Teen Killers In Love by Lily Sparks
Signal Deere is on a bus with Erik, trying to get back to her hometown after escaping from the teen killer training camp she was imprisoned at. Erik had cut Signal's kill switch and tracker out of her neck before, we all thought, dying heroically and murderingly in the barn of a cult after killing a former teen killer, which is why the Teen Killers Club exists. They're on the run now to Signal's hometown with a key to a lockbox that will hopefully contain information that will clear her name of the murder of her best friend, Rose, that was actually performed by Rose's mother, Janeane, who is also a former teen killer. For all the details of book one, please go back and listen to that episode.
Signal and Erik get off the bus when they stop for food and bathroom breaks because they're pretty sure the bus driver recognizes them as teen killers and Class As on the Wiley-Stanton psychopath scale. In the restaurant, they see their faces on Wanted posters and Signal sees Erik's last name listed as Doe. Haha, Doe and Deere, that's cute. Well, that's not his last name, but they don't have time to get into that now. They snuggle and kiss while waiting in line for food so people will feel awkward and stop looking at them, but then a police officer comes in. They make a run for it through the drive-through window and steal a car, then hop onto a train. They jump off the train and break into a house, well a mansion actually, that turns out to be Erik's old family home. His family doesn't live there anymore though. But how did they live in this mansion? Well, you see, Erik's last name is Wiley-Stanton. His parents are famous for creating the Wiley-Stanton test, which is based entirely on Erik.
When Erik tells Signal he's the original psychopath that all others are based on, she passes out. He carries her to a bedroom and tucks her in. When she wakes the next day, she finds she must be in his bedroom when he was a kid. She looks over everything and then immediately lifts the mattress to find any hidden things, based on what he taught her in book one. She finds a notebook and begins reading. It's full of prompts, probably from his mother, and his responses, looking for remorse or some sort of feeling. Erik knocks then, letting Signal know he's prepared some food. As they eat, they argue about him trying to clear Signal's name, but really, he's trying to prove that, if she can be called a Class A and be so good, surely there's some good in him, too. They furiously make out and then there's a knock at the door.
It's Nobody. Her kill switch is also gone and she tells Signal and Erik that Dennis, their super genius friend back at camp told her this address. She warns them that Jada and Kurt are probably after them, and they decide maybe Javier, too, if they let him get back to camp to report what happened the evening of book one, where Signal supposedly died. Nobody has a flash drive that Dennis gave her to take to one of his contacts, Aarush, to disengage the rest of the kill switches, so she's on her way to an opera house in San Francisco to meet him. Signal says she and Erik will go too. Road trip!
While Nobody gets cleaned up, Signal looks through Erik's journal again and sees where his mother forces him to apologize for hurting his brother, Skye. Thirteen year old Erik saw his brother hurting a girl, Alice, and nearly killed him over it with an elaborate bike accident, but apparently Skye didn’t do anything wrong, according to him, and it seems their mother believes him. From the journal entry, it seems Erik was isolated from everyone for an extended period of time as punishment until he wrote that he hurt his brother out of jealousy.
Later, Nobody picks up on the relationshippy vibes between Erik and Signal. Signal explains everything that happened at the end of book one and that she doesn't know if she can trust Erik because of the bet he made about making Signal admit she loves him. Does he have any feelings for Signal or is it all just the game of a master manipulator? Nobody suggests trying to beat Erik at his own game. Make him admit he loves her. That might not be a bad idea... Nobody also threatens to kill Erik if he hurts Signal. Aww, what a good friend!
They go downtown to steal a phone and find an Uber and they do pretty easily, but then the Uber driver realizes who they are and tries to take them to the police station and calls 911. Nobody and Erik want to kill the driver but Signal convinces them not to, especially Erik if he's trying to prove he is actually a good person. They kick the driver out and steal the car to drive a little bit further, then crash it over a cliff. Erik says they can't go to San Francisco anymore because everyone will be looking for them, but Nobody is insistent that she go to the theater, so Signal decides that if they split up and change their appearances, no one will recognize them. New plan set, they walk for a bit to find a place to hide.
Inside a new construction oceanside mansion, Erik and Signal talk about the ten people he killed because this kill number is really important to Signal. Erik explains that after his parents decided he was the psychopath to rule all psychopaths, they died in a car accident and his brother was severely injured, so Erik was put into the care of Dr. Ledrick, family friend. He was taken to a facility where he was hopped up on pills that made him aggressive and locked in rooms with prisoners. He essentially had to kill his way out, either by physically attacking the others or convincing them to kill themselves instead of him. He manages to get out of the facility, but he's caught and taken to Dr. Ledrick's camp... Camp Naramauke, the Teen Killers Club training grounds, where he learned to kill even more. Yikes. So Erik has killed a lot of people, at least 11 now if you count Angel from the end of book one, but... is it really his fault?
Before they can talk more, or probably start making out if we're being honest, Nobody snuggles down in between Erik and Signal and starts talking about Swan Lake, which is what will be performed at the theater where they're meeting up with Aarush to drop off the flash drive. When they wake up, Erik shares some cash he found in his parents' house so they'll all have enough money to buy clothes and get makeovers and they split up. Alone now, Signal reads Erik's journal while she waits for a salon to open. This time she reads about empathy and Erik's grandfather Wiley, but his mother doesn't seem to like him very much.
Signal gets a fancy haircut and dye job and then goes in search of a dress to wear to the opera house. She finds a gorgeous one in a high-end resale shop, but when she notices her mugshot on the TV in the shop, she basically runs. Not obvious at all, Signal. After the thrift shop, Signal spends the rest of her day at the library reading about Erik's parents' deaths on the same armchair detective website she used in book one to find information about her case. She learns that, after a weekend at Grandpa Wiley's, the brake lines on their car were punctured causing the accident that killed Erik's mom, dad and injured his brother. Erik decided to stay with his grandfather a bit longer and wasn't in the car. Was it Erik who did it? Dr. Ledrick, who was also there? The grandfather? Someone else? Or were the brake lines even cut at all?
At the opera house, Signal finds Nobody who also got a fancy haircut and a snazzy outfit, a tuxedo, and Erik, who is also wearing a tux and a weird hat. Nobody is supposed to meet Aarush before intermission, but she's enthralled with Swan Lake because her girlfriend is the star. So Nobody can continue watching, Signal and Erik go to meet Aarush instead. While waiting for him, they make out some more and talk about the ballet, how the same dancer typically plays both the white swan and the black swan and how that's similar to them, choosing whether they're going to be good or evil. There's a lot of touching and kissing but then Signal starts thinking about the bet again. She asks him what she gets if she wins the bet. His response? Everything.
As they're about to make out even more, Aarush throws open the doors of the lobby and finds them. He tells them they only have a few minutes before the cops arrive because there is surveillance at the opera house and they've been spotted. They get Nobody and, with the confusion of the audience filing out of the theater for intermission, they get into the trunk of Aarush's car and speed away. On the way, Erik, Signal and Nobody talk about who Aarush is and realize he's the son of a famous tech guy, Sonny, who also has ties to Camp Naramauke, and he may or may not be the guy who helped make the kill switches. Yikes. They arrive at his house and when they step inside, they find a huge crowd cheering for them.
Aarush assures Signal, Erik and Nobody that everyone here at this party is cool and nobody will turn them in. They all think they're celebrities. The party goes well for a little while and Aarush has plans for them to continue their travels with other people that are cool and when they tell him why they're traveling, trying to clear Signal's name and stop the Wylie-Stanton testing and camp, he offers help because he is one of many who thinks the Wylie-Stanton testing is a violation of civil liberties. If they can get real evidence of Signal's innocence and a confession from the real killer and former camper, Rose's mom, Janeane, then he will share that info with reporters. That's a pretty good deal. He gives Signal a tiny camera that will record directly to the cloud so she can record Janeane's interrogation and confession. Aarush dismisses them to let them enjoy the party but makes Signal hang back, telling her not to trust Erik because he probably killed his parents. She doesn't believe him and goes out to the party.
When Signal finds Erik, he's surrounded by pretty girls and she gets jealous. He doesn't seem to want anything to do with those girls though, but Signal starts hounding him about how many girls he's slept with (several) and how many he's placed his love bets on (zero). Signal isn't really convinced and explains that she's never been with anyone so this is important to her. He says she is important to him, too, but she breaks away to find Nobody, leaving Erik feeling sad. Signal and Nobody dance a lot and then some creep grabs Signal and Nobody comes to the rescue, followed by Erik. Everything goes to shit after this and the party is cleared out. Aarush still secures them a ride but gives bad news about the kill switches. He hasn't been able to turn them off yet and he can see that the rest of the Teen Killers are all headed to or are in one location. Signal's hometown. Shit.
On the first part of the ride, the driver is nice and flirts spectacularly with Nobody. Erik is still sad about Signal being weird and jealous and reveals that he actually felt some kind of human emotion when they were at the opera house and also that he's a single repeater, a person who listens to one song over and over and over again, which is a clear sign of a psychopath. Signal is not a single repeater. Also on the trip, Nobody talks about how she met her ballerina girlfriend and tells her Teen Killers origin story.
Nobody was a model who went to Japan, but it was one of those mall-modeling scams that are really popular in small towns that prey on young teens. She was supposed to get paid a good deal of money, but being in Japan was expensive and her stepdad was a sleaze, so by the time she got back, he said she owed him money and had to work for it. His girlfriend was a stripper and made young teen Nobody become one too. Nobody escapes this horrible life when the strip club burns down and she holds a door closed while her stepfather burns alive. Her body count is made up of a group of these sexual predators, but she's still a Class A Teen Killer. At least she fell in love with a beautiful ballerina in Japan while she was there though.
The next part of their road trip is with a guy who makes tshirts for small, probably shitty, bands. He is also small and shitty. His car "overheats" right next to a music venue and so, "to let the car cool off," they go inside, but Erik, Signal and Nobody know something's up, so they take as many belongings with them as they can, just in case they don't come back. Small shitty guy gives them wigs and sunglasses to disguise themselves but then takes photos of Erik and Signal kissing and Nobody threatening him, so they decide to make a run for it, then they hear sirens. As they run and jump fences, Erik's journal falls out of Signal's pants. Uh oh. Erik seems oddly unfazed, but he stops talking to Signal.
After they run for a bit, Signal calls Aarush who leads them to a safe house that turns out to be a *haunted* safe house. At this time, Erik realizes it's October 30, so of course everyone's going to be in costumes and the haunted house will be perfectly safe. Ha ha ha. They get separated almost immediately in a mirror maze and Signal is on her own for a while. She finds a room that is made up to be like the shed where she supposedly decapitated her best friend Rose. There's a girl wearing a blue wig, covered in blood, crooning to a fake head which freaks Signal out. The actress points out an exit, and Signal falls through a trap door into a ball pit. Luckily Nobody and Erik are there too, and have some workers and extreme fanboys tied up. Unluckily, Signal starts hearing Rose's voice in her head. This happens off and on, but now it's worse.
After they leave the haunted house, Signal talks to Erik and apologizes for reading his journal, but says she's not actually sorry about it. He thinks she's afraid of him and that he killed his parents but she actually doesn't think that at all. They have a long discussion that ends up with them declaring that they're boyfriend and girlfriend, that Skye, Erik's brother, is a major creep and sociopath, and that Dr. Ledrick is responsible for the deaths of the Wiley-Stantons in order to take their Class A algorithm and make lots of money by testing drugs on Erik. They get another ride shortly after this and finally end up in Signal's hometown on Halloween. With facemasks given to them by their latest driver, Signal, Erik and Nobody trick or treat at Janeane's house. They burst in and tie her up.
At first, Janeane is sad and scared but then she almost immediately turns crazy and starts taunting Signal, who has to leave the room to be sick because she's overwhelmed with being in Rose's house again and also the thought that Erik has set all this up in an elaborate scheme and that Janeane didn't kill Rose, which is obviously not the case. She realizes this for sure when she finds the remains of a melted corpse in the bathtub that was melted in the exact way they were taught at camp in book one, reminding Signal that, oh yeah, Janeane is a Class A Teen Killer, too.
Signal leaves the bathroom to reveal the body goo she found, which delights Janeane. Signal signals Nobody to turn on the camera Aarush gave them and they begin their interrogation. Janeine talks about Signal's father instead and how she got her name. It's a terrible story about Signal's father being a drug addict who, when he found out he was having a baby, named the baby Signal as a sign for him to stop using drugs. That lasted for about three minutes and then he abandoned his family. Signal really doesn't care about any of this and then they actually start the interrogation.
Erik and Nobody work on Janeane and ask about all the stuff they found out in book one, mostly her sleeping with teenage boys including the same ones Rose was sleeping with, and then learn that, basically, she killed Rose because Rose was stupid and was probably going to end up pregnant and poor just like Signal's mom. Signal leaves because obviously she can't handle any of this, but when she goes outside, she is met by Jada and the rest of the Teen Killers Club. Oh yeah, they were coming to kill her. Shit.
After a chase, Signal is able to convince Jada that Aarush is shutting down their kill switches and that soon everyone will be safe and no one has to kill anyone. They, plus Javier, Dennis and Kurt, all go back to Janeane's house and have a party. Nobody and Erik got a nice confession from Janeane, who is still zip-tied in the other room with dishes in her lap, and they make food and play truth or dare and enjoy themselves. Well, not Erik and Javier. They hate each other because they both like Signal and that is awkward for everyone. It's also awkward for everyone when Kurt tells them that they were supposed to come find and kill Signal and make it look like Erik did it, then take him back to camp.
The Teen Killers Club tell Erik, Signal and Nobody about what's been happening at Camp Naramauke while they've been gone and it's not good. There are a bunch more teens there now and they're being hopped up on pills that make them super aggressive, kind of like what happened to Erik. Dennis tells them that he learned that Camp Naramauke is working with a pharmaceutical company, but doesn't know the name of it. Erik has an idea. Probably the same one that his grandfather owns. That's just great. They decide to call Aarush to check on the kill switches and he lets them know that he hasn't been able to deactivate them yet and that also the camera they recorded Janeane's confession with didn't work. They have to try again. Well, that's not going to happen because she's no longer tied up in the other room. And then the power goes out.
It's time for Hide and Seek! Everyone splits up to find Janeane, except for Erik and Signal who go together, and also kiss and stuff in front of everyone, which is shocking to all the Teen Killers Club because they kind of all knew something was going on with them but didn't know for sure. Now they do! In Rose's room, Signal thinks she hears breathing coming from the closet. Erik opens it and Signal throws him out of the way, worried that Janeane is going to attack, but no one is in there. Erik is impressed by the fact that Signal was going to save him. They sit on the bed and hold hands and he thanks her, and then Janeane bites into Signal's ankle because of course she wasn't hiding in the closet... she was under the bed!
Janeane runs up into the attic and everyone chases her. After a speech about how they're all going to lead shitty lives if they don't go back to camp and also that Signal is not a Class A and her Class A status was falsified by camp because Rose was the daughter of two campers, they get her confession again and then Kurt reveals that he let her go earlier because they're never going to get the kill switches turned off and he wants to go back to camp. Well that's just great. Then Kurt stabs Janeane. Everything falls apart here and they all decide that they're just going to finish their mission, you know, by killing Signal, and going back to camp. Even Erik agrees since Signal is no longer a Class A and therefore not useful to him in proving that Class As can be good. And he suggests that Javier be the one to kill Signal. And he agrees! What?! Signal runs.
Signal runs away and ends up at the shed where she was drugged and found holding her dead best friend's head, except the shed has been torn down. There are flowers and teddy bears and crosses and an altar set up for Rose there now. Here, Signal has a full-on conversation with her dead best friend. She might be losing it a little. Imaginary Rose convinces Signal that she always pushes everyone who loves her away and now she's doing it with Erik. Erik, who just found out she's not a Class A and therefore can't help clear his name, so he has to do something about it. Erik, who just found out that the kids at camp are being drugged, probably by his grandfather who owns a pharmaceutical company. Signal then realizes that it was probably Erik's grandfather who killed Erik's parents so he could have full access to Erik and the Wiley-Stanton test. Yikes.
Signal decides she's got to do something to help Erik, but first she goes to her old trailer, hoping to see her mother. She's not there and the trailer is abandoned, but there are some teens there. Signal reveals herself to them and takes their car and their phone. She calls Aarush who said he has footage of Janeane but it might not be enough to clear her name. Well, that's not what she's after anymore. She has a new plan and she needs his help.
Signal's new plan involves joining a wilderness hiking therapy group and sneaking into Camp Naramauke with Aarush's little camera to get footage of the director. On the hike, she encounters Nobody who has been out looking for her after talking to Aarush. It turns out that no one actually wanted to kill Signal at all, they wanted her to go free because she isn't a Teen Killer and they all are. Signal doesn't really believe it though. Nobody suggests giving the camera to one of their friends inside the camp to get better evidence of what's going on in there and then they can sneak Erik out. Whatever they end up doing, they decide to do it now.
Signal and Nobody leave the group and sneak into Camp Naramauke. Signal decides to start recording and keep the camera herself. They go past the obstacle course that Signal found so punishing when she was there and see campers running the course on their own. That's odd. Then they go to the cabins. Signal catches Kate, one of the adults at camp and former Teen Killer, trying to force Jada to take pills. That's when Dave, the other adult there and also Rose's father, finds her. Shit.
Dave actually tries to help Signal (even though he was the one who faked her Wiley-Stanton results to get her into Camp Naramauke) because he hates that Janeane killed their daughter. Signal says that Kurt killed Janeane but then Dave tells Signal that Janeane didn't die and there's articles about her claiming that Signal tried to kill her. Ooh great. Well whatever, Signal is here now to get evidence to shut the camp down and also free Erik. Dave tells her she'll never get out with Erik if he's even still alive anyway. He tells her where to find evidence (Kate has it), gives her his kill switch fob to stop any new camper who comes after her, tells her where Erik is and leaves.
Signal goes to the cabin that Dave directed her to and finds Dennis in there, diligently hacking aircraft engines. When he realizes she's there, there's a bit of back and forth about her running away from them when they were actually trying to help her escape. She struggles to believe that, but then she tells Dennis about the camera from Aarush and he finds that a ton of people are watching her livestream already. Then Kate comes in, but luckily Nobody is also there and she ties Kate up. As Signal films vital information about the pills the camp is forcing everyone to take, she finds that they have caused the deaths of multiple campers. Signal then asks Kate about Erik and finds out they're giving him something experimental she doesn't know anything about. They've got to get as much information as they can and get out. Dennis reaches out on the livestream and gets others to help him disable the kill switches and then Nobody sends Signal off to find Jada.
Jada is in the girls' cabin, freaking out. She was forced to take the pills and they're causing her to hallucinate, but Signal is able to convince her that she's real and that they should leave. New campers barge in then, calling to Jada and teasing her, but Signal and Jada manage to escape by pointing the kill switch fob at them. As they're sneaking away, however, they encounter ten other campers and... The Director, Dr. Ledrick. Signal wants to talk to The Director about starting this camp and hopping campers up on pills to send them out to kill people, but then he clicks his fob at Jada. She doesn't go down, which means Dennis turned off the switches. Javier steps out of the group of campers then and ferociously kisses Signal, and then the other campers, realizing The Director can do nothing to stop them, literally tear him apart and start eating him.
As they should, Signal, Jada and Javier run and soon meet back up with Dennis and Nobody and it comes out that Jada has taken the pills and started seeing things, which is apparently what happened right before the other campers died. Dennis writes out the coordinates for camp and tells the now two million watchers to send a medevac helicopter because Jada is going to die, likely within hours. Entirely too soon, they hear a helicopter, but it's not there to help. It's there to kill. Dennis rushes back to his computer and asks the watchers to help him take down the helicopter that's coming for them with the power of coding.
Javier, Nobody, Jada and Signal run toward the underground bunker where Erik is being kept, and the new campers begin to follow with bloody hands and teeth. Bullets rain down from the helicopter, but then its blades stop whirring and it crashes into the ground. Signal celebrates but then gets hit by shrapnel and falls. Jada, Javier and Nobody run to her side but then they hear another helicopter. Signal tells them to run and leave her but doesn't know that this time, it's the medevac copter. As she bleeds out, Signal asks if Erik was in the bunker, but he wasn't, so she records a final message to him on her little camera. She tells Erik that she knows him better than anyone and that even though she's not a Class A, she believes that he's good and never needed anyone to try to fix him. Then she tells him he wins, but as she starts to say "I love you," the camera dies.
Signal is fine, and now, a little while later, she's sitting at Aarush's house with his famous tech-bro father, and their lawyer, trying to decide what to do about the footage of camp that has been streamed hundreds of millions of times. Javier, Jada, Nobody and Dennis are also at the house, under house arrest. The lawyer thinks they need more evidence to completely stop the Wiley-Stanton testing and the testing of experimental medication on minors, plus they don't know for sure that it is Erik's grandfather's company behind it. Signal wants to talk to Erik and convince him to give his testimony, but no one knows where he is. Signal thinks that he might meet her at his house, but Aarush doesn't trust him and doesn't want her to go. Janeane was also released from the hospital and was picked up by Kate, so that's not good, but they haven't released her attic confession yet. She'll get hers, eventually.
Signal tries to convince Aarush and his father that Erik won't hurt her, but they don't believe it because there have been a lot of gruesome murders lately and witnesses have spotted Kurt at the crime scenes. It turns out that Erik, who Signal thought was in the bunker, was out on a mission with Kurt, and now no one knows where they are. Signal finally convinces Aarush, his father and the lawyer to let her go to Erik's house, and Aarush's father gets in contact with the owners of the house and rents it from them, then drives Signal out there.
One night, hoping for Erik to show up, Signal watches Swan Lake on her laptop in between working on homework she's forced to do to get her GED. A rainstorm begins and then there's a knock at the door. Signal runs to answer it, hoping it's Erik, but it's not. It's his older brother, Skye, and he is pretty gruesome-looking. His face is scarred and he's got a terrible limp from the accident Erik caused when they were younger to get back at him for hurting Alice and probably also from the car accident that killed their parents. Skye tries to convince Signal that Erik is a psychopath and that his time spent with Dr. Ledrick before camp was boring and not at all as terrible as Erik told Signal it was. Yeah, well, Signal has seen Ledrick in action and doesn't believe Skye one bit. She tells him she'd like the house to herself again.
Before Skye leaves, he asks to take a look at the ceilings in some of the rooms because they have been leaking, and well, it is his house, so it's not like Signal can say no. Skye goes into his old room on the third floor and Signal can't really see him past a huge boat sail that is hanging from the ceiling. She notices him ripping down a car racing video game poster and remembers that he was a stunt racer before the car accident. He pulls on leather driving gloves even though he says he can't drive anymore and has to use Uber, so that can't be good at all. Oh shit. It clicks for Signal that Skye was driving the night of the car accident that killed their parents. The brake lines weren't tampered with at all ... Skye, the stuntman, crashed on purpose.
Skye forces Signal into Erik's room where she's been sleeping and shuts the door behind him. He tries to get Signal to turn around and check that the window is latched, but yeah, no. She's not taking her eyes off him. He comments on the fact that she's watching Swan Lake and he goes off on a weird tangent that makes him seem unhinged. Signal picks up a flashlight, ready to bash his face in, but then Erik crashes through the window. He's massive with huge bulging muscles that he must've gotten from the experimental drugs. Skye weakly punches Erik and runs, but Erik breaks off part of the stairwell and throws it, hitting Skye and making him fall down the stairs.
Signal tries to make Erik stop but he charges at Skye. Signal is afraid that this mutant version of Erik is going to kill Skye so she cuts the huge sail down, stopping Erik and letting Skye get away. Signal pushes Erik and yells at him to not become a monster even though he's clearly a monster. She tells him he is hers and she won't let him hurt himself or anyone else. He breaks down, saying he's not good and that he can't be fixed, and that he finally felt fear for the first time watching her livestream. Signal tells Erik she loves him over and over again. They both hear sirens and Erik decides he's got to run, but he stops as he realizes Signal is watching Swan Lake. He tells Signal he loves her, too, then flees.