This list of Fear Street titles if very special for a few reasons. First of all, this list marks the end of what I deem as old school Fear Street’. They just get better after this (not saying it wasn’t already great before, mind you). The second reason is that this list also includes the Fear Street’s first trilogy (there are six trilogies in the original series). This brings up my next point though. This week’s list has spoilers. Whenever R.L. Stine writes a trilogy in this series, each book builds off its predecessor – it is a true trilogy. So, books two and three in the trilogy will give away previous key plot points, including who the killer is. So, please skip the trilogy if you plan to read these books because it will ruin the suspense for you. To help out with this, I have placed the trilogy as the last three books on this list, when they should actually be books 2-4. The first book in the trilogy will not give anything away; it is the last two books that will (even in their summaries).
Matt, his girlfriend April, and best friend Todd are excited for a summer of sun and fun at the beach. But as dark shadows flutter over the sand, they find themselves plunged into a terrifying world of endless night. Matt wonders what is happening to Todd and April – they seem so tired, so pale, so changed. Twin puncture marks on their throats give Matt a clue and the bats hovering over the beach offer another. Soon it becomes clear that April and Todd have been lured away by strange and intoxicating kisses. Kisses that leave them weak and hungry for more; the kisses of a vampire. Can Matt rescue them in time? Or will their next goodnight kiss, be their last?
This was an interesting book. Yes, the book is about vampires, but Stine’s take on vampires was original (in my opinion, I confess I am not well versed in vampire pop culture though) down to what they call themselves and their powers, etc. Two vampires make a bet with each other; whoever can turn a human into one of them first, wins. Their intended victims are April and Todd. Matt seems like a teenaged big kid, but even he realizes what is going on, but not before it costs someone their life. While I don’t think I completely responded to Stine’s take on vampires (he made them more campy than creepy) this story was well-told, the pacing consistent, without any lulls, and the ending by itself almost pushed this book to a much higher rating than I gave it. It still earns its ‘Super Chiller’ status beyond its length and is a must-read for any true fan or wannabe. I promise the ending will have you reeling (in the great kind of way).
Honey Perkins has been telling everyone in town that she is Becka Norwood’s best friend, but Becka is sure she has never met Honey before in her life. Who is Honey and why doesn’t Becka remember her? Honey quickly begins to move in on Becka’s life, copying her in every way, wearing her clothes without asking, making plans with her friends. At first, Becka figures one more friend couldn’t hurt, until the horrible accidents begin to happen to Becka’s real friends. Does Honey really just want a friend or is she after much more?
This is the last book of ‘old school’ Fear Street (the Cheerleaders trilogy below came before this, but I moved this up to help avoid spoilers for those who care). I don’t like speaking ill of any Fear Street book, but this is my least favorite Fear Street book that I have ever read (and aside from what I have already blogged about I have read at least 75% of the 108+ books in the series). I just don’t get it. Honey is obviously nuts. I mean from the first time she bursts into Becka’s room, hugging her and saying how glad she is to be back (Becka wonders from, and that would be all it would take from me to say buh bye) she comes across as psycho. Not just crazy, but totally certifiable and far from harmless (stalkers are real yo). But then she takes Becka’s clothes without asking, in front of Becka and Becka just allows her to do this because she doesn’t want to hurt Honey’s feelings. Then Becka’s friends get picked off one after the other and it is so obviously Honey behind the incidents, so Becka starts to be afraid, but no one will believe her. Her parents tell her to be nice to the girl who barges into their home and acts unstable at best.
I just kept thinking what is wrong with everyone? The only mystery in this book is how everyone can be so ‘okay’ with Honey, who is obviously not okay from the very first chapter of this book. And the end – don’t even get me started. There is no resolution and it doesn’t end on a creepy note, but one without Honey being found out or Becka’s imminent death so it doesn’t satisfy anything. R.L. Stine didn’t plan to write a sequel, but fans were so disappointed they demanded he do so and he finally did. I hope the sequel can make up for this book (I haven’t read it yet) but it won’t show up on this blog until August (at least) because it was one of the last books of the original Fear Street series that Stine wrote before abandoning it. (Another reminder, he is relaunching Fear Street after more than fifteen years, with all new stories this October – yay.) I think people should read every book in this series, BUT in the case of this book, it might make you feel better to break chronology and read the sequel immediately after. Hopefully, it saves this book from itself.
“Cheerleaders Trilogy: The First Evil”
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
Corky and Bobbi Corcoran want nothing more than to make the cheerleading squad at Shadyside High. But as soon as they do, terrible things begin to happen to the cheerleaders. It begins with a mysterious accident near the Fear Street cemetery. Soon after, piercing screams echo through the school halls and then the ghastly murders begin… Can Corky and Bobbi stop the killer before the entire cheerleading squad is destroyed?
The Corcoron sisters are not welcome additions to the cheerleading squad. They transfer to Shadyside High after cheerleading tryouts, but because they took their previous school to all-state (and won) they get spots, bumping one of the other girls off the squad. Many of the cheerleaders, led by Kimmy and Debra, let the sisters know exactly how they feel about that. But then a horrible accident occurs on the way to an away game, nearly killing one of the cheerleaders. From there, everything spirals. Strange things begin to happen, football players and cheerleaders become paralyzed, not in control of their bodies, causing injuries or worse… and bodies begin to drop. This book is full of ‘what is happening?’ and ‘who is doing this?’ and my favorite, ‘who is going to be next?’ I think that is why this book is the best of the trilogy (and this list). Because after the first book you may not know ‘the who’ or who is going to be the next to die, but you have a basic understanding of what is happening.
I confess when I first read this trilogy (I was in middle school) I was skeptical to say the least. A trilogy about cheerleaders? Really? Thank goodness I still gave these a shot. Rereading them only reminded me of how well Stine understands how a trilogy should work and makes them work. This book is my favorite of the three because so much is unknown. As the bodies begin to drop and horrifying accidents begin to occur it is clear that something is seriously wrong. The book starts out in one sister’s perspective and then shifts into the other sister’s perspective so the reader gets a sense of both characters and how they are similar as well as how they are different, which was great. (I remember having a favorite perspective the first time I read this, I would be curious if anyone else did too.)
The showdown at the end of this book is epic: good versus evil, a fight to the death between the living and the dead. I also must applaud this trilogy for one other reason: it is the first time Stine successfully incorporates the supernatural into the world of Fear Street. Sure, this isn’t the first book to cover the supernatural (that would be “Haunted” and there was also “The Secret Bedroom”, but they were flops when compared to other books in this series. Many other books dabbled with supernatural elements, but were not actually supernatural themselves such as “The Sleepwalker”). But this trilogy makes supernatural evil much more menacing than the kind in real life and it connects it to Fear Street and the Fear family, which is all the better.
You must read the entire trilogy. I promise you don’t know what you’re missing! (Remember, spoilers lie beyond this point, even in the book summaries themselves.)
“Cheerleaders Trilogy: The Second Evil”
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Second Place
Corky Corcoran is trying to put the nightmare of Bobbi’s death behind her. She is back on Shadyside High’s cheerleading squad and has even become friends with Kimmy and Debra. But everything is not back to normal for Corky. She keeps seeing her dead sister rise from the grave, even if she is sure it is her imagination. There are other things too: she hears horrible screams in the gym, her best friend has become obsessed with the occult and a strange young man is following her. Corky tries to brush everything off until the murders begin again… Has the evil spirit from the Fear Street cemetery returned to kill them off one by one?
This book was a very close second. Why? Bigger body count and even though we now know that someone is possessed by the evil spirit of Sarah Fear, we have no idea who. While the first book laid the groundwork for this trilogy, this book starts off running. There is a higher body count and the deaths themselves are much more gruesome than before. It becomes clear that just because you survived the first book that does not mean you will survive the second. When the spirit is finally revealed it is another epic showdown, one that Corky cannot afford to lose.
“Cheerleaders Trilogy: The Third Evil”
Fear Street Scale: 4 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
Did the evil spirit really leave this time? The cheerleaders of Shadyside High can still feel its dark presence. Corky is sure it is still out there, somewhere close and getting closer. Corky is tormented night after night by dreams of her dead sister, Bobbi. What horrible message is Bobbi trying to tell her? When the evil begins again, Corky realizes it is up to her to learn the century-old secrets and destroy the evil spirit once and for all. But so many have died already… Will Corky be next?
Last spoiler warning because in the next sentence I am going to blow who the spirit has possessed in this book. This final chapter in the Cheerleaders trilogy took an entirely new approach to the horror of Sarah Fear’s spirit, because after the first third of the book you know who is possessed, but the book deals with what that person does about it. When it becomes clear that Sarah Fear is still with the Shadyside cheerleaders, Corky begins to suspect the spirit never left Kimmy. But Kimmy realizes (before Corky does) where Sarah Fear truly lies, within Corky herself. Corky fights for control and in the moments that she is in control she tries desperately to figure out Sarah Fear’s secrets in order to bury her evil for good. The only problem is she can’t figure out how she can without destroying herself in the process. Remember, this is a true trilogy so even Corky is expendable in this book… the only rule is that there aren’t any rules. Will Corky kill someone before she is able to banish Sarah Fear’s spirit? Can Corky win without being destroyed herself? Obviously, you know you have to read this book to find out these answers and more. You won’t regret it! 😉
I hope you enjoyed the last of ‘old school’ Fear Street. Next week’s list is so awesome I might burst. It is another trilogy, this one that explores the Fear family, the origin of their curse (and Fear Street itself) and why so many horrible things happen there. You’re seriously in for a treat and a very special post, so don’t miss it! 😉