That is one scary book cover. I closed my eyes just now and saw it on my eyelids. Great. I’ll probably dream tonight about some bizarre frog-lady with scuba goggles and googly eyes chasing after me, screaming, “Gimme a kiss! Gimme a kiss!”
Christopher Pike was a staple in my early teenage years. He was one of the authors I regularly watched out for along with Caroline B. Cooney, Lois Duncan, R.L. Stine, and V.C. Andrews. There was another girl from the junior high I went to who also loved these books and I would get so mad whenever she got to the library before me on New Release day and checked out the new Christopher Pike. That bitch. I wonder what she’s up to now. Emily Andrews, wherever you are… YOU NEVER RETURNED “REMEMBER ME” BEFORE YOU MOVED TO OHIO AND I NEVER GOT TO READ IT. UGH. I hope the library hell’a fined her for it and now she can’t apply for an FBI clearance because she owes like, thousands of dollars in library fines. I bet while she was cleaning up her room one day before she went off to college, she found that copy of “Remember Me” under her bed, smiled to herself over the fond memories that the sight of it brought, and thought, “Ha-HA. Dionne Galace never got to read this. Fuck that silly bitch.” Screw you, Emily Andrews! I never told you to your face that you always smelled like boiled broccoli and baby powder after gym and everyone always talked about you behind your back! Who’s the silly bitch now?!
It’s not often these days that you come across a stunning, fast-paced, cleverly-plotted teen novel that’s just about a kid wishing he was someone else in a genre that’s rife with vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, and literal battle royales where you’re pitted against your fellow teens for a year’s supply of food in post-apocalyptic worlds. This gripping, insomnia-inducing tale by E.C. Myers has a rather simple story: haven’t you ever wished you could change something in your life with just a wish and a flip of the coin? This modern adaptation of W.W. Jacobs’ “Monkey’s Paw” (which scared the crap out of me when I was a kid and made me afraid to wish for anything for fear it would come true… with some scary-ass, dramatically ironic consequences) with a dash of theoretical physics, magic, teen angst, and romance and blended together with a healthy dose of snark was a hell of a good read that made me stay up until three in the morning. When is the sequel coming? There’s got to be a sequel, right? I have no idea what the author would do with our poor, beleaguered protagonist Ephraim Scott since the novel wraps up quite nicely, but I need MOAR from E.C. Myers, damn it. Crank it out!
The cover of the book tells me that if I loved The Hungaaaah Gaaaamez, I will surely LURVE this book. Usually, I’m skeptical about claims like these because whenever I go to the grocery store to buy cereal and end up buying the store-brand which proclaim, “If you like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, you will love Cheap-O’s Sugared Squares,” I always regret it because it’s just not the same. Do you know what I mean? For all I know, the only thing that’s different is the packaging (it’s a sinister-looking bear with a shady-ass smile, instead of a happy-go-lucky tigerrrrr with a kicky red kerchief tied around his neck) but somehow, it tastes different… my tastebuds are like, “For real? You couldn’t spend the extra dollar-fifty to get the real Frosted Flakes? We gotta contend with this store-brand shit because you’re a cheap-ass bitch? I don’t even know you anymore. Don’t talk to me. No, you can’t sit with me. Sit over there.. No, don’t even look at me. I can’t… I just can’t… Talk to the hand.” If you loved Wuthering Heights, you’ll love Twilight! What?! Thankfully, while this book has some elements similar to The Hunggggaaaaahhh Gaaaammmmez, it actually stands pretty well on its own. Oddly enough, it also reminded me of a strange, dark episode of Scooby Doo. Like Katniss Everdeen, the heroine Callie Woodland *raising one eyebrow* knows archery, is trained to hunt and defend herself, is a tough little post-apocalyptic chick, and has a little sickly sibling to take care of because there are no parents. Like Scooby Doo, there was an actual moment in the book where I was so sure Callie was going to pull the mask off the villain, gasp, and say, “Why, it’s Old Man Riley!” And the unmasked villain would glower and mutter, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.”
An extra special chiller for Valentine’s Day by the author of the Cheerleaders series. Josie and Melissa are frightened when they begin receiving threatening valentines. Then the murders begin. Who is sending these horrible valentines to the girls of Shadyside High? And who will be the next to die?
I would hate to get a Valentine like this:
“ROSES ARE RED.
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
ON VALENTINE’S DAY
JOSIE WILL BE DEAD.”
Oooh scary. Not. ‘Cause the sender is not even trying. Seriously, wut?! That’s not threatening at all. I hate it when my stalker-secret-admirers don’t put any effort in the death threats they send me. How about something like:
I await with glee the day I cut you open and use your intestines as jump rope.
P.S. That would probably be on Valentine’s Day.
Sure it doesn’t rhyme, but goddamn, that would scare me.
The recipient of this awful Valentine is Josie. Why did Josie receive such a gem? Because Josie is a jerk and a self-absorbed twit (which, I’ve noticed in the R.L. Stine books, seem to be a trend with the teenage female leads). But here is why Josie is a jerk and rightly deserves all the awful Valentines in the world: she, her BFF Melissa, her twin Rachel, and her little sister Erica decide to go horse-back riding one fine sunny day. Erica is a bit of a nervous nelly, so she doesn’t want to even go near a horse, so Josie derisively makes fun of her. Rachel comforts Erica and tells her to just hang out at the ranch while the three of them ride for a bit and they’ll be back for her. Obviously, Rachel is the nice twin. While readying her horse, Rachel asks Josie for help with the bridle; Josie impatiently helps her and calls out to Melissa to check if she put it on right. Melissa, eager to get going, dismissively says yes, fine, let’s just go. I think you know where this is going. Rachel’s horse gets spooked and throws her off, which prompts Josie to scream, “She landed on her head! She landed on her head!” at the end of the prologue.
I knew who the killer was by the end of Chapter Two. Damn it.
Lynne and Crystal think Scott has it all. He’s the new star of Shadyside High’s football team. And he’s moved in right next door! Both girls will do anything. Say anything. Try anything to get the chance to go out with him. That’s all either of them want. But that’s all Scott’s last girlfriend wanted, too–and now she’s dead.
[Duh, spoilers abound.]
Lynne and Crystal are your typical high school girls–and by typical, I mean in a world that never existed outside of Sweet Valley High or Bayside High School–who only seem to care about boys, make-up, and which girl can get more boys to ask her out. The first chapter literally spends several paragraphs on Crystal waxing poetic about her new favorite lipstick shade called Kiss of Death, natch. We even have Crystal bemoaning to her “ugly” sister at one point that she only had 1 boy ask her out that week. Crystal Thomas is the one of the prettiest, most popular girls in school and her best friend Lynne, the flirtier one, is also really pretty and popular. Crystal’s older sister Melinda looks exactly like Crystal (she might be the Liz Wakefield of the two), but she wears glasses and likes to read boring, old books like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre on an old armchair in the attic and probably wears paint-splattered jumpers and her hair in a ponytail, so who cares about her. She’s weird. Crystal gets all the boys while Melinda sits home alone on Saturday nights with her dumbass moldy books for company, so Crystal’s real competition when it comes to boys is her best friend Lynne. The friendly rivalry heats up when an oh-so-hot boy who has a bodacious bod moves in next door to Crystal–and their bedrooms are on the same floor and they can see each other through their windows, zo-em-gee— and the two girls make a bet on who gets asked out by the hot boy first. Melinda is in on the bet, too, but it’s not like Scott will even notice her because she wears glasses and likes to read books, so dream on, girlfriend. Oh, sweetie, you’re pretty. You really are. You just need to fix yourself up a little. Shut up, Crystal and Lynne.
The fun part in reading a Fear Street book for me had always been how quickly I can guess who the real killer is. R.L. Stine is pretty good at fake-outs and red herrings, but I usually have the killer guessed by Chapter Three or Chapter Two, if I’m feeling particularly clever. (more…)