Jumping way ahead here. Switched was published in 1995 originally which is way later than the New Girl, and it shows. It also got a re-release in 2006, which is the version I read. Apparently this is one of the better loved Fear Street books, and I chose it partially because I remembered reading it, though I didn’t remember anything about it until about halfway through.
The original cover is okay (pulled from Fear Street blog, shout out). It gets its point across pretty well, though the cartoon lightning effects aren’t doing it any favors. The hands look a little too large. Someone was not happy to paint those. Honestly the new one (pulled from the publisher’s website) is a lot better with that split down the middle, though it does kind of look like the blonde side was photoshopped to hell and back. It’s a little more dynamic and not quite as cheesy.
A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
Well this one gives away the double twist (is it a double twist? we’ll get to that) almost immediately. It definitely has a lot less to do with switching bodies than the one on the new cover, which may be way they changed it.
Trading spaces — with a killer!
Sure, it’s obvious, but I don’t hate it. It plays into the stated theme of the novel more than the actual twist that comes.
This book goes from 0 to 100. The first chapter showcases what a dull, depressing life Nicole has. Honestly I was a little surprised to find it was written in first person, which is usually something I don’t like to read, but since it’s a body switching plot I’m giving it a pass. As amateurish as the attempt to give a reason a girl would want to switch bodies with someone is, I gotta say I identified a little too hard with her depression. She chips a nail and bursts into tears, she’s not doing her homework because she can’t bring herself to care, and she focuses hard on one project to bring meaning to her existence. It’s still a very teenage girl problems kind of life, but as someone with depression, it hit home a little.
Nicole’s life flipping stinks though. She might be failing her class, her parents are too oppressive, and her boyfriend breaks up with her for no dang reason. She goes to her BFF Lucy’s place to weep about her life, and Lucy tells her that her life stinks too! Lucy then grabs Nicole’s hand and tells her, “Let’s switch bodies.”
Listen, R.L. Stine has three hundred more books to write before the end of the year. He’s gotta get to the plot so he can get back to spending that Goosebumps money. So it’s beginning of chapter two, and we’re already on Fear Street, where some weird junk is about to go down. Lucy leads Nicole to the Changing Wall, which is the worst name for a thing possible, because her granddad was besties with the Fear Street Cemetery cryptkeeper who knew all the juicy gossip. They hold hands on the top of the wall, stare deeply into each other’s eyes, and jump down. When they get back up, Lucy is Nicole and Nicole is Lucy. Nicole has all these questions about what this means, and Lucy is just like “peace out, homie” and goes to Nicole’s house.
Nicole goes to Lucy’s house and DUN DUN DUN her parents are totes murdered! Nicole flips out and does not call the police or an adult or tell anyone what happened. She goes straight to Lucy’s boyfriend’s place, some dude named Kent, who she thinks will believe her about the body switch. Kent, unsurprisingly, does not really believe her, and after hearing her story calls the police on her. Nicole is kind of upset about this development, and she runs to her house to find Lucy. No one’s there.
At this point Nicole has not figured out that Lucy totally murdered her parents, even though it’s immediately obvious. She wants to switch bodies back and let Lucy handle this problem. It’s not until she heads back again (to change clothes? for some reason? I’m still not really sure what her plan was) and goes to Lucy’s room that she finds the bloody knife and confession. Lucy’s confession:
I HAD TO KILL THEM
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE
K, Lucy, totally sweet confession note. This girl did not even care. Nicole is understandably freaked out by this and she runs the heck away as the police come to chase her. She tries to track down Lucy and thinks she sees her with two friends, who have no idea what the flip she’s talking about. They try to stop Nicole from leaving. You know something fishy is up now because everyone keeps calling her Nicole even when they immediately see her. Nicole thinks this means Lucy is just telling everyone they switched bodies which is not something you should do if you murdered someone and then switched bodies to get away with it. Nicole’s kind of a dummy, but we’ll figure out why in a bit.
Nicole continues trying to track down Lucy, the bodies are starting to pile up, and the two detectives keep chasing her. She finds weird things, like the fact that the murders weren’t reported on in the local paper, or that Lucy’s things are gone when she goes back to the house, but Nicole’s in a bad place right now so she’s not really in a mystery solving mood. She decides to drive to Lucy’s grandmother’s house, thinking Lucy would hide out there. Lucy’s grandma is extremely confused when Nicole shows up pretending to be Lucy and asking if someone else had visited. The police show up again, she runs into the cornfield where she sees Lucy, they fight, they fight the police, Lucy drowns but then doesn’t, and then Nicole is tackled to the ground as her parents show up.
Because it turns out no one was murdered at all! Lucy died three years ago in a car accident! Nicole hasn’t been the same ever since, hallucinating, pretending to be Lucy, just not having a very good time of it. They thought she was better, but apparently whatever therapy they put her through did not have lasting effects. Nicole is taking to a facility, where she hallucinates Lucy is beside her every day, and she’s probably never going to leave, cue the Twilight Zone music.
I tore a fingernail while getting dressed for school this morning and burst into tears. That’s how messed up I am.
Fear Street Trends
I didn’t notice any totally radical updates. Some kids are rollerblading on the sidewalk, but that’s a decidedly 90s thing to do. No GAP t-shirts or high tops this time around, but this story was more about the plot and not really about cool teens doing cool teen things.
I actually really liked this one? It’s all plot, which I kind of respect, and means it’s pretty fast paced throughout. The twist is pretty solid. The ending’s nice and creepy and reminded me a bit of the ending of Psycho. Overall, four headless boyfriends out of five.