Sunday, October 3, 2021

Fear Street Mini-Reviews: The New Girl, All-Night Party, and Killer's Kiss by R.L. Stine

Nostalgia re-reads! I read every single Fear Street book I could get my hands on as a kid and I'm rereading them to see how they hold up over time.

* The New Girl by R.L. Stine

Gymnast Cory falls for Anna without knowing anything about her. He loses interest in everything but her and she isn't who she seems. This is the very first Fear Street novel and it shows. Cory is an absolute idiot, throwing everything in his life away for a random girl he sees a few glimpses of. He has no idea that his best friend Lisa has a crush on him no matter how overt her feelings. The book is choppily written and doesn't have a lot of connective tissue. The only really interesting parts have Cory escaping a house out of a tree with his gymnast skills and visiting the very spooky Fear Street with its abandoned mansion and eerie residents. The ending ties up a little too neatly and the whole thing is a bit forgettable.

My rating: 1.5/5 fishmuffins

* All-Night Party by R.L. Stine

It's Cindy's birthday so naturally her friends kidnap her and take her to Fear Island for an all night party. Cindy is killed during the night. Was it one of her friends, her boyfriend, or the escaped convict? This is #43 in the series. The writing feels more fluid and the story more complete. This is a nice intro to murder mysteries. Most of the characters have some sort of motive and plenty had the opportunity. We follow Gretchen as she works to figure out who killed her best friend on a remote island with no phones and pre-internet. The characters feel a bit like paper dolls and not real teens, but it's so much better than The New Girl. The dialogue in particular feels unnatural. The ending is clever and unexpected with suspicion cast on many. I didn't predict who it was in the end and that impressed me.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

* Killer's Kiss by R.L. Stine

Delia and Karina compete over everything from a prestigious art scholarship to their unknowingly shared boyfriend Vincent. Delia is terrorized with worse and worse instances of destroying her work or physical attacks, making everyone suspect Karina. The escalating harassment and attacks get pretty scary for a teen book of this era. I don't like Vincent at all, who works to keep both girls in the dark about his relationship with the other, and I wonder why these two talented girls bother with him at all. It all seems so misogynistic like girls have nothing better to do but fight over trivial things. This type of relationship between girls is seen in almost all the Fear Street books I've reread. I guess it's a sign of when it was written, but it's disappointing nonetheless. I remember Killer's Kiss being a favorite of mine as a kid because of the crazy twist at the end which seems more obvious reading as an adult and the ending monologue out of nowhere seems a bit bizarre. 

My rating: 2.5/5 fishmuffins

I'll be covering a few more and hope the supernatural stories are a bit better. With the Netflix movies, people are charging kind of a lot for second hand copies, so special thanks to the LA County Library system for having all of these on Libby to borrow. Kindle Unlimited also has a few Fear Street titles. 

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