Fear Street Bingo

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Bingo card generators look like the new and upcoming meme, and I decided to capitalize on this by making my very own Fear Street based one. I came up with the best and most common tropes seen in these books, and here’s what I got. My only regret is that I couldn’t get the free space to read Fear Street.

fear street bingo.png

Feel free to play along at home using this handy link. In October I’ll be reading a lot of great books and I’m sure this will come in handy.

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Fear Street #32 – College Weekend

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The Cover

college-weekend

I like the cover. The girl looks lonely, though she’s dressed a little matronly for fun college weekend. The man shape is sinister, though the building just sort of fades away and its relation to that bench is questionable. Still, a good cover.

Tagline

She was just dying to visit her boyfriend…

It’s pretty plain, but not less than I’d expect. I might’ve played up the isolation factor, but this is just fine.

Summary

There is a completely unnecessary prologue to start us off. Josh and Tina are talking on the phone, with Josh being kind of distant, and they discuss their plans for the weekend. There’s kind of a mislead about Josh and Holly disliking each other, but since we never see Josh throughout the whole book, it doesn’t come into play. It seems like a tone setter, but it really should’ve been removed entirely.

Tina and her cousin Holly are on the train into Patterson College. Holly is supposed to be her chaperone, but she’s here to party and meet college boys, meaning Tina is the good influence. As they get off the train, the whole place is abandoned. They ran an hour behind, and the train was already coming in late, so it seems Josh ditched them while waiting. They see someone outside and run to them, but it turns out to be a drunk shifter who accosts Tina for her money. They’re saved by Josh’s roommate, Chris, who scares the guy off.

Chris tells them Josh went on a geological camping trip with their friend Steve and their car broke down, meaning they were waiting for the mechanic to fix it and probably wouldn’t be home until midnight. Chris drives them to the dorm, and Holly babbles about all the colleges she’s visited in a genuinely funny dialogue. Chris has some obscure band that Tina loves playing in his car. He talks to her about modeling, since he’s a photographer and that’s her dream. His uncle is Rob Roberts (definitely not a placeholder name), who is some famous photographer. Chris offers to shoot some pictures of her, and she’s like nah bro I’m spending the whole weekend with my man.

Chris drops them at the dorm, where Holly and Tina get comfortable while they wait on Josh. Tina gets nostalgic over Josh’s stuff, seeing all his geology things and a prom picture of them, but she notes all of the photos she sent him aren’t there, even though Chris mentioned them, and the prom photo isn’t the one she gave him, since she wrote him a note on the back and it’s now erased. She’s feeling kind of skeeved when a girl comes in the room and shouts at Tina, “I can’t believe it!” This is Carla, who tells Tina she looks just like (dramatic pause) someone and then gets cagey about it. She’s dating Steve, and Tina knows them from Josh’s stories. Carla went to high school with Chris and Steve, and she trashes Josh for flaking on Tina. She’ll continue to do this through the whole book to a point where it gets a little weird.

Holly asks Carla about Chris, and she tells them his high school girlfriend drowned in a boat accident. He’s never really gotten over it, it seems, though it did happen last summer. Chris comes back into the room, saying he forgot something, and Carla invites them out to a party. Holly’s ready to go out, and Tina agrees that it’s boring waiting around for Josh. Tina goes into the closet to change, and she sees Josh’s hiking boots still sitting there.

Chris drives them to the party. Tina tries to get in the back so Holly can sit up front, but he asks her to sit with him. She mentions the boots, and he tells her Josh had just bought new boots with money from his new job, none of which Tina knows about. She’s mildly embarrassed that Josh seems to be keeping things from her so she doesn’t push. They get to the cool college party, where there’s girls with nose rings and tattoos, which makes Tina feel like a dumb high schooler. Carla takes Holly to talk to some of the theater kids (her perspective major), leaving Tina and Chris alone. A slow jam comes on, and they dance. After getting claustrophobic and going outside, Chris totally makes a move on her, and they kiss. Carla interrupts them, and Tina runs back inside, deciding it’s time to leave. She looks for Holly. Searching for her, she thinks she sees a bunch of dudes on motorcycles driving away with her cousin.

She runs to tell the others, but Carla plays it off, telling her she left with some girl named Alyssa Pryor, who they know from Shadyside. Alyssa must’ve taken her to the drama building to show her off, which confuses Tina, but Carla treats it like no big deal. Tina also presses on Carla not to tell Josh about the kiss, and Carla’s just fixated on the fact that Chris is finally into someone after his girlfriend’s death. Carla also tells her that kissing other people while dating someone is totally vogue, man. I don’t know what Stine thinks goes on in college, but I love it.

They get back to the dorm. Tina’s still nervous about Holly, and Josh isn’t back. Chris offers to take her to where he’s crashing, but she just wants to go to sleep. He leaves, but calls again ten minutes later, letting her know Josh called and the car trouble means they’re staying overnight and won’t be back until tomorrow. She goes to sleep angry, and in the middle of the night she’s woken by a strange sound, like the door opening, and a weird clicking noise. She gets up and turns on the light, but no one’s there.

Distracting herself, she cleans up Josh’s desk and finds his keys still sitting there. This confuses her, and when Chris shows up, she asks him about it. Holly’s still missing too, and she calls information for Alyssa’s number, but it comes up with no listing. Chris tells her sometimes the drama kids crash at the theater, and she’s probably with them. They go over to the theater, but it’s empty. Chris takes her to the student directory, and when she calls she gets the answering machine. The voice is strange though, and she tells him it’s not Alyssa. Chris plays it off. The campus carnival is setting up, and he tries to convince her to go, but Carla shows up and tells them Josh and Steve called. Carla’s going to go pick them up, and when Tina offers to come with her, she flips out and says no. She explains she has a two-seater, and Chris offers his Jeep, but when he mentions waiting for Holly, Tina realizes her place is here. She starts suspecting Carla, though, and that maybe she’s trying to get with Josh.

Chris tells her she has to relax, and they go rent motorscooters (???? is this a cool fun thing?) and drive up to Lookout Point so he can take pictures of her. They drive back to the carnival after all, and they’re having fun together, though Tina misses her boyfriend. She runs into a friend from high school, who asks her about Josh. Chris gets kind of weird. When she mentions Holly and her running off with Alyssa, her friend tells her Alyssa transferred to a college in Seattle. Tina starts flipping out, assuming Holly is kidnapped or in a ditch or dying, and Chris tells her they can’t go to the police yet, and even if they did her parents would get really mad, and Tina doesn’t know what to do. Chris buys her a frozen banana and takes her to the Ferris wheel. Tina hasn’t really calmed down, and she looks out over the crowd, trying to spot her cousin. Chris takes a few more pictures of her, and the ride sticks at the top. He takes the opportunity to kiss her some more. For a second Tina is into it, but she remembers her boyfriend and pushes him off. When he goes for it again, she tells him to stop, and he gets angry. He starts rocking the cab, scaring her, calling her a tease, and she feels trapped. She thinks she’s falling, but luckily it’s the wheel turning again.

Chris starts apologizing and asking if he scared her. Tina tries to play it off but she’s super freaked out. She tells him she wants to go back to the dorm, and he drives her back, except they’re going the wrong way. When she complains, he tells her he’s taking her to his studio so he can get some more pictures in. The studio is in the basement, and it is this moment I basically start imagining the end of Life is Strange. Tina’s still kind of freaked out, but she wants to be photographed by a real photographer with connections. She goes through his portfolio, and he seems to do good work, but she finds a picture of a girl who looks almost exactly like her, except with dark hair and green eyes. She also sees a picture of the boat, and when she asks about it, he gets cold and angry.

She starts putting on makeup, and he helps her. It gets weirdly intimate as he does. When she goes to get her outfit, she finds all the dresses and clothing are in her size. They take a few photos, and she’s starting to enjoy herself again. She asks after the dresses, wanting to buy one, and he gets distant again. He tells her they were all his dead ex-girlfriend’s, and that skeeves her out. She suggests changing, but he starts ordering her around more, getting more pictures. He takes a wig and places it on her head and then focuses the camera, but he isn’t taking pictures anymore. He starts calling her Judy, and now Tina is legit scared. He talks to her like she’s his dead girlfriend, so grateful she’s back. Tina sets him straight gently, and he seems to snap out of it, but he still wants to take pictures. She tells him no, she doesn’t want to do it, and when he starts getting mad again she decides it’s easier to play along. He gives her a dress that belonged to his great-grandmother, which in context of his dead girlfriend raises too many questions.

Tina puts her clothes on underneath, getting ready to run. While changing, she finds more pictures, including one from last night, while she was sleeping in Josh’s bed. He orders her around some more, and then she asks him for a soda. While he goes to the fridge, she makes a run for it. She manages to unlock the first door, but Chris made her go barefoot, meaning she cuts herself on a large piece of glass, and when she gets to the top of the stairs, that door is locked too. Chris marches after her, shouting and calling her Judy again, and he threatens to kill her again. He drags her back down, and now he’s just pantomiming taking pictures. He doesn’t even have a camera. Tina decides enough is enough and tries to fight him, but he’s too big. He throws her in the dark room, locking her in. She manages to find something to wrap her foot with, and she turns on the light, only to find every picture in the room is of her. Some of them are the pictures she sent to Josh, others are just parts of her body enlarged. She finds the prom picture, the original, and Chris had scratched out Josh’s name and replaced it with his own, and the ones he’d taken since, including one of her scared as the homeless man accosted her. She finds a metal cabinet, and when she pries it open, Josh’s dead body falls out.

Josh’s whole biz is mad wrecked thanks to Chris throwing some chemicals on him. Chris comes back into the room, still calling her Judy. He says they’re going somewhere. Tina tells him people will search for her, that he’ll get caught, but he tells her people don’t search for the already dead. She grabs a tray of chemicals and throws it in his face, but it turns out to only be water. He throws some chemicals at her, scarring her arm. She distracts him by saying Josh is getting up, and when he turns, she grabs a heavy metal tripod and strikes him over the head.

Chris is now down for the count, and Tina’s focused on getting out. She hears a noise from another door and opens it, only to find Holly tied up and scratched up. Holly did come back to the dorm around four, but Chris jumped her and trussed her up. They both go to get out, but Chris is back on his feet, waving scissors around. The girls run and are stopped as the door opens, and Carla and presumably Steve come in. Chris yells at Carla to stop the girls from running away. Tina begs Carla for help, and Carla ignores her, going to Chris instead. Steve is equally concerned. The girls shout that Chris killed Josh, but Carla tells Chris they’ll help him. She tells him that they’ll get “Judy” to pose, and that they can even take a picture of him with her. When he goes to get his camera, Carla takes the scissors from him, and then shouts at Steve to hold him down. Steve does so, and Carla tells the girls they were only playing along until they could safely hold him. They call the police, and while they wait, Carla tells them Chris had lied to her, telling her that Josh was seeing another girl, which explains her behavior all weekend (though not why she lied about Holly but whatever). Steve knew that was a lie, and when Carla told him, he set her straight. Luckily they got back just in time. Tina remarks she’ll never be able to remove this weekend from her memory, and then smash cut to credits.

Favorite Line

“I know I’m going to be different when I go to college. I’m getting my nose pierced, definitely. And maybe a tattoo.”

Fear Street Trends

I was a little worried this book, like many of the summer reads, would be disconnected from the rest of Fear Street, and it was. Luckily it made up for it in major fashion choices, and the overly long descriptions of Chris’ excess.

Carla is introduced wearing tight jeans over “a beige bodysuit” which sounds like an awful look. Bodysuits as fashion have showing up elsewhere in Fear Street. Was this a thing in the early 90s? I honestly don’t remember it. It could have been. Weirdly, when changing for the party, party girl Holly puts on a tight red sweater and jeans, which is a very 90s look, but also not a very sexy party girl one, especially when a paragraph later Tina is describing the skintight dresses and miniskirts she brought. At the college party, cool girls have piercings and are wearing minidresses with thigh high stockings.

Chris’s over the top richness is perhaps my favorite part of this book. His Jeep has a top of the line CD player and a car phone. Car phones had to be such a flash in the pan, and I’m not sure anyone actually had one. Honestly half this plot would be impossible after the prevalence of cell phones. How did people communicate with each other before that? How did you go to a party and lose your friend and then just deal with it? I love living in the future. Chris also has “a color MAC with CD-ROM and a laser printer” which may be the best thing I’ve ever read in a book. He also offhandedly mentions having a calling card in the same breath as pulling out ten credit cards, so I think that might also be a rich people status thing.

Rating

I ended up enjoying this way more than I expected. Chris was very creepy, Tina was a good protagonist, and the end scene was really strong. I’ll give it four acid-eaten faces out of five.

Fear Street #30 – Final Grade

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The Cover

final grade

The cover (borrowed from rogersattic) is fantastic. Lily’s face, the teacher’s reaction, the only thing I don’t like about it is the tie, which looks like he’s getting blown back by some wind. I suppose they’re going for disheveled, but if he pulled away from her like that it’d be in front of him. This cover is the main reason I chose this book next. It’s too good.

Tagline

Will Lily get an A in murder?

This is a fantastic tagline. Everything about it is delightful.

Summary

Lily Bancroft is talking to Mr. Reiner, a young handsome teacher who’s giving her a B in his class. He’s one of those teachers that demands more work than asked in order to get an A, which is such bullshit, and he’s kind of rude to Lily when she tells him she needs to bring her grade up. When he refuses to raise the grade, she imagines choking him to death and storms out of the room. She runs into her BFF Julie and says she wants to murder him, and Julie gets really sad because her brother was murdered. Julie’s also way into mystery books, possibly unrelated. They see Alex, Lily’s boyfriend, when they’re at the library, and he’s kind of a jerk? He gets mad really easily and always thinks Lily is mad at him. They also run into Scott, who is the editor for the school literary magazine. They talk about the paper a while, and Lily leaves to go to work.

See, both Lily’s sisters graduated valedictorian, and she feels massive pressure to do the same, and she needs scholarships to get into college. She works a lot of hours to cover extra expenses. Her main rival is Graham, Julie’s cousin, who drives expensive cars and doesn’t think about things like affording college, which makes it all the more annoying that he’s beating her out for valedictorian. He’s also her main competition in a statewide trivia contest to which the winner is afforded a five hundred dollar prize. He’s kind of a jerk to Lily. This will be a theme.

At work at her uncle’s drug store, she tries to do her homework at the desk, when a dude comes in and pulls out a gun, demanding all the money in the register. Uncle Bob comes in, and Lily remembers that Julie’s brother died in a robbery. She freezes up, and Uncle Bob comes over under the guise of getting out the money, but instead he opens up another drawer that has a pistol in it too! This is like a Shadyside thing, where people just keep loose guns in drawers anyone can get into. I live in Texas and this is not an issue I’ve ever experienced. Uncle Bob manages to scare off the robber just as Rick, another employee comes in. Lily calls the police while Rick chases after the robber.

The police come, Rick comes back, they’re all questioned. The store’s still open I guess because Lily goes back to the counter and tries to concentrate on her homework which seems impossible now. Rick kind of hits on her, and she tries to get him to leave her alone. Finally Lily gets to go home, and she’s scared by every shadow. Alex greets her and tries to hang around, but she brushes him off for homework, and he gets angry again but agrees it’s important. They’re clearly not that great for each other, which makes their eventual breakup all the more obvious. Lily’s parents come in, make sure she’s okay, and then sick mom starts laying on the pressure to do good. Lily stays up to work on her homework when she gets a phone call that’s just a breathy voice repeating her name.

The next day Lily goes to school early, thinking of ways to convince Mr. Reiner to give her a better grade. When she gets to his classroom, she finds him behind his desk, blood everywhere. Smash cut to his funeral. It seems like rumor got around that Lily was really mad at Mr. Reiner, and since she was the one who found him, people are suggesting she might’ve done it. It is a little telling that when they get back to class and Lily learns she has a few more chances to raise her grade, she immediately feels better. When Graham implies to her that she’ll get an A now that he’s dead, she does flip out on him, and when she gets another strange phone call, she assumes it’s Graham and shouts at him some more.

Lily goes to the literary magazine meeting where she talks to Scott some. He compliments her a lot, and then Stine copy-pastes his notes about how a printing press works. They decide on the cover, and Alex comes in as Lily chooses one. He’s openly jealous of Scott, who he’s certain has a crush on Lily. Like I said, doomed relationship. Lily goes off to work, and it’s jerks all around because Rick is there, giving her a hard time about the teacher dying, and making a joke about her giving him a push. She gets really mad about that, and when he hits on her again she tells him to buzz off. She starts suspecting the phone call might not be Graham, but Rick instead, since her life is currently filled with an excess of jerks.

The trivia contest happens, and it’s down to Lily and Graham. All the questions are about Shadyside, which seems weird in a statewide competition. Graham makes snide comments while she tries to answer, throwing her off her game. He lets her know he’s got all As in all of his classes, putting him in top spot. She gets really mad, especially when she sees how much fun he’s having. She needs this money to pay for school, and he’s just doing it because he can. Lily bungles the last question, meaning she places second and does not win the prize money.

Lily, despondent, walks home and runs into Rick. He creeps on her some more, and she asks him if he’s been calling her house. He admits he has, and she flips out on him, telling him to leave her alone. She’s second in the rankings at school, she can’t get anything right for the magazine, and all these jerks are in her life. She’s feeling pretty crummy when she goes after work to see the printing press. When she gets there, she’s early, and the place seems empty, except for the dead body crammed in the printer. She sees Graham there and straight up faints, which makes it all the more suspicious when her friends show up and find her next to the body.

The police rule it an accident, but Lily feels like everyone suspects her of a second murder. At the funeral, she imagines Graham’s corpse accusing her, and she feels like Julie is very cold to her. Lily gets very upset at the funeral and goes home, where she finds Graham’s glasses in her purse. She throws them at the wall in horror, and someone knocks on her door. Scott shows up to comfort her, and when she tells him about the glasses, he tells her knows she didn’t murder Graham, because he did!

Scott goes full stalker, telling her he loves her and he killed Graham for her after Mr. Reiner’s accident, because he wants her to have top spot. He planted the evidence in her things so she couldn’t go to the police about it. He expects her to love him back, but he’s not stupid. He tells her if she calls the police, he’ll tell them she planned the whole thing, and they were in on it together. She says she needs time, and that seems to make him leave, but she doesn’t know what to do about any of this. This is the point I’m checking page count, because I still have half a book to go, and we’ve already got our twist.

At school, Scott tries to get Lily alone, but the rest of the magazine crew comes in. Scott tells them they’re dedicating the issue to Graham and that they’ll all write pieces about him. Lily is disgusted and leaves before he can say anything to her. Julie drives her to work, and Julie tells her she’s sorry about being cold to her, and that she’s convinced Graham’s death was a murder. Lily, despite being the smartest kid in school, is a huge dummy and has no idea what to do with this. She doesn’t lead Julie to Scott, and she doesn’t really try to convince her otherwise. When Scott calls her that night, trying to convince her to break up with Alex, she tries to come up with an excuse not to and blurts out that Julie suspects murder. Scott threatens her, obviously, and she agrees to go on a date with him so he’ll stop.

Lily runs into Alex right before her date with Scott, and it’s super awks. She convinces Graham to drive somewhere outside of Shadyside for a movie, and somewhere even further for dinner. They end up in a pool hall that’s kind of run down. Lily has absolutely no idea how to play into this or how to bide her time, which I guess is true of many teenagers. Rick comes in and sees them and has almost a pleasant conversation with Lily before Scott ruins it. When he drops her off, he awkwardly kisses her, and she shoves him away before running inside.

If Lily was expecting Scott to play it cool, she was messing with the wrong psychopath, because the first thing he does when he’s in a room with her and Alex is drop that they went on a date. Lily tries to play it off, and he’s like nah dude we hooked up. Alex demands an explanation, and Lily can’t give it to him. They break up, about damn time. Lily goes to work, and Julie calls her to tell her she knows who murdered Graham. She kind of tries to convince her she doesn’t know anything, but it’s half-hearted. She’s horrified when Scott comes in, and she’s openly abrasive to him, which makes him mad. He tells her they’re together forever, and she shouts at him that Julie’s figured everything out, which is the dumbest thing a person could do. Now he has to kill her.

Lily tries to tell him they can talk her out of it, but he tells her to call Julie to meet them at the printing plant. Lily takes the gun from the register drawer and threatens to shoot him, but he takes it from her and holds her at gunpoint. They drive to the printing plant to meet Julie, and when she walks in, Lily shouts at her to run. Julie’s also kind of a dumb and just stands there. Scott tries to convince her that Lily helped him murder Graham, and Julie gets confused and sad. And, like everyone who’s ever held a gun, Scott tries to get as close to Julie as possible to shoot her. There’s a struggle, Scott shoots her, and in a rage Lily takes the gun from him. She demands he call the police, and he tries to talk her down as Julie’s corpse somehow rises up from the floor. She picks up a metal bar and cracks it over Scott’s head.

The police show up, as does Uncle Bob, who’s the first family member to respond to Lily’s call. He tells her the gun is fake, a starter pistol meant to look like the real thing, which is how Julie survived. Rick is there too, and Julie instantly starts flirting. Lily tells everyone she’s done with school, everyone laughs, freeze frame, credits roll.

Favorite Line

Lily hesitated, thinking about her homework. Then she thought, Hey, I was nearly killed tonight. “Good idea. Let’s get some pizza!”

Fear Street Trends

There aren’t as many trends, but there are a few awkward moments of Stine trying to keep up with the times. Julie is mocked for liking mystery novels instead of watching MTV, and Graham’s first greeting to Lily is “Hey–whussup?”. Lisa Blume makes a larger than average cameo and is portrayed as a gossip mongerer who may be the reason the rumor about Lily spread so far. The movie Scott and Lily see stars Winona Ryder. Graham drives a Porsche which probably isn’t outside of the realm of possibility but feels a little like, “Hey, what would a rich guy drive?”

Rating

I wanted to enjoy this book a lot more than I did. The twist came too early, the blackmail wasn’t very persuasive, and Lily’s just not a fantastic protagonist. Three bloody newspapers out of five.

Fear Street #9 – The Stepsister

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I actually took a long break from reading Fear Street books, partially because I was reading a lot of other books and partially because I needed something of actual substance for a bit. I’m a little out of the groove of this, and I don’t think this was the best one to bring me back.

The Cover

The cover to the original 1990 version (borrowed from Retro Daze) is alright. I think it hits the right amount of sinister with the figure showing up to the unsuspecting reader, and I sort of like that they keep the angelic looks of Jessie, but it makes it slightly less frightening. The updated cover (borrowed from Simon & Schuster) is terrible. It’s meaningless. There’s no indication that she’s a sinister figure or that anything is happening in this book at all. The annoying blow out and hue switches are even more annoying on this one.

Tagline

This one gets two with:

When she moved into Emily’s room, the terror began…

Which isn’t too terrible. With the image on the front, it gives it a sinister note and is plot relevant without giving anything away. Versus:

Some families hold deadly secrets.

Which, like the cover, is less than nothing. They needed a skeletons in the closet jab, or something about blood, not a phrase that isn’t even a thing. No thought was put into the updated cover.

Summary

We meet Emily and Nancy right before they’re about to accept their two step-siblings into their homes. Emily and Nancy prattle for a while, mostly about hair. Their mom just remarried after their dad’s tragic death via boat accident several years ago, and they aren’t too big fans of their new step-dad. Their step-siblings, Jessie and Rich, are kind of quiet, nervous, and weird. Rich is reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and Jessie turns into a completely different person when she’s not in front of their parents. Emily and Jessie will be sharing a room, and Jessie takes over Emily’s bed, steals her stuff, and kicks at her dog. Emily argues with her, and Jessie rips the head off her teddy bear, saying it’s an accident. The new family is not off to a great start.

Nancy comes in, sees the teddy bear, and distracts her sister with idle chatter. She slips that Emily is dating her ex-boyfriend, which is extremely weird and Nancy says she is totally cool with, and it doesn’t matter who you are, you probably wouldn’t be cool with your sister dating your ex. Nancy is also super stressed with school, since she’s a senior, and she hasn’t had a date since Josh.

The family settles in. Emily calls Josh to let her know that Jessie is a weirdo, and they get called down to dinner. Rich is quiet and barely eats, which his dad makes fun of him for. Jessie comes down late and is wearing Emily’s sweater. Emily flips out a little and goes up to her room to work on her fourteen page paper. She struggles to concentrate and leaves the room for a bit, and when she comes back Jessie is messing with the computer. She apologizes, leaves, and when Emily looks the entire paper is deleted. She blames Jessie and straight up goes for her. They get in a physical fight that her mom and step-dad break up. Her mom forces her to apologize to Jessie, but Emily refuses, and Jessie plays the sweet card, saying she doesn’t need an apology. When the parents leave, Jessie makes a swipe at the dog again and like for real, even if you don’t like dogs, it’s super easy to just not be rude about it.

But Emily goes to sit with Nancy, who consoles her. Apparently mom let slip to Nancy that Jessie is in therapy and she got kicked out of her school for something major. Their mom doesn’t like talking about uncomfortable things, though, and that’s all they know. Josh comes to talk to Emily, and she’s relieved to have him. They eat, study, and start making out. Emily sees Jessie watching from the stairs and decides to give her a show. After Josh leaves, everything settles down, and Emily is woken in the middle of the night by Jessie talking on the phone to someone, whispering, “I could kill her.”

At school, Emily waits after class for Josh, who usually is never late. When he doesn’t show, she walks around and looks for him. Jessie’s BFF Krysta Meyers stops her and is kind of awkward. Emily hates on her a little, but she’s distracted by Jessie and Josh talking to each other. They interrupt, and Emily and Josh discuss homecoming plans.

At  home things seem to be more level. Jessie, Emily, and Nancy have a fun food fight, and when it’s time to clean up, Jessie tells Emily to shower first. Emily feels like things might be turning around, but after she steps out of the shower, she completely flips out. Someone put peroxide in her shampoo! And it’s super strange how it’s dyed, like half of the hair is bleached, and the other half has blue-green lines in it, which isn’t inaccurate to a bad dye job but seems weirdly uneven and makes me wonder how she washes her hair. Emily immediately blames Jessie, and Nancy kind of helps. Jessie flips out and shouts that it’s just like Jolie all over again and storms off. Then Nancy kind of suggests that Rich might’ve done it before going to console her sister. It’s at this point I’m super suspicious of Nancy.

Nancy helps Emily cut her hair short so it looks a little more intentional, and when they come back Rich is there with some policemen. Apparently he stole some cassettes from a music store, and instead of arresting him the police took him home, which is like insane to think that kids get arrested over minor shoplifting but it probably happens. I was a little surprised at the turn in Rich’s character from nerdy, quiet brother to troubled kid, but I guess he’s supposed to be a red herring? He doesn’t really do anything though and he doesn’t really have a character arc so it goes nowhere. His father gets mad but in a gentle way that I really like, because this guy clearly has two troubled kids he’s been juggling and he knows that shouting isn’t going to fix it. Jessie sticks up for her brother, which is also nice, since it’s been noted they don’t get along great.

Emily goes to the homecoming game and then the dance with Josh. In the girls’ room she runs into Krysta, who makes an underhanded compliment about her hair, which makes Emily really self-conscious. She and Josh dance to the absolute worst music and then go to his car to park and make out. She doesn’t get home until after one, and when she comes inside, she finds her dog dead, stabbed, on the ground. She is understandably upset and wakes everyone up. Her mom suggests it was a break in, but they realize that’s ridiculous. Step-dad gets weirdly chill here and tells everyone that they won’t get in trouble, that if they confess he’ll make sure they get help. Nancy again suggests that Rich might’ve done it. Emily suspects Jessie again, especially when Jessie draws her a bath and tells her to relax. Emily refuses, afraid she’ll try to kill her, and she goes to bed. Rich wakes her up in the middle of the night to promise that he didn’t kill the dog, which sort of makes it feel like he did do it.

Emily gets her hand on Jessie’s diary, and she reads through some of the passages. The page repeats that Jolie is dead and Jessie didn’t do it. In the morning everyone is sort of pretending the dog isn’t dead. Step-dad tries to get Emily to spend the day doing something, but she leaves the house. She goes to hang out with a friend, only to find someone has stuffed the corpse of  her dog in her bag. In usual Stine fashion, this is not resolved.

Emily and Jessie avoid each other for several days. Jessie still makes her midnight phone calls, Emily talks to Josh, and Rich gets into a fight at school. Step-dad asks Jessie directly if she talks on the phone at night, and she lies. Emily sees Josh and Jessie talking a little too cozy.

At school Krysta comes up to Emily and asks her why she’s so mean to Jessie. Something spills on Emily’s shirt, and she runs into Nancy going to the ladies’ room. In the bathroom she sees Jessie, who confronts her, saying she can’t take the silent treatment and she doesn’t know why she hates her before storming off. After the most realistic description of a high school bathroom I’ve ever read, Emily starts washing off her stain when she smells smoke. Someone lit a trashcan on fire, and the blaze gets high very fast. Emily tries to escape through the door, but it’s been jammed shut. She almost suffocates on the smoke when a teacher breaks her out, and the whole school is evacuated. Nancy finds Emily and asks if she can take Emily home, which is definitely not what a school would do but they allow it anyway. Emily is convinced Jessie started the fire and is afraid for her life.

Jessie tags along with Nancy and Emily to a concert, and Emily is nearly pushed down the stairs. Emily sees Josh parked outside her house, but he’s making out with someone else, who looks to be Jessie. She finds Rich hanging out in her room when no one’s there which is weird but not very threatening. Emily finds a blood covered knife in Jessie’s drawer.

Step-dad can’t take the drama anymore, so he takes everyone on a camping trip. The fam used to camp all the time, but no one seems excited about it. Everyone whines, and step-dad sends off Jessie, Nancy, and Emily to find dry wood to start a fire with. Emily brought the knife with her for no reason, I guess to confront the family with? But it makes her look like the crazy person. Nancy disappears while they look for wood because she’s the murderer, and Emily tries to get away from Jessie to find her. She’s followed all the way to a graveyard, where someone pushes her into an open grave (there’s always just an open grave lying around). She almost climbs out, but a shovel comes at her, and in the moonlight she sees Nancy there trying to kill her. See, Nancy’s the one who’s been making Emily’s life a living hell because she blames her for their dad’s death. She put peroxide in the shampoo, made out with her boyfriend, and killed her dog, and like two out of three of these are exceptionally petty.

Nancy starts to bury Emily alive, but Jessie comes out of the forest and wrestles the shovel away from her. Nancy comes at Emily, but Jessie hits her with the shovel, and she crumples to the ground. Jessie goes to get the rest of the family while Emily holds her unconscious sister.

At the hospital, as Nancy gets treatment, Jessie explains that her late night phone calls and sneaking around were because of her boyfriend Darren, who’s a few years older than her and she’s not allowed to see. She also explained that she and her friend Jolie had a big fight, and then Jolie fell while they were out camping and everyone assumed Jessie killed her. All this made her paranoid and combative when Emily started levying accusations against her. They agree to be real sisters now, and the book ends with a joke about Rich starting to read Hardy Boys now instead of Stephen King. Freeze frame on laughter, credits play.

Favorite Line

“Pump it! Come on–pump it! Pump it up! Pump it up!” the song insisted.

Fear Street Trends

It is good to be back to our favorite 90s fashion blog, and boy is there a lot of it. The book opens with one of the girls reading Sassy magazine, and Nancy wears a fashionable turtleneck (with designer jeans). The “punk” style Emily adopts is short, spiky, and with blond highlights. Nancy wears what’s described as a man’s striped shirt, but Stine probably means the boyfriend shirt, though that might actually have evolved as a fashion trend. Rich wears blue corduroys, and Krysta is described as wearing a “garish” neon orange blouse.

Emily says hi to all of our favorites, primarily Lisa and Cory, as well as Ricky Schorr. Gary Brandt is also a name that pops up often but I think he’s only ever been a background character.

This book felt more Old Man Stine than I think he intended. Dying your hair with peroxide is a thing I completely forgot about and seems like a very 1950s thing to do. They also make an icebox cake which I had to Google and was apparently popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s literally wafers and whipped cream. My absolute favorite is the discussion of the homecoming dance:

There wasn’t much school spirit in Shadyside. Kids didn’t seem to have time for old-fashioned things like a Homecoming dance. Most of them would rather be cruising around town in their cars or partying in someone’s living room with their parents away.

“Do you think I’m really out-of-it for wanting to come to this dance?” Emily asked Josh…

“I think you’re very retro,” he said, grinning.

“That means backwards, doesn’t it?” she joked.

“It means out-of-it,” he said.

It delights me. I also like to think there’s not much school spirit in Shadyside because this school has been actively trying to kill its students.

Rating

Compared to some of the summer reads, it’s not the worst book, though I don’t think it was enough to get back into the groove of things. Rich is a red herring that goes nowhere, and Nancy is suspicious from like page 10. The climax is a little stilted and I don’t think that knife she brought with her is ever used, ruining a perfectly good Chekhov’s gun. I’ll give it two shovels to the face out of five.

Donate!

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Hey, y’all! I started this blog purely because I wanted to chronicle my reread of every single Fear Street novel in a fit of nostalgia. I do this for fun and without expecting anything in return. I’m not the first to do this, I probably won’t be the last. And while I’ve had books donated to me from friends, and I’m able to request items through my library, the easiest way for me to read the majority of these books is by purchasing them. Most of the books cost me around $5, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m a librarian who often doesn’t have a lot of excess money lying around. I set up a donate link for my Paypal, simply so if anyone has an extra dollar or two lying around, it can be used to purchase the next Fear Street book. There’s no pressure to do this, and I only make this post so you’re aware. The link will remain on my sidebar and is available below. I will continue this blog anyway, but as of right now I have some things planned for October and zero money to purchase the books with, with Interlibrary Loan not guaranteed to happen within the time frame. I’ll still be posting weekly as long as I have book so read, and any amount money can help with that. Thanks so much for reading, and I look forward to where Fear Street takes us in the future.



Fear Street #13 – The Secret Bedroom

3

I decided to read this after seeing it on Stine’s favorite Fear Street books list and I was not disappointed.

The Cover

the secret bedroom

The cover (pulled from Lexile) is’t bad. The contrast of her to the sickly green glow coming out of the door, the skeleton hand, her scared expression, it’s all pretty good. What’s killing it for me (besides the mom jeans and the terrible shirt) is that left arm. It’s so poorly attached, and the line of the shirt makes a line cutting it off, so it looks like they copy and pasted it from somewhere else. Otherwise it’s a pretty good cover.

Tagline

Don’t open that door!

I get on these a lot for having very generic taglines, but I like this one. It’s urgent, the cover gives you good reason, but it doesn’t give anything away really.

Summary

We are introduced to Lea Carson as she’s spilling her lunch all over the local mean girl Marci Hendryx. Lea moved into a house on Fear Street a week or so ago, and she’s already making a fool of herself in front of everyone. Marci storms out, but her boyfriend Don sticks around and talks to Lea, helping her clean up her lunch and being nicer to her. He’s called away by Marci after asking Lea out, and Lea goes to sit with her newest BFF, your friend and mine Deena Martinson. Deena warns her that Marci and Don are dating, and she says that Marci is someone to watch out for.

Lea returns to her new creepy home on Fear Street and lets us know how they happened to move in to such a weird place. Her parents love to renovate homes and move around a lot, so I guess they’re the original house flippers. Our real estate agent is Mrs. Thomas, mother of the famed Suki Thomas, and she plays up the roominess of the house to Lea and her parents. They go up into the attic and see a weird small room there that’s been boarded up. Mrs. Thomas, the worst real estate agent, tells them a hundred years ago someone was murdered and the door was boarded up. She quickly tries to sell it on the charm of the old house and that every house on Fear Street has a story like that, and almost none of them are true (all of them are true). Lea is creeped out by the door, though her parents play it off.

[Minor aside, I googled whether or not you have to disclose a death if you’re a real estate agent trying to sell a house, and I did find some interesting information:

What you’re talking about is the issue of “psychological damage” to a property, to be distinguished from “physical damage.” In some cases, the psychological damage is so great—such as after a violent or highly publicized murder or suicide, or widespread reports of haunting—that the house is considered “stigmatized” and therefore less valuable.

In most states, the owner would indeed be expected to disclose a defect causing the house to be stigmatized, so that buyers could adjust their expectations and purchase price accordingly. As a practical matter, this disclosure would likely be made on the seller disclosure form that is required in most U.S. states.

(via nolo.com) I’m more interested in this explanation because it includes the haunting.]

On Saturday night, Lea is waiting for Don to show up, talking on the phone with Deena. Don is half an hour late, so Lea calls his house, where his mom says he’s out with Marci. She decides to call Marci’s house. Marci immediately starts laughing and tells her it was all a big joke, that Don was her boyfriend and she couldn’t believe Lea believed he was going to pick her up, and that she put him up to it. Lea throws herself into her bed and hears footsteps overhead.

At school, Don tries to apologize, but he does a pretty poor job of it. He defends Marci, but doesn’t deny it’s a joke, and it’s a really weird apology, but Marci cuts him off and he runs back to her side. Marci then shows up and apologizes to Lea as well, claiming she forced Don to apologize and that she took the joke too far. Then she invites Lea to come hang out with her and her sorority in room 409 at school, but Lea figures out pretty quick the school doesn’t even have four stories. It’s a dumb joke, but Marci’s officially dedicated to torturing Lea, so she decides she needs to figure out a revenge.

(At this point, knowing Shadyside High’s level of what constitutes a prank, I started assuming that the ghost in the attic was actually Marci trying to trick her. Let’s see if I’m right.)

Lea is home alone on Saturday night watching Ghost (get it), and decides it’s time to head off to bed. But above her she hears footsteps again, and this time Lea can’t stand it. She goes upstairs and calls out, because that always works, when she sees blood seeping from the door. Blood starts pouring out in a waterfall, and she screams, run downstairs, and calls Deena. Deena doesn’t seem too worried, despite facing a murderer down herself, but she promises to come over. Lea calls the police as well and gives a poor retelling of what happened. When Deena arrives, Lea tells her everything that happened, and Deena tells her she was dreaming. They both go upstairs, where the door is unmolested, and there’s no blood. The police arrive and look around as well, though they are at least understanding when Lea apologizes. He tells her she should always call, and I’m so interested in the local police’s view of Fear Street.

Lea keeps hearing noises, but she decides it’s only a raccoon or old boards. She has another dream, where she opens the door and sees a monster who turns into Marci. She spends another Saturday night alone and continues to hear strange noises, which are getting louder and louder. She goes upstairs again, and then spikes shoot out of the door, causing her to run away. Luckily Don calls, inviting her out again. Lea is so desperate to get out that she says yes without thinking. But when she goes to meet Don, Marci is there! She’s being exceptionally nasty, and it’s clear Don didn’t plan for her to be here, but Lea is so embarrassed and mad that she leaves again and goes back home.

The attic is still making noises, and she takes a hammer and pulls off the boards. A young girl’s voice calls out to her, and she finally opens the door to find a fully furnished bedroom. She meets Catherine, who is dressed in Victorian clothes with blond ringlets. She has ghost powers that can make herself see through and invisible, as well as become solid. (This is the point I figured out it was probably not Marci.) Catherine tells her she’s lonely, and Lea is scared, closes the door, and runs back downstairs.

Lea now has two problems: a ghost in her attic and Marci Hendryx. Marci is telling everyone Lea is throwing herself at Don and making a fool. Deena warns her in a moment I was absolutely certain for a second Deena was going to come out to her but WHATEVER, and Lea’s social life is basically ruined.

At home, Lea goes back upstairs, and she talks to Catherine again. Catherine tells her she was born out of wedlock, and in Shadyside that makes her evil. Her parents locked her up in the room in the attic, and when Catherine tried to escape, they killed her. She’s never been able to leave until Lea opened the door for her. She grabs Lea, which scares her, and Lea shuts the door and runs back downstairs. But quickly Lea realizes she has a solution to both her problems. If only she could sic Catherine on Marci!

Lea returns home and talks to Catherine again, and they have a much more pleasant conversation. Lea offers to take Catherine outside, so long as she helps her deal with Marci. She’s going to pretend to have powers, and Catherine will move things and shake things. Catherine has to possess Lea’s body to leave, and Lea doesn’t like the sensation, but she rolls with it. They walk over to Marci’s house. Marci answers the door and is immediately aggressive. She tries to slam the door in her face, but Catherine catches it. Lea threatens Marci, while Catherine makes things float, and then Catherine makes Marci float. Marci tries to run upstairs to get her mom, and then she falls, hitting her head on the way down, and she dies.

Lea was not expecting this. She’s terrified of what happened and an ambulance drives her home. She realizes Catherine pushed her down the stairs, and when she confronts Catherine about it, she tells Lea she wants to be alive again and tries to take over her body. Lea closes the door on her, tells her parents a ghost is haunting her, and is immediately taken to a doctor to see what’s wrong. Lea tries to take them upstairs, but when they get up there they see the door is still boarded and nothing has been changed.

Lea is put on bedrest and isn’t sure if she imagined it or not, until Catherine arrives and tells her she put all those memories in her mind and she’ll stop anyone from opening the door upstairs. Catherine possesses her and decides to kill Don for wronging them as well. This is a weird theme in Stine’s stories, where an evil spirit will take over a body, and then their agenda will become righting wrongs against the person they’re possessing. If I was an evil spirit who’d been unable to leave for a hundred years, I wouldn’t give a fuck about the petty grievances of high school children. I’d be out. But Catherine-as-Lea convinces her family to let her take a walk. She goes to Don’s house and nearly chokes him out when Cory Brooks and Gary Brandt show up. Catherine-as-Lea returns home, exhausted from the excursion, and Lea is given a minute of her body back.

Lea decides to find out why Catherine is so scared of the closet upstairs. She takes a hammer and undoes the nails, but Catherine shows up to stop her. Lea manages to get the key in the lock and pulls open the door, where both girls are horrified to see rotting corpses in the room. They shamble up, rotted flesh falling off skeletons, and it’s at this point I wonder how much is part of the ghost world and how much is two rotted skeletons, because if people were still rotting in there it would’ve smelled disgusting. The skeletons reveal themselves to be Catherine’s parents, whom she murderered, and they drag her back to hell. Lea passes out from the horror of it all.

Lea wakes up learning she’s had a fever for a week now and has been in a hospital. At first I thought Stine was pulling a “it was all a dream” thing, but Marci really is dead, and Don’s been calling after Lea. As soon as she’s home, she looks upstairs and finds the room boarded up. She wonders if it was a dream, until she finds Catherine’s ribbon on her dresser. She decides to keep the secret bedroom a secret forever.

Favorite Line

Catherine disappeared inside this foul, murderous hug.

Fear Street Trends

So many! Of course we’ve got our cameos. Deena is still hanging out with Jade and doesn’t seem too traumatized from their prank phone call gone wrong. Cory Brooks from The New Girl makes an appearance this time instead of Lisa. Mrs. Thomas, Suki Thomas’ mother, makes an appearance as well. Suki is, of course, the town slut, originally appearing in The Overnight. Ricky Schorr from the Overnight also makes an appearance.

Everyone has bangs in this, and they’re all super cute. Marci wears a green suede skirt and a shiny green top (matchy matchy) and for a date, Lea wears a pair of tan corduroy slacks a a new yellow Benetton sweater. Lea also reads Sassy magazine, I thing I didn’t even know what it was until I read this. Please google it. The images are amazing.

Rating

I was a little disappointed that the ghost turned out to be a ghost, though I guess I shouldn’t be because I’m always slightly disappointed when supernatural stuff isn’t happening, but I feel like there isn’t too bad of a balance of teen drama and creepy stuff. I like how the girl always ends up with the worst boyfriend and it’s treated as such a good thing, but also teenage boys are the worst so I don’t think there’s any avoiding it. All in all, I’m going to give it three murderous ghosts out of five.