I had to make the decision on which series to put out there first and Fear Street won by a hair. Mostly because I decided to do each series back-to-back like I do with my noteworthy fiction and nonfiction posts. The next five Fear Street books show R.L. Stine learning more about the world he has created and features the first 5 out of 5 book of the series (a favorite!). While he has an experiment, a miss and a phenomenal hit, the other two are solid pillars of suspense and horror that become what the series is known for. I hope you enjoy and like the back of each book says, “WELCOME TO FEAR STREET.”
Fear Street Scale: 4 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Fourth Place
What would you do if your parents didn’t come home? At first, Mark and Cara aren’t worried; they even throw a party like any self-respecting teenagers would do. But when the police show no interest in finding their parents after more time has gone by and their strange cousin who lives in their attic seems to be spying on them, they become desperate to find them. When murder strikes, Mark and Cara are surrounded by nothing but questions and the answers lie deep in the Fear Street Woods. The only thing they know is that someone wants them to disappear just like their parents…
This is only the fourth book in the series and it is clear that R.L. Stine was still experimenting with the series and what was in the realm or outside the realm of Fear Street. The first two thirds of this book are a clear five out of five, but the answers and ending to this novel, while clever and creative, do not seem to fit the Fear Street universe. It would be interesting as a standalone novel outside the series (though it would need some obvious changes) but while it is a decent story with wonderful suspense built up, the ending left me deflated (at least as a hardcore Fear Street fan).
“The Wrong Number”
Fear Street Scale: 5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
It began as an innocent prank. Deena Martinson and her best friend Jade Smith make sexy phone calls to boys from school. When Deena’s half-brother Chuck catches them, he threatens to tell unless they cut him in on the fun. But Chuck has other ideas and makes random calls, threatening whoever answers. They know it is stupid, but enjoy the publicity they are getting until Chuck calls a number on Fear Street and the jokes are over when murder is on the line. The murderer knows who they are, where they live and they have no one to call for help…
This is by far the best Fear Street book out of the first eight books (probably more) of the series. Everything works for this book. Deena and Jade are both incredibly different yet dynamic as characters –it will be hard to pick a favorite. Chuck is a mystery. What is surprising is once these three dial the wrong number, the reader quickly realizes who the murderer is. That doesn’t take away from any of the chill factor however, when the murderer begins to circle the group, pinning the murder on one of them while making sure the other two won’t live long enough to reveal the truth. If you don’t care about reading the entire series or reading the books in order then look no further and start with this book! I guess fifth time is the charm?
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
One week after Mayra Barnes starts her summer job on Fear Street, helping old Mrs. Cottler, she begins to sleepwalk. She is terrified to wake up outdoors in the middle of the night and not know where she is. Mayra becomes even more frightened when she discovers that Mrs. Cottler may be a witch. To add to her horror, she is being followed by a menacing stranger who seems to recognize her, but she’s never seen him in her life. Is the old woman casting a spell on her? Who is this stranger? As Mayra continues to wake up in more dangerous situations, one thing is clear, she is sleepwalking to her death. She must find out what is happening to her or she will never leave Fear Street alive.
This is another great book, possibly better than the premise of the story. I remember the first time I read this and thought, ‘sleepwalking, so what?’ Well when the character wakes up in the midst of oncoming traffic or deep in a lake, nearly drowning, it becomes clear how serious it is. The stranger and the mystery of Mrs. Cottler are fantastic additions to an already immediate story, but the ending… well I don’t think anyone will ever claim that they saw it coming!
Fear Street Scale: 3.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Fifth Place
Melissa woke up screaming. The Fear Street Prowler was at her window… or was he? Recent headlines have kept everyone on edge. Her father even has a loaded pistol in his bedroom… Then the haunting began: her car driving as if someone else was in control, her birthday presents ripped open, and an invisible force trying to push her out the bedroom window. A menacing figure appeared out of the shadows of her room. Who was he? Was he really a ghost? Why does he want to kill her? Melissa needs to find out soon, before she is haunted… to death!
This book is a must for any true fan of Fear Street or R.L. Stine. It isn’t bad, but it just never jumped out at me as particularly good either. It is fair (I haven’t read a truly bad Fear Street book, though perhaps I am biased) and like every other book, a fast read. If you want to read the series do not skip this book. It was difficult for me to connect to Melissa as a character. The story is creative and there are no plot holes, so perhaps this is just me. But while this book was not experimental like “Missing” was, I still felt it missed the mark or left me disappointed at the end (and that is a rare feeling I have with any book in this series).
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Second Place
The invitation showed a coffin with the inscription ‘Reserved For You’. It was perfect for an all-night Halloween party on Fear Street. Terry and his girlfriend Niki wonder why they were invited though. They barely knew Justine Cameron, the beautiful and mysterious transfer student who was throwing the party. Come Halloween, the costume party is in full swing when the lights go out. When they come back on there is a boy on the floor with a knife in his back. For the guests of this party the trick-or-treating has turned to terror as everyone realizes that someone among them is dressed to kill!
There is no question in my mind that this deserves the number two slot in this post’s book lineup. The book is creepy from the very beginning, but it really revs up when the first body drops. Who at the party is a murderer and why would they kill (name removed due to spoiler)? This book is one of the first great conspiracy murder books in the series. As much as “The Wrong Number” is perfect in pacing and suspense, this book nails the complexity of the layers of secrets a conspiracy requires and tying everything together that leaves the reader wondering both how they could have missed it and how anyone could possibly guess, all at the same time.
If I can get even one person interested in this bestselling 1990’s series then I have done my part. It has sold over 80 million copies to date for a reason! And remember, R.L. Stine is reviving the book series this October with new stories to put the Fear in Fear Street. I can’t wait!
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