Woah! A Superchiller! What’s a superchiller? R.L. Stine decides to write more than a hundred pages. While this isn’t the first, it does seem the most hilarious place to start.
It’s not the most ominous cover (pulled from its GoodReads page). It makes it very obvious the girl is a bad guy when she kind of doesn’t do anything until the end, but subtle isn’t this book’s game. It’s very meh.
When midnight strikes… they all die.
It’s a good use of ellipses, but again pretty meh.
This Fear Street Superchiller splits itself between two times: 1965 and “This Year”, an insane cop out by Stine even though the book firmly plants itself in the mid-90s. Don’t worry, though. The 1965 portions are written by someone with a vague recollection of 1960s era movies. Everything is groovy, we’re all listening to the Beatles, a boy looks like Paul Newman, and Beth is wearing her brand new miniskirt. Beth watches her brother Jeremy get bullied by some kids (though I didn’t realize they were brother and sister until the very end of the book), and then a bunch of robbers break in and hold the place up. Only they aren’t robbers! They’re teenagers faking! Shadyside is the only place in the world that goes through these bonkers pranks that are actually over elaborate and crossover into psychological torture. Jeremy gets angry and leaves, Beth climbs into the car with him. They drive away recklessly, hitting a person, and then careening off the road as they try to run away.
Now we cut to “this year,” which is clearly 1995 by Artie’s plaid shirt. Reenie (not a real name) is part of a crew of kids: Artie, Greta, Sean, and Ty. They play these terrible pranks on each other, pretending to be dead bodies, leaping out at them from lockers, at one point pretending to fall into a frozen lake. It’s stated at one point they faked a robbery, and the robber pretended to kill Ty. What I’m saying is they’re real fucked up. They’re hanging out when they meet Liz and P.J., two newcomers who are looking to make friends. Ty and Liz hit it off initially, but Artie doesn’t like P.J. Artie’s been skipping class, talking about missing college, and hanging out with a scumbag kid named Marc, which his girlfriend Greta hates. She starts flirting with P.J., and Artie takes it personal. He decides to get P.J. back.
At a Christmas party, they sucker Sandi into getting a date with him, and then she’ll pretend to die. When the time comes, P.J. is so freaked out, he seems to have a heart attack. He dies, and then I’m not sure what happens to the party. It seems like everyone leaves, but everyone also saw P.J. hit the ground and pass out. Is no one else concerned about this? Instead of trying to cover up what they’ve done, the group calls the police, but when they arrive, the body is missing. They assume P.J. got them back, but on Monday he’s missing.
There’s another flashback to 1965, which confirms Beth and Jeremy died and turned into ghosts, sort of spoiling the end of the book.
Liz is distraught about all this. The group is too, especially after some of their crew starts getting killed off. First Marc, then Sandi. Everyone is sure P.J. is doing it. Liz tries to reconnect with them. She invites them to her house for a New Year’s Party, but when they get there, she tries to kill them all. P.J. shows up, and they confirm they’re ghosts. Ty jumps up though, and–DOUBLE TWIST–Ty’s a ghost too! He’s the boy who was killed by Beth and Jeremy, and he drags them both back to hell, leaving the crew in peace.
Listen to this inscription: We’ll be friends until the ocean needs diapers to keep its bottom dry.
Fear Street Trends
Like I said, this book plants itself firmly in the mid-90s. When we first meet these cool kids:
Artie in his plaid shirt, ripped jeans, hair in a buzz cut, an earring in one ear. Greta in her long straight skirt and belted jacket, every strand of blond hair carefully tousled, makeup perfect.
If they ever tried to update this, I would cry.
I didn’t recognize too many names, except for Lisa, who I think is in every book, but Corky Cochran shows up dating Ricky Shore. I thought perhaps that was Ricky in The Overnight, but I think he has a different last name? But his last name is one letter off, and there’s a million typos in these books.
I have to take an aside and say there are one million typos in these books. In the digital versions, in the print versions. Is Stephanie Meyer’s editor working on these? Who is publishing books like this.
It’s pretty meh all around. The pranks these Shadyside kids do are next level bonkers and makes them seem like psychopaths, and the ghosts are literally explained halfway through the book with a flashback. I’m going to give it two groovy parties out of five.