A Fear Street Christmas Special – The Snowman


I was trying to figure out what to do for the last update in December, especially since last year I burned through the best material. Luckily, I work in a library, and just about every day we get book donations, and sometimes an R.L. Stine book appears in that mess. So today’s sampling is not from Fear Street, but rather from the Point Thrillers series, which had a number of YA horror writers submitting books for it, including my second fav Christopher Pike. (One day I may have to reread all of the Last Vampire series, but saints help me on that day.)

The Cover

the snowman

This cover (borrowed from YA Revisted) is actually very good. I’m a little disappointed I could only find the high contrast images of it, because I feel like the softness is lost, and that’s part of what sells it. The headless snowman is a cliche but good image, and the footsteps leading to it hint at something sinister. I think what sells the beheading is the scarf standing just above, hinting at what would be a neck otherwise. Overall, a good image.


A cold-blooded killer.

Also a good tagline! Dang, this book is killing it. Short, sweet, sinister, gives nothing away. Like with the cover, it’s minimal, but that makes it good.


We open on a familiar scene to any Fear Street reader. Heather fantasizes about murdering her Uncle James in various ways, from letting him freeze in the snow, to tossing him off a roof. She imagines this while making out with her boyfriend. Their makeout session is interrupted by Uncle James himself rapping on the window. He shouts down at Heather, tells her she needs to head off to her job, and tries to humiliate Ben, who skedaddles. Heather’s so mad she shouts that she hates him before driving off to her job at the mall.

Heather reveals that her parents died, and she was left a large inheritance, but her Uncle James is her guardian and refuses to allow her to touch it. She suspects he’s stealing from it, as he’s made a few big purchases lately in cash,  but since he doesn’t let her access her accounts, she can’t know. She keeps her job to have money to spend, mentioning that she has three thousand dollars in her bank account, but her uncle doesn’t even let her use that. She works at a greasy diner in the mall and hates it, but she needs the money.

As she works, she meets a boy with tanned skin, brown eyes, and snow white hair. She seats him, and they chat a little. He tells her he just moved to town and introduces himself as Snowman. They get flirty, and Heather can’t stop looking at him. When she brings him his check, he pats down his pants and realizes he doesn’t have his wallet. Heather’s cool about this and offers to cover it, and he offers to make it up to her on Saturday. He asks her on a date, and she’s eager to say yes. It’s not until she walks to her car and sees Ben that she remembers she has a boyfriend.

Heather makes up a lame excuse for why she can’t go out with Ben on Saturday. We cut to her getting ready for her date as her uncle shouts at her. Snowman comes to the door to pick her up, and her uncle is extremely unpleasant and kind of racist? Snowman tells her uncle and aunt that his name is Bill Jeffers, and Uncle James refers to him as “just a mutt”. Uncle James bullies him with questions, all of which Snowman breeze through, until he brings up his dad. Snowman lets them know he’s dead now, and when Heather gets him out of the house, he tells her his dad was way worse than her uncle, and he knows just how to handle him. On their way to go dancing, Snowman gets paranoid and thinks a car is following them, pulling over to the side. He mentions to Heather that his family is struggling, and he doesn’t have any money, which she’s very cool about.

At school, Heather looks for Snowman in class, but she doesn’t see him. She runs into Ben instead, who says he called on Saturday night, and her uncle told him everything. Heather feels more upset that her uncle ratted her out than guilty that she snuck around behind Ben’s back. Ben quickly cements his place as the nicest boyfriend anyone in these books has ever had. He tells her he can’t stop her from seeing someone else, but he thought they were supposed to trust each other, and he’s disappointed.

Heather does feel bad when Ben dumps her, but she sees Snowman some more, and she learns more about him. His mom works two jobs, his brother is sick, his dad died suddenly, and he struggles a lot with money. The pair of them find a secluded spot in the park and build a snowman, and meanwhile Heather finds a black car following her home. She thinks Ben might be stalking her. Snowman insisted on having dinner with Heather and her family, which is going as well as you can expect. When Snowman mentions his mom is a nurse, so it’s hard for her to have dinner ready for her kids, Uncle James makes a jab about how she’s not doing her job as a mom. He makes fun of Snowman for eating too much, and then tells him he’s not going to get any of Heather’s money. Snowman looks like he’s going to fight him before he storms out.

Heather chases after Snowman and repeats her refrain of, “I could kill him.” Snowman says no problem. He’s stressed out because his little brother is sick and needs a major surgery that costs at least two thousand dollars. Heather is so struck by his struggles that she offers him the money right then and there. She has the money in her bank account, and it’s not like she needs it. He struggles with this and leaves, saying he has to think about it.

Heather sees Snowman after she leaves work the next day, and he says he does need the money for his little brother. She writes him the check with little prompting. After that, she doesn’t see Snowman for a few days, running into Ben instead. Immediately she realizes she misses him, and they have a friendly conversation. Leaving work, Heather sees Snowman again, and he runs up to greet her, clearly in a good mood. She asks him what happened, and he tells her he paid her back. He killed her uncle.

Heather is a aghast, and Snowman says he’ll prove it. He gets her to drive him to her house, where they see police lights. Her aunt is crying on the front lawn, and Snowman immediately starts comforting her. Snowman claims he strangled her uncle with a wool scarf, which leaves no marks, and there’s no way for me to search if that’s true without ending up on someone’s watch list, but a brief survey leaves this inconclusive. The paramedics tell Heather it was a heart attack anyway. Once the police and paramedics clear out, Snowman hangs out to help around the house. Heather is freaking out, and when she finally gets a chance to confront him, he pulls out the check she gave him. He says this is his insurance, that if she goes to the police, he’ll tell them she paid him to kill her uncle. Which is kind of insane? It’s not like she put in the for line: assassination. And he never puts it in his account, which technically means she didn’t pay him, and I think is more suspicious if an assassin doesn’t take the money. Anyway, he tells her that he doesn’t have a little brother, and this was all a set up, which is also kind of insane. Snowman sticks around, even attending the funeral with the family.

After the funeral, the car that followed Heather pulls up in her driveway, and two men in suits get out. They introduce themselves as FBI agents, which Heather actually is wary of and suspects they may be fake, but she answers their questions anyway. They ask about William Jeffers and if she has any information on him. Heather lies and tells them she met him at the restaurant but didn’t see him anymore after that. They keep emphasizing this old fashioned coat he wears, and I can’t tell if it’s meant to be distinctive, or if secretly Snowman is way older than he says, which makes this more disturbing. They give Heather their card and tell her to contact them if she learns anymore, and on their way out, she asks what he did. They tell her he murdered his father.

Snowman confronts Heather about the FBI, but she didn’t tell them anything. He promises she’ll get rid of him forever if she gives him another check for $2,000 and asks her to make it out to cash. She has access to her trust fund now and does it, sending him off. But she’s shocked when he shows up at her house for dinner that night. When she corners him, he tells her he needs five thousand dollars now, and then he’ll be gone for good. He needs cash right now, and so she takes him to her bank, where she gets $5,000 in cash, which I don’t think banks are super keen on doing. Heather leaves, grateful to never see him again, only to learn that he’s rented the extra room in her house, meaning he’s going to stick around.

At this point Heather doesn’t know what to do, so she goes to tell Ben. We don’t really hear Ben’s reaction to this news and just sort of cut in after the explanation, and he’s extremely calm?? I’m waiting for the twist that he’s involved as well (like he actually did pay Snowman to kill her uncle, since literally right before her uncle dies, he asks about his health, but this never comes up). When she cries that it looks like she gave him nine thousand dollars to kill her uncle, he points out only the first check is made out to him, the rest is cash. Which, again, I thinks it’s more damning to take out huge amounts of cash for no known reason, versus a check made out to a person, but I don’t know anything about hiring assassins. They decide to sneak into Snowman’s room and steal the first check and tear it up, so he has nothing to show the police.

They sneak into the room and are almost immediately caught. Snowman clubs Ben with a tire iron and drags Heather into a car. He knocks her out with I think a needle, but it’s unclear, and she wakes up in a cold dark space. She realizes she’s packed in snow, building her inside a snowman inside the same park, which I have problems with. She’s tied up, which hinders movement, sure, but she’s worried about suffocating and can’t push the snow at all. Now, I’m from Texas, so I have no real knowledge of how snow works, but this seems ridiculous to me. Googling it lets me know Snow Immersion Suffocation seems to be a real concern to skiers, but it essentially seems to be drowning in deep snow. It’s possible to pack and sculpt snow into some sort of oubliette, but I can’t believe trapping someone in a snowman couldn’t be undone just by them wiggling around a little too much. Anyway, Heather’s Chekhov’s lighter manages to light and burns her way out of the snowman, only to find Snowman waiting for her on the other side. He comes at her, and somehow, by waving her lighter at him, she lights his coat, and he starts to burn. Police show up with Ben hobbling behind them, and he says he was following her that day they went to the park and figured this is where he’d take her. Snowman’s arrested, Heather and Ben are probably going to get back together, and her uncle’s still dead, which is a general gain for everyone.

Favorite Line

“Okay, let’s bomb out of here!” he said enthusiastically.

Fear Street Trends

No Fear Street this time around, but it’s still a book written in the 90s. The above slang pops up on occasion, and at one point Heather says Snowman looks like “a Smiley button”, which I think she’s referring to this. A lot of attention is paid to Snowman’s “50s style coat”, but he also wears corduroy pants to the funeral. I’m still convinced it was supposed to be that he was much older, but we’ll never know for sure.


This book is not quite the usual Stinian fare. It’s definitely got his writing style and tropes he likes to use, but the chapter break jump scares are infrequent, no unnecessary twists, and it builds steadily a single narrative that actually works fairly well. I liked the Snowman. It was a refreshing breather in the occasional slog that is these old books, and being removed from the Fear Street mythology let the book be its own thing. This book came out in 1991 and seems so much cleaner than his other series, and I wonder how much of the goofiness of Fear Street is his hectic writing schedule and a franchise’s need to stick to formula. Anyway, the Snowman gets four headless snowmen out of five.

Bonus: I already got some Christmas presents and my brother-in-law got me the 25th anniversary Goosebumps set along with some Fear Street books!


I’ve been looking forward to do Wrong Number 2, so look forward to that in 2018!


Five Best Covers


During the brief reprieve I gave myself, I’ve somehow accumulated more projects, which means this past few weeks have been busy for me. I was originally going to read another of the modern Fear Street books, but time escapes me, and I’m out of town this week due to the holidays. I didn’t want to leave you with nothing, so I decided to rank for you what I believe are the top five book covers (of what I’ve seen so far).

5. The Stepsister

the stepsister orignal

What I originally said:

The cover to the original 1990 version (borrowed from Retro Daze) is alright. I think it hits the right amount of sinister with the figure showing up to the unsuspecting reader, and I sort of like that they keep the angelic looks of Jessie, but it makes it slightly less frightening.

I do like it. There’s something very sinister about the stepsister’s reflection in the mirror as Emily leans in to read her diary. It’s a great moment in a horror movie, when someone’s creeping around the villain’s room only to be caught, and I think it’s captured well here. I think the most distracting thing in it is the lamp, and removing it could add a little darkness that it’s missing.

4.  The Secret Bedroom

the secret bedroom

What I originally said:

The cover (pulled from Lexile) is’t bad. The contrast of her to the sickly green glow coming out of the door, the skeleton hand, her scared expression, it’s all pretty good. What’s killing it for me (besides the mom jeans and the terrible shirt) is that left arm. It’s so poorly attached, and the line of the shirt makes a line cutting it off, so it looks like they copy and pasted it from somewhere else. Otherwise it’s a pretty good cover.

I stand by this one. I still think the shadow on the left arm makes it look disconnected, but this is a dynamic cover. The placement of the tagline over the opening door as both arms pull adds an urgency to it. The green light might be goofy elsewhere but works here, though the skeleton hand looking like it’s pulling the door back could be changed. Having it claw at her would be a lot better. I like the slant to the door as well. It gives it an off-kilter feeling.

3. The Sleepwalker

the sleepwalker

What I originally said:

I have so many memories of just this cover (pulled from its GoodReads page).  I didn’t remember the plot of the book before reading it, but I have distinct memories of holding this book and its eerie cover. I think this is beautiful. The glow of the fog, the water at her feet, the white nightgown. The only thing I might change is she seems like a dangerous figure here, which I’m not against, but I think a little more delicacy in her face and pose might’ve gone further in the ethereal design they were going for.

This cover is nostalgic for me, and I remember it stacked with my Christopher Pike books I likely purchased from Half-Price books. The fog, the water, the white nightshirt all work together to make this feel dreamlike and ethereal, and it’s a perfect selling point for the book.

2. The Surprise Party

the surprise party

What I originally said:

I really like this cover (pulled from this website). It’s ominous, I like the use of green, the figure is threatening, but doesn’t reveal too much. I’m a big fan of this.

This looks like a 70s horror movie cover. It should be advertising Last House on the Left or something. It’s beautifully painted, extremely sinister, and gives everything you need to know going in. The early books have some legit horror movie style covers that I really appreciate.

1. The First Evil


What I originally said:

Only one cover this time (borrowed from the GoodReads page), and I gotta say I really like it. The skull and blood in the pompom is good, and the girl looks possessed. It’s a nice, sinister cover.

Y’all knew. Y’all knew! This is straight up and down my favorite Fear Street cover. The blood in the pompom with the skull coming out? Classic. You know this is going to be a scary fun book just looking at it. A++ would read again.

Special Mention

one evil summer

What I originally said:

I adore this cover (pulled from Goodreads). It’s so wickedly delightful. Chrissy is just swinging around that cat in her longshirt pajamas having a grand old time being so gosh darn evil. The only change I might make is getting rid of the lighthouse in the background. It’s a little distracting, does not have a place in the plot, and you get enough sense of being on the ocean from the ocean outside her window.

Why even have other covers? Woman laughing maniacally with cat had never made me pick up a book fast enough. Love it love it love it.

That’s it, my friends! That’s all I have time for right now. In two weeks I’ll hopefully be coming at you with the next book, but until then, consider checking out my 1950s monster mash, which is about to finish up its second arc (meaning I have to get started on part three!). After that, I’ve got some ideas for what I’ll be doing. I’m hoping to have the next part of my old west horror serial up in January as well, but there’s still tons of research I’ve been avoiding! If nothing else, I’m going to continue my Modern Monsters series, in which the next part will focus almost exclusively on this year’s best flop, the Mummy. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve switched around how I do donations, and currently you can buy me a coffee if the mood takes you. I’ve mentioned before I purchase the most of these books, which are usually around $5. It’s not the worst expense I have to deal with, but with some other projects in my life, I don’t have a lot of loose change lying around.

Which brings me to my biggest announcement! With the help of some friends, I’ve started an LGBT pop up library! Renegade Libraries is meant to bring literature to queer people in Houston, TX, as well as provide programming and connect authors to their audience. Find us on twitter and Facebook, and if you happen to live in Houston, come check us out at the Montrose Center on January 14! We’re currently looking for the best way to ask for donations, but give us a holler online if you like what you see! This is something I’ve thought about for a very long time and now it’s happening, which is super exciting for me!

See you in December!

Buy Me a Coffee


Hey, folks! In the past I’ve thrown up a Paypal link for y’all to donate to help me get Fear Street books, but I’m trying out a new thing. To help support this blog, along with my writing blog and my old west horror serial, I’ve created a Ko-Fi page. A lot of my extra income is going to a completely new project I may be posting about here soon, which means that extra five dollars I need to get the next book may be less available. If you’re enjoying these recaps and want to make sure I still have books to read, click the link below. Thanks for reading guys, and I’ll see you soon!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


Happy Halloween!


Halloween, as we know, is the most magical time of the year. I’ve been consuming a lot of media this month, including some brand new podcasts and even reading a non-Stine related book, and in the past I’ve given my recommendations related to these things. I don’t plan on taking a break in November this year, though I will be going back to my every other week update for the conceivable future, so in the week while you’re waiting for the next chilling adventure, I suggest you check out this cool media:

Meddling Kids is a book inspired by Scooby-Doo and Lovecraft. The cover is vividly gorgeous, and the writing inside is strange, but ultimately weaves together a tale of friendship, fishmen, and fear. Set in 1990, it’s a perfect read for a fan of Fear Street.

Buzzfeed Unsolved is, for the five people who haven’t heard of it, a web series produced by Buzzfeed that focuses on unsolved mysteries and supernatural stories. A marathoned all the episodes in less than a day and love both the absolute drive to believe by Ryan and the relentless skepticism of Shane. If you’re looking for something spooky for Halloween, I recommend the Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel, but they also have episodes on the O.J. Simpson case, Men in Black, and even the recent strange road trip of the Tromp family. For a fan of mysteries, it’s a must.

Ghostwatch maybe the most fascinating item on this list. Originally aired in 1992, it depicted an investigative team examining the strange haunting of a home in London. While initially harmless, with interviews from neighbors dressed up for Halloween, the haunting escalates until the ghost takes over all the cameras. It’s never had a repeated viewing on BBC, it started a War of the Worlds style hysteria, with people believing a ghost was invading their homes, and several cases of trauma popping up afterwards. Sawbones actually did an episode on the phenomenon it caused, and it’s worth a listen. Every year folks do a “seance” of sorts, starting their viewing of the program at the same time and going to Twitter under #ghostwatch. You’ll have to find a version yourself, but it’s worth a watch.

For some reason I’ve become obsessed with exorcisms over this month, and I started listening to Wondery’s deep dive into the Exorcist movie, titled Inside the Exorcist. Four of seven episodes have been released, and they cover all the factors that went into making the exorcist, from the author that wrote the original book, from the case that inspired it, to the life of the director who made it. Done partially as a narrative and partially as a documentary, it jumps between times and focuses and creates a chilling picture of one of the scariest movies of all time. If you don’t know anything about the creation of the movie or are just curious, I recommend checking it out.

And, if you haven’t watched it this year, go ahead pick up Evil Dead 2. It does not require seeing Evil Dead to watch it, and honestly I enjoy it more than Army of Darkness (which is still an amazingly hilarious movie). It hits the stride between horror and comedy while playing on Evil Dead’s original concept. It’s Bruce Campbell nailing down Bruce Campbell, with tons of over the top gore, strange animations, and a scene so manic and delightful that you’re laughing when a man chops off his own hand. I realized while rewatching it that it’s the Bride of Frankenstein of our day, a parody of it’s own material, far better than it’s predecessor, and a delight from start to finish.

Hopefully these suggestions will find you something good this Halloween! Barring anymore hiccups I’ll post again on November 11, where we’ll continue to follow the Fears and this unusual town to the very end. Stay spooky!


What’s Next?


I was going to finish out this summer with Goodnight Kiss 2 and then take a little break, but the truth is my anxiety level has been so high these past few weeks, I’ve barely been able to do the things I have to do much less the things I do for fun on the Internet. Real life hit me pretty hard these past few weeks. My free time in August and September will be spent finding a place to move into and then moving, so I’d rather chill on this blog and come back well rested with brand new material. But I’ve accrued something of a following with this blog, and some of you have even been nice enough to send me donations for the next book. (Thank you, by the way! Nothing has thrilled me quite as much as receiving a message that says they love my blog and look forward to more!)

And since you, gentle readers, have been with me on this journey, I figure it’s time you got a say in what I read next. I made a list of ten potential books that would be interesting to get into next. The #1 on this list will be the next book I read (starting back in October), and any votes for the others will let me know I should be looking into next. I don’t know if these’ll be the exact next ten I read, but knowing what’s wanted and what’s popular will definitely push me towards it.

Feel free to add anymore suggestions in the comments! Like I said, I want to know what interests you. Thank you for your readership, and I will see you in October!


Return of the Fear Street Cheerleaders!


I went hunting for the next Fear Street book to read (and a digital version, since I ended up being pretty busy), and I found the summary for the next Fear Street novel through Amazon.

cheerleaders returned.png

The Fear Street cheerleaders are returning! It looks like the evil won’t be part of the plot of this one, but you know who is the main villain? Devra Dalby, not Reva, but I imagine they’re going to be just about the same character. I haven’t read any of the relaunch yet but am waiting for just the right moment to cover it here, but I did find an excerpt of the next book through ew.com. If you’re wondering, ‘has R.L. Stine gotten any better at writing kissing?’, the answer is a definitive no:

But instead he wrapped his arms around her waist, lowered his face to hers, and kissed her. The kiss lasted a long time. She gave herself to it.

I’m pretty excited for this, and it’s motivating me to read the relaunch. We’ll see as of April if this holds up to the high standards the cheerleaders have left before us.


November Break


Hey, guys! I’ve been reading Fear Street books pretty consistently throughout 2016 and have posted weekly on this site for 8 months. For a site I started just for an excuse to reread every single Fear Street book, I feel pretty good about that. November and December are holiday times, though, and while I do have several reads planned for December, I think this month I will put a pause button on it. I’ve read nearly 40 Fear Street books since starting this, and I think it’s time to give my brain a little break. Don’t worry though! Because we’ll be spending Christmas with a very special girl, who has more money than manners, whose daddy owns a certain department store, and this new year I’m going to return to some of our favorite characters.

As for November, I need a vacation from Shadyside. If you’re still desperate for something spooky, I do have a bi-monthly old west themed horror serial called Deadlands that just posted its eighth chapter and a special Halloween short. Or you can head over to my writing blog Black Cat Fiction and read the spooky short stories I posted there (which, come January, should be posting its own horror themed high school story). As of December 4th, I will be posting here again. After all, it’s not as though any of us can escape Fear Street.