Bingo square: Banned Books (listed here).
Melanie has moved to a new town with her dad after her parents’ divorce and she’s struggling to make friends. That is until she helps Susan cheat in maths class and is invited to audition for the school play. Getting the part, Melanie is suddenly surrounded by new people, all of whom have a history together. Unfortunately Melanie has a history with Rindy, the gorgeous star of the play. Over the summer they had a fender bender and Melanie isn’t happy about the way it was resolved. Still, she has the handsome Marc to keep her mind off of things. Until opening night, when Melanie’s character kills Rindy’s. Until Rindy dies for real…
I remember really enjoying this one as a teen but reading it now the beginning is really slow and kind of dull. I think because Melanie is kind of dull? At least until the murder and then she starts showing some backbone. Before that she’s only interested in boys and has no real personality outside of them. The writing is also eye-roll-worthy, given that we get descriptions of how flat chested Melanie is on page two (in direct contrast to Susan ‘nobody could argue with that chest’). Come on, Pike! Not all girls are jealous of boobs.
It’s also insane to me that a teenager would be put in charge of a gun within a play. A real gun, whether they’re shooting blanks or not. She sources the ammo herself! WTF? There’s no teacher or adult offering guidance throughout this whole thing, just some more teenagers teaching her how to aim and reload. This is stretching credibility a bit thin, even for the eighties. Susan has complete control over this production because the actual drama teacher wants her to play Blanche in his upcoming production? Sure.
Once the murder happens things pick up a gear and as usual with Pike stories the group of friends has a secret from before Melanie arrived that has bearing on the whole thing, and Melanie puts the pieces together. She is annoyingly saved by a dude at the end, although she does fight back some. This is not one I think I’ll hang onto any more.