Friday, November 27, 2009

Fall Into Darkness (Christopher Pike)



Sharon McKay is on trial for killing her best friend Ann Rice and she’s in jail and everything, she even has a creepy lawyer named Johnny who wants to get in her pants. Apparently they’re charging her even though no body was found. It happened a month ago and she’s still sitting in jail. They don’t have a whole lot of faith in a teenage girl.

Anyway, Sharon and her quasai boyfriend Fred had gone on a camping trip with Ann, Ann’s boyfriend Paul and his brother Chad, who works for her. Things were rough between the girls because Ann’s brother Jerry was obsessed/in love with Sharon and he killed himself when she wouldn’t date him…or something.

Sharon was this great classical pianist who was already accepted to Julliard and Jerry was the annoying little brother of her best friend. She was nice to him and he never even looked at another girl because he was in love. Sounds a little more like stalker than love, but whatever.

They all go camping and Ann tells Sharon they should take a walk later in the night. Chad gives Sharon a back rub that gets her all worked up, but instead of doing anything, she goes for a walk with Ann. They clear the air and as she’s walking back, she hears someone yell, “don’t!”. She runs to the edge of the cliff and finds that Ann is gone. Now she’s in jail and doesn’t know that Ann actually set the whole thing up.

See Ann is super rich. That explains why she’s 18 and has servants working for her. She bought a car and left it near the mountain so she could escape without anyone seeing her and took rock climbing lessons so she could pull it off. She planned on meeting Paul in Mexico a few months later and of course left him all her money.

She jumps off a 500 foot cliff and falls down, where she’ll unhook one rope, destroy the evidence of the rock hook, attach herself to another hook and climb the rest of the way down. It kind of sounds like a good plan, you know, if you like dying.

Instead she jumps too far and too fast, which causes her body to slam into the mountain. She ends up shattering one arm and scraping her body up pretty bad. After fighting with the rope and hearing Paul climb down (he’s supposed to cut the rope), she manages to get herself off the rope and loose.

Then we jump back to the present day or whatever, when the trial is taking place. Johnny gets Chad to admit that he saw Ann reading a book about a girl who faked her death and set someone else up to take the fall. Then he apologizes to Sharon for getting her hopes up and thinking Ann was still alive.

Johnny also gets Paul to admit his part in the plan. Paul freaks out on the stand when he realizes that he probably cut the rope before he should have and killed Ann. He’s immediately taken into custody and the police let Sharon go. Johnny tells her that she can call him if she gets into trouble again, but the next time will cost her. Ew. Should an adult really be talking to a girl this way?

Sharon decides that she wants to go back to where it all happened and convinces Chad to take her. Chad tells her that he knows a way to get across the river that isn’t too far and leads her into a secret cave. We then learn that Ann had escaped the cliff and then made her way across the rushing river with a broken arm before passing out.

She woke up in the same cave and found Chad watching over her. He tells her that he knew all along what she was planning because HE set the plan in motion by giving her the book! He confesses that he was always in love with her and even told Jerry, but he dared to laugh at him. He ended up killing Jerry and making it look like a suicide. Then Ann tried to run and he chased her.

Sharon doesn’t know any of this, but she starts to feel uncomfortable. She stops at a pool and starts to drink, but discovers Ann at the bottom. They get the police and I swear the main cop should get sued. He calls Sharon a bitch about 15 times and roughs her up a little. He doesn’t believe that she found the body by accident and that she should fry. Sorry buddy, it’s called double jeopardy so that won’t happen.

She took a ring from the area that the girls called Chad’s ring. She bought it for Ann for her last birthday and asked Chad about her birthstone. He told her it was a ruby so she bought a ruby ring and then learned that was actually Chad’s birthstone. The cop is super pissed that she took it and claims that she probably stole it off the body.

They decide to stick around and camp after the cops leave because it’s just a dead body, nothing serious. She and Chad exchange a few kisses, but then she realizes that Ann left the ring there as a warning. Chad chases her because he realizes that she knows the truth and he tries to throw her off the cliff. She winds up on a ledge down below and he comes after her.

This time she puts petroleum jelly on the rope and as he comes down, she sprays bug spray in his eye. He drops down the rope and then comes after her again. When he gets to the top, she grabs a knife and cuts the rope, but he makes it back to the ledge below.

They have a long talk and she wishes that things were different because they actually did look good together. Then Chad jumps off the ledge and kills himself. The cops come back and all Sharon can do is think about Johnny. She knows that he can get her off, but she wonders what it will cost her.

I think the most disturbing thing about Fall Into Darkness was the whole lawyer thing. He’s out of law school, passed the bar and been practicing for awhile so he’s probably around 30. Sharon is 18 and her own mother is trying to fix her up with him because he’ll be “good” for her. Is that gross, or is it just me?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweet Valley University #1: College Girls



Liz, Jess, Todd, Winston and Enid are ready for college life at Sweet Valley University. Jess can’t wait to get away from their parents, but Liz isn’t feeling as confident. She and Todd take one last date night, she thinks about how hard the change is going to be and cries at the thought of leaving behind Prince Albert (hey! He’s still alive). Jess thinks she’s a moron, but I can’t talk because I was the same way when I moved to college.

Enid decides that when they get to school, she’s going to completely change her look and be a new person, complete with a new name: Alex. Liz can’t get over how much everyone’s changing, but willingly climbs in the car with Jess to head off on their new life. By the way, what kind of school lets all these freshmen have cars on campus? And what kind of parents just let their twin girls run off to college together without even checking out their dorm? Everyone I knew had their parents helping them move in on the first day. Oh and they’re leaving Sweet Valley county to get to the school.

As soon as they get to school, the twins separate. Jess sleeps in late, flirts with guys, leaves her crap all over the room and makes friends wherever she goes. Liz…just wants things to stay exactly the same. She wants everyone in the same little box they were in high school, including Alex/Enid. Alex tells her very bluntly that she’s tired of living in the great Liz’s shadow and wants to be her own person. I’d be all excited if her own person didn’t mean Jess. Alex goes all boy crazy and sorority mad.

Todd is the BMOC right off the bat, living in a great high-rise dorm, making new basketball friends and the whole deal. He doesn’t seem to have time for Liz and keeps blowing her off when it comes to dates, showing up late or not showing up at all. Then there’s poor Winston who somehow got stuck in an all girls dorm when the computer listed him as Winnie and all the girls in his dorm call him that same name.

Jess is missing Lila, who was supposed to attend classes at SVU (not the TV show), but she went to Europe for the summer and still isn’t back. She ends up becoming friends with Isabella Rici, a gorgeous sophomore who’s also a member of the Zetas. The Zetas are the most exclusive sorority on campus and Alice was once president.

Liz starts eating too much, going from a perfect size 6 to an 8 or maybe even 10...you pig. She also freaks out when Todd invites her back to his room and puts the moves on her. Basically she’s all into it and wants to sleep with him, but then gets pissed off because he wasn’t waiting for the right time. They have a huge fight and eventually break up.

Jess makes a date with Danny Wyatt, which brings shock from Isabella. He’s black and he’s the rival of Peter something or other, who’s president of the Theta’s brother fraternity. Peter goes after Jess and gets pissed when she disses him. Oh and he’s rumored to be involved in a secret society.

One day she’s out driving the Jeep when she accidentally hit’s a 1964 Corvette and dings the bumper. The owner is super hot and she’s sure he’ll fall for her, but he’s just pissed about his car. Good guy. She becomes obsessed with him, but doesn’t even know her name. eventually she gets sick of living with Liz and her obsessive compulsive disorder and decides to move in with Isabella. Um, can freshmen live in sophomore housing? Because they couldn’t in my school.

She comes home one day to find the car guy sitting in her living room and learns that his name is Mike McAllery. Immediately everyone she knows freaks out because he’s a bad dude, even Steven is on her case. Apparently Mike was once a trouble maker, moved to LA, became a famous photographer, moved back when his dad died and became a troublemaker, sleeping with a bunch of girls. Jess ignores them because she’s sure he’s just in morning, or acting out in grief…five years later.

Liz gets a new roommate in the form of Celine Bordeaux, who’s basically a slightly more evil Jess with a southern accent. She leaves her clothes everywhere, smokes, treats Liz like crap and uses her stuff. When she comes home drunk one night with a guy, Liz freaks out and runs to Steven, but feels guilty when she sees Billie getting ready for bed and ends up sleeping in the lobby of her dorm.

Isabella fixes Jess up with Mark, a friend of Todd’s who met Alex and went loco. She sees the two of them on a date and runs out in tears, but the two realize that they’re both interested in someone else. It doesn’t help that she runs into Mike on their date, but she does make excuses when he blows her off for a girl in the band.

Tom Watts is a friend of Danny’s, who keeps seeing Liz everywhere and having feelings for her. When Jess and Danny are confronted by Peter at a big frat party, Liz is the one who stands up for her sister and makes Tom fall even harder. He keeps seeing her in the library and then discovers that she’s his new intern at the campus new station, which he also runs.

There’s a big Halloween party and a rumor sweeping the campus is about a mass murder happening at the party. It leads to a funny exchange where Jess blows the whole thing off and someone asks if they didn’t have serial killers in Sweet Valley. Only once a year.

So Jess and Danny are dancing like crazy when Peter confronts them again. He keeps using phrases like “black boy” that made me wince because it was like someone’s bad attempt at being racist. She walks away and starts dancing with a frat brother, who eventually puts the moves on her, in a bad way. She’s wearing a sheet as part of her costume (she went as Penelope, who pined over her husband, just like Jess pines over Mike) and he wants to take her home and get the sheet off. Lame.

Liz storms out of the party and Tom is on her tail. He tells her that something weird is going on and it’s not safe for her to walk home. She doesn’t care though because she just saw Todd making out with some new girl. She runs home and realizes that Tom followed her the whole way, just to make sure she made it back. I like him.

Jess storms off, her date follows and Danny has to save the day. Peter confronts them again and this time they both walk away. As she’s heading home, a figure steps out of the shadows and attacks her. She’s narrowly saved in the nick of time by…Mike. He kicks some ass and then sweeps her off her feet with a kiss. Whatever could happen next?