Give Me a K-I-L-L by RL Stine

Yay, it’s Wednesday! Since the week is already halfway over, I figured I’d bring you a fun one. I’m also still pretty giggly from last night, so I wanted to share my giddiness with everyone else, and this is the perfect book to do that.

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Title: Give Me a K-I-L-L {288 pgs}

Genre: YA Thriller

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Summary:

At Shadyside High, cheerleading can be a scream!

For the first time since the original series, R.L. Stine brings back his most beloved characters—the cheerleaders of Shadyside High.

The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Heather Wyatt, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Heather make the squad—if there’s even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?

Look. It’s no secret that I love R.L. Stine {see here and here}, and I jump at the chance to review his new books. Are these newly relaunched Fear Street books amazing? Life-changing? Make me want to jump on a rooftop and praise Odin for giving us R.L. Stine? I mean…no. But they are campy and jumpy and make me laugh and remember how much fun it is to read these books. I’ve said this before, so I’ll skip it, but for reals, never doubt my love for R.L. Stine, no matter what I say in here.

I honestly thought about not requesting this book. I have so many NetGalley books in my Kindle that I almost cried. But then I saw Give Me a K-I-L-L was about cheerleaders. Shadyside High cheerleaders. If you don’t know why that’s a major selling point, let me direct you to a trio of books called Fear Street Series: Cheerleaders.

Oh yes.

I have never been a cheerleader in my life. I’m not coordinated enough {and I played soccer; go figure}. But all of my best friends in high school were cheerleaders and I liked to imagine them in these books. Not because they were particularly murderous or anything, but because I’ve always had an overactive imagination and my friends didn’t help any with their peppiness.

The Shadyside cheerleaders were sweet and peppy, until they weren’t. For reals, that should be the tag line. I remember reading The First Evil and thinking that it was tamer than his other books, until we reached the shower scene. And no, get your head out of the gutter, not that type of shower scene! No, this one involved a poor cheerleader who only wanted to take a shower, but then all the shower heads came on at once, pouring scalding hot water onto her until she basically burns to death.

Like. How could you not love these books?

So I was pretty stoked to read this one. Let me tell you: I was not disappointed.

Shadyside is apparently stuck in a time loop, because all the teenagers act and talk exactly the same as their older counterparts. I don’t even know how many of them said that something was “the pits,” but let me tell you: my grandparents would complain about their use of slang. But these teenagers have cell phones and FaceTime! They’re cool and hip!

They’re all also completely messed up, but isn’t that a timeless quality of teenagers?

First things first, the main character’s name is not Heather. Her name is Gretchen, but at one point, the boy she quickly falls in love with, Sid, says that she looks like a Heather, so there you go. Gretchen is…troubled. Her parents divorced and now she’s living on Fear Street with her, like, totally lame mom who asks super invasive questions like, how are you doing? and who were you talking to? What a snoop. Gretchen just wants to talk to her best friend from home, Polly, and be a normal teenager who tries out for the cheerleading squad and makes enemies because she’s so good.

Really, she’s good. I know this because Gretchen never stops reminding us how good she is. She’s a cheerleading god, and we should never forget that.

We first meet Gretchen talking to her super best friend forever, Polly, about how nervous she is about trying out for the Shadyside cheerleading squad. Polly reassures her, however, that Gretchen shouldn’t worry, because she’s so freaking good. Like, once you get to the end, you’ll realize how funny all of Gretchen’s conversations with Polly are, or, if you’re like me, you’ll find them funny from the first conversation because you’ve already figured out what’s going on.

Like I said: I’ve read all of R.L. Stine’s books.

Anyway, Gretchen meets Sid on her first day of school, when she’s going to talk to the cheerleading coach. Sid is cute {I think?} and funny, and he happens to be dating the head cheerleader, but he doesn’t let that stop him from hooking up with every girl in the world, and none of those girls seem to mind that he’s dating the head cheerleader and hooking up with every girl in the world. Seriously, Gretchen invites him over to her house, they make out all the time, and he meets her mom. Then she seems super surprised when people find out. Like, you’re not exactly hiding it, Gretch, are you? But that doesn’t matter, because she loves Sid {I think?} and she’s not going to let a little thing like a girlfriend {who, by the way, is super nice and friendly} get in the way.

Oh! Then there’s Gretchen’s arch-nemesis of a week, Devra Dalby. Devra is the rich snob whose father owns a string of department stores {he’ll be broke in a week, trust me} and she gets whatever she wants. What she wants now is to be on the cheerleading squad, after being an alternate her junior year, but Gretchen shows up with her godlike cheerleader moves and ruins that dream. Devra even tries to bribe Gretchen with a $1000 gift certificate to her father’s stores, if only Gretchen will step aside and let Devra be a cheerleader. But, no worries, Mr. Dalby just throws some of that department store money at the school and Devra is on the team.

Poor Gretchen is left in the cold {…on the bench as the alternate} and she’s starting to receive threatening text messages from Devra {gasp!}. But she’s not the only one in trouble. Two girls are burned in the process…literally burned, I mean. One from fire batons {what kind of school is Shadyside High? You’d think that they would try their best to avoid dangerous things, especially with the student body they’ve had}, and the other gets acid on her skin, so much acid that it burns right through her neck and rips open an artery. It’s like R.L. Stine reread his Fear Street series and was like, riiiiiight, fire!

But the cheerleading team must persevere, and they continue on with their cheers and their retreat. Oh, yes, their retreat where they’ll be in the woods for four days. Four days with only themselves for company. Four days without cell service, because this place conveniently doesn’t have any cell service. Four days with Sid in another cabin {oh, did I not mention that Sid is the equipment manager for the cheerleading squad? Because it’s apparently super hard for the cheerleaders to use their legs to walk over and pick up their own pom-poms}. Will another cheerleader bite the dust? Or is there a superhero in their squad?

Really, this is just a setup for my favorite part of the whole novel: the dialogue.

Gretchen befriends her neighbor, Madison, and goes over there one day to talk about the crazy text messages she’s been getting. She blabbers on about it for an entire page and then when Madison, a violin prodigy, complains that she’s been practicing for two hours because she has to play this big piece in front of the school, she says, almost in the same breath, completely seriously, “Oh, I’m sorry. We were talking about you. Sorry to be so self-obsessed.” To which Gretchen, in her infinite kindness, replies, “It’s okay,” then proceeds to continue talking about the text messages.

I just. I don’t even know.

But that wasn’t the best part! Sid gave me my best out for whenever someone is yelling at me. Courtney, Devra’s BFF, gets into a shouting match with Gretchen over who’s torturing who {because it’s obviously Gretchen torturing Devra, duh}, and instead of telling the hysterical ladies to calm themselves, Sid shouts {yes, shouts}, “Can you both dial it down? I’ve got sensitive ears.”

Just writing that made me laugh so hard that I had to step away from the computer for a few minutes.

Oh, but the end. THE END. Things happen and Gretchen saves the day {with a massive red herring hanging off her shoulders}, and she’s trying to build a better relationship with her mother. In a rush of love, her mother asks, “Would you like eggs for lunch?”

What.

Eggs?

Like, I understand that she means making the eggs into something, like scrambled or over easy or maybe just a bunch of hard-boiled eggs. I don’t know. But it sounds so funny when you read it at first. Lunch could have been anything: salad, grilled cheese, a double double from In-N-Out complete with animal fries and a vanilla shake {yummmmm}. But…eggs? I would have laughed in my mom’s face if she asked if I wanted eggs for lunch. She probably would have already been laughing.

Should you rush out to the bookstore on Tuesday and pick up a copy of Give Me a K-I-L-L for all of your friends and families and strangers you might meet on the street? Well…probably not. But should you grab this at the library on a quiet weekend because you want something to give you shivers and make you laugh at the same time? Then heck yes, because R.L. Stine is the master at that. His books are like the best parts of Freddy Krueger condensed into less than 300 pages, and that’s the best compliment I can possibly give someone.

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