“The Hitchhiker” by R.L. Stine

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Damn, I missed you guys. I swore to myself that I’d update this blog every single week, but look how long it’s been since my last post.

Five weeks long, that’s what.

I’ve got no excuses–we’re all busy. I don’t want to be one of those a-holes who acts like I’m too busy to blog. I’m not too busy to watch Glee or post suggestive photos on Myspace, so it’s just an issue of time management. As a token of my sincere apologies, I present to you my first-ever non-Goosebumps R.L. Stine recap.

It’s not a Fear Street book, but it’s one of his works for teens. Can you handle the (PG-13) scares?

Back-Cover Blurb:
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a deadly ride…

He wants a ride. She wants a thrill. So in spite of her best friend Terri’s arguments, Christina stops to pick up the handsome hitchhiker.

He’s everything she thought he’d be. And more. Much, much, more.

Maybe too much more.

Maybe enough to thrill Christina and Terri… to death…

Ooooh. Enter if you dare!

Summary:
This tale of terror stars Terri and Christina (two Spring Breakers who have spent the week in Florida goin’ wild) and James, a hottie who may or may not have a fondness for strangling folks.

Christina is described as a very skinny blonde girl with corkscrew curls (how she keeps them from exploding in the Florida humidity is beyond me) and she’s a bit more of a ho than her best bud, Terri. On the other hand, Terri is a brunette with pale skin and a bit more junk in the trunk–Stine says she’s chubby.

Refreshingly, James still wants to tap that. Normally, I wouldn’t find it terribly exciting if a potentially homicidal hitchhiker thought I was sexy, but it’s kind of cool to find a Stine book where fatties aren’t totally marginalized.

So, after a week of partying, Terri and Christina are cruising down the road toward their home in Cleveland. Apparently they’re about 15-16, which makes no sense to me. How the hell did they rent a car? And why did their parents let them go to Florida alone? They’re probably characters from a Goosebumps book, grown slightly older but with the same stupid parents.

Meanwhile, James is ready to get the hell out of Key West. He’s looking for a new start. He thinks about his girlfriend and how much he “hurt” her and knows that it’s time to GTFO of town. He hitches a ride with a nice old man, then later ends up with Terri and Christina. The girls pull over only because they’re hot for his bod. James is described as handsome and muscular, with short-cropped blonde hair and striking green eyes.

Since this book is set in Florida and I’m a big DEXTER fan, I kind of imagined him as Detective Quinn.

DEXTER (Season 3)

But, you know, aged down a little, and also with a bad case of the crazy eyes.

Now that James and the ladies have hooked up and are cruising down the Florida highway (James says he’s happy to go wherever the girls are going) we get to endure all this flirty-talk between James and Christina. Terri remains cautious, though I get the feeling she’d still totally swap bodily fluids with James if given the chance.

Christina openly oggles James and asks him if he works out. At some point, I assume she manages to throw her panties at him, though it’s not stated directly.

But things take a weird turn when James lets his pesky temper flare up in a diner, grabbing a rude waiter and shoving him a couple of times before telling the gals that it’s time to go. Hmm… well, I like getting good service, too, James. I feel you, bud. Just don’t hit me.

For some damn reason, the girls let James back in the car instead of… I don’t know… leaving his ass behind. Later, with James asleep in the back seat, Terri voices her concerns, but Christina insists on keeping James around because she thinks he’s all hot and mysterious and intense.

Puke. Christina, if you want a broody, slightly insane guy to fantasize about, why don’t you just watch TWILIGHT or something?

Anyway, even with all the weirdness, Terrina (Terri and Christina) decide to take a break from driving and suggest James take the wheel for a little while.

WHAT?

Yes, of course. The potentially homicidal maniac should drive. It kills me how stupid these characters are. Did you know they couldn’t even figure out how to use the air conditioner? Yeah, something about the car being “foreign” or whatever. Did they import this shit from Italy or something? Because most cars on the road are technically “foreign.” Of course, when James figures out the air conditioner, he’s called a genius for being the only one in the car with two brain cells to rub together.

James turns the radio on, but quickly turns it off when a news report about an injured old man assaulted earlier today comes on. Woops. Let’s all pretend not to be nervous now, shall we?

*twiddles thumbs*

Later, the kids arrive in Tampa, where James says he’s got a cousin who owes him a bit of money. Cousin Paul and his wife, Paula, are nice enough to give the gang a free meal or two and a night in their cozy li’l house.

James takes the opportunity to claim his 50 bucks and, later that night, make out a little with Christina. Saucy!

The next morning, James tells the girls that he’ll be coming with them to Cleveland. Terri’s not happy with this, but she’s pretty much powerless. At that point, Cousin Paul comes running out of the house screaming about his stolen wallet. James punches his cousin out, and then the kids decide that it’s time to haul balls.

Terri gets to spend the rest of the day driving while James and Christina grope each other in the backseat. I’m not even kidding here. I would totally have left those bastards at the next scuzzy roadside diner, but Terri’s a good sport about it. When she complains about being made into a chaffeur, James makes some crack about how she’s quite welcome to join them, and Terri miraculously manages not to punch James in the face.

Oh yeah, and now there’s this car following them. Because Terri’s so smart, she tries to lose their pursuer on a quiet, country road instead of like, the crowded highway.

<Insert anti-climactic chase scene here>

Later that night at the motel, Terri seems to have a change of heart about James. She knocks on his door and asks James to take a quick walk in the swamps with her so she can “apologize” (read: play a little tonsil hockey with him). Ahh, James. You get around, don’t you, bud?

Cut to: the next morning. Christina’s going ballistic because Terri is missing and the last person that saw her was James! And now the car has mysteriously disappeared! Oh noes! Somehow, this translates into the two of them staying together and hitchhiking away. Apparently small-town police are too stupid to comprehend the situation… or whatever.

I’m pretty sure that THEY could figure out how to use an air conditioner, Christina, so please don’t start giving us attitude.

Blah blah blah… Christina and James are caught in the rain… They get picked up by a skinny, bespectacled young man named Art, who seems friendly until he points a gun at the two of them and tells them he’s the dead old man’s son, out for revenge. He’s the one who made sure Terri “got what she deserved” and now he’s gonna make sure that justice is served.

He takes James and Christina into the swamps and leads them to a small ledge overlooking a freshwater pond filled with… you guessed it… piranha.

In the middle of the Florida swamps.

Is this guy Bond villain material or what? It’s so delightfully elaborate.

He tells Christina that he’s here to seek justice for the cruel way that CHRISTINA AND TERRI (not James!) killed his elderly father. At this point, I’m sure you’re all like, “Bitch, please!” but hear me out. Apparently, just before the start of the book, Christina and Terri were hitchhiking and Christina decided to push Art’s father out of the car so they could have it for themselves. Terri wasn’t sure what to do, so she kind of went along with it for fear of Christina’s wrath.

And yeah, the bitch IS crazy. She stole Cousin Paul’s wallet simply because “he had no business keeping it in plain sight” or some crap. And she manages to get the upper-hand in the swamps so that Art ends up in the piranha pool, which is cool and all, but then she points the gun at James and tells him he knows too much now and that it’s time for him to take a swim.

But then Terri comes back! Yay… or something. It seems that last night, Christina decided that Terri was going to flake out, so she beat the hell out of her with a tree branch, then left her BFF for dead. At some point, Art found Terri and dumped her in with the piranhas, but Terri was able to make it out alive because Art ran off to get James and Christina instead of watching to make sure Terri died.

Phew.

The girls duke it out for a bit. Despite being physically smaller, Christina has the enhanced physical strength of the insane, and thus manages to push Terri off the cliff. Now to James again…

But wait! Terri’s alive! She grabs Christina’s ankle and pulls her to her piranha-fied doom. James helps Terri to safety, at which point the two drive to the hospital. I guess the cops here really ARE incompetent (I’ll never doubt you again, Christina) because after only an hour or two of questioning, the two of them are free to go. Never mind that Terri is a freaking accomplice to murder.

I guess surviving a brutal beating AND a swim with deadly freshwater fish entitles you to some leniency in Florida.

As James prepares to head home, he wishes Terri the best and tells her that he’s headed back to Key West to make good on a bad situation with his ex-girlfriend, Melissa, a gal he “hurt pretty badly” by breaking up with her this week. Whatever, dude.

Terri asks how James plans to get home, and he grins and tells her, “Hitching!”

Quotable Quotes:

To his surprise, Chirstina was glaring at him, her eyes wide, her expression thoughtful.

WTF? Is it even possible to glare at someone with wide eyes?

The Moral of the Story:
If you’re fortunate enough to pick up an attractive hitchhiker, try to make sure you make out with him or her as much as possible.

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Posted in Danger, Other books, Personal Crap
10 comments on ““The Hitchhiker” by R.L. Stine
  1. Sadako says:

    Nice to have you back! I think you can glare with wide eyes. I don’t think you can scowl though! 😀

  2. Fear Street says:

    Oh Stine *sigh* How many times have you recycled this plot, occasionally bothering to change a few names and details here and there? Why am I even asking?

    Anyway, I HATE how the blonds are always thin and hot and the brunettes are always frumps!

  3. Shannon says:

    I’ve missed you!

    All that driving and they never even got out of Florida? Wtf?

  4. R. G. Quimby says:

    My peeps!

    @ Sadako — I’m going to try to glare with wide eyes. It’s going to be my version of Zoolander’s Blue Steel.

    @ Fear Street — Yeah, what’s up with that? I guess it’s just an easy way to flesh out your characters? IDK. I do give Stine some props for James still wanting to make out with Terri, though.

    @ Shannon — Seriously, dude. I think they’re driving for like, three days. Maybe they do briefly cross out of Florida, but I don’t recall. I think at that point I was too distracted by the thought of being eaten to death by piranhas.

  5. Jenn says:

    I completely remember this book, even though I haven’t read it in years! I remember being “shocked” by the ending lol

  6. R. G. Quimby says:

    @Jenn – I know, right? I didn’t read this book when I was younger, but there were so many Goosebumps books where I was like, “Oh my gawd, what a twist!”

    I have my issues with Stine sometimes, but I used to read him religiously as a child and kind of thought he was the

    best.
    writer.
    EVER.

    And it was all because of the shocking twists 🙂 Damn it, Stine, I can’t quit you.

  7. Welcome back, Sadako! Very nice work. I’ve never read any of RL Stine’s stuff (outside of the Goosebumps/Ghosts of Fear Street/Fear Street series he did), but this does read like it could be a Fear Street book (a really early one).

    Anyway, my sister (who moved out a couple of weeks ago) and I created this blog called “The Low-Rent Library” where we make books that never should have been published and do the occasional book review (I only did one so far for “The Boy Who Ate Fear Street,” but I promise I’ll do more).

    Here’s the link: http://lowrentlibrary.wordpress.com

  8. R. G. Quimby says:

    Ahhh! I know the Low-Rent Library! Just added it to the Blog Roll!

  9. charmecia5 says:

    i remember liking this book when i was a kid
    even though it had too many makeout/make loves scenes to me.

    is it me, or do i picture christina looking like dawn schafer of the babysitters club as well as the pop singer christina aguilera?

    loved terri in this book and it would of been interesting if terri and james were to make love in one scene. that would of been hot!

  10. R. G. Quimby says:

    OMG, Dawn Schafer as Christina FTW! Love it.

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