Fear Street #23 – Double Date

The Cover

double-date

The cover (pulled from Goodreads) is kind of meh. Bobby looks like a mannequin, and the girls are just kind of doing nothing. It should be sinister, but it’s far too bright, and the people don’t look real at all. There’s few salvageable things about it.

Tagline

Two’s company. But three can be murder.

I do actually kind of like this. It’s a decent play on an old saying and sets a tone. It’s only extremely out of place on this boring cover.

Summary

We’re introduced to Bobby forcing a girl named Ronnie into a locker and then kissing her. Our hero. He talks about how he dated Ronnie pretty much only so he could say he went out with all six cheerleaders. For the first time, I think, we get to see Kimmy outside of the cheerleaders books. She yells at Bobby for standing her up last night and going out with another girl. He brushes her off and goes to band practice with his two main dudes, Arnie and Paul. Thus begins the running gag of bands changing their names, which is a thing in just about every teen fiction I’ve ever seen. They changed their name from “The Cool Guys” to “Bad to the Bone”. They’re going to need a lot more help.

Bobby is all about music. He has a white Fender Strat “like Jimmy Hendrix”. Arnie is Bobby’s best friend and clear supporter, but Paul kind of thinks Bobby is a narcissistic skeeve. They start to practice, and two girls enter the room. Bree and Samantha Wade moved to Shadyside a year ago, and they’re looking for one of their teachers. Bobby takes the moment to chat with them, but they leave to get done what they need to do. Arnie and Bobby joke about going out with twins, while Paul is clearly agianst the idea. As practice finishes up, they’re visited by Melanie, who Bobby used to go out with, and who is now dating Arnie. She’s antagonistic towards Bobby, and when she hears Bobby might ask out both twins, she tells him to stay away from them.

He promptly ignores her and runs straight into Bree. He invites her to see their band play that Friday, and after they can go out. He goes home and tells Arnie, doing a weird victory lap in his room. My favorite moment from this scene is a line that paints Bobby as an absolute narcissist:

Arnie is my biggest fan, Bobby realized. That’s why we’re such good friends.

It’s honestly so enjoyable to read what a terrible person Bobby is (unlike say Paul from Haunted) because the piss is clearly being taken out of him at every turn. He calls himself Bobby the Man and struts around singing “I’m cool” while Paul and Melanie are in the background lamenting any association. Lines like that paint him as such a loser.

He calls the Wade household and gets Samantha on the phone. He asks her to a movie Saturday night, and she gets instantly nervous. She tells him Bree’s really looking forward to their date on Friday, and asks if this is a bet or a dare. In the end she agrees to go out with him and promises not to tell her sister.

Friday comes, and Bobby and his band play on stage. He does a “Chuck Berry strut” and the crowd cheers. As they get off the stage, the club lights up. Paul tells Bobby he ruined the set with his showboating, which ends with him pulling his amp out accidentally, but Bobby won’t hear it. He and Bree dance for a bit, but she gets tired, and they walk out together. As they drive around Shadyside, and here’s where we get the craziest aspect of this story, which adds almost nothing to it. The kids in Shadyside are doing science projects, and Bobby has two monkeys he got from his uncle who is an animal importer for zoos. This already sounds highly illegal, but his his experiment is he only feeds one bananas and water, while the other has a mixed diet. Is his experiment the fastest way to murder a monkey? Part of me assumes Bobby only did this to show off at school, which wouldn’t be out of character for him.

They make out, Bree asks him out tomorrow, and he says no. The next day he meets Samantha, and they head to the movies. Samantha thinks they’re all really boring and instead they walk around the mall. They try on earrings at a kind of expensive store, and she gets yelled at for actually putting them on. She starts to leave the store, and they’re yelled at for shoplifting. They race through the mall as security chases them. They get out and run across the parking lot, where they run straight into a security guard, who chastises them for running. They walk away laughing.

They go back to his car, and Samantha demands to drive, a thing I highlight only because recently I’ve realized how strange it is that in straight couples the man will always insist on driving even if it’s not his car. They go to River Ridge to make out, and she warns him that Bree can get a little crazy when she’s hurt. She refuses to say anymore.

It seems like Bobby’s been dating the twins for a few weeks. Everyone at school knows about it, and the fact that the girls don’t seem to makes it all the more suspicious. After Melanie rags on him some more, he goes home and gets a weird phone call, where a whispered voice tells him three’s a crowd. He figures out pretty quick it’s his friend Arnie, who laughs at him. They talk a bit, and then he’s interrupted by someone knocking on the door. It’s Bree, syaing they have to talk. She says she’s worried about Samantha, who is seeing someone and refuses to tell her. Bobby plays it cool, and when it’s clear Bree doesn’t know what’s going on, he tells her he’ll try to find out for her. She leaves, and Samantha calls, warning him that Bree’s on her way. When he tells her it’s cool, she was here and left, Samantha says she’s sick of sharing and asks him to break up with Bree. The longer they drag it out, the more she’s worried she’ll get hurt, and the easier it’ll be for her to fly off the handle.

Bobby goes out with Samantha again, does some more shoplifting, and they run into Bree. Bobby briefly considers taking them both on a date at the same time, but they skedaddle together. He walks outside and finds both his tires slashed, and Melanie driving up. He’s convinced momentarily that it was her doing, and she’s probably still obsessed with him, but he decides girls don’t know how to handle knives, and thus she’s off the hook. At school, Bobby and Samantha sneak off. He shows her his monkey (hur hur), and she shows him the way to tell the twins apart. Samantha has a small butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. As they make out, she tells him again to dump Bree, and then she shows him her science project: a colony of cannibal ants eating a dead mouse. Shadyside really values its education system, huh.

The band, who have changed their name again to the Desperadoes, are playing at school, but the second Bobby hits his Fender, he’s electrocuted and jolted to the ground. There’s a brief interlude where he’s in a grey fog with ghostly faces all around him, but the second someone says the amp was cut, he sits straight up. They realize someone had deliberately cut it. He goes off with Samantha and asks if Bree was capable of this. She says her sister could do anything as Bree walks into the room.

Bobby and Arnie sit together in the cafeteria. Melanie comes in again and tells him she’s known the Wade twins since elementary school. She warns him again, and he tells her she’s clearly still in love with him. She calls him a pig and leaves.

Bobby goes out with Samantha, but while they’re making out, he realizes her butterfly tattoo is missing, which means he must be with Bree. He asks her about it, and she gets confused, claiming she doesn’t have a tattoo. She acts hurt and gets him to drive her home. At school the next day, he’s confused, and when he opens his locker he finds it coated in blood with a monkey’s head laying on top of his books. A note reads “THIS IS YOU INSIDE”. For once, someone in Shadyside has a normal reaction to this kind of treatment, and he tosses his breakfast. Arnie comes along, confused, and picks up the fake monkey’s head. It’s a prank. Another disgusting Shadyside prank.

Bobby and Samantha go out, and she’s driving again. She takes him to a place out in the trees where there’s a small cabin. She demands to know why he hasn’t broken up with Bree yet, and then tells him they have to kill her. Bobby agrees, but it’s pretty clear he’s just going along, trying to get out of this situation. He sees the butterfly tattoo on her shoulder again. He asks her again, and she says of course she has a tattoo, she told him about it. They go inside the murder cabin and make out some more.

Bobby calls Bree immediately and tries to tell her what’s up. He picks her up to go dancing, and he explains to her that Samantha took him out and threatened to kill her, still kind of lying his way around the whole “cheating on you with your sister” thing. Bree tells him they aren’t twins, but triplets. They have a third sister named Jennilynn, the fakest, worst name I’ve heard in any of these books, which earn the prize in made up terrible names. She tells him Jennilynn is crazy, and attacked their parents, so they sent her away to live with their family on the West Coast. She says the real way to tell her apart from Bree or Samantha is that she has a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder.

He drives to Arnie’s after dropping her off and immediately spills the beans after promising not to. Melanie is there, and he asks her directly, since she admitted to knowing them since they were kids. Even though one threatened to kill her sister, and the other told him a story about their murderous triplet, he’s still not quite ready to give up dating the Wade twins. He meets up with Samantha the next day and tells her what Bree said about Jennilynn. Samantha is horrified, because there isn’t a Jennilynn. She’s Bree’s alter ego, which whom she acts out terrible fantasies. He checks her shoulder again. No tattoo.

Bobby has no idea which sister is telling the truth, and instead of maybe going to their parents and asking or forcing the sisters to talk to each other, he continues to date them. Samantha picks him up in the car and takes him to the cabin. He sees the tattoo on her shoulder again, and she says of course she has a tattoo, she told him. He realizes she’s still planning on killing Bree, but the second they’re at the cabin, she brains him with a bottle, ties him up in only a t-shirt and his boxers, pours honey all over him, and drops her cannibal ants on him.

Samantha/Jennilynn leaves, and Bobby manages to ┬ábreak free. He runs free of the cabin, straight into Melanie, who says the twins had their car stolen, and they were pretty sure it was Jennilynn. She came to find him, and he says they have to go back to the house to warn the sisters. They run inside the house, Bobby shouting about Jennilynn, and is surprised to see both sisters and a lot of girls from school. The Wade parents are there, and they have no idea who Jennilynn is or what Bobby is talking about. They don’t even own a cabin. Also, cannibal ants are not a real thing. He points at the girls and demands to see which one has a tattoo, and they dutifully show their parents their bare shoulders. Melanie, Kimmy, and Ronnie each make fun of him for his appearance and for dating every girl in school. Samantha and Bree laugh about all the acting they had to do, with Samantha pretending to be a wild girl. This also means that either Samantha and Bree or every girl involved are the ones who slashed his tires, filled his locker with blood, and maybe tried to electrocute and then kill him? Troubling, of course. But in Shadyside, it’s not out of place.

At school, things seem to fall apart for Bobby. The band breaks up. He’s dejected. Bree and Samantha see him and bring him an envelope with a letter inside. It says they both knew from the very beginning what was going on, and on the inside is small temporary butterfly tattoo.

Favorite Line

Girls aren’t strong enough to cut tires that deeply, Bobby thought to himself. Girls don’t know how to handle knives.

Fear Street Trends

So many! I feel like it’s been so long since the kids have been described like this! No one looks like a celebrity, but Bree and Samantha are described in every scene. A lot of faded jeans, cut off shorts, and midriff-bearing blouses. Samantha is almost always described as wearing something low cut or that shows off.

David Metcalf makes an appearance, and Suki Thomas gets a special mention. The teen club in this is the Mill, when I think it’s usually the Red Heat. What surprises me the most is the mention of real stores. McDonalds, Waldenbooks, and the Gap all get a mention.

Rating

I think I loved this one. Bobby is a straight up narcissist and psychopath, and the twist at the end was probably one of the best in Fear Street history. I’m giving it five fake butterfly tattoos out of five.

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