I’m reading Stine’s Seniors, which are painfully 90s but entirely new to me. It’s a good combination. I get to be reminded of Barney and Baywatch, both of which were more painful than these books.
In all seriousness: I love every cheesy moment of these books.
#1: Let’s Party!
Even that title summons up the spectre of the 90s, doesn’t it? It’s like being confronted with a corpse in an acid-washed jean jacket, collar carefully popped.
Anyway. This book sort of has two plots, intertwined around Trisha’s party/Trisha’s vision of DOOM.
The central plot (I guess): Josie Maxwell is furious that she failed trig, and also hates Marla Newman for various reasons. So while visiting Jennifer Fear she casts a Doom Spell, like you would. The trigonometry teacher is killed but Marla survives, alas, because Josie uses a second spell to turn time back by one hour, thereby preventing the mass slaughter at the party.
B or possibly A plot, who knows: Josh Maxwell, Josie’s stepbrother, is having problems with his girlfriend. She’s hanging around with Clark Dickson, called Count Clarkula by his classmates. Threatening phone calls inform Josh she’s now “mine,” and the speaker threatens to drain her blood. So Josh decides Clark might really be a vampire, as well as girlfriend-stealing pond scum.
Josh breaks into Clark’s bedroom at one point, making me reflect on the curious lack of Fear Street slash, and finds a cape, dirt in the bed, and a lot of books about vampires. THAT PROVES IT. You know how the undead love to read about themselves.
In a typical Stine twist Clarkula dresses up as a vampire at Trisha’s party BUT Josh finds the unopened pack of plastic teeth SO THEREFORE Clark must really be a vampire. DUN DUN DUN.
Tying this all together: Trisha has a vision that the entire senior class will die, but throws a party anyway so as not to disappoint them. Then plans an elaborate murder game/hoax and temporarily has everyone convinced two people are actually dead. Good one, Trisha.
1. Jennifer Fear lives across the street from the burned out Fear mansion. A “new girl” moved into the house across from Fear Mansion way back in Party Summer, so maybe this is her? Or else the house changes hands a lot, but that seems unlikely given that it’s huge, creepy, Fear-related, and has a ballroom and a chapel. That sounds like a nightmare for a realtor to unload.
2 Someone at the party is from Waynesbridge, which is the Shelbyville to Shadyside’s Springfield. She’s in on the trick and is one of the people pretending to have been murdered.
1. Rich girl Trisha has a cellphone but not, like, WITH her; it’s in the car her dad took. Remember a time when people didn’t have their phones in their hands constantly? (Actually, I always forget to carry my phone, which I guess is a function of my age, and will undoubtedly be the death of me if I ever wake up in one of these novels).
2. Mickey and Marla talk about Baywatch. Specifically he jokes that he thought she was trying out for a part, and she tells him he could play the part of a drowning victim.
#2 In Too Deep
Oh man. This is set at summer camp. I love all stupid teen horror novels set at summer camp.
Specifically this is set at Shadyside Summer Camp, which sounds like such a bad idea. Then again, these are the same genius characters who repeatedly hold parties at “Fear Lake,” so clearly inside the universe of these books creepy names are not any kind of warning sign, in spite of the incredible body count.
The plot: Kenny Klein has a job as a counselor at the ominously-named Shadyside Day Camp. It’s a day camp that holds sleepovers once a week, so the kids still get assigned to cabins and have bunks. Awesome. I already know at least one person who appears to be a living camper or counselor will turn out to be a corpse from a previous summer, because I’ve read a lot of these and a lot of Goosebumps and I have a creeping sense of inevitability.
Kenny is told he has a disturbed kid among his nine-year-old boys, but he’s lost the notes that were sent to him on each camper so he doesn’t know who. Ahaha, brilliant. Instead of asking for another print out he just spends the whole book assuming it’s Vincent. It’s not an unreasonable assumption: aside from being named Vincent, the kid wears a mask to cover up scarring from some kind of accident, and stares at Kenny constantly.
The other plot: Although Kenny has a girlfriend, she’s away doing a summer SAT-prep course in California, so that leaves him free to flirt with the gorgeous blonde counselor he first meets walking along the shore of Fear Lake. Oh God, Kenny, you moron: clearly she’s a dead person. But no, he believes she’s a girl from Waynesbridge. He believes this LONG PAST the point when he should panic, which is when not only does she become creepily possessive but a woman at her listed address TELLS HIM her daughter Melly died when she was eight. COME ON, KENNY. You are dating a corpse.
1. Josie from book one, who was mad at Marla for taking her summer job, has a new job at Pete’s Pizza.
2. Kenny reflects several times on how hard it must be for Josh to hang out with the group now that Debra’s dating Clark Dickson. Clarkula!
3. Mary O’Connor (who didn’t get invited to the party in book one) was caught shoplifting, apparently.
All three of these references to the first book occur in the space of pages 31-35. Ha. It’s a scene included specifically for the purpose of creating a faint illusion of continuity, methinks. But I was absurdly pleased anyway.
“Yeah right! And she probably believes all the stuff she sees on The X Files, too.” (p.33)