I was so excited for this Fear Street list because it is the first time that every book on the list was completely new to me. When I read this series in the early nineties I did read a good chunk of books, but I tended to skip around. Most lists in the past has included a mix of books I have read before and books that I was reading for the first time, but with this list they were all first-timers. 😉
Fear Street Scale: 4 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Third Place
When Nicole Darwin’s best friend, Lucy Kramer, suggests, “Let’s switch bodies,” Nicole thinks Lucy is joking. But Lucy is serious. Lucy has learned the secret of the mysterious wall the lies deep in the Fear Street woods, just beyond Simon Fear’s old burned-out mansion. It is called the Changing Wall and long ago people used its magic to switch bodies with each other. Nicole is more than ready for a change; her life is in the pits. She thinks why not, when they grow tired of being each other they’ll just return to the wall and switch back. It works! Now Lucy is in Nicole’s body and Nicole is in Lucy’s. But for Nicole, what a trap! Because Lucy is using Nicole’s body to get away with murder!
This book was very interesting to say the least. Nicole and Lucy switch bodies by the end of the first two chapters, so the book begins at a very fast pace. This was actually one of the reasons this book was not rated higher. It begins more at a rushed pace than a fast one. If R.L. Stine had spent another chapter or two setting everything up, everything else would have paid off a lot more in the end. Told from Nicole’s perspective, the reader never gets a sense of Lucy and who she is. She suggests making the switch at the end of the first chapter and by the end of the second, they’ve switched. Stine should have shown the dynamic between the two friends before switching bodies is even brought up, because we lack any understanding of Lucy as a character and more importantly the relationship between these two girls.
That being said, something if obviously off with Lucy and her intentions from the get-go. But things just get bizarre once the two switch bodies. Nicole returns to Lucy’s home and finds her parents dead, and a note from Lucy saying she killed them. It appears as though Lucy has set Nicole up to take the fall for terrible murders she committed before they switched bodies. Nicole is on the run, desperate to find the real Lucy and switch their bodies back. But things just get stranger from there.
She can’t find Lucy in her body, anywhere. It is as if she has completely disappeared. And it seems like some of their friends are ‘in’ on Lucy’s plot to frame Nicole. Then more bodies drop, people who were supposed to be dead return and a showdown between Lucy and Nicole in the end starts out as confusing more than anything else. But what Stine does to tie everything together is original (at the time anyway) and I loved that he got creative and gave the reader something different, and it more or less worked. The ending, like the beginning, felt rushed and the conclusion was only a page or two. I wish Stine had taken his time with this as well, whether it was through flashbacks, overheard conversations, etc. I wanted to be able to digest a little before the book was over.
If there was that set up in the beginning the reader could have not only gotten a better sense of Lucy and her relationship with Nicole, but connected with Nicole as a narrator. I never really rooted for her, because there was never time to connect. I figured out what Stine was doing, but it took awhile and even with the disconnection from these characters, the ride was enjoyable, nonetheless.
Definitely worth a read from any Fear Street fan! 🙂
“Bad Moonlight” (Super Chiller)
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: First Place
Danielle Verona loves being the lead singer for Bad Moonlight. She is on the road, performing at all the hot clubs. The adoring fans and bright lights… it’s a dream come true! But Danielle is scared because something bad is happening to her. She keeps having hallucinations filled with violence and death. And when nighttime falls, Danielle can feel something evil lurking in the darkness. There’s evil howling outside her window and then a band member is killed – ripped to shreds by a wild animal. Danielle thinks she may be responsible, she can’t remember anything except running under the moonlight. Did the moon transform her into a wild and murderous creature, or is someone else in the band a killer? All Danielle knows is that something out there, in the bad moonlight. Something savage… and hungry.
This is a Super Chiller that certainly earned its right to be called ‘Super’. Wink While it was a faster read than “Switched” and I enjoyed the characters and the story more, I was getting skeptical about halfway through. It seemed so obvious, what was going on, that I was torn between being let down and trying to figure out what was really going on because the answer to this thriller was just too obvious. I wasn’t let down in the end. R.L. Stine rarely goes the obvious route and even when he does, he puts his own spin on it, whether it be the ‘how’, motivation, etc. that takes all of that obviousness away.
Danielle is a character that is sympathetic and as a reader I could connect with her, even if half of the time she seemed to be losing her mind. My questions about if and why Danielle was losing her mind and other characters’ reactions to her bizarre behavior at times seemed unforgivable, but it all clicks in the end, and is neither rushed nor forced.
Horror aside, this is also one of the more enjoyable stories in terms of close-knit characters and atmosphere. As someone who has no musical talent whatsoever and is on the shy side, I got to experience the rush of performing in front of hundreds of people: of the nerves beforehand, the adrenaline during – almost as if one becomes possessed by such a rush and becomes someone else entirely, and the thrill afterward, knowing you were a hit. I was able to live vicariously through Danielle and the rest of the band. I also liked that there are seven people (including Danielle) that make up the band in the beginning and readers get to see all of the personalities and how they gel (and sometimes don’t) with each other. The band’s dynamics were almost as fun to read as the mystery behind “Bad Moonlight.”
Finally, if you had any doubts, this is a werewolf story, and I wanted to mention that because Stine usually avoids the mainstream monsters (with the exception of spirits and spirit possession) or even supernatural ones altogether and goes for the ‘real monsters’ – actual everyday people. This is his first stab at werewolves in a Fear Street book and unless they play a role in a book I have yet to read in the series, it may be the only time. So enjoy it while it lasts! 😉
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
Pick Of The Bunch Rating: Second Place
Tina Rivers is excited about her first ever college weekend, especially since she is visiting her boyfriend, Josh Martin, who she has not seen in months. She’s so excited, she doesn’t even mind that her cousin, Holly, is tagging along. But when Tina and Holly arrive, Josh is gone. Josh’s roommate, Chris Roberts, says that Josh is stuck in the mountains and delayed by car trouble. But Josh never mentioned he was going away. Things get even stranger when Holly suddenly disappears. But Chris isn’t worried about Holly or Josh. Chris seems to have the answer to everything and Tina is confused. But one thing is clear – Tina is about to learn more about love and murder than she ever wanted to know!
I really enjoyed “College Weekend” and finished it in a day (and with my schedule this is totally something to brag about). Tina Rivers is a girl in love and anyone who has ever been in love or had to deal with some kind of long-distance relationship can instantly relate to her desire to see her boyfriend, Josh. Her parents make her take her cousin Holly along, and as soon as they arrive something seems wrong. Josh’s dorm roommate arrives to pick them up and claims Josh went camping with a friend. But why didn’t he say anything about it? Chris: He thought he’d be back, but had car trouble. Why didn’t he take his hiking boots if her were going camping? Chris: He got new ones. Why did he leave his car keys if he took his car? Chris: He has an extra set. Yes, Chris has the answer to everything.
Chris seems to know a lot about Tina, from her favorite music and other things she is into, which comes off as creepy to me, but she just thinks he is sweet and there is some chemistry there. But then Holly goes off with ‘a friend’ without telling Tina and never comes back. Josh’s return keeps getting delayed and other things come up that make Tina start to question everything. Where is Josh? Where is Holly? Did something happen to them? Is Chris who he seems?
A case of mistaken identity, scheming, conspiracy and several half-truths is what this book is all about. Sadly, for the characters it doesn’t have a happy ending, and while the book was everything that I love about Fear Street it was the ending that really sold me on this book. Another top rate Fear Street edition – I loved “College Weekend” from beginning to end! 🙂
What a list! It has been ages since every book on a single post was a virgin experience for me (this is the second overall) and it is going to be several more Fear Street posts before every book is a first-time for me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I certainly did! 😉