Merry Christmas! Assuming you’re reading this on the day of. For your Christmas this year, I bring you the best gift a Fear Street fan could ask for: more cheerleaders!
The cover (pulled from its Amazon page) is pretty great. Much better than Silent Night 2, which has a similar cover. Santa is much more sinister here, and the girl looks appropriately scared. I like that they gave her the cheerleading skirt even though she’s ice skating. The pink sock is a nice touch as well. The painterly quality of this one is way more on point than a lot of other ones, and while it doesn’t have the punch of the original Cheerleaders cover, it’s still solid.
Season’s greetings… the evil is back!
I don’t know about this one. Even a “…from hell!” might’ve been more appreciated. The holiday taglines are so cut and paste, I’m not a fan of them.
The cheerleaders are doing what cheerleaders do best: cheer. They’re practicing for the Holiday Tournament, I guess the basketball players are going to go through in December. Corky and Kimmy are there, as is Debra, who are the only ones left who know the full truth of what happened in the previous years. They’re with Heather and Hannah as well. They chat a while, and then Corky, Kimmy, and Hannah drive back, though the roads are slippery from the ice. They gossip about the new girl on the squad, Naomi, who’s really smart and has good ideas but slips up every practice, and the fact that Corky is dating Alex, who half the school also seems to be dating. The car slips on the road, they go flying, and Hannah is thrown from the windshield after proclaiming she didn’t need a seatbelt. Buckle up kids!
Kimmy is sure the evil is back. Corky refuses to believe it. Corky reminds she drowned it in the river, and the river’s frozen over anyway. We learn that Hannah’s going to be stable, though no one seems to have much hope for her. The cheerleaders have to hold some quick tryouts. As they practice, the basketball team comes out, and Corky tries to get Alex to look at her. When that doesn’t work, she fakes a leg cramp and walks it off in his direction, where his friend Jay is weirdly flirtatious with her. There’s several times where Jay is openly flirting with her and declaring she should dump Jay and hang with him, and I admit I’m a little on his side, though at one point he declares, “Three’s a party!” and I legit thought he might be pushing for a threesome. Anyway, Corky asks Alex to take her to the river, and he agrees, though he’s a little weird about it.
Alex drives Corky out to the river and immediately starts macking on her. She tells him that’s not what she’s here for but she makes it clear it could be. They walk down to the river, and then Corky sees in the frozen ice that there’s a huge circle cut into it. Steam is pouring from it, fog-like, and Alex tells her the fishermen cut a hole in the ice and it’s just the warmer water below hitting the cold air above. I’m a little confused about the whole ice fishing aspect of this book but I’m not from the Northeast so maybe that’s a thing? Corky tells Alex they have to get out of there and then back home hallucinates the evil coming for her.
At this point I’m trying to figure out the timeline. It’s been at least a year since the evil got trapped in the ice, since it’s explicitly stated that Hannah, who was new in the third book, is now a veteran and there are more newbies on the team. I’m trying to figure out when the last book took place, though I realize I was look at it again it might’ve taken place in the summer, or maybe right before classes started. My point in all this is that the evil was not immediately frozen in the ice when Corky drowned herself, nor when Sarah Fear originally drowned herself either. So the assumption that the evil would be trapped as long as the river is frozen means they should’ve assumed already that the evil was gone. If anything, releasing it into the river instead of letting Corky properly die would’ve made it more difficult to track, as it could’ve gone anywhere. Though, we learn at the end of part one, that it is still in the ice, and it has been laying dormant. I like to think it just needed to nap after being active and then forced back, since it stayed in Sarah’s grave as well for a long time without a real reason. When the girls summon it (spoilers), it woke up.
Corky tries not to freak out and fails. She tries to call Kimmy and is told she’s at Debra’s, and when she goes to Debra’s house, she finds them in the middle of a seance. Debra is chanting, candles are set up in a circle around them. It’s actually kind of hilarious when Corky interrupts them, because Debra is so blase about it, and Kimmy jokes that they’re trying to summon Alex with no clothes on. Debra shows her a book she bought that tells them how to summon spirits. Corky’s worried they’re summoning the evil spirit, but Debra tells her they’re trying to summon something to protect them. Corky tells them what she saw, and they decide to sit down together to summon the spirit of protection. It seems to work, as the whole room starts shaking, cold air blows out all the candles, and Debra calls out to the spirit, but Kimmy gets too scared and demands they stop. Debra insists they should keep going, but Kimmy’s too scared, and Corky’s too traumatized to even consider it. They agree not to mess with it again unless they need to.
They hold cheer practice. Their coach is out, so it’s Kimmy and Corky deciding together. Three girls are at the top: Ivy, Lauren, and Rochelle. While this is happening, some workers are doing something to the bleachers, it’s unclear what, but the girls are warned to keep away. Kimmy and Corky go into the coach’s office to talk over their choice, and Corky notices Ivy creeping on them. Ivy promises she wasn’t eavesdropping, though she definitely was, and Corky tells her to go back with the other girls. They decide the order of the girls they like, that is Rochelle, Ivy, and Lauren, which is only important because two seconds after they decide this, one of the workers drops a screwdriver so that it lands in the back of Rochelle’s neck. There’s panic, an ambulance is called, and Corky is sure she sees Ivy smiling.
There’s a kind of nice moment where Corky goes off on her own to cry while the police come, and she says she’s not crying for Rochelle, who she barely knew, but for her sister Bobbi. She has to believe the evil is gone because it killed her sister, but now she’s not so sure. Ivy comes over to her and asks who the new cheerleader is, and everyone’s a little shocked, but Corky’s willing to see it as them trying to get back to normal. Lauren’s pissed when Ivy is chosen, and she shouts at Corky, demanding to know if it’s because she went out with Alex.
Corky tries to get on with life. There’s another nice moment where Debra lets her know there’s a counselor at the school for kids who saw the accident. Corky calls Alex to ask about Lauren, and he promises he just helped her with her homework. They go back to cheer practice, where Corky learns Lauren demanded to be an alternate in case one of the other girls gets hurt. Apparently Ivy put her up to it, and Lauren spends the whole practice asking if she should be put in every time a girl gets a cramp. Their coach brings out the confetti cannons they’re going to be used, currently half-loaded so the girls can practice with them. They do a cheer into some handsprings, and as the girls set off the cannons, one of them backfires. Luckily Heather isn’t dead, just knocked out. She gets back on her feet and tells them she’s okay.
Kimmy and Debra go up to Corky after practice, now sure the evil is back. Debra’s convinced Ivy has the evil in her, and again if this were true (it turns out not to be, spoilers), the evil is exceptionally petty. We saw this in the previous Cheerleaders books, we saw this in the Secret Bedroom. For some reason when an evil spirit possesses you, it decides to take care of your unfinished business instead of going on with whatever evil it has to do. Anyway, Corky breaks down in front of them, telling them she can’t go through it again, that losing her sister was too much, and they back down.
Corky has some boy trouble, thinking Alex might break up with her, but she’s pretty focused on this whole evil thing now. At the pep rally, the cheerleaders show off their fire baton trick, which would definitely never be approved at a high school, which ends with one of the girls being set on fire. Luckily Kimmy puts her out before any irreperable damage is done. Ivy’s the one who handed out the fire batons, making them all fairly sure if the evil is here, it’s inside her. They see Ivy and Lauren do a weird ice skating routine on the river, which makes them even more suspicious, and Debra says they have to drown her.
They do what any normal person would do in this situation, and plan a party. On top of all this evil, Corky feels Alex being realy distant, and he doesn’t go with her to the party, giving not really any excuse at all. They have the party out at the river, playing music while they ice skate. They’ve invited all of the other cheerleaders and the basketball team. Debra has her magic book with her, Jay flirts with Corky a little, and then Corky sees Santa skating towards her with a pointy icicle, but it turns out to be Alex, who wanted to surprise everyone. Why he’s skating around with a weapon isn’t explained, but it does make an excuse for our cover image, so who cares.
As soon as everyone’s there, Debra, Kimmy, and Corky go further down the ice. They plan on calling the evil spirit forward, assuming Ivy will skate towards them, where they’ll break through the ice and drown her. It’s kind of a bad plan, to do it at this big public party, but it sets a nice scene where, once they start doing it, the ice beneath them shatters, sending them flying, and the evil appears from where it always was, laying dormant in the water. The girls realize they’ve unleashed it, and all hell breaks loose.
Kind of. We cut forward to them being on the road for the tournament. The girls are treating Ivy really well since accusing her of being possessed by a demonic spirit. Nothing’s happened since they released the evil, and they’re all secretly hoping it went away. This part is my favorite, because we get to spend some time on Who’s Corky’s Bisexual Crush: a cheerleader named Lena on the opposite team. Some choice quotes:
One cheerleader on the Lions’ squad really stood out. She was tall and well built, athletic, with long black hair that fell to her waist and a pale, pretty face with big green eyes. Dramatic eyes.
“That’s Lena,” Debra said, leaning close to Corky to be heard. “That girl you’re staring at.”
But Corky had never seen a cheerleader as graceful and athletic as Lena.
Corky watched in total admiration. Lena had to be the best cheerleader Corky had ever seen.
Or my favorite:
Her sleek black hair drifting behind her, Lena lowered her hands to the bench and began doing stretching excersizes. She really is beautiful, Corky thought. And look at how limber she is. Wow!
All of this is to set up Lena when the evil takes over her body, and she backflips herself to death. Well, no. She can’t stop backflipping, and some boys have to hold her down while an ambulance is called, because her limbs won’t stop moving. The evil attacks the confetti cannon again by making it blast black bile. Jay flips out on his coach, and then the coach is murdered via water cooler. The kids are trapped in the motel overnight, and Corky mentions her parents wouldn’t drive up this late, which is an insane thing to say when someone’s been murdered. At night, Ivy sneaks out, and Kimmy, Debra, and Corky follow her. They see all the other cheerleaders and the basketball players join up, and they realize it’s everyone they invited to the party. They do a weird dance on the ice and look like puppets, and I kind of love the trend of the evil being summoned by dancing. A wild dog attacks the teens, sensing evil, and they snap its neck. The teens notice the cheerleaders and chase after them. Debra falls first, and then Corky is separated from Kimmy. She runs to the payphone to call the police and is stopped by Alex.
Alex tries to drag her out of the phone booth, but she pushes him away and runs. She runs all the way back to the frozen lake, where she sees a body beneath the ice, and Kimmy’s face staring up at her. She can’t find Debra, and the other teens are calling after her. She finds two trees that are twined together, and she hides in their joined trunks. For hours she hears the others calling after her in what becomes a legitimately tense scene. Finally it becomes quiet, and the sun starts to rise. Corky crawls out and goes back to the motel, where she sees the team getting onto the bus, and the bus driver leaving back into the motel. A moment of genius strikes her, and she climbs onto the bus, starts it, and drives. She realizes this means she has to drown all of her friends, something she struggles with as she gets the bus up to speed, but she accepts her fate. She points it over the bridge, jumps, and watches it fall.
For some reason she walks the rest of the way to where the tournament is being held, arriving to find her coach there. She tries to tell everyone they’re dead, but then they announce the team is going onto the floor. She sees the entire team, and the cheerleaders, bloated and blue, looking just dredged from the lake, and she starts screaming and passes out. Corky comes to in a hospital, where she’s told she and all of her friends are being held. When the bus dove into the lake, the ice fishermen pulled everyone out, after the evil had left their body. Alex even tells her they didn’t get frostbite because for some reason the water was hot. Debra’s alive too, telling Corky she just ran after everything and got picked up. Kimmy’s still dead, but it’s Christmas Eve, and the evil might really be gone for good this time. (It’s not.)
“Give me a break, Alex. He faked you out of your Nikes!” Jay shot back.
Fear Street Trends
The best part of the Cheerleaders books! They do more “rap style” cheers, though those are never put into text, unlike the more original cheers which pepper this book. Jay’s sporting a Mighty Ducks cap, and when he’s not, his white blond hair is spiked. Lots of loose fitting clothes from the girls, who are athletes, and the outside scenes they’re most in sweaters and leggings. Jay’s described as “thrashing” at one point, extra hilarious because the only music mentioned at the party is traditional Christmas music like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells. There’s definitely some bad lingo in here (see the above quote), and Gary Brandt and Jade and Deena are seen. It’s a pretty good book for continuity.
After the Reva Dalby series, this was a breath of fresh air. I cared a lot about the characters going in since we’d been with Corky and Kimmy and Debra for three books now, and I honestly got sad when we found Kimmy’s body, since she’d made it so far with Corky, and she’s probably had the most character development. I genuinely enjoyed this read and the handful of twists that came with it, and I think there were some pretty good images within. I give it four drowned basketball players out of five.