Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend

This one is a doozy, guys. I had no idea what this one was leading up to, and goodness at where it went.

The Cover

Oh my goodness is that cover ugly. (Original pulled from here, updated from here.) The first one features a 30 year old woman, though at least they got the plot point of her short hair and the climax at the Christmas party. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why is there a knife in that? Did Honey give her a present and then stab it? Is the knife part of the present? Meanwhile, the new one is also pretty terrible. The splintered photo might’ve been fine except the negative filter and the blown out colors make it impossible to tell what’s going on. There’s a million ways both of these could’ve been improved.

Tagline

Sometimes friendship can be murder…

It’s a little one the nose. It’s not the worst, but a little more thought could’ve been put into it.

2 good
+2 be
4-gotten

I adore this one in its terrible cheesiness. It goes a lot more with the teenage girl theme, and this sort of thing was all over the place in the 2000s. It’s so goofy I love it.

Summary

Becka is your average girl, with a boyfriend she can’t stand, two best friends Lilah and Trish, and an ex she isn’t allowed to see thanks to some trouble he got into last year. She breaks up with Eric in chapter one, and he’s kind of a dick about it, barely even registering an emotion whens he does. She goes back to her besties, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Honey, who moved next door and is under the impression that she and Becka were best friends in elementary school. She talks about all these great things she and Becka did together, but Becka remembers none of it. Honey barely acknowledges Lilah and Trish. She tells Becka she’s moved back after moving away and wants to pick the friendship up right where it left off. When the girls look her up in a yearbook, they vaguely remember a weird, quiet girl no one liked. Honey also establishes herself quickly as a weirdo by stealing a piece of jewelry that Becka loved.

Becka tries to put Honey out of her mind and reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Bill, who got kicked out of school the last year for some general hooligan nonsense. Her parents hate Bill, so she has to sneak around to see him. At school, she sees Honey and asks for her pin back, and Honey starts goddamn choking her. She plays it off as a joke, as apparently she used to play a game with Becka that involved scaring each other, and like the kids in The New Years Party, they had absolutely no chill. For reals, though, Shadyside must have something in the water that is breeding this kind of alarming behavior, and I just realized they literally have an evil spirit that has inhabited their water supply before, which may explain a lot. Anyway, Honey starts gaslighting Becka hard, saying Becka gave her the pin and told her to keep it before flouncing away.

Becka and Lilah go bike riding together, because kids in this town are also fitness nuts I cannot believe, and they see Honey hanging around their bikes. As Becka and Lilah ride around, Lilah isn’t able to brake on her bike, which causes a truck to crash into her, hospitalizing her. Becka begins to suspect Honey might be the one who tampered with the bike, and she goes to Bill to relay her suspicions. He suspects Becka is overreacting to the situation due to all the stress in her life. She thinks Honey is following them, and after she gets really sick and is put on bedrest for a few days, Trish tells her Honey has been telling the school that she had a mental breakdown. When Becka gets back to school, Honey has her exact haircut and is dating her ex-boyfriend Eric. Honey pulls a water pistol on her that looks like a real gun at school (because again, this is Shadyside, where this kind of pranking is totally normal), and she drops to Becka’s parents that Becka has been seeing Bill after Bill lets Becka know that Honey came onto him at one point.

This culminates in Trish’ Christmas party, where Honey shows up wearing the same clothes as Becka, and Becka flips out on her, telling her to leave her alone. Trish then falls down a flight of stairs with Honey suspiciously standing behind her. Trish breaks her neck, and due to all the stress, Becka passes out. She wakes up in her own bed where she’s being treated with medication, and she’s kept in her bed for a few days. Honey calls all the time still, and finally Honey convinces Becka to come over to her house for a surprise. Becka sees Bill there and decides to find out for herself. In her drugged stupor, she becomes extremely paranoid, and when she sees them together she grabs a knife and lunges for them before passing out. Bill tries to help, and Honey flips her shit on him, grabbing the knife and stabbing him, and then planting the knife on Becka. Becka wakes up believing she killed Bill, and Honey promises she’ll help her, and that they’ll be best friends forever.

And then it just fucking ends.

And dumb dumb me is sitting here like “oh I wonder what the twist will be.” It’s nothing. It’s that Honey is a stalker capable of murder and now Becka is trapped with her forever. I was expecting something like Honey has actually been dead the whole time and Becka is imagining all these things or Becka has a second personality, but no. Honey is going to use this against Becka, who will never truly be free of this harrowing experience, and the book just ends. Thanks, R.L. Stine, for keeping it real.

Favorite Line

Be cool. For once in your life, be cool.

Fear Street Trends

So many! Becka and her friends are clearly some of the cool kids. Poor Honey first shows up in a bright orange sweater and green miniskirt with black tights. She looks like Velma Dinkley. Trish is fashionable at her Christmas party in a scoop-necked green wool sweater and velvet black pants, and Becka gets at on of compliments on her silver skirt over a black catsuit???? Was that a thing at some point? Maybe in the 80s? Becka’s super cool boyfriend Bill has a pierced ear as well.

At the Christmas party they play the Guns ‘n Roses Christmas album as well as Bruce Springsteen. The coolest music Stine could think up. They also play “a Christmas rap song”.

There are tons of cameos from the early books. Becka’s best friend in fourth grade was Deena Martinson, and she’s still gay for her BFF Jade. Lisa Blume is there again, and David Metcalf from the New Girl makes an appearance again. Ricky Schorr from the Overnight makes an appearance as well. Honestly the Christmas party is an excuse for Stine to put all his characters in a room together, and I loved it.

Rating

That ending was abrupt and shocking, and I kind of respect that. It seems people were angry enough about this that Stine wrote a sequel to it to give Honey her comeuppance. There’s enough going on that’s upsetting, and I’ll give it three Guns ‘n Roses Christmas album out of five.

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One thought on “Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend

  1. Pingback: Fear Street #50 – Best Friend 2 | Welcome to Fear Street

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