There's some blah, blah, blah prologue from someone talking about killing a date before the book jumps to Demi. Demi is a super hot red head with pale skin who likes wear skintight clothing. The Salem newspaper recently introduced a personal ads section. Her best friend Shannon thinks the whole thing sounds cray-cray, but Demi thinks it would be fun to put an ad in the paper and maybe meet someone special.
Instead of just putting up an ad like a normal person, she goes to the newspaper office and suggests writing an article about her experiences. She later tells Shannon and this European student Gigi that she has her first date set up for that weekend. Before she can go out with the guy, her old boyfriend Jack shows up. He flips out about her wanting to see other people, sneers at her, and even calls her "little" girl before warning her that she made a big mistake.
Her first date is with Lance, a French major. He takes her to a foreign movie and keeps translating for her, even though the movie has subtitles. It would drive me bonkers. At the end of the date, he tries to kiss her, and she turns her head so he kisses her cheek. On the way home, he hears a weird noise but doesn't see the car that comes out of nowhere and runs over him.
Date #2 is with someone named Lawrence, but it actually turns out to be a spoiled rich guy named Phillip that she went out with once before and turned down for a second date. Though they have a relatively good time, he freaks out later when she won't keep the date going and starts screaming about how she thinks she's too good for him. He even grabs her arm, which makes her start shouting too about how this very behavior is why they have no future before storming off.
Kevin, a guy from the paper, calls the next day. It's pretty clear that he has a crush on her judging by the way he gets jealous over her dates and tells her she should just write her article, but she doesn't pick up on it. She then gets a call from the Salem PD. Phillip was found early that morning unconscious in his car, locked in the garage, with the engine running. Later, she learns about what happened to Lawrence and how he's still in the hospital. Not sure why it took so long for that story to hit the news.
Demi heads into the paper and runs into Marge, a girl who seemingly dislikes her for no reason. Marge is also dating Kevin and pretty much refuses to let him even talk to the other girl before dragging him off. That same night, she sees an article in the paper about her connection to the guys and gets a phone call from someone who threatens her. Blood suddenly starts pouring out of the phone, and she wakes to find it was all a dream.
While this would turn most people off from dating, she agrees to go out with another rich kid named Andrew. He tells her right off the bat that the date was all a joke his frat brothers played. Andrew also stares at her legs until she pulls her skirt down and brushes against her chest when shutting the door. To top it all off, he spends the whole night talking about his daddy and his frat brothers show up at the movie theater to stare at her and check her out.
Though Andrew wants to keep the date going, she demands that he takes her home. He starts bragging about his car, and when she wants out, he starts driving faster. After taking a curve too fast, the car comes down hard enough that Demi thinks they might die. A little over dramatic but whatever. He then stops and says he wants to take her to a pool hall. When she refuses, he lunges at her, she pushes him off, and he forces a kiss while groping her. She ends up punching him in the face to get him off her. He says that he'll make sure she never gets another date, calls her a loser for using a personal ad like he's some kind of winner, and peels off, leaving her stranded on the side of the road.
By the time she gets home and tells her friends what happened, they're both stunned. Gigi tries to make her promise that she won't go on anymore dates. After they leave, someone calls and makes a comment about her outfit before threatening her again. She hangs up and thinks it was a dream but she can still hear the voice in her head.
Marge pops up the next day with a copy of the local paper, which has a cover story about a local kid missing. Surprise, surprise, it's Andrew. The cops then interview her about what happened and seem pretty suspicious but let her go. She heads to the hospital and see Lance. Not only can he barely talk but he doesn't really remember anything that happened. She wants to see Phillip, but there's a cop outside his room. One of the nurses tells her that the police believe someone tried to kill her.
Demi then runs into Shannon in the library. Shannon mentions seeing Jack earlier and how he clearly isn't over her friend before basically saying that she likes him. Demi tells her that it's fine if she likes him and even asks him out. Shannon gets so excited that she rushes off to find him again.
Cut to yet another date and a plotline that really irritates me. Her date asks her to meet him downstairs. As soon as she sees him, she's all like "oh Brant, it's you." There is NO mention of anyone named Brant, but the writer acts like we should know all about him. We literally know nothing about him either but they act like they've known each other forever, and he even says he only answered the ad because he knew it was her.
They go out to a movie and then for pizza. Demi keeps thinking about how he's the perfect guy for her. Suddenly it's like one in the morning and their date still isn't over. Brant offers to walk her home, and he starts making plans for them to go out on a picnic in a few days. He stops suddenly in the middle of the path and sees something off in the distance. Brant then starts screaming at her to run.
Demi can't see what he sees but does catch a whiff of something that smells dead or decayed. As soon as she tries to run, something hits her and she passes out. She comes to and finds Brant lying on the ground, so she runs for help and finds a security guard. The guard offers some help, finds that Brant is alive just passed out, and suggests that she go home while he gets some more help.
The next day, she heads over to the newspaper office and has a little moment with Kevin. She starts wondering what he sees in Marge, and he reveals that he likes the idea that she's thinking about him. Marge shows up and treats him like a total child. She literally ruffles his hair, punches him on the chin, and then eats some of his sandwich before accusing Demi of being the person responsible for everything that happened to the guys. Kevin doesn't know what she's talking about, so she tells him about Demi's most recent dates, which leaves Demi wondering if Marge might be behind everything. She also fines out that Brant is in the university infirmary but is okay and still wants to go out on their next date.
Brant takes her to Bottomless Lake for a moonlit picnic, but when they get back to his car, she realizes she left her flashlight behind. He runs to get it and never comes back. When she goes to look for him, someone shoves her into the lake. She catches a flash of a hand sticking up from the water and hears someone hissing and whispering her name. Before anything else happens, someone grabs her and pulls her out of the lake.
Demi wakes up in the hospital with Kevin looking over her. He tells her that Brant shares his car with some other guys and told them where he was going. When she didn't come back, he went to Shannon, who told him about Brant, and his friends told him where they were. He also tells her that they haven't found any signs of Brant.
At some point in the not too distant future, she's in the newspaper office with Kevin but can't concentrate on anything, even when he tells her they want to send her to some fancy political convention. He then reveals that they're going to hold off on running her article for a few months. Kevin tries to tell her that she can't focus on the bad times and should be glad she's alive. He even tries to ask her out, but she freaks out and tells him to answer an ad if he wants a date so bad before running off in tears.
That same night, she gets a call from the same person as before who demands she come to the clock tower that night before hanging up. Since she's a dumb twit, she goes to the tower on her own without telling anyone where she went. She gets there and sees Kevin, who looks as confused to see her as she is to see him. He tells her that he's there to protect her just like he always has been.
Demi then sees someone in the background and gets all excited because it's Brant. Kevin warns her to come back, but she goes after him. Both guys blame the other one, and as she tries to run, she sees them fighting. They keep accusing the other of doing horrible things, and Demi finally grabs a flashlight and starts slamming it down on someone as the bells in the tower ring.
Turns out that it was Kevin all along. He was obsessed with her and stalking her. When she created her ad, he followed her around and attacked everyone she went out with. Apparently, he didn't realize she had no interest in any of those guys. He was most threatened by Brant because he sensed their connection and tried to kill him in the lake. Brant somehow got away and apparently decided to just not tell anyone he was alive for days.
Brant comes to see her in the hospital and lets her know that while Lance and Phillip will be fine, they finally found Andrew's body and that Kevin was in police custody and admitted everything. He drives her home, they share a little moment, and when she gets out, she tells him to call her.
Ugh. I seriously do not get the whole Brant thing or how he came out of nowhere. Kevin said he heard her planning out her article in the newspaper office, but I went back to those scenes and found no mention of him at all. I'm thinking he had a scene or two earlier in the book that got cut. I'm also pretty sure an experience like this would turn me off dating forever...