Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final Friends Book 1: The Party

It was their last year of school... Maybe the last year of their lives

They wanted to throw a party....

The Party - Christopher Pike
1988, 212 pages

Before we talk about ANYTHING else: check out that red mullet in the lower right corner. Yeeeow! Hurtin' hairdo alert.

Mesa High has gone out of business, so Tabb High will educate Mesa's students from now on. Friends and former Mesa students Jessica, Sara, and Alice plan to have a party at Alice's place to mix the two schools' students together.

Right off the bat we learn that Alice, age 14, is perfect. She doesn't even perspire, because her blonde curls reflect the sun away. Jessica, 16, and brunette, is apparently ewwwy with sweat. You know, because of her hair.

Jess is a little low self-esteemy and it grates. "She believed, like most teenage girls who don't date much, that there was something wrong with her, something missing." Yeah, Jess. Boys complete you. They're not, like, totally annoying or anything either. And Alice's poor sister Polly... don't even go there. "When thin, Polly was a doll." When fat, she's a fucking obscene monster, I guess.

Alice already has a friend at her new school, Michael Olson. Her secret fantasy is to set up Michael and Jessica. Unfortch, Mike and Jess end up sharing a locker and meet before Alice's dream introduction. Is that, like, bad enough to kill yourself over?

The big names at Tabb are Clair Hilrey, head cheerleader; and her boytoy Bill Skater, who is always, always, always called Bill Skater. Also on the hot list: Russ Desmond, track star; and The Rock, football douchewad. On *my* not list: Michael's BFF Bubba, a 5'4" tubba who is irresistible to girls. God, what gives with the girls at this school? Bubba... I kinda hate him. And Mike too. Seriously. "Michael chuckled at the crude manner in which Bubba referred to Jessica." What immature bastards! Even though the reference wasn't even that bad.

One would think that Mike would have more respect for women because he loves his mom like I love scandalous gossip, soooo - OMG - did you hear about Mike's mom? She got knocked up two years ago and had an abortion, even though Mike begged her not to. Mike dreams about the unborn sibling and imagines that it's Alice/would be Alice/is like Alice. In some way. Not really sure. Don't ask me.

To create additional first-week-of-school drama, Alice and Jess practice bitchery by signing Sara up to run for school president. And she wins! More on that later...

Meanwhile, in the weight room, ghetto transfer student Nick is trying to work out. His blackness irritates some of the jockstraps, so The Rock tries to start something. Uh, bad move. Nick knees The Rock's stones, and no one really wants to mess with him after that.

After, Nick needs a Coke but doesn't have enough change. Instead of running from the big black guy, sweet Maria gives him correct change. Awww.

Moments later, Sara shows up at the same machine to buy a 7-Up. Uh, I call shenanigans. Maybe it's a homemade pop machine. Because Coke and 7-Up don't usually get along. Maybe Nick calls all pop "Coke" as some people apparently do. We'll never know, because Sara's change gets stuck and she tips the machine over. Easy, Rambo.

While fleeing the scene of the pop machine massacre, Sara steps into the path of Russ Desmond, who happens to be running a track race. He takes time to see that she's all right, and it's love at first sight (for Sara). We'll come back to that.

Uh, back to Mike! He works at 7Eleven. Nick comes in and pays for a pop with silver dollars. It's obvious that he's down to his last resort money, so Mike offers him a job cleaning the stockroom. He starts straight away, and everything is awesome until a masked guy enters with a gun. Nick karate kicks the gun into the cereal aisle while Mike plays butterfingers with the till. Nick Irish-whips the guy into a beer pyramid, and that's when shit gets real.

It's Kats, local dropout/reject, here to play a prank on Mike. Kats is "one of those rare people that no one respected." Bwah!

Since Mike and Nick hit it off so well, they go to the football game together. Mike meets Alice's mysterious new boyfriend/art instructor, Clark. Clark is a sad sack combo of a freakin' knob and a skeletized creep. He used to be Polly's beau... well, make-out friend, until he dropped her for Alice.

Bubba takes advantage of Bill Skater being on the playing field to ask out Bill's girlfriend, Clair. He bribes her with non-existent U2 tickets, and she agrees to a date. Mike, having developed a crush on Jessica during their locker meet-ups, talks to her for a while and eventually realizes that Jessica is the girl that Alice has mentioned to him. He's embarrassed that Alice has told Jessica about how Mr. Fantastic he is. Plus, Jess is totally digging Bill Skater.

Polly, being a lardy outcast, takes a walk alone during the game. She comes upon a drunken fiend with a ax chopping the hell out of a schoolyard tree. It's Russ Desmond, track star. I guess his race didn't go so good. He got kicked off the team or something. He thinks Polly is Sara, which is farfetched as hell, because isn't Polly fat or something? I'm never sure, because it's not like it's brought up every time Polly is mentioned or anything. Anyways, Polly decides to take advantage of the mix up and drives Russ home.

Later on, Bubba gives Mike and Nick a pick-up-chicks lesson so they can bag Jessica and Maria. Mike finds Jessica studying her chem book. She's been having problems with the lab lingo, and Mike edited the chem manual, so she asks if he'll tutor her in exchange for her taking him to a movie. Ha, that was easy.

Nick is braver, but not as smooth. Maria is carrying a bag of oranges in the hallway when Nick spots her. She gives him one, and he tries to pull the casual-guy-leaning-against-wall/locker/etc-with-arm-above-girl's-head, but fails miz when the orange IN HIS LEANING HAND is squished and squirts into Maria's eye. That would hurt. She must be really soft spoken, because she didn't even swear. And she actually agrees to a date with this oaf.

It's later again, and in the meantime Sara used her school president gig to get Russ Desmond back on the track team. Now everyone is gathered to watch him race. After the race, Sara and Russ talk. In Russ's mind Sara is Sara, but "Sara" also includes Polly from the night of the football game, and he wants his ax back out of her car trunk.

The whole thing makes no sense to Sara, and he totally doesn't appreciate that Sara got him back onto the team, so she storms away. Russ asks Jessica, who was standing nearby, if Sara's got her period or what. Soooo, ignoring that fact that Russ is a complete bastard, Jess sets him up on a date with Sara. Why she did that, and why he agreed to it... maybe Book 2 will explain.

So, next it's date night. Bubba has his phony U2 concert with Clair, Mike and Jess, Nick and Maria, and Sara and Russ all have dates. Despite all starting the night on their individual ways, the four couples meet in line at the movies.

Some dates have been good. Bubba and Clair really hit it off in the back of his car, even though he lied. Maria confided in Nick that her family are illegal aliens. Mike and Jess bore me. And "The Date That Should Never Have Happened" starring Russ and Sara. He was late, he was disheveled, he was half lit, the only reason he showed up at all was because Jess called to harass him, and now he has no money for movie tickets. Aaaaaaand, to make a terrible night worse, Sara finds out that the reason Russ is being distant/a douche is because he didn't actually want to go out with her!!! Sara runs away crying, and Jessica and Mike cut their night short to drive her home.

After dropping off Sara, Jess tells Mike to take his chem help and shove it. Ok, not really. I wish! She just says she won't be needing him. It's because she doesn't want to take time away from his own studies, but he doesn't know that and ends up all demoralized.

Mike avoids Jess all week before the party. He sees her getting closer to Bill Skater and gives up all hope.

TGI P(arty) N(ight). Polly tries hanging out with Russ, but he doesn't know her, remember? Bubba wants to hang out with Clair, but she doesn't want to be seen with him around her friends. OMG - that is sooooo Breakfast Club. Mike spots Jess and Bill Skater talking and destroys a charades game in anger... just kidding. It was a ping pong table. There are no charades at this party.

Polly and Alice try to keep a close eye on the house. Their parents are dead, so they live with an elderly aunt, who has been sent away for the night. They have a little confrontation upstairs when Polly bugs Alice about where Clark is and Alice says she isn't seeing him anymore, and then leaves in anger without getting the paper cups out of the top of the closet like she was supposed to.

Since there's a ladder handy, Polly changes a burnt out light in one of the bedrooms. Her hands are a little wet and she is electric-charged to the ground. She's a'ight, though. No worries. When Polly goes back downstairs, she finds that the party is getting out of hand.

Ways To Tell The Party Is Out Of Control: A Simple Guide:
#1: Kats is in the house. You don't ever let Kats in your house.
#2: Jessica is looking for a way to lose her virginity to Bill Skater.
#3: Clair is using lines like: "Let's go, big boy... Time to get wet... Time to get down" to get Bill Skater's attention back.
#4: The Rock is ready for Round 2 with Nick.

Ooooh, let's elaborate on that one. A coupla meatheads hold Nick in the pool while The Rock takes Nick's shorts off, leaving him naked, kneeling, in the shallow end. Bubba loves fights, and showing off his wang, so he gives his trunks to Nick so Nick can kill The Rock.

It's a major rumble, with the football team featuring The Rock vs. Nick and possibly Mike, if he doesn't wuss out. Polly's not gonna put up with the nonsense, and tosses chlorine powder into The Rock's eyes.

That kinda kills the party.

Mike and Alice take advantage of the quiet to have a nice conversation about Jessica and stuff. The few people left are in other parts of the house doing different stuff. That's all I can tell you, or else this recap is gonna run to novella length. Anyways, Nick goes upstairs to the can. The atmosphere is eerie. There's a gunshot. The following people gather to find Alice on the floor with a gun in her mouth: Mike, Nick, Maria, Sara, Polly, Jessica, Kats, Bill, Bubba, Clair, and The Rock. And maybe Russ Desmond. He says he was "sleeping" in another room, but seriously, who doesn't hear gunshots and wake up?

Just like in Remember Me, a suicide funeral gets a poor turnout. What's WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!??? Don't you remember Alice is perfect???

The police had held Nick, Russ, The Rock, and Kats. Kats owned the gun Alice (or someone) used. Nick's fingerprints were on it, but he'd snatched it away from Alice when they found the body. The deal is that because of Nick's location when the shot was fired, there's no way anyone else shot Alice unless he or she could walk through walls.

Nick lost his new job, and Maria won't talk to him because of all this. Mike shadows the cop on the case, Lt. Keller. Mike knows Alice wouldn't kill herself, and MUST PROVE IT. He confronts Keller with some new theories, which, in my opinion, need work.

Somehow, Mike is allowed into Alice's house alone and unsupervised to draw a diagram of the rooms in the house and where everyone was when Alice was killed. Jessica shows up to pack some things for Polly, who is sedated in hospital.

Mike is blind with rage at Jessica for saying to the cop that yeah, it did look like a suicide. He knows someone killed Alice. Someone! Another person... or maybe a couple of people... or MAYBE all of them working together!! Haha, how would they pull that off? There's like 76.5 characters in this book. Why couldn't more of them have died NOW, so I don't need to bother with them next book?

See you next week for the middle installment of the Final Friends trilogy, and this weekend I'll be posting some very special blog info, so stay tuned for that. Happy Halloween!!!


Anonymous said...

yikes most of the characters are annnnoying!! This used to be my fave Pike book as a teen (the trilogy) and i cannot remember why at all! Shallow and self centred lead protagonists, none of the usual gore and schlock of other Pike books :( but I could not stop reading recently!
Jessica? Blegh!
thanks for the awesome recap!

SilverSparkles said...

I don't actually recall reading the Final Friends trilogy, but I must have, as I was a huge Pike fan. Hmmm...

Anyway, looking forward to the next installment!! Maybe something will ring a bell then.

Loving your recaps, they're terrific.

zanne said...

So far, this doesn't seem quite as exciting as I remember. There are so many characters! I don't know how you kept them all straight.

Can't wait for the next recap!

BananaBomb said...

I couldn't stand Mike. Or Jessica. Oh hell, I even hated Alice. I think I hated all of them but Sara and Russ. What a messed up book this was.

Fear Street said...

There is so much hilarious stuff in this, I can't pick just one thing to comment on. :p

Anonymous said...

New to your blog, but I'm already hooked.

Words cannot express how much I loved this trilogy when I was like 12. I actually stole the books from the library and read them until the pages fell out. I'm pretty sure I wanted to be Sara when I grew up.

Unknown said...

Oh man, I loved this series when I was a teenager, and I still have a soft spot for it. I excuse everyone's douch/bitchiness with the fact that they are SoCal teenagers, LA at that, so it's totally natural! (I'm from OC, so I really shouldn't judge.) Looking forward to the next recap!

Deathycat said...

I loved this series. I still love it. Sara was always my favorite. ^_^

Gnatalby said...

Wow, Pike had a real thing for diagramming the house of murder/suicides (as in Remember Me). I can't imagine this is such an indispensableu forensic tool.

Alex said...

I read these books. I actually thought they were okay. A lot of the characters were complete idiots (Jessica, Mike, and Alice especially), but Sara and Bubba are just awesome.

Anonymous said...

Haha, love it! Awesome summary. Actually, make that awesome summaries. Damn you for stealing so much of my sleep tonight.

Rose Heredia said...

Hilarious commentary! I laughed so hard. Reading the commentary on just this one book reminds me why this trilogy is so forgettable - too many people to keep track off - how exhausting!

I read this series when I was like 13 (I'm 29 now) and it's like reading about it for the first time.

I have to say though, the Remember Me series I remember the most (re-read it recently) and holds up the test of time.

Thanks for your re-caps! I got my own reviews of his stuff as well (but I couldn't get through The Last Vampire series - the writing did not age well).

Keep being awesome. :)

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