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.
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.
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.
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.
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.