Friday, October 25, 2013

Fear Street Super Chiller: Bad Moonlight (R.L. Stine)


Prologue:

Danielle is out shopping with her brother Cliff and her aunt Margaret who took them in after their parents died. She just got back from a two-week tour with her new band, even though they don't even have a freaking name, and she just wants to rest a little before the head out again, still without a name.

Cliff wants candy, and Margaret needs to find the right ingredients for some random oriental chicken dish with pineapple, so they both leave her alone. Danielle wanders off, thinks she sees someone she knows, and gets distracted. She suddenly hears her brother yelling her name in disgust and looks down to see that she was eating a package of raw beef.

Part One: Songs

Danielle is now driving to a show with the no-named band. She thinks about how Dee hates her because apparently the band let Danielle audition and gave her a spot as lead singer even though Dee was already their lead singer. On the way to the show, Joey (another member and driver) veers off the road and crashes through the guardrail. Danielle starts screaming before her friend Caroline calms her down.

It turns out that ever since her parents died in a car wreck, she has vivid fantasies that she thinks are real. She even sees a doctor about it. When they arrive at their hotel, Kit, the roadie and hottest guy around, asks her to take a walk with him. Joey and Billy give them both dirty looks because they both want to get with Danielle, and Dee tells her that she doesn't belong with them. It doesn't help that Dee tots wants to get with Kit.

After a short walk, they start talking and then making out. Danielle feels the urge to bite him, and she actually draws blood. Kit plays it off like it was no big deal and even lies about what happened, but it helps Danielle write an awesome song called Bad Moonlight. They play it and it becomes a big hit.

Danielle makes time to go home and see Dr. Moore because of her vision. She explains what happened with Kit, but the doctor thinks it was just her overreacting hormones. He hypnotizes her and she wakes up feeling slightly better, though she freaks out when she realizes that she clawed his chair into ribbons.

They go back on the road, and when they leave the show, Joey grabs her and kisses her. She pushes him away, but Dee saw it and gets pissed off. Instead of hanging out at the coffee shop, Danielle decides to take a walk on her own. Joey rushes out of the shadows and kisses her, but she runs away. She vaguely hears animal noises outside before passing out.

The next morning, no one can find Joey anywhere. They ask Danielle because he left just after she did, but she claims that she hasn't seen him since the coffee shop. Dee keeps giving her weird looks, and they decide to hop in the van and take off. Someone says they might pass Joey on the road, Caroline says they know that won't happen, and someone else tells her to shut up.

When they get ready to leave, Mary Beth decides to check out the policy cars heading down the street to the park. The others get ready to leave and hear her screaming. They run to the park and see her crying and screaming some more. The cops mention finding a body, and they realize it was Joey.

Part Two: Cries

Danielle thinks they should take a break after Joey's death, but everyone else wants to keep playing. Dee still acts really bitchy, and she even attacks her at rehearsal until the others pull them apart. She later sees Dee attacking Kit, but Caroline points out that it's just another fantasy. They name their band Bad Moonlight and people keep raving about that one song.

After another show, Dee sneaks into her room and tries to attack her, but Kit shows up unexpectedly. Kit starts to kiss her after Dee leaves, but she flashes back to what happened before. After hearing strange noises, she runs off to take a walk. She finds Billy dead on the ground, but he's actually just passed out drunk so she helps him up.

Danielle finally gets to go home again, and she sees Dr. Moore. He never says anything about what happened to his chair, but she does notice that he got a new one. She tells her aunt what's been happening and thinks her aunt is on her side, but then she hears her aunt having a whispered conversation with the doctor. That causes Danielle to snoop through her room. She finds an article about her parents deaths, which the coroner ruled as an unknown cause of death. She flips out because her aunt always told her it was a car accident.

Part Three: Howls

The doctor admits that he knows her aunt, but they only talk because they both worry about her. He hypnotizes her again, and this time, she sees herself in a fight to the death with Dee. When she leaves the office, she realizes that Caroline, who she had plans with, left her alone.

Dee pops up and warns her again to leave the band. Danielle basically tells her that she's sick of her whining, and Dee launches herself at her. The two girls have a brutal fight, and Danielle goes for her throat before Caroline pops up. She makes Dee leave before saying she's probably just jealous.

Danielle goes home and plays with her brother for awhile. He built a big ass fort that he keeps running around in, and when they play hide and seek, he disappears inside it. Cliff shouts that he needs a time out because he hurt himself. When he comes out bleeding, Danielle leans over and licks up the blood.

The same night, or maybe a few nights later, this book isn't really clear with its timeline, she hears something outside her window. It's only Billy, but he comes in and acts really strange before she practically shoves him out of her house. He shows up the next day to tell her that Dee quit the band by writing a letter and leaving it for him. Danielle thinks she quit because of her, but he calms her down. Everyone else thinks it was a little strange that Dee wouldn't at least tell them in person.

Kit has a friend who agrees to join the plan and take over for Dee. Everyone notices that Billy seems pretty crazy. He keeps bossing them around and seems really distracted. Danielle laughs about her original lyrics for Bad Moonlight, which talked about clawing people, and they all decide they like that version better. After playing at Red Heat, she wanders off.

Danielle finds a bunch of old trunks, and she discovers Dee's body inside one. Billy shows up, he tries to grab her arm, says that he can't let her leave, and they fight. She manages to get away from him, and runs off into the woods. Just when she thinks she can't run any further, she hears Caroline. Caroline agrees to help her, but then her eyes change and she starts sprouting gray fur.

Danielle tries to run away from Caroline and sees Mary Beth and Billy. They both turn into werewolves, and Kit shows up in the van. He tries to help her, they attack, and he yells at her to run away so she hops in the van and takes off. She manages to get home, only to learn that aunt Margaret isn't really her aunt. She's part of a werewolf pack that killed her parents and real aunt because they wanted her as a bride for their leader.

Despite another fight and more werewolves appearing, she escapes and makes it to Dr. Moore. He offers her orange juice because she needs sugar, and he starts acting strange. Kit shows up, and it turns out that he's the doctor's son. He saw Danielle three years ago and fell in love, so he set things up for her to become his bride. Though she puts up a fight, they take her and lead her into the woods.

Kit makes her sing Bad Moonlight while they wait for the right moment to get married. She begs everyone for help, but no one does anything except Billy. He tells her to give into the moonlight and she'll learn what to do. When the clouds part, she looks up at the moon and feels herself changing.

Danielle sneaks up behind Kit, bites down on his neck, and basically kills him. As soon as he dies, everyone starts changing back into humans because they were under his mind control or something. Dr. Moore's body literally falls apart and breaks into pieces, but everyone else is fine. Danielle makes a joke about wanting to see the daylight and everyone laughs like they haven't been werewolves for years or lost several of their friends. Ah, but we do learn that Billy really did have feelings for her, though we don't know why Kit decided to kill Joey.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sweet Valley Twins #61: Jessica the Nerd


SVMS is launching yet another special program called Science Offers Awesome Rewards! No one really seems to care except for the nerds, but everyone has to take the test and the top scorers get to join. Jessica thinks the test seems pretty easy, though the rest of the Unicorn Club thinks she's crazy. While all of this is going on, Janet develops a crush on Denny Jacobson. She's so into him that she can't even eat because she just wants to stare at him.

They make a big announcement in homeroom about the top scorers and surprise surprise, Jessica made the list. Amy, who won an award at the science fair and loves science, apparently is really bad at standardized testing, and she misses out. She flips her shit, almost bursts into tears, and runs crying down on the hallway.

On the first day of class, the teacher brings a robot in to talk to them. Then, he decides to do an experiment where the twins both stand under a ladder. He climbs on top with two water balloons filled with different amounts of water. Jessica doesn't want to do it, but he says that if she guesses what will happen correctly, he'll give her an A and let her leave early. She guesses wrong, but thinks it was still fun.

The Unicorn Club thinks that she's ruining their reputation because only nerds are good at science. She points out that Denny made SOAR, but Janet says he's the exception that proves the rule. Besides, it's okay for guys to like science but not girls. They promise to help her find a way out.

Just before the group takes off for a field trip, Jessica gets called into the principal's office. She thinks he wants to lecture her on starting a hair spray/mousse fight with Lila, but he actually thinks she cheated. She denies it and offers to take the test again, but he believes her and lets her go. The Unicorns then scream at her because Lila and Janet sent him an anonymous letter saying that she cheated.

Basically, Jessica gets really excited about science, which the club hates. She misses Ellen's birthday because she's on a field trip, and they start avoiding her. Janet finally gives her an ultimatum: quit SOAR or quit the Unicorns. She talks to her teacher and comes up with a new plan. She points out all the things they wouldn't have without science like curling irons and makeup. The other girls agree with her, but Janet tells her she's out of the club.

Mandy comes to Jessica and tells her that Janet is jealous. She really likes Denny and she's jealous that Jessica gets to spend so much time with him. Jessica then goes to Denny and tells him to ask Janet out. Janet then tells Jessica that she can stay in the club. Her dad and brother didn't think that she could program the VCR, and it made her realize that girls are good at some stuff.

Amy still pouts and whines about the club. She gets distracted because she has to create a baton solo for the big game, and she keeps talking about how she might screw things up. Elizabeth and her SOAR friends ask her to come over for a sleepover, but she never shows up and won't even talk to them on the phone. She shows up, does her solo, and is naturally amazing.

Alice apparently bought a ping pong table at a yard sale, and Steven keeps hogging it. Ned refuses to play with him anymore because it hurts his elbow, and Steven makes a big deal out of how girls aren't as good as guys when it comes to sports or science. Cathy winds up beating his ass really bad, and he demands a rematch. She loses the second time, but she admits that she let him win because she felt bad. They finally play again, Cathy wins, and Steven admits that girls are good at some things.

*There's a mention about how Winston only became the class clown after he made it on the Boosters, but it seemed like he was the funny guy before that.

*Elizabeth mentions that the school needed to order new desks because SOAR was a new class. Really, they have money to buy new desks for a two-week class?

*SOAR is for all grades and it only lasts for a few weeks. During those two weeks, everyone gets to skip their other classes and spend all day doing science stuff. Is that really a good idea? They don't have to make up their coursework or anything. Jessica can barely stay on top of her grades when she's actually in class.

*They take multiple field trips too: one to the science museum and one to another place I forgot. This school must have a butt load of money.

*Mandy always dresses "so cool." Her outfit in this one? Black leggings, blue miniskirt, and a black and blue tee with a silk-screened panda on the front. Super cool.

*The class talks about how there's no life on Venus because people landed there and took pictures, and Elizabeth points out that someone might think the same thing if they landed on the North Pole. I tried using this argument with my brother once, and he decimated me, proving that I shouldn't use quotes from a Sweet Valley Twins book.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Baby-Sitters Club #44: Dawn and the Big Sleepover


While sitting for the Pikes, Dawn learns all about their Zuni pen pals in New Mexico. She and Mallory help the kids decide what they should send their friends, and then she heads home feeling a little depressed. She wishes that there was a similar program for middle school kids, and Mary Anne suggests that she write to the school.

A few days later, Mal shows up late for a meeting and announces that the Zuni school caught fire and burned down. Dawn comes up with a plan to help the school by hosting a fundraiser and charity drive. She calls Mrs. Besser, Jeff's former teacher, and she agrees to help. She also calls Kristy, who arranges for an emergency meeting the next day. The only thing they can't decide on is how to tell the kids.

Charlotte says they should do an assembly at school, which is the perfect plan. They all get to leave school to go to SES and tell the kids about the program. They decide to have kids donate things by dropping boxes off at the barn, they ask the kids to raise money any way they can, and they'll be rewarded with a huge sleepover at school.
Kids immediately start bringing over stuff to the barn. Dawn and Mary Anne are so busy collecting that they don't stop and look at what's there. Dawn finally notices some unusual stuff like a brand new tailored suit, and Mary Anne mentions that she noticed the same things. They call one kid out on it in front of his parents, and they decide that everyone should have a permission slip before donating from now on.

The Rodowsky kids decide to hold a garage sale and hire Claudia to help. They keep bringing things outside that their parents take back, and Jackie manages to break some glass bowls. When the sale starts, parents find a bunch of their own things. Winston finds some books David Michael donated, and Mrs. Addison finds her anniversary clock. The parents end up either donating the items or buying them back from the sale.

Haley comes up with her own unique way of making money. She dresses up like a gypsy and tells fortunes outside her house. Alan Gray and some friends stop by and make fun of her, but she fleeces them for some money by telling them exactly what they want to hear. The Pike kids throw their own miniature carnival to raise money too.

The day of the sleepover finally arrives. The toy store donated a bunch of toys, which the girls use for prizes, and they play a bunch of games too. A few kids end up leaving before it even starts, and a few other kids leave in the middle of the night. The next morning, the BSC helps a few teachers serve breakfast and get the kids ready to go home. The book ends with Haley's pen pal writing a letter to the psychic. It turns out that Haley sent her a "fortune" about what would happen, but she forgot to disguise her handwriting. Oops.

*You have to love that the only reason they knew something was wrong when Mal walked in was because she was late to a club meeting.

*Dawn gets irritated because Mr. Besser thinks she sounds like a kid on the phone. I hate to break it to you, but you are a kid.

*Dawn wonders why the triplets call their stand a free throw contest when they charge a quarter and they roll their eyes at her. Yeah, me too.

*The pan pal letters are hysterical. Charlotte's girl writes her a letter that's like, "Hey thanks for writing back. Oh, those books you mentioned? Yeah, I've never read them but I should. And oh by the way, guess what? Our school burned down!"

*The pizza guy calls Dawn at like 8 pm to tell her that he doesn't have enough flour to make the pizzas and he has to send his guys home because they don't have anything to do. She then asks him if he has the number for the late night pizza place the next town over and he suddenly figures out a way to get flour. Seriously? What kind of pizza place runs out of flour on a Friday night? On top of that, they need the pizzas at 9 pm. Is that really late?

*The grocery store donates FOUR kinds of pancakes, syrups and other toppings, three kinds of juice, and coffee, and three cafeteria workers come in to help the next morning at 5 am. Really?

*Claudia outfit time: yellow men's jacket with rolled up sleeves, ankle boots, big hoop earrings, orange stirrup pants, and a 1960's era paisley tie. Yup, that sounds totally normal.

*In junior high/high school, we actually had parties like this called a lock in, but it was nothing like this. We had lots and lots of supervision (not just a few kids and teachers), and we were allowed to do anything we wanted all night. We had rooms for playing games and watching movies, and kids could sleep in the gym. The next morning, we just got our asses out of there.

*Dawn worries that Kristy might steal her idea and completely take over. I can see that happening, but she turns it over to Dawn.

*Dawn never says how much money they raised, but people gasp and applaud. They also have enough to send multiple vans of stuff plus make a huge donation. The principal even says that it was big enough that it inspired the government to donate funds.

*I wonder if Dawn demanded that the pizza place make at least one pie with whole wheat crust and broccoli?

*It seems so random that this is a Dawn book. She has zero connection to the Zuni kids, while Mallory has multiple siblings with pen pals. It would make more sense if the fire damaged a community vegetable garden or something.