Friday, December 2, 2016

Goosebumps #41: Bad Hare Day

Tim loves magic and dreams of being a professional magician like his idol Amaz-O. Until then though, he just puts on shows for his friends. His sister, Ginny who is a total brat, keeps interrupting and making him look stupid. During one show, she starts trying to attack him with karate moves as the other kids laugh. Since this is an R.L. Stine book, his parents do nothing.

He and his best friend Foz head to the local magic shop. Mr. Malik, the owner, rushes out of nowhere with a sword sticking through his chest. After begging them to help, he laughs and shows them it was just a trick. He makes rude comments about how they never spend any money while showing them a bunch of $200-500+ tricks for sale. Right before they leave, he gives them two tickets to the Amaz-O show at the Midnight Mansion.

Ginny naturally assumes that she will go with him since Foz can't because of his aunt's birthday. They fight over the ticket until their parents tell them that since it's on a school night, neither one is going. Tim tries out his latest trick to make Foz's sister's rabbit disappear. The rabbit runs away and almost gets eaten by a cat, which causes everyone to laugh at him. Since he wants to learn better tricks, he sneaks out that night to go to the show. Ginny catches him and demands that she go too or she'll wake up their parents.

The host originally tells them that they can't get in without their parents but accepts their lie that their parents are right behind them. Amaz-O himself singles out Tim in the crowd to be his volunteer at the end. Amazo-O does a few tricks like having a flock of birds fly out of his hat and seemingly eating a bunch of needles and thread before spitting out a series of threaded needles. At the very end, he does make Tim disappear, but Tim just slides down a chute on the stage. The only problem is that no one ever comes to get him and the only door he can find is locked.

He manages to get the door open and actually find the star's dressing room. When Amaz-O tells him to get lost and calls him a punk though, he steals the magician's case. Ginny naturally demands that he share it with her, but he says that the magician gave it to him as a thank you gift. Ginny then says he shares it with her or she'll tell their parents. Security guards then come out of nowhere, and they just barely get away, which is hard because Ginny almost doesn't find her bike.

Instead of sharing it with her though, he opens it up himself. The case explodes, he flips out, and then he discovers a computer chip hidden in the case that makes an explosion sound. While wearing the magician's coat, he feels something weird and suddenly sees snakes coming out of all the pockets. After throwing off the jacket and almost screaming, he sees that the snakes are all just electronic.

Ginny gets pissed that he used the case without her and confesses everything to their mom. Lucky for them, she was washing dishes and didn't hear. When he tries to do a trick involving a palmed ball under a cup, nothing works. Balls suddenly appear under each cup, and more balls fall out of the case. A torrent of snakes and doves follow. While fighting with a magic wand he winds, he accidentally turns Ginny into a rabbit. An improvement, I think.

After trying a few things that don't work, a piece of paper with instructions on it falls out of his pocket. The paper naturally flies off, and despite running for blocks, they can't catch it. Since their parents arrive unexpectedly, Tim and Foz take Ginny back to the Midnight Mansion only to find it locked. No worries, Tim finds a hidden back entrance and sneaks them inside.

They get to the dressing room, see Amaz-O laying down, and call his name a bunch of times before shaking him. He instantly rolls into the floor, and they realize that he's just a dummy. The real Amaz-O is actually a talking white rabbit. He tells the kids that he was once the world's best magician until a sorcerer transformed him into a rabbit. Though he'd like to help, there's absolutely nothing he can do about Ginny. Yay! I mean, aw, that's so sad.

The only reason he can't help is because the magic will wear off on its own. Tim asks Foz to take Ginny back home while he talks to Amaz-O. The magician is so impressed with his work that he offers to take Tim under his wig and make him part of the show. Tim agrees without thinking twice and later learns that Amaz-O switched places with him so that he's now a rabbit. It's not too bad though. Even though he has to use the name Fluffy, he gets to be on stage every night...

*Ginny keeps making this boi-oi-oing noise that is just as annoying as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory and really makes me want to punch her.

*Midnight Mansion was once a private home, but the woman who lived there went crazy, had 50 cats, and would throw rocks at visitors. Someone bought it and turned it into a club after she dies, but that seems like the kind of reputation that never really goes away.

*Tim's mom supports Ginny's karate classes because she needs to defend herself but has no time for his magic tricks. She just rolls her eyes. They also say nothing after his sister kicks him in the stomach except to point out that he's fine a few hours later.

*Ginny knows Tim used the case without her because she finds it hidden in the attic and sees it was opened. Doesn't that mean she planned on using it without him?

*The sorcerer's name was Frank. Tim comments on it, and the rabbit literally rolls his eyes since Tim's best friend is named Foz.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sweet Valley High Magna Edition: Jessica's Secret Diary

This secret diary takes place between books #30 and #40 and involves Jessica going after Jeffrey behind her twin's back.

Jessica has a new beau named Jack. He's tall, handsome, and has the more perfect eyes. For the first time since Sam died, she actually thinks she's happy. While at a Bruce party, Lila and Amy keep rolling their eyes because she won't shut up about him. She finally admits that she's in love with him and that she can't wait to tell him.

The only problem is that she's in the middle of yet another identity crisis. She recently failed a French test that Elizabeth aced. While dancing with Jack, another couple bump into them and apologize, calling her Elizabeth. To cope with it, she imagines the first time she met Jack and how he keeps coming over all the time to see her. She's sure he's about to tell her he loves her, especially when he takes her for a romantic walk on the beach.

When she tells him how she feels though, he drops a bombshell. He's actually in love with her twin. Despite the fact that they've been dating, spending a lot of time together, and apparently making out, he loves Liz. Jessica rushes home and decides to run away yet again. As she starts packing though, she comes across her secret diaries and sits down to read.

Remember when Jessica completely changed her look with the hair dye and everything? We learn that she actually had a crush on Jeffrey back then. When she found out he liked her new look, she couldn't stop thinking about the way his hand felt on her shoulder. Then, when she discovered that he was still in love with her twin, she was more than a little disappointed.

After like 100 pages, we still aren't up the Jeffrey story, so let's look at what does happen.

*Jessica brings home Prince Albert.
*She grows excited about Maria's secret engagement.
*She sells Tofu Glow products.
*After trying to break up Cara and Steven yet again, she contemplates breaking up Liz and Jeffrey because he's like totally the perfect boyfriend ever.
*Susan Stewart finds out her caretaker is her mom and that her dad is famous.
*When Liz looks at going away to school in Switzerland, Jess thinks she's stupid for leaving behind such a hunk of a boyfriend.

Jessica dresses up like her twin to talk with Jeffrey about Switzerland. He admits that he feels like she doesn't care what he thinks and tells her how much he loves her. She pushes the issue enough that it looks all wounded. Jess then comes home and writes in her diary about how she's completely and totally in love with Jeffrey French. She also contemplates telling her sister to go so she'll have a shot with him but decides that keeping Liz in Sweet Valley is way more important.

After Amy steals Bruce from Regina and Regina goes crazy, Jessica finally gets her shot with Jeffrey. Liz asks her to pass a long a message that she's too busy with school to meet him for their date. Instead, she dresses up like her twin and goes out with him. She gets by not knowing past conversations because he thinks she's so worried about her friend.

Jeffrey tells her that she's more intense than usual and that it intrigues him. They take a walk on the beach, he kisses her, and they both get really really into it. He then stops and pulls away because it took him like an hour to realize he wasn't kissing his girlfriend. Jessica says she saw guilt, shock, and even excitement in his eyes. Instead of walking away though, he grabs her and kisses her again. When they walk back to the car, she says that they both knew it was the first and last time they would ever kiss because Liz meant so much to them both.

The last few pages deal with Regina's death. In the end, Jessica puts down her diary and cries because as bad as her life is, at least she has a life, unlike Regina. She then puts all of her stuff away and decides to stick around.

*Jessica mentions multiple times how lame, dull, and boring Todd is. Ah, true love.

*Jack is a douche. He literally tells her that he didn't realize she had such strong feelings for him. Really dude? The girl you've been dating for weeks might have feelings for you?

*She's actually cool with being fake married to Winston in this book, unlike the original. She says that at least he'll make her laugh.

*There's an actual sweet mention of how she feels bad for Lila because even though she has lots of money, she doesn't have a mother.

*Gag me with a spoon! She actually says gag me with a spoon! Also, gag me with a ski pole! LOL

*The back makes it seem like this book is all about Jessica sneaking around with Jeffrey, but it's totally not. She mentions having a crush on him or thinking he's cute and/or perfect a few times, they share one kiss, and that's it. So disappointing.