Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review #3 - Point Horror - Homecoming Queen by John Hall or Seriously John, death in the Laundromat ?

Homecoming Queen by John Hall (Paperback, 1997)
Hello Book Lovers,

The story begins on the first day of the school year with our main character Melissa (ordinary PH) showing her friends ,since she began attending the school last Winter , Celeste DiPagila (Is that even a proper name ? she's the Mary Anne of the story) and Izzy (pretty much Claudia but if Claudia wore outrageous vintage pieces) , the transformation she undertook during the Summer for Senior year - basically Melissa's looks have gone from Mallory to Stacey.
Thanks to her new found beauty Seth, boy next door type ,her crush is caught checking her out in the hall much to the distaste of mean girls Laurel (who previously dated him and refuses to let him go - sounds like she's escaped from The Girlfriend by R.L Stine) and Betsy (whose name strangely makes me think of a cow so I guess her personality fits).
During homeroom there's an announcement of the first Homecoming for 25 years. Que time for the plot to kick in.
After a strange conversation about Tasty Tuna (Seriously John?) killing dolphins - Seriously John, did you steal this from a Dawn rant in BSC ? - Melissa asks why there hasn't been a Homecoming for so long.
It turns the last Homecoming Queen Brenda Sheldon was killed in a car accident after the last Homecoming dance along with 5 other students and the dance hasn't been held since to respect them. The dance is being held again because the school needs funding because it's basically more of a dump than most of the houses on Fear Street.
Seth comes up to the table to join them and when he leaves Laurel threatens Melissa to stay away from Seth because he belongs to her just like the Homecoming Queen crown. Melissa decides to prove Laurel wrong and runs for Homecoming in order to beat her and Betsy (the cow).
Her campaign begins when she breaks into the school to put up her posters up before the other contestants.Naughty Point Horror teaching us to commit crimes and foul play again. Suspiciously and sensibly Celeste stays in the car as she fears admonishment.
When she's putting the posters up she discovers the Homecoming Queens throne, robe, crown and scepter in the theatre room and on human impulsive tries them on then sits on the throne. Her dreams of the crown are interrupted when she looks up and sees a sand bag (Seriously John, couldn't you think of a more intimidating weapon ?) headed for her head.
Predictably she escapes in the nick of time and notices that Laurel, Betsy (a cow and a spy) and Betsy's creepy boyfriend (if she's a cow would that make him a bull?) Zach.Their relationship is described as being like Fatal attraction. Look at Point Horror naming the films they've ripped off.  The terror trio have ripped all of her posters down - mean people are mean - so she leaves in a hissy fit like the mature seventeen year old she is.
The next day the first week's (out of 3) Homecoming Queen results are announced and Melissa's in the lead thanks to a light effect Izzy did with the posters. Of course Laurel comes over to the table in a furious rage saying she'll be Homecoming Queen no matter what. Seriously John , they'll be at college next year it won't even matter then and no one will remember, stop with the over dramatic statements.
Seth offers to ride Melissa home (don't carpool with almost strangers Melissa) and a revelation occurs. He spent $20 dollars worth of votes for Melissa to become Homecoming Queen - which is a fine line on the border of creepy and romantic - and they kiss making a date for next Saturdays county fair . Seriously John, a county fair ?
Anyway the 'walking on sunshine' feeling comes to an abrupt end when she returns home to an angry Celeste whom she'd accidentally double booked (yeah sounds like Mary Anne in my previous read Babysitters mystery #26) but she's forgiven when told the reason.
At the library that evening Melissa meets other Homecoming contestants Tia and Faith - the schools friendly gossipers. So basically a duo version of Caroline Pearce (SVT).They invite her to a 'popular' party  and she's overjoyed - way to ditch your friends.
On her way home she sees a girl in a white blood stained dress resembling Brenda Sheldon who tells her "Wear the crown and you will die ... just like me." So from Friday -Monday none of the lights in my house were working. Can you imagine how much scarier this scene seemed with only a feeble lamp at midnight ?
Izzy convinces her the next day that it was probably Laurel or Betsy (a ghostly cow?) but it plays on Melissa's mind for days.
Seth invites Melissa to go roller-skating on Friday (like in my previous re-cap of Left Behind coincidentally) and she agrees obviously. But  oh the horror ! She's double-booked accidentally again (unorganised idiot).
Celeste - whose making herself more clearly crazy by the chapter - throws another hissy fit because they were supposed to be going shopping for Homecoming dresses however Melissa resolves the issue by going shopping with them that evening.
At the mall that evening, Melissa spots a sexy scarlet dress -Seth's in for something good - in the boutique but deems it inappropriate. Eventually she picks a strappy teal dress instead - doesn't sound quite so appealing. Poor Seth.
Laurel overhears them talking about Melissa going to the dance with Seth and so ensues a jealous rage. Melissa  blames it on Izzy because she practically screamed across the shop about Seth. They make up again when Izzy has another great idea - watch out Kristy she's giving you a run for your babysitting money - give out chocolates with 'Vote for Melissa' written on a strip of paper inside.
Tension and double booking rise again (Seriously John?) when news of the party reach them as it clashes with their John Hughes movie marathon - don't you forget about them Melissa. They claim she's ditched them for the popular crowd (which she totally has) and she storms out.
Flash forward to the next day when Melissa's at the gym and so are Laurel, Faith,Izzy as well as Zach. She and Faith rest after their workout by getting carrot juices at the bar (yuck! A Dawn concoction) together but Faith leaves to use the tanning beds soon after.
Big mistake! The tanning bed was tampered with so it would burn her so she couldn't run for Homecoming  Queen anymore or have her party.
It's Friday, Friday gotta get down on Friday - time for Seth and Melissa's roller-skating date. Seth asks Melissa to the Homecoming dance and she's only just had time to accept when Laurel (her companion cow not far behind) interrupts by 'spraining her ankle' directly in front of them forcing Seth rushes her to hospital.
To soothe her achy breaky heart she goes to see a carefree horror movie with her friends called The Strangler. Barely into the film Melissa feel like someone's strangling her and they are but not intentionally - mistaken identity.
Something sinister is awaiting Melissa at home - a bouquet of dead roses with a note attached that says :
To clarify that Brenda Sheldon is not victimising her , like any sane person, Melissa chooses to got to a graveyard in the middle of the night to check if she has a grave. Seriously John ? Izzy accompanies her however not for long as Izzy suddenly disappears and Brenda comes crawling out of her grave ,lunging for Melissa! Of course it's actually a dream - YA may be far-fetched but not the far-fetched *coughs* except for *coughs* SVH The Evil Twin *coughs*.
In P.E the next day Tia asks to borrow Melissa's text book from her locker.When she opens Melissa's locker a swarm of ruthless bees are unleashed and begin worsening her complexion. Melissa's convinced that Laurel and Betsy (I suppose cows are good bee-charmers) are guilty but when she tells them her suspicions they say that she put the bees in her own locker knowing that Tia would have to borrow a text book - because that's totally logical.Zach might be the one who's truly the culprit as he was sighted by Celeste near the scene of the crime - told you he was shifty.
 Melissa wins the homecoming queen vote count yet again but there's still another week until the winner is announced. The happiness continues on her date with Seth on Saturday at the county fair were they do the cliché things : he wins her a teddy bear on the bullseye hammer thing and after that they share a steamy kiss in the tunnel of love - Ooh Saucy !
Unfortunately there isn't a perfect ending to this evening because Seth takes Melissa to the haunted house. Somehow they become separated in the hall of mirrors and Melissa ends up being almost be-headed by a masked axman (which turns out not to be part of the attraction) but luckily only the teddy suffers his wrath. R.I.P Teddy.
The weekend becomes progressively worse when she gets a phone call that tells her "Almost lost your head tonight, Melissa. That would have been awful. A Queen can't wear her crown without her head."
Things don't improve on Monday as Betsy takes the Homecoming Queen crown instead of her and Izzy threatens to kill her so Melissa can have her dream night with Homecoming King Seth.
That night Melissa goes to the Laundromat. Later she's thirsty so leaves for a short while. Upon her return she notices that the washers cycle is complete and reaching inside it she finds a severed head... 
Thankfully it's a fake planted there by Laurel and Betsy (cows just wanna have fun !) and she leaves as they cackle. Seriously John, this story is set in the late 20th century, does no one have a washing machine in this town ?
Melissa's halfway home when she realises she's forgotten the text book she was revising from at the Laundromat so she goes back for it. Instead of finding her textbook though she finds Betsy's corpse ! Seriously John, death in the Laundromat ?

 Melissa's Homecoming Queen now but she might not even be able to go to the dance because she finds her dress slashed to shreds. Celeste has a back up for her though - a beautiful white fairytale dress that belonged to her Aunt.
Melissa didn't even know Celeste had an Aunt so she begins asking questions about her and Celeste tells her it was Brenda Sheldon ! Before you know it knifes out,Celeste is confessing to everything. Her motive was that she didn't want anyone to replace her Aunt as Homecoming Queen and that Brenda had become a disrespected myth.
The book ends with Celeste being electrocuted by a pond (Seriously John?) and Melissa ends up with a happily ever after.
This is another really awesome point horror - there's plenty of 'scary' scenes and the ending is pretty unpredictable. The cover gives a good demonstration of the goodness - not as spine tingling as Spring Break but better than Call Waiting. Just proves that you should judge books by their covers kids.
My rating of Homecoming Queen : 4 out of 5 stars
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Another re-cap will be posted promptly,

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