Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sweet Valley High #22: Too Much in Love

DeeDee Gordon is a little obsessed with Bill Chase and by obsessed I mean, obsessed. They’ve been together awhile, 14 books or so, which in Sweet Valley High time is like three years. She’s made him the center of her world, paranoid that he might leave her.

Mr. Collins puts Liz in charge of the school talent show and she asks Dee to do the sets. Dee decides that she can’t give her an answer, until she finds out if Bill is going to enter the talent show. What, is he going to ride a mechanical surfboard? He initially agrees, but then changes his mind because he’s too busy and yet somehow, she still does the sets.

Basically, Dee blames her mom for her parents’ divorce. She thinks that her mom caused him to leave because she was too independent. She also thinks that if she clings to Bill and makes him realize how much she needs him, he’ll never leave. Yup, because that’s what guys like, especially high school guys.

Bill and Dee have a double date planned, with Patty Gilbert and her college boyfriend Jim. When Bill wins some stupid swim meet, he has to go to another one on Friday and can’t make their date. Dee acts like it’s the end of the world, moping about how they never see them and kind of making it seem like Bill should skip his meet. Eventually she decides that the three of them will go to the meet and then go out after. Jim finds the whole thing funny because it’s kind of lame. When Bill wins, Dee runs down to the pool and grabs him in a big hug, embarrassing him in front of the other swimmers.

This leads to Bill deciding to go out with Dana Larson. It’s not a date, which he keeps thinking to himself and she’s even dating a guy from out of town, but it sure seems like a date. They go to the movies together on a Saturday. Unfortunately, they run into Jessica and Cara on the way out. Jess thinks it’s the perfect way to get back at Dee for “stealing” Bill away. She corners Dee at a talent show meeting and tells her what she saw.

Dee waits a few days and then confronts him at school. Bill realizes that nothing has changed between them and that he doesn’t want someone who has no life away from him. He tells her that they should call it quits and storms off, while she cries constantly. They talk later and he says that maybe once they give it some time, they can try again. Dee wants to try again immediately and they break up completely.

Liz and Patty decide to come up with a scheme, to help Dee get her confidence back. Liz pretends like she has laryngitis and can’t run the meetings, putting Dee in charge. She doesn’t think she can do it, especially when everything falls apart at the same time. The sewing machine to make the costumes broke, the audio isn’t working and the PTA scheduled a meeting in the auditorium for the same time. Why is one person making everyone’s costumes? Shouldn’t everyone make their own?

Dee goes to the Wakefield house, but Jess makes her think that Liz is really sick, so she leaves. She starts making plans to fix everything and runs into Bill. He thinks that she seems more like her old self, mainly because she blows him off and has no time for him. She fixes all the problems and then has a heart to heart talk with her mom, who tells her that women need to be independent and they had a lot of problems, not connected to Dee.

The B-plot involves Ned and Alice leaving the girls alone for the week, while they go to Mexico City. Jess wants to throw a party because Lila wants to, while Liz thinks it’s a bad idea. She also wants to assert her independence, by doing work around the house. She does a load of laundry, but crams the washer full. She’s trying to make mini pizzas, when the washer explodes and they end up with a $75 repair bill. Plus, can’t she think of something better for her party, than mini pizzas?

Lila is dating some random guy from college named Drake and she asks him to come to the party and bring some of his frat brothers. They also get a call from Alice, warning them about some special project she has in the study, which you just know will end badly. Jessica then gets caught trying to break into her own house. The cops let her off with a warning.

The night of the party arrives and of course, things get out of control. The neighbors keep calling about the loud music and the college guys show up with beer. The cops eventually show up and threaten to shut down the party, but Steve walks out. Apparently their parents asked him to watch over them. He agrees to take responsibility and the cops leave.

They discover that someone spilled beer all over Alice’s plans. Jessica goes to Dee, apologizes for the Bill thing and asks her to fix the plans. Dee doesn’t care so much about the Bill thing because she needed it. Of course she manages to fix the plans perfectly and Alice can’t even tell. Alice does expect the girls to pay for a vase that broke at the party, but they don’t even get in trouble for throwing the party.

The talent show goes off without a hitch and everyone praises Dee. Actually everyone praises Liz and she decides to let Dee share the spotlight, even though she pretty much did all the work. Bill shows up and tells her that he loves her and wants to give it another shot. They decide to take things slow this time around.

Throughout the book, Liz keeps thinking that Todd is acting funny. He keeps acting distant and commenting about how beautiful/smart she is. He does a performance at the show, reading a really depressing poem. At the end, he tells her that his dad got a transfer and they’re moving to Vermont!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monster (Christopher Pike)

I’ve read this book a few times lately and every time, go into it thinking that I don’t really like it, but then I remember that I do. Maybe because there aren’t any sci-fi elements or aliens in it! Well there are alien like things, but not like in his later books.

Angela is a fairly new kid at school, who somehow gets invited to a party with all the popular kids. Her best friend Mary walks into the party, brandishing a shotgun. Without saying a word, she blows away football player Todd and cheerleader Kathy. Five seconds later, she points the gun at her own boyfriend Jim.

Angela stops her by screaming and Mary retaliates by kicking her in the face. Jim, who’s basically a big pussy, runs off into the woods, with Mary hot on his tale. Angela follows and runs into Lieutenant Nguyen, who listens to what she says and then goes after Mary. Angela wanders into the woods and runs into Jim. Mary pops up and tells them that Jim “isn’t human” and nearly kills him, before Nguyen stops her.

Nguyen brings Angela in, but mainly to ask her questions about Mary and Jim. You just know that he thinks it was a lover’s spat gone wrong. Or maybe she caught Todd, Jim and Kathy in some kinky three-way. Angela gets in to see her former bestie and thinks the girl’s gone nuts. Mary rants about how they were some kind of monsters, saying that she once saw Kathy lift over 1,000 pounds in the gym. She also reveals that she followed the three one night and saw them pick up some people in a club. Ooh, kinky. They went to a warehouse and came out alone. She went in and found blood on the floor. Nguyen tapes their conversation and thinks Mary is nuts, but then decides to check around and see what he can find.

Jim is apparently feeling no pain by what happened because at the funerals, he asks Angela out. His story is that he tried to break up with her and she went crazy, even threatening Kathy. I had some bad breakups in high school, but never went on a killing rampage. Angela goes home and finds the house empty, which isn’t surprising. She lives with her grandpa, who apparently has a jones for young ladies and frequently disappears for days or weeks.

She sees their dog Plastic, looking at the lake and thinks it’s funny that the dog never goes into it. Her buggy Kevin comes over and they flirt a little. He’s got a huge crush on her and she cock teases him, but never ponies up. He tells her about how (before she came to town), a bunch of kids got sick, mainly athletes and cheerleaders. Experts came in from around the world, but couldn’t figure out what happened.

Away to the library they go! Angela discovers that Point Lake was formed when a meteor crash landed. Kevin tells her that most people get their water from the lake, but some get it from private wells. Angela finds this all interesting, but not as interesting as Jim. She races off to the football game, where she watches Jim run around like a superstar.

The two go out to dinner and she notices that Jim eats pretty much everything, only stopping at the tablecloth. He nearly causes the propane tank outside their house to blow up, when he hits it and rather than being a little freaked out, she takes a walk with him. He tells her that he wanted to date her, which is what set Mary off. I call bull shit on this one.

Jim ditches her, to go swimming in the lake and then chases her for a bit, trying to get her to go with him. He cuts open his arm on a tree branch and even that doesn’t deter him. Then again, he is a 17 year old boy. They start making out, he goes for her ass and her breasts and then she realizes that he’s bleeding all over her. Wow, what a way to kill the mood. Angela fixes him up, makes him go home and then has a dream about the world being hungry and bleeding rain.

She wakes up feeling squeamish, as would I after a bleeding rain dream. Angela talks to Kevin, who tells her that the team sucked ass last year and Jim could barely throw a ball, which makes their sudden winning streak a little odd. He also tells her that an opposing team player was nearly killed when someone hit him on the field.

Angela wants to see Mary and makes Kevin stop at McDonald’s, where she eats everything in sight. Mary immediately notices something different and asks if he went after her. Mary says that Jim will probably kill her, on his way to get her. She gets some more info on the warehouse from Mary and they head off to find it. They manage to find some dried blood there and she starts to feel even worse. Once again, that doesn’t stop her from seeing Jim and eating a ton of food on the way home, including an extra rare burger at McDonald’s. Um, am I the only one who realizes you can’t order a burger like that?

Angela goes back to the library and asks for info on Native Americans and the meteor. She gets an article on the meteor, which compares the crash to a similar one that happened in South America. The author, Alan Spark, is at the University of Michigan, which is conveniently close by. She also discovers that the Indians never drank from the lake and urged settlers to follow.

She then goes to see an old guy by the name of Shining Feather, who knows everything about the tribes that once lived there. After stopping for another snack, she meets with Shining Feather, who pretends like he can’t speak English. He refuses to talk about the lake and starts getting agitated when she asks about names she found in her readings. She tells him that students are turning into Katuu and he tells her that’s an evil word. He tells her that before people change, they suddenly get hungry. He grabs her and calls her Katuu. Then he gives her a necklace with a headless bat pendant and tells her to wear it.

Angela stops for some more food on the way home and finds Jim waiting for her. She cooks a few steaks for 3-5 seconds and then they go off together. She does notice that he seems less interested in her than he did before. Of course he does! He got what every teenage boy wants: to implant their alien species in you! They go back to her house, go swimming and make out for awhile. He bites her tongue, she starts bleeding all over the place and they just keep going at it.

During a quick nap, she has yet another dream. She dreams that she came to earth in a human form and was accepted by the humans. Then she turned into some flying creature and hid herself away. The humans come after her and make her watch as they decapitate one of the creatures. Her dream self says that more will come and take form on earth, right before she’s decapitated. She sees Jim for a few minutes when she wakes up, but then he disappears. While researching at the lake, he found a magnetized fossil or something that had a weird DNA structure inside.

She decides to visit the college and talk to the professor who wrote the paper. He tells her about electric wires giving off magnetic fields and how those fields disrupt the human body. He thinks the rays/fields somehow damaged the water. The same structure was found in the South American meteor lake. The Indians in the area used the word Kalair to describe creatures that came from the water. She tells him about people getting sick and he points out that the sickos are the ones drinking the most water. She leaves when she imagines eating him and has some more Micky D’s.

That’s where she learns Mary was released on bail and immediately goes to her family cabin, where she finds a dead cop and a dead Mary. She realizes that the monsters set it up to look like Mary killed the cop before killing herself. She can’t stop herself from tasting Mary’s blood, which is right when Nguyen walks in, but he lets her go.

Angela is so hungry when she gets home that she almost eats Plastic, but Jim stops her. He tells her that he ate her grandpa and forged a note from her. She finds his body in pieces and cries a lot. Then she decides to blow up her house and kill all the monsters.

She drives around, buys a bunch of gas and sets it up at her house. Nguyen finds the warehouse and tests it, determining that four people donated to the sample. He goes to see the mortician, who shows him the blood from the dead teens at the beginning. It has some kind of green shit inside that seems to be crawling towards fresh blood.

Angela invites over all the peeps and Jim arrives last, with Kevin in tow. She tries to make him leave, but when he won’t, Jim knocks him out and then knocks her out too. She has a dream that kind of explains the whole thing, but it’s really long and boring. Something to do with the earth needing live blood because of the iron inside and how that’s connected to the magnetic fields. I don’t know, I just like the rest of the book. Something like humans were here and aliens attacked, killing them all off. They came back and started the world again.

Angela wakes up and gives Kevin the abbreviated version of the story, including her plans to blow everything up. She can’t find her lighter, so she makes a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Someone was in Girl Scouts. Kevin tries to deter her, but she knows that he’ll die in the explosion or when the aliens attack. They start kissing, she bites him and then realizing that she doesn’t want to turn him, she breaks his neck. Nice. I think I see why she only had two friends.

Eating Kevin, turns Angela into one of the monsters. She wanders upstairs, takes a shower and sees some stuff from her life, including the headless bat amulet, which she puts on. That’s enough to turn her back into herself. She lies to Jim and makes him think she turned, also tries to push Plastic outside while she grabs her lighter.

She also stabs Jim in the neck, which is awesome and lights her fuses. She gets blown into the lake, while the rest of the house explodes. Nguyen goes to the cemetery and hears noises coming from Todd’s grave. Realizing that the girls were telling the truth, he runs to her house and gets there just as it explodes.

Nguyen goes back to the site of the explosion three months later. He’s with Plastic, who he found on the beach after the explosion and who’s now death. He thinks about how someone blew up oil wells in the area, which caused the oil to spill into the water and make the water useless. As he walks off, some weird creature flies into the woods, watching him. It has a headless bat amulet on and remembers that it can’t eat people….

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Point Horror: My Secret Admirer (Carol Ellis)

Jenny really belongs in a Fear Street or Sweet Valley High book, where parents don’t give a shit. Her dad is some kind of freelance business consultant, moving them across the country every year or so. They move to a new town, complete with rim rocks outside. Jenny is deathly afraid of the rocks so her dad comes up with the idea that they take a family trip to climb them. Before he can, they get a phone call that there’s a problem with the sale of their old house. Since they need someone to let the painters in at this house, they decide to leave Jenny home alone.

Jenny meets Sally, a neighbor girl who invites her to a scavenger hunt to kick off the summer. She shows up and immediately sees this hot guy David. He came with Diana, a bitchy girl who treats her like shit, but works with Jenny. They venture up onto the rocks and he leaves her by himself when it starts raining. She hears a scream just before he turns up. He says she just heard the wind making weird noises, but the next day, they discover that Diana fell off the rocks and is in the hospital.

Jenny spends the day wandering around town and comes home to find a message on her answering machine, from a secret admirer. She tells Sally, who comes up with an idea to make everyone use different voices. Jenny sees Dean, another guy who she thinks might be her admirer and he winks at her. She decides that no one who winks like that would ever leave silly messages.

Her secret admirer starts heating things up, by leaving her flowers and more messages. She still feels uneasy though, especially since she’s home by herself. She gets even more weirded out when one of the guys, Brad, starts acting weird. He goes off on a tangent about Diana getting what came to her and flips out on Jenny. He even shows up at her house and he gets so pissed off that she thinks he might hit her.

Jenny sets up a booby trap one night to finally get some sleep while her parents are gone. It goes off in the middle of the night, but it’s only her dog Peaches sniffing around. The next day she takes Peaches to the grocery store and comes back to find the dog locked in the car, with the windows rolled up. She runs to the vet, who gives her a long ass lecture and cries herself to sleep.

Her secret admirer leaves behind a new wind chime on her front porch and yet another message. I know I’m not explaining this book very good and I apologize. Basically Jenny hardly ever brings up what happened on the rocks, but people keep talking about it outside the book. She keeps getting phone calls and little gifts, but has no clue who her admirer is. She hopes it’s David, but he keeps avoiding her.

She finally gets a message from her admirer, telling her to meet him that night. He says he’s ready to reveal himself. Jenny rushes to the rocks, which is funny because he never actually specified that she should meet him there. He keeps talking to her, but won’t reveal himself. She finally gets to the top and sees Dean.

He confesses that he liked her, but starts acting weird. Turns out that he was on the rocks with Diana that night, but didn’t push her over. That won’t stop him from trying to kill her though. A storm comes in and they basically chase each other all over the rocks. She trips and sprains her ankle, but keeps trying to get away from him.

Dawn arrives and Jenny makes it to the bottom of the rocks. She hears someone coming up on her and hits him with a piece of wood, but it’s actually David. Dean pops up and attacks her, but then David wakes up and manages to save her life. The police arrive and David tells her what happened.

Apparently Dean was changing his grades by hacking into the school computers. Diana found out and promised not to tell anyone, but then the school found out. She was going to rat him out to save herself, they had a fight, she slipped and fell off the rocks. Dean never tried to help her though. She woke up in the hospital, told everyone what happened and David ran to look for Jenny. He heard the message on the machine and realized it was Dean so he went to help her. They kiss and agree to start dating.

I know I did a bad job recapping this book, but it was kind of the same thing over and over again. Ellis keeps bringing up red herrings in the book, like David, Brad and Sally. They even try to make you think it’s the painters at one point. Yet it’s the same kind of things over and over again and I didn’t want to make you guys sit through all that lol.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Valley High #63: The New Elizabeth

Liz thinks that she’s boring and wants to be more spontaneous, so she gets a perm. When Lila starts teasing her, she makes a comment about going to the museum, which just makes things worse. Instead of the museum, she flips through sports magazines and decides to go to an adventure sporting goods store. This is great because she wants to buy all this scuba and hang gliding equipment, but has no clue that they cost like thousands of dollars.

She ends up finding an ad for cheap surfing lessons and drives up to Moon Beach. Sean, the instructor, has a bet with his buddies. He’ll take a new surfer, train them and get them to place in the big surfing competition that’s coming up. There’s a little tension with his friend Laurie. They went out on a date and she thought they’d start dating, but now he’s got a hot blonde in his sights.

Liz decides that no one can know about her lessons, so she lies and says she’s doing an extra credit marine biology project. No one seems to question the fact that (a) Liz doesn’t need extra credit and (b) no one else in the entire school is taking part.

During her first lesson, Sean shows her all the tricks and lets her practice, but she wants to jump on the board and do real surfing damnit! Doesn’t he know that the twins can pick up absolutely anything in less than an hour? She goes to his house to look at his surfboard collection and despite the fact that she acts like she knows everything, she gets all confused at the idea that some boards are worth thousands of dollars. Then again, she didn’t know what hang 10 meant either.

The whole book is basically a little of the same. Sean hits on her/flirts with her, she blows off Todd all the time and then can’t figure out why Sean won’t leave her alone. Laurie makes her think that they’re a couple, but then overhears Sean telling Liz that she’s like a little sister to him. Laurie starts surfing and hides it from everyone, but Liz sees her on the water.

Liz tells everyone, including Todd, about her big “presentation”. Jess tots doesn’t want to go, but then Lila says that there’s a big surf competition down the beach. New hot guys that don’t know her slutty reputation? You know that she’s going to be there.

Sean gives Liz a surfboard charm and tries to kiss her. She tells him that she has a boyfriend and he seems surprised. She finally pays some attention to said boyfriend when it’s raining and she can’t surf. They basically play Monopoly or Scrabble and drink hot chocolate. No wonder Todd’s not that excited to spend the day with her.

Now we all know Liz is an excellent surfer. She has exactly four days of practice, so she’s obviously perfect at it. Sean doesn’t want her to go surfing after the storm because the waves are too big, but she’s awesome. Instead, she wipes out and he has to drag her from the water. He gives her a ride home and when she sees Todd’s car, she makes Sean drop her off down the street.

Random mention of the split-level, as Sean mentions that he thought she lived in one. Do the ghostwriters not realize that split-level houses aren’t the best? For god’s sake, the Brady’s lived in one! Anyway, Todd makes up an excuse and blows her off because he’s not a complete moron and saw her down the street. She explains that he was her partner, but Todd doesn’t really believe her.

Cut to the day before the competition. Sean lets Liz use his fancy board and she heads out onto the water. She hangs 10 perfectly and Sean tells her she’s amazing because he didn’t even consider it until he’d been surfing for a long time. Yup, she’s blonde and she’s perfect.

The Sweet Valley group all sits together at the surfing competition, not finding it odd that no one has mentioned the marine biology thing. Liz hears Laurie talking to a friend about Sean and how she started surfing, just to impress him. She’s all mopey because she realizes that she can never, ever beat Liz so Sean will never realize she’s alive.

Liz goes out on her board, thinking about how she has this in the bag. The gang goes nuts, cheering and rooting for her. She does great, but at the last minute, throws it and falls down. Laurie does awesome and wins the competition. Everyone giggles at Liz thinking she could surf, except for Bill Chase. Bill wants to know why Liz wiped out and she just smiles and makes up an excuse. She wanders off, seeing Laurie and Sean making out.

Yeah…Liz would never win that competition so fast. It’s insane to think she would even place, plus Laurie wouldn’t win either. I kind of wish they had done a “Wakefield twin loses” thing. Let Liz wipe out because a huge wave crashes over her and then she learns a lesson. Oh wait, I forgot that there are no lessons in Sweet Valley.

The B-storyline involves Jessica and Caroline Pearce. Pearce is making fun of Jessica for faking two identities and tells everyone. She also has a new job at the Unique Boutique so Lila and Jess go in and torment her all the time. It’s actually a pretty cool system, they treat her like crap and then Lila buys something so the manager thinks they’re customers.

They even go in with a bunch of trash in shopping bags and get the manager to make Caroline help them out to their car. Of course it’s raining and she gets soaked. Jessica goes in one last time because she thinks Caroline might quit soon. Apparently she was only working there to pay for some damage to her mom’s car or something. Caroline acts all sweet, helping her find clothes. Then she leaves Jess stranded in the dressing room, completely naked and quits her job. The last scene is of her waving to Jess, as she walks off with her clothes. I think I love Caroline Pearce.

Oh and the new girl working at the Unique Boutique? Yeah, she looks exactly like Tricia Martin, yet another doppelganger in town. Liz and Steve happen to wander into the store and you know it’s bad news for Cara in the next book!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Tachyon Web (Christopher Pike)

I kind of feel bad even writing a recap for this book because I’m honestly not really remembering a lot of it. It’s one of those books I avoided for years because I don’t really like the sci-fi Christopher Pike stuff. Then I started reading it and got through it really fast so I was impressed with myself. Then I started writing and had no clue what the fuck was going on. Just bare with me.

Eric is the main character of the book. His best friend Strem wants him to join a group for a spring break trip. Stream, his girlfriend Jeanie, their friend Sammy and his gal Cleo are all going to take Strem’s uncle’s ship out. They have to drop off some funky pants for him, but then they’ll have fun.

What Strem doesn’t tell them is that he actually wants to hyper jump over the tachyon web, which keeps everyone in safe space. The coolant levels in the ship drop off and they find themselves stranded. Luckily they find some video of an alien race, located on ships in the area. Cleo who does a lot of stage shows with her bands, makes up Eric and Strem to look like aliens and Sammy gives them an audio receiver that deciphers the language and lets them speak alien.

They sneak onto the ship, wander around and even eat lunch. Then Eric meets Vani and falls in love. Apparently Eric can’t get laid on their home planet and girls never even agree to a second date with him. Vabi’s home planet was blown up and she and her people escaped onto ships. They’re now trying to find a new place to visit, but Eric realizes that they won’t ever make it to a new location.

Vani agrees to show them the engine room, where they plan on stealing coolant. Eric learns from Sammy that their ship is close to blowing up, due to the lack of coolant. Strem goes off to get the coolant, letting Eric have time alone with Vani. He tries to get Strem to not use his gun on Vani’s people. He learns that his female friends snuck onto the ship and they, along with Strem, were taken hostage.

A group of Earth ships show up, lead by Rak. He tells Eric that they kept an eye on the ship the whole time, once it made the jump. Eric wants Rak to help the alien race get the technology needed to find a new home planet. They agree to the deal, but make Eric stay behind. Apparently he now knows too much and they can’t risk him taking back any knowledge to Earth. He agrees to stay behind with Vani.

Eric sneaks Vani a note and she manages to get it to Strem. In it, he tells him what actually happened at the meeting and that he can’t come back. Strem sends back one of his own, saying he wants to hear details about what happened with Vani. They make plans to meet one day for spring break on a far off planet. Eric starts making plans…