Fear Street Map

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In reading a lot of these in one go, I’ve become mildly interested in the actual geometry of Shadyside. It’s clear to me R.L. Stine has a good plotting in his head, but it’s a little unclear in the books how big the town is, how long Fear Street is, the exact socio-economic makeup of the town, where the bad parts are, or the good parts, or much at all. Luckily, we don’t have to wonder.

shadyside

 

It took more than a little hunting to find the actual origin of this map, but according to this blog (this image pulled specifically from the Fear Street Book Club on Tumblr) the map was included in a 1996 Fear Street calendar. I have found no actual proof that this calendar exists except for this image and a WorldCat entry that lets me know the Michigan State University Libraries does in fact have a copy (probably a little too much to Interlibrary Loan that one). Notice that it’s oriented so that Fear Street is in the top corner. Fear Street is actually on the west/southwest side of town. Hopefully this helps any readers that are trying to wrap their heads around Shadyside.

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Fear Street #3 – The Overnight

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Fear Street is an ancient institution (it’s from the 90s y’all) and thus some of the early books are not in print anymore, or just can’t be found. You’d think, being a librarian, I’d have access to all the books, but I actually had to Interlibrary Loan this puppy, which means I read an actual physical book this time around (crazy, I know). I’m probably going to have to turn to this for several others in the series. Apologies in advance to our ILL librarian.

The Cover

the overnight

It’s not beautiful. It’s pretty good. I like the idea of it. But that orange/blue contrast is at its highest, and the imagery isn’t too creepy. I do appreciate that Suki is rendered fully on the cover.

Tagline

They shared her terrible secret — but could they get away with murder?

What to say about that. Pretty blah. Gives you a neat summary of the book without giving too much away, but my spine isn’t tingled.

Summary

Della is excited to go on an overnight camping trip with the Outdoors Club, which consists of Ricky (the joker), Suki (the slut), Maia (the complainer), Pete (the nice guy), and Gary (the leader). She and Gary broke up recently, and she’s hoping to use it as a chance to get back together, before Suki can get her press on nails in him. Too bad their teacher has to cancel the trip thanks to a family emergency. The club is distraught! They all wanted to go! After some discussion, they agree to go anyway, without telling their parents it’ll no longer be supervised, and on Saturday they take canoes out to Fear Island, the exact sort of place six teenagers should spend an unsupervised weekend hanging out in. Slasher movies have been invented at this point. Honestly everything that follows is their own fault.

Arriving on the island, things aren’t going so great. Gary and Suki are already making out, and Ricky’s ruining everyone’s good mood. Maia keeps freaking out about her parents, and Della is honestly just bummed. Ricky pulls out a flipping gun, which was a jarring sentence to read, but they’re not real. He carries ZAP guns with him (There’s no way that’s a real thing. Is that a real thing? It’s a very specific real thing if it is.), which are just paint guns, sort of. They split up into teams, boys vs girls, and play a game of war. Della goes off on her own out of poutiness, and she ends up running into a stranger. At first she’s into it. He’s maybe twenty, a little older, handsome, but he seems frantic. After a minute of talking, he attacks Della, and it seems like some unsavory business is about to go down, but in the struggle she shoves him off, and he lands in a ravine, seemingly breaking his neck.

Della flips out. She tries to find a pulse on the man, but he doesn’t have one. Her first thought is that she has to protect her friends, and so she starts hiding the body. Unfortunately her friends show up, and they’re understandably freaked out to find the scene. She explains everything that happened, and they agree to keep the secret and help her hide the body. They kind of make Della do it, which is fucked up. For a lot of the rest of the book, she has to do everything to fix what she started, which is partially fair, but she also got attacked and traumatized, and no one seems too sympathetic to her except for Pete (described in book as “too perfect”). She buries the body. They go back to camp and decide against going home immediately, worried it’ll tip off their parents, and they spend a soulless evening sleeping out. In the middle of the night, Della thinks she hears someone, but with no evidence that anyone is there she returns to sleep.

There’s only one fakeout scare in this book, which is baffling. R.L. Stine has built his career on fake out scares. Every other Fear Street book has chopped up chapters designed to end on a scream so the nine year old reading the book can’t find out what happened because it’s his bedtime and no you can’t stay up late young man you have school in the morning. They think their canoes have been stolen, but it turns out Ricky just moved them because he’s a pile of dicks. They return home unscathed.

Over the next few days, the kids start getting vaguely threatening messages. Della is sent a skull from the necklace of the man she killed with a note that says “I SAW WHAT YOU DID”, as does Gary. Pete and Della are nearly run off the road after exiting a teen club, which is a thing that exists in books but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen in real life. Someone stalks them at Della’s house, and they figure out the person they saw on the island was one of two thieves who’d tried to steal from an old man previously and gotten away with nothing. Now they’re worried the man’s partner is after them, or trying to extort money.

Their teacher comes back and tells them he’ll take them to the island for reals this time the next weekend. At first the kids protest, not wanting to go back so soon after the murder, but Della realizes she left one of Ricky’s guns, and he’s sure if the body’s found it’ll lead the police to him. So they go with their teacher back to Fear Island. Della and Pete try to sneak off to find the gun but keep getting caught. Finally their teacher is bludgeoned by the man who’s been stalking them, and Della is confronted in the woods, where it turns out it’s not the partner but the man himself! He wasn’t dead at all! He was going to blackmail the kids, but now he seems out for revenge. Della fights him off again, and she runs back to the camp where the police are waiting, and they arrest him. The secret is out, but no one’s a murderer, and it seems like everyone’s okay and her parents trust her even after all of that just happened. The end?

Favorite Line

He had such perfect teeth, she thought. Too perfect.

Fear Street Trends

So many! This book introduces Suki, who’s outfits are described in every scene she is in. I didn’t realize she was a punk kid, but she has bleached hair that is spiked, but she also seems to be fashion forward? This book came out in 1989, so that doesn’t seem like a real thing. Mostly she has multiple piercings, and she seems to wear skirts and leggings even camping in the woods. I assume she only joined the Outdoors Club for the amount of opportunities she had to sneak out into the woods and makeout with a cute boy. Pete wears Ralph Lauren polos and pleated chinos like a fucking nerd. Della is gorgeous, but she is not described as any sort of movie star.

A Polaroid camera is a plot point in the middle of the book, which practically makes this thing retro as that’s coming back in style. Some of the language is very strange, but my favorite has to be this exchange:

“I like your hair,” Mrs. O’Connor said to Suki. “How do you get it to stand up like that?”

“I use a gel,” Suki said, trying to figure out if Della’s mom was putting her on or not.

“It’s very… what do they call it? Very… rad,” Mrs. O’Connor said.

Someone at some points says, “What’s all this rap about communicating?” and “Cool your jets” is used. The language felt a little more old fashioned than I was used to with these books, but I’ve also been reading a lot of the updated versions.

It should not surprise you in the slightest that I do actually take notes when I read these books, and my Kindle versions are filled with highlights. Unable to do that with a library book, it ended up looking like this:

fear street cats

Though I may have been looking for an excuse to use my kitty tabs.

Rating

I actually enjoyed this book way more than I have a lot of the ones I’ve read. It seems to have a lower rating than I’ve seen on a couple of these books, but it was honestly very good. The scene with Della and the stranger is tense, I sort of liked the teen drama playing in the background, everyone seemed traumatized by what happened, and it was a good, solid read. I sort of arbitrarily assign these things ratings based on my nostalgia, the actual content of the book, and its level of readability within the other fear street books, but I’m willing to give this one five accidentally murdered strangers out of five.

Fear Street Cheerleaders #2 – The Second Evil

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The Fear Street Cheerleaders return as the evil they undid is not quite undone. I wonder how quickly in succession these books were written. If Stine’s method is believed, he probably typed up all three in a day and called it finished.

The Cover

the second evil

It’s not quite as good as the first one. That cheerleader definitely looks possessed, and it’s not a bad image, but I miss the blood red pompom. (Pulled from goodreads)

Tagline

Cheers — from the grave!

Just terrible. This book is the middle child, and it’s suffering all over the place.

Summary

It’s been a few months, since the horror that killed Corky and menaced her friends disappeared into the grave of Sarah Fear. The cheerleaders you actually care about: Ronnie, Debra, and Kimmy are driving along Fear Street for reasons. They pass the cemetery and see Corky there, talking to her sister’s grave. It’s been a real hard time for her, losing her sister, though it doesn’t seem to be that way for her family. We see her brother later and he is unaffected for losing his older sister, and her parents are mentioned exactly once, but Corky visits the grave every single day because she flipping lives next door to it.

Corky is talking to her dead sister when she sees the ground start to shake and the corpse of her sister rise from its grave. Surprise! It’s a hallucination! Turns out having your sister scalded to death does not make you the most well adjusted person. The other girls find her and walk her home, which is again next door. Kimmy and Ronnie try to help Corky, but Debra’s going through her Wicca phase and believes in crystals and spirits and keeps telling Corky the thing that killed her sister is still here and that she should be super scared of it. Meanwhile, Corky keeps seeing a strange boy out of the corner of her eye, but no one else seems to. She goes to make hot chocolate for everyone and finds herself possessed, and the spirit pours scalding water over her hand.

Corky’s put up for a few days while her hand recovers, and we see her interact with Chip. You remember Chip. He dated Kimmy and then dumped her only to immediately ask out Bobbi, and when that didn’t go so great, he jumped onto her mourning sister. He’s the exact kind of boy you should not date but it’s fine he’ll be dead by the end of this book. Chip takes her out on a date, and they end up at the cemetery again. There they meet Sarah Beth Plummer, a strange graduate student who’s been doing gravestone rubbings for a project. She talks to them about Sarah Fear and all the strange things that happened to her, including her love affair with a servant, and their mysterious death on Fear Lake, where all the occupants of her boat were seemingly boiled to death on a cloudless, calm day. Sarah Beth is super shady and totally untrustworthy as far as Corky is concerned.

Kimmy tries to convince Corky to rejoin the cheer squad. It’d be good for her, after all, to get back into a routine, have a social life again. Kimmy, you may remember, was a mega bitch in the last book, who flipped out when she didn’t make cheer captain and played the mean girl, but she’s chilled out a lot. She talks to Corky and tells her they’re all in this together, and she has to get her head in the game. Corky agrees to go back, but as soon as she starts cheering she’s overcome by the sound of a screaming girl. She can’t shake it, and she leaves.

Corky does not have any easy go of it the next few days. After school, she’s hanging out in the creepiest science lab in the world. It’s described like this:

Shelves beside the skeleton held large specimen jars filled with insects, plant specimens, and all kinds of animal parts.

I went to a high school and was even part of some science clubs, and I’m pretty sure that was not how it looked. But her science teacher is super chill and peaces out while she takes a makeup exam. As soon as he leaves, the lights go out, and she’s attacked by everything in the lab like this was Indigo Prophecy. She has to dodge jars and equipment, and the skeleton tries to choke her out. She manages to escape, only to find Chip dead with his hand severed in woodshop. This is the second death Bobbi has had to face in so many months, and not once do her parents seem to suggest pulling her out of school, moving, or even seeing a therapist. She does mention seeing a therapist (the same therapist Mayra sees in the Sleepwalker, I think) before all this started, but I’d suggest keep going. It’s only going to help.

Corky still tries to keep her routine, and she performs with the cheerleaders at the final game. She gets up on top of the pyramid, and when she jumps back, Kimmy is frozen and watches her fall to the ground. Corky breaks an arm and is sent to the hospital. All in all, a terrible week for Corky.

In between all of this, Corky and Debra have been investigating. They learned the man who was stalking Corky was Jon Daly, Jennifer’s brother, who believes Corky killed his sister. They tracked down Sarah Beth, who revealed that she was Sarah Fear, not the Sarah Fear, but a descendant of the line who was interested in her family history. They learn a little more about Sarah Fear but absolutely nothing new in a monologue that takes up half the book and is mostly her spouting off the notes Stine made in a journal when coming up with this story.

So you, dear reader, are wondering who is the evil possessing? Is it Jon Daly, who went missing after trying to summon a spirit out of Sarah Fear’s grave? Is it Sarah Beth aka Sarah Fear, overtaken by her namesake? Is it Debra, who’s been kind of a creep this whole time?

When Corky gets home, she decides to take a bath because it’s been a flipping long week, and when she looks up Kimmy is there. Kimmy is possessed by the evil! Kimmy tries to drown Corky, but Corky fights back. They struggle, and then Corky pushes Kimmy’s head under water until she’s not breathing, at which point she spits out a “foul-smelling, green liquid snake” that gets sucked down the drain.

Kimmy does not remember a gosh darn thing since the night at Sarah Fear’s grave so many months ago. She’s baffled and sick, and Corky is just relieved. Finally this is over. But Corky goes to get the mail a few days later and finds a note addressed to her, a note that claims the evil cannot be drowned in a chapter literally titled “The End?”. DUN DUN DUN

Favorite Line

Even from a distance, even through the hazy glass, Corky could see the gleam in Sarah Beth’s dark eyes, the unmistakable gleam of… evil.

Fear Street Trends

Nintendo has been introduced to the Fear Street universe. The visiting cheer squad also does “rap cheers” and “club-type dancing,” so the 90s are in full swing I guess. No one’s extremely fashionable except for Ronnie’s fur coat, which is mentioned about one hundred times in the first three chapters.

Rating

Not as exciting as the first, with fewer twists I feel, and a lot more unanswered questions. I imagine Stine did write these all in in one go, and it feels like a middle child. It’s a setup for the last one, where we find the truth. Sarah Beth disappears, Jon Daly dies after serving his purpose of being menacing, and we’re left with a “the end question mark.” I’ll give it three screaming cheerleaders out of five.

Fear Street #16 – First Date

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The Cover

Two covers! The 1992 version (pulled from the Fear Street blog) is pretty basic. Mooney-eyed girl not noticing the boy about to strangle her. True of the subject matter, but they both look so flat. That girl looks dead inside. Concept’s fine, poor execution. The 2006 version (pulled from Teen Ink) is a little more dynamic, but I have to say I’m a little disappointed. It sexifies the girl and makes her look dangerous, when this book taught me that men should be feared. The sexy new covers are pretty hit and miss for me.

Tagline

That’s when he always kills them.

Okay, this book is zero interested in actual suspense. You find out Will is the one of the two boys to be afeared of in like chapter six. Why even have a psych out? Just tell us the whole plot in the tagline why don’t you.

It may be her last.

See, that’s a good tagline. Plays off the title, is scary without revealing too much. Good job, 2006.

Summary

Prologue time! A boy and a girl are enjoying their first date, but the boy is really cagey and can’t seem to breathe. He and the girl walk outside, and he pushes her off a cliff, just like he did with all the others…

Chelsea is new to Shadyside and lives on Fear Street. She’s only made one friend, Nina, who’s only focused on her boyfriend Doug, and she’s feeling sad and lonely. She plays the saxophone, an instrument that is constantly made fun of, despite being historically one of the cooler instruments, but it’s high school and nothing is rational so whatever. They moved to Shadyside because her dad wanted to open his own restaurant, but he opens a coffee shop, except there’s no actual coffee it’s actually a diner, I don’t know his vision is super unclear, this may be why you haven’t been doing so great, guy. Her mom is a nurse and works twenty hours every day it seems like. Chelsea is lonelier for this reason because she doesn’t even get to see her parents. The discussion of the saxophone does lead to my favorite exchange in the entire book:

She laughed uncomfortably. “School isn’t so bad,” she said. “I’m in band.”

She immediately regretted revealing that.

Why did I tell him that? she wondered, feeling her face grow hot. It sounds so dorky.

“What do you play?” he asked seriously. “Tuba?”

He didn’t seem to be joking, but Chelsea was insulted. He thinks I’m so big and fat, I should be playing tuba. Why didn’t he say flute?

Hell truly is a teenage girl.

This book really should’ve been renamed “Female Fears”, because Chelsea is constantly accosted by boys in this. She walks to Nina’s house and a car full of boys follows her, shouting and catcalling her, and she runs and hides until she hears them leave. She is working late at her dad’s coffee shop and a group of boys come in and try to rob the place, assaulting her dad in the process and landing him in the hospital. A boy comes in daily at the shop and tells her that he’s dangerous, but that he likes her, and is basically trying to do the Twilight thing before that was even a thing. Luckily Chelsea meets Will, who seems sweet and shy, but is actually a murderer. How do we know he’s a murderer? Because every other chapter breaks away to tell us. There is a chapter that is a page long that is just to show us what Will is up to behind Chelsea’s back. It’s not exceptionally suspenseful or creepy when you just tell us.

Chelsea and Will go out on a date. He asks it to be a secret date, so she can’t tell her friends, which is weird but she goes with it.They go see a Will Ferrell movie and then park for a while. Chelsea is down for makeouts, but Will asks if they can walk around. He nearly pushes her off a cliff, but she’s too scared of heights. He tries several to choke her, but cars show up, there are other couples out, and it becomes more a comedy about an incompetent serial killer who just can’t catch a lucky break. Luckily Chelsea invites him back to her place, but unluckily Nina shows up even though it’s like midnight because Doug broke up with her, and Will leaves. Chelsea is bummed, but she gets a visit from an FBI agent tracking the murder of the young girls. He gives her a description and asks her to call in anything suspicious.

Chelsea is mildly traumatized from her encounter with the robbers, so every time she’s alone in the coffee shop she flips out. The boy who’s been talking to her, whose name is Tim Sparks, which is the name of a boy genius robot inventor, comes in, drunk, and tries to grab her. He burns his hand on the stove chasing after her, and she calls the FBI, thinking he’s the one they’re looking for. She keeps him there for a while, dressing his wound in an oddly grisly description:

She lowered her head to examine [the hand]. It was red and swollen. The skin had peeled in several places, and the open wounds were oozing. Pieces of skin were charred black where hot grease had clung.

It’s super gross. The FBI and paramedics take Tim away, and she calls her boyfriend to tell him what happened. Will is elated to know the FBI have the wrong guy, and he goes to Chelsea’s house. Chelsea realizes real quick that the description she was given also matches Will, especially when she gets a call from the FBI saying Tim is not their guy. She tells them to come over quick, and they tell her to flipping run. She tries to, and Will finds her, chokes her, and disposes of the body. Unfortunately bad friend Nina is on her way over, and Will realizes he has to kill her too. Except he doesn’t. He planned to do it earlier because Chelsea told Nina about him, but now everyone knows you’re the killer. He knows the FBI is on their way so the best thing to do is to super hide the body so they can’t get any DNA and then make a run for it. But it’s whatever. He tries to choke Nina, but she actually fights back, and then Chelsea shows up!!! He flips out because he thought she was dead, and he tries to stab her. Luckily the FBI arrive and arrest him.

Chelsea tells Nina thanks to her saxophone playing she could fake dead for a long time, but she came back when she heard Will attack her friend. Chelsea goes to visit Tim in the hospital, and they kind of make up? He gives sort of a reason why he tried to attack her in the shop but honest he’s still a creep, but apparently that is Chelsea’s type, and they make plans for a date.

Favorite Line

“I don’t want to encourage you,” her mother said. “I hate the saxophone!”

Fear Street Trends

Chelsea’s fashions aren’t gone into, but her friend Nina does wear a current fashion trend of an oversized t-shirt and leggings. Way ahead of the times. Chelsea does mention going out of her way to buy CDs. I guess when they updated this they didn’t mess with that.

They do go see a Will Ferrell movie that stars “at least two Quaid brothers.” I could not tell you which movie that is pretending to be, and I wonder if that was always there.

There aren’t too many special appearances by other Shadyside teens, but Doug is mentioned to be talking to Suki Thomas, who appeared in the Prom Queen as kind of a slut, described as “very popular with the boys at Shadyside High, and she premieres in the Overnight. And they weren’t exactly interested in her because she could help them with her homework!” Suki is here whenever someone needs to break up with their boyfriend for plot reasons.

Rating

Chelsea’s mind is a terrible, cluttered mess, but the action scenes are pretty good, and the horror scenes are actually pretty grisly. I’m going to give this three bumbled murders out of five.

Fear Street #15 – The Prom Queen

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The Cover

the prom queen

I like this cover (pulled from its Amazon page). The ghost face is a nice touch. A little on the nose, but I like it.

Tagline

She was drop dead beautiful…

Is not a phrase people say, but I like it. It goes with my assertion that this should’ve been about beauty pageants, but who am I to tell R.L. Stine how to do his job.

Summary

This book had twenty extra characters than your average Fear Street book, and since I didn’t read it all in one go, I may have some trouble keeping them together.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” McVay is one of the top five candidates for Prom Queen this year at Shadyside High, along with her friends Dawn, Rachel, Elena, and Simone (who I spent the entire book imagining as Zoe Saldana circa Crossroads). Recently there’d been a murder of a girl in a nearby town, which has the prom queens buzzing. But they’re nominated for their position, and each of them gets excited to show the other up. Simone is the top candidate, and she’s dating Justin, some baseball kid who dates girls behind her back. She’s insanely jealous to the point of getting in full blown fights if he even talks to another girl, though she may be justified, as we learn later on. But a few weeks before prom, Simone goes missing, supposedly kidnapped by the same person doing those other murders. Her body is never found, and she remains missing.

The other girls try to move on. They go try on dresses and gossip, but Dawn is attacked, and with the arrest of the serial murder taking place before Rachel is killed, they’re not sure who’s behind it. The cattiness is at ultimate levels. It’s a proto-mean girls. Each of them are friends but constantly talk behind their backs, and Justin has dated every single one of Simone’s friends except for Lizzy. Rachel’s boyfriend dumps her for Elena, and poor Lizzy is drama free because her boyfriend moved last year, and she can only communicate with him by mail. Dawn seems to be taking over Simone’s role in the group and in the school production, and things get worse when Elena is killed as well. Now the girls are absolutely sure someone is targeting prom queens, with the suspects ranging from each other, to the creepy boy Lucas who follows Lizzy around, to anyone wearing a Shadyside jersey.

I don’t really know how being prom queen works. It was not something I cared about in high school, I don’t think I ever voted on it, and I only remember the announcement at my prom because they stopped the music and we got bored and fed some koi fish until it came back on. These girls are nominated well in advance, and they have to give speeches, and they win a $3,000 scholarship. This is more in line with what I know about pageantry, and I wonder if Stine was thinking of pageants when he wrote this? It probably would’ve been more interesting if they were beauty queens. The cattiness and competitiveness could be taken to another level, and you’d have more fakeouts with potential killers. But I digress.

Dawn and Lizzy are left. They try to convince the police that they’re being targeted, but they can’t offer much help. Lizzy suspects everyone, from Justin who comes to her house in the middle of the night and gets threatening, to Lucas who loves to joke about murder and seems the type, to Dawn, and even Rachel’s boyfriend. None of these are particularly convincing, and Lizzy isn’t sure if she’s being paranoid or not. After Justin unsuccessfully asks her to prom, Lizzy goes to check on Dawn at the theatre only to find her being attacked! By who?! Simone!

Turns out Simone faked her kidnapping because she couldn’t stand Justin going out with all these girls. She was going to start with the prom queens and then move on to everyone else who had wronged her. She tells Lizzy this in a dramatic monologue when she could’ve been stabbing. Dawn is down for the count, but Lizzy manages to drop a sandbag on Simone, incapacitating her enough until the police arrive. They save Dawn, arrest Simone, and prom is saved (though not the play, I imagine). Lizzy gets to slow dance with her boyfriend, Dawn is the belle of the ball, and even creepy Lucas gets a date, and it seems everyone will get a happy ending after all.

Favorite Line

Psychos are allowed to wear maroon, too, you know.

Fear Street Trends

So many! First of all, Kevin and Lizzy are only able to communicate via letters because his dad saw the phone bill. Before the days of texting and the internet, romantic teens wrote each other letters, which were taken on horseback to the post, sealed with a kiss.

Halfway through the book they all go see a Christian Slater movie and are absolutely gushing about it. I could not. This was written in 1992 and was he ever that big of a deal? I feel like he was, but he’s kind of a creep and he doesn’t exactly play dreamboats. I tried to see if this was based on a real movie, as he dates a sexy spy and works for a “General Frick”, but I think it’s all fiction. He definitely doesn’t seem like the kind of actor a bunch of teenage girls would be swooning over.

The illustrious career of Lisa Blume continues, as she’s now student council president. How far this girl has come.

Rating

There’s a pretty good number of deaths and Simone being the killer is sort of a surprise if you forget they never found the body. I like the teen drama element that’s woven in as well. I’ll give it three undead prom queens out of five.

R.L. Stine Interview on the Return of Fear Street

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It may surprise you to learn I do research while I write these posts. I google, I read reviews, I try to find out stuff before I start the next novel, mostly because I don’t want to read three boring ones in a row. So I’ve come across an interview with R.L. Stine on Fear Street. The original interview was in January 1, 2014, as Stine was ready to release new Fear Street novels. You can see the original interview here.

For Stine, the request came as quite a shock. It had been more than fifteen years since he’d abandoned the harrowing halls of Shadyside High School, leaving behind nearly one-hundred books that have sold more than eighty million copies worldwide.

“Before I knew it, a whole bunch of people started tweeting me with the same request,” he says. Fans of all ages began reminiscing about gory deaths, favorite characters, and the books they’d dug out of their basements and passed on to younger generations. “These kids grew up on FEAR STREET and to my surprise, they wanted more of it.”

It does surprise me that people remember Fear Street. It seems we all read it, but I don’t know that many people who talk fondly of it, especially when Goosebumps is far more recognizable and loved. Apparently publishers didn’t think it’d be worth reviving, which is a sad thing right now. With the success of Scream Queens and American Horror Story and other horror themed television, someone is missing out on a successful TV show (yes I am obsessed I hope this dream comes true some day).

I do find this tidbit interesting:

Stine admits he doesn’t quite understand the zombie apocalypse currently sweeping pop culture. “Zombies are boring as characters,” he says. “You can’t disguise them as humans. There’s really not much that can be done with them.”

Stine has definitely used zombies, so it’s a little funny to hear him say this. But you go through as many ideas as he has, and you have to start pulling from somewhere. He does like vampires.

Bloodsuckers on the other hand, are a different story. “Vampires are sexy. Interesting. I understand that phenomenon.”

I could write three hundred papers on vampires and pop culture, so I guess I’m agreeing with Stine on this one.

He does mention revisiting the cheerleaders. That must be the most loved part of the Fear Street canon.

I find most interesting his writing advice.

Stine says a typical FEAR STREET book takes about two to three weeks to write (minus one from the late 80s that he penned in just eight days.) The secret to his productivity, he says, is thorough plotting.

“You can’t get writer’s block if you do that much planning,” he says. “Once I’ve finished the outline, I can just enjoy writing the story.”

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. His books are so short and they’re all plot. I can easily see him creating the outline and then hitting each beat he needs to hit. I find this particularly interesting because it’s a writing tool I’ve used and have moved away from, mostly because I don’t think it gives the story time to breathe. But Stine isn’t here to create great novels, he’s here to push them out and get them on the shelves, and it’s worked really well for him.

As for adults, his advice is a little more pointed. “Figure out your audience. Go into a bookstore and pinpoint where your book belongs, where it will fit on the shelf. It drives me crazy when authors talk about writing for themselves, or writing from the heart. I’ve never written a single word from my heart—why would I? I write to entertain people. To tell a great, scary story.”

I love this advice too, and honestly it makes a lot of sense to his success. I was a spooky kid, and spooky things have only recently permeated kid culture on a major level. Stine probably saw there weren’t too many horror books on the shelf, and he made room for them, and now Goosebumps is one of the most remembered kid series of all time.

I felt like, after reading this, I understood Fear Street and Stine’s writing style a lot more. It’s certainly an interesting look into everyone’s favorite horror series.