis. Cally watches Kody and thinks about what a surprise she'll get when she finds Cally and realizes how positively evil she's become. "I am the evil and the evil is me." She should put that on a T-shirt. Cally decides that Kody will have to die. She watches Kody go toward the front door... "Cally shot a dozen pointed steel spikes through the front door. She listened gleefully as Kody's shrill screams rose up in a wail of terror." Kody, of course, doesn't die. She screams, Bo comes running, and after he threatens to chew out McCarthy, the asst. producer, for the spikes, Kody admires Bo's rugged good looks. No comment. McCarthy pleads his case and he and Bo walk off to do movie stuff. Kody spends a few moments having horrible bloody flashbacks before going into the house because she's part of a plot device that this book just couldn't live without. The scene about to be filmed involves Rob getting his hand ground into hamburger in the garbage disposal. He's really nervous about it so McCarthy shows him how it's done. Which is a huge, messy, gory mistake. Just as McCarthy puts his hand into the disposal, someone pushes Kody (who is just hanging around) causing her to bump into the switch that turns the disposal on. "Red as raw hamburger, McCarthy's fingers fell loosely on his cut and mangled palm." Dump some alcohol on it and STOP SCREAMING. Geez.

Later, Bo meets with Rob, Kody, and Persia and tells them that McCarthy lost all his mangled fingers. He asks Kody what happened and she tries to tell him she was pushed, but he interrupts her and keeps talking. She realizes he blames her for the maiming of the hand. He says he's grateful for Kody being involved with the production (HA!) and Persia mutters that it's all for the publicity (which is probably true). Bo denies it, saying that Kody is a great actress. Who has never acted before in her life. Kody is distracted by the weirdo looking in the window at them. It's our old friend Lurie, the real estate agent (who is now a peeping tom. Guess the recession caught up with him.) who sold Kody's family the house. Bo goes out to talk to the creeper and Kody and Persia have an argument which leads to Persia ripping out some of Kody's hair before Rob and Bo intervene. Persia walks off after claiming she was only acting. Rob seems very concerned about Kody: "But then, to her complete surprise, he leaned forward, wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and kissed her. A long kiss. A hungry kiss." No word on the moisture level of Rob's lips. He leaves a moment later and Kody questions if he's truly interested in her. He is an actor, after all.

Kody goes to sleep in her trailer and is awakened by a tapping at the door. 'Twas the raven nevermore? No, it's just...nobody. Kody opens the door and sees no-one, but she's sure Cally was just here. She steps out into the night and walks to the house. She lets herself in and is shocked to see Mrs. Nordstrom (the old housekeeper) scrubbing the sink in the kitchen. The two have a little reunion before Nordstrom goes back to scrubbing blood out of the sink and Kody goes into the living room where Cally is hanging out in the form of a cold breeze. A second later, a security guard grabs Kody's arm and asks her what she's doing. She says she used to live here and he gets all excited, getting an autograph for his nephew before letting Kody go.

The next morning, Kody is on set confessing how nervous she is to Rob. He assures her that they're only doing reaction shots today so she doesn't even have to speak. A girl named Joanna comes on set as stand-in for a test shot...and promptly gets her face smashed by a rogue camera. "For a few seconds Joanna seemed suspended there, her head impaled by the protruding lens. Then she toppled back and fell heavily to the ground, leaving the camera soaked with her bright red blood." People immediately freak out and amid the chaos, the security guard says something to Bo who then wants to talk to Kody. The guard told Bo that he saw Kody in the house the night before so Bo suspects that MAYBE Kody messed with the boom which caused the camera to pulverize Joanna's innocent face. He changes his tune, though, and says he really doesn't know what to think. Bo runs off and Kody is pissed about being accused. She goes inside the house (because the place is so very warm and comforting) and mopes around. Then she finds Cally's severed head in the refrigerator. She screams, Bo comes running, and we all learn that the head is, unfortunately, just a prop. Kody goes to her trailer to rest her aching brain. Meanwhile, Cally is amused by Kody's reaction to the dummy head. She's also amused (everything is just so damn FUNNY!) by all the bad things she's planning to do. Cally is the WORST revenge seeking ghost ever. Why not torture Kody directly instead of hurting people around her? Oh right--because the book would only be ten pages long and no-one would get paid.

The next morning, Kody throws herself into Rob's arms and begs him to hold her. As if that will help. Stop acting like a Victorian school marm with a wicked case of the vapors and do something productive for once. Like getting as far away from Shadyside as humanly possible. Instead of taking my advice, Kody makes out with Rob until they're interrupted by the hideous Persia. She came to tell them that Joanna died in the hospital and the police are on set investigating so Bo has called a break for the day. Later, Bo gathers everyone for a meeting to discuss the issue. He's interrupted by Mr. Hankers (the handyman from the previous books) who has arrived to slaughter the basement rats. At the end of the meeting, Bo tells Rob and Kody that they'll be shooting their attic scene the next morning. Bo thinks about how good Rob is...and how Kody should be replaced.

Rob has rented a Mustang convertible so he and Kody go for a drive. In the evening, they end up beside the Conononka River making out like fiends. (My eyes cannot possibly roll back any further.) It starts to rain so they go back to Fear Street. Kody runs to her trailer for her script because she and Rob plan to "practice their lines" and Rob stays in the car. Kody picks up her script and hears a tapping at the door. She opens it and steps out, but there's no-one there and Rob's car is gone. Then Cally appears to screw things up further. Kody can't see her, but Cally's voice commands Kody to follow her. Just reading this is making me dumber. Kody is excited and runs out into the rain. She runs to the house and goes into the basement at Cally's urging. A dark shadow rolls across the floor to Kody, but before anything happens, damn BO pops up with his hand clamped over Kody's mouth. Where the hell does he come from?!? Is he stalking her every move? He's always way too near. He wants to know what she's doing and she asks the same of him, but he just says he has things to do for the production. Liar. He says they should leave, but they can't because Kody has spotted a box of explosives labelled DANGER and she wants to know what they're for. He says at the end of the movie, he's going to blow up the house. PRAISE BE. Burn the mother down! Bo starts acting really weird and creepy and says she absolutely cannot tell anyone. He goes on to talk about her death scene, but Kody doesn't want to hear any more. Then she mentions the fact that Cally led her here, but Bo thinks she's just coming up with things for the script. Their discussion is ended when a giant rat tries to tear out Kody's throat. The poor stupid rodent misses and falls to the floor. Kody KICKS it and it runs away. How dare she! The rats are our future. RESPECT.

The next morning brings the attic scene which is sure to be a total disaster. Kody asks Rob why he left her the night before and he insists she told him to go back to his hotel without her. She is seriously dense. She hasn't thought ONCE that it's Cally messing with her. Anyway, Bo explains the scene. Green goo will come pouring out of the floor, Rob and Kody will pretend to be terrified, and it all has to be done in one take because it would take way too long to clean the crap up to film it again. Bo leaves the room for a few minutes and Kody and Rob have a romantic moment that isn't romantic at all. Thankfully, it doesn't last long because the goo machine starts cranking and steaming hot goo comes pouring out. And the door's locked. And the goo smells like sour milk. As the goo gets thicker and rises a little higher, Kody starts calling for Cally because she has no idea her dead demonic sister is CAUSING this mess. And now Rob thinks Kody is completely insane. Finally Kody grabs a light tower (metal poles holding two large lights) and smashes a window. Unfortunately, it appears Rob has drowned in the goo. "He probably tried to swim, Kody realized, and the disgusting liquid held him under." He tried to SWIM? Don'tlaughdon'tlaughdon'tlaugh. Actually, I guess I CAN laugh because Rob isn't dead at all. Kody pulls him out of the goo, gives him mouth to mouth (as she's been doing for several days. ZING!) and lo and behold, he lives. Then Kody vomits and calls it a day.

The next afternoon, Kody and Persia watch Bo pacing and claiming that this movie HAS to be made. WHY? The guy can't direct. Period. He should cut his losses and end it now before he gets his eyes gnawed out by rats. Rob is in the hospital and doing fine. Yeah, anyway, a guy named Burt Martindale is playing Kody's dad and will be filming his first scene today. Marge Anderson and Noah Klein (Mom and James) are also in the scene along with Kody and Persia. It's a dinner scene, the one in which Dad gets stabbed by a knife with a mind of its own. I guess nothing happens. For once.

That night, Kody wakes up after a nightmare in which she's eating doughtnuts that taste like the sour milk goo. She decides she's going to deal with Cally now. Except she still doesn't think Cally is evil. When she gets to the house, she asks Cally if she can hug her. Cally responds by luring Kody to the basement which has a tiny secret room (where the rats hang out for darts and beer nuts) where Cally is waiting for her. Cally becomes a freezing cold mist that invades Kody. I think. Possibly?

The next day, it's time for more of the dinner scene. Bo instructs Kody and Persia to argue over a knife. And when he says "Action", Kody rams the knife into Persia's hand, pinning her to the table. Blood spurts everywhere, Persia is screaming, everyone else is screaming, and Kody is yelling that it was supposed to be a prop, not real. Persia is eventually taken away by paramedics and Bo takes Kody aside to tell her that the movie is jinxed and she is the cause. He says she's being removed from the film. Kody responds by cracking his skull with a spotlight and burning his face with the hot bulb until smoke rises. "Okay, everybody! That's a wrap!" Shrew.

The real Kody is tied up in the basement. Cally didn't possess her the hell did she make herself solid enough to pass as the real Kody? How can she pick up objects and such? Do I really give a damn at this point? Does ANYONE? Anyway, Cally is pure evil, rats are all over the place, and Mr. Lurie, Mrs. Nordstrom, and Mr. Hankers are feeding the rats and treating them like pets. Kody can't believe they're there and they don't even KNOW she's there. They're in the secret room and Kody is in the main part of the basement yet they never saw her. Don't care. Doesn't matter. Kody hears them say Cally is easily controlled and she realizes Cally isn't really evil. She's being controlled by those three. Cally shows up and lets Kody go because she's ruined her life and has no further use for her. Kody tells her about the demented freaks in the next room, but Cally doesn't believe her. Then the three come out and thank Cally for bringing them Kody. Cally tells Kody to run for the stairs and as she does, the three turn into rats and attack Kody. "A line of drool fell from Mr. Hankers's snarling mouth as he scratched the gray fur of his belly with both claws." Very attractive. They're joined by other rats, but Kody manages to get out of the house just before the entire thing explodes and rats go flying. *sob* I loved those filthy rodents!

A few weeks later, Rob and Kody are hanging out...eating pizza and drinking Coke. It never fails. Kody is back in Los Angeles with her parents (that's where they fled after their time on Fear Street). Rob lives in the city and just auditioned for a dog food commercial. Woof. The doorbell rings and Rob answers. He comes back to the living room with a package for Kody. It's a tape with a note attached: "Here's a collector's item for you, Kody. It's the only film that was shot at 99 Fear Street. Talk about a big finish! Better luck to us all! Sam McCarthy" It's a shot of the explosion and a faint image of Cally waving good-bye.

Conclusion?: I don't wanna think about it...

Next time: "The New Boy" A mysterious hunk of teenage man meat moves to Shadyside and shortly after, the murders begin. It's sure to be...a gas. The kind of gas that explodes in your face and makes you wish you were never born.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Night Games

*This cover is absolutely hilarious. "Night time is the right time...for trouble." Classic.*

Book Description:

Diane loves sneaking out in the middle of the night. Her friends do, too. They have the town all to themselves. Every night they come up with a new prank to play. But then Diane's boyfriend, Lenny, wants revenge on a teacher and the pranks turn to murder. Now Diane and her friends are in too deep. Much too deep...with no way out.

My Description:

It's the middle of the night (WOW!) and Diane, Lenny, Cassie, and Jordan are standing on the sidewalk laughing at Mr. Crowell's hideous Christmas decorations. Mr. Crowell is their math teacher and everyone hates him because he doesn't allow calculators. Diane turns her attention to Lenny, her personal Adonis. Lenny is one tough bad ass and Diane is a dork so she doesn't know why he dates her. Shut up, Diane. Judging by the cover, you could probably kick Lenny's ass. After all, YOU'RE the one in the black leather jacket and everyone knows only cool bad asses wear black leather. Anyway, Lenny thinks they should smash the whole tacky display (he must be bad at math), but no-one else is into it so they walk off. A moment later, they see someone dart around the side of a house and automatically assume it's a burglar even though they're doing practically the same freaking thing (i.e. lurking around random houses). It turns out to be one of their stupid friends, Spencer. They tell him about their initial suspicions and he says all he does these days is rob houses and he's really rich because of it. They all believe it until he bursts out laughing and tells them they're all stupid. Yes. They are. The house Spencer was "burglarizing" is his own. He just moved back to Shadyside. After he tells the gang that he was just sneaking out to play Night Games (yes, that's what he calls it), Diane asks him where the hell he's been. Grandma got sick, Dad dragged Spencer and family to Washington, Grandma got better, and Dad decided to move the family back to Shadyside because "My dad thought it would be easier to find work here." Is your father completely DERANGED? Does he have some sort of brain fever? There's NOTHING in Shadyside! Once you leave, why would you ever come back?!? Spencer goes on to say that he goes to St. Ann's now instead of Shadyside High. What a loss. Then he asks them if they want to go on an adventure, a "Night Game". Is he five years old? What high schooler asks his friends if they want to go on an adventure? Diane isn't sure and Cassie wants to make sure he doesn't do anything illegal. "I have adventures. Some nights it's hard to sleep. My head feels so crowded. So I sneak out for some Night Games. Quiet little the dark." I don't think it was Grandma who was sick. I think it's Spencer who has the sickness. In the head. 'My head feels so crowded' = the voices won't shut up. 'Quiet little adventures' = killing small animals, defecating in mailboxes, luring sailors to their death with his siren song, etc. Yet these idiots follow him like empty headed sheep. Nocturnal sheep.

They walk around, following Spencer until he stops beside a car with two unruly teens making out inside. Spencer decides to get his jollies by pounding on the window and telling the cupcakes inside that they're under arrest. They freak out until they open the door and realize it's not a cop, just some disturbed boy. The dude from the car appears ready to kick Spencer's ass, but before that can happen, Spence and the gang run away. They stop when they reach Spencer's front yard and he suggests they do this again: "Let's meet again. Okay? How about it? Monday after midnight? We'll all sneak out and have more adventures." Stop saying adventures!! ERROL FLYNN had adventures. All YOU'RE having is happy play time. You may as well be sitting in a sandbox! Anyway, Diane and Cassie don't really want to, but Lenny and Jordan do and since neither girl possesses a spine, they go along with it.

It's now Monday and the Night Riders are sitting in Mr. Crowell's math class fighting boredom. Cassie is sketching, Diane is examining a stain on her shirt, and Lenny and Jordan are acting like jackasses. When Lenny laughs at something Jordan says, Mr. Crowell spins around and demands to know what's so funny. He proceeds to rip Lenny a new one before turning back to the blackboard. Lenny stands and flips over his desk. When Crowell tells him to sit down, Lenny raises his fist and then bolts out of the classroom before he can solve the equation of how long it would take to rearrange Crowell's face. Mr. Crowell continues his lesson as if nothing ever happened because he is made of awesome sauce.

After class, Diane tries to find Lenny with no luck. He's probably in the janitor's closet crying his little heart out into a mop. Diane talks to Cassie who mentions that Crowell has a heart condition and someday Lenny is going to give him a heart attack (foreshadowing?). Then they talk about the ADVENTURE that's taking place tonight. Cassie doesn't wanna go, but she's a glutton for peer pressure and since everyone else is going, she will too. Diane is going so she can have the chance to talk to Lenny. Does he not have a phone? I seriously doubt she needs to go skipping around the streets of Shadyside in the middle of the night to talk to that moron.

That night, the girls meet in front of Spencer's house and the boys show up shortly after. Diane tells Lenny that he needs to "cool it" in Crowell's class, but Lenny isn't planning on it. He blames it on Crowell: "I'm not a good enough student for him to leave alone. Every chance he gets, he finds a way to get on my case." You are such a turd, Lenny. If you actually paid attention and did your work instead of sitting there with your thumb up your butt, he'd probably get off your case, genius! A moment later, Spencer comes flopping out of his window like a crack addicted trout. "I knew you guys would come! Everyone needs some Night Games from time to time--right?" NO. Then we're treated to a visual of Spence: "Spencer had his hair tied back in a thick ponytail. He wore a black sweatshirt--inside out--and baggy black chinos that were ripped at both knees." Glad to hear he dressed up for the occasion.

After Lenny and Spencer share how much they hate Crowell (apparently he was Spencer's teacher a few years ago when Spence still attended Shadyside High) they all start walking down the street. Spencer is excited: "Late at night, Shadyside is ours!" You poor pathetic fool. Of course they end up at Crowell's house. They spy on him through the window. He's in the living room disemboweling a headless corpse. Just kidding--he's decorating his Christmas tree. Sadly, I don't think this book will have any guts or decapitated bodies. Our loss. Anyway, after putting the finishing touches on his tree, Crowell treats himself to a soda pop (I think an occasion like this calls for an orange Fanta. Screw Coke!) and sits back to admire his mad decorating skills. The Night Riders (I declare this their official name) get bored and all but Spencer turn to leave. He decides to destroy some of Crowell's outdoor decorations with his handy dandy flashlight. He smashes some twinkly red and green lights, breaks Santa's head, and throws an aluminum reindeer at the house. Crowell hears the MADNESS! and comes to the door: "I see you!" They all run, leaving Crowell alone to screech the night away. The boys think the entire thing was hilarious, but Cassie and Diane think it was pretty horrible...yet they agree to go out again the next night. Crowell should have shot them all when he had the chance.

When Diane gets home, her ex-boyfriend Bryan calls her. She broke with him a year ago to go out with Lenny, but he wants her back for some reason. Diane is pissed because it's almost 3 AM and the phone could have woken her parents. She tells him she doesn't want to talk now so Bryan keeps it short and tells her she'll be sorry for dating Lenny. I think she's already sorry. A few seconds after hanging up, the phone rings again. It's the obligatory raspy voiced caller. "Diane, I saw you tonight. I saw you tonight, Diane. I know about your Night Games." You've got to be kidding me.

Last Winter

Spencer is hanging out in his uncle's ski cabin waiting for the rest of the Scooby gang to show up. He's excited for everyone to see this AWESOME cabin and ski the AWESOME slopes. It's TOTALLY AWESOME! Or not. Anyway, the downside for Spencer is that he doesn't have a girlfriend and everyone else is part of a couple. "Spencer knew he could find someone to date. But he was picky about who he went out with. She had to be smart, pretty, and fun. Someone perfect. Someone like Diane." That one makes fun of itself. Spencer hates that Diane chose Lenny over him. Boo hoo. Everyone arrives in Jordan's new Jeep (FYI: Jordan is rich). Lenny hangs his head out the window and yell at Spencer: "Yo, Spence! We saw your car leaning too far to the left. Maybe you should cut down on the Snickers bars!" HAR HAR HAR. This ticks Spencer off and he thinks about what a creep Lenny is. The only reason Lenny is here is because Diane insists on dragging him everywhere, not because Spencer invited him.

They all go inside and admire the cabin. Spencer overhears Lenny and Diane arguing in another room. Lenny says he didn't want to come, but he did for Diane. She tells him he follows her everywhere, he says it's the other way around, and Jordan interrupts before they can get into a Dynasty-style slap fest. Everyone gathers in the living room to be near the fire and watch TV. Unfortunately, a howling wind somehow knocks the power out. Spencer lights a lantern and everyone sits in uncomfortable silence while Diane and Lenny fight. Lenny ends up storming outside to sit in the Jeep where he can be alone and cry like the little bitch he is. Cassie and Jordan start making out while Diane and Spencer go to fetch more firewood. Diane complains about Lenny and she and Spencer have a moment where they almost kiss, but Lenny nips that in the bud by grabbing Spencer and punching him in the face. "Stay away from Diane! Or you'll be sorry! You'll be sorry!" What is it about this chick that makes these guys so crazy? She's about as interesting as a dried leaf. Lenny drags her back to the cabin leaving Spencer alone with his raging fury.

This Winter

Cassie and Diane are sharing a vegetarian pizza at Pete's Pizza (I look forward to the day I come upon one of these books that does not mention this place) while Diane moans to Cassie about Bryan's phone call. She thinks he was the raspy caller, but we all know it's some other psycho. They change the subject to Spencer and his Night Games when suddenly Lenny bursts through the door with blood dripping from his hand. Mr. Crowell told Lenny's basketball coach that Lenny is failing algebra so Coach kicked Lenny off the team. Lenny was so mad he punched a locker and cut his hand. The stupid troll blames Crowell for his bleeding hand. He complains that Crowell is ruining his life and won't stop until Lenny is kicked out of school. SHUT UP. Jordan shows up a moment later and asks everyone if they're meeting Spencer tonight. Of course they are. And Lenny plans to get revenge on Mr. Crowell.

The next chapter begins with Diane wondering how she, such a sensible girl, got caught up in the wild world of Night Games. Because you're an idiot, Diane. That's all there is to it. Diane thinks it's the sense of freedom that the Night Games gives them. I'll agree to disagree. Then Diane thinks about how gorgeous Spencer is now that he's no longer kind of chubby. How kind.

That night, the Night Riders (Midnight Morons? Moon Goons?) gather in Spencer's yard. Spencer hasn't fallen out his window yet and they're beginning to wonder what he's doing. Probably better not to ask. They all start arguing because waiting for five minutes is sooooo stressful. Eventually Spencer appears and tells them he fell asleep studying. Right. Lenny tells him he wants to go to Crowell's house "to do some damage". Spencer says that the Night Games are about fun, not revenge, but Lenny is determined so off they go. When they arrive at Crowell's house, all the lights are out and his car isn't in the open garage. They decide the logical thing to do is break into the house. They crawl in through a window and debate about what to do. Lenny wants to completely trash the place, but Spencer says they should just move some things around so Crowell will be freaked out, but he won't have any real reason to call the police. They split up and Diane goes into the bathroom where she laughs at Crowell's Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck shower curtain. Then she goes into a room, leaves the light on, and shuts the door. "That would give him something to think about!" You are truly the devil, Diane. She makes her way to a bedroom where she spots a figure lying on the bed. Before she can make out who it is in the darkness, Spencer grabs her shoulders, effectively scaring her. She calms down and tells him about the figure...which turns out to be a pair of black pajamas. They leave the room and Spencer sees Crowell's car pulling into the driveway. Crowell enters the house and everyone leaves through the kitchen door before he knows they're there. Diane is scandalized because Spencer stole Crowell's CD player. *sigh*

At home, Diane calls Cassie and they talk about what happened and how weird Spencer is now. The girls hang up after a few minutes and Diane gets another call from the creaky smoker's voice. "I saw what you did tonight. I know about your Night Games, Diane. I know what you stole tonight. I know about your little revenge. You'll pay, Diane. You're going to pay for what you did." She wasn't the one who stole and she wasn't the one who wanted revenge, you slow witted squirrel. Go bother someone else (i.e. Lenny)!

During Mr. Crowell's class the next day, the gang is incredibly jumpy. Crowell seems to be paying more attention to them, particularly Diane. After class, he speaks with her alone. But all he does is ask about how her midterm project is going. She's relived and meets up with her goofy friends a few moments later. She tells them what Crowell said and says they should stop with the Night Games. No-one but Cassie wants to quit. Cassie and Diane are not being forced to do these things so why do they continue to act like they are? Diane mentions her creepy caller and Lenny demands to know who it is. As if she knows. After the mention of the calls, the group decides to tell Spencer that they're through with his shoddy Night Games. If only.

Spencer isn't home when they arrive after school so they decide to show up tomorrow. Later, Diane has dinner at Cassie's house and it's dark when she leaves for home. As she's walking, she feels like she's being watched and this is confirmed when Bryan jumps out of the bushes. He confesses he was following her and says he wants to talk. She refuses and he tells her she needs to stay away from Lenny because he'll only get her into trouble. She mentions the strange phone calls, but Bryan says he didn't do it. Diane tries to walk away, but he grabs her and only lets go when a car passes by. He scampers off into the night like a scared rabbit. I think it's safe to say Diane has very poor taste in men.

At home, Diane finds the house empty. But Lenny takes care of that by showing up to whine about his awful parents. Did I mention how much I hate Lenny? Because I do. A LOT. His parents are angry with him because of his horrible grades and, as usual, Lenny blames Crowell. He confesses that he fantasizes about beating up Crowell or running over him with his car. Diane simply replies that Lenny and Crowell really need to talk. Then she and Lenny make out until they hear a knocking at the door. It's Cassie who received a note from, presumably, the same pathetic weirdo that keeps calling Diane. The note reads "I know about your Night Games. You're going to be the loser." Lenny thinks it's Mr. Crowell who I'm almost certain has much better things to than stay up late making phone calls and writing notes to stupid, irrational teenagers. Diane thinks it's Bryan and Cassie thinks it's Spencer. Which means it's probably neither. A few minutes later, Spencer shows up with a note of his own. His says "Night Games can be dangerous. Sometimes people die." Except not. Ever.

Last Winter

Here we go again. It's early morning and Spencer is making a nice cup of hot cocoa. "If only I had someone to share it with, he thought. Someone like Diane." Shut up, Spencer. You're not in a Danielle Steele novel, damn you! Cassie and Diane come out onto the deck where Spencer is sitting and he fights the urge to kiss Diane. I wish he would. Then we'd have the pleasure of watching him and Lenny kill each other in the snow. Jordan and Lenny come outside and watch Diane, Cassie, and Spencer making snow angels. Lenny makes a joke at Spencer's expense and challenges the three to a snowball war. Spencer packs the snow tightly into his hand and allows it to melt to form ice (what?) and slams Lenny in the mouth with the iceball and beans Jordan in the side of the head. In return, they bury Spencer in the snow. He starts freaking out because they packed him in pretty tightly and he can't move or even speak. He overhears Diane and Lenny arguing about whether or not to leave him. Then Jordan's Jeep starts...and the chapter ends there.

This Winter

The four fools who are currently the plague of my existence are sitting in the cafeteria discussing the notes. Blah blah blah. At the end of the day, Lenny goes to talk to Mr. Crowell while Diane waits outside the classroom. Lenny blows it and comes out furious. Crowell told him he was a loser who would never change (and THAT's why I love Crowell). Lenny wants one more Night Game, one more trip to Crowell's house. My will to live is fading...

Once again, they all meet at Spencer's and afterward head for Crowell's house. They find the lights out and the car missing so they let themselves in through the window like last time. Lenny has a can of spray paint (Diane somehow mistakes this for a gun. Further proof that she has defective brain cells.) and begins spraying everything in sight. Diane stumbles off to find Cassie and they get seperated from the boys only to find them a little later standing in a bedroom staring down at Crowell's lifeless body sprawled on the floor.

Predictably, these jerks only care about getting out of the house because they think someone will think they killed Crowell. WHO? WHY? Everyone is losing their minds. Except Lenny. Pretty sure he's high from paint fumes. They see headlights flash on the wall and Cassie screams "The police!" It isn't the police. How the hell would they know to come there? It's just a car pulling into the driveway next door. Instead of calling 911, they all search for the paint can that Lenny dropped. Jordan finds it and they all flee the house.

At 7 AM, Diane's phone rings. It's Cassie who heard on the radio that Crowell's housekeeper found him. He died of a heart attack. Because of the spray paint, the police think an intruder broke in and literally scared him to death. Excellent sleuthing. Diane stays home from school and that evening, her parents go out. Creepy McGee leaves a note on Diane's porch. It's a sheet of paper with the words "You Die Next" written in spray paint. UNBELIEVABLY clever. Cassie and Lenny show up with identical notes and they all decide to track down Jordan (Cassie called. He's not home.) to see if he also got a note. They find him at The Corner eating french fries with Bryan. Diane barges in and immediately accuses JORDAN of sending the notes because he was the one who found the spray can the night before. He tells her he gave the can to Spencer so they all leave to hunt down Spencer. They go into his house for the first time and find it empty and deserted. No heat. No furniture. Nothing to suggest anyone lives here. Then they spot Spencer lying facedown on the floor. They all think he's dead until he pops up to say "I'm dead." Thanks for letting us know. And it's true--Spencer is a ghost. Yes, folks, THIS is how it ends. He floats up off the floor and says they all killed him last winter when they left him to smother in the snow. He came back to get his revenge by making them play Night Games and watching them become frightened by his notes and phone calls. But now he's tired of games and just wants to kill them. They get rid of him by hugging him and telling him they love him. He needs hatred to thrive and their "kindness" causes him to melt to a dark puddle. The twist? He managed to kill Diane just before he died by choking her. Yet no-one notices because she's a "living ghost" just like Spencer was. I am in so much mental pain right now...

Conclusion? Unbearably boring and ridiculous. The characters were annoying and unlikable and I wanted to murder them all myself. And the entire Crowell thing was totally pointless! I'm not even going to comment on the ending. I just CANNOT.

Next time: "99 Fear Street - The Third Horror" Let's bury this sucker once and for all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

99 Fear Street - The Second Horror

Book Description:

At first, Brandt McCloy thinks moving to Shadyside is great. He has attracted the attention of three beautiful girls -- Meg, Jinny, and Abbie. But Brandt hasn't heard the terrifying stories about his new home -- 99 Fear Street. He doesn't know about the headless bodies, the bleeding walls. He doesn't know that Cally Frasier still haunts the house and plans gruesome deaths for him and everyone close to him. Poor Brandt -- what he doesn't know WILL hurt him.

*If you need a refresher, link to The First Horror is in the sidebar.*

My Description:


Cally Frasier's ghost is in the attic of the eeeeevil house on 99 Fear Street. She's watching a new family move in and her ghostly eyes are drawn to the hunk of burnin' dry-lipped love called Brandt. (This specimen is also known as teenagus dooficus. The Latin makes it fancy!) Cally is a sad and lonely ghost because the eeeeevil drove her entire family away and she's been spending her spectral days lamenting the fact that the eeeeevil is now inside her. Lest we forget how this house became chock full of evil, Cally has the story: "The house was built over 30 years ago, she knew. Built on cursed land. The first owners never moved in. The man who built the house brought his family to see it and left them alone for five minutes. Five minutes. When he returned, his wife and children were dead. Their heads ripped from their bodies. He hanged himself one month later. Here. In this house." Truly tragic...and maybe a wee bit awesome. What am I saying?!? It's the eeeeevil talking through my feeble frame! [End Prologue]

We begin this tale of unimaginable EVIL (I'm already sick as hell of that word)with the McCloy family moving all their crap into their new residence, the cursed house at 99 Fear Street. Mr. McCloy is screaming at one of the movers for not being more careful with the boxes of priceless tribal masks. Yeah, I know how pissed I get when people throw MY tribal masks around willy nilly. Like, don't they understand that those things are priceless artifacts (i.e. worthless shit) that came from prestigious locations around the world (i.e. a discounted bin of Mardi Gras favors at the Dollar Tree)? Dammit, people! Anyway, instead of bothering to help in any way, Brandt sits nearby stroking his cat Ezra and staring at his new home. This house is just like all the others on Fear Street: a delapidated dump full of rats and evil. Don't look so excited, Brandt. He isn't...he's disappointed in this cesspool he's being forced to live in. It only gets worse when Dad comes out of the house screaming about the rats. The rats are your friends! Or they will be when you realize they're not going anywhere. No poison or trap can kill a Fear rat. FACT. A moment later, Mr. Glen Hankers (the handy dandy repairman from the first book) comes over to introduce himself. He and Dad head inside the house to check out the rat situation. I guess old Hankers isn't interested in telling this family what happened to the last tenants of this house. Brandt tells his mom he's going to help the movers and Mom says he shouldn't because of his "condition". Is he pregnant? As I ponder Brandt's gestation, he starts unpacking a box that has dad's blowing darts inside. Don't ask. I won't either. Somehow one of the spears "seems to jump" out of Brandt's hand and stabs Ezra who promptly bleeds to death. NOOOOO! One chapter in and there's already dead cat blood on your hands, Stine. You're an evil man. An evil man indeed. The family consoles themselves by saying Ezra didn't suffer. Uh, when DIDN'T he suffer? He slowly bled to death! SOB!

They heal their wounds (but not Ezra's! SOB!) that evening over pizza. Like a healing grease scented salve, the pizza coaxes their troubles away with its pepperoni and cheese goodness. They talk about all the healthy food they ate on the island of Mapolo, their last place of residence. They left a tropical paradise to live on Fear Street. Morons. Anyway, Mom recalls how much Brandt loved the food: "You asked me to make stewed mushrooms and coconut for your birthday, remember?" Ew. Then Mom shuts her pizza pie hole to hand Brandt a glass of Pepsi. WHAT?! PEPSI? Do they not know they could be shot in the back for not drinking Coke in this town?? All Coke, all the time...or else. The conversation turns to Zina, an old woman who lived on Mapolo until she vanished. Her coked out daughter said she turned into a panther and told Brandt he was the only one who could find her. Mercifully, Brandt's parents decided to move before he could go the way of the...panther.

That night, Brandt lies awake in bed thinking about poor Ezra. But his thoughts are interrupted by a scratching sound. He assumes it's just those dirty rats and notices the noise is coming from the attic so he decides to investigate. You, Brandt, are in a Fear Street book and should know that's it never the rats and will never be the rats. He enters the dark, musty attic and hears claws clacking and a growl. Suddenly something leaps at him, bounces off him, and falls to the floor. It's a fat raccoon who just tried to sumo Brandt out of the attic. Upon failing, the raccoon does battle with Brandt. Seriously, the next few pages consist of Brandt holding a broom and the raccoon hissing and growling before grabbing the broom with its mouth and snatching it from Brandt. Then it ditches the broom and bounces its fat rump out the window. Dude got pwned by a damn raccoon. Enough. Said. The parents come running and Brandt tells them the story, but he blames the raccoon's bad assery on rabies instead of the AWESOME VIRUS. Mom and Dad say Brandt shouldn't have been engaging in mortal combat with a raccoon on account of his "condition".

Cally's ghost watches Brandt slump back to his bedroom in defeat. She's quite amused by what took place and thinks Brandt's fear makes him even cuter. She also has a thought about the raccoon: "That raccoon didn't have rabies. There's another reason it acted so strangely. There's something else that made it act viciously. The evil, Brandt. The evil in this house." HELL to the NO. The evil is not responsible for everything! That raccoon is genetically fierce, you fools! And what do you know anyway, Cally? You're an invisible pile of DEAD.

The next morning, Brandt goes for a drive instead of helping his parents unload groceries like his father asked him to do. Brandt drives like the idiot he is and ends up losing control of the car, swerving out of the path of an oil truck, and squealing to a stop right at the rim of a gorge. He backs up and drives home at 80 MPH. "That was fun. Man, that was fun!" Mush head.

That night, Brandt can't go to sleep because he's thinking about starting school the next day. Then he feels cold air blowing across him just as sharp teeth clamp onto his shoulder. Pleasepleaseplease let it be Raging Raccoon back for another round! Brandt screams and Dad comes running in. He examines the shoulder (no marks) and checks the room (no vengeful critters). He chalks it up to Brandt being nervous about school and having nightmares because of it. Thanks, doc.

When Brandt comes downstairs the next morning, he meets Mrs. Nordstrom, the housekeeper who made an appearance in the first book. Mr. Hankers recommended her to Mom and she was hired on the spot. Hankers...Nordstrom...could they too be ghostly? Do I care? Eh. Brandt talks to his parents about his unpleasant experience the night before and suggests it was a spirit and the house is haunted. Mom and Dad basically roll their eyes at that and yet Brandt begs them to check it out as if they have Ghostbusters on speed dial.

Brandt finally leaves for school and meets a girl named Abbie Ayler on the sidewalk. They talk for a bit and he learns that Abbie goes to Darwin Academy (an girl's school) and likes to talk about the creepy crap that goes down on Fear Street. She tells him about the twins that lived in house before and that she heard that one of them died inside the house. Brandt just thinks about how cute she is. *sigh* He happens to glance up and sees what appears to be his father's body hanging in the window. Abbie sees it too and screams. Brandt runs upstairs and is shocked to find his father very much alive. The figure in the window? "A suit! It's only a suit!" Excellent sleuthing, Columbo. Relieved that his father isn't dead and hanging in a window like a forgotten muu muu, Brandt asks Abbie out for Saturday afternoon (they're going to "study". Unless Brandt's "condition" acts up.) and runs off for an exciting (and excruciating) day at Shadyside High.

Brandt is standing in line in the cafeteria getting hit on by yet another girl. Her name is Jinny Thompson and she also introduces her friend Meg Morris. Then they introduce him to a jock named Jon Burks who thinks he's awesome because he can spin a basketball on his finger. I bet Raging Raccoon could spin a ball on each paw. Suck it, Jon. Jon says Brandt should try out for the basketball team and Brandt agrees even though he never plays basketball. Jon then tells Jinny not to forget their upcoming date because he had to fight for his right to drive his parents' car. And by 'fight' he means he whined for an hour straight until his parents couldn't take it anymore and threw the stinking keys in his face.

That afternoon, Brandt shows up at basketball practice to show the team and Coach Hurley what he can and/or can't do. I'm getting high on the impending embarrassment! Even though the coach tells Brandt he's doing good, he actually kinda sucks and gets tired really quickly. Sadly, nothing embarrassing happened. My high was wasted.

After practice, Brandt walks home and decides not to tell Mom about b-ball because she would kill him. I assume this is because of his "condition" that no-one cares enough to tell us about. he dodges his parents and goes to his room where it doesn't take him long to realize there's a weird glow coming from beneath his closet door and the stench of rot is so strong it makes him nauseous. Should've washed those dirty Hanes, Brandt, you filth. He touches the doorknob and feels slime dripping from it. He opens the door and a heavy white cloud floats out and starts choking him. It doesn't get to finish, though, because Mom hears Brandt's shrieks of terror and rushes into the room where the mist immediately vanishes. Of course the mist was Cally who is after Brandt for reasons unknown.

The next afternoon, Brandt is back at basketball practice. YAWN. Jon elbows Brandt in the gut and he falls hard on his arm. Everyone freezes and stares in awe as a huge black bruise spreads over Brandt's arm. Jon grins a douchey grin as if proud of his handiwork. YAWN.

Brandt lays in bed that night thinking about his day. Then he starts hearing creaking noises from the attic and decides to play Nancy Drew again. Because he is an idiot. He creeps upstairs, turns on the light, and sees nothing except a notebook lying in the middle of the floor. MENACINGLY! It has Cally's name written on it which means it's her diary. Brandt doesn't mind, though, and immediately starts reading. He realizes that Cally was one of the twins that Abbie told him about. He reads the story of the house and Cally's thoughts on how cute Anthony is and how gross it is when people gets their heads ripped off which is supposedly what happened to the very first residents of 99 Fear Street. Brandt decides the house really is haunted and he was right all along. He wonders if Cally was the twin that died and his question is answered when he reads the last page which simply says "I died tonight." That never fails to amuse. Did she really need a written reminder that she was dead? Me thinks that's something you wouldn't forget. Except you can't remember or forget anything when you die. Because you're dead.

The next day, Brandt is sitting in Mr. Ross's chemistry class, totally spacing out and only paying attention to Jinny's miniskirt. "She looks awesome, Brandt thought." I hope he gets his testicles roasted on a bunsen burner. There's some arguing among Meg and Jinny about who will be Jon's lab partner and who will be Brandt's. Meg ends up with Jon and Jinny with Brandt. After class, Jinny confesses she didn't want to be paired with Jon because he sucks at chemistry and life in general and would have made her do all the work. Then Brandt asks her to come to his house on Saturday so they can get started on their "project". Uh...what about Abbie?

Basketball practice again. Jon shows off and when Brandt tries to do the same, he dislocates his shoulder. Coach Hurley pops it into place and Brandt goes off to the nurse's office. Jon smirks. I die a little inside.

As Brandt is walking home later, he tries to think of a way to explain to his parents why his arm is in a sling. "Fist fight in the student senate?" HAR HAR HAR! Except not. Suddenly Meg pops out of nowhere and Brandt screams "Stay away!". Smooth. He realizes it's only Meg and calms down. She makes a "joke" about it: "I know you didn't want to be my lab partner, but I didn't know you were terrified of me!" Shut up, Meg. She snuck up on Brandt to tell him about Jon and his horrible, awful, no good, very bad temper. "He got suspended last year for beating up a kid in Waynesbridge. The kid spent two weeks in the hospital." So you might wanna rethink your "study date" with Jinny, Brandt. Unless the thought of internal bleeding excites you. A moment later, Meg and Brandt are kissing. "She's really awesome, Brandt thought." What the hell? She tells him to come over on Sunday to hang out and he tells her that sounds great. She runs off to her house to record this EPIC event in her Lisa Frank diary and Brandt walks home. He spots Abbie and mentally freaks out because he FINALLY remembers he asked her to come over on Saturday too. He cancels with Abbie because he figures he's got a better chance of engaging in "extracurricular activities" with Jinny. Abbie is disappointed (WHY?!) but says they can reschedule and goes home. You're not missing anything, Abbie. A brick wall can give you everything Brandt can. And possibly more. Brandt goes inside with a big grin on his goofy face. "He had to smile. Girls were throwing themselves at him right and left!" I'm going to barf. And I haven't thrown up in two years. TWO YEARS, Brandt!

Jinny shows up on Saturday and it's pretty obvious she's disgusted by his house and the fact that it's on Fear Street. Well, this is all you've got to look forward to if you stay with Brandt. The parents are out at a faculty tea at the community college in Waynesbridge where Brandt's dad teaches so Brandt and Jinny can "study" for hours! Brandt shows Jinny his dad's collection of "tribal warfare" items and tells her "My father is an expert on ancient rituals." Then they go upstairs to Brandt's room where Jinny notices the pouch that Brandt wears around his neck. "It's a good luck charm. It saved my life once." He doesn't tell how a pouch of Lucky Charms can save you from certain death. Instead, he waits upstairs while Jinny goes down for a COKE. Brandt thinks about how awesome she is (his vocabulary is lacking) when he hears her scream. He rushes downstairs to find a lot of broken glass and a lot of blood on Jinny who keeps screaming "Make it stop!" Brandt's parents come in and Jinny calms down enough to tell them the glass she was holding just shattered in midair, slicing her wrist. They carry her off to the hospital where she's bandaged up. Brandt walks her to the door of her house and she says "Next time, we'll study at my house." before shutting the door in Brandt's face.

As Brandt is walking home, he notcies he's being followed by a huge shadow. He panics and starts to run. He's almost home when he trips over a tree root and lays in the grass waiting to be accosted. By a shadow. Yeah. But Abbie comes running up before the shadow can take Brandt's innocence. Abbie laughs at Brandt because he fell flat on his face and Brandt doesn't like it. She apologizes and they sit on the porch as Brandt grills her with questions about the house. She really doesn't know any more than what she already told him. Brandt doesn't want to talk about it anymore so he asks no more questions. "He suddenly wanted to be somewhere safe and warm. And he didn't want to be alone." Ooo la la. He asks Abbie is she wants to go to a movie, but she says she can't. She asks if he wants to go the next night, but he has plans with Meg. Finally Abbie just goes home and Brandt goes inside. His mom and dad call him into the kitchen where they tell him too many girls could be bad for him. Don't want to overdo it! Brandt gets pissed and stomps off to his room. Boo hoo.

Later, Brandt attempts to sleep, but the footsteps in the attic are too distracting. Eventually he goes up there and once again finds nothing but Cally's diary. It's open to a fresh page and on it are the words "I made Jinny bleed. Abbie is next." Brandt is horrified and only becomes MORE so when he sees that it's Cally's writing. His response is to throw the diary against the wall. "I know there's evil in this house. But if anyone can beat it, I can." Is that part of your "condition"?

The next day, Brandt tells Meg about the diary. She just says it's weird and has to be someone playing a joke. Who could sneak into his attic every night without him knowing about it? Meg isn't too worried about this crap and starts kissing him...until her cat Lulu scratches Brandt. The animals are really the star of this show. To make things even more uncomfortable, Jinny shows up. She's shocked to see Brandt and tells Meg she'd like to speak with her in private. Brandt ears them having a whispered argument and he can't resist shouting "Hey, don't fight over me, girls! There's plenty of me to go around!" Hey, don't fight over him, girls! Just gut him like a fish and leave his entrails out for the birds! After all, there's PLENTY of him to go around. Jinny leaves and Brandt follows shortly after.

Brandt goes home to his precious attic to read the dead girl's diary. There's a new line: "Brandt, you cannot save Abbie." That goes without saying. he takes the diary to his room and hides it in a drawer. He hears a muffled voice and something that sounds like a child crying, but he can't figure out where it's coming from. Then the invisible child starts begging for his mother. "Come get me, Mommy. It's so dark here. Come get me! It's me--James!" James is Cally's 9 year old brother who got trapped inside the wall in the first book and the family couldn't get to him so I guess they gave up and left him. Nice. Brandt remembers reading about James in Cally's diary and he rushes to grab a wooden mallet he just happens to have lying around so he can break into the wall. He makes a large hole and is greeted by the nauseating stench of putrid rot. Oh, and James's tiny skeleton gripping the tiny skeleton of his puppy (Oh Cubby! SOB!) who died along with him. "A ragged little pair of jeans and a shirt clung to the boy's bones." Too sad. Why didn't his dumbass parents find him? Brandt is now sure that the house is haunted by the ghost of James.

Later, Brandt shows his parents what he found. Dad thinks James is a poltergeist who has been messing with Brandt. Fool. Then he says they should call the cops so they can deal with the remains and get in touch with the family. Cally thinks about how sweet James was and how much she hates Brandt. "It's too late for James. Too late for me. And it's too late for you."

On Saturday morning, Brandt spots Abbie outside and tells her how great she looks. My eyes are rolling as hard as they can. They go inside and Abbie asks about his dad's tribal crap and about the island they used to live on. Brandt tells her about the islanders and how they drink animal blood to feed their animal spirits. Or something. Every time Brandt opens his mouth, I tune out. A moment later, the phone rings and Brandt runs to get it and hears Jinny's voice on the other end. But they don't talk long because Abbie is screaming bloody murder in the next room. A giant suit of armor fell on Abbie. Random much? Brandt drags it off her and she says it just flew at her. Then Brandt tells her that this was predicted in the diary of a girl who used to live here and the diary has had some new entires lately... Abbie just cries and says the house is evil.

The next afternoon, Brandt is attempting to go to basketball practice, but Jon is being an ass and won't get away from him. "Jinny and you--it isn't going to happen. You've got to remember one thing. You bruise real easily." Brandt isn't paying attention, though, because the shadow figure that once followed him home and practically violated him is now hovering in the hallway. Brandt doesn't want to be left alone with it so he tries to pick a fight with Jon. Jon just says he's a weirdo and walks off. Brandt follows and the shadow disappears. What is the point of having a shadows figure follow him around if it isn't going to DO anything?!

Later, Brandt rushes home to look in Cally's diary to find clues as to why the shadow is following him. Because it likes the smell of Axe body spray and Dippity Do gel. Then Brandt does into his father's study to search for a book that might have some information on evil spirits. He finds one titled "The Nature of Evil" which has some words for him: "Evil never dies. Those who do its work can be conquered. But evil itself never goes away. It only seeks a new vessel. Anyone can become a victim of evil. Even the kindest heart, the gentlest soul, is at its mercy." Brandt thinks that's what happened to Cally and that's why she's torturing him. He goes back to the attic and finds a photo of two girls and a little boy and thinks how happy they look and blah blah blah. The point is that Brandt doesn't want to have his life ruined like the Frasier family. Out of the silence of the attic comes shrill laughter. It goes on and on until Brandt can feel his eardrums melting and flees the house. Cally made a funny.

On Wednesday, Brandt is sitting in his house alone after school while his father works in the backyard. The doorbell rings and it's Jinny and Meg. Uh-oh. Jinny holds out a plate covered in aluminum foil and both girls say "Happy Birthday!" which makes Brandt confused because the last time he checked, it wasn't his birthday. Meg explains that they're leftover brownies from a bake sale last week. "They're not too stale. Only a little." Wow. They really hate you, Brandt. They all go inside to eat stale browniea. The girls can't resist jumping on those damn darts. Brandt takes down a blow gun when his father calls to him from outside. Brandt pulls on his sweater (the one that makes him look like Mr. Rogers) and runs outside, leaving Meg and Jinny to play with the deadly blow gun. Dad is standing beside a branch he cut, a branch that is blood red inside. Dad decides to call it bloodwood. Creative. He and Brandt cut the branch off and dark red sap oozes out. Then Dad remembers Brandt's "condition" and tells him to go on inside. Brandt does and finds Meg and Jinny lying on the floor with darts in their throat. Oops.

Meg and Jinny LIVE! The doctor says that they're lucky to be alive. Brandt and his father head home from the hospital and Brandt says it had to be the ghost, but his dad doesn't want to hear any apirit crap and tells him to stuff it. At home, Brandt goes to his room and ends up reading the latest diary entry. "No more Jinny and Meg. Abbie dies next." So Meg and Jinny are dead? What? Oh well. Brandt wants to warn Abbie and strangely, he finds her standing in the hallway outside his door. She walks inside, looks at the diary, and says "Why, Brandt, you've been reading my diary, haven't you?" OF COURSE. Abbie's (a corpse who Cally possessed) face contorts into a red eyed mask of monstrous EVIL! Also known as Cally. She says she's terribly lonely and plans on keeping Brandt here forever for company. Because that's how much she hates him. *sigh* Then she raises her hand and Brandt sees that she's holding one of his dad's hatchets. She buries the hatchet in Brandt's skull, but he doesn't die. I have a feeling we're about to find out what that "condition" of his really is. Cally is shocked and Brandt simply yanks the hatchet out of his head. "You can't kill me. I'm already dead!" Well, yeah, but...never mind. Brandt died two years ago on the island of Mapolo. HOW he died is completely ridiculous. His dad bought some darts from a Mapolo warrior who believed Dad cheated him somehow. So to get revenge the warrior came to Dad's hut one night and poured magical poison powder in the doorway. Then he growles "like a panther" in the hopes that Dad would open the door, step in the powder, and die a painful death. Over some freaking DARTS?! The plan backfires when Brandt comes to the door instead. Brandt tells Cally that it felt as if his feet were burning. The "fire" spread through his body until it reached his heart and he died. His father went to the local witch doctor who gave Brandt a new "life force" by killing a drifter and transferring that life to Brandt. Cally is happy that Brandt is undead and hugs him because now they can be together forever and ever. I THOUGHT SHE HATED HIM! Brandt looks over Cally's shoulder and freaks out: the shadow figure is back. Brandt asks "Who--who ARE you?" and the shadows fall away to reveal an old bald man dressed in white. It's the drifter from the island who has come for his spirit. Seriously. Turns out that pouch Brandt wears around his neck is the only thing keeping him alive and the drifter rips it off. Brandt immediately shrivels up and dies and the drifter lives again. Cally is sad because she's alone again. Apparently the drifter has no desire to hang out with mopey teenage ghosts. Good for him.


Cally is alone again. Cry me a river. She watches as Brandt's coffin rolls away in a hearse and thinks about how much she hates his parents. Ok... She decides to make life a living hell for whoever moves to 99 Fear Street next.

Conclusion? Only one thing made this book even remotely bearable...

Next time: "Night Games" Cover of night + pranks = MURDER.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ghosts of Fear Street #1 - Hide and Shriek

Ready Or Not, Here I Come

The cemetery. That's where Randy Clay has been invited for a game of hide-and-seek - with a ghost. If the ghost tags her, Randy will lose more than the game. She'll become the newest ghost on Fear Street.

And Here I Am

Killer cover. Skeletons who rob children of their eyeballs and Fear Street merchandise are SO bad ass.

Anyway, Randy's family has just moved to Shadyside and the idiots decided to live on Fear Street. *sigh* Will the outsiders never learn?! It's Randy's first day of school and she's running late because she can't pick out an outfit. Her mom makes her wear a gray jumper and pushes her out the door. Apparently Randy's 7 year old sister Baby (honestly?) doesn't have to go to school.

When Randy finally reaches Shadyside Middle School, the halls are deserted. As she wanders through the halls looking for the office, she stops beside a bulletin board with a calendar posted on it. June 10th is circled and written next to that is "18 More Days Until Pete's Birthday". Who is this Pete? "He must be pretty popular if the whole school is looking forward to his birthday." Indubitably, Randy. Indubitably. (That word rolls off the tongue like melted ice cream. Especially if you say it in a Patrick Stewart voice.) Suddenly, Randy's Petey musings are interrupted by a boy who appears with a huge gash in his head is pleading for help in between bouts of...bleeding to death. Randy is staring in horror when a teacher pokes her head out of a classroom and demands to know just what the hell is going on. The boy is magically A-OK and runs off. A moment later, a girl who introduces herself as Sara Lewis and is dressed in old timey clothes comes up to Randy and asks if she saw a profusely bleeding boy come through these parts. Randy says yeah and the girl says that was Lucas and they're rehearsing a play. That blood shed was all fakery. That's fortunate for Lucas because no-one seemed too interested in coming to his bloody aid. Won't someone think of the children?! Randy eventually finds her classroom where her teacher Ms. Hartman is explaining the concept of a final exam since the end of the year is coming up. At recess, a couple of friendly kids named Megan and David introduce themselves and ask Randy to play softball with them. She runs off halfway through the game because she notices a lot of kids staring at her and whispering. She runs to the bathroom to make sure she doesn't have crap in her teeth or an oozing volcanic zit on her nose. Both of these are in the negative so Randy doesn't know what the problem is.

The next day, Randy spots an addition to the bulletin board. It's a sign up sheet labeled "Volunteers Needed To Make Pete's Birthday Cake. Sign Your Name Here." Once again, Randy can't believe this Pete kid and his REVOLTING popularity. How dare he! While Randy is pondering Pete, a popular blond (there's no other kind of popular in this town) named Laura comes up behind her and whispers "You better watch out!" And now we're in a prison drama.

A few days later, Randy is in the cafeteria searching for a seat when Laura strikes again. "Just wait. Just wait until the tenth." What's happening on the tenth (besides the almighty PETE's birthday)? Is Shadyside going to be sucked into a rip in the space time continuum thereby never existing? That's the only possibility I'm considering. Stick that in your bubble blowing pipe and smoke it (blow it?), Laura! Randy is freaking out over Laura's ominous warnings and ends up taking a seat next to Lucas, the one who greeted Randy on her first day with his massive bleeding head wound. Just pretending! They bond over Fear Street (Lucas lives there, too) and he tells her not to believe everything she hears about that unholy shithole even though it's all true and everyone knows it which is why not even the local cockroaches lower themselves to live there. And those dudes are NOT picky. Later, Randy is walking home from school alone...past the deep, dark Fear Street Woods. OoOoOo! (That's my ghostly shriek. Fear it!) Randy, being a complete fool, decides to take a shortcut through the woods. She comes across a small cemetery and forces herself to keep walking and not be afraid. But fear kicks in anyway when she hears leaves crunching and realizes someone is following her. "I saw a wrinkled old face laughing at me. An old man." Unfortunately, it's just a statue and not this gentleman...

Honk if you love Crazy Ralph.

Anyway, yes, the gravestone has a statue of an old grinning man sitting on it as if telling everyone that the bag of bones in the coffin below enjoys death just fine. A moment later, Randy hears a boy's giggle coming from nearby and she runs all the way home. Good plan. Giggling boys are not to be trusted. Mom is in the kitchen with Baby who demands to be called by her real name (which is Barbara) to establish her status as a fully fledged 7 year old woman. "BARBARAAAA!" Yeah, we get it. Thanks for bursting our last ear drum, BARBARA. Mom stirs the spaghetti sauce while BARBARAAAA! informs Randy that she's in love with her teacher Mr. Pine. So she does go to school. Hmm. After declaring her intention to marry and kiss Mr. Pine and jumping on Randy, Baby finally sits down to watch Batman, her favorite show. "My name is Barbara. Everybody has to shut up now. Batman's on." Ah, you make me laugh, Barbara.

The next day, Randy is in gym class hula hooping next to Sara. Sara asks her if she wants to come over Saturday for a sleepover. Randy is elated and says yes, but her good mood is ruined by Laura's foul mouth. "Better get in shape, Randy. Or else find a good place to hide." Does she ever give up? Randy asks Sara why Laura keeps saying things like that and Sara says she'll find out on Saturday.

Saturday arrives and Randy's sexy computer programmer dad who wears black rimmed glasses and tweed jackets takes her to Sara's house. Sara lives in the fancy part of town (a.k.a. North Hills) and Randy admires the house. Sara leads her to the basemtn which Randy also likes. "Our basement is like a dungeon, but the Lewises was all fixed up with a TV and VCR, a stereo, even a kitchenette in one corner. The floor was carpeted and travel posters covered the walls. Nothing scary about this basement at all." Everybody loves a travel poster. Sara introduces Randy to the other girls: Megan, Anita, and the twins Karla and Kris. They all lay out their sleeping bags and prepare to watch a scary movie while Sara makes some popcorn. They turn out the lights and watch Dracula which Randy finds quite creepy. After the movie, Anita says that Dracula isn't as scary as Pete which prompts Randy to ask just who this PETE is, dammit! The girls don't say anything which only increases Randy's curiosity so she asks again and FINALLY Anita tells the story. A long time ago in ye olde Shadyside, a kid named Pete died in the Fear Street Woods on his twelfth birthday. No-one knew how he died. He was "all shriveled up". They buried him in the cemetery in the woods, but Petey didn't stay put. One year later on his birthday, some kids are playing hide and seek in the woods and one girl spots Pete's ghost. He wanted to play with them, but they weren't having that so Pete took revenge on one of the kids by possessing his body and making him do horrible things such as running wild like an animal through the woods and eating nasty things. The boy shrivels up and the same things starts happening to most of the kids in town until they all start looking like terrified dried apples. The Dried Apple Disease. HORRIBLE! So ever since then, every year on Pete's birthday, the kids of the town go to the woods to play hide and seek with Pete who is always the seeker because that satisfies him so he won't terrorize the whole town. But whoever Pete finds first gets the privilege of being possessed by him for a year. Why? Because Pete is a whiny little bitch ghost who doesn't want to be dead so he forces a child to share their body with him. Randy thinks the story is a joke, but all the girls look genuinely scared. Then Megan tells Randy she's in the most danger. "Because Pete likes new kids." A moment later, the lights go out and all the girls scream. Sara turns them back on and finds her little brothers giggling over their trick. She chases them back upstairs and when Kris tells her they're adorable, Sara says "You can have them. Take them and Mom, too." Sara has CLAWS! The girls start talking about Pete again, but their attitude has completely changed. Now they're all saying the game is fun and it would be a shame to miss it and if you don't come, everyone thinks you're a total wimp. Randy doesn't buy into stories unless she knows the facts so she decides to investigate. How she plans to do this, I have no idea.

At school on Monday, Randy can think of nothing but Pete and whose body he must be in RIGHT NOW. Why doesn't Pete just invade a dog's body? All he wants to do is run wild and eat gross makes more sense. But I guess that takes all the fun out of it for Pete. Any excuse to ruin a child's life! Laura passes by with her usual good word. "You're doomed, new girl." As Randy is walking toward her locker, she sees Lucas leaning against it. He starts talking about Pete and hide and seek and asks Randy if she wants to sit with him again at lunch because she's new and everything. Randy immediately decides Lucas is Pete. I thought Randy was the fact checker. Guess facts are useless when you've got a crazy ghost who wants to take over your body and turn you into a prune. Randy says she's eating with Sara and a guy named David Slater so Lucas walks off. Randy calms down and realizes she doesn't have enough facts to accuse Lucas of being the Dried Apple Demon. Make up your mind! Randy tells David and Sara about her theory and they just laugh, but David agrees to spy on Lucas with her later.

That evening, Randy and David head for Lucas's house. He comes out ad they watch him walking toward the woods. Randy hears him whistling a tune she recognizes as a funeral march which she happens to know a few words to: pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you, simply because there's nothing else to do. What the hell? Never mind. They follow Lucas into the woods, but soon lose sight of him. They hear kids laughing, but they don't see anyone. They both run until they reach the street and then laugh at themselves for getting scared over some kids playing. Fact: those weren't ordinary kids. Fact: you both know this.

During gym class the next day, everyone is pissed because they have to square dance. It's probably just so Ms. Mason (the bleach blond, perfectly manicured gym teacher for the girls) wil have an excuse to touch Mr. Sirk (boys gym teacher). Everyone is convinced she has a thing for his porny mustache. What an ignorant slut. Anyway, Lucas picks Randy as his partner which further convinces her he is actually Pete which makes her feel sick which gets her a pass to the nurse's office which means she gets out of square dancing. Yay.

That evening, Randy is walking to the bus stop with Karla, Kris, and Sara. They went to the movies and now it's starting to get dark. They talk about Petey before splitting up; Sara, Kris, and Karla get on their bus and Randy walks a little further to her stop before deciding to just walk home. Alone. In the dark. No, I don't know what's wrong with her. As she passes the cemetery, she sees Lucas slurping worms out of the dirt. Delicious. She hides behind a tree and waits a moment before running home where her parents scold her for walking home in the dark. What do you think about it, Baby? "Barbara!" Shut up.

The next night, Mom and Dad are going to have dinner with Sara's parents which means Randy gets to babysit BARBARA. What joy. When Mom tells Baby she can't stay up as late as Randy, she runs off crying and screeching. Someone put Baby in a corner! PLEASE! Baby calms down a little later and she and Randy watch TV and eat pizza and ice cream. Baby falls asleep at 8:30 and Randy starts getting nervous about Pete. Unfortunately, Baby wakes up about an hour later, gets pissed when Randy won't give her cookies, and starts screaming her head off when Randy calls her Baby instead of Barbara.Then she starts screaming for a different reason: Lucas is at the window and then at the door, rattling the knob. Randy and Baby lean against the door and scream at him to go away. He does and a few moments later, Mom and Dad walk in. Randy tells them about Lucas, but pretends she's joking when they threaten to call the police. Randy goes upstairs, leaving her parents with their precious Baby.

Saturday, June 10th. The dreaded day has finally arrived and Randy is freaking out. Her mom makes her go to the store for some ground beef even though she really doesn't wanna leave the house. Later, Sara calls and says the game starts at sundown. Randy tries to eat her meatloaf, but she's too nervous and Baby won't shut up. "My name is Barbara." *sigh* Your name is MUD.
Finally it's dark and Randy goes to the woods. Mr. Sirk is there with all the kids to wish everyone luck or something. Because he has no life. Before the game begins, someone brings out a cake, lights 12 candles, and everyonesings Happy Birthday. Fact: this is crazy. The game begins and everyone scatters to hide. Randy is just focused on staying the hell away from Lucas. She freaks out when she hears someone running behind her and she climbs into a tree. A few minutes later, David climbs up beside her and they sit in silence. Then Randy starts smelling something nasty like rotten garbage. She looks over at David and sees a stain on his shirt. A moment later, it starts to spread. David says "Pete's not so bad. I don't know why everybody tries so hard to get away. What is everybody so afraid of? Pete always gives the bodies back. I give them back as good as new." Randy stares at David in shock and he smiles at her with a mouth full of blackened, rotten teeth. She sees that the stain on his shirt is blood and she freaks out, knowing he's Pete and she has to get away. He tells her she can't run from him, but that's obviously a lie because that's exactly what she does. She makes it to home base only because Lucas distracted Pete. Randy tells the others that David is Pete (or Pete is David?) and he's after Lucas, but everyone laughs at her.Then Mr. Sirk (why is he still here? Seriously, does he have nothing better to do than hang out in the woods with a bunch of kids in the middle of the night?) blows a whistle and announces the game is over and everyone needs to go home. Kris says she saw Lucas jogging home which makes Randy feel a little better and she goes home, too.

At school on Monday, Randy hears that David is in the hospital and she assumes it's because Pete violated his soul. Later, she and Lucas walk home together. She confesses she thought he was Pete and brings up the worm thing. He laughs and says he was getting worms for fishing bait. In a cemetery? I thought he ATE one? Is he turning into a fish? Anyway, she also brings up the incident where Lucas rattled her front door. Apparently he heard Baby screaming bloody murder and wanted to make sure Randy wasn't killing her. They have a good laugh and Lucas says "You know, Pete really wanted you." His teeth turn black and he starts stinking like a decaying corpse and chases Randy into the cemetery. A whole gaggle of ghostly children surrounds Randy and Pete. They start calling Pete a loser and Randy chimes in. The ghosts form a swirling tornado that sucks Pete's spirit out of Lucas and puts it back into its grave. Uh, why didn't they do this years ago? Lucas and Randy vow never to play hide and seek again and both go home as if nothing ever happened, accepting the fact that they'll both probably need therapy a few years down the road when this repressed memory comes back to haunt their dreams.

Fact: this book really makes no sense.
Fact: worms are full of protein.
Fact: if you drink every time Baby screams "BARBARA!" you will be drunk within seconds.
Fact: the cover of this book has no relation whatsoever to the actual story which is a shame.
Fact: "99 Fear Street: The Second Horror" is up next.

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 ...