Friday, May 22, 2015

Goosebumps #56: The Curse of Camp Cold Lake

Sarah and Aaron are siblings sent to Camp Cold Lake for the summer. Aaron loves the outdoors, but Sarah hates the idea of going to camp. She's also extremely annoying. As soon as she gets to her cabin, she demands that someone switch bunks with her. Apparently she can't handle the idea of sleeping near a window or on a top bunk.

Needless to say, the other kids aren't too thrilled with her. They wind up pulling a few pranks on her. They convince her that someone threw a lit firecracker at her, and when she runs away, they all laugh. They then agree to start over again and instead put a snake in her bed. During a meeting at the first bonfire of the summer, she throws a fit and wanders off by herself because she gets tired of the long list of rules they have to follow.

Sarah winds up finding a bunch of spiders, which she puts in their beds. Turns out the spiders were dangerous and bit the other girls, but she somehow doesn't get in trouble for doing it because it was just harmless fun. One of her roommates is named Jan. Sarah accidentally reveals that Jan has asthma, which is somehow the end of her world.

They get assigned the same canoe one day. Jan violently shakes and tries to tip the canoe over and tells Sarah goodbye. She flips out over how because she has asthma, they won't let her go on some six night hiking trip. Jan then tips the canoe over and takes off, knowing that Sarah isn't strong enough to make it back. Liz, the water counselor, comes out and saves her but then says that Jan told her Sarah tipped the canoe over. They hold a special meeting and make her memorize a new list of camp rules. Sarah decides to enact revenge on the other girl.

Turns out that her idea of revenge is actually to run away. After telling her brother of her plans, she gets stuck swimming. Liz tells her that she can swim on her own, even though they're all supposed to use the buddy system. Sarah dives underwater and stays there as long as she can. She thinks that everyone will think she drowned and suddenly be super nice to her.

When she finally comes up though, she finds that everyone is gone. Running back to the cabins, she discovers that they are all deserted. Even her own things are gone from her cabin. Before she can give up hope, she hears the sound of someone singing. There is also all this snow falling, but through the snow, she can see a girl with long white blond hair wearing a white outfit and singing the camp song. The girl starts talking about how she needs a buddy and wants Sarah to be her buddy. Sarah then realizes that she can see through her, which means that the other girl is dead and so is she.

Della, the blond girl, starts floating above her as Sarah screams. She suddenly wakes up with everyone standing over her. Liz says that she drowned in the lake and stopped breathing but that she gave her CPR. Jan makes a rude comment about how she only did it for attention. A few hours later, she sees Della and starts screaming but there isn't anyone there. Liz thinks she's just hungry and needs to eat.

Later that night, she sees her roommates huddled together and whispering about her. They claim that they just wanted to apologize and start over yet again. They all go out swimming together, but Jan swims ahead and when she turns around, Sarah flips out over it being Della. She passes out and gets pulled out of the water. Sarah then keeps thinking that she sees Della everywhere, and the owner of the camp worries that she camp back too soon.

Since Liz keeps telling her to try new things, she goes water skiing. The driver of the boat turns into Della and comes after her, trying to run her over in the water. Sarah runs back to her cabin, sees her bunk mate Briana, and decides to run away. She gets halfway through the woods before running into Della again.

It turns out that Della made her scared of the lake so she would eventually come into the woods. Years ago, Della died after getting bit by a snake in the woods. Just as she tries to kill Sarah with a snake, Briana comes out of nowhere. The year before, Della did the same thing with Briana. Briana came back to help other girls avoid the same fate.

Sarah and Briana agree to come back year after year and warn other girls, which somehow causes Della to disappear. Briana then reveals that Della actually did kill her the year before and now, she wants Sarah to be her buddy forever. The book ends with Briana coming after her with a snake.

*Sarah is so incredibly whiny that I had a hard time getting through this book. She literally whines and cries at last once in every chapter.

*There is no reason for Aaron to even be in this book. She talks to him maybe three times after they get there.

*Jan is seriously in this book constantly, while Briana only pops up a few times. Having her show up at the end felt like a cheat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Baby-Sitters Club Portrait Collection: Stacey's Book

It's now time for Stacey to write down her memories for her autobiography assignment. She gives us some background on her life. Her first word was ma-ma, she had a teddy bear she carried everywhere, and she remembers when they moved to the Upper West Side. We then get to the real memories.

Stacey was around five when she and Laine were in school together and heard Cinderella. Stacey became obsessed with the story, and her mom got her a spot on the Cinderella float in the Macy's parade. Everyone watched for her and wanted to see her on television. The girl playing Cinderella lost her crown, and Stacey bent over to pick it up and missed her spot on television. She also realized that the girl was just an actress but didn't tell anyone else because she didn't want to ruin it for them.

She and Laine's mom then enroll them in ballroom dance classes. They hate it so much that they skip classes and wander around NYC. They go for ice cream, window shop, and do whatever they want. Laine convinces her to go to FAO Schwartz on the bus, but it takes too long. By the time they get back, they're an hour late. They get grounded from seeing each other and have to go back and take classes again.

In her later years, her parents plan a trip to an island in Maine. They want to spend the whole week relaxing, but Ed sneaks some work into her suitcase. The island has absolutely nothing to do. It consists of a few houses, a rocky beach, and a blueberry patch. There's one other girl there, Mara, but they don't get along. Stacey acts like a city bitch, and Mara acts like a country brat.

While trying to climb on a stepladder and get some books, Ed slips and hurts his ankle. Mara rushes over in the boat and drives her parents' truck to get him on the boat. Stacey is so impressed that they actually become friends. They spend the rest of the week talking and playing. Though they agree to write each other every week, neither one does.

Stacey later moves back to NYC and notices her parents fighting a lot. Claudia calls and asks to come for a visit. The first night goes okay, but then Claudia changes. She pouts and whines a lot and says that Stacey really doesn't want to show her around. On her last day there, she finally breaks down and admits that Stacey was her best friend ever and that she hates knowing she'll never come back to Stoneybrook. They make up and have fun spending the day together.

*She keeps talking about how Cinderella has red hair and how the actress on the float wore a red wig. But, she also says she watched the movie a lot. Cinderella in the movie has blond hair, so it's weird that she keeps mentioning the red hair.

*Stacey says one of the kids in their class always introduces himself by his full name and "the third." He corrects teachers when they skip the third part and talks about how he plans on being a senator and then president. It's a little odd for a five or six year old kid to talk like that.

*Laine and Stacey's family took a bunch of family vacations together. That seems like something she may have mentioned before.

*I wonder if the island they go to is close to the one Claudia's family visited. Gee, I wonder why Stacey never gave her any tips or even mentioned that she went on a similar vacation.

*Her parents take her to the Plaza Hotel for her birthday because she loves Eloise. When they sing to her in the restaurant, Pavoratti just so happens to be there and sings along.

*Stacey says that Laine always talked like a little adult because of her dad being in the industry. Yeah, no five year old should ever talk the way she does in this book.

*Stacey and Laine want to get an apartment of their own and decide to start saving their money. They think they'll have enough by fifth grade. This so reminds me of similar plans I had back with my friends.

*Maureen works at Macy's, which is how Stacey gets in the parade. I'm sure that after the divorce though, she mentions that she hasn't worked in years, which made me think she hadn't worked since she got married or at least had her.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ghosts of Fear Street #15: Fright Christmas

Kenny is pretty much a little douche bag. Not only is he the resident bully, he's also super mean to his little sister. While shopping with her at the mall, he tells her that he can't take her to Santa's Village because Santa took off for the day. They run into one of his classmates named Timmy, and Kenny picks on him and calls him Tiny because he's so small. Timmy then reveals that Santa is still there, and Kristi begs him to take her.

While she's talking with Santa and their mom is watching, Kenny sneaks up behind him and rips off his beard, which makes all the kids cry. Santa is actually Joe, a janitor at his school, and comments that Kenny will always be bad. After his mom starts yelling at him, he runs away and winds up in some dark room. He gets trapped in there for a few hours until someone lets him out. That someone is Joe who makes a cryptic comment about him being naughty all year. Kenny snaps about him being tired of the Santa routine and tugging on his beard to learn it's now real.

Turns out that Joe is actually Santa and warns Kenny that three ghosts will visit him that night. He runs away, finds a comfy looking bed, and ends up falling asleep. When he wakes up, he finds a biker with blue skin waiting on a motorcycle for him. The biker takes him to see last Christmas, which was when he humiliated Timmy. The kid was so small that he had to stand on a stool to make a presentation in front of the school. Kenny stole the stool and led a chant calling him Tiny Timmy.

The biker drops him off, and a robot comes after him as the next ghost. It takes him to his house on Christmas morning, where he hears his parents and sister crying over someone missing. Though he thinks they're missing him, they actually miss their dog. Timmy brings the dog home, and they invite him to stay and eat. His mom makes a comment about how Kenny hates her cooking and how he hates everything they give him, so she gives Timmy something she bought for Kenny. He then passes out again before waking up to the last ghost.

Kenny actually wakes up to see the dummies in the store come to life and start calling him names and picking on him. He manages to get away but then passes out and comes to in the cemetery down the street from his house. He finds himself standing in front of an open grave as something grabs him and pulls him down, which is the last spirit.

The spirit disappears and leaves him in the grave. He sees kids coming towards him and begs them for help, but when they get closer, they turn into monsters. They all start attacking him, and when he fights back, everything goes crazy until he wakes up back in the store with a security guard standing over him. Kenny rushes off to buy a doll that his sister kept looking at earlier and runs home with it.

The next morning, they wake up and find the dog missing. Timmy shows up with the dog in tow, and Kenny apologizes for being so mean to him. He then asks him to come help him wrap a gift for his sister. When Timmy puts his hand down, Kenny sees it as a skeleton bone and then notices it glowing green. That makes him realize that Timmy was the third ghost and that he didn't just dream everything. Timmy just laughs it off and asks what else he would expect given that he lives on Fear Street.

*Not only does Kenny live on Fear Street, they go shopping at Dalby's, which was a nice throwback to the original Fear Street books.

*What kind of parent takes two younger kids to a shopping mall on Christmas Eve? That is apparently when they go shopping.

*I kind of blew through this one. There are only so many times that you can read another version of this story before you can't take it anymore.