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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.