Fear Street #20 – The New Boy

0

The Cover

the new boy

The cover (pulled from its GoodReads page) is okay. It’s not sinister enough for me. There have been other covers that have done more with the interplay of sex and death, and this one just feels a little flat.

Tagline

He was a hunk of trouble…

God, I love this. This is what every Fear Street tagline should be. It’s punny, it’s indicative of the book without being spoilery, it’s so good.

Summary

Janie is hanging out in the hallway when she first gets a glimpse of the new boy. She sees him from a distance, and he’s brooding and dreamy. Her thoughts are interrupted by her two BFFs Faith and Eve. Faith is a rich girl, while Eve’s family struggles to make ends meet, much like her boyfriend Ian who’s working about five jobs to pay for his college. They all worked to plan the school dance and now have to count the money from it. Of course, her friends are more interested in gossiping than doing their job. Eve does a mean prank on Janie, making Janie think they lost the money, and Faith brushes her off for it. They all three see the new boy walking towards them, his arm bleeding, and when they rush forward he tells them he was helping someone with their bike and accidentally sliced his arm on the fence. He introduces himself as Ross Gabriel, and Faith and Eve help him go to the nurse’s office, leaving Janie behind, who pouts that she saw him first.

The girls return to help Janie, who lets them know she’s interested in Ross. The others tease her and discuss their own boyfriends. The boys themselves, Paul and Ian, show up and start goofing around with the girls, joking they’d steal the money and tossing stacks of bills at each other. Their interrupted by Mr. Hernandez, their principal, who at first threatens to suspend them, then lightens up and let’s them know he’s joking. They finish counting it to a little over twelve hundred dollars, and Janie goes to tell Mr. Hernandez the final count while the other two leave. She forgets the amount, returns to the drawer where the money is, and finds that it’s missing for real!

Janie goes over to Faith’s a few days later, still stressed out over the missing money, but relieve the girls aren’t suspects. She sees Paul at her house, and they all have kind of a tense conversation. After he leaves, Faith asks Janie if she’s going to ask Ross out, or if Faith herself will do it, dismissing Paul when Janie brings him up. They make a bet: ten dollars to the first girl who asks out Ross. They even call Eve, and she agrees to play the game.

Ross is Janie’s chemistry partner at school, and he plays it cool and funny when he’s with her. He lets her know his old school was way a head and he’s done this experiment before, and then he drops in some wrong ingredients, creating a stink bomb. He plays dumb in front of the teacher, saying he made a mistake, and the teacher takes the test tube out of the room. The other kids are grateful for his disrupting class and removing the teacher in one move. Ross says, “I like to mess people up.” It’s so strange, and even Janie’s like, what, but the bell rings. As they leave, she starts to ask him out, but he sees someone in the hallway and quickly bolts. It’s okay though, because Eve runs up to Janie and proclaims herself the winner of the bet.

On Friday night, Janie and Faith are talking about how jealous they are over the phone. Faith says she could call Ian right now and let him know Eve is on a date, but Janie tells her not to. Faith worries a little her parents might be divorcing, since they’re no longer in the same room at the same time anymore, and she’s extra annoyed that Paul asked her for three hundred dollars to fix his car, and she’s pretty sure he only goes out with her because she’s rich. Janie invites her over to watch a movie, but Faith tells her she just wants to stay in.

We cut to Eve in the car with Ross, and they’re making out. This is paints Eve in a pretty poor light, especially because later we learn Ross agreed to go out with her because she promised him half of the bet money, which makes it sound like she pretty much only did this to win ten dollars. We don’t really see her and Ian together at all, and so it’s unclear if she’s interested in fooling around, or if she’s lonely because Ian works so much. It doesn’t matter much, because she and Ross walk into the Fear Street woods, and she does not walk out again. Janie gets a call Saturday morning from Ian, who tells her Eve never got home last night.

Janie calls Eve’s mom, who lets her know Ross is missing too. Ian comes over to Janie’s, and he asks if they can drive around, since he’s too nervous to sit still. Ian kind of accuses Janie of knowing Eve went on a date last night, and Eve deflects. Ian slams on his breaks as they near Fear Street, claiming he saw a dog, and they both see something in the woods. Getting out, they find Eve’s body. The police arrive, and Ian’s clearly a wreck. Janie tells him they can go now, that the police are handling it, and he tells her he’s certain someone killed her over the money. At first she thinks he’s talking about the bet, but then he clarifies: Eve stole the dance money. He then demands to know who Eve went on a date with, and she tells him the truth, that it was all a stupid bet. He flips out and tells her to get out of the car, and she’s afraid he’s going to do something stupid, so she steals his keys and tosses them into the grass. The paramedics take Eve’s body away, and Janie worries that Ross is lying dead in these woods too.

Janie and Ian are called into the police station to answer more questions, and they see Ross being brought in by two officers. Janie’s excited to see him alive at first, and he told her Saturday morning he went with his parents back to his old town bright and early, meaning he didn’t even know what happened until they got back and the police were waiting for him. He lets her know he dropped Eve off at home and watched her go up to her door. She was safe, as far as he knew. He asks if she believes him, and she hesitates. Ian makes it clear he doesn’t.

Janie meets up with Faith, and they’re both miserable. They agree not to tell anyone that Eve stole the money, a bad idea, and they’re interrupted by Ross. He sits beside Janie, and Faith gets openly hostile, something he picks up on. He wants to know if she’s thinking he’ll kill her too, which sounds like a threat, and he starts screaming at her, again, not a good look. Faith runs away as she sees Paul and Ian, but Janie hangs behind. She tells Ross she does believe him, and this is where he admits he only went out with Eve because of the bet money. He mentions something that went down in his old town, and Janie asks about it, but he brushes her off.

Her friends are still suspicious of Ross, but Janie isn’t so sure on them. Paul mentions he found the money to pay for his car, and she starts to wonder if Faith gave it to him, or if he got it on his own. Ross comes over to her house to work on French homework, driving her to a restaurant, where his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, which gives Janie a lot of anxiety. He lives on Fear Street too, and he runs inside his house to grab his wallet. This is all set up for after he drops her off back home, and she has to return his text book. She arrives at his house, and an old woman answers the door, telling her no one named Ross lives there. She’s worried she’s falling for a murderer, and her friends are disdainful of the relationship. Faith mentions she overheard some rumors about Ross from his old school but refuses to elaborate. The rumors at their school circulate that Ross was arrested for the murder, but they see him in the cafeteria, where he kind of flips out that everyone is accusing him. Janie asks him about the old woman, he tells her his grandmother is senile. She forgets things, including her grandchildren, and sometimes her own son. He also says Ian told the police about the stolen money, surprising Janie, but the money wasn’t found at Eve’s. He then starts to hand her a scarf, which Janie thinks is Eve’s, and she flips out and runs away.

Janie runs to the parking lot only to see Faith and Paul having a huge fight. She decides not to tell them that Ross has Eve’s scarf, since they’re in the middle of something. After school, she goes to the mall to see Ian, and he talks about his many, many jobs. When she gets home, Faith is calling her, and she tells her she has something really important to tell her about Ross. Suddenly she gets another call, and she goes quiet for about a minute, then returns, asking Janie to come to her house. Janie asks why she can’t just tell her over the phone, but Faith insists. When Janie gets to Faith’s house, the door is ajar, and she smells something burning. She runs into the den to find Faith on the ground, struck by a poker. She calls 911 and thinks she hears someone in the house. The operator tells her to leave calmly, but Janie’s so disoriented that she locks herself in the den. Then someone comes up behind her, and it’s Ian! He tells her that Faith was going to tell him something about Ross, and when he sees the body, he starts to freak out and blame him again.

A funeral is held. Ross is missing. Everyone is sad. Janie runs into the girl who scared Ross off before, and she spills everything. That at his old school, his name was Robert Kingston. He went out with a girl for a few months, and after they broke up, her body was found in the woods. He was questioned but not arrested. Robby hung around with some bad boys too, and his alibi was that he was in a stolen car. Now knowing this, she runs into Ross that night and is terrified to be near him. He’s getting unhinged, it seems, and demands she get in his car and talk to him. He then tries to give her scarf back to her, and Janie realizes it is hers, not Eve’s, and she flipped out over a misunderstanding. She refuses to go with him, but she says she’ll meet him at the pizza place at eight tonight, promising. That seems to satisfy him, and he drives off. Janie gets home and tries to call the police so they’ll know where Ross is, but a storm has knocked out the phone lines. Her parents are out late, and she’s getting anxious alone in her house, and around eight-thirty, Ross comes a-knocking.

Ross is clearly angry, but he tells her the truth. He didn’t kill that girl. He found her body, and the police took him in for that, but the rumor mill wouldn’t stop. He wasn’t even in town when Faith was killed, but the police are still picking him up to ask questions. He gets aggressive with her, and then a pair of headlights come up the driveway, chasing him off.

The kids at school get more aggressive, and Paul and his friend start to beat up Ross when they see him talking to Janie. Janie herself is skipping class and hiding out to avoid him. Ian finds her and tells her he has proof that Ross killed Faith. As usual, he says he can’t tell her here, and he drives her out to the woods. They park across the street from Ross’ house and go into the trees. He has with him a baseball bat, and once they’re far enough, he starts to threaten Janie. He tells her he knows Faith told her everything, that she’s a loose end, and Janie has no idea what he’s talking about. It turns out Eve stole the money for him, but when he heard about her date with Ross, he got jealous and angry. He killed her there with the bat in a fit of rage, and then drove her body to the woods, where he led Janie the next morning. Janie screams that Ross is right behind him now, and he tells her he’s not stupid, only for Ross to grab him and be rewarded with a hit of the bat. Janie flips out and attacks Ian, pinning him to the ground and pressing the bat to his throat to choke him. Ross gets up, holding Ian down, and tells Janie to run to his house and call the police. She agrees with a smile, happy that she’s no longer in love with a murderer.

Favorite Line

“I usually don’t put a move on a girl the first date.” He shrugged. His eyes locked on hers. “I usually wait until the second date!”

Fear Street Trends

We get to see Corky and Kimmy out of a Cheerleaders book, which is a delight! Deena Martinson breaks up with Gary Brandt, and Ricky is still the class clown. There aren’t a ton of fashions, but my favorite is Eve’s sexy red denim jeans she saves for hot dates, worn with a blue blazer borrowed from Janie. Blazers are such good date wear.

Rating

More than usual, this Fear Street book felt especially cookie cutter. Cute boy, dangerous love interest, murder, murder, plot twist, two characters who should no longer trust or like each other get together at the end. I’ll give it two stolen money bags out of five.

Fear Street #14 – The Knife

2

This one I’ve been putting off for a while for a few reasons, but my low bank account and a pile of Fear Street books donated to me by a friend meant this time around I went old school and read a real physical book (and ran out of sticky tabs doing it). Get ready for some hospital horror…

The Cover

the knife

The cover (taken from a Buzzfeed article, bleh) is alright. There are things I like about it. I like the element of “something hidden going on at the hospital”, or the sweet innocent girl chatting with what should be a normal man, but the colors are just too bright and pastel. I think there’s a more dynamic way of having this image without it just being a man with a knife behind his back. Definitely could be better.

Tagline

In this hospital people are dying–to get out!

It’s an obvious choice and I don’t hate it. I think a “what goes on under the knife” might be better, though there’s no actual surgery element to the book. It’s just kind of meh.

Summary

There’s an unnecessary prologue where Laurie is running through an unconstructed area of the hospital with a man chasing her. She’s grabbed, and her thought is “where is the knife”, which is a bonkers thought, especially when we get context later, but it’s a title drop.

We cut to one week earlier where Laurie and her friend Skye are playing candy striper in the kids wing on the ninth floor of Shadyside Hospital. They note the new wing under construction thanks to a big donation by Franklin Fear, descendant of the Fear family,and the wing will be named Fear Wing, which seems like a bad idea for a hospital, but whatever. Skye tells her she’s bringing more toys for a sick kid in one of the rooms, and there’s a running joke that he’s constantly getting new presents. As Laurie goes to run her errands, she hears crying in room 903 and finds a sick little boy named Toby. His room is bare, no balloons or toys or anything, and he doesn’t talk at all. She comforts him a little after reading that he has pneumonia, when one of the nurses walks in and tells her to get out. The nurses are all portrayed as mean and snappy, but there’s also a lot of mention going into how overworked they are. It’s a little weird, and I think Stine just didn’t want us to think he hated nurses or something when he made them all so mean.

Anyway, Nurse Wilton says the boy doesn’t talk at all, but Laurie is pretty certain he’s pleading with her, and not just because he’s sick. When she sees Skye again, she asks her if she could steal some balloons out of the other kid’s room so she can bring them to Toby, and Skye says the kid probably won’t even miss them. They also talk about a raffle for a red Mercedes-Benz that Franklin Fear is putting on to help pay for the wing, which is used as a plot point later on. We get some more girl talk. Skye makes plans with multiple boys and then decides who to drop last minute, while Laurie has been dating the same boy, Andy Price, son of the hospital director, who she’s trying to figure out how to dump. There’s a weird jab about Dr. Price being his step-father, which I think is meant to exonerate Andy later in the book, but we never really see the two of them interact, so whatever.

They’re interrupted by a handsome man entering the cafeteria. Rick is constantly described wearing loud t-shirts, and today his shirt says WRONG WAY GO BACK. He’s also a student volunteer, but he’s also in his second year at college, which will make his later flirtation with Laurie kind of creepy. He says he’s going to medical school, but a code blue gets called and he’s confused by it, and the girls explain it to the readers him. Laurie thinks the code is for room 903, and she runs off, hoping that Toby is okay.

She runs to the room, and Toby is flailing under the care of Nurse Wilton, but it’s only because she’s trying to get blood from him for a test. The code was for room 503. Laurie offers to help, saying she can calm Toby down, but the nurse tells her to get out. Laurie walks back to the nurses station and overhears the nurse there talking to Toby’s mom, Mrs. Deane, who wants her son out of the hospital. Nurse Girard lets her know Toby will likely be going home the next day, but they have to be sure he’s out of danger. Laurie sees Nurse Wilton leave the room, and she sneaks back in. She tells Toby what the nurse said, and she holds his hand until he’s asleep. As she leaves the room, she sees someone enter the restricted construction zone and realizes it’s Rick.

Laurie goes home, to her aunt’s house. Her parents are dead, and she lives with Aunt Hillary, who’s a big name accountant and often works late. While she’s feeding herself, alone in the house, she gets a phone call, and like many phone calls in these books and other horror media, it’s just breathing on the other end. She starts to hang up until she notices the wail of an emergency vehicle in the background. The phone rings again, and this time it’s Rick Spencer, who asks why she left the cafeteria so quickly. She tells him a little bit about Toby, and then asks him why he was wandering around on the ninth floor. He tells her he wasn’t. He then asks her out on a date, but she tells him she’s already taken.  In the background, she hears the siren again. When she asks how he got her number, he says Skye gave it to her, and she quickly gets him off the line. Out of curiosity, she calls Skye next, asking her directly if she gave out her number to Rick. She says no, and in true friend fashion asks if she should. All this proves is that Rick is a big fat liar.

The next day, Laurie talks to Andy a little bit, and despite her saying she’s looking for a way to break up with him, they seem to get along fine. She sneaks off to work early and buys a teddy bear for Toby, but when she gets up to his room, it’s empty. At first she flips out and assumes he’s dead (I don’t know why), but the second she walks to the nurses’ station, she sees him with Mrs. Deane. She notices Rick is the one talking to Mrs. Deane, and Toby runs over to her while his mom is distracted. She gives him the bear, he thanks her, and says his first words when she tells him to head back to his mom, those words being, “She’s not my mommy.” Laurie is stricken by this, especially when Toby says she’ll be mad if he tells her who she really is, but Mrs. Deane calls Toby back over before Laurie can ask more questions. They walk out, and Laurie asks Rick why he’s on the children’s floor and what he was saying to Mrs. Deane. He makes up a bunch of excuses and asks her out again, and she starts to tell him no when the phone rings. As she reaches for it, she sees a box of surgical knives open on the desk, and it freaks her out a little. Rick answers the phone, writes a note, and then picks up the knives, pocketing them. Laurie is shaken.

Laurie wants to know why Rick is lying to her, but she more importantly wants to figure out who the woman who took Toby away is. She sneaks into the patient record room and finds Toby’s file, copying down his address which is, you guessed it, on Fear Street. She tries to think of an excuse for going over there and remembers that she’s selling raffle tickets for that car in the lobby. It’s the perfect reason to knock on the front door. She starts to leave but sees Nurse Wilton right outside the door. Unsure how to escape without being seen, she thinks to wait her out, and when that proves it isn’t going to happen, she just makes a run for it. Nurse Wilton sees her, and she escapes to the elevator on the far side, letting the doors close in Nurse Wilton’s face. She’s shocked to see a person lying on a gurney beside her, monitoring equipment jutting out of the sickly woman, and the orderly demands she get out. She ducks out on the next floor, which says restricted personnel only.

She looks back at the elevator, but it’s moving up again, and she’s worried Nurse Wilton might’ve seen what floor she got off on. She runs through the unfamiliar halls and ducks into the first room she finds. It’s freezing cold, filled with metal tables, and when she puts her hand down on one she realizes she’s touching a corpse. It’s the anatomy lab, where medical students dissect corpses, and they are everywhere. Outside she hears a jangle of keys and realizes she’s been locked in. She starts to slam on the locked door and accidentally knocks over a skeleton, gains her balance by grabbing onto the first thing she finds, a hand that ends at the wrist, whirls around to see a severed head with its skin peeled back, and as she slams her fists again on the door, she thinks she sees something moving behind her. When nothing does, she makes herself breathe, realizing hysteria is getting to her. Calmly she re-examines the door and finds the deadbolt, manages to unlock it, and runs back into the hallway. She runs back to the elevator and stops again, this time seeing Nurse Wilton talking with Dr. Price. At first she thinks Nurse Wilton is complaining about her, but she realizes even she couldn’t be crazy enough to take a minor problem to the head of the hospital. Too traumatized to think about it, she finds another set of elevators and gets the fuck out.

When she meets up with her friends later, Laurie tells them what happened, and they joke about it with her. She asks if they’ll come with her to Fear Street, since she’s too scared to go alone. Skye makes them agree to go with her, though Andy is unexcited, and while they joke about it, when they actually get there, they’re all quiet. Since the houses don’t boast numbers, they split up the raffle tickets, and Skye and Laurie go up to the house they think is the Deanes. Mrs. Deane answers the door and seems annoyed by them, but to get them out of her hair she goes to grab her purse and make them leave. Laurie hears someone crying from inside, and when Mrs. Deane doesn’t return, she barges in. She sees Toby on the stairs and starts to talk to him, but he doesn’t seem to recognize her, and then Mrs. Deane shows up, yelling at him to go back to his room. She throws the dollar at Laurie who runs off, and the others demand to know what happened.

Laurie tries to figure out what to do about this development, and while she should call child services and be done with it, she gets called into the head nurse’s office instead and is told she’s being transferred out of the Children’s Floor. She sort of tries to explain the situation, but she’s told she’s been getting a lot of complaints, and if it’s true that she broke in to look at patient records, she could be fired. Laurie’s sent to the X-Ray Department to file for the rest of her life. She decides to go talk to Nurse Wilton to explain the situation, but when she finds her, the nurse is walking into the construction zone, and Rick follows her. At first, Laurie waits for them to come out, but after a long time passes, she follows them in. The construction area is barely done, and there’s all kind of strange shadowy shapes lying around. She almost walks through a hole in the floor and stops herself. When she turns around, she realizes one of the shapes is Nurse Wilton, a surgical knife sticking out of her neck.

Laurie flips out and runs back to the nurses station, grabbing Nurse Girard and Skye. Neither of them really believe her or do anything about it for a full minute, but they agree to go with her to collect the body and call security to the ninth floor. Laurie points security to where she found the body, but then she realizes there isn’t one anymore. Skye is enraged because she thinks it’s a big joke Laurie is playing, and then a doctor arrives, asking if another doctor put the girls up to this. He tells them he’s been playing a game of gotcha with one of the other physicians, and Skye says yes, of course, this is all a big joke. Laurie is convinced Rick killed the nurse, and she’s also convinced it’s connected to Toby somehow, though I don’t really know how she made that leap in logic. She goes to the patient records office again, but this time she can’t find Toby Deane’s file. Someone has taken it.

Nurse Wilton doesn’t show up to work again, but no one believes Laurie when she tells them the truth. Laurie’s convinced something is happening on Fear Street, and she drives to Toby’s house again. She watches for a while. She sees Toby in the kitchen with another woman who sees to be trying to comfort him, and he has a suitcase with him. Mrs. Deane and a few men arrive, picking up Toby and his suitcase and putting him in a car despite his every protest. She hears another child crying inside. Laurie tries to figure out what to do next and decides to talk to Dr. Price, since it’s his hospital. At no point does ‘call the police’ enter into her thoughts. She sprints back to her car and sees a Honda drive past slowly. As soon as it sees her, it backs up quickly, and a man gets out, Rick. He starts to call her name, and she drives away.

Laurie gets home to find it empty. Andy calls her, asking if she wants to watch a movie with him, and she asks if she can talk to his dad tomorrow. He starts to initiate something, asking if her aunt is home, and if not, can he come over, and she quickly hangs up on him. Alone, freaked out, and feeling like she was followed, she calls Skye and asks if she can sleep over, but changes her mind when she hears the door open, assuming her aunt is home. She calls Aunt Hillary’s name, and with no response, she realizes the person isn’t her aunt. In a desperate attempt to pick up the phone again, she knocks everything over, but is saved when the front door open and Aunt Hillary walks in for reals this time. Laurie runs to her, tells her there was someone in the house. Aunt Hillary says she saw a car leave just now, a Volvo, which is what Andy drives, but when Laurie tells her someone broke in, she starts to call the police. Laurie stops her for some reason and starts to tell her everything, but like everyone else, Aunt Hillary refuses to even entertain the notion that she actually saw any of this.

Laurie tries to go to sleep and is woken by a phone call from Rick. He tries to explain things to her, and she tells him she saw him steal the knives. He says he did take them, that he was bringing them to a doctor on the surgery floor, and then makes a joke asking if she thinks he stabbed anyone with them. She demands to know why he followed Nurse Wilton and why he was on Fear Street tonight, and he tells her to stay away from Fear Street.

The next morning, Laurie goes over to Andy’s house bright and early and pretends she’s interviewing his dad for a project. She goes into Dr. Price’s office and quickly tells him what she saw. He’s the first person to react like a person. When she tells him she suspects Nurse Wilton has been killed, he calls the office and asks about her schedule, and is told she’s gone on vacation for three weeks, explaining her absence. She then tells him about Toby and how his records disappeared. He then tells her she must be overworked or misunderstanding things. He offers to talk to the head nurse and put her back on the Children’s Floor, as well as have someone follow up with Toby, but it’s clearly a pacifying technique. As she walks out, she and Andy get into a fight, and she tells him to leave her alone forever. This goes nowhere.

Laurie goes to the mall to meet Skye and doesn’t have too much fun shopping. She’s surprised, though, because she sees Mrs. Deane there with Toby, who cries and struggles as she pulls him into her car. She does not mention this to anyone. When she gets home, she calls the Deanes, unsure of what to do, and tries to talk to Mrs. Deane about the raffle. Over the phone she hears Toby calling her name, and then hears Mrs. Deane strike him. She hangs up and runs straight over there.

She breaks into the house and is hit over the head for it, waking up tied to a chair. Mrs. Deane is there, talking on the phone to someone, saying they need to deal with her and her aunt before it gets out of hand. Toby finds her, and she asks him to get her some scissors so she can cut the rope. She asks him about the boy who got into the car, and he tells her it’s his twin brother Terry. As she cuts herself free, she hugs Toby and tells him to be quiet, and she can get him out of here. She picks him up and runs back to her car, driving off as Mrs. Deane calls after them. She pulls over briefly to call her aunt and warn her and is told she’s at the hospital, waiting for Laurie to come pick her up.

As Laurie drives to the hospital, the radio sputters on to say a car was found in the Fear Street woods, with Nurse Wilton inside of it. Laurie thinks to call Dr. Price, certain an autopsy will reveal the true cause of death, and they pull into the parking lot. She realizes Rick’s Honda is right behind them, and she picks up Toby, racing inside. Leaving Toby with a nurse, she gets on an elevator for the ninth floor. Rick is running in after her, and she isn’t sure if he saw her as the doors close.

She runs to the nurses station where she’s supposed to meet her aunt, but she isn’t to be found. Rick then enters the floor, momentarily distracted by Nurse Girard. Laurie looks for a place to hide and runs into the construction area. Rick follows. We get a chapter that is the prologue, once more with clarity, and when he grabs her he pulls her away from the hole she was about to step into. She screams for help, and then Rick is hit from behind. Dr. Price tells her it’s safe to come out. For a moment, she thinks she sees a knife sticking out of Rick’s back and screams that Dr. Price killed him, but on further inspection it’s another of Rick’s loud t-shirts. Rick starts to wake up, and he tells Laurie not to trust Dr. Price, that he was the one who killed Nurse Wilton, and that he’s been kidnapping children and selling them. Laurie’s frozen as she doesn’t know who to believe, and then Dr. Price lunges for her, removing a gun and pressing it to her temple, and he starts backing up towards the open hole in the ground. He takes one step too many, and they both fall through, but Laurie is caught by Rick. He drags her up, and they’re both safe.

As they wait for the police, Rick explains everything. His sister was kidnapped from a hospital, and he’d been searching for her, which led him to Dr. Price. He guesses that Dr. Price killed the nurse and hid her body under a sheet, pretending to be an orderly to get her out of the hospital. Aunt Hillary says she’d been at the hospital doing some auditing of the books and found a strange extra fund that no one seemed to know about, undoubtedly related to the selling of children. Laurie and Rick kiss for some reason, he makes a bad joke, and the day is saved.

Favorite Line

A descendant of the Fear family, Franklin shared a family trait with his ancestor Simon Fear–he liked to have things named for him.

Fear Street Trends

Skye and Laurie are both a fashionable bunch who take care in their clothing. When Laurie gets down to business, she puts on a pair of distressed jeans, and she likes cable knit sweaters for comfort. Skye says Rick looks like Tom Cruise, and his graphic tees are tight enough that they can see his muscles. Besides his knife and wrong way shirt, he’s said to wear a Batman shirt (that looks like a mouth?) and a Harley Davidson tee. He’s a pretty fashionable guy. Toby is described as wearing Oshkosh overalls at one point too, which I think was supposed to add to his innocent look. Skye has that “skinny girl looks good in everything” look going on, and is mentioned to make even their volunteer uniforms look good.

Rating

I’m wobbling on this one a little. I ended up liking it a lot. It’s less repetitive than the other Fear Street books, and there weren’t as many “gotcha” scares. Just about every scene moves the plot forward, and the hospital setting was probably helped by my just finishing a replay of Silent Hill 2, so I was in the mood to be creeped out. Despite it’s strange plot, I think it is one of the better and creepier Fear Street books, so I’ll give it a four dissected corpses out of five.

Fear Street #22 – Bad Dreams

0

The Cover

bad-dreams

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

Tagline

Don’t go to sleep!

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Line

“Dreams are all wishes, right?”

Fear Street Trends

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

Rating

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

Fear Street #23 – Double Date

0

The Cover

double-date

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

Tagline

Two’s company. But three can be murder.

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Line

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

Fear Street Trends

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

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

Rating

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

Fear Street #8 – The Halloween Party

1

The Cover

The first cover (borrowed from this Fear Street blog) is fantastic. It is 100% why I wanted to read this. The girl running through the graveyard, the jackolantern skull, the gravestone, the mansion in the background. The only thing I don’t like is the white cape, but I guess it contrasts better with the red dress. The second cover (taken from the Simon & Schuster page) is pretty dull in comparison. The scarecrow motif doesn’t add anything, the background is nothing, and it’s a pretty ugly cover.

Tagline

There is going to be an uninvited guest at this Halloween Party on Fear Street…

It’s way too long, and isn’t true. I guess there is an uninvited guest or two, but the implication that they’re the murderer isn’t true at all. It’s really bad.

It’s an invitation to terror…

Much better. There’s a dramatic ellipses, the word terror is used. If only we could swap these two taglines.

Summary

Chapter 1 is really more of an unnecessary prologue, so feel free to mark that in your bingo cards. Terry and Niki are on their way to a Halloween party, walking through the Fear Street cemetery. Niki is deaf, though she reads lips, and at no point does she implement sign language, even when it seems useful. They hear a scream in the cemetery and see a dark, shambling figure move towards them, but it turns out to be their frienemy Murphy just trying to give them a scare.

Smash cut to two weeks earlier, where Terry is going through his messy locker. He and his friend Trisha discuss the Halloween party Justine Cameron is throwing, which is super elite and only nine people have been invited.It’s taking place at the Cameron mansion, just behind the Fear Street cemetery. Justine is beautiful, mysterious, and she transferred recently when she and her uncle moved into the old mansion. She’s known for traveling the world and for keeping a distance from most people. Terry recognizes how beautiful she is, but not as beautiful as his girlfriend Niki, who his devotion towards is genuinely sweet. I’ve had to read a lot of books full of garbage boys recently, and Terry was a breath of fresh air.

Lisa Blume is doing her job in the hallway of being extremely nosy and talking loudly about the party. Ricky Schorr is also invited to the party, and he’s still a dweeb. Alex Beale got an invitation as well, who Terry used to be friends with until high school, and there’s a lot of baggage there. Justine comes along and tells everyone how rad and excellent this party is going to be with the nine people she wants to be friends with. Two boys, Marty and Bobby, are upset they don’t get invited. They pester Justine some, and she brushes them off.

The group of kids invited to the party are divided, essentially one half of them being the jocks and the other half being the geeks. The jocks, which includes Alex, starts calling the geeks wimps and telling them they couldn’t survive the night on Fear Street. You could make a drinking game out of this book how many times the word ‘wimps’ is said. They decide to have a contest where the two prank each other and see who is less of a wimp.

At first the pranks are pretty basic. Rubber snakes, shaving cream in lockers, prank calls. Then Terry reaches into his locker without looking and finds a plucked chicken head staring at him. He goes to yell at Alex and sees Niki already talking to him. Terry gets weirdly jealous, but she lets him know she was just telling them to knock off the prank war. Someone leaves a threatening letter to Niki, Niki reads Justine’s lips as she’s talking on the phone and she says “They’ll all pay.” Everyone’s suspicious but no one more than Justine.

It’s Halloween night! Murphy is dressed as a zombie, Terry is dressed as a 1950s greaser (and is mentioned wearing a mask????), Niki is dressed as a “carnival reveler” which I think just means she’s wearing red velvet, Justine is dressed as a sexy vampire, her uncle Phillip is dressed as a sad clown, David is dressed as a scary basketball player, Angela like a biker girl, Ricky is dressed like a frog, Trisha is dressed like a 50s cheerleader, and Alex is dressed in a skin tight silver body suit and calling himself “the Silver Prince”. None of these costumes will play into anything later, they’re just exceptionally ridiculous.

Justine serves a lot of food from a lot of different countries, mentioning she learned to cook them while living there and also talks about being at the Carnival of Venice. She also flirts with everyone, including Terry, who very cutely keeps mentioning Niki his girlfriend. Justine sets off a few pranks of her own, surprising everyone. The lights go out, and when they come up again there’s a dead body in front of the fireplace. Everyone starts flipping out, and Les Whittle pops up, revealing it all to be a prank. The jocks versus nerds thing goes on a little long before Niki snaps at the boys. Terry and Alex have a moment where they remember being friends, and then they ruin it. Justine flirts a little more. She gets real close to Terry right as some motorcycle boys come through the door.

It’s Bobby and Marty here to crash the party. Justine gets real mad that they ruined her party. They throw her uncle on the ground. They’re both clearly drunk and are getting too rowdy, throwing things on the ground, drinking a bottle of wine they find, pushing people over. They also have like chains and stuff, because one throws it at Terry, who catches it with a candlestick, which is way rad. The boys fight the bikes enough that they get scared and run off. People start saying to call the police, but Justine tells them not to. She doesn’t want to ruin the party. It’s time for the treasure hunt!

They all run off in different directions. One girl finds a mummy’s hand, a boy finds a botle of blood, another a stuffed cobra. Niki is nervous though, remembering what she saw Justine say. She wanders into Justine’s room and finds it strangely empty. There are barely any clothes in her closet, no posters on her wall, no desk at all. In the closet, she finds a secret door and goes through, finding a wardrobe full of designer clothes, brand new, long gowns, high heels, cocktail dresses, all sorts of fancy things. She also finds a lot of fancy underwear and a picture of Justine kissing an older man, as well as pill bottles made out to Enid Cameron. Niki is convinced Justine is leading a double life and runs off to tell Terry.

Terry is in the middle of the scavenger hunt himself and finds Alex hanged, blood dripping from his silver costume. He goes to get the others, and when they return they find a dummy with red cellophane being used for blood. Alex jumps out at them. They go back downstairs, where the stair railing falls out from under Justine, and she lands on the couch below. She’s fine though, and she and Alex get chummy while Terry and Niki talk. She tells him what she found, and she’s worried about what Justine is planning. As the party continues, the lights go out, and Justine gathers them all around to play a game of Truth. The rules are you say the worst thing you’ve ever done, and everyone decides if you’re lying or not. If you don’t tell the truth, you have to pay the penalty. Surprisingly, Ricky goes first, and he hints at the events of the Overnight, though he refuses to tell because of the other people involved. In the middle of the game, Terry notices Niki is missing and goes to look for her, on the way finding Les’ body.

He runs into David going to tell the others, and they aren’t sure if they’re being pranked again. The body is gone when they return, but it’s been dragged outside onto the ledge. They decide not to say anything to the others until the police arrive, since someone at the party is a murderer, but when they go to the phones, they find the lines are cut. David’s convinced it’s Bobby and Marty, but Terry isn’t sure. They find Phillip’s blood covered jacket as well and decide to go back.

David runs out to get to a payphone, promising the others he’ll be back. He has to go through the cemetery, but I happened to be staring at the Fear Street map which has the Cameron Mansion on it, including to the second road right behind that does not require access through a cemetery. Maybe they can’t pull their cars through, but it seems easier to run to the next street. Anyway, all the cars have been wrecked by Bobby and Marty with the tires slashed. They’re still riding their motorcycles through the graveyard, and they chase after David. One of them takes a swing at him, and he cracks his head on a gravestone, and we leave him blacking out, with the two dragging him away.

Terry finds Niki stuffed in a closet after being knocked out. She grabbed an article from Justine’s shoebox, which talks about a couple that died in a fiery crash. The article lists every single teenager who was in the car that caused the crash, which I think is illegal, but otherwise we wouldn’t have this plot. The crash took place twenty-eight years ago, and they realize every single person at the party is a child of someone in that car, and Justine is actually Enid, making her 30 years old. They run downstairs to tell everyone. Justine plays it off, tells them Les is really alive, and drags them into the dining room, where she locks the door on them.

Justine shows them all a picture of her parents who died in that car accident. Les’ parents were driving the car, so he died first, but the others are just as complicit. She plays the sound of a car wreck, tearing metal, screams, tires squealing. Smoke starts filling the room, and they’re all screaming. Niki is immune to the horror since she’s deaf, and she manages to force her way into the dumbwaiter. She finds Phillip trapped and bleeding and helps him. They manage to get the windows open and pull the others out. They all run out to the yard, where David comes out of the Fear Street Woods.

As the police arrive, Philip explains. He was angry about his brother’s death in the car accident. He raised Justine and instilled that anger in her, but he didn’t imagine she’d actually kill over it. She left her adult woman life to fake being a high schooler and trap the kids in the house. Justine runs up to them, angry and screaming. She runs into the burning house, and both Alex and Terry run after her. She pulls Terry into the flames, but Alex helps him out, tackling Justine in the process. They have a moment. The sun comes up as the police arrive, and only one person is dead. The end!

Favorite Line

I have a really rad sound system, and I bought a lot of excellent CDs.

Fear Street Trends

They spend most of the book in costume so there’s no great fashion. Jade and Deena get a shoutout, as does Lisa Blume. There’s definitely a lot of weird old people stuff in this book, including a hot dog vending machine, and a lot of 50s references. Angela has a “fast” reputation, and half the party is dressed like they’re from the 50s, as well as the motorcycle bad boys feel very much like a 50s movie. At the same time there’s a lot of modern slang. Rad and excellent is thrown around, “dissed” is used including quotation marks, and some things are just really now.

Rating

I don’t know how I feel about this one. I liked a lot of bits of it, and the scene where David hits his head on the gravestone and blacks out is genuinely good, and I like the concept a lot. Justine’s a pretty obvious villain and she never really gets hammy enough for that to be wonderful, but she’s fine. I’ll give it two mummy’s hands out of five.

Fear Street #7 – Haunted

2

I chose this book because it’s Halloween and I wanted something that had a ghost in it, but never ever could I have expected this book to turn out the way it did, and it allowed me to write my new favorite phrase over and over again.

This entry does feature a minor amount of discussion of sexual assault and rape. Feel free to skip this one if that’s not something you want to read about.

The Cover

haunted

The cover (taken from its GoodReads page) is a hot mess. Why is everything so blue? The all denim outfit is straight from the book, but they could’ve popped in some color elsewhere. The perspective might be forcing it a little, but he looks tiny compared to Melissa. He’s also striking a pose which is hilarious, considering his bad boy nature.

Tagline

There’s a prowler in Melissa’s room — but is he dead or alive?

It’s sort of long. I don’t hate it, but it’s missing the usual R.L. Stine punch. It also seems to postulate that having a prowler in your room is okay, but if he’s dead nah.

Summary

Melissa starts the book off by waking up screaming. She thinks she hears something outside her window, and her parents run in to check, but all they find is a tree tapping against her window. Apparently there’s been news reports about the Fear Street Prowler, who’s been breaking into houses, and Melissa’s half dream state made her imagine someone in the room. Her parents are surprisingly flippant about this. As her mother leaves the room, she tells her to keep her window open to let the air in, which is like insane when your daughter is having nightmares about a real actual person breaking into houses. Luckily, her dad has just the thing to make her feel safe. He takes her to his bedside table, where he opens the drawer to reveal a small silver pistol, so make sure to mark off loose gun in drawer on your bingo cards.

Luckily Melissa’s boyfriend is back from vacation. Buddy picks her up and takes her straight to a secluded spot near the river. He puts his hand under her blouse, which is graphic for a Fear Street book. I guess this is to set up that he’s not that great of a boyfriend, which will come into play later, when a sexy dangerous ghost shows up.

Melissa’s dad comes home early to give her a birthday surprise. He gives her a Pontiac Firebird, which I think her dad does to prove they’re rich. He tells a sad story about not getting birthday cakes on his birthday because they were poor, so he’s happy to spoil his daughter. She drives off to show her best friend Della, but on the way the steering sticks and then jerks wildly. She thinks she hears someone calling her name, and nearly hits a truck.

Instead of resolving that, Stine skips ahead to Melissa’s birthday party. Her car’s in the garage to see what the issue was with steering, and all her friends have arrived. She puts all their presents in one of the rooms to look at later. Her party is full of Fear Street favorites, including David Metcalfe. Buddy shows up late, but he has a special present for her. She promises to open it after the party, just the two of them. Again, the book gets a little PG-13, with the teens making jokes about “playing doctor” and references to Melissa and her boyfriend fooling around. Cake is had, and it’s time to open presents, but when Melissa goes to get them, they’ve all been torn open and scattered all over the floor. There was no way anyone at the party did it, all being her friends and all being in the room with her most of the night. Melissa goes to bed feeling disappointed, and she’s scared when she sees someone standing in her bedroom, whose face she can’t see. She screams for her parents, but when they run in he’s gone.

Melissa is convinced there’s something there. After her parents go back to bed, she looks out her window, touching the silver pendant her boyfriend gave her, when two invisible hands grab her and try to push her out the window. She’s scared but manages to go back to sleep. The next day she goes to see Buddy and tells him what happened. Buddy is not a very good boyfriend and mostly dismisses her.

Melissa, Della, and Krissie go shopping together at the Clothes Closet (definitely not a filler name). Krissie makes fun of a girl, and Melissa tells her “she’s just poor”. Krissie snaps at her for her anti-rich tirade, but lets it drop. Melissa drives herself home, and then the boy in her bedroom appears in the car with her. She’s so surprised she crashes into the car in front of her. The driver is surprisingly cool, since there’s very little actual damage to the cars, though he does shout at her for being stoned.

She tells her parents what happened, and they worry about her. Luckily, dad has to go to a convention Vegas and is inviting the whole family, making a long weekend of it. Melissa, for some unknown reason, decides she doesn’t want to go. She goes upstairs to get ready for her date with Buddy, and is surprised by the boy again, who shouts at her that she was the one who killed him. Melissa is confused by this, since she hasn’t killed anyone to her knowledge. The ghost admits most of his memory is gone, and he doesn’t know how or why, but she def did the deed. He tells her his name is Paul and yells at her for being rich. When he threatens to kill her, she promises to help him find his real killer, which he agrees to.

Melissa drives to her boyfriend’s house and along the way just proves herself to be a general bad driver. She goes through a red light and a four way stop. It’s entirely possible she just ran over Paul at some point and never noticed. Buddy’s waiting for her at his house, and she tells him she needs to talk. Buddy drives her car, which is such a straight people thing oh my god we noticed this in our rewatch of the Twilight movies and I can’t imagine letting someone else drive my car when I am perfectly capable why is this such a thing. She tells him the whole story about Paul and everything, and he clearly doesn’t believe her, but she convinces him to come back to her place to see (wink wink). When they get to her house, her parents are out, but they’re surprised by her housekeeper, and she teases Buddy a little for being scared. They wait for the ghost to show up, and Buddy makes a move on her. While they’re kissing, Paul appears behind him, but Buddy can’t see or feel him. Melissa flips out, and Buddy gets very concerned. Paul calls him a bad boyfriend. He tells her “this isn’t some stupid TV sitcom” which means Stine completely whiffed a perfectly serviceable “This isn’t some horror book” line which enrages me.

Buddy leaves, and Paul is still there. He talks more smack about rich people, and then more smack about her boyfriend. She sleeps, somehow, in her room in which a teenage boy ghost is constantly watching her, and the next day goes to the library where she gets the newspapers from the last six months. She can’t find any information about Paul or any deaths, which seems weird considering Fear Street’s reputation. These stories don’t seem that far apart in time, though I guess these kids live in that nebulous TV time, where the seasons may change and time may pass, but they and their problems are eternal. Anyway, Melissa runs into Della, and Della tells her that her cousin Tracy goes to “South”, which I guess is the high school for poorsies. They go meet Tracy, who tells them someone did die last spring, but it turns out to be a boy named Vince Alexander.

Melissa goes home, confused and dejected, but when she gets to her front door she sees that it’s wide open. Bravely, she goes into the house, but it’s only Buddy, who’s just hanging out alone in her house, not weird at all. He invites her out to the Red Heat, and they go dancing. They get into a fight because she mentions the ghost again, and she storms out. In an insanely realistic moment, the guy at the front calls out that she’ll need to get stamped to come back in, and it’s this one little comment but it totally sells and I love it. She’s marching around the parking lot, when she sees a couple delinquents laughing and drinking and, to her surprise, one of them is Paul! She tries to talk to him like he’s the ghost, but he doesn’t know her, and he gets aggressive, grabbing her and insinuating a lot of terrible things. She runs back to the club, and they chase her, though they seem to let up as she gets to the entrance.

Despite the fact that Melissa is living with a ghost who may also be a terrible living person, she still doesn’t want to chill in Vegas with her parents, and instead is staying over at Della’s that weekend. Her parents try to convince her, and she says no. She drives to a local grocery store, where she sees one of the boys who was in Paul’s gang, and she tries to talk to him. Frankie is nervous to be around her and sort of apologizes for his friends, saying he doesn’t usually go through with the stuff Paul gets up to, which bodes well for our ghost. She asks when Paul died, and he tells her he talked to Paul that morning, that he’s alive, and this dame is crazy.

Melissa isn’t sure if she’s cracking up or not, especially when she sees the living Paul, and he grabs her shoulder. She again tries to talk to him like he’s the ghost!Paul, and he’s a huge creep to her. She runs to her car, and he takes her keys. Luckily a cop car pulls up, though he kind of gives Melissa a hard time, especially when she’s clearly in distress. The cops drive off, and Paul shouts at Melissa some more. She drives home, and when she sees ghost!Paul there, she flips out on him, shouting at him to leave her alone.

Ghost!Paul is confused by all this, even though every single time they’ve talked he’s threatened to kill her. She asks why he was such a jerk in the parking lot, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She mentions Frankie, and he starts to remember things. Melissa paces the room, trying to figure out what this means. Paul is alive right now, but she’s talking to his ghost, and they are the same person, which means ghost!Paul is a ghost… from the future! It explains why she doesn’t remember killing him, and how he could be in two places at once, though they don’t really get into the how or why. She promises to take him to the living Paul in order to warn his current self about his impending death.

Melissa manages to find where Paul lives through his friend Frankie, and I gotta say, she’s being incredibly brave and stupid to go to this guy’s house when he’s physically threatened her so many times, all for the future ghost of a guy who’s been nothing but a dick to her. Paul gets a wave of memories back as they drive through his old neighborhood, which is derelict and has ladies in leather jackets arguing in the street, so you know it’s poor. Melissa waits outside as ghost!Paul floats up into his house. He sees living!Paul on the phone, calling Melissa’s house like a creep. Ghost!Paul tries to talk to him, but living!Paul can’t see him.

Living!Paul goes to the local liquor store and gets a six pack for his buddies, all with ghost!Paul floating behind. Melissa has completely disappeared, with good reason. He and his friends talk trash for a while, and then Paul drives them along Fear Street, where he reveals that he’s the Fear Street Prowler. He’s been breaking into houses for some extra dough. Ghost!Paul realizes his death comes from breaking into one of these houses.

Ghost!Paul returns to Melissa’s bedroom, where he both gets defensive and apologizes for being such a dick. Melissa is sad to learn ghost!Paul couldn’t speak to his living self, and she offers to go talk to living!Paul for him. Melissa drives back to the neighborhood until she finds Paul and his friends. He’s clearly drunk, and when she tells him to stay away from her, he grabs her and starts dragging her away. He tells her he knows where she lives. She warns him never to come to her street, which he takes as condescension at his poorness and gets more aggressive. She gets away from him, knowing she wasn’t able to get through to him.

Melissa’s parents leave for Vegas. She’s unable to stay at Della’s like she planned thanks to her getting caught up in a family thing. She chills around the house, feeling paranoid, as anyone would with the future ghost of a teenage boy hanging around. She falls asleep and wakes up around midnight, when she hears what sounds like someone trying to break into her parents’ bedroom. She goes in, and living!Paul is waiting for her. He tells her “Tonight’s the night” and lunges at her. She’s torn momentarily between her desire to not be the one to kill Paul and to not be attacked in her own home, and she goes for the gun in her dad’s bedside table. He challenges her to shoot him, and when she doesn’t, he knocks it out of her hand. They both grapple for it, but he gets it and points it at him. Before he pulls the trigger, ghost!Paul shouts that he can’t let him do this, and manages to control living!Paul enough that the gun is thrown from his hands. Melissa grabs it, and the gun goes off. Paul is officially dead.

Ghost!Paul tells Melissa not to feel guilty for shooting him, though he doesn’t really apologize for breaking into her house with the intent to assault her. And despite being physically attacked by living!Paul this whole time, she still kisses ghost!Paul as he fades into the nether. Buddy comes running in, sees the dead body, and goes to phone the police. No one is traumatized, and everything is okay forever.

Favorite Line

“What if you are a ghost from the future?”

Fear Street Trends

I have so many fashion trends tabbed in this book holy hell I even had to google some of them. All the bad boys are wearing jean jackets and all jean ensembles which is hilarious to me. Half of them are long haired, and some of them have “spiky flattops”. Buddy’s hair is described as “down to his collar” which is such a grunge look I love it. Melissa and her friends are described as “preppie”, wearing chinos, polo shirts, straight legged corduroy jeans, fringed sweaters, “501 jeans” (I had to look this up), and a cool younger girl has spiked hair. Krissie makes fun of a girl for wearing “plastic pedal pushers”, which was the craziest phrase I’ve ever read. I guess they’re capris, but who wears plastic? Buddy at one point is wearing tennis shoes without socks while doing physical labor which is actually the craziest thing I’ve ever read how did he survive?

Melissa can’t imagine what she wants for her birthday and considers a new Walkman, and her friend jokes aobut getting her a Weird Al CD. Tom Cruise and Paul Newman get namedropped. I stopped bothering to google to see if these were real movies. I’m gonna go with no.

Rating

This book is rated PG-13 and is one of the most risque of the Fear Street books, and the others do go there on occasion. I absolutely hated being asked to sympathize with Paul, who is an actual rapist, but I liked interactions with ghost!Paul. Still, most of the characters were inconsequential and I felt like her boyfriend was put in to be forgotten. I’ll give it two future ghosts out of five.

Fear Street #32 – College Weekend

0

The Cover

college-weekend

I like the cover. The girl looks lonely, though she’s dressed a little matronly for fun college weekend. The man shape is sinister, though the building just sort of fades away and its relation to that bench is questionable. Still, a good cover.

Tagline

She was just dying to visit her boyfriend…

It’s pretty plain, but not less than I’d expect. I might’ve played up the isolation factor, but this is just fine.

Summary

There is a completely unnecessary prologue to start us off. Josh and Tina are talking on the phone, with Josh being kind of distant, and they discuss their plans for the weekend. There’s kind of a mislead about Josh and Holly disliking each other, but since we never see Josh throughout the whole book, it doesn’t come into play. It seems like a tone setter, but it really should’ve been removed entirely.

Tina and her cousin Holly are on the train into Patterson College. Holly is supposed to be her chaperone, but she’s here to party and meet college boys, meaning Tina is the good influence. As they get off the train, the whole place is abandoned. They ran an hour behind, and the train was already coming in late, so it seems Josh ditched them while waiting. They see someone outside and run to them, but it turns out to be a drunk shifter who accosts Tina for her money. They’re saved by Josh’s roommate, Chris, who scares the guy off.

Chris tells them Josh went on a geological camping trip with their friend Steve and their car broke down, meaning they were waiting for the mechanic to fix it and probably wouldn’t be home until midnight. Chris drives them to the dorm, and Holly babbles about all the colleges she’s visited in a genuinely funny dialogue. Chris has some obscure band that Tina loves playing in his car. He talks to her about modeling, since he’s a photographer and that’s her dream. His uncle is Rob Roberts (definitely not a placeholder name), who is some famous photographer. Chris offers to shoot some pictures of her, and she’s like nah bro I’m spending the whole weekend with my man.

Chris drops them at the dorm, where Holly and Tina get comfortable while they wait on Josh. Tina gets nostalgic over Josh’s stuff, seeing all his geology things and a prom picture of them, but she notes all of the photos she sent him aren’t there, even though Chris mentioned them, and the prom photo isn’t the one she gave him, since she wrote him a note on the back and it’s now erased. She’s feeling kind of skeeved when a girl comes in the room and shouts at Tina, “I can’t believe it!” This is Carla, who tells Tina she looks just like (dramatic pause) someone and then gets cagey about it. She’s dating Steve, and Tina knows them from Josh’s stories. Carla went to high school with Chris and Steve, and she trashes Josh for flaking on Tina. She’ll continue to do this through the whole book to a point where it gets a little weird.

Holly asks Carla about Chris, and she tells them his high school girlfriend drowned in a boat accident. He’s never really gotten over it, it seems, though it did happen last summer. Chris comes back into the room, saying he forgot something, and Carla invites them out to a party. Holly’s ready to go out, and Tina agrees that it’s boring waiting around for Josh. Tina goes into the closet to change, and she sees Josh’s hiking boots still sitting there.

Chris drives them to the party. Tina tries to get in the back so Holly can sit up front, but he asks her to sit with him. She mentions the boots, and he tells her Josh had just bought new boots with money from his new job, none of which Tina knows about. She’s mildly embarrassed that Josh seems to be keeping things from her so she doesn’t push. They get to the cool college party, where there’s girls with nose rings and tattoos, which makes Tina feel like a dumb high schooler. Carla takes Holly to talk to some of the theater kids (her perspective major), leaving Tina and Chris alone. A slow jam comes on, and they dance. After getting claustrophobic and going outside, Chris totally makes a move on her, and they kiss. Carla interrupts them, and Tina runs back inside, deciding it’s time to leave. She looks for Holly. Searching for her, she thinks she sees a bunch of dudes on motorcycles driving away with her cousin.

She runs to tell the others, but Carla plays it off, telling her she left with some girl named Alyssa Pryor, who they know from Shadyside. Alyssa must’ve taken her to the drama building to show her off, which confuses Tina, but Carla treats it like no big deal. Tina also presses on Carla not to tell Josh about the kiss, and Carla’s just fixated on the fact that Chris is finally into someone after his girlfriend’s death. Carla also tells her that kissing other people while dating someone is totally vogue, man. I don’t know what Stine thinks goes on in college, but I love it.

They get back to the dorm. Tina’s still nervous about Holly, and Josh isn’t back. Chris offers to take her to where he’s crashing, but she just wants to go to sleep. He leaves, but calls again ten minutes later, letting her know Josh called and the car trouble means they’re staying overnight and won’t be back until tomorrow. She goes to sleep angry, and in the middle of the night she’s woken by a strange sound, like the door opening, and a weird clicking noise. She gets up and turns on the light, but no one’s there.

Distracting herself, she cleans up Josh’s desk and finds his keys still sitting there. This confuses her, and when Chris shows up, she asks him about it. Holly’s still missing too, and she calls information for Alyssa’s number, but it comes up with no listing. Chris tells her sometimes the drama kids crash at the theater, and she’s probably with them. They go over to the theater, but it’s empty. Chris takes her to the student directory, and when she calls she gets the answering machine. The voice is strange though, and she tells him it’s not Alyssa. Chris plays it off. The campus carnival is setting up, and he tries to convince her to go, but Carla shows up and tells them Josh and Steve called. Carla’s going to go pick them up, and when Tina offers to come with her, she flips out and says no. She explains she has a two-seater, and Chris offers his Jeep, but when he mentions waiting for Holly, Tina realizes her place is here. She starts suspecting Carla, though, and that maybe she’s trying to get with Josh.

Chris tells her she has to relax, and they go rent motorscooters (???? is this a cool fun thing?) and drive up to Lookout Point so he can take pictures of her. They drive back to the carnival after all, and they’re having fun together, though Tina misses her boyfriend. She runs into a friend from high school, who asks her about Josh. Chris gets kind of weird. When she mentions Holly and her running off with Alyssa, her friend tells her Alyssa transferred to a college in Seattle. Tina starts flipping out, assuming Holly is kidnapped or in a ditch or dying, and Chris tells her they can’t go to the police yet, and even if they did her parents would get really mad, and Tina doesn’t know what to do. Chris buys her a frozen banana and takes her to the Ferris wheel. Tina hasn’t really calmed down, and she looks out over the crowd, trying to spot her cousin. Chris takes a few more pictures of her, and the ride sticks at the top. He takes the opportunity to kiss her some more. For a second Tina is into it, but she remembers her boyfriend and pushes him off. When he goes for it again, she tells him to stop, and he gets angry. He starts rocking the cab, scaring her, calling her a tease, and she feels trapped. She thinks she’s falling, but luckily it’s the wheel turning again.

Chris starts apologizing and asking if he scared her. Tina tries to play it off but she’s super freaked out. She tells him she wants to go back to the dorm, and he drives her back, except they’re going the wrong way. When she complains, he tells her he’s taking her to his studio so he can get some more pictures in. The studio is in the basement, and it is this moment I basically start imagining the end of Life is Strange. Tina’s still kind of freaked out, but she wants to be photographed by a real photographer with connections. She goes through his portfolio, and he seems to do good work, but she finds a picture of a girl who looks almost exactly like her, except with dark hair and green eyes. She also sees a picture of the boat, and when she asks about it, he gets cold and angry.

She starts putting on makeup, and he helps her. It gets weirdly intimate as he does. When she goes to get her outfit, she finds all the dresses and clothing are in her size. They take a few photos, and she’s starting to enjoy herself again. She asks after the dresses, wanting to buy one, and he gets distant again. He tells her they were all his dead ex-girlfriend’s, and that skeeves her out. She suggests changing, but he starts ordering her around more, getting more pictures. He takes a wig and places it on her head and then focuses the camera, but he isn’t taking pictures anymore. He starts calling her Judy, and now Tina is legit scared. He talks to her like she’s his dead girlfriend, so grateful she’s back. Tina sets him straight gently, and he seems to snap out of it, but he still wants to take pictures. She tells him no, she doesn’t want to do it, and when he starts getting mad again she decides it’s easier to play along. He gives her a dress that belonged to his great-grandmother, which in context of his dead girlfriend raises too many questions.

Tina puts her clothes on underneath, getting ready to run. While changing, she finds more pictures, including one from last night, while she was sleeping in Josh’s bed. He orders her around some more, and then she asks him for a soda. While he goes to the fridge, she makes a run for it. She manages to unlock the first door, but Chris made her go barefoot, meaning she cuts herself on a large piece of glass, and when she gets to the top of the stairs, that door is locked too. Chris marches after her, shouting and calling her Judy again, and he threatens to kill her again. He drags her back down, and now he’s just pantomiming taking pictures. He doesn’t even have a camera. Tina decides enough is enough and tries to fight him, but he’s too big. He throws her in the dark room, locking her in. She manages to find something to wrap her foot with, and she turns on the light, only to find every picture in the room is of her. Some of them are the pictures she sent to Josh, others are just parts of her body enlarged. She finds the prom picture, the original, and Chris had scratched out Josh’s name and replaced it with his own, and the ones he’d taken since, including one of her scared as the homeless man accosted her. She finds a metal cabinet, and when she pries it open, Josh’s dead body falls out.

Josh’s whole biz is mad wrecked thanks to Chris throwing some chemicals on him. Chris comes back into the room, still calling her Judy. He says they’re going somewhere. Tina tells him people will search for her, that he’ll get caught, but he tells her people don’t search for the already dead. She grabs a tray of chemicals and throws it in his face, but it turns out to only be water. He throws some chemicals at her, scarring her arm. She distracts him by saying Josh is getting up, and when he turns, she grabs a heavy metal tripod and strikes him over the head.

Chris is now down for the count, and Tina’s focused on getting out. She hears a noise from another door and opens it, only to find Holly tied up and scratched up. Holly did come back to the dorm around four, but Chris jumped her and trussed her up. They both go to get out, but Chris is back on his feet, waving scissors around. The girls run and are stopped as the door opens, and Carla and presumably Steve come in. Chris yells at Carla to stop the girls from running away. Tina begs Carla for help, and Carla ignores her, going to Chris instead. Steve is equally concerned. The girls shout that Chris killed Josh, but Carla tells Chris they’ll help him. She tells him that they’ll get “Judy” to pose, and that they can even take a picture of him with her. When he goes to get his camera, Carla takes the scissors from him, and then shouts at Steve to hold him down. Steve does so, and Carla tells the girls they were only playing along until they could safely hold him. They call the police, and while they wait, Carla tells them Chris had lied to her, telling her that Josh was seeing another girl, which explains her behavior all weekend (though not why she lied about Holly but whatever). Steve knew that was a lie, and when Carla told him, he set her straight. Luckily they got back just in time. Tina remarks she’ll never be able to remove this weekend from her memory, and then smash cut to credits.

Favorite Line

“I know I’m going to be different when I go to college. I’m getting my nose pierced, definitely. And maybe a tattoo.”

Fear Street Trends

I was a little worried this book, like many of the summer reads, would be disconnected from the rest of Fear Street, and it was. Luckily it made up for it in major fashion choices, and the overly long descriptions of Chris’ excess.

Carla is introduced wearing tight jeans over “a beige bodysuit” which sounds like an awful look. Bodysuits as fashion have showing up elsewhere in Fear Street. Was this a thing in the early 90s? I honestly don’t remember it. It could have been. Weirdly, when changing for the party, party girl Holly puts on a tight red sweater and jeans, which is a very 90s look, but also not a very sexy party girl one, especially when a paragraph later Tina is describing the skintight dresses and miniskirts she brought. At the college party, cool girls have piercings and are wearing minidresses with thigh high stockings.

Chris’s over the top richness is perhaps my favorite part of this book. His Jeep has a top of the line CD player and a car phone. Car phones had to be such a flash in the pan, and I’m not sure anyone actually had one. Honestly half this plot would be impossible after the prevalence of cell phones. How did people communicate with each other before that? How did you go to a party and lose your friend and then just deal with it? I love living in the future. Chris also has “a color MAC with CD-ROM and a laser printer” which may be the best thing I’ve ever read in a book. He also offhandedly mentions having a calling card in the same breath as pulling out ten credit cards, so I think that might also be a rich people status thing.

Rating

I ended up enjoying this way more than I expected. Chris was very creepy, Tina was a good protagonist, and the end scene was really strong. I’ll give it four acid-eaten faces out of five.