Title: Room 13 by T. S. Rue (Part 2 of the Nightmare Inn/Arcadia series)
Summary: Erin Naughton wants to stay home with her boyfriend. Her father wants to take her on a family vacation. Dad wins: vacation time. Then Erin meets Sam, the mysterious boy in Room 13 at the Arcadia Inn, and her vacation takes a terrifying turn. Whenever she’s with Sam, Erin’s darkest wishes come true, and soon accidents begin happening to her parents.
Tagline: Don’t open the door to…
Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.
I never read the first or second books of this series until Dove and I started recapping, yet I read the third and fourth. Once again, I read later books in the series but never tracked down the first. What in the world was wrong with me?
After having read it: Well. That was a thing.
Counters: Dove and I have started counters for the tropes we run into over and over again. You can read all the definitions in this sticky post. I’m going to try to define them the first time they are used in each post, too, if I can remember.
Pretty much every scene in this book should get a point, but I am not counting each one, so I am winging (heh) it:
World of fail: 1 billion
(World of fail = It’s meant to be scary or threatening or disturbing, and, in all honesty, it’s kinda lame.)
I am also not counting each time I hate Erin.
Cheer on the killer: infinity
(Cheer on the killer = Because the protagonist is such an insufferable wretch that you can’t help but side with anyone who wants him or her dead.)
We open with our protagonist, Erin Naughton, trying to be Erin Naughty:
Erin Naughton stood at the mirror in her bedroom and stared at the slinky black dress she’d just put on. The dress was tight and short and had only one strap. She liked the way the material clung to her body. She also liked the look of her wavy auburn hair against the black fabric. It made her feel older than sixteen.
It would definitely cause a scandal at the Last Dance, but that was okay….
She’s interrupted by her twelve-year-old brother, Bobby, who informs her (and the reader) that if their dad sees her in the dress, she’ll be in trouble. This chapter ends with their dad knocking on the door, and Bobby now things he’s going to kill her if he sees her in the dress.
That escalated quickly. Also, should I be getting shades of child abuse here? Because I am.
Between those two reactions, Erin and Bobby gossip about the Last Dance (that … is an ominous name), and this guy Erin has a crush on. Now, Erin is a sophomore, so maybe fifteen or sixteen, and Bobby is twelve. I have a younger brother, and the age difference us is approximately the same as between Erin and Bobby, yet I never sat around gossiping with him about my high school crushes. I guess they’re close? Close enough she puts on her sexy black stockings in front of him and practices parading around in her heels.
This is either incest or Bobby is acting like her stereotypical gay BFF. Either way, I don’t like it.
[Dove: *is squicked*]
Incest is relative: 1
(Incest is relative = Yeah, so his dad is dating my mom, but I would totally give him one.)
(We’re also thrown a lot of names: Zack, potential boyfriend; Kira and Ellie, supposedly BFFs but all we know so far is that Zack asked them if Erin is seeing anyone.)
And now we meet their dad, called Mr. Naughton in the text. (That’s Mr Naughty if you’re nasty.)
The door opened and Mr. Naughton came in. He wasn’t a big man, but he was overweight and seemed to fill the doorway. He was almost bald except for a few stray hairs that he carefully combed across the top of his head. He stopped just inside the doorway and surveyed the room with a suspicious-looking frown.
Oh, well, he’s overweight and balding. Obviously, he’s going to be an out of it, mean old dad. /eyeroll
He’s come to tell her that there’s a boy (Mack or Zack or something like that, he says), and she would leap up, except she’s hiding under the covers so he won’t see her little black dress. He agrees to go down and ask Mack or Zack to wait, and then we get this:
As soon as the door closed, Erin jumped out of bed. “You have to get out so I can change!” she gasped at Bobby, pushing him out the door.
You certainly didn’t mind putting on your clothes with him in the room.
Incest is relative: 2
The chapter ends like this:
She reached for the doorknob and pulled the door open.
It was dark outside. No one was there.
DRAMATIC. Or, yeah, not.
[Dove: I CAN’T TAKE THIS FUCKING SHIT ANY FUCKING MORE! I AM DONE! DO YOU HEAR ME? I’M DONE! WE DO NOT NEED CLIFFHANGERS ON EVERY PISSING FUCKING CHAPTER!]
(Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn! = Cliffhanger endings of chapters for no reason other than to build false tension and piss Dove and Wing the hell off.)
[Wing: Oh, right. THIS is why we recap. So I can watch your head explode.]
After a needless attempt at drama (where is he? the ground is so cold. it’s dark omg), turns out Zack was helping Mr Naughty move an air conditioner, even though Erin points out her dad never asks for help. So why — no, no, never mind. Needless attempt at drama.
There’s some bumbling conversation that is awkward and a little sweet and a little ridiculous and I can’t even really hate on it. While they’re awkwardly flirting via academic talk, this happens:
Mr. Naughton went into the house. A moment later the outside lights went on. Erin wondered if her father would stand behind the curtains inside and spy on them.
I beat you because I love you: 1
(I beat you because I love you = Abusive relationships in any way, shape or form.)
Yeah, no shades of parental abuse there.
Erin finally gets tired of Zack waffling nervously on about unimportant things (like grades, and finals, and school — you know, nothing major), and brings up the Last Dance (still ominous) herself. More babbling, they end up setting up a date, Zack leaves, and Erin is all giddy, until she goes inside and tells her parents about it. Mr Naughty isn’t happy.
Her father and mother exchanged a look. Then Mr. Naughton turned to Erin and slowly shook his head. “I’m sorry, Erin, but you won’t be able to go.”
BECAUSE YOU’LL BE DEAD.
I beat you because I love you: 2
Here’s a long quote, because there are so many things going on here:
Erin was stunned. “But you don’t understand,” she said. “I’ve waited all year for Zack to ask me out.”
“I’ve made a reservation at an inn upstate,” Mr. Naughton said. “We’re all going on a family vacation.”
“Why can’t we go on a different weekend?” Erin asked.
“Because,” her father replied, “I’ve already made the reservation and paid for the suite.”
“Well, why don’t you guys go and leave me here?” Erin asked.
“I want the family to be together,” Mr. Naughton replied.
“Maybe that’s what you want, but I want to go to the dance,” she said. “How come you always get what you want and I never get what I want?”
Mr. Naughton set his jaw and straightened up. He usually did that when he was mad.
Suddenly Mrs. Naughton put her hand on her husband’s shoulder. “Wait, Henry, remember what the doctor said.”
- Good lord, Erin is annoying and whiny.
- Oh, the horrors, a family vacation. How dare they do something fun together.
- Well that doctor comment surely can’t be foreshadowing.
- NO CHILD ABUSE HERE.
I beat you because I love you: 3
Later, Mrs Naughty comes in to talk to Erin, and Erin continues to be a petulant, spoiled brat. (Actually kind of believable, too). Sure enough, they’re taking this holiday because Mr Naughty is sick, his arteries are nearly clogged and he’s at a very high risk of having a heart attack (because FAT PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS SICK LOL AMIRITE). I personally can’t think of anything more relaxing than a family holiday to a weird old inn with a preteen son and a petulant teenager daughter….
Also, Erin says she’s glad her father is at risk of a heart attack, and I want to STAB HER. STAB HER TO DEATH.
[Dove: Fuck you, Erin. I can’t even be funny about it. Just a world of fuck you.]
The next day, Erin breaks the news to Zack:
She explained about her father’s illness and how he wanted the family to go away together.
“Well, that’s pretty understandable,” Zack said.
Erin was surprised. “No, it’s not. I think he’s being a jerk. I told my mother I’d spend every free second I had with him from now until the dance, but he still wouldn’t agree to let me stay.”
“But look at it from his point of view,” Zack said. “He’s probably thinking that he might have a heart attack at any time. Or that he might need the surgery. I’ve heard it’s a pretty serious operation. For all he knows, that weekend might be the last time he ever gets to spend with his family.”
That wasn’t what Erin wanted to hear. She wanted Zack to agree that her father was a total imbecile. She wanted him to come up with some crazy fun plot so that Erin could go to the dance after all. At the very least, she wanted Zack to say that if they couldn’t go to the dance, he hoped they’d get together another time.
Why Zack, that is a truly reasonable response. I think Mr Naughty should trade you in for Erin. She’s a piece of work, and I hate her. A LOT. Her father might DIE and she’s still whining about a DANCE.
Finally, finally, in Chapter Six, we get to the freaking inn. Finally.
Erin’s parents and brother came back from the buffet. Her mother’s and brother’s plates were filled with pancakes, sausages and eggs. Mr. Naughton had a single bowl of oat bran, some fresh strawberries, and a glass of orange juice.
Because you can eat like crap and not be at risk for a heart attack so long as you’re not fat, because FAT PEOPLE AMIRITE?
Erin is just the most petulant, obnoxious, annoying teenager. I love teenagers. I know they can be moody and short and snarky and awesome. Erin is TERRIBLE. All she does is complain, and call their holiday a prison, and threaten to eat bread and water, and she won’t take off her sunglasses at the table. I hate her.
Erin shrugged. A girl around her age, wearing black slacks and a white blouse, pushed a cart toward their table. She had curly bright red hair and a gold name tag that identified her as Sarah. As she cleared some of the plates and refilled the water glasses, she stared at Erin. Erin felt a strange chill and looked away.
OMG IT’S SARAH! HI SARAH! HI! (Note: See Arcadia 1: Nightmare Inn.)
[Dove: HI SARAH! *waves*]
Erin complains that everyone is ancient and old, despite SARAH not being ancient and old. And, fuck you, Erin. Old people tell great stories and have fun adventures and are awesome.
AND, it’s pointless complaining, because literally at that moment, two teenagers walk into the room.
They were both tall and slender. The girl had long black hair pulled back into a thick ponytail. The boy’s hair was blond and curly. They were both wearing white T-shirts over bathing suits.
Considering the first things she mentioned about Zack were that he was tall and cute, I’m seeing a threesome in their future. Bowchickawowwow.
After breakfast, there’s some weird drama about Erin forgetting her sunglasses and going back for them and thinking SARAH stole them and is lying to her and SARAH knows what room she’s in and that’s weird and basically SARAH.
Also, not too subtle if you’ve ready the first book in this series.
Mr and Mrs Naughty take off to “play golf” (I’m assuming this means swingers party in the hot tub), and Bobby heads down to the arcade to play the Terminator game. Bobby, let’s hang. You’re awesome.
[Dove: I love how when Wing gets bored, her mind turns really fucking dull text into porn. Also, go Bobby!]
[Wing: We all have our talents.]
Erin is pouting in front of MTV in the suite, when a strange note turns up that says her sunglasses are in Room 13. (TITLE DROP!)
Wow. Such a subtle attempt to get her into Room 13. It’s not quite a whimsical note, so Dove suggested we give it one of these:
Dexter would not pull this shit: 1
(Dexter would not pull this shit = When the idiotic killer leaves evidence around to fuck with the protagonist, rather than cleaning up after him/herself and trying to get away with it.)
As Erin goes looking for Room 13, she runs into another familiar face (to us):
A few minutes later, Erin was walking down the hall. A small, thin man approached her. He had long grey hair pulled back into a ponytail and he was wearing black shorts and a white polo shirt with “New Arcadia” stitched over the pocket.
IT’S SEBASTIAN, YOU GUYS! Or, as I like to call him, Mr Hippie.
[Dove: HI, SEB! HOW YOU DOING? We’ve had Sarah and we’ve had Seb, so now let’s aim for the hat trick. I want to see the MOTHERFUCKING ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES! THAT WAS MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER IN THE FIRST BOOK!]
[Wing: … alas, we do not see the MOTHERFUCKING ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES.]
Erin feels another creepy chill, just like she felt in the dining room when she saw Sarah. Subtle.
This story is full of pointless padding. Basically, Erin knocks on Room 13’s door, no answer, as she starts to walk away, she starts hearing some dude’s voice calling her name. This time, the door opens, her sunglasses are on the bed, no one is around. This took paragraphs and paragraphs in the story itself and did nothing, not even set a creepy mood.
We are on Chapter Eight and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED EXCEPT ERIN HAS WHINED A LOT AND BRIEFLY LOST HER SUNGLASSES.
[Dove: Did we actually start recapping Twilight by mistake?]
Erin goes down to the spa. Except she ends up at the pool, and sure enough, the cuties from the dining room are there. (BTW, spa /= pool in most resorts.)
Then she remembered that even Zack had thought it was a good idea for her to go away that weekend. Was he being nice, or was he just a wimp? Should she be mad at him? Erin didn’t know.
I … Erin … ERIN WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU? Do you like anyone? Anything? I’m going with no, because the only time we hear about your BFFs are when you want to stay with them so you can go out with Zack. THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!
Even though Erin has said more than once that there are only old people at the Arcadia, now she finds Bobby in the arcade in a big group of young boys watching another boy play a game. Shock of all shocks, when the other boy speaks, it’s the voice she heard from Room 13.
He finishes his game, Erin talks to Bobby, Stranger disappears. This was … pointless.
Erin then goes out to a volleyball game. We get this:
She was disappointed, but pleased to discover that there were a lot of kids her age staying at the resort.
Oh, Erin. Seriously, NOTHING, makes you happy, does it?
[Dove: Not joking about Twilight. Dull as fuck protagonist that I want to murder? Check. Nothing happens? Check. Cute boys? Check. I don’t give a flying fuck about any of it? Check.]
[Wing: Wing wants to stab things? Check. Wing wants to set things on fire? Check. Wing wants to destroy the world? Check.]
[Dove: Wing, I say this with love, but that’s your default setting.]
There’s some random dialog (with no tags, so we have no idea who is speaking, not that it matters, because Erin will hate them no matter what) that reads as if the author has never even been to a volleyball game, and then Erin notices yet another Arcadia employee staring at her and causing chills. This should be creepy and uncomfortable.
Instead, it is boring.
This employee is named Martin. I don’t remember a Martin from the last book, so. Hello, Martin.
The next teen activity is sailing. Erin doesn’t like sailing because her father does. Her father also plays golf, and goes for walks, and seems pretty damn active, but none of that matters for his health, because FAT AMIRITE? Fuck you.
Stranger and the Dining Room Hotties are all going sailing together, but because Erin can’t pass the swimming test and refuses to wear a life preserver, she can’t go. First of all, whether they pass a swimming test or not, they should all be wearing life preservers. Second, ERIN I HATE YOU.
Over lunch, Erin picks a fight with her parents about going antiquing with them that afternoon. She complains because antiquing is boring and no one wants to go do that with their parents, but then tries to throw up in their faces that they can’t make her go because they decided to be alone to go “golfing” in the morning, and maybe she wanted to be with them then.
Lies, Erin. All of the lies. Golfing is boring, you’re a spoiled brat, and you hate everything and everyone.
Her father’s face darkened, as it usually did when one of his children attempted to express the fact that they were individual human beings and not domesticated pets.
I beat you because I love you: 4
No abuse around here.
[Dove: I’m seeing two-way abuse here, just to clarify. Erin deliberately provokes her father into arguing, just so she can act like a martyr about what a monster he is to her.]
[Wing: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I don’t actually see any abuse from Mr Naughty, I should clarify, just that Erin likes to view his actions as abuse.]
And then, the father Erin constantly tells us is unreasonable and never backs down compromises and says they’ll spend half the afternoon doing whatever they want and half antiquing. So … reasonable? Erin, WTF?
After lunch Erin headed back to the pool. She was free until three o’clock, when she had to meet her parents back at their suite. It would have been a lot easier if she didn’t have any parents. Then she could live alone and get a job and do whatever she pleased. That girl with the red hair, Sarah, didn’t look that much older than Erin, and she worked at the inn. Maybe Erin could get a job at the inn too. It would be great not to have her father there to boss her around all the time.
I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to believe that the Arcadia is changing Erin and making her act in ways she doesn’t normally act, especially given what happened to SARAH in the first book. However, NO ONE in Erin’s life is treating her attitude as if it is any different than the attitude she always has, so I call foul. Erin is just an ARSE and I hate her.
[Dove: Also, as someone who had to move out at a very young age (I was a minor) due to actual legitimate family issues, fuck you, Erin! It’s not that easy.]
Chapter Ten, and the only thing she’s done is lose her sunglasses, get them back and row with her parents every other paragraph. I am going to die before I finish this.
[Dove: as Wing recapped this, she sighed a lot. And raged a lot. And around this point, I called her using bullet points when she lost her temper with it.]
[Wing: … I was weak. I gave in later. I need more alcohol.]
Finally, finally, we meet Stranger and the Dining Room Hotties:
The black-haired girl’s name was Amy Sax. The blond boy was Phil Bloch, and the mystery boy’s name was Sam Hopkins. Phil and Amy’s parents were best friends and they’d been going on vacations together ever since they were little.
Well now we have the Naughtys and Amy Sex. This book is dirty.
Everyone else is there with their families, but Sam was sent there by his parents so they could holiday in — no, not Europe — California.
Parents? What parents? 1
(Parents? What parents? = They’re in fucking Europe. They’re always in fucking Europe.)
Also, surely that’s not sinister at all.
Phil and Amy left. Erin smiled nervously at Sam, and he smiled back. There was a bottle of suntan oil lying on the ground beside his lounge and he leaned down and picked it up. Erin watched as he spread the glistening oil over his tanned, muscular arms and legs. She wondered why he kept his T-shirt on; it was awfully hot. She imagined him asking her to spread the oil across his broad shoulders, then bit her lip and tried not to think about it.
After a lot of internal angsting because Erin thinks Sam wants her to go away, he offers to take her on a tour of the place.
The tour Sam took her on wasn’t what Erin expected. They walked past the waterfront, the picnic area, the tennis and volleyball courts, and stopped at the edge of the woods. Sam turned toward her and smiled. There was something magnetic about his personality. She felt as if she wanted to be with him forever.
I … I don’t know what you expected, Erin. He showed you the waterfront, the picnic area, the tennis and volleyball courts and stopped at the woods. What exactly should happen during a tour?
And you want to be with him forever? This “love” story is going even faster than Twilight. At least here, I can blame the Arcadia.
They walk, and they talk, and it is all very boring. Sam didn’t know her name before he met her at the pool, Sam isn’t staying in Room 13, the woods are pretty but boring, and I am shouting at the book, wanting it to get better, while Dove laughs at my torment. Typical.
[Dove: Evil twin. It’s my job to mock your pain.]
Then there is this:
“A waterfall?” she said.
Standing on a rock at the edge of the waterfall, Sam nodded. Suddenly he started to slip.
“Help!” Waving his arms frantically, he lost his balance and fell over the edge of the waterfall.
The next thing Erin knew, he disappeared.
WTF WHY I CAN’T I DON’T…
Wait, yes I do. Counter time!
This is really terrible. Erin goes crawling along the cliff, shouting for Sam, going near the waterfall even though she thinks Sam just slipped and she’s a terrible swimmer. I am shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, when she ends up in the water herself. SHOCKED.
AND THEN WE GET ANOTHER ONE.
Before Erin had time to decide what to do, a hand grabbed her ankle and yanked her beneath the surface.
[Dove: Drown her! Drown her! DROWN THE EVER-LIVING FUCK OUT OF HER!]
If this book was doing anything to build up a sense of foreboding, I wouldn’t count this one, but it’s not, so I am.
And, again, SHOCKED to learn that this was all a joke on Sam’s part.
“You tricked me!” Erin shouted angrily. “First you pretended to fall over the waterfall. Then when I fell in, you grabbed my ankle and tried to pull me under.”
“So?” Sam laughed. “It was just a joke.”
Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks: 1
(Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks = “You say you found a corpse of a thirteen year old girl on the beach? Oh, you’re just pulling my leg.” When the protagonist experiences something genuinely frightening, such as finding a corpse, or that someone has been in their room while they were home alone, and it is treated as an attention-seeking prank. Or, when something is done that is written off as a prank or a joke, but is actually pretty damned spiteful.)
I think we’re supposed to be angry at Sam, which I would be, but he also points out how stupid it was for Erin to jump in after him when she’s a weak swimmer.
Of course, Erin forgives him immediately and they sit around in the pretty nature and talk about how Erin wishes she could get rid of her parents. Charming.
Oh god, I know I am summing everything up in short words, but that’s because NOTHING IS HAPPENING. They go back to the inn, Sam asks her to the teens-only cookout that night, Erin badmouths her parents, and then pretends to be the perfect daughter so they’ll let her do what she wants.
Finally, we get some BLOOD! (Look, we’re on Chapter Fourteen and no one has even disappeared.) Unfortunately, it is only a little bit of Erin’s blood. From a kitchen knife. In her drawer.
Dexter would not pull this shit: 2
Gee, I wonder where this is going.
Erin and Bobby hatch a plan to manipulate their father into letting her go to the cookout (I am just delighted to see you taking Bobby down your same, parent-hating path), it’s a bad plan and manipulative and I hate them both.
Then there’s this little detail:
Her father was standing at the mirror wearing a white terry cloth robe provided by the inn.
But I thought he was so FAT OMG AMIRITE? Generally, the robes provided by inns are not really one size fits all.
Their horrible, manipulative plan doesn’t work. Mr Naughty wants them all to eat meals together. What I don’t get is why doesn’t she just eat with them and then go join the others. It’s not like it’s only a short cookout. There’s even going to be a DJ, we were previously told with all sorts of excitement.
Erin thinks about stabbing her father, doesn’t do it. Offers to get sweaters from their rooms when it’s cold in the dining hall, takes a route past the cookout, sees Amy flirting with Sam, and is furious — with her father, for not letting her go, so she could distract Sam from all other people.
Erin. You have daddy issues. WTF.
After dinner, Erin lies to her parents about wanting to read a book (she hates to read because her parents want her to read, ERIN, ISSUES, HATE), and then goes looking for Sam. She finally finds him talking to a bartender, another employee, Alexandra, who already knows Erin’s name, too. Another name thrown at us, another flat character, another weird employee. I would headdesk, but I think I’ve already broken my brain enough trying to read this.
Oh. My. God.
They dance. Alone. In the disco. THEY. DANCE. ALONE. IN. THE. DISCO. This is like really bad fanfic gone wrong.
It was like a dream. They danced to song after song in a swirling rainbow of throbbing colours. Sometimes when Erin danced with a boy, he look everywhere except at her, but Sam gazed into her eyes as they moved together to the music. After every few songs he’d stop and ask if she wanted to rest or get something cold to drink. But Erin didn’t seem to need anything except to feel the music.
When a slow song finally came on and he took her in his arms, it felt magical, as if they’d left the ground and were slowly gliding together in some other universe far from Earth.
Also, it is really CREEPY to just stare into each other’s eyes through all the dances. CREEPY. NOT ROMANTIC.
[Dove: Twilight. Fucking Twilight.]
[Wing: WHERE IS MY ALCOHOL?]
There’s a weird scene where Erin has to go back to her room, and gets lost; all the even numbers have disappeared. I don’t even know what to think about this. WTF.
After a lot (A LOT) of pointless sentences, the next day, Erin and Sam go to play a prank on Mr Naughty, who takes his golf very seriously. They start moving his golf ball to horrible places. He’s actually a standup guy, and refuses to cheat and move it. This is only making me like him more and HATE ERIN.
Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks: 2
Erin actually recaps the prank over lunch, because we’ve clearly forgotten what happened. Then, her parents want to take them sailing, which, if their daughter doesn’t like water and isn’t a strong swimmer, is kind of a mean thing to do, except she’s terrible, so GO TEAM NAUGHTY.
She goes to complain to Sam, he makes a big deal of talking about how if her father gets too excited he might have a heart attack and die, and then they decide to spend some time making her father mad again. Because trying to kill a dad is totes a great date, AMIRITE?
[Dove: Fuck. Me. I got nothing. I wish I could be funny, but I’ve got nothing.]
Ok, no, I am done. Dove wins. Bullet point time:
[Dove: Called it!]
- Sam messes with the sailboat, while trying to fix it Mr Naughty goes over into the water. This is supposed to be dramatic, but he loves to sail, so probably he can swim.
- Sure enough, Mr Naughty lives, but is done sailing for the afternoon. Erin got what she wanted. I hate Erin.
- Erin and Sam go skeet shooting. Erin is shocked that Sam likes to shoot at things. I am mad that liking to shoot at things is supposed to make Sam seem dangerous. Guns are awesome.
- Sam convinces Erin to try shooting. She doesn’t want to shoot the clay target, because it reminds her of a bird, but when Sam tells her to think of it as her father, she shoots. Well. Ok then.
- Martin gives Erin a lesson on the appropriate round to use to shoot a person, because obviously they are not building up to convince her to kill her dad. NOPE. NOT HERE.
- Phil and Amy invite them to go rafting, and everyone is all for it (even Erin, after a moment) until it turns out they have to leave the inn to do it, and Sam immediately refuses to go and stalks away. SUBTLE.
- Sam and Erin go on a picnic instead of Erin going to dinner with her family. Their picnic sounds delicious (fried chicken! corn bread! corn on the cob! watermelon!), but I hate them, so … no.
- They’re about to have their first kiss when Bobby starts calling Erin’s name. They hide in the attic of the boat house, accessible by a ladder, and when Bobby starts to come up the ladder, Sam raises an oar, and Erin is certain he’s about to kill her brother, and yet all she does is shake her head at him. Um. THAT IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE I HATE YOU.
- Sam doesn’t kill Bobby, Erin and Sam have their first kiss (because THAT’S a reasonable response), then they go out in a boat to watch the fireworks. I thought you hated boats, Erin.
- Mr Naughty catches them, gets super angry, the boat tips over, and Mr Naughty becomes terrified, as you would when you think your daughter is drowning. APPROPRIATE RESPONSE. Sam tries to convince Erin to make her dad think she’s drowning so he’ll try to rescue her and drown himself. Erin says she doesn’t want him to die. THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU’VE SAID THE REST OF THE DAMN BOOK.
- Sam sneaks into her room later (ROMANTIC — NO) [Dove: TWI-FUCKING-LIGHT], and they talk about how all they want is to be together and how much they hate Mr Naughty and how much better it would be if he couldn’t bother them. BUT. WUT. I. WUT.
- Sam wants her to go to the disco again, she won’t sneak out, Mr Naughty almost catches them, later Bobby comes in and says he saw Sam dancing with SARAH at the disco, immediately Erin hates her father for ruining everything and feels like killing him. UM. BUT. WUT. I. WUT.
- Next day, Erin point blank asks Sarah if Sam is her boyfriend, which would be surprisingly upfront, except I hate Erin. Sarah says he is not, and then tells her that people think Room 13 is haunted. We are this far into the book, and we’re only now hearing about the haunting of Room 13, THE FUCKING TITLE OF THE BOOK — I am done.
- Sam says Mr Naughty will start beating her next, Erin says he never will, I hate everything, fuck my life.
- Erin begs Sam not to be mad at her that she has to go spend time with her family. I hate everything, fuck my life.
- And then there is THIS:
“What I just realized is that you’re right,” her father said. “I have been too hard on you. If it seems like I’m over-protective and controlling, it’s not because I want to punish you in any way. It’s because I love you and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. But you’re right. You’re sixteen now and you have to live your own life. I can’t live it for you. I guess one thing I’ve learned since the doctor told me I had a heart problem is that life’s too short to do things you don’t want to do.”
NO MR NAUGHTY WHY WHY WHY ARE YOU GIVING IN WHY ARE YOU PANDERING TO HER POUTING AND WHINING AND MANIPULATIONS WHY WHY WHY
- Immediately, Erin runs to tell Sam the goods news, but now that she likes her dad, he hates her.
- Erin goes looking for Sam, he’s taken off with buckshot, she asks about him at the check-in desk, he’s not actually staying there, she goes back to Room 13 and we get another useful note.
Then Erin noticed the bed. Lying on the bare mattress was a green cardboard box and a piece of paper. She picked up the box. It was just like the one Martin had shown her. Half the cartridges of buckshot were gone. She put it back down and picked up the piece of paper. It was a map of the inn and the trails around it. One trail was highlighted with yellow marker. Someone had written below it, “Nature Walk”.
Halfway along the trail someone had drawn a black X.
Dexter would not pull this shit: 3
Well that was super considerate.
- Erin figures out Sam’s a ghost, the ghost haunting Room 13 because his parents used to beat him. This might be creepy if we’d heard about the ghost of Room 13 all along, but no. He tries to shoot her parents, she stops him, he tries, she stops him, this is boring, finally she tells him she doesn’t hate her parents and goes to spend time with them. Suddenly they’re a happy family. When they go home, Zack (remember him?) asks Erin out again, and she lives happily ever after. Well.
- Some dude named Matt shows up at Arcadia, hears someone calling to him from Room 13, and the story that isn’t really a story starts all over again.
AND I’M OUT.
I hate everything. Burn it with fire.
Cheer on the killer: infinity
Dexter would not pull this shit: 3
I beat you because I love you: 4
Incest is relative: 2
Oh you wacky kids, with your hi-jinks and your pranks: 2
Parents? What parents? 1
World of fail: 1 billion
[Dove: Jesus. This pile of excrement just managed to turn The Lifeguard into a high-octane thrill ride filled with twists and turns and complex plotting and characterisation.]
[Wing: Dove is right. This was like Twilight: The Early Draft. /chugs]