Book: “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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
” ‘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”!