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 things...it 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 ...