Fear Street Nights #1 – Moonlight Secrets

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You guys have been so patient with me while I got my life in order! A lot has changed since I went on my impromptu hiatus, and I’m probably still unpacking my new apartment (which is why this is a day late), but I had to get back into the swing of things. I was surprised to see the poll I posted back in August was straight even across all fronts, but that’s fantastic! It means I’ve got a lot more reading to do! And, to celebrate, I’m going back to weekly updates for the month of October! Expect lots of spooky things as we dive right back into Fear Street.

The Cover

moonlight secrets

The cover (pulled from Simon & Schuster) is not great, but it’s not terrible. I get what they’re going for, and this is kind of a hotter and sexier Fear Street than previous books. I didn’t realize these books were published so late (2005), which explains why this cover has more in common with the reprints. It’s just kind of nothing. There’s a lot of Photoshop filters and weird additions that don’t add anything.

Tagline

They only come out at night…

I like it, actually. It’s ominous and foreboding without revealing anything. It’s not really about anything that happens in the book, but it sells.

Summary

Like many Fear Street books, this is separated into multiple parts, none of which are necessary. At first they signal a perspective change (these are in first person), but after part one is over, the perspective is the same. Part one should be more of a prologue anyway.

Part one starts with Jamie and Lewis (who is our narrator and doesn’t get named until chapter two), who started the Night People to sneak out and make out. They were barely spending any time together because of school and stuff, so at night they go to the Fear Mansion, which at this point is broken down and abandoned. It’s about to be torn down to become a shopping mall. After a while, all of their friends come out with them, spending every night in Fear Manor. Jamie is excited to see a ghost, because her cousin Cindy died some time ago. As Cindy died, she told Jamie she’d send her a sign from the other side, which is like the most fucked up thing you can say to your family as you’re dying.

After a while, these kids are out so often that a bar called Nights opens up for them?? And they just buy beer and stuff??? This will come up later, but it’s treated so casually and I’m like this is hella illegal there can’t be enough of them to justify a market like that. But for now they’re just hanging out in the mansion, and they find a secret room. They find hooded cloaks and silver candles and animal bones and you’re general evil cult stuff. They find a jewelry box full of gold and silver, and they start stealing immediately. They also find books on witchcraft and dark magic. They decide it must be Angelica Fear’s secret chamber, which is bad news for them.

Come October, Jamie and Lewis go out to Fear Mansion, which has just been knocked down. They bring recording equipment and his “new digital camera”. They go out and try to summon some ghosts. Jamie calls out and asks who’s there. Nothing really happens, there’s no sound or lights or anything they’re expecting. Jamie takes Lewis back to her house, where they sneak in at three in the morning. She pulls out the cassette from her recorder, and they listen back. They’re both shocked when they hear a woman’s voice on the tape, faint and very hard to hear, and it sounds like she’s saying, “Did you take mine? If you took what was mine, you will pay.”

They go back to Fear Mansion a week later. They haven’t told their friends anything, presumably to heighten suspense. As they walk through the remains, they see something shining in a hole, and Jamie goes to get it. It’s some kind of weird blue jewel, maybe a pendant or a pin or an… amulet????? They also find human bones, which seems like something that would halt construction. Jamie jumps down to steal the jewel, and the skeletons do what skeletons do in these books, which is reach forward and start choking her. They’re dragged won into the dirt, and as Lewis screams that they’re being buried alive, it cuts to Part Two.

Part Two (and Three) is narrated by Nate, who goes into Nights, the bar that caters specifically to underage drinkers. Sometimes it feels like this is some kind of underground speakeasy or something, but it’s mostly a regular bar whose only patrons are 16 year olds. It says the kids give him phony IDs, but like. Also it says that they’re the only ones who “give him an excuse to stay open all night”, but like you have to stop serving alcohol at 2 right? These kids stay up forever. My point is this bar should’ve been shut down before it opened. There’s also a tradition where you have to kiss this plaque of Angelica Fear, which will pop up later.

The important people in this story are Nate, Bart Sharkman (called Shark), and his ex-girlfriend Candy, and possibly some girl named Ada who I think might be evil. These kids all stole from the Mansion too, and it’s mentioned that Shark found a pistol there and took it (!!!) and his dad made him put it in a lockbox instead of going to the police or something. They see Jamie and Lewis at the bar, mentioning their accident last year, and how they’re both still kind of traumatized because of it. They don’t really remember anything. Shark is established to be your usual Shadyside male, in that he could pop off at any second.

Shark and Candy broke up because Candy cheated on him, which is also a Shadyside trait, but apparently came in that night and tried to seduce him back. Shark tells his friends he played it up with her and made plans with her tonight, and then changed his voicemail to, “Have a nice day, Candy, you slut.” Which is like woah. There’s a lot of fast women at Shadyside, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen them use the word slut. I guess it’s okay in 2005. The important thing is Candy barges in now, rage in her eyes. Jamie jumps up and tries to talk her down, distracting her by pointing out a pendant she’s wearing, one that seems weirdly familiar. Jamie asks her where she got it, and Candy tells her it’s the Fear Street Gold Mine right across the street, which is also a weird aside but okay. Jamie skedaddles, and Candy starts trying to wail on Shark, who just pushes her off. Then Candy grabs him and starts kissing him, tearing the skin off his lips and leaving them bloody, and then she just bounces. They chase Candy out of the bar, and Shark throws a rock at her car. Nate does too, and it shatters the window. She screams, “You’ll pay!” as she squeals off.

And then Part Three starts. A week later, Nate and Shark are hanging out and talking about Candy. They go on this meetup website and lie to people on there, which does seem like something a bunch of bored teenagers in 2005 would do. Candy gets on and threatens Shark, telling him he owes her for the window, or she’ll tell her parents about Nights. It seems like an empty threat to me, but she’s also kind of crazy, so the boys end up paying her. But Shark isn’t done yet. He goes onto “the class website”, which probably wouldn’t have been a thing in 2005, and shows Nate how he hacked into it and can change whatever. He proceeds to do like thirty things when one would’ve sufficed. He finds a picture of a prize winning hog, photoshops Candy’s face onto it, changes her name from Candy Shutt to Candy Slutt, and then adds a caption about expecting a litter of hogs. The next day, everyone is honking and oinking at Candy, and at a school assembly she goes up to present something on saving the environment, and the whole assembly goes crazy. Someone even throws a stuffed pig at her. She bursts into tears.

Nate is called into the principal’s office over this, as the post was traced back to his computer. Nate doubles down and refuses to implicate Shark. Candy flips out that he ruined her life, and even her dad is like, no. Nate offers to apologize publicly, and Candy screams that it’s not enough.

The kids meet up at Nights again to talk about what happened, with some of the girls showing off jewelry they stole from the Fear Mansion. Candy comes in, furious, and plops down across the bar from them. They see her muttering something under her lips, and Nate thinks it looks like she’s putting a hex on him. As he thinks that, he feels something in his mouth and pulls out a giant cockroach. Everyone kind of laughs until another one comes out, and another one, and more and more. They’re pouring out, and when he looks a Candy again, she’s smiling. Some more stuff happens, where the kids go out to makeout point and their car reverses into the river. It looks like Jamie drowns, but they revive her. Ada kisses Nate while they talk about how Candy is a witch. Nate gets his car back, saying it’s totally fine???? Even though it was submerged in a river?????? Lewis talks about how Jamie and him went to look for ghosts and tells them about the tape. Blood pours out of earbuds all over Nate in a hilarious scene where kids listen to iTunes. Their friend gets his lips ripped off kissing Angelica Fear’s plaque. And the bar owner is just like, I’ll call 911, and they’re like, no we’ll all get caught, and I’m like you run an illegal bar for sixteen year olds you’re going to get shut down but cool.

Eventually they figure out that Candy’s pendant is the Fear amulet that’s been passed down generation to generation. They decide to break into her house while her parents are away to steal it. Shark, Nate, and Nikki all go, which seems like a lot of people for a break in but whatever. There’s construction on the house, so they find a ladder that lets them into an upstairs window super easy, and Shark makes it clear this is less about his friend being cursed and more about him upstaging Candy one more time. They find the amulet pretty easily and start to sneak out, but that’s when Candy wakes up. She screams at them and launches herself towards them, wrangling the amulet from Shark’s hands, but she’s not careful enough. She slips on the stairs and tumbles down to her death. All three of them freak out, knowing they’ve just killed someone, but it’s worse as Nate picks up the amulet. It’s cracked in two. It was a fake the whole time.

There’s an epilogue chapter where the three agree never to talk about what they did last summer, even though they told everyone at the bar what they were going to do before they headed over there, meaning at least three other people know they’re murderers. They decide they’re probably safe now from magic at least. Nate goes home and sees a shape underneath his covers. He pulls it back to reveal decapitated pig’s head staring up at him. Cut to black. Credits.

Favorite Line

“Simon and Angelica Fear were supposed to be the most evil people in the world.”

“We studied it all in fourth grade,” I said.

Fear Street Trends

Oh my god, guys. It’s too good. This came out in 2005, and their attempts to add in new technology are my fav~or~ite. We see our first hints of modern ghosthunting (Ghost Hunters premiered 2004, so I imagine that’s probably when the phenomenon started taking off). Nate mentions “Japanese anime movies” that he watches, and the boys spend a good long scene on meetup-place.com. Nate goes by Straydog and chats up a girl named Wildgirl345, saying he looks like a young Brad Pitt, though admits to the audience all they do is go on and tell lies. (Candy’s handle is Candylishus). Photoshop is mentioned directly, when Shark does his masterpiece. Nate and Shark hang out in the Shadyside High computer lab in a fantastic scene where Stine uses computer language for possibly the first time in his life. Nate does in fact use Google, and Shark does listen to iTunes (how that works on a school computer, I have no idea). Shark is listening to fusion jazz, by the way, two boys are playing Free Cell (really?), and Shark tells Nate to double-click something. They also play Grand Theft Auto on Playstation, which is a pretty good pull. People even have cell phones! Though they don’t work, of course.

As for actual fashions, the 2000s are in full swing. Girls have straight bangs, and Candy wears low rise jeans. Most of the fashion is dedicated to the jewelry the girls pulled off the mansion, meaning lots of gold bracelets and strange necklaces.

Rating

This book is almost nothing. I suspect when I get around to reading the next two that this series is going to look better as one big book. Almost nothing happens in this, and the horror isn’t really that scary. Stine’s done a way better job describing gruesome things. It all feels like build up. A hotter and sexier Fear Street could be interesting, but the execution is just so. Nothing. I guess I’ll give it one pig’s head out of five.

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