Monday, May 11, 2009

Call Waiting by R.L. Stine



Image Credit: Fantastic Fiction

I didn’t plan on doing another R.L. Stine review so fast, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

So Call Waiting opens with high school student Karen stalking her boyfriend Ethan. She drags her friend Micha out on a cold Friday night so they can sit down the street and see what time he comes home. Apparently he told her that he had to work late, but she’s convinced it’s a lie and that he’s secretly dating this girl Wendy. She runs to the trunk to find an ice scraper and *gasp* finds a dead body.

Yeah so it turns out her brother Chris likes to play jokes on her and he just stuck a mannequin in her trunk. Micha gets pissed because (a) she thinks they should go by Wendy’s house and look for him, (b) she finds out that Karen wants to wait for another hour and (c) Karen turns off the flipping heat! Ethan comes home at 11 and Karen whines because the late shift ends at midnight so that means he’s cheating on her.

Her cousin Adam moves back to town and everyone thinks he’s weird because he carries a briefcase and likes horror movies. Basically he turns up every now and then to make a cryptic statement about her phone calls and then disappears.

Karen continues stalking Ethan because she’s completely in “love” with him and can’t let him go. She confronts Wendy and when the girl falls down the stairs, everyone says Karen pushed her. Later Karen apologizes for the fall, but swears she didn’t do it. Wendy agrees and then points out that she also didn’t help her. Oh snap.

Ethan finally grows a pair and tells Karen that they should see other people. He says they can still date, go for bike rides and play chess (wow, are they 16 or 66?), but they should see other people. She accuses him of wanting to date Wendy and he denies it. Frankly she’s way too obsessed with Wendy and I sense a lesbian teenage girl crush. She also has a huge fight with Micha who warns her to stay away from Ethan, but not before Karen gets to hear the brand new clock Micha’s father installed, with loud bells.

Ethan calls to check up on her (damn it, I was just starting to like him) and she gets a call on call waiting. She comes back hysterical and tells him that the guy on the other line said he knew where she lived and wanted to kill her so Ethan rushes over to save the day. The calls start increasing and Ethan feels bad so they get back together.

One night he comes over and tells her brother Chris about the calls. Chris freaks out because….they don’t have call waiting! Karen’s just a lying bitch! Aha! She comes down for their date and they all confront her, along with her mom. She kind of apologizes, but is more concerned with getting out of the house and onto the date. Now if I was Ethan I would have left the lying tramp at home, but oh no, he takes her out.

She gets pissed at the dance club because he ditches her and she later finds him on the phone. She goes all nutso, claiming that he was calling Wendy, which he denies. For god only knows what reason, Ethan stays with Karen and she starts going to a therapist, which she desperately needs.

At school she gets a note that there’s a phone call for her in the principle’s office. Gasp, the person on the line threatens to kill her. But then she learns that the phone was broken! Obviously it’s all in her head. But wait, the next day she learns the phone actually was working. Damn it, I hate Call Waiting.

The phone calls start coming to her house, but no one really believes her. She pouts, but seriously Karen, can you blame them? Then she gets another phone call and realizes that she knows the person making the calls! Is it Chris or Adam or hell even Ethan? Of course not because that would make sense.

Nope, it’s Micha and she knows because she heard the clock in the background. It turns out that Ethan and Micha were dating each other secretly and he dumped Karen for her. Then when she needed help, he ended things with Micha and she was so not happy. Micha attacks Karen and the two girls start fighting when Ethan runs in.

Micha claims that Karen is nuts and attacked her with a fire poker. She starts crying about how her poor, dear friend hears voices in her head. Ethan agrees, but then drops a bombshell. He was on the phone with Micha when Karen got there and heard everything! As Micha bursts into tears, he hugs Karen and apologizes for not believing her. Then they seemingly make up and live happily every after.

Ugh. First of all Ethan needs to grow a pair, seriously. Karen stalks him and lies to him, but he takes her back. Plus he cheats on her with her best friend and it’s all good because at least he wasn’t with Wendy. I think he should have stuck with Micha.

Lessons learned:

All teenage girls are psycho. Then again I was a teenage girl so I already knew this.

Teenage girls get way too obsessed with guys. Knew that one too.

Teenage girls lie. Yep, yep.

Teenage boys are stupid. Hmm, guess this book didn’t really teach me anything…