Fear Street #22 – Bad Dreams

The Cover

bad-dreams

The cover (pulled from its Amazon page) is pretty good. The girls look good, especially the hair on the one in front, and they seem genuinely afraid. I do love how they’re grabbing onto each other. The canopy post does good for implying a shadow or shape in the scene. All in all, I really like this cover.

Tagline

Don’t go to sleep!

I also really like this tagline! It’s a little generic, maybe, but it plays into the title, and there’s an urgency I appreciate.

Summary

We start with an unneccessary prologue. An unnamed girl sleeps in her bed, and is woken by a human figure in her room. She screams, “But you’re my sister!” and dies.

Smash cut to Maggie in the car with her family as they search for their new house on Fear Street. It’s just her mom and her sister Andrea and their dog Gus. I absolutely expected Gus to be horribly murdered in this book, and he is not. No animal violence at all. It’s a breath of fresh air.

The opening scene is just to establish that Maggie is the better sister. She’s a year older, a little prettier, she has a steady boyfriend, she’s doing well on the swim team, and Andrea is petty, mean, and has a complex. They’re moving out of North Hills, the swanky side of Shadyside, into Fear Street because their dad recently died. It seems like he had an anuerysm or heart attack, but they never really talk about it.

They make it to the house, and it’s a creepy old Fear Street house. They go up to find their rooms, and in Maggie’s room, the previous owners had left behind a canopy bed. It’s set up like the girls didn’t know what furniture they’d get, but later a neighbor tells them the house has been empty a long time, which means when they viewed the house, they would’ve known, but whatever, it’s an excuse for Andrea to complain. They fight, Andrea screams at her, their mother tries to settle them down.

They settle into the house. We’re introduced to Justin, Maggie’s boyfriend, and Dawn, who’s on the swim team with them. At night, Maggie’s exhausted, and she falls into her canopy bed. She has a dream where she’s walking through the mist and sees a girl with ash blond hair. She wakes up screaming, and her family rushes in. Andrea asks her to describe the dream and suggests she might’ve been thinking of Dawn, since she has blond hair. Her family comforts her, and she goes back to sleep.

There’s a nice moment with Justin, where he brings the family a bouquet of kitchen sponges, which delights Maggie’s mom, and she offers him something to drink with only two cans of Sprite in the fridge. They make out for a while, and when Maggie looks up, she sees the girl from her dream watching her from the shadows. Justin turns around and says hi to Andrea, and Maggie thinks she was spying on them. He’s friendly but curt to Andrea, who’s clearly hurt by it. He then scares Maggie by pretending to choke to death in front of her. That good ol’ Shadyside humor.

It’s swim tryouts day, and Maggie and Andrea are competing for a spot in the 200m swim. Andrea has a minor freakout where she accuses Maggie of stealing her swim cap before she finds it on the floor next to her backpack. There’s a long scene of them swimming, but the final result is Dawn, Maggie, Tiffany, and then Andrea. Dawn flips out at Maggie accusing her of interference, but the coach puts it down. They change, get ready to leave, and Maggie sees Dawn floating face down in the pool. She panicks and jumps in after her, only for Dawn to tell her she was practicing her breathing. They laugh about it.

Maggie goes to sleep again and dreams. She sees the blond girl thrashing in her covers, and a knife in the darkness, and she wakes suddenly to see the girl standing over her bed. She starts yelling, and then Andrea reaches down and tells her to stop. Andrea says she heard Maggie having a bad dream, and she came in to make sure she was okay. Maggie makes a crack that the house is haunted. Andrea worries it’s stress that’s making her dream this, and tells her to take it easy on the swim team, and Maggie flips out on her, telling her of course she would say that, so Andrea could finally beat her. Andrea says dreams are all wishes which is the wildest thing anyone’s ever said and accuses Maggie of wanting to stab someone. Maggie realizes she’s identifying with the person who was stabbed.

Maggie’s exhausted at school to the point where she doesn’t remember her locker combo. She’s trying to get to her next class when she sees her sister up ahead and runs into Dawn on the stairwell. She starts talking to Dawn right as she starts to fall. For a moment, she doesn’t move, and then she starts wailing that she was pushed. Her arm is broken. Maggie sees her sister, and it looks like she’s happy about this. Dawn accuses Maggie of pushing her.

Maggie talks to her friends, who tell her Dawn was probably angry and concussed, which was why she accused her. Tiffany assures her she had no reason to push Dawn. Maggie gets home and naps, and her mom wakes her up by making spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs. She goes outside and takes a nap as well, and is woken by a strange man who is reaching down for her. She panicks, but he tells her he’s her neighbor, and he was worried she was baking too long in the sun. He introduces himself as Milton Avery and invites her over to meet the missus. He tells her a terrible thing happened in the house, and it’d been empty so long it might as well felt haunted. Mr. and Mrs. Avery keep calling Maggie a “pretty young girl” and I half expected a shocking swerve where they were the murderers or something, but they’re just old. They tell her the Heifers lived there before, and their daughter Miranda was stabbed in her own bed.

Maggie meets up with her friends again. Dawn apologizes for accusing her, but Maggie isn’t sure if she means it. Justin tries to make out with her, but Maggie is still thinking about Miranda. He gets mildly weirded out with her ghost talk. When Maggie sleeps that night, she wakes up with Andrea standing over her, and the gleam of a knife in her hand, but Andrea tells her she’s borrowing her curling iron, and Maggie breathes a sigh of relief. Her dreams aren’t getting any better. She goes downstairs and reads Moby Dick at the suggestion of her late father, who called it the most boring book, a sentiment I heartily agree with. She goes back upstairs and finds her bed messed with and a knife sticking out of her pillow. She runs to her mom’s room and accuses Andrea of doing this, and when they return to the bed, the knife is gone, and the blankets are back to where they were. Maggie wakes up Andrea and screams at her.

Maggie’s too tired to race properly, and her coach tells her to get plenty of sleep. Her coach tries to talk to her, and when they come back out, Tiffany is laying down on the floor with blood pouring out around her. Maggie reaches down to help her when her coach walks in, and she immediately starts yelling that she didn’t do it. It’s not at all suspicious. At home, Maggie’s mom tells her no one suspected her, and it’s such a tragedy, and Andrea gets off the phone with Tiffany, letting them know she’s fine. Andrea’s clearly happy despite everything and says she won’t pretend to be excited now that she’s swimming the 200 IM. Maggie shouts at her for it and storms off.

At night, Maggie dreams again, and this time she starts in a dark tunnel. She watches Miranda run away from someone wielding a knife, and then falls into the canopy bed. Miranda wakes up and sees someone standing over her, with ash blond hair, and she asks if she’s a ghost. The figure nods and raises a knife. Maggie starts screaming, and her mom runs in, but now the ghost has disappeared. Maggie’s mom tells her they’ll get her all the hep she needs.

Maggie goes on a school trip to some caves. She’s distracted, thinking about the ghost, but she’s put in a group with our two faves, Deena and Jade. They walk through the tunnels, and Miranda gets dizzy. She sits for a moment. When she looks up, her group is gone. She runs to catch up, and she’s reliving her dream, feeling like someone is chasing her, footsteps behind her, and she slams into a dead end. She panics as the person gets closer and closer, but it’s only Justin. The group had noticed she’d gotten lost, and he tells her everyone is waiting back at the bus. They walk out together.

Maggie starts seeing a therapist. She talks to Justin about it, but while they’re hanging out, she sees the ghost. She runs after it, leaving Justin behind, but Miranda is gone. When she gets home, she sees her mom with Mr. and Mrs. Avery, and they have dinner together. Maggie’s quiet, but Andrea’s ecstatic. Maggie’s too tired to continue, and she tells her mom she’s going to lie down. When she gets to her room, she finds the canopy bed is gone. Moved. Maggie’s mom had some movers come over and they put it in the attic. I don’t know why she didn’t take it to a resale place or smash it into firewood, but the rest of the plot needs to happen. Andrea convinces Maggie to come back down for dinner, and at night, when everyone is gone to bed, Maggie sneaks up to the attic.

Maggie’s certain she just needs to see the rest of the dream, and she climbs the creaking staircase to open the door, only to find someone already sleeping in the bed. She wakes Miranda, who jumps out of bed, knife raised, and starts singing that someone stabbed Miranda. She’s not a ghost after all, and she’s not Miranda either. Gena was Miranda’s sister, and she starts singing that she has to kill the mean sister, and Maggie’s mean like Miranda was. She’s been sleeping in the attic this whole time. Andrea hears them and runs upstairs as well, and Gena tells her she’s going to kill Maggie for her. Maggie struggles against Gena, and Andrea manages to tangle her up in the bed, and they wrap her up as their mom comes up to see what the noise is.

The police take Gena away. The women sit around and discuss what just happened. Maggie thanks Andrea for saving her life, and offers her the canopy bed. Andrea politely refuses. Finally, they head back up to bed.

Favorite Line

“Dreams are all wishes, right?”

Fear Street Trends

Our faves Deena Martinson and Jade Smith are back, of course. They don’t do much. Not too many outfits are described, but my favorite is Andrea’s “short-short khakis, and orange tank top, and gold hoop earrings.” To which she says, “I was feeling like dressing up a little.” Justin wears some generic white boy clothes, and Maggie wears some faded jeans and “a green-checked vest” which is definitely something I wore in the 90s.

Rating

This one was kind of meh. I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for, but this went by pretty quick, and I was surprised at how quickly I got to the end. All in all, I’m going to give it two stabbed pillows out of five.

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