A Revisit to Fear Street: “The Rich Girl”

1533828Book: “The Rich Girl” (Fear Street #44) by R.L. Stine

Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1997

Where Did I Get This Book: The library!

Book Description: Fear Street — Where Your Worst Nightmares Live…

Emma and her best friend Sydney always share their secrets. And now they have a big one: They found a duffel bag filled with cash and swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise — she told her boyfriend, Jason.

Now Emma is terrified. She doesn’t trust Jason. She knows he would do anything to get the money for himself.

Even if it means killing someone who gets in his way…

Had I Read This Before: No

The Plot: Sydney Shue and Emma Naylor are best friends to the end. They’ve been BFFs for years, though Sydney thinks that they’re growing apart because Emma doesn’t like Sydney’s boyfriend Jason. But they get to spend time at work together, as they both work at the movie theater. During one of their shifts, Emma is talking about how she’s worried, because her mother needs an operation on her knee, but without insurance Emma doesn’t know how they’re going to pay for it. Emma and her mother are practically broke, while Sydney lives in North Hills and therefore isn’t lacking anything (but insists that she isn’t spoiled because her parents made her get a job). Emma is also worried because the diner her mother works at six days a week is threatening to fire her because her bad knee has made her slower, and some things never really change, do they? Sydney thinks that she probably never could understand Emma’s anxieties given that she’s rich, and while I appreciate the self awareness, I wonder if Sydney could do more than just acknowledge her privilege? At the end of their shift they are taking trash out to the dumpster, when Sydney drops her charm bracelet into the heaps of garbage. She insists that Emma help her look for it, and a dumpster diving we will go! Sydney finds it, but it’s stuck to a garbage covered duffel bag. They climb out of the dumpster with the bag, and as she untangles her bracelet they notice a fifty dollar bill poking out of the sack! And when they unzip it, they find STACKS of them! By Emma’s estimation, it’s probably close to 100,000 dollars!!! Sydney is ready to turn it in, but Emma says that they should totally keep it! If they keep it her mother can have her operation, Emma can go to college, AND she can buy some nice clothes! I don’t know if I care for this ‘the poor person is going to be the duplicitous one’ development. Sydney says that it’s wrong, and Emma tells her that she wouldn’t get it because she’s RICH and of course this is chump change. To which Sydney says that hey, SHE isn’t totally spoiled or anything! After all, she has a VERY tight allowance AND has to pay for the insurance to the car that her parents got her for her birthday!

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That’s not exactly relating to the proletariat, Sydney… (source)

Emma says that if the keep it they can split it and then Sydney can spend it on whatever she wants. Sydney points out that they have no idea where it came from, and that the police could be looking for it. So Emma suggests that they hide it for now, and if they don’t hear anything about it then they go back and get it. Sydney agrees, and ladies, this could possibly end with a crazed assassin chasing you down with a captive bolt pistol.

Emma and Sydney agree to hide it out in Fear Woods, and while they are digging Sydney starts feeling paranoid. After they bury the money a raccoon jumps out and scares her, and Emma says they need to stop being paranoid. When Sydney gets home and drives her car up the long driveway and to the horse stables (but don’t worry, since they ONLY have TWO horses they converted most of the stables to a garage), she sees Jason working on her father’s Beemer. She totally forgot that they were going to study that night! She gets out of the car and he asks her why she was late, and when she tries to lie and say that she had to work late he gets VERY mad and says he knows she’s lying. He demands to know if she’s been cheating on him. Because obviously THAT’S the only reason she could be late, of course. Sydney can’t think of another good lie on the spot, so she tells him about the money. I can think of a few lies that could have worked, dummy.

  • “Emma was having a rough time because of her mother’s health issues and we had to talk.”
  • “I realized that I forgot something at work and didn’t want to wait until my next shift to get it.”
  • “It’s actually none of your business where I was.” And that’s not even a lie.

Once Sydney sings like a canary, Jason asks if it was her who found the money. Sydney says she found the bag but Emma was the one who opened it. Jason says that’s too bad, because since she has claim to it they would have to murder her if they wanted to split the money between the two of them. Okay, first of all, NONE OF YOU HAVE ANY CLAIM TO IT, and second of all, YIKES. Sydney is shocked, and Jason says he’s kidding. I, however, am not so sure.

At school the next day Sydney is a complete basket case because she can’t stop worrying about the money. But Emma is far from worried, she’s excited because there hasn’t been any news reports about it as of yet, and if that continues for two weeks it’s all theirs! Sydney says they shouldn’t talk about it so brazenly, and Emma tells her to chill out. As they are walking to class they approach the big cement staircase, a group of classmates sweeps in behind them, and suddenly Emma plummets down the steps, screaming! She lands on the concrete below, and Sydney sees that Jason is standing there, possibly smiling at this turn of events! Sydney runs down the steps to get to her friend.

Luckily, Emma isn’t dead, and after the school nurse checks her out Sydney drives her home and calls her family’s personal doctor to check her over. After he leaves, Sydney goes to sit with Emma, who confides that Jason pushed her! Sydney freezes up, and Emma asks her if she told him about the money, to which Sydney admits her dumb mistake. Emma says that he must be trying to kill her to try and get her share, and Sydney asks why he would do that given that he’s pretty well off himself, and Emma says that it’s because he’s GREEDY! Sydney doesn’t want to believe it, but she can’t help remembering what his face looked like…

Sydney confronts Jason the next day, and he says that no way, he didn’t push her! But he does admit to accidentally bumping into her, which sent her careening down the steps. He says that she’s never going to forgive him, and Sydney, relieved that her boyfriend isn’t an attempted murderer, tells him that he can just explain what happened. He suggests that he could look at Emma’s junky old car and give it a tune up as an apology, and Sydney thinks that’s a great idea! So later Sydney is back at home, and gets a phone call from Emma who tells her that Jason has fixed her car and it sounds much better now! She says that she’s still suffering from headaches, but that Jason also told her everything and she isn’t suspicious of him anymore. She then tells Sydney they should go to the mall so that she can plan out everything she’s going to buy with the money (though I THOUGHT that she was going to use it to pay for her mother’s operation and college? Both those things would eat up $50,000 I’d think). She tells Sydney to meet her at her house and she’ll drive, and Sydney agrees. After she hangs up, Jason calls and sees if she’s busy, and Sydney says she’s going to the mall with Emma in her now fixed car. Jason, of course, starts acting strange asking that she isn’t going in EMMA’S car, is she, and Sydney says yes, and he says that she should cancel and hang out with him instead! Sydney says no, and hangs up.

Sydney arrives at Emma’s house and the girls get in Emma’s junk bucket (though it sure does sound better), but as Emma is driving down a hill the brakes don’t work! Would she not have noticed this when she was pulling out of her driveway and through her neighborhood??? Regardless, the car is out of control and side swipes some other vehicles as it blasts through an intersection, and Sydney tells her to pull the emergency brake! The car eventually comes to a stop, and Emma says that it has to have been Jason! He IS trying to kill her, and while Sydney balks Emma’s fears do seem more realized. They get out and inspect under the hood, and low and behold, the break lines have been cut. Sydney admits that when Jason called her and she told him she was going to the mall in Emma’s car, he sounded strange, and for Emma that tears it! Emma says that Jason is so greedy he will probably kill Sydney next, and while Sydney doesn’t want to believe it, she starts to think maybe Emma is right. She wants to call the police, but Emma says no because she needs the money for her Mom’s operation!!

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Not even ten minutes ago you were about to hit the mall to plan out your shopping spree! (source)

Emma then has a really good idea. She suggests that, so he won’t try to kill the girls for it, that the cut him in for a third of it. That way he will get more money than he had before, but he’ll stop trying to murder her and then probably Sydney. Sydney agrees.

So they go to confront Jason about the brake lines, and he swears, SWEARS that the car was fine when he was done with it. Sydney thinks he’s telling the truth because he looks ‘so upset’, and Emma proposes that they give him a cut of the money. Jason is ecstatic! 33,000 dollars is no joke, and they all seem happy with the new arrangement. Jason then says that they should go look at the money right now! Sydney is hesitant, but the eventually decide that they can just quickly go and dig it up to take a look. By the time they get out to Fear Woods it’s dark, and Jason grabs the shovel from Sydney’s trunk and they trek out to the site. Sydney gets cold, and goes back to her car to get her sweater, but as she’s coming back she hears Emma screaming! She runs the rest of the way and sees Jason and Emma struggling! When Sydney yells at them to stop, Jason turns to look at her… and Emma smashes him in the head with the shovel! He falls to his knees, and then falls on his face. And doesn’t get up. Emma checks on him, and tells Sydney that he’s dead!! Sydney asks what the FUCK happened, and Emma says that he tried to take the money, and when she tried to stop he he went nuts. She offered him half, but he said he wanted it all and tried to hit her with the shovel! They struggled, and that’s when Sydney arrived. Sydney says that they’re murderers, and Emma says that SHE is the murderer. Sydney wants to call the police, but Emma says she will take care of everything! She will sink his body in Fear Lake and none will be the wiser! She tells Sydney to just sit and relax (?!) and she’ll take care of it. Sydney falls against a tree, and Emma buries the cash again and drags his body into the darkness. Sydney hears a splash, but then Emma calls for her. Sydney comes running, and Emma says that his body won’t sink! Sydney gives her her belt so that she can tie it to his body to attach a weight to him, but then is feeling way too sick all of a sudden to help Emma find something to weigh him down. Emma is surprisingly cavalier about the whole thing and says she’s on it. Sydney looks away, and eventually Emma finds her and tells her that it’s over.

Sydney drops Emma off, who starts to cry as it starts to hit her just what she did. Sydney assures her that no one will know what happened and that they had no choice. That seems to calm Emma down, and Sydney goes home. She tries to study for her upcoming history test, and then goes to bed. But in the middle of the night she wakes up to see waterlogged corpse-y Jason standing at the foot of her bed, glaring at her!!! She screams and jumps out of her bed, but when she turns on the light there’s no one there. Just a dream…. But then the next morning she finds muddy footprints on the floor by her bed! And they’re size JASON!!!

At school that day Sydney is telling Emma all about this, and Emma says that she has to be imagining things. A dream can’t leave foot prints, after all, and they must just be Sydney’s footprints because she was in such a daze. All day people keep asking Sydney where Jason is (AS IF SHE’S HIS KEEPER), and her guilt gets worse and worse. She ‘s sure she flunks the history test, and then when she opens her locker she finds an envelope… and inside is Jason’s class ring, all muddy!!! Sydney freaks out and shows Emma, and tells her that it was on Jason’s corpse last night when he was in her room! Emma says that she has to be mistaken, she didn’t see the ring on Jason’s hand. Maybe he left it for her yesterday, but Sydney doesn’t remember seeing it. But then again, Sydney feels like she’s going crazy! Emma tells her to calm down and not to lose it. Sydney tries to get a grip, but doesn’t have a chance in HELL of doing so because when they get to her car, they find the muddy and bloody shovel in her back seat!! Emma says that she forgot to hide it, and now they think that someone must have seen them! They get in Sydney’s car and drive back to Sydney’s house (after Sydney thinks that someone is following them for a bit). Sydney THEN finds a note in her stack of mail that says ‘I saw you in the woods, I know your name. It’s MURDERER’. Sydney starts to panic again, and Emma says that even if this person DID see them, they have no proof that they killed Jason… But then Sydney points out that they used her belt to tie a weight to him! Emma says that they can’t go back to the lake, but Sydney insists. SO, they drive back out to the lake so they can retrieve her belt. Emma leads them to the pond scummiest part of the water and says this is where she dumped him, but when Emma plunges her arms into the water to grab for him, she can’t find him. Emma insists this is where she dumped him, but the body is gone!

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Oh. I see what we’re doing here. I’ve seen this movie. (source)

Emma says that someone must have moved the body. It couldn’t be the police since they would have told Jason’s parents about his death. Sydney is on the verge of a nervous breakdown as they’re leaving.

Sydney gets home and sneaks into the house so she doesn’t have to explain to her parents why she looks like she just crawled out of the Black Lagoon. After she showers her mother tells her that she and Sydney’s father are going to a fundraiser for the evening. Sydney is happy to stew in her guilt alone, and as he goes into her room she notices that someone has tied something around her teddy bear…. And yeah, it’s her belt, with a note in Jason’s handwriting that says ‘murderer’. She calls Emma and tells her what she found, and asks Emma if she was sure that Jason was dead, and Emma says yes, she was sure, and Sydney asks if Emma believes in ghosts. Emma says that she got a note too, and it must be someone from school and Sydney can’t get hysterical. But Sydney says she’s pretty much already there, so it’s a little late for that. Emma says she’ll come over. Sydney can’t be in the same room as the belt and note, so she goes to wait for Emma on the porch. When Emma arrives Sydney takes her to her room to show her the note, but of course the note and belt are gone!!! Sydney starts to tear her room apart looking for them, and Emma watches her, telling her to stop! Sydney says that she isn’t crazy, but when her Mom knocks on the door she tells Emma she can’t let her mother see her like this, so Emma covers. Mrs. Shue says she and her husband are leaving for the fundraiser. Emma helps Sydney clean up her room, and tells her that she needs to get some sleep. Sydney says she’ll at least walk Emma out, and she watches her friend drive away. But when Sydney goes back to her room, algae and mud covered Jason is standing there! Sydney tries closing her eyes, but when she opens them he’s still there! He starts to lurch forward, rasping about how she let him die, and he descends on her.

Cut to a hospital waiting room, where Emma is sitting. When a doctor comes out, JASON is following him! The doctor says that he thought that his patient was ready to see him, but apparently not. Jason says that he’s so sad that she sees him as a monster. He and Emma leave the waiting room, and when they get to the car she asks if all is well. And he says that yes it is: Sydney is completely nuts! And they drove her to it! Yep, they faked his death and used it to drive her mad. The night after Emma and Sydney found the money, Emma went to Jason with the plan to drive Sydney crazy because she knew that her conscience would get the best of her. They figure that she’s so rich already that she doesn’t NEED the money! Plus, they’d been hooking up behind Sydney’s back for awhile, their antagonistic relationship all a ploy. Now Sydney is in a mental institution, and even if she does get out and get better, no one will believe her because she’s been diagnosed as delusional!

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I KNEW IT!!!! (source)

So the whole time it wasn’t “No Country for Old Men”, it was “Les Diaboliques”. Now that Sydney is out of the way, Jason and Emma are content to take the money for themselves and now they can really be together. They go on a shopping spree with a handful of the cash, and pick out a lot of really expensive clothes to buy! But when they get up to the cash register, the clerk laughs at the money. When Emma looks down at the cash, not only does it say ‘UNTIED STATES OF AMERICA”, it also has Ben Franklin sporting cross eyes and a backwards baseball cap. Emma is about to faint, and the sales clerk asks her if she ‘brought any real money?’ The End.

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And frankly, they deserve more shit flung their way, because they’re just back at square one and Sydney’s life has been completely fucked. (source)

Body Count: 0. I wish there had been a zombie plot line, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Romance Rating: 0. Jason was cheating on Sydney with her supposed best friend and they gaslit her to the point that she had a mental breakdown. Gross.

Bonkers Rating: 4. I am giving it a four because sure, there was a big crazy twist at the end there, but it’s, like I said, just a rip off of “Les Diaboliques”! It’s not original in any way!

Fear Street Relevance: 6. They buried the money in Fear Woods and then dumped Jason’s ‘body’ in Fear Lake.

Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:

“‘Come here!’ Emma’s voice shook with fear again. ‘You’ve got to see this!’

Sydney scrambled out of the car, rushed up to Emma, and stared under the hood. ‘Huh?’ she cried, her heart racing. ‘I don’t see anything. What are you showing me?'”

… This isn’t a cliffhanger!!! This would have been a cliffhanger if you stopped at ‘You’ve got to see this!’

That’s So Dated! Moments: Given that there is talk of pre-ACA insurance issues, I’d say that dates this, but not in a fun and kooky way. But I did have to laugh that one of the extravagant gifts that Sydney bought Jason in the past was a beeper. I feel like even for 1997 those were on the way out…

Best Quote:

“‘That’s their fourth breakup and make-up this year,’ Emma remarked… ‘Let’s see, this is April, right? They’ll probably break up and get back together at least two more times before school’s out. They’re definitely going to set a record.'”

It’s not great, but there wasn’t much to work with.

Conclusion: “The Rich Girl” was ultimately disappointing and a serious bummer in a lot of ways. It wasn’t as bad as some of the other books I’ve read in the series, but it’s definitely one of the most frustrating. Next up is “Cat”!

A Revisit to Fear Street: “The New Year’s Party”

182599Book: “The New Year’s Party” (A Fear Street Super Chiller) by R.L. Stine

Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1995

Where Did I Get This Book: An eBook from the library!

Book Description: Ring in the new fear.

P.J. wasn’t supposed to die. It was just a practical joke, no big deal. But P.J. had a bad heart…

The kids at Reenie’s Christmas party couldn’t tell the police what they’d done, so they hid the body…and then it disappeared.

Now someone is killing them, one by one. Someone is taking P.J.’s revenge…but who?

By midnight they’ll know. Because when the clock chimes, they’ll all get a kiss. The kiss of death.

Had I Read This Before: Yes.

The Plot: Happy 2019 everyone! I hope that you were able to ring in the new year with friends, family, or a good book, and that you are ready to say goodbye (and maybe good riddance too) to 2018 and have a new beginning. Much like my last foray into “Fear Street”, I decided to do a festive little ditty for our recap today. Ring in the New Year with a ridiculous teen thriller, everyone. My gift to you.

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(source)

We start in 1965, with a group of teens having a New Year’s Eve party, listening to The Beatles and having an all around keen time. A girl named Beth Fliescher is dancing in her new white gogo boots and super hip mini skirt (because it’s 1965, GUYS!), and a dreamy boy named Todd tells her it’s a groovy party and starts to dance with her. She thinks that she likes Todd because he’s so dreamy, but she can’t help but gaze out at Jeremy, a cool loner who I am now imagining as Michael Fitzsimmons in “Peggy Sue Got Married”, and if he’s HALF as ridiculous as that kid he’s a true winner. Beth is also wondering where her best friend Karen is, who is also the host of the party and who has disappeared from the festivities. The clock winds down and Karen is no where to be seen, but Beth does see some popular boys picking on Jeremy and wishes that he would stand up for himself. After Jeremy is knocked to the floor Beth considers going to him, but Todd pulls her away for make out times I bet. But then suddenly TWO MASKED MEN WITH PISTOLS run through the door! They tell everyone to get up against the wall, and then start to rob them. One of the guys grabs Jeremy and points a gun against his head, and Jeremy begs for his life, but hey, no worries, it’s all just a prank set up by Karen, who congratulates the robbers. Who are just seniors for Shadyside high school. The party starts to mock Jeremy, as if they too wouldn’t have been pleading for mercy with a gun against their heads. Beth calls Karen out for her prank, and Karen says it was just a joke. Jeremy runs out of the party, and Beth tries to follow, but Todd grabs her and says that he’s sick of being ignored. I don’t know, TODD, it seems to me that she’s been dancing with you all night, that isn’t really ignoring you. When she says that Jeremy needs her he says that he’ll find someone who pays attention to him, and BOY, BYE. Beth runs after Jeremy and jumps in his car with him, and he starts driving like a lunatic on icy roads. She begs him to slow down but he doesn’t, and then they hit something, and it looks like a boy! Jeremy skid ahead, and says that they have to go back, but Beth says no, because it couldn’t have been a person, but it must have been a raccoon, and then they hear police sirens! Jeremy speeds off, but he loses control of the car and crashes it, killing them both.

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There was a lot going on in that prologue. (source)

Now it’s present day! And by that I mean 1995. Reenie Baker has arrived home and goes to her room to see her group of friends, waiting to work on a group trigonometry project. There’s her best friend Greta, Greta’s boyfriend Artie, and their mutual friend Ty. They’re still waiting on Reenie’s boyfriend Sean. Artie says that Sean was last seen getting cozy with the school beauty Sandi Burke, and that now it’s Ty’s chance to make a move on Reenie. Artie’s going to be the one that I have no remorse for when/if he dies, I reckon. Ty seems embarrassed, but Reenie thinks that if he knew that half of the girls at Shadyside have wanted to bed him (my words) since he transferred to Shadyside he could have his pick. Artie complains about their homework and Greta basically implies that if he doesn’t get trig he’ll never amount to anything, and maybe she, too, can be lost without any mourning from me. Reenie goes to put her sweater in her closet, and out spills Sean, looking dead as a doornail! But Reenie isn’t falling for the dumb joke they all decided to play on her, and after that crazy prologue I actually for a moment believed that Stine was going balls to the wall with twists and turns so I was fooled too. It’s made clear that playing pranks on each other is pretty standard for this group, and Reenie wonders if they should stop escalating it lest it go too far.

At school the next day Greta is confiding in Reenie that she and Artie fought after they left her house. Greta is worried that Artie isn’t going to go to college, and he’s even been hanging out with the local bad boy of this story, Marc, who has been trying to convince Artie to drop out of school like he did. Marc makes good money at a car factory in Waynesbridge, and Artie’s family needs money now because his little brother Davy is having health issues. As they turn the corner they see a girl trying to break into Reenie’s locker! They confront her, and the girl says that she’s new and the secretary gave her this locker number, but Reenie tells her that the note says B-9, not 89, and they all have a good laugh. She introduces herself as Liz, and then points to her brother P.J., who was standing there the whole time but went unnoticed by Greta and Reenie. Reenie notices how handsome P.J. is, but he isn’t saying much and stares at the ground mostly. As Reenie opens her locker, two hands reach for her throat! Liz screams, and Reenie yells at Ty who, so committed to the bit, has wedged himself into her locker just so he could have this moment. She says she wasn’t scared, she was startled, because scared lasts longer than a moment. Reenie introduces Ty to Liz and P.J., and while P.J. is still asocial Ty’s gaze is locked on Liz, and Reenie figures that maybe he’s finally taken interest in someone. As Ty leads Liz to her locker, P.J. stares at them all strange like, and then tears after them, leaving Greta and Reenie confused.

Some time later (a week maybe?), Reenie, Greta, and Sean are hanging out and eating their food outside the Burger Basket. Reenie is talking about how cool Liz is, and while Sean and Reenie think that P.J. is kind of weird Greta says that he’s probably just shy, and it seems that maybe she has a crush on him. They speculate about Ty’s seeming crush on Liz, and as they all talk about the new kids Reenie realizes that they don’t know where Liz and P.J. live or much else about them. Then Artie pulls up beside them with Marc in Marc’s new car, and Greta’s mood instantly sours. Marc offers to give them a ride, and while Reenie and Greta say ‘hard pass’ Sean says he’d like to see how the car runs, so I guess that means that all three of them have to ride in it. Greta insists just for a ride around the block. But Marc, being a total douche, not only drag races with them in the car, he decides to take them beyond the block and towards Fear Street. Eventually he drives off road and up to Fear Lake. When they all get out he says that he wants to show them something but they have to go to the cliff side. As he gets closer, he suddenly screams and falls off! Reenie runs forward to try and see if she can see him, but then she TOO falls down the side, and slides out onto the frozen lake. When she gets up to try and make her way back, the ice cracks and she falls through!!!! But luckily Sean is able to rush out onto the ice, slides on his belly, and pulls her out. She asks what happened to Marc, and then Marc shows up unharmed. Apparently it was a joke that he and Artie cooked up. Given that hypothermia is probably setting in, they wrap Reenie in coats and high tail back to Marc’s car, Greta livid and Reenie hoping that this is the end of the stupid pranks.

At lunch the next day Greta is railing about the terribly joke that Artie and Marc pulled, though mostly about Artie. Sean and Reenie tell her that it was an accident, but I’m kind of on #teamgreta on this one because actions have consequences and Reenie could have died. Greta goes to get some dessert and Reenie and Sean discuss her crumbling relationship with Artie. To make matters worse, they see Greta flirting with P.J., and just as they see, Artie comes into the cafeteria and sees as well! Sean is able to go over and diffuse the situation by intercepting Artie, and Artie stalks off instead of starting a fight. After school Reenie is walking home in the dark and grey weather, and sees Liz in the parking lot. They get to chatting, and Liz says that she heard about the bad joke that went awry, and Reenie asks her how she and P.J. are adjusting. Liz says fine, but P.J. is having a harder time because he’s so ill, what with his heart murmur and all. Liz asks that Reenie not say anything about his heart to anyone, and Reenie promises not to. She breaks off from Liz when Ty shows up with a clear intent to ask Liz out, and she starts to walk by herself when Artie pulls up in Marc’s car. He offers her a ride and says he’s borrowing Marc’s wheels (no freaking duh), and while Reenie isn’t totally comfortable, she deems cold wet weather to be a bigger threat and gets in. He apologizes for the bad joke as they get to an intersection, but then he continues his streak of Questionable Decisions, as when the light turns green he peels out and speeds through the next intersection… and gets t-boned by a green van.

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(source)

They climb out of Marc’s now wrecked car, and unfortunately the driver of the van is none other than P.J. Reenie sees him slumped over the wheel, and is worried that his heart gave out, but he’s okay. Artie is livid, saying that P.J. ran a stop sign (though my guess is that it was a four way stop if it’s on a road with stop lights not a few blocks earlier, so perhaps it is YOUR fault, Artie), and bangs his hands on the car. Reenie begs for him to stop, still thinking of the heart condition, and Artie blows up at her and gets in the car and speeds away.

At lunch the next day Greta is telling the gang about how Marc ripped Artie a new asshole over his car, and Reenie says that it isn’t Artie’s fault because P.J. ran a stop sign (I still refuse to believe that Artie bears no fault in this situation). She’s relieved that Liz and Ty are now dating because that means maybe she won’t be as concerned about her weird brother. Greta just hopes that Marc will be out of their lives now, even though she worries that Artie is wrecked for life because of his influence. Sean tells the group that Reenie’s parents are going to be out of town and he’s trying to get her to throw a Christmas party! Before they can dwell too long, though Sandi suddenly runs into the lunch room and tells them that they have to come to the weight room. They rush to the weight room and see Artie sprawled on the floor. Apparently he was doing his weight training and demanded that P.J. be his spotter in an attempt to humiliate him, but then he couldn’t get the barbell back on the rack. And then, as if this should be a surprise to ANYONE, P.J. couldn’t get the weight back up either and it fell on Artie. Coach Wilkins says that he’s calling a doctor and both of them are to blame for dicking around without supervision, and Greta comes to P.J.’s defense. As soon as Coach Wilkins leaves, Artie stands up and accuses P.J. of trying to kill him, and is SICK of people standing up for ‘poor little P.J.’. He is about to lunge at P.J. but Coach Wilkins comes back and tells him to stop moving for fuck’s sake, and tells everyone else to go on to their next classes.

After school that day Reenie, Artie, Greta, and Sean are hanging out. Artie announces he’s made up with Marc, who now realizes that somehow this is all P.J.’s fault. They start to discuss the Christmas party guest list (and name off “Fear Street” alumni such as Corky Corcoran and Deena Martinson), and Artie says that his ‘first choice’ is P.J because he and Marc have a trick planned. Reenie and Greta are both disapproving, but Artie says he has the best plan. He and Marc are going to get Sandi to ask P.J. to the party, and then while at the party she is going to kiss him… and then pretend to DIE!! P.J. will think that his kiss is, and I quote, ‘too hot to handle’, and that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. But Sean thinks it sounds awesome, and for whatever reason Reenie and Greta agree???? Reenie thinks that it may make P.J. feel more included since the group tricks each other all the time.

The night of the party comes and Reenie is kind of hoping that Sandi and P.J. don’t show. But there are so many other characters of Fear Street’s past in this scene it feels a bit like the Mickey Mouse Club roll call. Artie and Marc, both drunk, are waiting for their moment, but still no sign of Sandi or P.J. Liz and Reenie start talking and Reenie feels a need to warn her about the dumb prank. Liz is horrified, and tells Reenie that this is a terrible idea and super mean. Reenie tries to reason that it’s like all the dumb tricks they all play on each other, but Liz disagrees, and runs off to try and find P.J. before he arrives. Ty comes back into the room and asks Reenie where Liz went, and goes off to try and find her just as Sandi and P.J. arrive. Everyone is shocked that the new kid weirdo guy is with the hottest girl in school. But P.J. doesn’t look totally comfortable, and when Sandi pulls him onto the dance floor he is very clearly not digging it. When Sandi goes in for the kiss it seems way aggressive to THIS reader, and then she goes through with the joke, pretending to drop dead. As Artie delivers a Jolie-esque performance of histrionics about how she’s dead, P.J. starts to freak out. He then starts to yell and convulse and then he keels over. Artie says that he probably just fainted, but when Reenie listens for a heart beat she can’t hear anything. She announces to the shocked room that he’s dead.

Back to 1965! In an unexpected turn of events, Jeremy and Beth are able to crawl out of the car wreck. They stumble around and realize that somehow neither of them have a scratch on them. In hopes of finding help they start to walk back towards the road in hopes of flagging down a passing car. Beth realizes that she isn’t cold at all. They go back to the road and don’t see any body of a boy they hit, and cars whiz by and don’t stop for them. They find a farm house and knock on the door, but no one answers. So they go back to the car in hopes of taking shelter from the cold… and then find their own bodies in the wreck! They actually are dead! And they are ghosts! Jeremy tries to jump back in his body, but to no avail, and they both disappear into the void.

Back to the 1995 Christmas party. Reenie tries to blow air into P.J.’s lungs as Sean does CPR on him, but to no avail. She blames herself because she knew about the heart murmur but didn’t tell her friends. Sean says that P.J. is definitely dead, and while they debate what to do the headlights of a car pull into the driveway. Panicked that Reenie’s parents have come home, the group lifts P.J.’s body up and decides to hide it in the basement.

Okay. Here lies a giant, GIANT, plot hole. At no point was there a mention of the party clearing out. In fact, Stine made it VERY clear that it was still crowded when they pulled the joke. And yet, the party has suddenly disappeared. Are we to believe that the entire party cleared out and made a pact that they would never speak of what they saw that night? I mean, I get that this is Shadyside and ALL of the people at this party have seen some shit,  but this is a TERRIBLE CONTINUITY ERROR. Like unforgivable!

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Shame on you, R.L.! (source)

They stuff P.J.’s body behind the furnace, but when they get back upstairs they realize that it wasn’t Reenie’s parents, but someone just randomly turning around in her driveway. They decide that they really should call the police and explain what happened, and then after they’ve done so they realize that they have to take the body out from behind the furnace because if they don’t that looks HELLA SUSPICIOUS. They also note that Sandi and Marc have high tailed out, but make no mention of the other party guests. When they go back down to the basement to retrieve the corpse, the body is gone! So now they decide that P.J. must have run into Liz, knew about the joke, and decided to turn the tables. The police do come and chastise them for making a fake call, but they tell them they didn’t realize it was a trick when they called. The police search the house and don’t find anything. After they leave the group decides no more pranks, and they clean up and Reenie feels good…. Until Liz calls her, asking where P.J. is. Reenie says that P.J. isn’t there and that he can tell Liz everything when he does get home. But she doesn’t sleep well that night, because Liz didn’t know where P.J. was…

But at school the next day, P.J. is nowhere to be found. And Liz is way emotional. Reenie overhears her talking to Ty about how P.J. is missing and that she’s worried about him, but Reenie’s friends think that she’s in on P.J.’s joke so Reenie doesn’t know what to believe. She also doesn’t understand how mourning is different for everyone because seeing Liz kiss Ty in a long and serious fashion makes Reenie think that maybe she isn’t worried about P.J. Reenie gets called to the principal’s office, and sees that there are policemen there. They have questions about P.J. and the party. When they try to tell the cops that it was just a joke, the cops say that P.J. didn’t come home the night before, and that his jacket was found in Fear Woods. The gang (with Sandi) are trying to convince themselves that P.J. was alive and well when he left the house after his prank, but Reenie isn’t sure.

A week later there is still no sign of P.J., and as Reenie and Greta work on trig  homework they talk about how guilty they feel. Greta also says she’s going to dump Artie because he’s STILL hanging out with Marc and is going to drop out of school. Greta asks if Reenie will go with her now to dump Artie, and Reenie agrees. They get to Artie’s house, and he says that he’s working on a car in the garage with Marc. Greta asks if she can talk to him without Marc there, and Artie says sure, he’ll go let Marc know that he has to go. But shortly thereafter, they hear a horrible scream from the garage. Reenie and Greta go to see what happened, and they find Marc’s body sprawled across the hood of his car, his head turned around totally backwards. GNARLY! Artie says that he was fine when he went to answer the door. They go to call the police, and as they wait for the cops to arrive, they surmise that whoever did it had to be strong so that they could snap Marc’s neck so easily, and fast so they could do it in the span of three minutes tops.

So now Reenie is super paranoid given that there’s a killer out there. She’s driving to pick up Sean and Ty from The Burger Basket, watching her back the whole way. When she gets there she’s surprised by a mysterious person who comes up behind her, but it’s just Sandi. She thinks that Liz knows more than she’s letting on about P.J. and is hoping to pump Ty for information. Reenie and Sandi meet up with Sean, who says that he’s going to to find Ty. Reenie goes to wash her hands, but when she comes back the dining area is deserted. She goes to look for everyone, and when she enters the kitchen she slips and falls. But when she gets up, she screams! Sandi has been stuffed in the garbage!! Sean and Ty run out to see what the commotion is, and all Ty can muster is a couple of ‘wows’. They pull Sandi out, and her head has also been twisted all the way around.

Reenie, Greta, Sean, and Artie are all hanging out after Christmas, still scared about the death and destruction that surrounds them. Sean thinks that P.J. did it, because he’s been mysteriously missing and had a vendetta against Marc and Sandi. Reenie asks how he could have gotten into Burget Basket to kill Sandi when the doors had been locked for the night, and he has no response to that. Artie says that P.J. is too weak to twist people’s heads around anyway. Greta thinks that maybe she should follow Liz, who may lead them to P.J. if he is alive. They suggest that Reenie go talk to her at least to see if she says anything, so Reenie goes then and there to see her, going to her house on Fear Street. She knocks on Liz’s door, and Liz answers, but makes it very clear that she doesn’t want to see Reenie even though Reenie tries to apologize. Liz says that she can’t forgive Reenie for what she did, and goes back inside, slamming the door in Reenie’s face.

A few days later Greta and Reenie walk inside Reenie’s house. Reenie’s mom gives her some mail, and the two girls go up to Reenie’s room. Reenie opens the letter, and it’s an invitation to a New Years Party. From Liz! Apparently she is sorry for being irrational, and says she wants to throw a party to start off the new year with all of her closest friends. Oh yeah. THIS seems totally legitimate.

So the group heads to Liz’s house on New Year’s Eve! Sean and Reenie arrive first with Greta and Artie meeting them on the walk as they walk up to the house. Liz lets them in, but it’s strange because there’s no music and no one else at the party. And it’s been decorated in black everything. Also, there’s very little furniture in the house, outside of a punch bowl on a single table and a big book next to it. It’s a yearbook from 1965. Reenie starts to page through it, but Liz snaps at her to stop snooping. So why the heck did you leave it out, Liz?! There’s a knocking on the door, and Liz goes to get the new guest, who is, of course, Ty. Sean says that he hasn’t seen Ty around much at all lately, not even at work, and Ty seems to want to remain mysterious about this. Liz says that it’s time to start the party, and gives a toast to the departed. She then bursts into tears, and Ty tries to comfort her but she pushes him away. She tells the group that she invited them here because it would be ‘easier to kill you all at once instead of continuing one by one’! That’s right! LIZ IS THE KILLER! Reenie is in disbelief, but Liz says that she really liked hearing the crack of the bones as she broke Marc and Sandi’s necks. When they ask her why, she says that it was the stupid practical joke that caused her brother’s death! Liz grabs a knife and asks Reenie if she’d like to be first, since she was the first to pretend to be her friend (ICE COLD!), but before she can stab her Sean wrenches the knife away from her, and demands that she unbolt the doors so they can leave. She says that she will, but instead of going for the door, she tackles Sean to the ground and they fight over the knife. After biting Sean’s wrist, Liz gets the knife back in her possession and is about to stab him, but then a voice tells her to stop! It’s P.J.!!! He’s alive!! P.J. tells Liz to put the knife down, and once she does, he tells her that he’s glad she stopped… because he wouldn’t want her to kill them without him!!! P.J. confirms that Liz killed Marc and Sandi, but he likes to watch her when she does such things. Greta says that they were worried about him and he was their friend, and to THAT I say ‘ha’, and Sean tries to grab the knife from Liz but there’s a stumble and he accidentally stabs her with it. But… BUT… There is no blood. And Liz says that none of them can kill her OR P.J., and you wanna know why? She tosses them the year book, and Reenie opens it up to the “In Memorium” page. There on the page are Elizabeth “Beth” Fliescher and her brother Philip Jeremy!!!!

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I’m pretty sure that this was the face that 5th grade Kate made when she read that reveal all those years ago. (source)

Liz is pulling a full on Pamela Voorhees and blaming all pranksters for her and her brother’s deaths, on New Years Eve like this one. Thirty years later and there are still asshole teenagers in this world, and Liz is NOT pleased about it. So these guys are going to pay! Throw in some weird mythology about going to a cold grey place and slowly gaining power, blah blah blah, and they’re back in their old bodies and back for revenge. But then….. THEN…. Ty jumps between Liz and the others. And he tells her that it wasn’t she and P.J. who were brought back for revenge. HE WAS!!! HE WAS THE KID THEY HIT WITH THEIR CAR THAT NIGHT!!

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I think 5th grade Kate actually screamed at this reveal. (source)

He didn’t know why he’d been brought back, but as soon as he saw Liz and Jeremy he figured it out. I also want to add that I kind of love that Ghost!Ty just kind of kept doing teenage things before he figured out why he was brought back to life, such as going to school and getting a job at Burger Basket. Responsibility!! P.J. screams that they should have gone  back, and Liz is still insistent that they hit a raccoon and not a person! Ty says that he’s back and he’s going to kill them! He throws his arms around Liz, and then P.J. tries to get him off of her, but as the clock strikes to midnight the three struggling ghosts fade into oblivion. After they are gone, Reenie says that it’s all very sad and scary and that she doesn’t know if there’s much more to say. To which Sean says “How about Happy New Year?” The End.

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(source)

Body Count: I mean, I guess that it has to be five!! Which is pretty damn high for a “Fear Street” book!

Romance Rating: 3. Sean and Reenie are barely a couple, Artie is a jerk, and Ty and Liz’s relationship was built on Ty ultimately hoping to drag her back to hell, so it’s not gonna be a high score this time.

Bonkers Rating: 9. There were so many crazy twists, turns, and ridiculous continuity issues that my head was spinning around and around.

Fear Street Relevance: 7. With appearances from Fear Woods AND Fear Lake AND the final confrontation being on Fear Street, this was solidly Fear Street oriented.

Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:

“‘He’s dead!’ Ty gasped. ‘Sean is dead!’

‘Good,’ Reenie said.”

…. Like, doesn’t that just giveaway that Sean very obviously ISN’T dead????

That’s So Dated! Moments: Outside of the fashion descriptions (like Sandi wearing an oversized sweater and leggings for an outfit) and the mention of CDs here and there it wasn’t terribly dated. Oh except for Reenie saying that Liz and P.J. were killed ‘more than ten years before the rest of us were born’, which would be QUITE a different timeline today.

Best Quote:

“They spent hours talking about boys and movies and rock music – especially The Beatles. They made up stories about how they went to London and met the Beatles in person, and all four of the rock stars asked them for dates. The hard part was deciding which two Beatles to go out with, since all four of them were so far out.”

I’ll make it easy for you: John was a prick and Paul’s one true love was Linda who was a saint, and you can’t get in between that. George and Ringo are the obvious winners.

Conclusion: “The New Year’s Party” was completely insane in all of the best possible ways!!! A really fun read that every “Fear Street” fan ought to pick up! Happy 2019 everyone! Next up is “The Rich Girl”!

A Revisit to Fear Street: “Silent Night”

843086Book: “Silent Night” (A Fear Street Super Chiller) by R.L. Stine

Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1991

Where Did I Get This Book: An eBook from the library!

Book Description: Don’t open that present!

If only Reva Dalby had listened to that warning.

But beautiful, cold Reva won’t listen to anyone. Reva thinks she can have whatever—and whoever—she wants. After all, her daddy owns Dalby Department Stores.

Now, someone has some surprises in store for her. Robbery? Terror? Even murder? Someone wants to treat Reva to a holiday she’ll never forget.

Holiday cheer quickly turns to holiday chills for Reva. Someone is stalking her, someone is trying to get to her.

Her money can’t help her. No one can.

After all, who can you turn to when murder comes gift-wrapped?

Had I Read This Before: Yes.

The Plot: Chanukah may have passed us, but my Jewish/non-denominational turned secular household still has Christmas/Yule/whatever to look forward to, and given that R.L. Stine felt festive while writing his “Fear Street” books I, too, thought that I could get in the spirit of the continuing season. Therefore, it just made sense to pick up “Silent Night”, one of the “Fear Street” Super Chillers! Had Stine written a book based on Chanukah I would have read that too (he could have called it “Eight DEADLY Nights” or some shit), but as it is, we get us some Christmas themed scares. But seriously, to all our Jewish readers, I hope you had a pleasant Chanukah!

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And I ate far too many of these bad boys this year with NO regrets. (source)

We meet our protagonist Reva Dalby, the spoiled daughter of Shadyside’s department store tycoon. She’s barely doing her job at the counter, and is instead judging all the plebeians around her because she is SO above working. What’s worse, it’s the Christmas season so the store is playing “The Little Drummer Boy”! While I’m sure that her hatred of it is supposed to denote what a jerk she is, if you ask ANY retail person this time of year what they think of holiday music they will probably tell you they’d rather puncture their eardrums rather than listen to the store soundtrack. Reva covers her ears, and then is confronted by her manager, Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith tells Reva she has to go work on some back room Chanel stuff, and Reva flat out refuses, saying she can’t because she ‘did her nails’ and doesn’t want to ruin them. Ms. Smith tells her that it’s the last straw, but we all know that since Reva’s dad owns the entire store she won’t do anything about it, and she stalks off. Reva ignores a customer and then decides to apply some lipstick to her mouth, but when she does a sudden pain leaps across her lips, and they start bleeding. When she looks at the lipstick, she finds that someone has stuck a needle in the tube! And given that she had used it previously, it must have been ON PURPOSE!

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Reva in that moment, I like to think. (source)

Now we jump back two weeks. Reva is driving with her boyfriend Hank Davis, and wondering why she’s been dating him for the past six months because he’s SO not her type. So she pulls over, and promptly tells him that they’re through, excited to see how badly it wrecks him. She then realizes that she liked going out with him because he is such an emotional lunkhead, so she REALLY hopes that he freaks out. When he asks if she’s mad at him she says no, she’s just done and he shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. When he asks why, she says she wants to spend the New Year with someone ‘interesting’, and this girl is a piece of work. He is understandably upset, and she tells him to walk home and unlocks the car doors. He tells her that she’ll be sorry as he gets out to leave, and when she calls for him he gets excited that maybe she’s reconsidered, but nah, she just tells him ‘happy holidays’ and literally LAUGHS as she guns it and drives away, planning to steal a guy named Mitch Castelona from some girl named Lissa Dewey. We’re putting Reva up there with past awful protagonists like Bobby Newkirk and Brady Karlin!

Shortly thereafter she arrives at Dalby’s Department store to pick up her Dad. As she walks through the empty store she’s scared for reasons she can’t really articulate to herself, but the empty space gives her the willies and it always has. She runs into a mannequin and freaks out, but then composes herself and goes up to the sixth floor. She runs into Mr. Wakely, head of security, who is in a piss poor mood as he storms on past her. She goes into her Dad’s office and asks him why Mr. Wakely was so mad (as she knows his son Mickey from school), meanwhile musing to herself that the picture of her mother on his desk must make him sad. See, she died four years previously, of course. It’s plot exposition. Mr. Dalby tells her that he just fired Mr. Wakely for drinking on the job. And the store has been having even more problems, what with rampant electrical issues and an employee shortage. He reminds Reva that she can have a job over break, but tells her that she should recruit her friends. Reva says she will, and immediately thinks of Mitch and how she will be able to steal him away all the easier that way.

Reva calls Mitch and offers him the job, and he accepts because he could use the money. He then asks Reva if Lissa could also have a position, and Reva grudgingly says yes. When Lissa gets on the phone to thank her, Reva hatches a very cruel plan and tells Lissa to wear her best outfit when she reports for duty, because she’ll be at the perfume counter. But in actuality she will be loading and arranging items in the stock room. WHAT A HOOT REVA IS. Her little brother Michael comes in, and Reva is actually pretty okay to him because I suppose Stine thought that humanizing her a little bit was more in the Christmas spirit, but shortly thereafter the phone rings again and it’s Pam, Reva’s cousin who happens to be poor and lives in a tiny house on Fear Street. And Pam is wondering if there are any job openings at the store. Reva hates Pam because 1) she’s cuter that Reva, and 2) she’s poor. I guess this implies that Reva’s Dad really did build an empire on her own since Pam’s a Dalby that doesn’t have jack shit, but it also shows what a wretched family this is if Pam is literally calling begging for a job to make ends at her house meet. Reva lies and tells her that no, the store isn’t hiring, and hangs up, patting herself on the back for being such a goddamn bitch. But Pam seems to know that Reva is full of shit, because she says to herself she’d love to pay her back somehow. And girl, I hear ya, #teampam!

Shift to Pam’s perspective. She’s upset, but decides that meeting her friends Mickey and Clay will take her mind off of everything. She drives to the 7-11 to meet them, and thinks about how she enjoy’s Mickey’s company (he’s described as kind and funny, though sullen lately), but is kind of scared of Clay (who has a mysterious scar on his face and has been suspended for fighting before). The three hang out musing about various candy brands, as Mickey LOVES candy, but then decide they should go when the cashier is eying them. They go up to pay, and the cashier accuses Clay of trying to shoplift. Pam tells him that they weren’t stealing anything, but the cashier is insistent and says he’ll call the cops. Clay loses his cool and physically attacks the cashier, grabbing him and throwing him against the cash register. They hear sirens, and bolt, piling into Pam’s car, but the car won’t start no matter how much Clay tries. Eventually it does start, and then they’re in a chase with the cops! Eventually after a prolonged and unrealistic chase they lose them (though I would THINK that the cops would have taken a license plate number), and when they stop it turns out that Clay had been shoplifting after all, and he brings out his spoils to share with them. Mickey tells Pam that he needed to have fun like that because his Dad was just fired, and Pam tells them she’s mad at that family too because Reva said there weren’t any jobs for her there. But then Clay tells her that Reva handed jobs to Mickey and Lissa just that night. Pam tells them she’s going to get her cousin.

That next Sunday Reva is driving around town, thinking about how she’s blowing that pop stand soon because she got accepted to Smith starting that Fall. She then sees a classmate named Robb, a guy she thinks is nice and funny, but she’d never go out with him because he’s fat. She pulls up next to him and asks if he’d be interested in making money at Dalby’s, and he accepts under the pretense that it’s going to be an important PR job. She can’t wait to see his face when he finds out it’s actually a job for Store Santa!! Because how funny! Because he’s overweight!!!

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Pretty much my face whenever Reva is on page. (source)

That night she’s babysitting her brother and fantasizing about Mitch when there’s knock on the front door. It’s Hank, and he asks her why she hasn’t called him back. She tells him to take a hint, and then he asks her if he can have a job at the store and that this isn’t easy for him. She tells him no, happy to see him upset. He grabs her in his desperation and rage, and she LITERALLY SICKS THE GUARD DOG ON HIM. He pulls himself away from the dog’s mouth, and runs to his car, saying he’ll get her back, but Reva just laughs and laughs like a god. damn. sociopath.

At work that Saturday Reva laughs laughs LAUGHS in the faces of Lissa and Robb, both of whom she has humiliated with her ‘dress up nice for demeaning work tasks’ trick. Her boss, Mr. Rawson, chides her, but what power does he actually have given that she’s the CEO’s daughter? She tells him to put Mitch and Lissa in different departments. She goes back to her work station patting herself on the back, and then gets pulled into a closet by Hank, who is now working security. That’s inappropriate behavior and I just don’t have a horse to bet on here. As she leaves him in the closet she’s suddenly intimidated about how angry he is.

Jump to Pam, Mickey, and Clay all hanging out in Mickey’s living room, Clay futzing with a knife. Mickey confides in them that this father has been drinking nonstop now that he doesn’t have a job and only leaves the house to buy more beer. He asks Pam where their friend Foxy is, and she says that he got a job at Dalby’s, and she’s still mad at Reva but doesn’t want to start any family feuds. She and Mickey have a grudge against the store, and Clay asks if they can keep a secret: he plans to rob the place and asks if they want to help. He sees himself as Robin Hood and that they’re taking stuff from the rich to give to the poor (i.e. themselves). Plus he has a plant on the inside; his friend Maywood is a security guard there who is still mad about Mickey’s Dad, and he says that he’ll leave the door open for Clay to take whatever he wants, and they’ll stage it like an actual robbery. Pam understands why Mickey is bitter. She then remembers a time when she and Reva got along really well. In fact, they were thick as thieves until Reva’s mom died. Then Reva changed. But now she hates her cousin, and is considering going through with the plan. But she decides that she can’t rob the store, so Clay asks if she’ll at LEAST be the getaway driver. THAT she agrees to. And before they can discuss it anymore, Foxy shows up and they keep their plan to themselves since he wouldn’t approve.

Cut to Reva (with her cut lip, so we’re back up to date now) talking with Pam on the phone. Reva’s Dad told her to invite Pam and her family over for Christmas Eve. She resents Pam because she still has a Mom, after all. After they hang up, she thinks about maybe not going to work because of the needle incident, but then her mind wanders to Mitch and why he hasn’t fallen all over her yet. After all. Lissa is a ‘drip’, so how could he possibly want to be with HER over pretty, rich Reva? How indeed, bitch. Little brother Michael comes in asking if she’ll take him with her so he can see Santa, but Reva says not today, chump, and instead promises herself that today is the day she seduces Mitch. She corners him in the electronics stock room, and after some tepid overtures she kisses him (hoping that Hank is watching on the security cam). When Lissa walks in, she acts like Lissa, his GIRLFRIEND, is a mere inconvenience. Lissa runs off, and Mitch chases her, and then Reva chases HIM saying that he should let her go. He says that what they did was wrong, but she tells him he seemed pretty okay with it in the moment before heading back to work. When she gets back to her station (fifteen minutes late, inconveniencing Ms. Smith), she finds a present for her. She opens it up to find a bottle of perfume, but then she realizes that it isn’t perfume, it’s BLOOD! In her shock she drops the bottle, and it smashes, splashing blood all over her white sweater. With a card, mocking her, of course. Instead of freaking out, she storms to Hank’s office, ready to get him fired as she’s convinced he did this. But he’s been busy since that morning, helping install security equipment. She says he’s lying, and runs to her father’s office to tell him all about it. Then she hears popping noises, the sound of gun shots, and when Mr. Dalby leaves his office he sees her bloody shirt and faints, convinced she’s DEAD. When he comes to, it’s explained to them both that it was a power surge that made some Christmas lights explode. She tells her Dad she has to go home and change. But as she’s driving she realizes she’s being followed by a strange man with a moustache! Being a dim bulb she drives straight home, and when she gets out of the car he parks and gets out too. Is this her stalker?! No, it’s a guy who accidentally bumped her car with his and broke her tail light. He just followed her to give her his insurance info. Reva thinks that she’s really going nuts.

It’s the night of the robbery! Pam is way nervous even though Clay assures her that all is going to plan and that the new security system isn’t even hooked up yet. They arrive at the store and Pam says that she doesn’t want to wait outside stewing in her nerves, so she accompanies them inside. Clay has brought a gun with him for some reason. As they go through the store and the boys start looting, Pam hears a noise that makes her cry out. Mickey and Clay convince her it was nothing and continue to try and figure out how they’re going to carry their stuff. But then another noise makes Pam turn around to see a tall security guard. She thinks that it must be Maywood, but SURPRISE. IT’S NOT. Clay COCKED IT UP!! The guard tells them to raise their hands above their head and he’s going to call the police, but then Clay pulls out his gun to match the guard’s and then SHOOTS HIM. In the chaos they all bolt. As they are driving home police cars zoom towards the department store, and Pam somehow gets the guys home and gets herself home.

The next morning, she wakes up hoping it was a dream, but it wasn’t. She sees on the TV that the guard was fatally shot, but then the TV also says that the burglars made off with $25,000 from the safe. And THAT isn’t right, because they didn’t take any money! She calls Clay, telling him that the money thing is wrong, and then HE tells HER that his gun wasn’t even loaded!!! So he couldn’t have shot the guard! She says that they have to tell the police about this, but Clay says that there’s no way they’d believe them, and Clay is right on the (not taken by them) money.

As Mr. Dalby is driving to him and Reva to work that next Monday, he’s exhausted and telling her that the burglary must be an inside job, but even that doesn’t make much sense because everyone liked Ed, the guard who was killed. He was also shot in the back, so it doesn’t make sense for there to have been a stand off. He then realizes he never asked Reva what that stain was on her shirt (nice, Mr. Dalby), but she doesn’t want him to worry so she says it was just a ‘practical joke’. They get to work and Reva’s morning drags until Mitch asks if they can talk. They go to be together somewhere and he starts kissing her. He tells her that Lissa dumped him, and asks if she wants to go to a movie that Saturday. And Reva, being THE GODDAMN WORST, says ‘nah, I’m good’. Mitch gets so mad that he throws a bench against a wall, and she smirks to herself and walks back to her work station. When she gets there Ms. Smith tells her there’s a package for her, and it’s HUGE! Reva is excited and opens it, but then she starts to scream when she sees a body folded up inside! But surprise, it’s just a weird looking mannequin. And there’s another note, and this one says ‘HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM A FRIEND’. Reva runs away, and nothing’s gonna stop her now. It’s a “Mannequin” joke, get it?

Three days after the robbery gone afoul, Pam, Mickey, and Clay are sitting in Mickey’s house, trying to figure out just what’s going on. Mr. Wakely is going out for more beers, so it’s good to know he’s still having issues. Clay says that he can’t get a hold of Maywood, because work said he called in sick, and that he swears he didn’t bring a loaded gun. They ask Pam if Reva’s father suspects anything, but Pam hasn’t been able to get ahold of Reva either. The phone rings, and Pam picks it up (even though it’s Mickey’s house?), and the voice says that THEY SAW WHAT THEY DID AND THEY WANT THEIR SHARE!

That next night Pam and Foxy are hanging out at her place and Foxy asks where she was the night before. She tells him that she was just hanging out with Clay and Mickey, and asks if he’s JEALOUS? Before they can continue their flirtation, the phone rings. It’s the guy again, saying he wants ten thousand dollars! Pam says that she doesn’t have any money, and freaks out as she hangs up. Foxy asks what the heck is going on, and she tells him everything. He’s horrified, and she tells him that she’s just so goddamn sick of being poor while her awful cousin gets everything, and hey, that’s totally fair. Foxy says that she needs to call the police, but she says that Clay would never go for it. He suggests they go talk to Clay together, and they drive to Mickey’s house (on really icy roads) because I guess Clay is a member of the household or something. Clay says he’ll kill the person threatening her, and I just… these Super Chillers are so long.

At work that Thursday Reva confronts Hank asking him if he’s the one who’s been sending her the creepy presents, and he says that no, he isn’t, and she says that it HAS to be him because who else would be doing it? And Hank points out that it could be anyone, LITERALLY ANYONE, because everyone HATES her because she is such a fucking ASSHOLE.

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It’s a GODDAMN Christmas MIRACLE! (source)

Reva realizes that since her mother died she’s become very cold and very cruel, as if that makes it all better, and Hank comforts her.

Meanwhile Pam is trying to get ahold of Reva and Foxy. When Foxy doesn’t answer (because she expected as much from Reva), she decides to go and find him. But when she gets to his house, someone grabs her from behind and clamps a glove over her mouth. The person tells her that they want ten thousand dollars, and that they could hurt her if they wanted to. They also tell her not to turn around, and then she does, of course. The attacker shoves her and pins her to the ground, but runs to their car and speeds off. Foxy shows up, and Pam tells him that she knows who’s been calling her.

Reva gets to work the next day, feeling a little better, but then stumbles upon Robb and Mitch physically fighting. Mr Rawson stops the fight, and Mitch says that Robb started it but Mr. Rawson is more concerned about opening and doesn’t want to hear it. She asks Mitch what happened and he tells her to suck it, in so many words.

Another jump in time. Reva has finally taken Michael to see ‘Santa’ (aka Robb). After he’s done he tells her it wasn’t the real Santa because he could feel the padding, but she assures him the tried and true ‘it’s a helper’, blah blah blah, what’s MORE important is that she sees Ms. Smith who tells her that another gift has arrived. Reva is ready for anything now, and when she opens the huge box she expects to find another mannequin. But sadly, it’s not Kim Cattrall this time, it’s DEAD MITCH WITH A KNIFE IN HIS BACK!

After the police are done questioning her, Reva is sent home and is basically in a daze for the rest of the day, feeling bad that she never apologized to Mitch. And as she’s falling asleep that night, at 2am she bolts up and realizes that she knows who did it!

Pam, meanwhile, thinks it was Clay, and asks him as much. Because it was Mitch who saw them the night of the robbery and was blackmailing them. Clay denies it, though, and says that he wouldn’t throw is life away for a worm. When Mickey asks if he’s telling the truth, Clay SCREAMS at him that he’s not a liar, and Mr. Wakely tells them to get out if they’re going to fight. The three of them leave, and Mickey apologizes for his Dad, and tells Clay he knows that he didn’t kill Mitch.

Reva, on the other hand, thinks she knows who did. She brings her Dad to the security office to watch the tapes, and points out Santa Land the day Mitch died. She thinks that it’s Robb that did it, because Michael told her that it wasn’t the real Santa because he could feel the padding, whereas, in Reva’s mind, Robb is so FAT that HE DOESN’T NEED PADDING. This bitch. Mr. Dalby says a murderer that does not make, and she tells him about the fight Robb and Mitch had. Mr. Dalby says that’s good enough for him, and calls the police. The police arrive and plan to arrest Robb IN HIS SANTA SUIT, but them Pam runs up, asking why they’re arresting Foxy?! Robb IS Foxy!! Suddenly I ship them all the more! As the police take him away he tells Pam that he did it for her! Pam is horrified, and Reva sees the awful glare that Robb/Foxy is giving her. Pam is also giving her a glare. When Reva leaves work that day at closing, Pam is waiting for her and tells her there is no WAY that Robb/Foxy could have killed Mitch. Pam explains that Robb/Foxy was fighting Mitch because Mitch was blackmailing Pam (but doesn’t tell her why), and that Robb/Foxy was only trying to protect her because they’ve been dating for six months. Robb/Foxy was the one playing the mean tricks on Reva (I don’t think that a needle in lipstick is a TRICK, but okay) because 1) Reva had been so awful to Pam, and 2) because Reva had humiliated him with the Santa gag. Reva kind of starts to realize what a jerk she is, and apologizes sincerely to Pam. Pam offers to drive her home, and Reva says sure, she just has to go grab her purse from her Dad’s office.

But when she’s inside, she hears a strange noise. It’s Mr. Wakely, with a pistol aimed at her (as “Silent Night” blares on the store speakers, natch). So here’s what happened! He and Maywood were going to use the three kids as a distraction while they robbed the safe, but when Mr. Wakely saw that one of those kids was HIS kid, he freaked. And then when he saw the security guard Ed aiming a gun at his son, he shot him. Then he found out that Mitch saw the whole thing, and overheard Mickey and his friends talking about the blackmail, so he killed him. When Reva asks why he sent Mitch’s body to her, Mr. Wakely is confused, and says that he just stuffed him in the first box he saw, which happened to be the mannequin box that still had her name on it. He came back this day to get more  money, but now Reva has seen him and that won’t do. Reva runs, and lucky for her Mr. Wakely is drunk, as is the new normal, so the chase is on. Eventually he lunges at her, but misses, and he sails over the balcony, and lands on a huge Christmas tree. And the lights short out, electrocuting him. And Hank shows up, telling Reva that he saw the whole thing, and the confession recorded on the security footage. She collapses in his arms.

Reva, Hank, and Robb/Foxy are at the police station together. Robb/Foxy has been let go since he didn’t do anything, and he apologizes to Reva. She forgives him and says that she kind of deserved it (and I don’t want to say yes, but I also can’t say no). Pam eventually leaves questioning, and there is going to be a hearing regarding the whole quasi robbery thing, but since she’s never been in trouble before she’ll probably only be charged with trespassing. No news on Mickey and Clay, and Jesus, poor Mickey. The group all walks outside, and Reva and Pam hug, Reva thinking that finally, FINALLY, she feels again, but how sad that such horrible things had to happen before she could. And she walks with Hank into the ‘silent night’. The End.

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How nice that YOU were able to learn something from this, Reva. (source)

Body Count: 2, the poor security guard and Mitch, who I’m not as sad about because what a tool.

Romance Rating: 7 for Pam and Robb/Foxy, but the wretchedness of Reva and her dalliances brought it down from an 8 or 9 that Pam and Robb/Foxy probably could have had.

Bonkers Rating: 6. It wasn’t terribly over the top, but the blood in the perfume bottle and the Mitch in a Box was kinda nuts.

Fear Street Relevance: 3, just cuz Pam lives there, but so little happened on site.

Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:

“He stood over her, then dropped down, pinning her to the drive.

‘Too bad you turned around,’ he whispered.”

… And then he just ran away!! I mean, good for Pam, but what a clunker!

That’s So Dated! Moments: Mickey’s go-to for stealing is a couple of VCRs, and Reva laments the fact that Hank always wanted to take her to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies on their dates, and WHAT THE HELL, how can you LAMENT that?!

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How can you hate the man who brought you this smash holiday classic?! (source)

Best Quote:

” ‘Hey, man, did they really stop making Zagnuts?’ Mickey asked, upset.

‘Why don’t you write the company and ask?’ Pam suggested, reading the headlines of The Star and The National Enquirer.

‘Yeah,’ Clay said. ‘Write to Mr. Zagnut himself. ‘Dear Mr. Zagnut, I am desperate.”

‘I don’t think there IS a Mr. Zagnut,’ Mickey said seriously.”

I don’t know why, but this whole exchange tickled me.

Conclusion: “Silent Night” was long, but it was actually pretty okay!! Definitely a fun holiday read! Reva was awful, but Pam is a solid person to root for, and the story itself was entertaining. Up next we’re extending the holiday madness, with “The New Year’s Party”! 

 

Kate’s Review (and Mini Brief History): “Aliens: The Original Comics Series”

33161041Book: “Aliens: The Original Comics Series” by Mark Verdheim, Den Beauvais (Ill.), Sam Kieth (Ill.)

Publishing Info: Dark Horse Books, April 2017

Where Did I Get This Book: The library!

Book Description: In 1986, James Cameron’s “Aliens” brought to theaters the horrors of a new kind of war against a terrifying enemy. Long before Alien3 was even a glint in director David Fincher’s eye, Dark Horse Comics was already crafting a terrifying post-Aliens continuity for Ripley, Hicks, and Newt. 

Earth is overrun by xenomorphs with no hope of saving it for humanity. But that doesn’t mean just leaving it to the Aliens. Ripley has a plan to capture, from what they believe is the Alien homeworld, a “Queen Mother”–a super queen that rules multiple nests–and bring it back to Earth. There the Queen Mother will command the xenomorphs to gather where they can all be destroyed by nuclear bombs.

Collects Aliens: Nightmare Asylum #1-#4 and Aliens: Earth War #1-#4. Includes cover art for all issues.

Review: Even though Science Fiction isn’t really my preferred genre, if there is an excellent horror theme to it I’m assuredly going to be game. So it most likely isn’t shocking that I love both the movies “Alien” and “Aliens”. Not only does it have a solidly excellent female protagonist (Ellen Ripley for LIFE!), it also has a very scary adversary in the Xenomorph, a creature that is essentially a giant parasitic space bug that you COULD fight, but you have significantly better odds if you just run away. The first two movies in the “Alien” franchise are awesome, and while I love them both my heart probably belongs to “Aliens” the most. Not only does Ripley get to kick more butt, but she picks up a rag tag group of friends along the way, specifically the Colonial Marine Corporal Hicks, the android Bishop, and the orphan Newt, a girl saved from an overrun colony. “Aliens” ends with the Alien Queen vanquished, and Ripley looking forward to taking her life back with her new found family in the wake of the one she lost while drifting in space post “Alien”.

…. And then “Alien 3” happened, and it completely trashed that perfect ending by crashing the ship, killing off Hicks, Newt, and Bishop, and throwing Ripley into a new clusterfuck of a PRISON COLONY SETTING because apparently she doesn’t get ANY breaks whatsoever.

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How I feel about the “Alien” franchise post “Aliens”, if I’m being honest. (source)

What does this have to do with “Aliens: Nightmare Asylum and Earth War” you may ask? More than you’d think. SO, after “Aliens” came out, Dark Horse created two mini series set within the “Alien” universe, focusing on Hicks, Newt, and Ripley a few years after the action in “Aliens”. But when David Fincher’s dark for the sake of dark “Alien 3” came out, Dark Horse decided that it had to be retconned because HEAVEN FOR FUCKING BID THAT HICKS AND NEWT REMAIN ALIVE IN COMIC FORM. So Dark Horse went back and changed the names of Hicks and Newt to Wilkes and Billie, and they were SOMEHOW not Hicks and Newt in spite of the fact they were CLEARLY Hicks and Newt, and re-released the two series with a brand new ‘now agreeing with film continuity!’ seal of approval. Given how “Alien 3” ended and what happened to Ripley, what with her DYING, I don’t understand why the comics decided to change Hicks and Newt to fit THEIR deaths, but let Ripley come back unaffected. But whatever, what do I know? Happily, in 2017 Dark Horse went back and righted this wrong, and both “Nightmare Asylum” and “Earth War” were re-released in a hard cover collection with Hicks and Newt back in tact. And now that this “Short Brief History” has concluded, let’s get to the review.

I’ll start with “Nightmare Asylum”. Ripley wasn’t seen much in this story, but I was surprisingly okay with this because it gave Hicks and Newt some time to shine. Set a fewish years down the line from “Aliens”, Newt is now a young woman, and has been living as a surrogate daughter/sister/friend to Hicks. They have been floating in space, as Earth has been taken over by the Xenomorphs and they escaped by the skin of their teeth (along with an android named Butler with whom Newt has been in a relationship). But unfortunately they run afoul a crazed General named Spears, who has gone full General Kurtz and thinks that he can make an army of Xenomorphs to fight against the Xenomorphs on Earth, namely by torturing and trying to condition an Alien Queen to make her control her brood lest he destroy her eggs. And while Ripley is nowhere to be seen for the most part, I REALLY enjoyed “Nightmare Asylum”, if only because Hicks and Newt (her in particular) had some fantastic story lines and moments of riveting action. Given that I have ALL the love for both Hicks and Newt, I am a-okay with the focus being on the two of them. For Newt it’s because she has taken on the role of the determined and scrappy Ripley character, and it shows how she has gone from scared orphan girl to be saved to an adult who is out to save the world. For Hicks it’s his continued journey of being a tough and competent soldier who is more than happy to let the tough ladies around him take the reins. He had the utmost respect for Ripley and trusted her, and  he has the same respect for Newt. And also, Hicks was played by Michael Biehn, who was foxy as HELL in the role, so yes, my libido has SOME influence over my affinity.

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AM I WRONG?! (source)

But I also REALLY liked the main plot with the crazed General trying to use the Xenomorphs to his own ends. Any “Alien” fan worth their salt is going to know that this is a TERRIBLE idea, but it feels original enough that it could totally fit within the hubris that we see so often in this universe. And with new but familiar protagonists coming in to deal with it it doesn’t feel like just another instance of  ‘Ripley is right AGAIN and why doesn’t anyone listen to her?’. Ripley can be right til the cows come home, but admittedly it would get a bit old. And yes, Ripley DOES show up, right at the end, so it doesn’t feel like she’s been forgotten or thrown to the side. One note I do have, though: I didn’t like that there were so many sexualized drawings of Newt. Sure, she’s an adult in this story arc, but was it REALLY necessary to have multiple shots of her in skimpy underwear and spread legs?

“Earth War” was next, and that one brings Ripley more into the fold. As she, Hicks, and Newt (along with other brave fighters) gather together to try and take Earth back, Ripley also has to contend with her leaving Newt and Hicks behind after “Aliens”. I liked the device that was used in this case, as it doesn’t feel too cheap (like “Alien 3” did, and no I will NOT shut up about how much I hate that movie) and also feels wrenching. To Ripley Newt was sort of seen as a stand in for her daughter, who died while Ripley was in hypersleep out in space, and so it was important to give a GOOD explanation as to why Ripley would have disappeared after “Aliens”. “Earth War” absolutely achieves that. But I think that the reason I found it to be the weaker of the two, in SPITE of Ripley’s presence, is that it feels very rushed. While the smaller story of “Nightmare Asylum” works in four issues, trying to cram a reunion for Ripley and her friends, information as to where she was that whole time, AND a battle to take Earth back from the Xenomorphs in the same number feels VERY rushed. Plus, I think that for me there was a HUGE disconnect from the artwork between the two, and I much preferred Den Beauvais:

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(source)

Versus that of Sam Kieth:

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(source)

I generally like Kieth (I REALLY like his work on “Sandman”), but I didn’t feel like it fit in as well with the content at hand. Which means I was taken out of it a bit more than I would have liked.

All that said. this collection is FINALLY back the way it is supposed to be, and I am SO happy that I finally got to read it. “Aliens: The Original Comics Series” gives “Alien” fans the stories that we’ve always deserved, and it gives Ripley, Hicks, and Newt a lot to do without getting dour or unnecessarily bleak. I greatly enjoyed this series as a whole.

Rating 9: The “Alien” continuation that we deserve to have, “Aliens: The Original Comics Series” is action packed, powerful, and a shining light on favorite characters from the first two movies.

Reader’s Advisory:

“Aliens: The Original Comics Series” isn’t on any Goodreads lists, but I think that it would fit in on “Supernatural (Not Superhero) Comics”.

Find “Aliens: The Original Comics Series” at your library using WorldCat!

A Revisit To Fear Street: “All Night Party”

842654Book: “All Night Party” (Fear Street #43) by R.L. Stine

Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1997

Where Did I Get This Book: An eBook from the library!

Book Description: It’s Cindy’s birthday, and her friends are throwing her a surprise party on Fire Island. It’s a private party — no parents, no cops…in fact, no one around for miles. 

Except there’s a madman loose on the island. A murderer who quietly crashes the party. And he wants to dance with the birthday girl…

Had I Read This Before: No.

The Plot: New girl Gretchen is driving her minivan with her newly acquired friends Patrick, Gil, Hannah, and Jackson. Gretchen moved to Shadyside about few months back, but this group of friends really welcomed her into the fold. Now they’re driving to their friend Cindy’s house, who is having a birthday that week. Since her parents have left town on a business trip, this group of friends has decided to kidnap her for the night and take her to Fear Island for an all night party. Gretchen is a little distracted because she’s been getting weird hang up calls, and she wonders if it’s been Jackson, the one person in the group she doesn’t know too well, and who therein gives her ‘the creeps’. They arrive at Cindy’s house, find the spare key, and let themselves in (with Gretchen catching Jackson staring at her). They barge into Cindy’s room, and she protests as they tie a blindfold around her eyes, but she should thank her lucky stars that they didn’t gag her with a giant jawbreaker lest that become a problem later. But there is a problem, because Patrick pulls out a gun and presses it into Cindy’s side. When Gretchen and Hannah start yelling at him, he tells them that it isn’t loaded or anything, he thought it would make the kidnapping look ‘more realistic’. After he puts the gun away, they tell Cindy they’re taking her to an all night birthday party, and she seems to forget about the gun that was until a few seconds ago jammed in her side. We’re in for a doozy here, folks.

Once they’re in the minivan Cindy asks if she can take the blindfold off but the others say no. She whines a bit, and Hannah seems annoyed. Gretchen hasn’t quite mapped out the complicated landscape that is Hannah and Cindy’s friendship, as they seem to be more like bitter enemies than friends, but hey, sometimes that’s how high school is. What makes matters more complex is that Gil is Hannah’s boyfriend, but up until recently he’d been going out with Cindy until Cindy dumped his ass. Hannah, there are so many issues with this. Gretchen asks Patrick why he brought the gun, and he is hesitant to tell them lest is ruin their fun night’, but after prodding he tells them his motivation. His father is a police officer living in Waynesbridge, and while he was visiting Patrick that day he told him that a convicted killer escaped from prison and had been spotted in the Fear Street Woods. His Dad gave him the gun for protection in case they run into the killer on Fear Island. Gretchen is more concerned about the fact he ruined the surprise than the potential killer on the loose. Cindy asks what this guy did, and Patrick tells them that he murdered three teenage girls. They all argue about whether they should change their plans, but Cindy says that the guy probably wants to get out of dodge so why would he go to Fear Island. Most of the others agree, though Hannah and Gretchen are reticent, for pretty okay reasons, but they arrive at the dock and all jump in a boat to row out to the island. Cindy complains about being cold since she left her coat in the car, and Gil gives her his and says that he could ‘warm her up’ in other ways, and poor Hannah is angry about this, of course. Patrick then jokes that he sees a shark because I guess he thinks they’re on Lake Zambezi or some shit. Cindy asks if Gretchen’s boyfriend Marco is coming, and Gretchen gets tense. Marco is your typical bad boy with long hair and a motorcycle, but Gretchen has realized that bad boys generally don’t give a shit about the ladies who want to save them and thinks she may need to break up with him. Suffice to say, she didn’t invite him to the party.

They land on the island and Gretchen runs ahead to light the candles on the cake. Jackson offers to walk with her and she is SO CREEPED OUT by the offer (after all it’s not like there’s the potential for a crazy person who kills women to be on the island or anything) she says no. She walks into the cabin, but the lights won’t turn on. She starts into the cabin to try and find a candle, but then someone grabs her in the darkness! She screams, convinced the killer has her, but no, it’s something that in some ways is worse: it’s Marco. She yells at him for scaring her since there’s a killer on the loose, but given that Patrick’s Dad told him to keep it quiet Marco couldn’t have known that. And I guess it was Gretchen’s Mom who narced on her and told him where she was, and he thought it would be fun to surprise her so he hid his boat and waited at the cabin. The others arrive and Cindy is so excited to see Marco. Gretchen sets up candles all around the room and they get the cake all lit, ready to celebrate her birthday. Cindy says that she’ll remember it as long as she lives, and it’s heavily implied that that may not be as long as she thinks….

Gretchen still is creeped out by Jackson who isn’t saying much but is watching the others. She thinks he’s studying them, and he says he’s going to build a fire for the hotdogs. Gretchen and Hannah go into the kitchen to prepare the dinner, and Hannah asks her why Marco is there. Gretchen tells her about her narc Mom, and they agree that hopefully Gretchen can just avoid him. They bring the food out and start roasting. Cindy and Gil continue to flirt, and when Hannah tries to exert her authority as girlfriend Cindy reminds her that she and Gil dated for SIX months while Hannah has only been with him for one. Hannah rushes to the kitchen, and Gretchen follows her. She asks Hannah if she’s upset that Gil is flirting with Cindy (as she would have every RIGHT to!), but Hannah says that Cindy is an even bigger dick than that. Apparently Hannah tried to win a scholarship that would have made it possible for her to go to college, but when Cindy heard that Hannah wanted it SHE applied, and SHE won. The kicker is that Cindy’s family already has more than enough money to send her to college, and Cindy didn’t need the scholarship. Hannah says that sometimes she wishes that Cindy was dead, and when Gretchen says that she doesn’t mean that, Hannah replies with ‘don’t I?’

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Like most overshadowed besties, Hannah is feeling the swells of rebellion within her. (source)

They go back into the main room just in time for Cindy to open her gifts and be a totally ungrateful bitch about all of them, making snarky commentary about all of them. The earrings from Gretchen are ‘great’, but the perfume from Hannah ‘makes her break out’. The rock concert tickets from Gil and Jackson are met with neutrality (ROCK CONCERT TICKETS ARE NOT CHEAP, GIRL), and she doesn’t care that Patrick didn’t wrap his gift so he will give it to her later. Marco’s box of slasher movies (LOL) is met with derision. They put on the music and Gretchen tries to get out of dancing with Marco but he won’t take no for an answer. As they dance she watches Gil and Hannah dance, and sees Cindy glaring at them. She dumped Gil because he and his friends stole a car and Cindy’s parents were livid, so Cindy broke it off. Now it seems she’s having second thoughts. Gretchen notices Jackson looking at her, and she gets freaked out again. She says that she’s going to gather fire wood, and Hannah and Gil say that they will join her on their way to look at the stars at the dock (though Gil and Cindy continue to openly flirt). After they part ways, Gretchen gathers some wood and starts to return, but under the kitchen window she hears arguing. It’s definitely Cindy, and Gretchen is convinced that the male voice is Jackson. She then hears a slap, and wonders if she should go intervene, but remembers that Patrick and Marco are inside and they can do so. She decides to take more time alone in the woods, and is scared by Marco again. She is pissed, because he now knows about the prisoner, but he tells her to lighten up. She then dumps his ass, and he takes out his switchblade and starts stabbing a tree with it. He then walks back towards the cabin, and she for whatever reason tries to talk to him, but he isn’t interested.

They get back to the cabin and find it basically empty. Marco suggests that everyone else went for a walk and sits and sulks by the fire place. Gretchen goes to set up the dessert, but when she enters the kitchen she finds CINDY DEAD ON THE FLOOR, STABBED TO DEATH AND SPRAWLED IN FLOUR. She pukes, and then runs into the main room, where Marco holds her as she screams. Patrick comes upstairs asking what happened, and then Gretchen notices the blood on his shirt! She asks him how he got it, and he says he cut his palm trying to open an upstairs window, and shows her his bandaged hand. Marco goes to investigate, and Patrick stays with Gretchen in the main room. He says that it must be the escaped prisoner. Gil and Hannah come back, and Gretchen tells them what happened. Gretchen says that they have to call the police, but Patrick says that they can’t. When Gretchen asks why he hugs her and says that there are no phones on Fear Island. Gretchen says they can row back to shore, but a rain storm has started and Patrick says that the killer is outside and it’s not safe. He reminds them that they have the gun, as he did bring bullets. Then Jackson comes back with more firewood, and when they tell him what happened he doesn’t react in the histrionic way everyone else has, so Gretchen is IMMEDIATELY suspicious. Patrick says that they have to wait until tomorrow, and when they don’t come back their parents will wonder where they are and send the police after them. This is stupid as hell, but the others agree. They search the house to make sure the killer isn’t inside, and decide to wait it out.

But Gretchen thinks that she sees something outside, and HAS to investigate. She goes outside, and then Jackson is next to her, scolding her for going out on her own when there is a potential killer in the woods. They go back inside, and Gretchen thinks about the fight he had with Cindy that she overheard. After the others come back into the room, Marco says that he has questions for Patrick, because he didn’t see any blood on the window sill. Patrick says he cleaned it all up. Gretchen starts to fall into a paranoid spiral, thinking of all the motives those around her could have had for killing Cindy. After all, Hannah lost the scholarship and Gil was still interested in Cindy, and then there’s Jackson, who is just CREEPY. She decides to focus on him, and brings up the argument she heard. Jackson that he didn’t argue with Cindy, and Gretchen is adamant that she heard him. He says it wasn’t him, and is she calling him a liar? Patrick says that he was outside so it couldn’t have been him, and everyone else has alibis. Hannah keeps crying and Gil tells her to shut up because she and Cindy were fighting so how is she so sad? Hannah says that Cindy never cared about him and was only flirting with him to get back at Hannah, and GIL says that he doesn’t even like her and he liked Cindy, he was going to dump her, and he hopes the killer gets her next.

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Me as I read this book. (source)

They all eventually agree that sticking together is the best plan. Jackson wants to check the body one more time, and they all trudge into the kitchen. Gretchen then notices a baseball can in Cindy’s hand, and Cindy wasn’t wearing a cap before. It may belong to the killer! Patrick owns up to it belonging to him, and they all think that he must be the killer. He says he has no idea how Cindy got his hat, as he put it on the hook in the front room. Gretchen notices that Cindy is also wearing a jacket that isn’t hers, so maybe she grabbed it and the hat to step outside in the rain. But Marco says that there’s no reason for her to have it after unless she was trying to give a clue to who the killer is, so it has to be Patrick because of that AND the blood on his shirt. He reminds them that he has a gun, so why would he stab her with a bread knife? They ask him how he knew what she was stabbed with, and he says he saw the knife missing! They back off, saying that they’re sorry and all on edge. But then they notice a boot print in the flour on the floor. Whose boot has flour on it? Gretchen goes to check his boots. And indeed, there is flour on the sole. And guess whose does? PATRICK’S! He still claims that he didn’t do it, but the others tie him to a chair a la “The Thing”. The decide to go through his stuff, and as Gretchen is going through his backpack she finds a note! It’s from Cindy, and it says that she can’t keep their secret anymore and is going to tell her parents. Was Patrick seeing Cindy secretly? They then find a bloody break knife in his sleeping bag!!! They confront him with the evidence, but he says that there wasn’t anything going on between him and Cindy so the note has to be fake. And on top of that, WHY would he leave all this damning evidence around? He begs Gretchen to untie him because if he was the killer he wouldn’t be so careless. The others aren’t convinced, but he’s making sense to Gretchen. She lets him look at the note, and he points out that the i in her name in the note isn’t dotted with hearts, which was Cindy’s trademark (GAG ME). The compare the note to some history notes in Cindy’s bag, and while the writing looks very close, it isn’t the same. The y’s are wrong too. So someone must be framing him. They show that to Patrick, and they untie him. Also, Hannah has disappeared. Gil freaks out, worried that the killer is going to get her, and they find a note from her that says she’s too scared to stay and is bolting.

As they’re getting ready to go find Hannah, Gretchen wonders if maybe Hannah is the killer and left because she felt guilty. Then she sees Jackson staring at her. She starts to freak out, and he says that she ‘must suspect…’, but before he can finish she runs out hte door and into the night. She realizes that he’s following her, and she trips and falls down a hill (goddamn it this is so stupid). Jackson is soon on top of her, but it’s because he also fell and not because he’s attacking her. He asks why she ran and she tells him she was scared of him because he’s always staring at her, and he admits that he does that because he’s had a crush on her ever since she moved there. He was about to tell her in the cabin when she bolted. He’d planned on telling her that night because he heard her talking to Hannah and Cindy about how she wanted to dump Marco. So when Marco ended up there he got upset, and then, you know, CINDY DIED. Gretchen lets him know that she did dump Marco, but they should probably focus on not dying before they do anything about that. They start back for the cabin, and then hear Hannah screaming. Gretchen grabs a rock to use as a weapon, but when they run back inside the cabin they find the others pulling another “The Thing” kinda deal and are trying to tie Hannah up! Gil says that while they were at the dock she left him to go get a sweater, and that could have been plenty of time to kill Cindy and plant all that evidence to frame Patrick! But Hannah says that when she got back to the dock with her sweater, GIL was gone, so HE could have done it! And the accusation wheel in the sky keeps on turning. Gretchen goes to her purse to get some chapstick, but then finds a note. She reads it, and then turns to Patrick, asking him why he killed Cindy. He says that they settled this, but she holds up the note. It’s one he left her saying he’d bring stuff for the party, and it’s the same handwriting as the note they found earlier. He framed himself. And he says that maybe he did, and pulls the gun on them!

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You should have locked him in a shed like poor Wilford Brimley. (source)

So apparently Cindy found out something about his past, and she also pretended to like him but went out with Gil instead. She’d also continuously tease him and remind him about whatever he’d done. He’d planned to kill her once they made plans for the party. He almost changed his mind and tried to kiss her in the kitchen, but she laughed at him and told him that she’d never kiss him. When he tried to stop her from leaving, she slapped him. So it was PATRICK that Gretchen heard. He then stabbed her. And now he’s going to have to kill ALL OF THEM!! But before he can shoot, two deus ex machinas police officers enter the cabin! Patrick turns the gun on them but Gretchen knocks him down. The police wrestle the gun out of his hands. When asked if they are there because of the killer in the woods, the police say that they haven’t heard of such a thing. Yes, Patrick made it up. The cops are actually there because Patrick stole his Dad’s gun and he reported it. And apparently the big secret was that Patrick set a fire in Waynesbridge and he thought that Cindy knew about it. But Hannah says that Cindy didn’t know jack about Patrick, she teased him because she liked him. So the book ends with the remaining friends all together, contemplating the existentialism of life. “Party’s Over”, says Gretchen. The End.

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This was abysmal. (source)

Guys… Okay, this is just… The sheer laziness and rubber stamp plotting of this book was just flabbergasting to me. And then, THEN, to not have any kind of twist or supernatural element, to just have it be Patrick…. I can’t. I did not like this. So let’s just get this break down over with.

Body Count: 1.

Romance Rating: 3, only because Jackson and Gretchen seem to be on track for an okay relationship assuming the shared trauma of the party doesn’t ruin it.

Bonkers Rating: 2. Nothing bonkers here, just the stupidity of everyone involved. There wasn’t a supernatural element OR a huge twist!

Fear Street Relevance: 7 given that the action takes place on Fear Island and there was talk of the not real killer hiding in Fear Woods.

Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:

“Cindy ripped off the red bow and lifted the lid of the box. She peeked inside- and her mouth dropped open in disgust.

‘Ohhhh. Gross!’ she moaned.”

…. And it was just a bunch of slasher movies, and listen Cindy, if YOU don’t want them, I will take them!

That’s So Dated! Moments: Sadly, this was one of those “Fear Street” books that was so bland and sparse that there really were no details outside the plot at hand. Maybe the fact that the slasher movies were video tapes?

Best Quote: This is going to sound super harsh, but nothing about this book was good, so it goes without saying that there weren’t any ‘best’ quotes.

Conclusion: “All Night Party” was haphazard and lazy, definitely up there with the worst of the worst “Fear Street” novels. Skip it. Up next, in honor of the season, is the Fear Street Super Chiller “Silent Night”!

Kate’s Review: “Jar of Hearts”

36315374Book: “Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

Publishing Info: Minotaur Books, June 2018

Where Did I Get This Book: The library!

Book Description: This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

Review: Sometimes I get carried away in my request lists for library books. On my personal Instagram I have repeatedly posted pictures of book piles that are overflowing and busting at the seams, fifteen books high and not showing the books on my kindle OR the pile of ARCs in my home office library. And when this happens, I occasionally have to make sacrifices and send books back into the library pool. I did this with “Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hellier, thinking that it was probably going to be a book I liked, but one that could wait, like so many middle of the road thrillers ultimately can. But when I did eventually pick it up again (after sleeping on it AGAIN; I didn’t pick it up until a week before it was due), I was angry with myself for letting it go that first time. Especially since Caroline Kepnes, ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS, wrote the blurb on the cover, and I didn’t even notice! “Jar of Hearts” is one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year, and one of the reasons for that is that it is so dark in some ways it treads towards horror.

The story is laid out through a few different perspectives. The first is from Geo’s perspective, the woman who went to prison for helping her boyfriend Calvin James cover up the murder of Angela Wong, her best friend. We get to see Geo’s present day timeline, from her arrest to her trial to her stint in prison to her time out of prison, as well as moments from her high school days, when Angela was still alive and Geo was just getting involved with Calvin. Seeing how Geo changes over time because of the various experiences she’s had really gives the reader a feel for the character, and it allows her to become multidimensional in an organic way. To go from awkward and shy high schooler to world weary felon is heartbreaking to see, and you really see how much of a monster Calvin James is while also seeing why Geo would have fallen under his spell. Hillier does a very good job of showing the reader why Geo is the way that she is, and simultaneously doesn’t excuse her mistakes, but helps you understand them, and her. I really liked Geo, and while she had EVERY opportunity to fall into the tried and true ‘hot mess’ stereotype for this kind of thriller, I feel like she never did.

Geo and Angela’s high school friend Kaiser is our second perspective, and his is set firmly in the present. Kaiser was the sweet best friend who held a torch for Geo, who then ended up being the detective who solved the murder and then arrested Geo. While is isn’t as compelling as Geo is, I did like seeing this man with his own haunted past have to come to terms with his feelings for his old friend as he investigates a new spate of crimes that she may have a tie in, be it directly or not. While he DID fall into familiar traps of the genre (the cynical detective who is responsible on the clock but makes reckless decisions in his personal life), I really did like Kaiser and liked following him. He was also our main connection to the mystery at hand, while Geo was the connection to what happened to Angela.

And let’s talk about that mystery. Because “Jar of Hearts” is dark as hell. Kaiser is trying to figure out if Calvin James is back to killing women after years of being off the grid, as bodies start showing up that are similar to Angela’s murder scene. But along with the dead women, there are also dead children. This doesn’t match James’s original M.O., and as Kaiser digs deeper and does more investigating, things do start to fall into place because of the various perspectives we are getting. And not only is it suspenseful, there were moments in this book that I was completely unsettled. Hellier did a great job of slowly giving the reader the clues just when she deemed it necessary, and while I had an inkling as to where some things were going, I never got there too soon before Hellier wanted me to. The content was bleak and very upsetting at times, and while I greatly enjoyed this book, it is not for the faint of heart. It feels like it treads more towards “The Silence of the Lambs” than “The Girl on the Train”. Which is a SUPER positive in my book.

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If only the villain was as polite as Hannibal, though. (source)

But before I wrap things up completely, I do need to give a serious, SERIOUS content warning. This book has multiple depictions of rape in it, and while it doesn’t feel titillating or exploitative in how it’s done or portrayed, it absolutely could be triggering for those who are going into it. So just be aware that it is there.

“Jar of Hearts” is a fantastic thriller and an incredibly impressive debut novel. I truly cannot wait to see what Jennifer Hillier comes out with next. Do not let this one go, thriller fans! Don’t make the same mistake I did!

Rating 9: Suspenseful and disturbing, “Jar of Hearts” was a fantastic thriller that hit every bingo box for my dark thriller needs!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Jar of Hearts” is included on the Goodreads lists “Non-Caucasian Protagonists in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Paranormal Romance” (I imagine this fits in horror?), and “Best Suspense Novels”.

Find “Jar of Hearts” at your library using WorldCat!

A Revisit to Fear Street: “Killer’s Kiss”

89793Book: “Killer’s Kiss ” (Fear Street #42) by R.L. Stine

Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1997

Where Did I Get This Book: The library!

Book Description: Rivals throughout their whole lives for the best grades, friends, and boys, Delia and Karina both set their sights on the attractive Vincent, and Karina decides that if she cannot have him, no one will.

Had I Read This Before: No.

The Plot: We start out with Delia Easton and Vincent Milano making out on his couch. Delia pauses to apply some dark purple lipstick, described in full detail as well as her botting method which doesn’t make sense because it seems she just kisses a tissue instead of putting it between her lips? She also gives him a big ol’ smackola on his cheek, leaving a purple mark. She says that they have to plan for his birthday, but it’s getting late and she should go before his parents get home. He tells her it’s not THAT late, but does check on the clock because this scumbag is waiting on his OTHER girlfriend Karina Frye, who is supposed to come at 9. He’s miffed that the two girls he’s using are going to probably expect to spend his birthday with him or something (the NERVE), and acknowledges that while Delia isn’t a hottie like Karina, she’s still noticeable. Delia asks if he’ll ever forgive her for being ‘dumb enough’ to think that he was going with Karina (since she and Karina are rivals in every way), and he is SO GRACIOUS and forgives her. Vincent then realizes with horror that the clock has stopped, and that it’s really close to nine! He tells Delia that she has to leave because his parents will be home soon. He shoos her out and she kisses him goodbye, leaving. She gets out of sight JUST as Karina drives up. When Karina comes in he gives her the “Vincent Milano Trade-Mark Smile” (which is mentioned numerous times in this book, whatever that means), but she sees the lipstick stains on his cheek. Since that purple is a style Delia has the market cornered on, Karina accuses him of cheating on her with Delia, and Vincent deflects saying that SHE kissed HIM and he wasn’t even into it. Karina says she’s sick of Delia trying to get everything that belongs to her, and she goes to her car and drives off like a lunatic.

At school that next day Delia and her friends Britty and Gabe are discussing The Conklin Award, a scholarship that Delia is hoping to win (and that shares a name with the family in “One Evil Summer”, and I’m trying to discern if that’s a coincidence or if the terribly negligent journalist mother got an award named after her). The winner has to have high grades, and has to be an accomplished performer and artist. Delia is also thinking about Vincent, wondering why he was so eager to shoo her away. Delia also thinks about how Gabe has a crush on her, but she’s not interested even though he’s very nice. She applies more purple lipstick (which is called “Midnight Wine”), and does that weird botting method but this time with Britty’s notebook paper (INCONSIDERATE MUCH?). Delia says she’s nervous about the Conklin because if she won it would be the first step in achieving all of her dreams. And the problem is that KARINA is also trying out for it, and Karina is just as accomplished and talented as she is. Britty is sick of them fighting over everything, as she is Delia’s best friend but she liks Karina too, and Delia says it’s because Karina is TRYING to seduce Vincent away from her! Just then Karina rushes into the gym, and lunges at Delia, trying to strangle her! They struggle, and Karina manages to RIP DELIA’S EARRING OUT OF HER EAR before they’re separated. Karina says that Delia can’t steal Vincent and that she can’t win everything, and that Vincent is HERS. She is pulled away from Delia and taken to the office, and Delia says that Karina must be crazy because she actually believes that she’s going with Vincent and that’s the only explanation. She is shaken up, but reapplies her lipstick perfectly.

That evening Vincent is at Delia’s house as she’s asking him if he thinks her drawings are good enough for the Conklin Award. Vincent isn’t terribly invested in anything outside of the basketball game, and yet Delia still muses that she can’t draw him well because NO artist could capture how gorgeous he is, which is nauseating. She tells him about Karina and that she thinks that Karina is legit delusional about him and her supposedly non existent relationship, and Vincent gets mad that they’re talking about Karina so much. Then her younger sister Sarah walks in and teases the two of them. Delia thinks about how dumpy Sarah is, and then essentially tells her that no boys want to fuck her, which sends Sarah into a rage spiral and kicks a bunch of Delia’s artwork before stealing one portrait and rushing for her room. Delia yells at her not to spy on them anymore, and Sarah promises she’ll do something even worse.

At school the next day Delia is still miffed that her sister took the best picture from the bunch, but she’s also determined to still win. As she’s searching her locker for a notebook, another Conklin nominee(?) named Stewart comes up to her and asks her if she’d like to hang out that weekend, since the talent competition is on Monday and he could use some time to think about something else. She is tempted to say yes, but then sees Vincent in the hallway and declines the invitation. I HAVE QUESTIONS. How is Vincent maintaining this charade of dating two different girls if he isn’t telling them to keep their dating on the down low AND they all go to school together?! Anyway, Stewart takes in in stride and goes on his way. But as Delia walks down the hallway she hears someone say her name. She stops by the storage room she hears voices, and sees Stewart and Karina having a heated discussion! She goes into the science lab wondering what she saw, and when Britty shows up she tells her everything. Britty isn’t really convinced that she saw anything of note, but she does to the door to look out into the hallway Stewart leaves the room, but Karina isn’t anywhere to be seen until a little while later when she leaves too. Delia suggests that Britty talk to her since they’re still friends, and Britty eventually agrees, and rushes to catch up with her. Britty asks of Karina wants to go to the mall to talk about everything going on, and Karina says no, she’s just fine, and Britty reminds her that she tried to strangle someone so maybe she isn’t. Karina balks and shouts that Delia won’t win the Conklin and she won’t be able to take Vincent away from her! Delia is still of the belief that Karina is delusional.

That night Delia has a bad dream about Karina smearing purple lipstick all over her. Maybe it’s time to lay off the lipstick. That Monday it’s the talent portion of the Conklin Award, and Delia is nervous because she was put as seventh to perform and now all she can do is worry about it. Stewart has some amazing magic show with his dog and Karina has a lovely voice, but DELIA is not only singing, she’s playing the guitar, AND it’s a song she wrote herself. She’s bummed that Vincent can’t be there, as he gave the excuse that he had to take his mom to an appointment, but at least Britty is there, as is Gabe! Karina’s song is amazing, of course, and as Delia scans the crowd she sees Sarah there for some reason. Britty says that she’s probably there to cheer Delia on, but given that Sarah is giving her an unsettling smile I wouldn’t put money on THAT pony. Eventually Delia goes backstage to get her guitar, Gabe wishing her luck, and she goes on the stage… But finds that someone has cut all of her guitar strings, a dead rat is stuffed in the hole, and someone wrote “HA HA” on the guitar’s body.

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Okay, so it doesn’t have the same panache of Woody Guthrie, but MAYBE she could try and spin it as a political statement? (source)

Delia accuses Karina of doing this, but Karina, who is oddly calm about the whole thing, says that she doesn’t need abusive stalker methods tricks to beat her. Then she and SARAH leave the auditorium together. Gabe and Britty assure her that she will he allowed to redo the talent portion, and that they are her bodyguards from now on.

When Delia gets home that night she finds a note from Vincent on her front door that suggests they go to Red Heat to celebrate her what he assumes was awesome performance. She remembers that Britty borrowed the skirt she wants to wear, so she goes to Britty’s house to find her and Gabe making chocolate chip cookies for Delia to cheer her up. That’s some good friendship there! They tell her to just stay away from Karina from now on, since she’s gone off her rocker. Unfortunately while driving home, Delia spots Karina and VINCENT kissing on the street corner. Delia is so distraught she crashes her car. Karina runs to her aid while Vincent runs to call for help (or more likely runs to avoid any kind of consequences), and Delia says she’s fine. She tells Karina she saw them kissing, and Karina says that she knows he’s been seeing the two of them behind their backs. She also says that she’s sorry she lost her shit about the whole thing, but she swears that she didn’t do the rat thing, really! Delia believes her, and they both agree that they no longer have to fight over that creep, just the Conklin. But as Karina heads off, Delia tells herself that SHE isn’t going to give Vincent up that easily.

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Alright, dumb dumb, you earn whatever bullshit he throws your way then! (source)

Later that evening Vincent and Delia are talking on the phone and he tells Delia that he can’t go dancing that night after all. But he ALSO tells her that he saw her and Karina talking and wouldn’t you know it, Karina just ran up and KISSED HIM AND HE WASN’T INTERESTED AT ALL. And the worst part is that Delia believes him. But he tells her that they’ll go dancing this weekend, and when he hangs up he turns to DELIA’S SISTER SARAH AND THEY START KISSING. This guy is a straight up creep.

That next week Delia is waiting for the judges of the art competition of the Conklin to finish up with Karina so she can show them her drawings. She applies more Midnight Wine to her lips, and then runs into Stewart. He tells her not to worry, the judges seemed fair, and that he’s sure she’ll do great. He asks her out to Pete’s Pizza afterwards to celebrate being done with the judging parts of the Conklin, but she declines because VINCENT. As Karina leaves the art room she smiles at Delia, who fakes a smile back and also notices how great her oil paintings are. Delia walks to the classroom and opens her portfolio…. and someone has smeared purple lipstick over all of her art work!! As well as the note ‘HA HA, COULDN’T YOU JUST DIE??” Delia runs out of the room in a panic, and then sees Karina and Vincent cuddling up with Karina bragging about how she’s going to win, so they’re BOTH idiots!!!!

Delia tells Britty that she thinks she has to drop out of the competition. Britty thinks that they need to rat out Karina, but Delia points out that Karina’s already attacked her once and that she doesn’t want to face her wrath a second time. Britty jokes that they could kill Karina, but it doesn’t quite land that way she wants it to and Delia for a moment thinks she’s serious. Britty says that Delia never used to take her morbid sense of humor that seriously before, and Delia says that without the Conklin her dreams of getting out of Shadyside will be finished. She says that she has to go talk to Vincent so he can explain himself, and Britty VERY ASTUTELY points out that he’s a complete jerk and that there are LOTS of guys (like Gabe and Stewart) who would be better boyfriends, but Delia chalks it up to Britty just not understanding love. Unfortunately, when she gets to Vincent’s house she finds him making out with Sarah. When she confronts them she notices that Sarah has used her Midnight Wine lipstick and stolen her clothes, but Delia pulls a fatality by telling her that even in her clothes and lipstick she’s ‘nothing special’. YA BURNT. Sarah runs out of the house, and Vincent ACTUALLY TELLS HER THAT HE WAS GIVING SARAH KISSING POINTERS!!!! He then tells Delia that he was snuggling up with Karina because she’s delusional, and he’ll talk to her. AND DELIA FORGIVES HIM.

Fast forward to Vincent’s birthday party, which he is throwing at an abandoned mansion on Fear Street. Everyone is having a good time but Gabe is wondering where Delia is. Karina shows up a little after Gabe, and she and Vincent start dancing. Britty pulls him aside, sick of his bullshit, and asks him if he’s seen Delia. He says no but brushes is off, and Britty says that something must be wrong because there’s no way she’d be this late to his party.  Vincent is more relieved because now he can just be with Karina and not worry about the two girls fighting. But another couple of hours pass and Delia still isn’t there… Until she shows up, bloody and bruised and looking a mess. She tells the whole party that Karina invited her over before the party under pretense of talking, but then knocked her out and tied her to a bed! Karina insists upon her innocence, but everyone remembers that she was late to the party. Delia says that her blood is all over the bedroom floor at Karina’s house, and Karina says no they can’t go to her house to check. When Vincent tells her that they need to get her help, she screams and runs into the night. Vincent says he’ll take Delia home, but she says she needs to rest a bit, and that she’s in shock over what Karina did.

The next day Britty picks up a newly lipsticked Delia so they can go help clean up the house on Fear Street. Delia seems to be doing much better, and Britty is relieved. They get to the house along with Gabe, expecting to find Vincent already cleaning, but he’s nowhere to be found. But then they do find him, facedown on the floor, DEAD!

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Boy, bye!! (source)

Gabe pulls back the body’s shoulder for a moment, and sees he’s been stabbed. They call the police, who arrive shortly thereafter. They start questioning the three teens, but then they all go inside. The police turn Vincent over, and he has indeed been stabbed… But on one of his cheeks are two purple lip prints!!!! Delia insists that she didn’t do it, the last time she saw Vincent was after he drove her home and he was alive when he left. She tells Gabe and Britty that it has to be Karina, but they tell her she’ll sound guilty if she just starts accusing the girl. Eventually she goes to the police station with the cops, and they look at the photos of the lip prints and a photo of Delia’s lips and they someone determine that it’s a perfect match? Delia freaks out for a moment and takes a look, but then realizes that they shouldn’t be a perfect match because if SHE had kissed his cheek they’d be reversed (I guess?)! Which means that someone must have lifted her lip prints from something and then pressed them to his face in an attempt to frame her, and THAT IS WHY YOU DON’T BOT YOUR LIPS IN A STRANGE WAY, DELIA! She tells them about Karina, and they say they will go question her but she has to stay away while they do.

But Delia doesn’t stay away, and decides to go spy on Karina’s house while they search it. And what do you know, when they go into Karina’s dresser drawer they find a pieces of paper with Delia’s lip prints all over it. Delia bursts in, screaming at Karina for murdering Vincent, and the girls fight. Karina scratches Delia’s face, and the police separate them, saying they are taking Karina to the station.

Fast forward a few months to prom night! Gabe and Delia are attending together. But before they do, Delia wanted to visit Karina at the Shadyside Psychiatric Hospital. As they’re led into a waiting room, they snuggle up together, and Delia muses about how she won the Conklin Award. But she also admits that this isn’t how she wanted to win, but then, Karina just didn’t appreciate everything she had. Delia says that she would have won both Vincent and the award…. if Delia had let her. SURPRISE, JERKS!! DELIA WAS BEHIND IT ALL! She sabotaged her performance and art pieces hoping she could get sympathy from the judges. And then when she caught Vincent and Sarah making out, she knew that he had to die, and she could blame it all on Karina and that way she’d get her revenge on BOTH of them! She faked the kidnapping by bruising and bloodying herself, killed Vincent at the house AFTER everyone had left, and planted the lip prints in Karina’s room. She starts to kiss Gabe all over his face, asking him if he’s going to tell on her…. And then a doctor walks in and says that he conveniently heard the whole thing and has called the police so justice has been haphazardly restored. THE END.

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That’s lame even by “Fear Street” standards. (source)

Body Count: 1. And frankly, he deserved it, so I’m not really torn up about it.

Romance Rating: 1. Vincent is a gross cheater and Karina and Delia were far too obsessed with his selfish stupid ass.

Bonkers Rating: 6. Because the ending is COMPLETELY out of the blue, so out of the blue it doesn’t make sense, so this is NOT a positive thing.

Fear Street Relevance: 4. Only because the party that ends with Vincent dead is in an abandoned Fear Street mansion but it felt like a ‘oh shit, where does Fear Street come in?’ kinda moment.

Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:

“Delia saw the tree loom in the windshield,

Then she felt the hard jolt.

Heard the crunch of glass and metal.

And everything went black.”

… And it went black because the AIR BAG deployed and blocked her vision!

That’s So Dated! Moments: Karina is described as looking like Michele Pfieffer, and while she is still smoking hot and excellent, she doesn’t exactly evoke a teenage girl vibe anymore. And honestly, Karina fucking wishes.

Best Quote:

” ‘Oh come on.’ Britty patted Delia’s arm, smearing flour on her blouse. ‘Chocolate chips help everything.'”

FINALLY, something in this book makes some sense!

Conclusion: “Killer’s Kiss” was boring and tedious, and even though the end was a crazy solution it was stupidly random. Up next is “All Night Party”!