Fear Street Superchiller – Goodnight Kiss

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I said I’d be back June 4 but that was a lie. Summer is the craziest time of year for me, so I took my day off to relax with the Fear Street summer books I accidentally missed last year. Let’s get to some motherfucking vampires.

The Cover

I managed to find three images for this! The first is the original cover (borrowed from this Fear Street blog), which I go back and forth on. The bat looks goofy, and the sexy lady on the beach is both interesting and not. It’s just not very dynamic or interesting. Her skin is the same color as the sky, and the blood dots look glued on. The concept of vampires on the beach could be a fun one, and they gave a fairly generic cover.

The second is the edition I’m reading, the collector’s edition (borrowed from its Amazon page). It actually got donated to my library and I snagged it right up. The cover is actually holographic and really ridiculous looking, but I like how shiny it is. It’s more sinister than the original, but those goofy fangs have got to go.

The third I found completely by accident over on Paperback Swap and my goodness. My. Goodness. It looks like the Hungarian version of the book or something. A carousel is mentioned in the book and there’s a kind of creepy horse on it, but it does nothing and they do nothing with it. Still, I love this. It’s just so weird and goofy.

Tagline

Their first kiss could be her last…

I like it. It’s not particularly exciting, but it plays into the title, adds a sense of danger, without revealing more than it has to. A solid addition.

Summary

We meet Jessica as she walks around the shops in Sandy Hollow. She goes into one shop that has a sign “Bikinis Half Off”, which lets you know this is a PG-13 Superchiller. Jessica sets herself up as a townie, who’s recognized by people in the show, which adds a layer of confusion once we learn more about her. She chats with Lucy for a minute, who keeps telling her how beautiful she is. Jessica mentions she’s going on a blind date. The summer’s started, full of new people and exciting things, and she’s ready to go out.

She goes to meet her date, and we’re introduced to Gabri Martins, who’s tall, thin, and pale. He’s got very intense black eyes that effect every woman that talks to him. He shows up very late to the movie, and she’s a little annoyed but pleased at how handsome he is. They sit through a comedy for like half of it, and then he leans over and asks if she likes it, to which she responds no. They ditch. It’s kind of a power move from Gabri. They walk along the beach instead, and Jessica tells him she wants to run. She takes off, Gabri following behind her, and they tumble together in the dunes, rolling around, breathless, looking into each other’s eyes, and Gabri leans close to her, mouth opening to reveal long fangs that plunge into her neck.

Jessica immediately starts laughing and tells him she’s an “Eternal One” too. Their response to their respective blind dates being ruined is amazing. Jessica mutters that she bought a new dress and everything, and Gabri complains that she wasted his whole night. He groans about “the nectar” and needing it and how hungry he is. Gabri and Jessica have a good back and forth and I’m a little disappointed the book doesn’t end with them killing all the humans and getting together.

They both turn into bats, and Gabri attacks some girls on the beach. Apparently bats are common here, all coming off an island off the beach, implied to be where several Eternal Ones live. Jessica (still a bat) pushes Gabri off the girls, and they transform back on the beach, where Gabri yells, “What is your problem?” They argue some more, and then Gabri proposes a bet. He decides they need to figure out who’s more appealing and more attractive to humans, and they each find a boy or girl to seduce. The point isn’t to drain their blood, but to take “three small, measured sips” to turn the human into an Eternal One as well. Jessica agrees, but only if they pick out who the other has to seduce.

Smash cut to April, visiting for the summer with her family. She has to babysit her twin little sisters during the day, but at night she’s free to run around on her own. April’s coming from Shadyside, as is her boyfriend Matt, who her parents clearly dislike. She characterizes herself as a pushover, with her family trying not to argue, with her sisters pushing her around, and with her boyfriend, who’s pretty neglectful. She meets up with him and Todd on the beach. Matt does a classic Shadyside prank by grabbing her from behind, while Todd is quiet and doesn’t say much.

Matt is fairly immature, and they come across an arcade that he clearly wants to play at. April tells him she’d rather walk around the beach, and he gets a little pouty over it. He’s also very into horror movies. They wander around, see the carnival setting up, the Living Dead marathon at the movie theater, and a bonfire a bunch of townies they recognize have put on. They run into Ben, Matt’s actual love interest, who immediately invites him to the arcade and Matt nearly goes with him until he remembers April. Todd is clearly uncomfortable in the group, but they make space for him.

Jessica and Gabri have been watching the bonfire, and Jessica points to April. Gabri’s not happy that she has a boyfriend already, and complains that she’s making it harder. Then he points Todd out to her, which is maybe the dumbest mistake Gabri ever made. The nerdy awkward guy being propositioned by a beautiful eternal vampire? Jessica might as well waltz away with the prize right now.

And just like that, Todd is walking alone on the beach by himself. He recognizes how awkward he is and worries he’s a weird loner, and then a beautiful girl approaches him. She tells him she’s lost, batting her big eyelashes, and he just points and tells her where the summer houses are. She presses a little more, asking if he can show her, and he finally takes the hint. Todd gets lost in his own thoughts as they walk, wondering if he could even bring up the nerve to ask her out, and then she grabs him and kisses him. Question answered. She goes for the neck, and he sinks into darkness.

Meanwhile, April is hanging out by the arcade, waiting for Matt to show up. Getting bored and frustrated, she wanders off, hoping to find him, and runs into Gabri instead. He offers to walk with her until they find Matt, and for a while they walk and talk, April wondering if she’s attracted to him or just mad at her boyfriend. Gabri is getting hungrier and hungrier and decides to just nab the nectar while he can. He reaches for her as a bat flies in her hair, and she flips out, screaming and running. She runs directly off the beach into Matt’s arms. He asks her what’s wrong, and she tries to explain, but Gabri is already gone. He’s yelling at Jessica for stopping him, and she reminds him their bet isn’t that he can drain a girl. He has to make her desire him. He tells her he’s ready to play dirty.

The next day Matt calls Todd, wondering why he didn’t see him at night, and Todd’s dead tired and fast asleep. He tells him about the girl he met, and Matt’s proud of his boy for getting out there, and at night they go on a double date. Jessica’s strategy is clearly just to make out with Todd as much as possible, again a poor choice by Gabri. If some beautiful girl had come up to me in my awkward phase in high school (see: all of high school), I wouldn’t care if she was a vampire. Honestly it would have been a bonus. They go get pizza, because it’s a vampire book. Jessica refuses to eat, and then they run into Gabri, who flips out when April grabs the garlic. She shares the story of how they met and realizes Matt is jealous, which probably makes her feel pretty good. Jessica decides she wants to leave, and she and Todd go for a walk on the beach.

Jessica almost gets a second bite out of Todd, when Gabri as a bat scares a girl nearby. Again this shows Gabri as a poor tactician, as Jessica immediately starts playing up her fear and gets Todd to take care of her. Really, Gabri, this is your fault for making a bad bet. You’re just denying yourself now.

April is ready to meet Matt for another date, but he’s too busy playing video games with Ben and they’re going to see a triple feature of Friday the 13th. April calls the movie sexist and storms off, which is amazing. Immediately she runs into Gabri. He asks if she’s with Matt, and when she gets annoyed, he invites her to the carnival. April is clearly looking to make Matt jealous and goes along with it. They walk around, pointing at the various rides and the carousel, until April drags him through the house of mirrors. What you gonna do, Gabri. He solves this problem by falling very far behind. April gets lost, which I don’t think mirror mazes at pop up carnivals are actually meant to be like dangerous or easily lost in, if nothing else because they have to keep a good flow going, but April manages to hurt herself getting around. April does catch a glimpse of him and wonders why she can’t see his reflection. He uses the maze to get behind her and creep forward. He reaches for her, ready to drink, and hits glass instead. They meet again, and she does the disassociating thing the vampires force them to do, wondering aloud about his reflection, though he comments that it’s too dark. He starts to lean towards her, when they’re interrupted by a child crying. Gabri quickly absconds.

Gabri’s a little distracted as they keep walking, since he knows Jessica is way ahead of him and will soon win. April tries to talk and flirt with him, but he’s nonresponsive until they get to the Ferris wheel. As soon as they’re high enough, he takes a bite.

There’s a few scenes of Matt being told by others that April was out with a boy, and Todd sleeping through the day, and an interesting scene with Jessica where she notes that after becoming a vampire she doesn’t have any memories, something Gabri also mentions in another scene. The vampire lore is actually really interested and shared in small bits and I want to know more. Jessica goes to meet Todd, kissing him, when she sees a bat flying towards them and assumes it’s Gabri about to fuck up her whole night. She gets overexcited and drains Todd too much, and he falls over dead.

Matt takes his morning jog and finds Todd’s body in the ocean. Jessica goes to see Gabri in his home on the island, which is said to be claimed by him by spreading burial dirt, and he rests his coffin in a house. He tries to get her to concede, and she tells him the bet isn’t over yet, because she’s going to try it on Matt next.

Matt struggles a bit after finding Todd’s body. He dreams about him, and a cloud of bats descending on his best friend, which makes him think vampires are the reason he’s dead. I mean, he’s not wrong, but it’s a weird conclusion to make from a dream. He immediately runs to April and tells her this, and April gets angry, telling him that stuff isn’t real and treating their friend’s death like a horror movie is sick. He leaves, dejected. He held onto Todd’s lighter and is playing with it when he runs into Ben, who he also tells his theory and who immediately makes fun of him. Storming off, he runs into Jessica, who starts working her mojo. She pretends to be distraught, though she also pretty much immediately kisses him. Todd’s been dead like four days.

There’s a scene where Gabri wakes and composes himself, his face revealed to be ancient upon waking and he uses vampire powers to make it young. Also super interesting. Jessica comes, mocks him, and Gabri runs off to finish off April. In a weird scene, he hangs out with her family and even gets along with the twins. April shows him the cross necklace her dad bought her as an early birthday present asks that he clasp it on for her. He pretends to and lets it drop.

Matt is dead tired from being with Jessica and collapses in his bed, when he gets a strange visit from his bloated corpse of a friend Todd. Todd warns him about the vampires, and when Matt wakes again, he isn’t sure if it was a dream or not except for a foul stench left behind. He tries to warn April, but she isn’t responding to him. To convince her, he takes his dad’s camera and follows her to the carnival, where she is with Gabri. He realizes he’s supposed to meet Jessica but decides against it on account that she’s a vampire. Of course, after stalking his ex-girlfriend all night, it’s too late to get the film developed, and when he goes the next day the machine is down and he has to wait until seven to pick it up. Luckily when he does, the film shows exactly what he expected: April alone in all the shots, talking to an invisible partner. He runs to find April and runs into Jessica instead. She pulls him in, and for a minute it looks like she’ll win, until he sees April in a rowboat with Gabri heading towards the island.

He follows in another rowboat, getting to the island and searching for her in Gabri’s house. He finds her in a chair, slumped over, seemingly out of it, and Gabri appears behind him. He lunges, and Matt takes his only weapon–an oar from the boat–and manages to accidentally stab him with it. It’s like in Buffy when sometimes a vampire trips and falls on a fence post and dies. Of course, it being an R.L. Stine book, the end is much more gruesome.

And as Matt stared in horror, Gabri’s body collapsed to the floor, folding like an accordion. His eyes stared lifelessly up at Matt, and Gabri’s face began to crumble, the skin drying and peeling, flaking to powder until the entire skull was revealed.

And then the skull too disintegrated.

He manages to wake April, and then Jessica arrives. She lunges at him, bites down, and he’s prepared to die until April lifts herself off the chair and fights Jessica back. Jessica manages to pin April, and then Matt pulls out Todd’s lighter, using it to catch Jessica’s hair. Her death is equally as gross.

Matt and April stared in horrified disbelief as the flames raged over Jessica’s head, as she slowly melted, her skin sagging, dripping, wet chunks dropping off under the heat of the flames.

Jessica’s outraged expression disappeared as her face caved in. Her skull was aflame, melting as her face had, and the fire spread to her shoulders, cracking loudly.

The fire spreads, of course. They manage to escape off the island, leaving the horror behind them. Story’s not over yet though! A few days later, Matt meets April, and they discuss what happens. He finds her silver cross on the ground and starts to return it to her, but she tells him no, revealing herself to now be an Eternal One. Her fangs extend, and she bites into Matt. Smash cut to credits.

Favorite Line

“But I need the nectar!” he cried, turning to her. “Without the nectar, I’ll perish.”

“Where’d you get that line? Out of an old horror movie?” Jessica joked, shaking her head.

Fear Street Trends

Usually summer Fear Street books are full of bikinis and swimsuits, but luckily these kids remember their fashions. Lots of cut offs and shorts on the boys. It’s general beach wear, so breezy shirts and neon colors. In the first scene, Jessica picks up a glow in the dark swimsuit and immediately rejects it.

Rating

I’m going to be frank here: I love vampires. I love vampires so much I think half the stories on my writing blog are about vampires. And this was a pretty solid vampire book. Honestly Stine stepped up his game here. There’s several descriptions and paragraphs that were genuinely well written, and the opening scene set up to reveal is fairly well done. I loved Jessica the snarky vampire and there’s some lore written into it too. Sometimes these books are a slog to get through, but this one I liked. I’m giving it five melted vampires out of five.

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Fear Street Superchiller -Broken Hearts

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The Cover

broken-hearts

The cover (pulled from its Goodreads) is really good. I like the high school setting of the pictures taped up in a locker with the blood valentine. The girl leaning away from it looks good too, though I wish she had a hand over her mouth or something. The only real issue I have is the placement of the tagline, which is kind of forced into the only blank space it can find.

Tagline

Valentine’s Day can be a killer.

 I don’t love it or hate it. It functions, which is more than can be said for a number of the Fear Street taglines. I do appreciate the double meaning to it.

Summary

Erica McClain is in the backseat of Melissa Davis’ blue Firebird with her two sisters, twins Josie and Rachel McClain. They’re on their way to go horseback riding, and Erica’s excited to be invited along. She’ll enter high school after the summer, while her older sisters and Melissa are already part of the scene. The girls set up their romantic relationships so you’ll be surprised when they change after the timeskip. Josie’s dating a guy named Jenkman, though she mentions being bored of him already. Josie’s established going through boys like tissue paper. Rachels’ with her boyfriend Luke, who she’s been dating since they were freshman, and Melissa goes out with Dave, one of the boys Josie dated and dropped.

They arrive and get on their horses, but Erica gets too nervous. She tells them she has an upset stomach, and the girls tease her. Rachel rides out without a helmet on, which is not foreshadowing or anything. They ride out, chatting about school and boys and each other, when Rachel loses control of her horse. It runs forward, until a dog runs in their path, spooking the horse, and Rachel is thrown. Josie screams that she landed on her head, and then it’s smash cut to February.

Melissa wakes up from a nightmare where she’s the one falling from a horse. Her mom wakes her and they talk about the accident. Melissa mentions she doesn’t talk to Josie anymore, but she tries to see Rachel, who is left addled by the accident. Melissa admits Josie blames her for the accident, though she doesn’t specify why.

Josie is in the middle of a snowball fight with her boyfriend Steve. They walk into her house, where they’re greeted by Muggy, Josie’s dog. Josie’s surprised that she still likes Steve after going out with him for five months, and as they makeout in the front hall, she sees a valentine for her. When she opens it, she finds a death threat instead. Steve thinks it’s just a joke, but it freaks her out. She assumes her ex Jenkman did it, since he’s never gotten over her. They start kissing again, and in true Shadyside fashion, a pair of hands reach out and start choking Josie. It’s Rachel, playing a joke, but at least she has brain damage to excuse her behavior. Erica’s not far behind, nor is Luke, who’s been loyal to Rachel even after she’s lost some brain function. Erica asks Josie to look after their sister while she studies, and Josie blows her off, causing Erica to get really mad. Steve tries to help out, but Josie tells him to shut it, and Luke gets into it as well. Josie storms out.

Erica and Luke are super pissed that she’s not pulling her weight with Rachel, who can’t be left alone and they can’t afford care during the day. Luke starts growling about how he can’t believe Josie would abandon her own sister, especially because he blames her for the accident, since she fastened Rachel’s saddle, which is pretty meaningless when a horse is bucking. Erica thinks that Luke might’ve sent the valentine.

Erica finds Josie after school and tells her it’s her turn to take care of Rachel, since she has play tryouts after school. Josie brushes her off and Jenkman, who chases after her to say hi. He gets mad when she ignores him and curses at her. Erica shouts at Josie that it’s her fault Rachel is this way and immediately regrets it. Josie doesn’t respond, because she’s hit in the back of the head by a snowball. She sees Melissa and Dave and shouts at them, then storms off, leaving Erica with Rachel.

Melissa tells Dave to stop being a jerk, and he says he hates Josie. Melissa says Luke told her Josie doesn’t take care of Rachel anymore, and Dave calls her out for dumping people, including Melissa and her own sister. They watch Jenkman break some windows and discuss all the people that hate Josie.

Josie comes home, her mom gone, her dad out of town, her sisters upstairs. Luke’s waiting for her and calls her out for refusing to take care of her own sister. She gets mad at him for the lecture, shouts at him for acting like her dad, and tells him he’s not even part of this family. He lunges at her with a letter opener and slams it into the table instead. He kind of acts momentarily like he has no control, screaming no and whispering, “Almost.” For half a page I was wondering if this was going to turn into a weird Jekyll and Hyde thing, but the second a character is presented as an obvious murderer, I stop suspecting them, especially this early in the book. Erica calls them on the intercom and asks Josie to come up, and she tells her maybe later. She then finds another threatening valentine.

Josie’s woken up in the middle of the night by Rachel on the intercom, and she goes to check on her. Rachel is fast asleep. It happens a few more times, and then she thinks she hears breathing on the intercom and can’t sleep. Erica’s taking care of Rachel the next day, and Rachel wonders if Josie doesn’t like her anymore, then shouts that she hates Josie. The phone rings, and Erica picks it up. Jenkman on the other end asks if Josie got his valentines, to Erica’s shock.

Melissa and Dave go in for a math exam. Dave’s really worried about it, since he’s doing bad in math, and he’ll be kicked off the wrestling team if he doesn’t pass his classes. Melissa tries to reassure him while Josie brushes past to her seat. During the test, Josie gets up and whispers to the teacher that Dave is cheating off her test. Melissa overhears and realizes how much trouble Dave’ll be in, which comes to pass at the end of clas. He comes out of the room swearing because now he’s got a zero on the test, which is half his grade. He physically grabs Josie and shouts at her, who shouts back that he was leaning all over her to cheat. He slams a locker and storms off.

Josie meets up with Steve, too tired because Rachel calls her all night, unable to go home because Erica and Luke will be waiting for her, scared because of these threats. She admits to Steve that she can’t look at Rachel because she feels so guilty, and Rachel will always be like a child now, who needs the help of her family, and she feels as helpless as her sister. She’s mad because Erica makes it worse, always trying to guilt her. She loves her twin sister, but she can’t stand to see what happened to her. She shows him another valentine, and Steve wonders aloud if Jenkman is the one sending them. For a moment, she think she sees someone watching them from the food stand, and she asks if they can leave.

Josie’s dropped off at home, and as she walks in, she sees a dark red puddle on the ground. At first she tells herself  it’s cranberry juice, but as she sees the shape on the floor, she recognizes Muggy, stabbed to death with a letter opener. Erica comes down when she hears her scream, as does their mom, who calls the police. Rachel sees the dog and starts smiling and laughing. Melissa sees this from across the street after letting in Dave, who’s still complaining about Josie. They see the police pull up, and two officers walk in.

Josie tells Erica she knows who did it. She blames Jenkman. Erica lets her know Jenkman explained that Jenkman’s been sending her romantic valentines because he’s never gotten over her. Erica thinks it might be Luke who’s doing this, but Josie calls him a wimp, despite the fact that he nearly stabbed her the other day. They go put Rachel to bed, and Rachel sings that, “Somebody hates you, Josie.”

There’s some more red herrings, but Valentines Day arrives. Steve takes Josie to the ice skating rink. Rachel’s still singing that somebody hates Josie, and Josie blows her and Erica off, but not before seeing Luke sitting alone in his car in front of Melissa’s house. They leave, Josie clearly in a bad mood. We then cut to Erica waking up at 2am to find that Josie isn’t home yet. She calls Steve, who tells her he left Jose hours ago, after they had a big fight, and she left with a bunch of friends. She’s interrupted by a knock at the door and opens it to find the two policemen. They get her mom, and they let them both know that Josie’s been murdered. Rachel seems pleased about this.

The next day, Melissa gets a call from Dave, asking her to meet him. They go to the Corner, and he confesses that he’s the one who sent Josie those valentines. He was angry at Josie for ruining his life, and Melissa is appropriately horrified by this. She asks the obvious question: Did you kill Josie? Dave insists he didn’t, but his writing is all over those valentines cards that the police are definitely going to find. She asks him where he was last night, and he says he was cruising around after ten, to which Melissa replies he has no alibi. They try to figure out if she kept them, and Melissa says Erica hasn’t talked to the police, that she’s in a state of shock. Dave says they’ll be at the funeral tomorrow, and he’ll have to break in and take the valentines, which would definitely not be a super suspicious move. I don’t know why Melissa doesn’t offer to go and try to find them under the guise of reconnecting with her grieving friends, but then the rest of the book wouldn’t happen.

Dave breaks in, and it goes about as well as expected. He thinks he hears breathing in the intercom system, and when he goes downstairs, he sees blood everywhere, right as the police bust in. Erica’s been stabbed, and he’s caught holding the weapon.

Smash cut to a year later. Melissa and Luke are now dating, and she tells him she got a letter from Dave. It turns out Erica didn’t press charges, since she never saw who stabbed her, but he got shipped off to some boarding school because the whole school suspected him of murder. Luke invites her to the skating party on Valentines Day as Melissa picks up a valentine meant for her, one with the same writing and mean stanza as the valentines that threatened Josie.

Erica’s brushing Rachel’s hair, and Rachel flips out because Luke won’t becoming this year. She screams that she hates Melissa, and Erica tries to calm her down. The phone rings, and it’s Steve. Steve calls to ask Erica if she wants to go to the skating party with him as, you know, like a date, which is a super weird thing Steve you were dating her sister who also died tragically so like. Don’t. Erica tells him she can’t. She has to take care of Rachel. She returns to Rachel, feeling crummy, only to find Rachel’s run out of the house. She finds her, but she’s disturbed to learn Rachel’s been leaving on her own lately.

Melissa gets more cards and is still freaking out. She and Luke compare the handwriting to Dave’s, but in the middle of it, she gets a phone call from Dave’s mom saying he broke out of his boarding school and might be coming here. He’s coming for Melissa.

Melissa goes to sleep and hears someone at her window. A shadowy figure breaks in, and it’s Dave, here to clear his name. He’s pretty cavalier about it. He’s making jokes and treating it not very seriously when one of their friends died. He claims to know who the real killer is, and she shows him the valentines that she’s been receiving. He looks at them, sees that they match his handwriting, and he says he knows who the killer is without telling Melissa, and hops back out the window.

Some other stuff happens. Rachel keeps saying she can go outside by herself. Melissa thinks she sees Rachel outside her window. Dave is killed in Melissa’s driveway, and Rachel’s questioned by the police. Melissa finds red paint in her locker spelling out YOU’RE DEAD. Melissa and Luke go to the ice skating party and skate together. Luke drags her out onto some thin ice, and she has a panic attack, thinking he might be trying to murder her. They fight, and she tells him to skate away. A hooded figure with red hair skates towards her, and at first she thinks it’s Rachel. A knife is plunged into her side, she grabs at the figure, pulling off the red wig, and it’s not Rachel, it’s Erica!

Of course Erica is mad Josie never took responsibility for Rachel, ruining Erica’s life in the process, and she took the opportunity Dave’s valentines provided to kill Josie. She copied Dave’s handwriting and bla bla bla. They both go into the thin ice and are dragged into the water. Luke manages to pull Melissa out. Erica is trapped beneath the ice, and the whole party watches her drown.

Melissa goes to visit Rachel, and she and Luke promise to never celebrate Valentines Day ever again. It’s a happy ending after all.

Favorite Line

Why do people want to kill people on Valentine’s Day?

Fear Street Trends

David Metcalfe and Corey Brooks make appearances as Steve’s friends on the wrestling team. Despite being a book about dating, not too many outfits are described, and no music is listed at the party. A shame. I wanted to know which hip dance crazes these kids were doing, though, to be fair, at the last ice skating party I read in these books, the kids just listened to Christmas music.

Rating

I’ll admit, this book wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was pretty easy to guess who the killer before we even hit the halfway point, but there were lots of things I liked. Rachel was probably the best red herring in the book, and Josie being unable to deal with her guilt and grief comes off as fairly genuine. It’s not my favorite, but I’m still willing to give it three red wigs out of five.

Fear Street Superchiller – The New Evil

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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

the-new-evil

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.

Tagline

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.

Summary

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.”

Or

But Corky had never seen a cheerleader as graceful and athletic as Lena.

Or

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.)

Favorite Line

“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.

Rating

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.

Fear Street Superchiller – Silent Night 3

0

The Cover

silent-night-3

The cover (pulled from the UC Forums) is certainly better than the second books, though Reva’s lost all of her glamor from the first cover. The bleeding mannequin amid the mass of mannequins is subtle, and I’d like it a little more obvious, but I see what they’re going for. The mannequins definitely add a creepiness the last cover was lacking.

Tagline

‘Tis the season… to die.

Like the rest of the them, not great. I think they could’ve pulled from more Christmas classics, but of all of them, I’m least annoyed by this one.

Summary

We follow Reva as she returns home from her first semester at college, her roommate Grace in tow. She gets home to find her brother Michael obsessed with being “the Evil Avenger” and doing karate moves. Reva says her father’s concerned he’s obsessed with these violent fantasies since her kidnapping, and is constantly threatening to chop people’s heads off. Reva introduces Grace to her family and gets her set up in her room, until Grace runs in shouting that Rory is after her. Rory was Grace’s boyfriend before she went to college, who was completely jealous and beat her at one point, forcing her parents to call the police on him. Grace is so sure Rory has followed her to Reva’s place, and when the phone rings, she screams not to pick it up.

On the other end of the phone line is Pam, waiting for Reva to answer. She and her friend Willow have a business deal for Reva and her father, and Pam knows it’s going to be a pain. Reva’s dismissive of their handmade crafts, but she tells them to come over for ten minutes so she can look at them. But when Pam and Willow get there, Reva has conveniently stepped out, and they’re turned away at the door. Willow threatens to pay her back, and Pam, who had a boyfriend nearly jailed for his “pranks” against her and then was held hostage because of her, is understandably nervous.

Reva is nervous in the department store because of her kidnapping, and she gets scared by the mannequins easily. Suddenly they start going after her, and she’s running, only to be wakened by her little brother, who tells her Grace is scared and woke him up. He worries someone’s in the house, and Reva tells him to go to bed and he’ll check on her. She finds Grace in her room, on the phone with Rory, begging him to leave her alone. Reva takes her downstairs and shows her the security measures her dad put in place since her kidnapping. As they’re drinking tea, a knock comes to the door, and Grace flips out. Reva takes it in stride, and there’s a security guard on the other side, saying he was making sure everything was alright. A man came up to the house claiming to know Reva, and Grace gets scared again. It turns out it’s Daniel Powell, who Reva dated in college. He says he hopped in his car to come see her and just got in, in the middle of the night, without warning. She tells the security guard she has no idea who he is, which is a fair thing to say when a boy stalks you to your house. There’s one more knock at the door, and now it’s getting absurd. The security guard is back to apologize. Reva tells him off.

The next day Reva takes Grace to play tennis, but Grace is distracted, certain Rory was watching her the whole time. They come back to the house, and Grace sees a car she doesn’t recognize, causing her to flip out again. It’s only Pam and Willow, who are waiting for Reva. She’s fake nice to them, though she’s a lot nicer to Pam than she ever has been before, and then the girls pull out their handmade scarves, which are gorgeous. There’se a nice moment where Reva feels real jealousy that she couldn’t create this, and immediately puts down Pam for it. Reva loves them, grabs a bunch to show her dad, and then comes down to tell them they can put them in Dalby’s under the name Reva Wear. Reva told him it was her idea and her designs, claiming it’d be the only way he’d get excited about it. Pam and Willow are clearly angry about it, but Pam tells Willow to play along until they get a contract set up, since the second they anger Reva, the second they’re dropped. Reva also gets to put on a big fashion show for them.

Reva’s clearly fantasizing about being the hit of the fahsion world in her mall scarf fashion show, which really does illustrate how small pond she is. Her dad helps her set up the models for the show, but they’re under contract to use Traci Meecham, who Reva hates. She runs into Daniel while setting things up, who now works at Dalby’s, which is a weird turn of events, considering he came here to surprise Reva and is now forcibly intruding on her workplace. I think Daniel might be from Shadyside, the name is familiar, but it’s still a weird thing to do.

Reva finds Grace, who asks to be a model, but Reva puts her down and makes her an assistant. Grace is clearly dejected, but Reva’s pleased, hoping she’ll get mad enough to go home. She gathers up the models: Liza, who has dark hair, and Ellie, who has short red hair and is commented many times to look a lot like Reva, and Traci, who is blond. There’s a weird hair science going on in Reva’s head all the time. Traci and Liza also hate each other, so this is a great show for Traci. Reva sets them up, goes through the show with them, and is interrupted by a handsome boy named Grant, who is Liza’s boyfriend. They’re interrupted further when Grace comes running in, eye bruised, face bloodied, claiming Rory cornered her and punched her.

Reva tries to convince Grace to go to the police, but Grace is sure Rory is done “bothering her” as she puts it. Reva rightly says he’s a psycho, but when Grace doesn’t respond, she drops it and focuses on her fashion show. And Grant. We cut to her making out with him, much like she and Victor in the last book. She clearly makes a career out of this. Grant mentions Liza stole him away from Traci, and the two have hated each other since. He also clearly makes a career out of this. We cut again to the next morning, where she walks into work and sees a mannequin out of place. When she checks on it, she realizes it’s Traci, strangled and strung up.

The police are holding everyone to question, and Reva just wants to go home. She’s mildly suspicious of Liza when they’re asked if Traci had any enemies, but she decides against sharing. Reva is finally released, but as she gets home she realizes Pam and Willow are waiting for her, so she tries to sneak by them. Michael jumps up and stabs her with a retractable knife, which is pretty terrifying when you realize Reva’s almost died two Christmases in a row. Both of these kids need therapy.

Pam and Willow are still waiting downstairs when finally Reva comes around. Reva plays the victim, claiming it’s been too long a day to sign any contracts, and daddy might cancel the show anyway, except the second Mr. Dalby comes in, she begs him not to. Pam and Willow try to rush him with the contract, but he’s distracted by a business call and leaves. Willow’s incredibly steamed they’re getting no credit for their scarves and threatens to get revenge one more time.

Grace is on the phone with Rory, telling him to stop, and this is where I get suspicious that he’s not real or Grace is Rory or something because Stine would absolutely write the other half of that phone conversation otherwise, but here we only get her words. Reva comes in, and she hides the phone call from her, claiming it’s her mom. Reva tells her she’s off to a date, clearly disinterested in her drama.

Reva’s off with Grant, and he tells her he’s conflicted about Liza. She gets annoyed at his human emotions and tells him if he wants to break it off he can. Of course he doesn’t want to, and he promises to forget about Liza, though not dump her, which I guess is fine since Reva doesn’t really want that. He drops her off at home, and the phone rings as she comes in. Reva answers it, and the person on the other end tells her she deserved what Traci got. In my favorite scene in any Fear Street novel, Reva writes down the number on her caller ID, immediately calls the police, and tells them she got a threatening phone call from someone who may have murdered Traci. It takes about twenty minutes for the police to track and arrest the person who made the call, and when she gets to the station to identify him, it’s Daniel.

Daniel’s real scared to be accused of murder, and Reva keeps asking him why he did it. He said he didn’t, that he was just angry at Reva and called to scare her a little, as a joke. The detective says he’s been arrested for assault before, but he has a rock solid alibi, so they have to release him. The detective offers to charge him with the threatening phone call, but Reva says to drop it, and she goes to her car. Daniel’s outside, and he apologizes to her, though when she doesn’t take it, he flips out and tells her she’ll get what’s coming to her. She considers going back inside and saying he threatened her again, but she’s tired and she wants to go home. Suddenly Grace appears, who tells her Rory came to the house, and she was so scared she ran. She thinks she sees him now, and she and Reva panic, climbing into her car, and driving away. Reva realizes she made a mistake, and they should go back to the police, but Grace says no.

They get home again, and Reva’s dad pulls her aside. He says Pam and Willow came to him and admitted that the designs were theirs, and he signed their contract. He tells Reva off for taking the credit and avoiding doing a proper deal with them, and Reva gets all teary-eyed, telling him she meant to do it but was distracted by all the murder. The phone rings, and Reva goes to answer it, but instead of someone threatening her, it’s Grant, calling to say they should break things off. She manipulates him into changing his mind again, and he says they’re still on for their date the next day.

Reva comes into work to set up for the show. Pam and Willow are there, and she snaps at them for going behind her back. Reva goes in to finish setting up for the show and announces it start. She says the first model is Liza, and when no one comes out, she notices another out of place mannequin, and starts screaming as she realizes Liza has been killed and propped up like before. There’s panic as everyone else starts noticing the body, and honestly mannequins and dead bodies don’t look a whole lot alike except for some base characteristics, especially ones that’s strangled and slumped over. Reva runs and sees Pam and Willow without any emotion on their faces.

As the police clear everything up, Reva runs into  Grant, and she tries to get him to comfort her, but he tells her he’s too guilty over Liza’s death, that he feels like he should’ve been with her. She calls him a wimp and storms out. She gets home and hears Grace on the line, begging Rory to stop calling her, but when Reva picks up the phone, the other voice on the end isn’t Rory at all. In a pretty genuinely creepy moment, Reva hears the automated information service come over with the time and temperature, repeated over and over as Grace sobs for Rory to stop. Reva now has a major clue that something is wrong, and she pulls up the number of Grace’s house, waiting for Grace to get off the phone to call her mother.

Grace’s mother answers, and Reva lets her know that Grace has been talking to Rory. Her mom flips out, tells her that her daughter is dangerous, that she should call the police, and that she’ll call her therapist. It’s not a very motherly suggestion, but it may be the correct one. She says Rory was her boyfriend two years ago, and he died in an accident that was Grace’s fault. It’s left her troubled and delusional, and when Reva hangs up the phone, Grace is behind her. Grace tells her Rory is here, and they have to hide. Reva tries to calm her down, and when it doesn’t work, she snaps and says Rory is dead. Grace tears the phone off the wall and chucks it, and then tells her Rory is going to kill her like he did Traci and Liza. Grace grabs a scarf and starts strangling Reva, but luckily Reva’s brother comes in and karate chops her away. Reva lunges at Grace, tossing her into the desk, where her head hits, and she falls to the floor. She sends Michael to go get the security guard.

Grace tells Reva she was trying to get back at her, to let her know she didn’t deserve everything she had, not when she was so cruel. She tried to take away her show, and then she’d take away her life. I do love, in this moment, Reva is like ‘what is she talking about I’m great’ and absolutely does not learn a lesson from it. The security guard arrives, and Grace is taken away, where she’ll hopefully be cared for. Reva’s dad arrives, and she begs him to let her continue the fashion show after two people have died. He agrees, and they get ready to put it on that night.

Pam and Willow come in to finish up for the show, and Pam goes to check in with Reva. She comes in as she sees a man choking Reva to death, letting her fall to the floor, where she dies. Pam starts shouting and screaming, and he lunges at her, but not before looking one last time at his victim and realizing it’s not Reva after all, but Ellie, whose hair is a perfect match for Reva’s. Reva comes in and realizes it’s Grant, and he shouts at her for making him sneak around behind Liza’s back, making selfish demands and refusing to let go. He planned to kill Reva and let them blame it on the same person who killed the others, and Reva informs him that person is already in custody. He tries to grab both of them, but Pam trips him up, and Reva puts her heels on him. Ellie wakes up, so she’s not really dead after all! Police come in, and it’s a happy ending for all the people who matter.

We get a final scene with Pam, Willow, and Reva at Christmas. They finish unwrapping their gifts, and Reva even feels happy for her cousin’s success. Pam gives her a scarf as a Christmas gift, and no one ever tries to kill Reva again.

Favorite Line

Good! Her feelings are hurt, thought Reva.

Fear Street Trends

A few more this time around. Willow is a punk kid, described with a nose ring, short hair, and a lightning bolt tattoo (I think it’s possible in timeline to assume it’s a Harry Potter bolt). The handmade scarves seem like the exact thing middle aged women would love: gold and silver with hand stitched reindeer. Apparently Shadyside is large enough to have its own modeling agency, which doesn’t match with my perception of it, but what do I know. Grant is described as exceedingly handsome, with dark curly hair and gold-brown eyes. Reva clearly goes for the tall dark and handsome crowd. At the fashion show, Christmas music with a rock beat is described. I can only imagine what that sounds like.

My favorite thing to come out of the Reva Dalby trilogy is I searched Daniel Powell, since the name sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t remember which book I’d heard it in, and I found this on the Fanon Wiki, a fake entry for John Carpenter’s Silent Night 3. The fancast is top notch, with stars like Lea Michelle, Hilary Duff, and Stanley Tucci. This is a movie I’d absolutely watch.

Rating

Of all the Reva Dalby joints, this is the one I like the most, but coming after a series of her books, it’s a little fatiguing. The twist is definitely better than the plots of the other books, and I felt a little more connected to each of the plot lines than the last book. I still only want to give two strangled models out of five.

Fear Street Superchiller – Silent Night 2

1

The Cover

fear-street-silent-night-2

The cover (pulled from First Echo) isn’t quite as good as the first one. Reva’s far less fashionable in this one, losing some credence to her big money chic looks lifestyle. The santa is creepy, and I like playing with the Christmas imagery, but Reva herself is killing i for me. Her fingers also look way too weird on the left hand. Someone needs to fix that.

Tagline

Jingle Bells… Santa kills!

Bad, bad, bad. It doesn’t rhyme, it doesn’t make any sense, it kind of plays into the cover, but it’s real bad.

Summary

We open not with Reva or her cousin Pam, but with two people down on their luck. Paul is a high school dropout fired from his job at the Dalby department store, whose girlfriend Diana hangs out at his apartment and calls him Pres, because he has Elvis Presley’s ‘sneer’, which I think Stine meant to say grin because he switches to that later on. They don’t have any money, but Diane reads the paper and watches movies, and she tells him about a couple that made off with six million dollars in the worst sounding armored car heist in the world. Pres is willing to be a stockroom employee but not a delivery boy because of his weird standards, and they talk about robbing Dalby’s house. He tells her about the antiques he has in there, but then he gets a better idea. They may not know anything about antiques, but they do know Dalby’s most precious possession is his daughter. They decide to kidnap her.

Meanwhile, Reva is reliving the past year’s events at her job. She’s woken out of her flashback by a man asking for help choosing a perfume for his wife, and she slips back into mean old Reva. She’s very rude to him, gets chewed out by her manager, shouts mean things at the costumers, pours some water on a boy who’s hitting on her, and says she’d be a lot nicer if she was on a beach somewhere instead of stuck in Shadyside. She runs into her cousin Pam who’s seeing some boy named Victor Dias. (I include his last name because I think this is the second explicitly brown character in any of these books.) No mention is made of Robbie/Foxy, who I guess after sending her cousin a vial of blood was probably dumped, or of Clay and Mickey, who I guess are probably in jail now. The other girls don’t even think about them at all, not when Victor is around.

Pam tells her cousin the thing between her and Victor feels so real. Reva is dismissive and shows off her nails, and Pam stabs a letter opener into her chest, only to reveal it’s fake, because again this is what passes for a prank in Shadyside. Pam tells her it’s the bestseller in the stationary department. Of course it is. Reva goes to see her father, who tells her as a reward for sticking it out through Christmas, he’ll take her somewhere warm in February. She leaves, he stops her, letting her know the employee elevators are broken. She drives home and notices a car following her and tells herself not to be paranoid.

Pres tells Diane that he did in fact follow Reva all the way home. He tells her he’s been watching them, and that Dalby leaves the house at seven in the morning, and Reva leaves at nine. There’s no one else in the house at that time. There’s a guard dog that should be locked up by morning. Diane insists they kidnap her the next day, even though they’ve only seemed to be planning this for about a week, but I guess Christmas is coming fast.

Smash cut to Victor in his car, making out with a girl, and it’s revealed to be Reva. He expresses doubt about cheating on Pam well after the fact, and Reva insists that he’s too good looking for a loser like Pam. These scenes are really unimportant except I guess to prove Reva is still a bitch. I was sort of waiting for Victor to do something, like be part of the plan or secretly be scouting for the kidnappers, but he’s just there to drive tension between Reva and Pam.

We cut back to Diane and Pres sitting outside Reva’s house, waiting for her dad to leave. Diane keeps saying this feels just like the movies. After Dalby’s out of the house, Pres goes around the back, but the guard dog is back. He tries to feed it bacon, and it bites him like a champ, and so he choloroforms it instead. He takes out his pistol but decides not to shoot the dog, since it would be too noisy. He goes upstairs, and Diane is sitting in the car. She starts to hear sirens and panics. If the police catch up, she’ll leave Pres behind, but she’s waiting as long as she has to. Meanwhile, Pres manages to find Reva’s room, but when he pulls of the sheets, he finds the bed empty. He hears the sirens too, panics, and runs back to the car, telling Diane to gun it. It stalls to add some tension, but then she gets it going.

There’s a nothing scene between Reva and Pam, and then we cut back to Diane and Pres deciding to kidnap Reva right as she got back from work the same day, which is the most boneheaded thing these dummies could think up. As soon as they drive up, they see cops all over the place, and they’re stopped by the police. It’s okay, though, because they’re just letting them know they have a headlight out. They go to a restaurant and sit down, trying to work out a new plan. Pres suggests kidnapping her from the department store, a terrible plan, but they realize they need three people for it, one to distract, one to grab her, and one to drive the car. Kidnapping a teenage girl from a crowded department store is a breeze! Diane suggests his brother Danny, and Pres is nervous, since he pops off all the time, but they decide to do it the next day.

Of course Reva comes in late, and I enjoy her systematically destroying each of their plans on her own whims. She sees who we know as Pres and Diane walk in. Diane drops to the floor and starts screaming about her contact, and it’s clear they’re expecting Reva to come over and help, but they don’t know Reva. Pres grabs her, dragging her out, but then Ms. Smith arrives. Diane and Pres scamper off.

They meet up with Danny, who demands they kill her, but they tell him that sort of goes against the ‘getting money’ portion of their plan. They start talking new plans, and Pres suggests maybe hiding out in the stockroom and just grabbing her in the morning. The Dalby standards for security guards sure hasn’t changed in the past year. Danny insists they split the million dollar ransom three ways, and then says if Reva screws them one more time, he’ll kill her.

Reva gets a phone call from Pam saying Victor broke her date, Reva sort of lets it slip that she’s been seeing Victor, Pam flips out, bla bla bla. We find out Pres got arrested, and Diane and Danny have to pull off the plan on their own, ensuring this is going to go spectacularly wrong. They’re at Dalby’s the next morning. As Danny goes in, Diane gets talked to by a cop, who tells her she has to move, and she begs him to let her stay, even though he’d probably be there too and see them dragging Reva out. He’s distracted, she stays, and Danny comes out dragging a girl with him. They take her back to their apartment and gag her, but when they call Dalby, he tells them they didn’t get Reva, that his daughter is sitting right next to him. Of course the person they grabbed is Pam.

Reva’s comforting Victor as he boohoos about Pam being kidnapped. She’s clearly already bored with him and deeply uninterested in this conversation. She tells him her dad won’t pay the ransom, since it’s not his daughter, she fakes some boohoos of her own, and then tells him a dream she had where she’s running through the dark and empty department store, and Santa grabs her to kidnap her. She hangs up on Victor as someone arrives, and opens the door to find Pam on her driveway. She looks dead for a moment, but she starts to move. Reva helps her inside and gets her some water. They hear noises outside, but it’s only Victor, who runs into Pam’s arms.

This does seem to be a turn around for Reva. She feels like she’s being followed and sees a young man who then disappears, but she runs into Pam, who asks if she’ll come over for a traditional Christmas at her house. Reva is reluctant but fakes enthusiasm for her cousin. She drives out to Fear Street where Pam lives and brings out some presents. Pam walks out to help her, and they’re both grabbed from behind. They’re tossed into the backseat of Pres’ car, and Danny threatens to kill them some more. They put blindfolds over them, and they’re dragged somewhere. Reva recognizes it almost immediately as her dad’s department store. They’re tied to some chairs on the fifth floor which apparently has no security guards and no one goes into. Reva yells at them for hurting her, and Danny breaks her arm.

Diane goes to make the phone call, and they all leave them. Pam starts flipping out and yells that they promised her, and it’s no surprise that Pam is part of the plot now. For being let go, she’d promised to help them get Reva. Pam’s still pretty salty about the whole Victor thing, and she gets a pretty good burn on Reva before Danny gets mad and slaps her. The girls are left alone after that as they go plan to pick up the money.

Pam and Reva both have a moment where they apologize, and Pam notes they didn’t tie her as tightly as they should have. She manages to wriggle free and unties Reva as well. This whole keeping them in the department store Reva’s dad owns plan falls apart pretty quick when they get out, and they’re able to navigate their way through the store. They split up as the kidnappers chase after them. Reva feels hunted and pursued, and runs into a Santa mannequin, flipping out when she feels herself being grabbed. Pam grabs her next, and they hide by the elevators. Reva remembers that they’re broken, and they hide, hoping the kidnappers will step in and fall to their deaths. It’s as good as any of the kidnappers’ plans, and if this were Home Alone they’d amusingly fall to their deaths. Only Diane and Pres enter the elevator as the doors ding open, and then step out safely. It looks like they were fixed.

But they now assume the girls aren’t by the elevators and run away. They click the button again, and this time when the doors open, a man is standing there with a pistol! Except he’s the FBI! He’s been following Reva hoping the kidnappers make themselves known! He tells the girls to wait there, and he chases after the kidnappers. But now Danny jumps out and grabs the girls. He tries to keep kidnapping them, even though the jig is up, and the elevator door opens. He decides fuck it, runs, and then falls, not at all comically, to his death. It seems only one elevator was fixed. The other still opened to an empty shaft. The FBI agent helps them out of the store, where Silent Night is playing overhead, traumatizing Reva for another year.

Favorite Line

Reva took another sip of her coffee before answer. “Sorry. I’m on my break.”

Fear Street Trends

Not as many in this one. We don’t need to re-establish that Reva is rich and Pam is poor. Pres is the only one described in any kind of detail, and it’s the drive home the fact that he kind of looks like Elvis Presley. Reva comments on this as well. No one wears one earring or says yo so we know they’re street smart, though these thieves are not that. Chinos are mentioned, and Reva does drink Evian water. Reva’s nails are described at one point, and she’s def at the forefront of the wild nail designs.

Rating

Unlike other trilogies in the Fear Street series, these don’t feel like they were written one right after the other, which makes them stranger reads for it. The crime plot this time around was less interesting with characters I didn’t really care about, and Reva’s character development feels less than before, possibly because she already should’ve changed as a person. I’m going to give it two mall santas out of five.

Fear Street Superchiller – Silent Night

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And we’re back folks! I meant to spend November reading and catching up to my backlog, but I spent the whole time doing 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo instead, which can be read in its current state here. It’s alright, though, because this Christmas season we’re spending time with Reva Dalby, pampered department store princess and cruelest human being.

The Cover

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The cover (pulled from the Simon and Schuster page, replacing the previous version of this post). I guess she’s supposed to be looking in through a window, but for some reason I always thought she was trapped in a mirror. The holly jolly imagery mixed with her fear, and the finger streaks on the glass make a good, eye catching image.

Tagline

Happy holidays — you’re dead!

Not terrible. A “Reva ends up on the naughty list” or something might’ve been better. This does have a certain punch to it though. The image is so solid I’m willing to forgive a lazy tagline.

Summary

We meet Reva Dalby as she’s working the perfume counter at the Dalby department store. She’s clearly cruel and doesn’t shy away from criticizing customers. Her boss is clearly done with her shit and Reva delights in getting away with things because her dad runs the store. She refuses to do simple work and avoids talking to customers. She ignores a customer to apply lipstick and is startled when blood starts pouring down her chin. She looks at the lipstick and realizes someone’s placed a needle in it, signifying the start of a terrifying holiday season.

Smash cut to the story proper. Reva is driving her boyfriend Hank and pulls over suddenly. I know I’m supposed to hate Reva, but she’s such a mean girl and genuinely unfeeling (there’s a line near the end where she comments on feeling emotions again) that her inner commentary is hilarious to me. She refers to her boyfriend as a phase she was going through and dumps him right there, fake cries in front of him, reacts coldly when he gets angry, and eggs him on. It’s mentioned Hank has some anger issues, even punching through a door because she wouldn’t see a movie with him. Like almost every boy in Shadyside, he seems genuinely dangerous, and it’s treated as though this is  normal. She leaves him on the side of the road and drives away as Silent Night blares in her radio.

She meets her dad at the Dalby offices and is creeped out as she walks through the dark store. This is where mannequins become a major motif in the book, though I don’t think they’re played to their full potential. She’s scared by a man who turns out to be a mannequin and runs up to the offices, where she passes the security monitors, another reoccurring motif. As she walks in, a man named Mr. Wakely is storming out, fired for being drunk at work again and again.

This is where we learn about Reva’s family, possibly the only people she cares about. Her younger brother Michael she honestly cares for, and though she’s something of a bratty older sister to him, she goes through on her promises and makes sure he’s getting enough attention. Her dad is overworked for the Christmas season, and she goes out of her way to make things easier on him, even taking it on herself to fill holiday slots with people she knows, though she does this to her own ends. She talks with remorse about her mother’s death four years ago, and how sad it makes her, to the point that it hurts to look at pictures of her. The only close family she isn’t particularly careful of is her cousin Pam, who lives on the poor side of town. They used to be close, but they’ve drifted into different social circles, and Reva actively sets out to avoid her.

Reva sets her sights on a new boy named Mitch, who’s dating a girl named Lissa. She calls him on the phone, acting sultry and sexy to get her man. She lets him know there are jobs available at Dalby’s and hears Lissa in the background. Mitch asks if Lissa can have a job too, and Reva gets a brilliant idea that is clearly a recycled joke she does often, since it pops up a few times. She tells Lissa to dress as fancy as possible, as she’ll be working the perfume counter, with the intention of getting her a position in the stockroom. Pam calls asking if there are any jobs, and Reva tells her no, she just filled up all the positions.

Pam, of course, is instantly aware that Reva is lying, but doesn’t bother calling her out on it. She starts to call her boyfriend Foxy, but decides against it, since he’s got a research paper to finish. Instead she calls her friend Mickey Wakely (son of) and meets him and his friend Clay down at the 7-11. Pam lives on Fear Street and holds her breath as she passes the cemetery, probably a good rule of thumb there. She finds Mickey and Clay already inside. Clay is their criminal friend, illustrated by his greeting of, “Yo!” They talk about Zagnuts for like three pages, which was a thing I had to Google to see if it was real (it is), and then go to check out. The gas station clerk is hostile towards them, and demands they empty their pockets. Pam is insistent that her friends are clean, and Clay gets aggressive. The cashier is already threatening to call the cops, and then Clay straight up jumps across the counter to throttle him, before they hear police sirens, and all three run. Pam tosses Clay the keys to her own car which is weird, but he gets them out of there. He’s doing 90 as a police cruiser chases them, but through some sweet tricks they manage to lose it.

They’re all exhilerated from the police chase, even Pam, though she loses it once Clay reveals he had been stealing. She’s kind of mad, but Mickey goes off about how his dad was fired by Pam’s uncle, and Pam acknowledges how much she hates Reva. She tells them she wants to get her back.

Reva is driving home when she passes someone she knows on the side of the road. She pulls out to Robb, a guy she found nice and endearing but overweight so not worth dating. He has a girlfriend now and a jazz quartet and is out running errands for his mom, so we know he’s a good boy. She asks him if he wants a job, and he tells her yeah, money’s tight. She clearly wants him to be Santa but tells him to dress up in a suit. It’s the same joke twice but she’s pleased with herself. She makes it home, entertains her brother for a few hours, and then gets a knock at the door. Hank is there, not to win her back, but to beg for a job. She calls her attack dog on him, chasing him away, and laughs.

Saturday morning, all of Reva’s little plans come together. Lissa shows up in her best dress and is told she’s stocking shelves, making her super embarrassed. Rob does similarly, unamused that he’s Santa, and it’s claer this isn’t the first time Reva has done this. Reva loudly whispers to her supervisor that she wants Lissa and Mitch separated, annoying Lissa further and making her intentions on Mitch clear. She walks off, feeling pretty pleased about herself, until she’s dragged into a supply closet by Hank. She yells at him, and he lets her know he got a job all on his own working in the security booth. He tells her he’ll be watching her. I think this means all of our red herrings are set up, and it’s time to guess who is torturing Reva.

We cut to Pam visiting Mickey and Clay. Mickey lets us know his dad is drinking non-stop since being fired. They talk about how mad they are at all the Dalby’s, and Clay lets them know he’s worked out a deal with the security guard. He tells them the guard will open the door for them, letting them walk in and steal from the store. Pam flips out a little at the idea of a real robbery, but Clay assures her it’ll be an easy job. John Maywood will let them in, and they’ll walk out, no problems, no police, no alarms. They won’t take the money, just clothes and CDs and electronics. Mickey agrees reluctantly, and Pam is still unsure. Clay convinces her to drive the getaway car. Pam shuts them up when Foxy comes to pick her up, but she agrees to drive the car.

Reva gets into work and is ready to play with Mitch. She flirts with him a little and gets him alone, where they start making out. Reva’s delighted when Lissa walks in. Mitch tries to run after his girlfriend, and Reva plays it off. She walks back to the floor where she sees Robb getting sneezed on by children. She’s still laughing as she gets to the perfume counter, where she finds a Christmas present addressed to her. Its a perfume bottle, but as she opens it, she realizes its filled with blood. She drops it, and it shatters, splattering blood all over her sweater.

Reva flashes back to being five years old and developing a fear of blood, but she manages to clamp down on any emotion she’s having. She gets up, tells the costumers she’s okay, and then she turns to go to her father’s office. She assumes Hank did this and marches in to get him fired, only to run into Hank directly. He doesn’t really seem concerned at all, just more annoyed that she’s bothering him at work, and she snaps at him to let him know he did this. He clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. She marches up to her dad’s office and is stopped when she’s told he’s in a meeting. For once Reva shows an ounce of tact and decides not to barge in, but she also decides not to tell him even though someone has sent her a bottle of blood. He comes out anyway when it sounds like gunshots are going off and panics when he sees his daughter covered in blood. It turns out a string of lights shorted, and Reva calms her father down. They actually have a really funny, sweet moment together before he sends her off to change at home.

Reva drives back home, only to realize a car is following her. She speeds away from him, running a red light, swerving around, and the car follows. Finally she arrives home and jumps out to confront him, only for the man to tell her he accidentally smashed he tail light and he wanted to give her his insurance. This aside is totally meaningless, adds nothing, and is bonkers because she’s doing Fast and Furious style stunts to get away from him while he follows over a tail light, but I guess it adds some tension maybe?

We cut to Pam, Clay, and Mickey rolling up to Dalby’s. Honestly these three are my favorite. There’s something really endearing about these three nobody kids barely robbing a department store and doing it out of spite. They’re also incredibly bad at it. I’d watch a whole movie about these thrill seekers. A police car drives behind them for like a minute and they all flip out, and then laugh at themselves for being so nervous. Pam pulls up to the loading dock, and they consider what they’re doing. Bafflingly, Pam tells them she doesn’t want to sit out there, even though she’s the getaway driver. She goes inside the store with them.

They get inside, and Maywood isn’t there. Clay says he’s probably waiting for them by the electronics. Mickey realizes Clay brought a gun, and they all flip out, but Clay promises he won’t use it. They start grabbing stuff, and it’s legitimately funny how they run around the North Pole and steal their own presents. They hear something, Clay pulls out his gun, and a security guard who is not Maywood shows up. He also has a gun and demands they put their hands up. They start running, and then Clay’s gun goes off. They get in the car and drive off, passing police on the way.

In the morning, Pam hears the news that the security guard is dead. The news also reports that twenty-five thousand dollars was stolen from a safe. Pam’s confused and calls Clay, who lets her know his gun wasn’t even loaded, meaning he couldn’t have killed the guard. She says they have to go to the police, but he tells her the police won’t believe them.

Reva is talking to her little brother Michael before going into work. He desperately wants to go see Santa, but she tells him it’s a bad time. She drives with her dad into the department store, which is still in turmoil over the robbery. Reva’s dad is pretty suspicious of the whole robbery already, since there was no actual break in, and no one should’ve known about the safe, and the security guard was shot in the back. He then asks directly about the blood covered Reva, but she avoids telling him, thinking it’s not the time. I think her dad would understand, but this is the only place she shows an ounce of restraint, so it’s kind of nice she thinks of her dad first.

They get in, and Mitch tries to talk to Reva. He kisses her again, and she teases him about Lissa. He tells her they broke up, and Reva plays it cool, especially when he asks her on a date. She tells him no, and Mitch flips out. He throws a wooden bench and tosses it at the wall because every single man in Shadyside is aggro’d out possibly from all the evil that lived in the town. Reva returns to the perfume counter, where a call from Pam is waiting for her. She ignores it instead to receive a large package. It’s as tall as she is and wrapped with a red bow, and she’s like another practical joke haha even though the last one literally had blood spill all over.She goes to open it and sees a corpse! Others rush over and tell her it’s a mannequin, pulling it out of the box so she can see. She’s still shaken, and she looks around, trying to figure out who is sending her all these things. Reva is more shaken by a painted mannequin than the literal vial of blood, but whatever.

We cut back to Pam meeting up with Mickey and Clay. Clay says he called asking about Maywood, but he’s called in sick, which is not at all suspicious right after $25,000 was stolen. Right as Mickey assures them that no one knows anything, Pam gets a phone call, where a gruff voice says, “I saw what you did.” Smash cut to the future, where Pam is talking to Foxy. He asks why she’s been hanging out with Clay and Mickey so much. The phone rings, and she goes to answer it, where the voice says again that they want ten thousand dollars or they go to the police. She breaks down and tells her boyfriend everything. He’s surprisingly cool about it, and after they talk about it a bit, he says he wants to talk to Clay. Mickey and Clay are hanging out together, and they tell them they got another phone call. Clay gets really intense and threatens to kill whoever it is, which freaks Pam out more.

Reva comes into work again and tracks down Hank. She corners him and apologizes for being so mean to him, asking for a truce. He’s confused, and when she tells him what’s been happening, he seems genuinely concerned. She accuses him of hating her, and he tells him he feels sorry for her, that everyone hates her, that he can think of ten people who hate her enough to put a needle in her lipstick. She breaks down at the realization she doesn’t have any friends, and he holds her.

Pam is going home, annoyed that she can’t reach her boyfriend, on edge because of everything that’s happening. As she goes up to her house, she’s grabbed from behind, and her blackmailer threatens her again, demanding the money by tomorrow night. She pushes him off and sees his face, but they’re interrupted when a car pulls up. It’s Foxy, and she tells him who’s blackmailing them.

Reva comes into work, where she sees Mitch and Robb in his Santa costume fighting it out. They’re pulled apart, and Mitch snaps at Reva. We jump ahead to later in the day as Reva takes her little brother to see Santa. They wait in line together, and Michael comes back telling her the Santa was obviously fake, since he had a pillow in his belly. She drops him off with her dad and returns to work, where another large carton is waiting for. She’s all har har another prank, but when she opens it there’s Mitch crumpled up, a large knife sticking out of his back.

We cut ahead, and the chapter literally starts with no one saying, “Clay–did you kill Mitch?”. Clay promises he didn’t, and Pam says she’s the one who told him that Mitch was blackmailing them. Clay’s a little blase about the whole thing, saying he didn’t kill him in a really unconvincing way, but then gets really intense and calls him a worm and says he wouldn’t waste his time on that. Clay and Mickey scrap a little, and Mickey’s dad breaks it up, getting very protective of his son.

Reva runs to her dad and tells him she thinks she know who the murderer is, but she can’t know until they check the security tapes. She finds Hank and tells him to look at the tapes from Santa Land. The video shows it’s not Robb as Santa. Michael told her Santa was wearing a pillow, but she chose him for the job because “he’s a real chub”, so he wouldn’t need a pillow. He was fighting with Mitch too the other day, and he still hasn’t called in. Her dad calls the police.

The police then arrest Robb while he is Santa sitting on the Santa chair, which seems like a bad move but I guess he’s a murderer or whatever. Reva’s distracted as Pam comes running up, reaching for Robb and calling him Foxy. Robb does a dumb thing and shouts that he only wanted to help Pam, and he did it for her, to get back at Reva. Pam corners Reva after they take Robb away and tells her he couldn’t have killed Mitch. Pam tells her Mitch was blackmailing her, but that time he was gone, he’d gone to see Pam, not to murder anyone. Robb was the one doing all the “pranks”, which were actually life endangering and horrifying things to do to a person, and he probably would’ve been arrested for putting a fucking needle in someone’s lipstick anyway, but I guess back in the day that was a lot less dangerous.

Pam offers to drive Reva home, but Reva realizes she forgot her bag. She goes into the empty store, where Silent Night is playing. She hears something and calls out to Hank, but Mr. Wakely is the one who walks out, holding a pistol. He says something about Maywood, and Reva gets him talking. He babbles that Maywood convinced three kids to rob the store, and while they were doing that, he and Maywood would steal the money. He didn’t realize his kid Mickey would be there too, and when the security guard threatened his boy, he shot him. Reva asks him if he killed Mitch, and he said he overheard the kids talking and took care of it. The body was dumped in the same box the mannequin came in and got re-delivered to Reva. Mr. Wakely then points his gun at her, and she runs. She gets cornered on a balcony, and he lunges at her, but sails past, falling off the balcony. Hank runs in and grabs her, telling her the security cameras caught everything.

The police take Reva and Hank to the station where they see Robb. Robb apologizes for the mean things he did to her, and she’s like I deserved it, and I’m like he literally sent you a vial of blood and put a needle in your lipstick I’d be like Pam your boyfriend might be a serial killer but whatever. She jokingly says she’ll get him back, and he does get a little nervous. Pam comes out, only charged with trespassing, and she mentions that they don’t know what’s going to happen with Mickey and Clay. Their hearings are next week, and they’ll find out after that. It’s so odd to not have their story lines wrapped up neatly and they still may go to jail, but as long as the characters we really care about are okay, then who cares. Reva is surprised to learn that she has “real feelings” again, and she and Hank walk into the silent night.

Favorite Line

I’m such a good liar, Reva congratulated herself. I sound so broken up, even I would believe me.

Fear Street Trends

Reva is, of course, the trendiest, illustrated by the fact that she reads Vogue. She dresses “conservatively” in a straight skirt, navy sweater, and pearls for her job. She changes into a white cashmere sweater right before getting blood all over her. The other preppy kids also dress like this, with Mitch in white shirt and chinos (seems bad for working stock room, but whatever), and Lissa shows up to the job in a silk blouse and blazer with high heels. These kids dress a thousand percent better than I ever did in high school. On the other side of the tracks, we know Clay is a bad boy because he has one diamond stud earring in and slicks his hair back.

There’s not as much pop culture references, though Oprah Winfrey is shown on the TVs in Dalby’s. As usual for Fear Street, what qualifies as a prank in this town would give you a prison sentence elsewhere. I’m just assuming that evil has absolutely corrupted everyone.

Rating

I was expecting a little more out of this one. I remembered Reva Dalby, and I know this is one of the most remembered series out of Fear Street, and for some reason I was expecting a supernatural bend to it as well. Pam’s storyline was sort of nothing for me (though I did enjoy parts of it), and the clumsy wrap up at the end came out of nowhere really. I have to give this two mutilated mannequins out of five.

Fear Street Superchiller – The Dead Lifeguard

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The Cover

dead lifeguard

The cover (taken from its GoodReads page) is alright. To be honest my primary issue is with the title, which isn’t as punchy as Stine wants it to be. The bright colors detract some from it, though I suppose they’re going for a summer thing. It’s hard to tell if we’re supposed to worry about the lifeguard who’s carrying the girl, who’s dead eyed and seems to carry her like Frankenstein’s monster does that little girl, or the girl herself, who looks like she may actually be dead. It should be provocative, but it’s not very.

Tagline

No one can save her now.

I think this is supposed to referencing the zombie lifeguard carrying her corpse. It’s pretty good considering how mediocre everything else is.

Summary

Each part is measured in how many ghosts there are in it. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character which should be interesting in a Heavy-Rain-who’s-telling-the-truth-can-we-trust-any-of-our-characters sort of way, but switching perspectives from a first person narrative is a device I find extremely annoying so we’ll see. Chapter one is the character of Mouse, who speaks on a phone to Terry. They tell bad jokes and know Terry is dead, but they talk to  him anyway, letting him know that all the lifeguards are going to pay for what happened to him.

Our main character is actually Lindsay, who’s excited to start work at the North Beach Country Club. She’s meeting up with the other lifeguards, who are all going to stay at the club, which I don’t think is actually a thing? I assume there’s a local population of teens that can go home at night and not take up resources on food and board, but who cares keep it moving. Lindsay’s annoyed because she left home in a hurry to get here, and a storm opens up over her head, her keycard doesn’t work, and then she sees a dead body in the pool. All in all not a great day for Lindsay.

It has been a great day for Danny, who seems to be head lifeguard. He seems like the typical man’s man. He describes all the girls as how hot they are and all the guys by their weight class, which classifies him as bro. He introduces us to the rest of our cast. Cassie, who’s kind of ditzy and is blond; Arnie, who is kind of a shrimp and makes the exact same bad jokes as our mysterious murderers; Deidre, who’s kind of nothing; May-Ann, who’s quiet and kind of intense; Pug, the jock who gets with all the ladies. Your typical crew of teens to be murdered off.

They all hear Lindsay screaming outside and bring her in. She frantically tells them that there’s a body in the pool, and Danny runs outside, but there’s nothing there. Lindsay feels like a freak, screaming her head off about apparently nothing, soaked to the bone, and her keycard turns out to be two years old. Danny looks for her name on the lifeguard list, and she doesn’t show up. Lindsay is of course confused by this. She got hired. They sent her the credentials. She was promised a job. May-Ann takes pity on the girl and lets her use her room to change, where we meet her mouse Munchy, who is probably only mentioned as a red herring. Lindsay doesn’t know what she saw or what’s going on, and May-Ann states simply that she saw one of the dead kids.

Absolutely no one knows what she’s talking about. May-Ann tells them the club is cursed, and every year someone dies. Two summers in a row people have drowned despite having lifeguards on duty or being lifeguards themselves. She’s convinced their ghosts haunt this place, though no one else really is. Her scary story is interrupted by Spencer, the final member of our crew. Lindsay’s excited to see him because she recognizes him. He doesn’t seem to recognize her at first, and then he plays nice. The club’s athletic director Pete arrives too in order to check everyone off the list. Danny and him talk out the list. Pete asks her some cursory questions, including if she passed the lifeguard exams, but he doesn’t actually seem to, like, ask her for proof or anything. She just says yes, and he’s like whatever we had a cancellation anyway. Lindsay gets to stay! But Lindsay starts to realize she doesn’t remember interviewing, and she doesn’t remember Pete, and she’s not sure when she got her ID and everything, and suddenly she worries she’s in the wrong place after all.

Mouse talks some more about murdering lifeguards. The club isn’t open yet, so they’re mostly goofing off, doing arm wrestling contests and hanging out around an open fire. Spencer tells stories from the past years and Lindsay asks him if anyone saw any ghosts. May-Ann uses this opportunity to obsess again, much like Jan in Party Summer, and then Cassie fakes seeing a ghost to get them all scared. Cassie also fakes the sound of a broken bone while the dudes are arm wrestling to scare everyone, so you can tell she’s a real practical jokester.

The club opens, and the lifeguards are working. Pug and Cassie are flirting, and Diedre is jealous of this, though no one else seems to care. Lindsay is getting used to living with May-Ann, who’s kind of a weirdo who’s obsessed with ghosts. They both hear a ghostly wail outside their door saying “Help me” and run outside. It’s Cassie, playing a prank. May-Ann gets super pissed and slams the door. There’s a little more goofing off and then back to work. Lindsay tries to remember Spencer some more and can’t quite. She has my favorite egotistical thought:

Had there been something between Spencer and me last summer?

Did he and I have a short romance or something?

I had the feeling we did, but I couldn’t dredge the memory up. I couldn’t dredge up any memory about him.

Lindsay cannot remember a gosh darn thing about this boy but is pretty sure they had a romance or something. Natch. Lindsay can’t quite sleep at night, and when she walks outside she sees the drowned girl again. This time she jumps into the pool and swims up to her and then pulls up her face and sees herself! The corpse decays right in front of her until she’s only holding a skull, and then she wakes up from her nightmare. But it’s not over yet! A voice whispers to her, and she decides to follow it, noting that May-Ann is gone when she gets out of bed. She follows the voice into the dining room, where the fire is still burning, and Cassie had her face pushed into it. Lindsay pulls the body from the fire and sees she’s all burned away.

The police are called. Lindsay confesses to them she heard a voice and followed it, but she isn’t able to give it a source. May-Ann seems excited, as this proves her point that someone dies every summer. Mouse sure is pleased with themself, but there’s more to go! The club is closed for a day, but it reopens and no one seems to be too down about it. Pug is instantly hitting on other girls in the true Shadyside manner. Lindsay can’t stop thinking about poor Cassie and decides to call her folks and let them know everything that’s happened, but when she dials the number, she’s told it’s disconnected. Lindsay redials, calls the operator, gets information, but it’s all gone. Her family doesn’t live on Fear Street, at least, not anymore. She flips out and borrows someone’s car and drives all the way home. She surprises a random woman in her house, who tells her the Becks don’t live there anymore, haven’t, not since their daughter died two years ago.

Lindsay doesn’t know what to make of this information. She’s pretty sure she’s not dead, but she doesn’t know why all evidence is pointed otherwise. She breaks into Pete’s office to find her records but instead finds a newspaper clipping telling her the exact same thing everyone else has. Lindsay Beck died in the pool two years ago. She is the dead lifeguard, a title drop that kind of assumes the character knows the title of the book she’s in.

Lindsay does not bring any of this to the attention of her friends, and she seems to chill out about it for a while. She’s still laughing and goofing with the others and is still pretty sure she isn’t dead. May-Ann keeps talking about ghosts, which is pretty insensitive considering one of their friends died here like a week ago at best, but everyone else just doesn’t want to talk about it. Arnie asks Lindsay on a walk and then corners her, and since he’s the bad joke telling, phone call making, kind of nerd, you sort of expect this to be the moment he tries to murder Lindsay, but I thought he was too obvious a suspect the whole time. Instead he just tries to force himself on her (kind of? it’s pretty tame, these books are still for children) and thank god Spencer arrives to stop it. Lindsay is creeped out by Arnie and thinks he watches her while she works at the pool, to which Spencer responds, “I watch you too sometimes.” The absolute worst thing to say to a girl you just saved from unwanted advances, but he rolls with it. Lindsay asks him if Spencer knew her last summer, and he says not really. She left suddenly, after all. Lindsay doesn’t remember that and asks him why she left, and he thought dialogues that if she doesn’t remember, he’s not going to be the one to tell her, but then Stine does that thing where he skips ahead to not deal with the consequences of his chapter. So I have to imagine the ridiculous excuses Spencer makes to get around answering that question.

The next day Arnie tries to apologize to Lindsay, and she kind of forgives him, but it’s clear she won’t be having anymore. A woman kind of recognizes Lindsay, we assume as the dead girl who drowned. At night Lindsay wanders around and sees Ma-Ann and Pug shouting. It’s unclear what they’re arguing about, but then Deirdre shows up and suggests they’re actually getting it on, you know, to honor Cassie’s still cooling corpse. Lindsay goes back to her room and tries to call other family members but doesn’t get an answer. She goes back to sleep and then wakes up to the voice calling to her again. May-Ann is missing from her bed still, and she follows the voice until she gets to the guest house. She sees Pug with a barbell stretched over his neck, choking him to death. Pete arrives at the same time she discovers the body, no doubt pinning her as the prime suspect.

The police arrive again. Pete gives an account of what he saw, which is clearly generous in how he found Lindsay. She tells the officers she heard the voice again, and it’s clear they’re starting to suspect her. She throws up at the crime scene anyway which I think is a pretty good way to show you’re innocent or at least averse to the idea of dead bodies. May-Ann sort of indicts her by saying Lindsay was following her and Pug around, which is not something we saw.

A few days later Lindsay goes for a drive, trying to clear her head, but Arnie pops out of the backseat. Lindsay does my absolute favorite thing which is force him out of the car and make him walk home (the only appropriate response to that prank). When she gets back, the other lifeguards are hanging out in the pool. It’s close to midnight and they’re just chilling, playing games and diving and splashing. It’s like no horrible murders took place at all. May-Ann pushes Dierdre into the pull, which triggers a memory in Lindsay, and she starts screaming that she’s not Lindsay at all. She’s Marissa Dunton, who killed Lidnsay two years ago!

Danny and Spencer take Lindsay/Marissa inside. Marissa explains that she was a lifeguard two summers ago. She and Lindsay were good friends, but they had a huge argument that got out of control. She says Lindsay fell, but it’s clear Marissa pushed her into the pool, except Lindsay hit her head on the side as she fell in, splitting her skull. She died there, and Marissa was sent to a psychiatric hospital for a long time. She started thinking she was Lindsay as a sort of way to bring her back to life. She’d taken things from their shared room and occasionally assumed her identity. She got sent home before she was really ready to, thought she was Lindsay, and came to the club to work. Spencer asks her directly why she killed Cassie and Pug, and at first she answers, “I don’t know.” But after the chapter break she jumps up screaming, “I didn’t kill them!”

Lindsay becomes suspicious of Spencer, who claimed to recognize her. He tells her he only saw the two girls involved and wasn’t really sure who was Lindsay and who was Marissa and just sort of rolled with it. Danny tells Lindsay to use the phone in Pete’s office to call her parents. Spencer comes in to see if she’s alright, and while they’re talking the phone rings. It’s Mrs. Brown making the strangest phone call. She wants them to know the reason her son Spencer never showed up for his lifeguard job was because he was murdered. Lindsay tries to ask Spencer what’s going on, but he’s disappeared. She finds him by the pool.

Spencer quickly confesses everything. He killed Spencer, just like he killed Pug and Cassie, because he’s not Spencer at all. He’s Jack Mouser, aka Mouse. He and his brother Terry worked in the kitchens, and the lifeguards were cruel and made fun of them. They put them through hell under the guise of lifeguard training and them laughed them off. Terry couldn’t take it, so he killed himself, and now Jack is going to make everyone pay. Jack was so excited to find Marissa was suffering her identity of crisis because she would make an easy suspect. He whispered to her at night and led her to the bodies, and now he’s going to kill her before she can tell the others. He starts to drown her, but May-Ann jumps in and drags Mouse off of her. The others come as well, including Arnie, and they hold him down while Marissa explains everything. May-Ann is relieved to see her roomie alright, and they hug it out, apologizing to each other for suspecting the other of murder. May-Ann confesses she was only gone at night to see her boyfriend, and Marissa runs off to let her parents know that she’s a-okay.

Favorite Line

Poor Pug. He had a real weight problem!

Fear Street Trends

The girls are described in full by Danny, though he doesn’t compare them to any celebrities. He just makes sure you know they’re all smoking hot. They most spend time in bathing suits, and only Lindsay’s bright blue one gets any attention thanks to it being a plot point. Marissa-as-Lindsay listens to her Walkman, there’s copious use of information and phone tag, a thing that probably doesn’t exist now. Arnie invites Lindsay to a Bruce Willis movie, but that’s about it for topical references.

Rating

I was expecting a little more out of the Fear Street summer reads, but this one is full of ideas Stine has used elsewhere, including people who think they’re other people, ghosts who aren’t really ghosts, and triggering repressed memories with mundane actions that are visually similar. I give it two quickly melting corpses out of five.