Thursday, 1 May 2008

Her boyfriend's back . . . FROM THE GRAVE

Jennie Earlier this week, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I should pick a book from my childhood to read. You know, since we're supposed to be reviewing books from our childhoods this week? Luckily, Internets, I got a package (hee) in the mail last week containing several R.L. Stine books. Now, I read my fair share of Babysitters Club books (OK all of them) but when I discovered R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, I knew I had found my people. I LOVED these books. LOVED THEM. And they obviously had some sort of effect on me (see: The Evil Summer). And so, this week, I decided to read The Boyfriend (check out that cover art) by R.L. Stine. Here's the synopsis from the back of the book:

Too bad about Dex. He was in love with Joanna. She broke up with him. And then he died. Joanna's sorry, of course. But it's not her fault he's dead, is it? Besides, she never loved him. Boys are just toys, to be used and thrown away. But this time, Joanna's gone too far. Because Dex is back. From the dead. For one last date with her . . .

Aren't you dying to read this book now? Luckily, you don't have to because I'm going to tell you what happens. OK, so sit down because this story is going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Our protagonist (I guess?) is a teenage girl named Joanna. She has no feelings, you see. She's cold. Brr. We know she's cold because about 80 billion people call her cold throughout the course of the book. Her dad left her mother for his secretary (how cliche) and Joanna thinks her mom is mousy and old and boring. Joanna is dating this guy named Dex, who is her opposite in every way. She's preppy and rich, he wears leather jackets and rock shirts (gasp!) and he lives in a part of town that smells like garbage. Apparently. ANYWAY. Joanna wants to break up with Dex, but instead of just telling him that it's not him, it's her, she just treats him like shit. For instance. She's supposed to meet him at the mall, but instead, she stands him up. Only she doesn't just stand him up. She hides behind a pillar or something and watches him AS SHE'S STANDING HIM UP. She's COLD.

So later, Dex shows up at her house and climbs in the window (because that's what bad boys do) and convinces her to go to the Promontory, which is this place kids go to make out. And there are cliffs there. That will be important later. For some reason, Dex's friend Pete was there, too. I guess this will be important later. Whatever. So, in the midst of hanging out by the cliffs, Dex is fucking around and accidentally falls and dies. Or so Joanna thinks. She mentions something about hearing a noise like eggs cracking, which I suppose was supposed to tell us that Dex broke all of his bones. I seem to remember this description from a lot of R.L. Stine books. Lame.

WELL. Joanna freaks out. She's afraid she's going to get in trouble for being out so late, so she runs away and leaves poor Dex at the bottom of the quarry. BUT. She's all preoccupied while she's driving (you know, because she just watched her BF fall off a cliff), so she gets in an accident. She lives, though. I mean, she has to, otherwise the story is over. When she wakes up, her mom is all worried and her friend Mary is sort of worried (Mary also tells us ALL THE TIME that Joanna is COLD) and then Pete comes to visit. He tells her Dex died and Joanna? She doesn't react at all. She doesn't even cry. Because she's COLD. Actually, she blames it on the fact that she's drugged (on account of the car accident) but we know she's lying. Because we're inside her head. Because she's the main character.

And THEN, Dex shows up and Joanna is all, "aren't you dead?" and he's like, "clearly I'm not," and she's all, "OK, let's keep dating." Because my first thought when my boyfriend comes back from the dead is, "oh, I am going to hit that." But whatever, Joanna and I are obviously different people. So she starts dating Dex again WHILE she's dating this other guy named Shep. I don't remember exactly what happens next, but suffice it to say, Joanna is a huge bitch who keeps dating Shep and Dex at the same time. Although, she starts getting weirded out when Dex's skin starts falling off. I mean, wouldn't you? And then . . . hold on, let me think. Um, OK. Oh! Mary, Shep, and Pete come over to Joanna's house and then Dex comes in! And says he's going to kill Joanna! So Joanna stabs him in the heart. Or so she thinks. Actually, this was all an elaborate prank that Dex, Pete, and Mary came up with to teach Joanna a lesson. Obviously, Shep didn't really want to talk to Joanna anymore once she killed her ex-boyfriend. Then Dex starts haunting her. But he wasn't really dead. Either time. Like, when he fell off the cliff? He didn't die. And the knife Joanna stabbed him with was a stage knife. Also, it turns out Mary and Dex were all in love or whatever.

Now, as I was reading this, I realized I'd read it before. Which makes sense, because I used to own approximately 800 R.L. Stine books. And I sort of thought I remembered how it ended, but I kept thinking, "that can't be right, that doesn't make any sense." Well. It turns out I WAS right. And it DIDN'T make any sense. It made almost as much sense as The Evil Summer, which makes me wonder why R.L. Stine is rich and I am not.

THE END (or is it?)

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