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06 July 2005 @ 09:34 pm

by R.L. Stine

Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a deadly ride....

For the inaugural review in our fine, fine community, badbookblather, I've selected a middle school classic: The Hitchhiker by R.L. Stone. Now I could have selected just about any R.L. novel to start this off, but The Hitchhiker just seems to have too many cliches to pass up.

The book begins with a standard device of taking the first-person perspective of "the killer". But in this case everything is so vague that any sort of mystique R.L. tries to build basically drowns in itself before getting anywhere. From there we're handed off (for the first of many times) to the story of two girls having a "wild" spring break vacation on the Florida beaches. The characters are supposed to balance each other out using the old hot/wild girl vs. plain/cautious girl formula, but the fact that neither one really fits fully into their archetype and the fact that their both more annoying than a skipping Gilbert Gottfried album results in a mish-mash of confusing and very aggravating personality traits.

The plot moves on back and forth with bits of blather and adventures ranging from utter meaningless and inconsequential garbage to foreshadowing so heavy you'd need an industrial meat-packing scale to fully measure it. Needless to say the hitchhiker is ridiculously ominous, resulting in it being virtually impossible to feel any sort of relationship toward him at all. Then, when the "surprise" twist kicks in, you realize that the only you were anticipating was the fact that it finally happened.

If the point-of-view stayed constant for more than 8 pages at a time, this book might have actually built a semi-decent plot/character/anything. But, it didn't. So here it is. In badbookblather.