And we’re back. I should be on a regular schedule again, and I’ve queued up a number of books to read for the summer, so hopefully there won’t be any more hiccups.
The cover (borrowed from this Fear Street blog) has the same problems as the previous one, and I’m not going to rehash how bad the “knife/axe/scissors into stock photo” thing is. The colors are meh, though that sickly Goosebumps green does have its nostalgic factors.
And there’s NO WAY OUT!
I like this. Plays into the title, ominous, very good.
Kenny Klein is our senior of focus, saying goodbye to his girlfriend Jade, who’s off to do SAT camp in California for some reason. Kenny and Jade I do not remember from the previous book, though I’m sure they were there. Jade asks Kenny to be true, and she says she wants them to stay together through senior year, which is a big ask from a bunch of high schoolers.
After Jade leaves, Kenny starts his job at the day camp over in the Fear Street woods. Dana and Debra are there to remind Kenny that he does have a girlfriend and judge him for his choices. Kenny doesn’t really pay attention while his boss talks to the counselors, instead musing on the camp being exactly the same as when he was nine, and then Craig pulls him aside to mention the “troubled kid” that’s in Kenny’s group. Kenny does not really ask any follow up questions to this, or ask if he’s qualified to help a troubled youth. He instead goes to put away some equipment, running into a counselor named Ty, and the two begin a friendly game of tetherball. Well, Kenny thinks it’s friendly, but he notices Ty is really into the game. And then Kenny punches the ball so hard it hits Ty in the face, causing blood to gush out of his nose. Ty is not a good sport about this.
Kenny, not to be deterred from the summer camp experience, immediately meets a beautiful girl described in ghostly terms. Her name is Melly (not a real name). They have flirty conversation, and then Melly warns him that Ty is cruel. Kenny asks if she met him before, and she says yeah, before she drowned. No wait, before she left town, she corrects. I’m so sure, Melly.
Kenny is sent to help Ty clean up the volleyball equipment and store it. They struggle to close a trunk, and they start pushing on it to close. But Kenny gets distracted by Melly walking by, and Kenny slams the trunk on Ty’s hand. The quickly take him to the infirmary, where the nurse says it might be broken, but they won’t know for sure until they get him to the hospital. Craig says Ty is the swimming instructor, and with a broken hand, he’s not much use. Kenny steps outside, feeling like garbage, and Melly runs up to him. He tells her what happened, and she gets confused. That’s not Ty. He doesn’t look anything like him. And then the buses arrive before she can say anything else.
Kenny gets his group of kids, and they’re a bunch of rowdy boys. Already two of them are wrestling, and he has to break them apart. Craig brings Vincent to him, a young, shy boy who wears a ski mask all of the time thanks to an accident. Vincent is kind of unsettling behind the ski mask, with only his blue eyes focused on Kenny. As the kids explore the camp, they find a cave, and Vincent runs in. Kenny tries to stop the others from running in after him, only to hear Vincent cry for help.
The chapter does that thing where it breaks to another scene, and the characters explain, oh no, it was a simple misunderstanding. Vincent was faking, probably for attention. Kenny is having pizza with his friends, and they dish all the dirt on your favorite Fear Street Seniors. And, in my desire to recap everything for you, I’ll repeat it here: Debra broke up with Josh who’s now with Clark (the vampire) but they still hang out apparently and Mary O’Connor was caught shoplifting and is supposed to be dating Gary Fresno but we all saw him dancing with Trisha at her murder party and they’re still ribbing on Josie for getting a D in math.
The group decides to go swimming in Fear Lake. It’s a great time, and then Kenny sees Melly there. She kisses him and pulls him away from his friends. She points to a high boulder and says they should do a high dive, which makes Kenny nervous, knowing there are rocks in the water below. But a pretty girl said so, and who is he to refuse? He jumps and immediately hits his head on the rock, only to be rescued by his friends. They yell at him for jumping, but he notices that Melly isn’t around anymore. He freaks out, thinking she’s drowned, but they say they didn’t see anyone else at all. It was just him. He jumped alone.
Kenny goes to the office the next morning, hoping Melly is there, but it’s only Ty. Ty does let him know he saw Melly, and then kind of threatens him. Kenny goes to greet his kids, only to find Graydon and Charlie shoving each other, and Vincent being a creepy kid. Ty tries to be nice to Vincent, and he sends them to arts and craft, where Melly is supposed to be the counselor, but she’s missing. He looks for her, running into Dana instead, who reminds him he has a girlfriend who is also Dana’s friend. They both hear a scream from the arts and crafts cabin and run back. Vincent is on the floor covered in blood, but the other boys point out he’s breathing, and Kenny realizes it’s paint. He tells them no more pranks or stunts and orders Vincent to go get himself cleaned up. Melly arrives a little while later, and Kenny’s just glad she’s alive.
Kenny and Melly agree to meet after work, and as Kenny walks the nature trail to find her, he also remembers that he has a girlfriend and feels kind of bad about cheating on her. He debates whether to tell Melly or not, but runs into Dana and Debra instead. Dana says again that Jade is her friend, and she’ll call her to tell her what’s up if he doesn’t stop. When Kenny finds Melly, he decides he can’t tell her about Jade, not if he wants to keep seeing her. So. That choice is made.
Melly takes him back to the cave where Vincent ran into, claiming it’s haunted by the ghost of a little boy. She runs ahead, and Kenny tries to follow her in the dark, only to fall down a hole. Melly appears and chides him for not being careful, and he points out that he could’ve died. He still can’t get mad at her though, and she starts to kiss him when they see a ghostly presence. It’s Graydon, left behind in the office. Kenny takes him back so Craig can call his parents, and as he leaves he sees Ty there. Ty says Melly is crazy, and when Kenny presses him on it, Ty shows him the scratch marks around his neck, from where Melly tried to attack him.
It’s overnight time! The boys are gathered around the campfire, telling scary stories. Kenny made sure Vincent couldn’t sit next to him, and now the boy is pouting. Kenny goes for a little walk and runs into Melly, and he decides to ask her about attacking Ty. She says she bumped into him, and that Ty started yelling and grabbing her, so she scratched him to get away. She asks him to meet after lights out, and he heads back to the kids. He sees a snake sliding between them and like a super cool dude snatches it off the ground. He takes it to the rec hall to put in one of the animal cages there, which is actually very nice. Graydon runs around pretending to be a snake and yelling “Snap!” at everyone. He pushes Vincent, and Kenny tells Graydon not to do that, which isn’t satisfying enough revenge for Vincent. Instead Vincent pulls out the Doom Cards, which are like tarot cards except you die I think. He pulls out three skulls for Kenny and claims that it’s instant death.
Kenny puts the boys to bed before they get too wild and gets a phone call from Jade in the office. They have a nice conversation that reminds Kenny that he loves his girlfriend but is also still going to meet Melly later. When he does, Melly’s all over him, and he tells her the truth. He has a girlfriend. He can’t see her anymore. It’s not right. Melly takes it well, but does tell him that she can change his mind. She will change his mind.
The summer gets weirder. One of the boys puts the snake back in Kenny’s bed, and he’s pretty sure it’s Vincent, since the Doom Cards are also left in his bed. Melly comes at him and he reminds her that they’re just friends now, causing her to self harm until he runs away. He finds YOU’RE DEAD written on his Jeep and goes to confront Ty about it, but Ty denies it. He decides to ask Melly about it and finds her address, only to be told at the door that he needs to leave. Someone shoots Kenny with an arrow during archery practice, and he finds more skull cards. He goes back to Melly’s house to explain himself, and the woman tells him Melly was her daughter, and she died when she was eight years old at the Shadyside Day Camp. Kenny runs into Ty again, and Ty apologizes for freaking out on him. The two are almost friends.
It’s time for the big canoe trip. The boys watch the speedboats race through the river, but Ty reminds them they’re only for the adults. Kenny sends off Vincent with two other boys in the first canoe and gets in with two more in the second, leaving Graydon and Charlie on the shore. As they fly down the river, they hear a speedboat coming up behind them, and Kenny sees the person piloting it is wearing the red and white ski mask, so it must be Vincent. It comes close to the boat, its blades slicing through the water, and Kenny gets the other two boys to jump out. Their canoe is hit, but the boys make it to shore, leaving Kenny in the water. The speedboat comes back around for him, and Kenny manages to dodge out of the way before hauling himself onto the boat. He grabs the boy, but realizes he doesn’t see the scars that poke out from under the mask. He pulls it off, revealing it was Graydon all along!
Graydon admits to everything, from putting the snake in Kenny’s bed to shooting him with an arrow. Craig reminds Kenny that he had a disturbed boy in his group. Ha! Kenny. Assuming people’s mental state by their appearances. Never work with children again. Kenny goes to apologize to Vincent about assuming he tried to kill him, but instead he sees a body floating in Fear Lake: Melly’s body! He takes a boat out to get her, but as she reaches into the water, she grabs him. He exclaims that she’s alive, and she says, no. Not alive. She died when she was eight years old.
See, back in the day, Melly had a big ol’ crush on Kenny. And there was a mean counselor named Tyler who made her go canoeing even when she was sick. Her boat tilted. She drowned. But she came back, and she stole a girl’s body from the cemetery, one she knew he’d like. Melly pulls him down, trying to drown him as well. But he sees another speedboat on the water, and Ty pulls him out. Kenny thanks him, saying she was trying to drown him, and Ty is confused. There’s no one else there. He takes Kenny to the shore and goes to get help. Now Kenny sees Vincent running at him. Melly possessed the body of a little boy too! In the struggle, Kenny manages to pull the mask free and sees Vincent’s corpse like face. Melly had to be with him every moment of every day. He grabs onto the corpse and tosses it into the spinning blades of the speedboat. Melly asks him not to forget her, and he’s like no I definitely have trauma from this.
“No name calling. Call someone a name and you lose points.”
“Points for what?” Matthew asked.
Kenny had no idea. He’d just made it up.
Fear Street Trends
They spend most of their time in their camp uniforms, which are yellow shirts and khaki shorts. No one’s described as looking like a celebrity, and they don’t even see a movie, so what’s the point? Melly is described in the same ghostly terms as Anna from the New Girl, so there is that.
The Fear Street Seniors are kind of a huge disappointment so far. Something about the concept and the yearbook in the front of the book is exciting and fun to me, but it keeps falling short. It is more supernatural than a lot of Fear Street stories, so I’m appreciative of that. I think the kid plot line could’ve worked by itself, but added on top of the weird ghost, I don’t know. I’ll give it two maniac children out of five.