Friday, March 25, 2016

Fear Street: Cat (R.L. Stine)


It's been awhile since I did a Fear Street recap, so enjoy!

Marty is the star of the Fear Street basketball team. Along with his friends Dwayne and Barry, people call them the Three Musketeers or the Stooges. During basketball practice, he notices the stray cat that lives in the gym. Gayle, the star school reporter, did an article on it and asked someone to step up and adopt it but no one ever did. The cat streaks across the floor and almost trips someone.

A few minutes later, Marty trips over the cat himself. He hurts himself bad enough that he has to miss the next game but not so bad that he can't run around with his friends. Dwayne nearly trips and falls off the bleachers, so Marty grabs him and accidentally throws the cat over the side. Gayle and her friend Riki, who Marty went out with a few times, completely freak out. Gayle accuses him of trying to hurt the cat on purpose and say he killed it before they both storm off.

The next day, Marty tries to talk to some random girl, but she gives him a dirty look. During his first class, he notices that all the girls keep glaring, frowning, or just staring at him. The reason becomes clear when he finds posters hanging all over school from the Animal Rights Club that shows abused animals with his picture in the center. The coach is so worried about everything that he decides Marty should go up against the club at the Student Court.

A cute girl named Jessica badgers him in front of everyone. His friends all step up on his behalf, but Gayle is one rager of a bitch. She tells everyone that he not only threw the cat over the bleachers but that he also spiked the cat, threw it around by its tail, and then joked about the murder with his friends. When the court reaches a decision, Marty sees the cat under the bleachers and tries to point it out but it disappears. They find him not guilty of murder but guilty of animal abuse, and I want to scream. He gets sentenced to 30 hours of community service in the animal shelter.

Jessica tracks him down later, apologizes, and says she's glad that he was found not guilty. They spend some time together until Riki walks by and glares at him. He then hears a cat meowing only to find out that it's a group of senior girls making fun of him. Riki calls him later that night, screams at him about how he was so mean to her in the past, and shouts about how he stood her up once and lied to her to go out with some other girl. When he finally gets off the phone with her, he hears what sounds like a cat trying to come through his bedroom window.

It's actually just his buddies stopping by to see if he wants to grab a bite. They sit around talking about this girl Kit who all the guys have the hots for before heading home. A bunch of cats come out of nowhere, which makes them take off running. The next day, Marty goes to the animal shelter, and the same thing happens again. All the cats flip out and hiss at him until someone else comes in and saves him.

Marty finally gets a date with Kit. After stopping by The Corner for an after school snack, they go to her house and she asks him to come inside for a few. It turns out that she has a ton of cats. They all walk into the room and stare at him until he makes up an excuse to leave, claiming that he's super allergic to cats. They go out a few more times too.

To get back at Gayle, which I frankly cannot blame him for, he and his friends pull a prank on the club. They sneak a bunch of rats into the room, which causes all the members to start screaming and running away. Gayle threatens him and warns him that she'll pay him back. That night, he gets a call from someone who just meows repeatedly on the phone. Marty thinks it's probably Riki and that she's just jealous that he found someone else. Dude, two dates does not a relationship make.

Cut to the night of the big game. He sees Riki sneaking around but everyone says she's just there to unnerve him. After they win, big shocker, the guys all celebrate in the locker room, but Marty sees Gayle sneaking through the gym and decides to follow her. He sees her go in but not come out, and when he goes in, he finds Dwayne's dead body in the center of the court.

Surprisingly enough, people get over this pretty fast. The coach asks them all to wear a black arm band at the next game, and Marty breaks down because he doesn't know if he can play without one of his best friends. Barry snaps at him that they all want to play for Dwayne, which cheers him up a little.

After he and Barry make up later, Barry asks him for a ride home. He waits around for a bit and stops by the gym, where he sees a body on the floor. Just as he starts to freak out, he realizes that it's just a bad. He does, however, find that Barry's been hooking up with Riki behind his back when he catches them together. There's really no explanation as to why they didn't tell him they were together either.

He heads to work that night and gets left alone with the cats. They all keep staring at him before the cage doors all come open. All the cats start attacking him, and he naturally freaks out. His boss shows up to save him and says that he must have opened the doors himself because he was the only one there. She also claims that he was the one attacking the cats and not the other way around.

Marty is so upset that he decides to swing by Barry's house on the way home. The place is completely dark, so he just opens the door and lets himself inside. He trips over something in the dark, flips out because it's so obviously a dead body, then discovers that it's just a rolled up carpet. All he finds is Barry and Riki making out on the couch.

After trying to tell them what happened and just seeing looks of confusion, he leaves and goes home to bed. His mom wakes him up early the next morning because there are cops downstairs. The cops ask him what he did the night before. Though he thinks something happened to his boss, it's actually Barry. Apparently, someone murdered Barry and they found him covered in claw marks.

There's another boring day at school before he goes back to the shelter. Left alone once again, the cats get super quiet and stare at him before howling. Kit then shows up and reveals that she's actually a shape shifter. She was the cat from the gym and was secretly in love with him, which is why she hung around all the time. After he “killed” her, she came back to get back at him. Kit killed both his friends and now wants to kill him. They have a huge fight that ends with her about to kill him when a huge dog from the shelter attacks and kills her.

Marty ends the book with talking about how he lied to everyone. He didn't tell them about Kit because he knew no one would believe him. He just said he was attacked by a cat and the dog saved him. Cut to the big championship game. He's just about to make the game winning shot when he sees two big green eyes staring at him from underneath the bleachers and starts screaming.

This one was kind of “meh” for me. Marty isn't exactly the most likable person to begin with, and then it's pretty obvious that Kit is behind everything, so I wound up skimming a lot of it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sweet Valley High #95: The Morning After


While it's not really the morning after the Jungle Prom, which I desperately want to read again but have yet to find anywhere, it is the week or so after everything went down. In case you can't remember that far back, Jessica and Liz spent a bunch of time fighting over who would be prom queen. Jess then spiked her sister's punch, Liz left with Sam, they got in a car accident, and Sam died. Now Jess refuses to speak with her sister because Liz killed her boyfriend. Yeah right.

Olivia actually gets a story here. She goes from worrying about Liz to feeling sad because her boyfriend left town, to feeling excited because her art teacher picked her as one of the top students in the class. Even though she's taking classes with real college students, her painting gets picked for an exhibit. Someone pays $1,000 for it on the condition that she speak about her work at this nonprofit organization.

After spending way too much time getting ready, she goes to the event and finds that it's just some fancy house. She then meets this guy from her class. Turns out that he bought her painting and set the whole thing up. She talks it over with Nicholas Morrow because they're somehow now best friends. He mopes around because he can't find a date, and she decides to fill out an application for him to go on the new show Hunks.

Bruce keeps moping around too. Some gorgeous (natch) woman saved his life at the prom, but she left before he could get her name. He heads to her school, sneaks around for awhile, and finds out that her name is Pamela Robertson and that she's on the tennis team. It's a match made in heaven. He then stalks her and asks her out on a date.

Their first date is so great that they go out a few more times. He tells Roger, who tells him to be careful and drops some hints about Pamela. When he tells his “friends” about her, Amy goes off about how everyone who knows Pamela knows that she's always up for a good time. The more he thinks about it, the more he realizes that other people kept trying to give him hints about her.

Since he's in love though, none of that matters. He shows up at her house one morning with roses and a picnic lunch, only to see her come home wearing grungy clothes from the night before. A guy drops her off, grabs her, and kisses her. She then sees Bruce and tells him that it was a guy she dated before and that she was ending things with him. He basically calls her a whore, throws the flowers at her, and storms out.

Then there's poor Lila. She accused her therapist of trying to take advantage of her during the prom. Chrome Dome makes her and her dad come in for a meeting with the therapist. Nothing really happens except for Nathan (therapist) promising her that he would never hurt her. She gets so upset that she fakes being sick to miss a week of school, stops showering, and wears old clothing.

Her dad really wants to know what's wrong with her but has no idea what to say or do. He finally makes the decision to call his ex-wife and tell her what's going on. When he tells Lila, she bursts into tears and throws herself into his arms. Lila just cries because all she wants is her mom.

Jessica spends half the book hating her twin and half the time realizing that she's to blame for Sam's death. She skips his memorial service at the race track because she can't handle the idea of seeing people who knew him. She thinks everyone will know that she's an evil person. As if they didn't already know...

This is also our first introduction to evil twin doppelganger Margo! She's a foster kid stuck living in New York with foster parents who don't care and a little foster sister named Nina who actually kind of loves her. After stealing from her foster parents, she sets up Nina to accidentally set the house on fire while making toast. She then lands in Cleveland and gets a job as a nanny. It doesn't take long before she learns that she hates the kid Georgie, wants to get naked with his older brother Josh, and steals from her employer. Margo also feels something pulling her and hears a voice telling her to go to California.

Elizabeth has no memory of what happened at the prom. She has flashes of hugging Sam and dancing with him, but she can't recall what happened when they left or even who drove the car. Steve comes home in the hopes of cheering up both twins but finds that everyone is depressed and that even their parents are kind of giving up. Jessica refuses to talk to her or even listen to her, and Todd has seemingly disappeared. Kids at school keep whispering about her and pointing at her all the time too.

This all leads up to the night when the cops show up at their door. They claim that because Ned is such a big deal that they didn't do anything sooner. Jessica silently freaks out because she assumes they found out about her spiking the drink and are there to arrest her. The cops ask Liz a bunch of questions that she can't answer and decide that she's just defiant and doesn't want to answer. After some back and forth, they finally announce that they came to arrest her. Jessica whines to herself about her parents showing Liz so much support while ignoring her, which makes her more resolved. She decides that Sam's death was clearly her twin's fault and that she will never tell anyone what she did.

*Bruce convinces himself that Amy was talking trash about Pamela because she and Barry had a fight and she clearly wants Bruce back. Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

*You have to love that Pamela claims she was ending things with the guy when she clearly came home in last night's clothes and Bruce actually saw her kiss the guy back.

*Amy finally realizes something is wrong with Lila when she doesn't want to go shopping. Nice to see that her time at Project Youth really helped her out.

*Steve actually remembers when his parents were separated and wonders if this will tear them apart again, which seems realistic.

*Lila's dad has no clue about what happened to John, which makes me wonder if he's curious why she's been seeing a therapist. That also seems like something the school should have called him about given the resolution of that plot.

*This book yet again makes me really hate Jessica. You spiked your sister's drink, let her get drunker all night long, and didn't stop her when she left mainly because you didn't know your boyfriend was with her. You're as much to blame as anyone.

*On the other hand, what the hell kind of alcohol was that?? If I remember right, Liz and Sam shared one drink, but she got so drunk that she blacked out most of the night?

*Liz has a nightmare where she sees Jessica on the beach but then isn't sure who it is because her sister could never look so coldly at her. Nice use of foreshadowing (insert sarcasm here), but she has apparently already forgotten how her twin treated her recently.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Babysitters Club Mysteries #28: Abby and the Mystery Baby


Since it's winter and Abby wants to stay in shape, she decides to jog home instead of taking the bus. She arrives home to find a bundle on the front porch that is actually a baby! He's wrapped in a little blanket and has a diaper bag but nothing else. Not sure what to do, she calls Kristy who immediately comes over with her grandmother. Her mom gets home in time to see everything and freak out a little.

Kristy called the police, and since they only have three officers on the force, Sergeant Johnson shows up. Abby's mom flips out a little when she sees the blanket wrapped around the baby and sneaks off to talk with him. After he speaks to Abby and everyone else, he decides to just let them keep the baby until they can find his mother. Abby decides to start calling him Eli.

Abby's mom clearly knows something is up. She takes a bunch of time off work, keeps acting really sneaky, and even glosses over the whole thing when her parents call. Abby investigates, but the only thing she finds is a receipt from a pharmacy in NYC. When she finally calls to check on it, she thinks it might be her mom's prescription. The guy has nothing under that name, so she asks about Goldberg, her mom's maiden name, and he says there is only one Goldberg registered with them and it's an M. Goldberg. Way to break confidentiality laws there, guy!

Mallory and Jessi started taking a writing class at the rec center and think they know who left the baby behind. It's a woman who wrote a story about a mom abandoning her baby. They spend half the book following her around like crazy people before finding out that she has no kids and just wrote a story. They also decide to host a writing event for the kids they sit for and throw a poetry slam at the end of the month.

The kids in Stoneybrook act like they've never seen a baby before. Like half the kids in town come over one day until Eli freaks out. They all sit down to work on their writing and all write stories about him. It's seriously freaky. The BSC members all start popping by too just to see him. Abby's mom finally hires a nanny named Erin, who they all suspect. Kristy thinks she's the mother or knows the mother because Erin accidentally called the baby EJ instead of Eli. Abby thinks she's just creepy. Yes, because being a 13 year old girl obsessed with babies is totes normal.

Abby decides to throw a sleepover so everyone can fawn all over him. Mary Anne brings him a quilted pillow she made, and everyone else goes crazy. They even fight over who gets to change his diaper. Abby's mom starts to tell her something important but changes the subject when the club members arrive. She then refuses to talk about it anymore.

This all leads up to her mom suddenly rushing out of the house one day. Abby goes through her stuff and finds a note with Miriam on it and remembers that her mom has a younger sister. Miriam was so wild and crazy that they all pretty much cut her off, and even her own parents stopped talking to her. Abby and Anna go through their mom's picture albums and only find pictures of Miriam when she was a kid.

Abby then calls a hospital in NYC, finds out her aunt is there, and leaves to take the train there. She gets to the hospital and sees her mom and her aunt. Her mom finally tells her that Miriam is a diabetic and stopped taking care of herself. She brought Daniel – the baby's real name – to them, started getting sick, and finally just left him there. She supposedly left a note too, but Abby's mom took it out. Miriam got even sicker and fell into a coma, which is why she never called or anything. Abby's mom says she'll be part of their family now and doesn't even punish her for sneaking into NYC on her own.

In the end, her grandparents come to town from Florida and make up with Miriam. They even ask her to come and live with them for awhile. They all head to the poetry slam and listen to the kids do all their crappy stuff. The best part is the triplets doing poetry about boogers and puking. Abby then reflects on the fact that she finally has her family together and how great she feels.

*Kristy isn't crazy about the poetry slam idea, but Mal explains that it's for all types of writing. Um, no, Mallory, it really isn't. A poetry slam is a poetry event; it's right there in the name.

*Abby's mom says that Miriam had Daniel a few months before she and the father broke up. Gasp, does that mean she had premarital sex??

*Miriam being wild and crazy was just basically her hanging out with guys who drove motorcycles and breaking her curfew. She apparently also asked her sister to bail her out financially a few times too. Oh yeah, I can totally see why they cut her off.

*I really dislike Abby's mom. First, there's no way someone who was in culinary school could suddenly get a job in publishing. I also hate that she decided to move them to Stoneybrook while still working in the city and thinks it's cool that her kids are home without her for like three hours every day.

*I also hate that Kristy has Charlie drop her and Abby off at meetings because her house is so far away, but there are so many mentions in later books of everyone jogging or riding their bikes back and forth.

*Mary Anne somehow makes a quilted pillow for Eli in less than a week. I know how long one of those projects takes, and she must have not done a single other thing.

*Even if the sergeant agreed that Eli/Daniel was Miriam's baby, I doubt he would let them keep him without going through the proper channels first. It also seems unbelievable that they would just hand him back to his mother later. She literally left him on a cold porch by himself!

*The writer says that she left a fully stocked diaper bag with him, but Abby didn't notice it squished in the seat until she picked up the baby. The writer obviously has no idea how big car seats are because there is no way there would be room for a diaper bag in there.

*Maria writes a story about a person in a green car dropping off Eli. Abby calls to ask her about it, she's asleep, and Shannon makes her get up to talk to her on the phone. Turns out that she was home sick from school, saw a green car pull up, and someone get out and put something on the porch. Miriam supposedly used her last few dollars to rent a car and drive out there.

*Claudia wears a red flannel mini dress with a black and white checked men's vest, red high tops, and black tights. It seems a little gungy for her.

*Stacey wears carefully ripped jeans with a stylish rip across the knee, brown Hush Puppies, a white long sleeve shirt, and a green vest. I totally wore something very similar in college around this time. Anyone else rocked the sweater vests?

*The book takes place in February, which makes the plot even worse. Miriam drops her kid off in winter, drives back to the city, and checks into the hospital. Was there not a hospital in Stoneybrook or somewhere nearby in Connecticut? Also, why wouldn't she just call and be like, “hey, I know we haven't spoken in awhile, but I'm super sick and need someone to watch my son”?

*In a super shitty move, Rachel – Mrs. Abby – actually cut her sister out of some pictures. Anna finds one of Rachel and her parents with Miriam cut out.

*I really don't like Abby and this book doesn't help. She thinks she has a special bond with Eli and in the end, she's like oh well he still has a bond with me but I guess it's okay he has one with his mom too.