Friday, October 24, 2014

Ghosts of Fear Street #6: Eye of the Fortuneteller

Kelsey lives on Fear Street, which means that nothing scares her. Her cousin and best friend Drew, who is just a few weeks younger than her, is pretty much scared of everything. Their parents rent a house every year and they go to the boardwalk, but Drew is usually too scared to go on any rides. This year, she convinced him to go on the biggest roller coaster. On the way back to their house, they find a mysterious fortune teller shack.

Madame Valda calls them by name and invites them inside. When she mentions Drew's last name, Kelsey sees that he has his name on his beach pass and giggles. She points it out to them and they get a kick out of it. Madame Valda gets pissed off and sends them away with a warning that they will soon know that her powers are real.

When they run off, she attacks them, grabbing Kelsey's arm and staring her down. They finally escape, but they get lost. They see a weird dog following them, and when it pins them in a corner, the dog suddenly disappears. Every time they go a little further, they find themselves back in the same place. Just as they're about to give up, they realize that they're only a few blocks from their house.

Kelsey's mom welcomes then home, but then Kelsey notices a card laying on the ground. It's the same card that the gypsy tried to give them back at her shack. She tries to ignore it long enough to go to sleep that night, but then she notices a weird feeling on her legs. The weird feeling grows and takes over her entire body. That's when she realizes that there are crabs crawling all over her, and crabs just so happen to be her greatest fear. By the time she gets to a mirror and turns on the lights, the crabs are gone. BTW, sand crabs are easily the scariest thing in the world.

When she gets up the next day, she finds the Fool card from the gypsy in her room, even though she ripped it up the night before. She explains to Drew what happened, tears the card into tiny pieces, and throws the pieces in the ocean. They then go swimming, but when he leaves her alone, jellyfish attack her. The harder and faster she swims, the further she gets from the shore. She feels them clinging to every part of her body and finally makes it back to the shore. When she starts screaming, Drew calmly points out that there are no jellyfish on her. Then they find the Fool card sitting on the beach once again whole.

They decide to go back and talk to the gypsy, but they find another much younger woman there. She claims she's the only gypsy working in the area and that there was never anyone else there. Kelsey tells her about the curse and shows her the card. The gypsy says it's the Fool Card Curse and that destroying it isn't easy or cheap. She has to pay the gypsy $10 and wear an amulet for three days. The gypsy does a little chanting, marks an X on the card, and puts it in a metal box.

While hanging out on the beach, Kelsey sees a horsefly attack her. Suddenly, a swarm of the flies attack her and she thinks she might die because she can't breathe. She runs to the water, but Drew catches up with her and tells her there are no flies. Just as she starts to calm down, she looks over and sees the Fool card on the beach again.

They go back to the young gypsy, who now has jeans on under her dress and blonde hair with her dark wig on the table. She says that she still has the card locked up, but when she opens the box, she finds a picture of Kelsey with a red X drawn over her face. Since this chick is clearly just a teenage girl, she has no idea what to do. When they tell her the name of the gypsy, she says that woman was the most powerful gypsy in the world and that she died more than 100 years ago.

She does offer to take them to her uncle though. He tells them that the gypsy was evil and used her powers for badness, and now I so want to sit down and watch Thinner. Her people killed her. They choose a boy and girl to sneak into her tent and poison her, and then they threw her body in the water. He can help them get rid of the curse but it will take some time.

Gregor, the uncle, tells her that she needs to get a jellyfish, a sand crab, and a horsefly and bring everything to him at midnight. Drew can help her, but she has to catch each of the items herself. She manages to find everything but almost drowns when tracking down the jellyfish. Drew saves her with a pole he finds in the lifeguard hut.

Gregor does some random chanting and then tells her that she needs to eat each of the items she brought him. She gets down the fly and crab, which she imagines (like I would) that it's still alive. Kelsey almost chokes on the jellyfish but eats it took. Gregor then announces that she needs to throw something of the gypsy's into the fire. Since she doesn't have anything, she thinks that she's dead.

Drew points out that she still has the card. Gregor, who clearly has no idea what he's doing since he's just reading from a book, warns her that it might not work. According to his book, they need to use something like clothing or jewelry. He then changes his mind and says it will work, so she gets ready to toss it into the fire. They then hear the sound of the gypsy's cruel laughter.

The gypsy says that everyone there is a fake or a fraud and that she's the only real gypsy among them. Kelsey tries to toss the card in the fire, but the gypsy blows out a burst of hot air that sends it flying. She tries to grab it a few times, but it always flies away from her. Kelsey finally gets it and throws it through the gypsy's body, which causes her to go up in a cloud of smoke.

A few days later, Kelsey and Drew are in Shadyside and checking out a little carnival. They seen an ad for a fortuneteller, but Drew is too scared to go look at it. She tells him that it's nothing and shows him that it's just one of those glass boxes with an animated figure inside like the one from Big. They laugh about how it's nothing to be afraid of and start to walk off when the figure warns them about fools and starts laughing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sweet Valley Twins #10: One of the Gang

Jessica is super excited because she was named the chairman of the Mini Olympics, which is some random athletic event at SVMS. Elizabeth recently became besties with Pamela Jacobson, who has some random heart condition that keeps her from participating in competitions or even gym class. She previously attended a school in the area just for handicapped, disabled and ill students. Her parents agreed to let her come to SVMS for one year, but if things don't go well, she has to return to her old school.

Steven decides that he needs to bug his sisters even more than usual, so he pretends that he's psychic. He constantly pops up to tell them about his premonitions. They try complaining to their mom, but she tells them to ignore him and he'll eventually get tired of it. Jessica decides to mess with him a little. When he says he had a feeling that she was in danger, she tells him that at the same time, she almost got seriously hurt with a volleyball to the head. When he says he had a premonition that Elizabeth found money, she says she found a $5 bill on the ground.

Jessica also tells him that she heard people who have premonitions often experience visions late at night. After everyone goes to bed, she and Liz sneak outside and put a ladder up against his window. While wearing a white sheet, she makes funny noises and freaks him out. She loses her balance, crashes to the ground, and hurts her ankle. Ned rushes her to the hospital and it turns out that she severely sprained her ankle.

Lila views her "best" friend on crutches as the perfect excuse for her to take control of the Mini Olympics. Liz begged Jess to add some events for people who don't necessarily like sports, but her twin blew her off. After Lila takes control of the event and goes behind her back with the organizers, she decides to take her twin's advice. This way, she gets to participate and Lila looks bad.

Pamela's older brother Denny is less than happy that his sister is now going to school with him. When their dad suggests that she go back to her old school, she throws a fit. Denny then throws his own fit. He points out that she doesn't have any friends, isn't fitting in, and that he wants her to go back to her old school too. Right about that time, Jessica shows up on their doorstep.

She tells Pamela that she wants to change the day and needs her help. They make up a list of events and head to the school for the next meeting. Jessica says that she always wanted to change the day but was worried about what others would think with a not so sly look to Lila. Even though they made all the plans and the day is less than a week away, they naturally go along with her new plans.

Despite spending a lot of time with Pamela, Jessica still pretty much thinks she doesn't fit in and should go back to her old school. She even worries that Pam will think they're friends now and want to start hanging out with her. Pamela actually likes Liz a lot better and decides to write for the newspaper.

Mini Olympics day arrives, and they divide the school into random teams. It's really confusing because there are four teams, each with a different color, and each grade has four separate teams who kind of work together. Instead of letting people enter whatever activity they want, they draw numbers. If they draw your number, you have to compete.

The first event is some type of talent competition where the teams have to put on a skit and write a song. Lila writes her team's skit, which makes fun of one of the other activities. The other activities are random things like a bed making contest and a crutch croquet game, which Jessica rigs so she goes up for her team and wins.

The last event is a wheelchair race, and Pamela gets picked for her team. Ken Matthews gets picked for Lila's team, and even though he's short, as they point out, he's a really good athlete. He thinks he has it in the bag, but right as he's about to win, he gets his hand caught in the spokes, which lets Pamela cross the finish line first. Everyone celebrates, and her dad decides that maybe she doesn't have to go back to her old school after all.

*We had something similar at our school, but we called it Field Day. You had the option of participating in each event or not participating in anything, and since it was on the last day of school, I'm pretty sure you had the option of skipping it anyway.

*It's funny that Denny becomes a major part of the books later when he dates Janet, but Pamela rarely gets another mention. I think they ship her off with Nora and all those other major plot points that randomly pop up later. I also think Jessica dates Denny in high school but Pamela isn't in those books, so maybe she ended up back at her old school anyway.

*My book has a note on the back that it's a Scholastic edition only available from book fairs and the book market. I know I bought books from those fairs when I was a kid, but none of mine ever had that note.

*I didn't even bother to learn the name of the other school, because I knew it would never get mentioned after this book.

*The whole last chapter sets up the next book, which is the one where Ellen and Jessica find the "buried treasure" in Ellen's backyard. All of the later books just randomly mention things that will pop in the next book without actually getting in to the story.

*The Wakefields do some amazing parenting in this book. Alice refuses to get in between the twins and Steven and tells them to just ignore him, but Ned actually steps up and rushes Jessica to the ER when she hurts herself. They claim the twins will get punished for pulling a prank on him but they never actually do anything.

*Ellen is the only one of the Unicorns who actually spends time with Jessica after her ankle injury. I'm kind of sad that she disappears/never appears in SVH.

*Jessica really, really, really hates nonathletic people! When Elizabeth tells her about Pamela, she basically just says that maybe she can help with the advertising and that she clearly won't fit in on the actual day.

*Lila's dad takes out a full page ad in the local newspaper for the Mini Olympics. Um, would anyone who doesn't have kids in the school care? And I assume they would already know about it. Kind of seems like a bad idea. Way to invite pedophiles to a kids' day at the school there!