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Back and Deader Than Ever is the fourth and final book in the Monster High series. It was released on May 1, 2012. Unlike the other books, it does not have a new thirteenth chapter focusing on Ghoulia, and instead, shares its thirteenth chapter with the previous book Where There's a Wolf, There's a Way. Its focus-character is Draculaura.
The RADs are free, and Lala is flashing her fangs with pride. But when Daddy Drac pays her a surprise visit, everything goes batty. Mr. D thinks the RADs should have their own school, but Lala isn't ready to give up the rights she and her friends have fought so hard for. When she hears about a glamorous contest that awards the winning school mad moola and a starring role in a national ad campaign, Lala decides to bite. It's father against daughter in a battle for Salem's student body. Lala is determined to save Merston High...but she might die - twice - trying.
Frankie is sparking at the chance to represent Merston High in the national ad campaign. All she has to do is win a school vote, impress the judges, and beat out Cleo de Nile. Um, easier said than won. Cleo is clinging to her queen bee crown-like cat hair on velvet. Will Frankie abandon her nice-girl ways and bury Cleo (and her ego) once and for all? All's fair in love and showbiz: What Frankie does next will decide who becomes Merston High's new It Girl - and what could be more voltage than that?
Melody takes a walk on the wild side when she helps Candace sneak into a concert and ends up bonding with the band. Asked to sing lead, Melody captures the attention of the cool college crowd - and hot band roadie Granite Sander. But while she's rocking out, Jackson is freaking out, especially when the band's schedule threatens their summer plans as a couple. As the final bell rings, Melody is forced to make a life-changing choice. Will her decision shatter her dreams - or break her heart?
The book is told in the alternating perspectives of Frankie Stein, a girl made in her parent’s lab, Melody Carver, a fifteen-year-old girl who feels like a misfit amongst her picture-perfect family, and Draculaura (nicknamed Lala), a vampire whose attempts to make her father proud often go unnoticed.
With the RADs now free two months after Clawdeen’s Sassy Sixteen party, Frankie accompanies Billy to Portland to shop for new clothes for the latter, who has decided to become a little more visible for his girlfriend, Spectra Vondergeist. Despite initial hostility from the retail workers, their shopping trip is a success.
The RADs, over the months, have successfully integrated with their unique attributes and abilities at Merston High. Despite this, diversity training assemblies continue to be held. On June 1, with the school year almost over, Frankie is excited to start on her To-do or Die list of things to do over the summer, and continues adding to the list while waiting for the last diversity assembly to start, along with Brett, Cleo, Clawdeen, Blue, and Blue’s new friend from the swim team, Irish Emmy. The last assembly highlights the accomplishments RADs have helped Merston High achieve, as well as announcing a balance board that students can apply, and be randomly chosen for, to help address the needs of both normies and RADs. After the assembly, Frankie extends an invitation to her friends for a pool party at her house. The girls rush to Lala’s car while Lala waits to meet with Clawd, who gifts her a photograph of their “first” date at the Hideout Inn where they played chess together. While driving to Frankie’s house, Lala detours at her own house for her daily video meeting with her father, Mr. D. Disappointed in Lala’s lack of initiative, Lala promises her father to find a suitable college-worthy afterschool activity, and upon Google searching for one, finds a potential opportunity.
Melody helps Candace, still dating a college guy named Shane, to sneak into a college-aged concert to meet him using her siren voice. Despite the need to study, Melody is drawn to the band Grunge Goddess, who plays many of the nineties grunge songs that she listened to in Beverly Hills. When the lead singer, Davina, breaks her arm trying to stage-dive, Melody is offered as a replacement singer by Candace and Billy. At first nervous, she quickly warms up to performing like she used to and impresses the band. Lala is filming for her rescue animal fashion show, featuring Clawdeen’s DIY designs, with the help of Irish Emmy, while also drafting her essay application for the afterschool activity she has found. Lala reveals that the activity is actually a chance to win a sponsorship and a million dollars for upgrades for Merston High from two shoe brands – a fashion brand by Brigitte Teau and a sports brand by Dickie Dally – who have collaborated for a pair of shoes combining fashion and function, called T’eau Dally. They have held a contest to find a school in America that similarly combines different people, which Lala believes Merston fulfills with normies and RADs. After gaining approval of and sending, her essay application, the girls begin filming for the show but are interrupted by the animals becoming antsy and quickly find out that Mr. D has returned home.
Later in the week, Frankie is at the mall with Brett, upset that Cleo submitted her name for the balance board, despite Frankie’s lack of interest, and was chosen. Brett tries to understand Frankie’s lack of enthusiasm, despite previously wanting to help where she can, and Frankie explains her persisting unease at trying, and failing, to help the RADs previously. Despite this, Brett convinces her that helping the RADs on the balance board is not a bad thing, and also reveals that due to a dare with Heath, they both submitted their names and were both chosen; thus, their summer would be filled with similar activities. While relaxing at a picnic in the park, Melody and Jackson discuss their plans for the summer. Jackson surprises Melody with interviews to a summer camp, which she is excited for, but also receives a text from Candace about Grunge Goddess auditioning lead singers, which she signed Melody up for. Despite the tight timing for both the audition and the interview, which is happening on the same day, Jackson is happy for Melody.
Four days after Mr. D’s unexpected arrival, Lala wakes up for school, eager to have her father at home and not through a computer screen. Despite this, Mr. D does not ask about the afterschool activities Lala has found, and his presence especially annoys his brother Vlad, who is tired of Mr. D’s possessions messing up his carefully placed furniture feng shui. At breakfast, Lala receives a call from Brigitte Teau and Dickie Dally, who announce Merston High as one of the finalists in the competition, much to her delight. She is instructed to find and present a couple, and to prepare for the designers’ arrival next week. Lala tries to tell Mr. D the good news, but he dismisses Lala before she can. At the balance board meeting, Haylee, who assumes the leadership, refreshes everyone on their roles on the board and announces their first discussion of the senior luncheon. As social coordinator, Frankie is supposed to organize the event, but at her hesitation, Haylee assumes responsibility. The next announcement is finding a couple for the T’eau Dally competition; since Lala, as a vampire, does not show up in pictures, she cannot be the representative with Clawd. When the board cannot agree on who should represent, they leave it up to a student vote. At the audition for the Grunge Goddess lead singer, Melody meets Nine-Point-Five (so named for only having half of a pinkie finger on one hand) the drummer, Sage the guitarist, and Cici the bassist. They have an impromptu jam session before being interrupted by Jackson, reminding Melody of their summer camp interviews. Melody is now unsure of wanting to teach at camp, particularly after finding out from Sage that Grunge Goddess is attempting to line up gigs over the summer. At school the next day, the RADs are all simultaneously sent a text from Mr. D for a mandatory meeting at a clearing. Frankie, Billy, Spectra, and Clawd all grill Lala over the news, but Lala pretends to keep her father’s secret, despite not having spoken to him since he returned.
Frankie campaigns throughout the week for her and Brett to be chosen as the T’eau Dally couple by handing out flyers, dressing in mixed styles, charging phones with a touch, and helping Brett make monster movies in the cafeteria all with varying success. At each turn, Cleo and Deuce, and Haylee and Heath, also competing to be the it couple, run their own campaigns. On Friday night, the RADs meet in the clearing with Mr. D, who announces that the land they are standing on has been purchased by him to make a new high school for RADs only, Radcliffe High, where RAD attendance is mandatory. While the parents approve, the children are shocked and angry that the freedom they fought for to stay and integrate with normies at Merston High is being taken away. When asked about the contest, Mr. D shows he does not know about it, causing an embarrassed Lala to explain to him what she has accomplished. Mr. D dismisses this, causing an angry Lala to openly defy him, and she is ordered home. Nervously waiting for her dad, Vlad tries to comfort Lala but flees when Mr. D arrives. Mr. D expresses her disbelief and anger over Lala defying him as her father, though Lala corrects him in pointing out that he is not her birth father; while living in Romania several centuries ago, Lala, whose real name is Laura, was the daughter of a housekeeper Mr. D fell in love with, and upon both mother and daughter becoming extremely ill, he manages to save Lala by biting and turning her into a vampire. Lala strikes a deal with Mr. D: if Merston wins the competition, the RADs can stay, but if they lose, they go to Radcliffe High, which she agrees to.
At an old paper factory, Melody performs her first gig as the lead singer of Grunge Goddess, to great success. Afterward, she meets with Jackson, also at the concert, who excitedly tells her they got the jobs for summer camp. Sage congratulates Melody on the successful gig, and introduces her to Grunge Goddess’ roadie, a hulking man named Granite Sanders. Melody opts to stay behind and dance with the band, and Jackson leaves for home, not wanting to turn into D.J. in the hot venue. Melody catches a ride with Granite on his motorcycle, and, upon receiving texts from Mr. D reprimanding them for skipping the meeting, confirm that they are RADs. Granite reveals he is a gargoyle who used to live over a rock bar, called Venue, in Portland, but when it was demolished, was sent to Salem for its RAD-friendly community. They exchange numbers before he leaves, all of which is witnessed by a less-than-pleased Jackson from his house’s window.
The next Monday, the students are assembled to hear the campaign speech from the competing couples, all of whom now know of Lala’s bet with Mr. D and the importance of winning the competition. Frankie goes first, sans Brett, who has severe stage fright, and initially stumbles but eventually hits a stride before being cut off after reaching the time limit. Cleo and Deuce go next, announcing Haylee and Heath’s withdraw from the competition and presenting an excellent speech. Melody, meanwhile, skips the assembly for a photoshoot with Grunge Goddess – who, per Melody’s suggestion, change their name to Leadfeather – to make posters as a last-ditch effort to get gigs. Granite invites Melody to ride to his old residence in Portland, which she happily accepts. Venue, having since been changed from a rock bar to a coffee shop, was once a place where famous rock and grunge acts performed. Later on, Granite takes her to another famous place called Dante’s, where Granite meets with and introduces Melody to the owner. While giving her a tour, they encounter Lew Snyder, the biggest tour manager in the northwest whom Granite met the previous month. Melody uses her voice to convince Lew to book Leadfeather for summer gigs and provide them with a tour bus and hotel accommodation. In a series of texts, Melody makes a deal with her mother to ace a makeup for a test she had missed while in Portland with Granite in exchange for going on tour with Leadfeather.
Melody performs a sold-out concert with Leadfeather the next day, supporting her parents, Candace, Billy, Spectra, and Jackson. During the performance, Jackson’s fan breaks, unintentionally turning him into D.J. After the show, Melody and Jackson meet with the band. Granite tells them the news that Lew has booked them summer gigs, which they are ecstatic over. Melody is surprised but welcoming of Jackson’s support in the gigs that will ruin their summer camp plans. Later on, after leaving the venue, Melody tries to receive confirmation that Jackson is okay with the gigs but is horrified to find that he had transformed into D.J., and he doesn’t approve of the plans at all. The two have their first fight, and Jackson leaves, challenging Melody to prove that she doesn’t want to break up.
On Wednesday, the day before Brigitte and Dickie arrive, Lala prepares for their arrival, enlisting Blue and Clawdeen’s help to make DIY clothes, Jackson’s help to paint a banner, and Clawd’s help to make a runway in the gym. The winners of the couple’s competition are announced to be Frankie and Brett, much to their surprise, and, after receiving the new T’eau Dally shoes, Lala delivers them to the winning couple. On her way back to the gym, Lala runs into two adults and realizes that it’s Brigitte and Dickie, having arrived a full day early. Frankie receives special treatment for winning the contest throughout the morning, unbeknownst to Cleo, who skipped morning classes for a supposed Teen Vogue meeting, but returned for the gym. During class and in the locker room afterward, Cleo attempts to save face. Spectra, however, reveals that she and Billy stuffed the ballot box with Frankie and Brett’s names to knock Cleo down a few pegs, also knowing that Frankie was sure not to win with her disastrous speech. Hurt over this confession, Frankie tries to make things right by giving the shoes to Cleo.
Lala, along with Jackson, gives a tour to Brigitte, whose lack of English makes communication difficult, and Dickie, who turns out to be overweight and sleazy. They run into Melody on her way to her next class, who is still in a bind regarding her situation with Jackson, and after another heated argument, the two decide to have a break. After the encounter, Melody decides to meet with Granite on the rooftop, where the two share a kiss just as Lala and Jackson show the roof to Brigitte and Dickie. Ignoring Melody, Granite notes that he has moved on and kisses Melody again. Lala, meanwhile, becomes even more stressed at Brigitte and Dickie’s early arrival, Melody and Jackson’s drama, and the problem with the school’s chosen couple after the four witness Frankie attempting to give Cleo the T’eau Dally shoes, who vehemently refuses. However, once Frankie explains the truth, Cleo happily accepts them. Lala finally shows them the gym, only to find that no progress has been made on anything. Clawdeen meets Brigitte and Dickie, who become obsessed with Clawdeen’s natural fur, and are inspired to make a winter line with it. Lala points to real fur being frowned upon in America, but Brigitte dismisses the notion, and she and Dickie reveal, to the horrified girls, that all their shoes are made with real animal fur or leather and also animal tested. Attempting to diffuse the situation, Jackson reveals the banner with the help of Heath, but the latter’s fiery burps burn the banner and trigger the sprinkler system. Standing under the streams, Lala tells off Brigitte and Dickie, wanting to stand up for the RADs, who had been insulted all afternoon by Dickie’s passive comments and the animals used in their products. Deuce loses his sunglasses in the confusion, accidentally stoning Dickie, and Lala convinces him to uncover his eyes to stone Brigitte.
Later that week, Frankie, along with the balance board, oversees the senior graduation and luncheon. With Merston High under construction after the incident at the gym, Frankie gets Deuce and Maddy’s help in making a stone garden theme illustrated with colorful chalk for the seniors after Haylee is unable to handle the stress. A grateful Haylee reveals to Frankie that competing in the couple’s contest, combined with the luncheon, glassblowing classes with Heath, and her dog walking business, was too much for her to handle, and she had dropped out of the contest after giving Cleo her speech. Cleo gave her an Eye of Horus amulet as thanks. After the graduation ceremony, Frankie confronts Billy about his lack of confidence in Frankie, and he apologizes for not believing in her. Billy, Spectra, and Candace plan on vacationing in France over the summer. Candace also breaks up with Shane after discovering that she has only just graduated high school and was not in college, which Candace takes in stride. Later on, she helps Melody pack her bags for Leadfeather’s northwest tour, which Glory and Beau are also accompanying her to. As she leaves with the band on the tour bus, she receives a call from Jackson, who has willingly transformed into D.J., requesting to go along. Melody offers him the vacant roadie position since Granite is now their manager, and D.J. happily accepts.
In the epilogue, Radcliffe High is finally revealed after a summer of construction, though the RADs are shocked to see its name has been changed to Monster High, mirroring the rearranging of the letters on the Merston High sign on the night of the September Semi that started it all. Mr. D highlights the school’s accommodations for the RAD’s unique needs, along with the decision to open the school up to normies – with Merston High still under reconstruction – convinced by Lala and Frankie. While the assembled crowd checks out the school, Lala stays behind with Mr. D, who expresses how proud he is of her; a phrase Lala points out is hardly said by him. Mr. D reveals that he often doesn’t know how to express himself around Lala, who resembles and acts like her late mother, who often challenged Mr. D to see and believe in things differently. Lala and Mr. D agree to work on their father-daughter relationship as they head into the school.
- Lost Chapter (Whose Unlucky Number Shall Go Unmentioned)
The thirteenth chapter of this novel was absent from the original release of the novel. All the novels in the Monster High series follow a similar format where this chapter is missing. However, unlike the other novels, this novel shares its thirteenth chapter with the previous book Where There's a Wolf, There's a Way.
Main article: Chapter 13: Occupy Mall Street
- Draculaura's problem keeping herself warm is due to the fact she has no blood circulation anymore. This Monster High vampiric trait is exclusive to the Monster High books. Despite this, there are several errors that assume the opposite.
- In Chapter 7, an excerpt reads that "her blood turned to stone." Although the expression is metaphorical, it would still not make sense considering her lack of blood.
- In Chapter 10, a line reads that "she blushes."
- In Chapter 12, a line reads that "her heart begins to speed." Since she no longer has a beating heart, this also doesn't make sense.
- Lala and Mr. D, as vampires, also have no reflection. However, in Chapter 2, both use video chat to communicate with each other.
- This mistake is also mirrored in the previous novel, where Mr. D addresses the RADs from the underground cavern through a video chat.
- In the prologue, Frankie prevents a sales associate from touching her bolts because they are live and could electrocute her. However, there are certain later lines in the book that calls this into question:
- In Chapter 15, Brett kisses one of her bolts.
- In Chapter 24, Brigitte pulls on one of Frankie's bolts.
- In both cases, Brett and Brigitte should have been electrocuted, but they are not.
- In The Ghoul Next Door, Cleo participates in a Teen Vogue photo shoot starring her Aunt Nefertiti's jewels. The shoot, however, is a disaster, and it is heavily implied that the photographers and editors would not contact Cleo again.
- However, in Chapter 22, Cleo claims a meeting with Teen Vogue as her reasoning for missing morning classes.
- Haylee’s full name is revealed to be Haylee Barron-Mendelwitz in Chapter 8. Her father is also revealed to be a lawyer.
- If such were the case, then the fact that her father was not able to find a loophole in her indentured servitude contract that she was serving under Bekka in the previous three novels potentially points to him being a bad lawyer. Additionally, the fact he allowed Haylee to sign it without reading it over would lead to the same conclusion.
- However, it is known from the previous novel that Bekka’s father is also a lawyer, and it is possible that he made the contract as ironclad as possible to prevent Haylee’s father from finding ways to break it.
- In all novels, the first chapter of the book is told from the narrative of a RAD. However, this is the only novel whose first chapter does not start with its starring character.
- The first two chapters are told from Frankie’s perspective, with the third being told from Draculaura’s. In The Ghoul Next Door, the first chapter started with Cleo, and in Where There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way, the first chapter started with Clawdeen.
- This is the only novel where Bekka no longer stars as the main antagonist. Following the events of the last book, she changed schools.
- Candace continues dating the college guy she meets in the previous novel, though he breaks up with her at the end of this novel.
- Marina, Melody’s birth mother, whom she met in the previous novel, is briefly mentioned in the epilogue as being the new music teacher for Monster High.
- In the epilogue, Draculaura comments that she and her father had a rocky 1,599 years to their relationship, putting this novel, and the events of the Monster High book series, all before Draculaura’s 1,600th birthday.