Friday, September 14, 2012

Beach Party

Book Description:

Life is a beach...until you die

It's the ultimate party beach in California, summer fun in the sun to the max. And Karen, who's just broken up with her old boyfriend, means to enjoy every minute of it--especially having two new guys to choose between: one so handsome and one so deliciously dangerous. But the party summer takes a nasty turn when Karen realizes that someone is out to spoil all the fun. As the beach party gets wilder and wilder, Karen realizes that someone very close to her is too close--close enough to kill. Will the next beach party be her last?

My Description:

We begin this tale of hot summer woe with Karen driving like a maniac to pick up her friend Ann-Marie at LAX. Karen thinks she looks pretty good in her blue sleeveless shirt and white tennis shorts. "Not as pretty as Ann-Marie, but okay." Boo hoo. The problems of beautiful people! Karen arrives just as Ann-Marie is stepping through the gate. She's wearing jeans and a sweater even though it's presumably a thousand degrees outside. We get a short description of how beautiful and thin Ann-Marie is. She's like a model and Karen is like a turnip or something. Ann-Marie notices that Karen is wearing a necklace with a crystal on the end. Karen says that Mike gave it to her just before she broke up with him. Ann-Marie makes a smart ass comment about it and apologizes by saying "Sorry. It always takes me a while to lose my New York edge." New York is not to blame for your BITCH Ann-Marie. Now get in the trunk like a good girl and keep your yapper shut until the car stops. The girls talk about Karen's parents who are newly divorced. Mom dealt with it by sobbing while listening to The Beatles for months and Dad entered into a mid-life crisis of sorts. "He's driving a Corvette, for one thing. And he's blow-drying his hair." Horrible! When a man suddenly starts caring about his luscious locks, you know he's lost his damn mind! Anyway, Karen got a Mustang convertible out of the ordeal, probably because a certain someone with incredible Breck hair felt guilty. Karen tells Ann-Marie that Dad has a girlfriend who looks young enough to be Karen's sister who lives with him in an apartment in Venice. Dad and Girl are gone for a few days so the girls will have the apartment to themselves.

That night, the girls go for a walk on the beach which is deserted because of peoples' fear of gangs, according to Karen. Roving sand gangs are the worst. Do you know how hard it is to get sand out of your hair?!


At the mention of gangs, one magically shows up. Five guys decked out in heavy metal T-shirts and jeans (a few even have earrings! NOOO!) with greasy hair and tattoos come out of nowhere. Why does Stine refuse to believe that hoodlums can indeed have good hygiene? His villains are always greasy. Did Patrick Bateman teach him nothing? Anyway, the leader, Vince, starts freaking them out, but they're rescued by two handsome strangers who pretend they've been looking for the girls. The greasers back off and walk away. What a disappointment. The guys, Jerry and Marty, take Karen and Ann-Marie to RayJay's, a coffee shop/pizza place because if you're under the age of 18, it's a requirement to eat pizza at least once a week. BY FEDERAL LAW. These assholes already have dates, though, who are waiting for them at the restaurant. The girls, Stephanie and Renee, warm up to the other girls when they hear about what happened on the beach. Later, everyone leaves and Renee grabs Karen's arm in the parking lot to tell her to stay away from Jerry. "I really mean it. Stay away from Jerry." Heard you the first time, pizza breath.

The next day, Jerry and Vince run into each other on the beach, but there's no conflict because Vince is actually a whiny bitch and Jerry is a muscular surfer dude. Renee is sunning herself on a blanket and complaining about how bored she is. Did I mention Renee is a rich, stuck up brat? Because she is. Jerry doesn't want to deal with her bullshit and they have a little argument before Karen and Ann-Marie randomly show up which Renee doesn't like. Karen gushes about Renee's snorkel stuff and that breaks the ice a little. Renee lets Karen use it and they both decide to swim out to a sandbar. When they're pretty far out, Karen surfaces and realizes Renee is far ahead. Then Karen feels something pushing her. It's the current which pushes her into some rocks and slices a hole in her wet suit. She calls for help and Renee, who has surfaced and is only a few yards away, ignores her. Karen realizes Renee probably knew this would happen and deliberately led her out here. The current tosses her into the rocks and she hits her head. Eventually Jerry sees her and swims out. Renee acts shocked when she sees Karen and swims over with Jerry. They drag a now unconscious Karen to the sand where Jerry gives her mouth-to-mouth. This whole thing is like a "very special" episode of Baywatch (minus the heaving jugs). Two Venice policemen show up and Karen explains what happened. Renee is stared at SUSPICIOUSLY but she's only guilty of being a major bitch and that's not in these cops' jurisdiction. A little later, Jerry invites Karen to come to a beach party (some come to party, some come to die...don't forget it!) on Friday night. She agrees, Jerry walks off, and Renee stares at Karen with a creepy grin on her face that can only mean one thing: DEATH BEACH!

That night, Karen whines to Ann-Marie about Renee and how she knows Renee could hear her yelling in the ocean. After they finish eating ice cream, Ann-Marie leaves to buy some milk because ice cream makes her crave milk. Yeah. Anyway, the moment she leaves, Karen gets the obligatory "threatening" phone call: "Stay away from Jerry." Or what? The caller is obviously new at this because they fucking forgot the threat! There must be consequences, creepy caller, if Karen disobeys your stupid commands! Ann-Marie returns a few minutes later and Karen tells her all about the call. Karen thinks it sounded vaguely like her ex-boyfriend Mike. She thinks she saw him on the beach yesterday, but why the hell would he call her about Jerry? The phone rings again and Karen answers it by screaming "Just leave me alone!" into the receiver. The caller turns out to be her dad. Oops. He called to tell her that he and his woman friend won't be back for another week which means Karen and Ann-Marie will be alone and completely vulnerable to the murder that is almost certainly coming their way. Nice timing, Father.

On Thursday afternoon, Ann-Marie is visiting relatives in Burbank so karen goes shopping. She runs into Mike on the sidewalk. "He was wearing white tennis shorts and a T-shirt that proclaimed in big green letters: GUMBY LIVES." Apparently Mike isn't aware that Pokey killed Gumby in a crack-fueled rage before turning his lethal hooves on himself...the day he found out this book was being published.

Never Forget

Mike is described as looking like Jim Belushi which is just so very unfortunate. Mike says he got a job selling T-shirts on the boardwalk. Karen's first thought is that Mike followed her here, but then thinks that's ridiculous. They talk a little and Mike asks her out. She says they're broken up, Mike replies that he thought they were friends, and Karen says that's just something people say. "But no-one ever really stays friends." Mike won't let it drop, but before he can say more, Vince pulls up on his motorcycle and tells Karen to get on. She does and Mike is, of course, furious.

Vince skids to a stop at the Promenade in Santa Monica. Karen says she wants to go home, Vince gets pissed because Karen isn't into him, and they leave. He drives like a maniac until he reaches her apartment where he lets her off with some parting words: "Say hello to your brother." Uhhhh...I'm guessing that's what he thinks Jerry is. Karen goes inside and is shocked to see words spray painted on the door to her apartment. "STAY AWAY FROM JERRY" The paint is fresh so the culprit is nearby...maybe. I don't care about who's doing these things because this person is lame. No originality, no murderous threats. I bet their lips aren't even dry! And that, my friends, is a crime against humanity. Karen enters the apartment and finds Ann-Marie inside. She didn't go see Aunt Freda after all and is blissfully unaware that someone spray painted the door. Karen shows her and says someone really wants to scare her. Ann-Marie's response: "Is it working?" Well, miss, you just shot to the top of the suspect list. And YES, it IS working!

It's now Friday night and Karen is telling Ann-Marie about her wild ride with Vince. Karen is strangely attracted to him even though he's kind of an a-hole. She wants to know why Ann-Marie isn't going to the beach party and Ann-Marie says she's too tired. "Aunt Freda wore me out." Wow. Then Ann-Marie gets all snippy about how Jerry seems into Karen and blah blah blah. Jerry shows up in a van with some other people and Karen leaves with them for the party. They build a fire on the beach and Karen and Jerry enjoy an intimate moment that I didn't want to be privy to. When they come up for air, Karen is shocked to see Renee watching them. Jerry calls Renee over and Karen actually says "We were looking for firewood." Oh Karen. You are truly a comedian...and kind of incredibly stupid. They all walk back to the fire, Renee clinging to Jerry's arm like the bloody little leech she is. A little later, Renee takes Karen aside to tell her an interesting tidbit about Jerry. "He needs special care." Jerry's brother Todd drowned last summer and something in Jerry's brain pan broke a little because he blames himself for Todd's death. Renee says she's only telling Karen this because she and Jerry have been through some hard times and she's not going to let Karen have him that easily.

Later, Karen goes home and Ann-Marie is out. Karen thinks that's a little weird because it's after 1 AM and Ann-Marie was whining about being tired earlier. Karen picks up some of Ann-Marie's laundry off the floor to put in her dresser where she discovers something strange. "It was a can of black spray paint." GASP...and such.

That night, Karen has a nightmare about getting her skin split open on some beach rocks. She wakes soaked in sweat at 7:30 AM and walks to Ann-Marie's room. Ann-Marie wakes up and tells Karen she hung out on Main Street with some people she somehow knows. Then Karen brings up the paint can and Ann-Marie predictably denies that the paint is hers and says she has no idea how it got in her dresser. She changes the subject and asks what they're going to do today. Karen made plans to rollerskate with Jerry so Ann-Marie rolls over and goes back to sleep because she's being ditched by her best friend for a guy they've known for a day. Good times.

Karen is now hanging out on the boardwalk waiting for Jerry who's over half an hour late. Then she sees Mike who hides behind a rack of shirts when he spots her. Jerry shows up a moment later and they skate off into the sun. Goodbye, Mike. You know we can see you, right?

At 9 PM, Karen says she should get home to Ann-Marie, but Jerry doesn't want her to go so they make out instead. FINALLY she goes home. Ann-Marie is gone and left a note saying she's out with friends. Karen crawls into bed...and jumps out screaming. She turns on the light and sees that the bed is full of jellyfish. "When Ann-Marie walked in a few seconds later, Karen was still screaming." The girls stay up all night. Ann-Marie keeps saying Renee has to be doing all these things even though all signs point to ANN-MARIE, JELLY LOVER.

In the morning, Karen walks to Renee's house to confront her. Except she can't because Renee is lying on the kitchen floor, dead as a doornail. Karen ends up at the police station waiting to be questioned. She called the LAPD immediately after finding Renee. Jerry has already been questioned and it's currently Ann-Marie's turn. Karen's mom is also there. Finally Karen is questioned and she keeps the jellyfish and black paint to herself. 20 minutes later, it's all over and Karen's mom wants Karen to come home with her. Karen refuses because she wants to make sure Jerry is ok. Barf. Karen and Ann-Marie are walking home when a girl claiming to be Jerry's sister pops out of nowhere, asks "Are you Karen?", and proceeds to beg Karen to stay away from Jerry before running away. Since Karen is an imbecile, she will do no such thing. Once they reach the apartment building, Jerry appears out of nowhere (are he and his sister magicians?). Karen mentions his sister and he says he doesn't have a sister. Of course. OF COURSE he doesn't! Why? Because it's Stine's way to make things as unnecessarily complicated as possible. The madness has descended!

On Sunday night, Jerry, Karen, and Ann-Marie are at RayJay's. They're eating pizza (do I even need to say it?) and talking about Renee. Jerry admits he intially thought Renee killed herself instead of being brutally murdered because she knew he was going to break up with her. Because you're so great, eh, Jerry? I spit on you and the ancestors from whose loins you were spawned, you self-absorbed twat. Anyway, Karen notices Mike looking through the window at them. Karen goes outside and Mike runs away because apparently that's literally the only thing he knows how to do.

The next afternoon, Ann-Marie goes for a walk and Karen suns herself on the beach. Vince shows up and he and Karen take a walk together. She asks questions about the police questioning him and blah blah. Then Vince grabs her and kisses her hard. She's confused and torn because of her feelings for both Vince and Jerry so she just walks back to her blanket. She finds a piece of paper stuck inside the blanket that has the words "STAY AWAY FROM JERRY" typed on it over and over. Seriously? Are we STILL doing this? Obviously the passive aggressive bullshit doesn't work with this chick, mysterious weirdo. Get a new M.O. or please feel free to fall off the face of the earth.  A second later, Karen applies some sunscreen and screams in horrible pain at the burning sensation.

At the doctor's office, Karen is treated for burns that resulted from the hydrochloric acid someone dumped in her bottle of sunscreen. She doesn't want the doctor to call the police or her parents because that would be the SMART thing to do and Karen is an idiot with a death wish. So she flees the doctor's office and once outside, comes upon Vince who waited after dropping her off on his motorcycle. As he drives her home, Karen wonders if Ann-Marie could be behind all this. HMM! When they arrive at the apartment, she sees Mike running out the door and away. Are you kidding me? Karen goes inside and finds Ann-Marie behind a chair. She says she was looking for her necklace, but she's bright red and looks like a liar. Karen brings up Mike and Ann-Marie looks embarrassed and says they've been seeing each other. She was never with "friends", she was always with Mike. Karen finds this hilarious because she was beginning to suspect them both of being psychotic maniacs! What a hoot! The phone rings a moment later and Karen answers. It's the girl who claims to be Jerry's sister so Karen hangs up on her.

It's now Friday afternoon and Karen is with Jerry at the beach. They're about to go snorkeling since that worked out so well last time. There are a ton of people around because it's a beach party. Yes, a BEACH PARTY so someone is gonna die. Right? Just let me believe. Karen and Jerry swim out a few yards, but Karen's burnt shoulder and hand start to hurt so she asks Jerry to help her to shore. "I'm not Jerry. I'm Todd." Aaaand we come to the end of the fuckery maze. Jerry is completely insane because he blames himself for Todd's death. He killed Renee because she was too close to Jerry (who now thinks he is Todd) and now he has to kill Karen for the same reason. He says "Jerry is bad." before grabbing Karen's snorkel mask and throwing it away. He swims off as Karen starts to go under.

Somehow Karen manages to get back to shore, though, where Vince helps her out the water. Jerry's sister runs up and asks where Jerry is. She explains that Jerry shut the rest of his family out and thinks he has no family. The three run off to search for Jerry who is close by. He's behaving normally now and allows his sister to lead him away. He tells Karen he'll call her later. Karen asks Vince if he's really someone she can lean on and he picks her up and carries her across the sand like a hero in a movie no-one ever wanted to see.

Conclusion?: This has got to be the dullest thing R.L. Stine has ever written. EVER. My brain cells are dropping like flies...

Next time: "Trapped" Shadyside High's nutty answer to The Breakfast Club.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Post #5: Drucilla (Redux)

Hello again! Thanks for the comments on my last guest post. While I was writing my first post, I kept getting ideas of other articles I wanted to write. This is one of them. These are my opinions not this website’s. Do not bash this blog if you don’t agree with me. With this guest post rather than my last one, I’m hoping to encourage more discussion. It would be awesome if someone else did a guest post agreeing or disagreeing with me. As before, my guest blog won’t be hilarious or awesome, but the real blog is and I can’t wait to read more of it.

R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Favs VS. Reader’s Reality…Ding, Ding!

Towards the beginning of this year, R. L. Stine created a Fear Street section on his website. On the page, he added his top eight favorite Fear Street books. Here’s the link to the page in question: I was especially excited to see his favorites as I had been reading and re-reading the original Fear Street series over the past couple of months. For this guest blog post, I will look at each of his favorites, why they’re his favorites, and compare them to a reader’s perspective. There will probably be spoilers and I’m going to assume you know the basic story. I’m linking to this blog’s review/recap when I can so you can refresh your memory if you want. One more thing, if a book has sequels or is part of a trilogy, I’m assuming, for the most part, that Stine is referring to all of them. However, I will address the first book vs. its series in my analysis (yeah, right. Like any of this was done in an analytical way). As I said previously, I hope you guys will join me and discuss whether you agree with his favorites or not.

Silent Night
Silent Night 2
Silent Night 3

Silent Night chronicles ultimate mean girl Reva Dalby. Stine says that he loved writing this character because of her biting dialogue and mean attitude. As an author, it may be fun to write, but as a reader, it is annoying and frustrating to read. Main characters are supposed to be likable and if they’re not, they usually become so over the course of the book. Normally when we have a character as mean spirited as Reva, something bad happens to them as punishment. Throughout this book, we as readers are hoping and praying that Reva is killed or at least punished severely. This is one of only a few Fear Street books where we actually cheer the killer on. Well, I guess you can’t accuse Stine of following the masses. We are subsequently disappointed not once, but three times! Not only are we disappointed in that respect, but we end up reading the same book three times because, even though Reva says she’ll change, she never does. You’ve had at least three people try to kill you because you’re a bitch, maybe you should examine your life (again).

However, if we assume that Stine just meant the first Silent Night and not any of its sequels, I can see why it might be a favorite of his. He gets to have his cake and eat it too. He can write a horribly mean character and have her survive, but, at the end, it’s ok because she said she’ll change. And if we ignore the sequels, who’s to say she doesn’t?

The New Girl

There’s really not much to say for this book. The New Girl has the distinction of being the first published Fear Street novel. It’s interesting looking back because, nowadays, Cory would be considered a stalker and a dangerous one at that. I would have preferred it to actually be a paranormal story and not the same old crazy chick story, but it’s a decent, if somewhat repeated, Fear Street cliché. Stine says he loved the story, though, and I can see why he chose it to inaugurate the Fear Street series.


In an interesting turn of events, while Switched is this blog’s favorite Fear Street book, it’s probably my least favorite. This should be interesting. Stine says on his site that not many people mention this book to him…that’s probably because this book is TERRIBLE! He says he’s proud of the twisty and clever plot. Stine may be proud of it, but from where I’m standing it looks like he threw every plot device and writers convenience into it (everything but the kitchen sink, of course). While keeping your readers guessing isn’t a bad thing, keeping them guessing for the sake of keeping them guessing is. This book is just one of the (quite a) few Fear Street books where the ending twist actually makes the book worse. If it had just stuck to what the plot appeared to be, it would have been a much better and interesting book.

Fear Street Saga: The Betrayal- review/recap coming soon (I’m sure)

The original Fear Street Saga is great. I agree with Stine on this. Every reader loves back story and I love that we get an explanation why all of this stuff happens on Fear street. The trilogy is consistent and, frankly, is a good story. It’s horror, but underscored with a profound sense of tragedy. He says he loved going back to witch burning times and I think he nailed it. If Stine only considers The Betrayal one of his favorites, then I can only guess that it’s because the first one in the series has sentimental value, because the other books in the trilogy stand up to scrutiny as well. However, I can’t just let this examination end on a high note so let’s welcome Fear Street Sagas.

The Fear Street Sagas chronicle more of the Fear street curse and its repercussions down through the generations. I understand the idea behind the series and actually like that idea. It’s a way to give the readers more of what they want and to milk the Fear Street brand for all it’s worth. In the interest of full disclosure, I have actually only read two of the Sagas series, but, unfortunately, one of them was the VERY FIRST ONE. Now, this series is on R.L. Stine’s complete book list so one would assume he wrote it, but the savvy Stine fan knows that he (or more likely the publishing company) employs ghost writers occasionally. However, it is my (perhaps naive) belief that R.L. Stine did write the original Fear Street and Super Chiller books and if he didn’t, then I don’t want to know. *sticks tongue out* This favorites list actually helps me out because I don’t think he would pick a book he didn’t write and if Stine could write a terrible book like Switched and a really good book like The Betrayal, then who knows which books he wrote himself (besides the copyright page, of course)? Why do I bring this up? Because it’s clear from the VERY FIRST BOOK that whoever wrote it didn’t read the last book in the Fear Street Saga, The Burning. It clearly states that Nora and Daniel go to see Simon right after they are married. Unless they consummated their marriage on horseback or in the carriage, THERE COULDN’T HAVE BEEN A CHILD! I’d like to think that Stine would at least have re-read his work before starting on this new Sagas series so I’m going to say this series was ghost written.

Ok, now is the part where I apologize for that last part. I got extremely off topic and I’m sorry. I do want to say that not all of the Sagas are crap. The Awakening Evil tells the story of Sarah Fear of The Cheerleaders fame and it’s really good. Many of our questions about The Evil are answered and it stays in canon.

The Cheerleaders: The First Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Second Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Third Evil
The Cheerleaders: The New Evil
The Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives

Speaking of those crazy Shadyside High cheerleaders, guess who’s also one of R.L. Stine’s favorites? The Cheerleaders trilogy is probably one of the most recognized Fear Street titles. It attracted a myriad of readers and there’s really not much I can say about this series. It’s good. It’s consistent and, over the course of the series, presents some really interesting plot twists and shocks. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to gauge Stine’s thoughts on this series, though. He says he loved the reveal at the end, but that “reveal” seems to be in every Fear Street novel. Surprisingly, the original trilogy isn’t the only Cheerleaders to be good. The New Evil was good as well and actually was quite original. On the other hand, The Evil Lives was a hot mess. You could have been good, The Evil Lives! If only you had made good choices in life…mainly getting rid of the time travel and paradoxes that plagued your short, short life.

Again, if we were to assume that Stine only meant that the first was his favorite, it probably falls into the same category that The Betrayal does. The first in the series has sentimental value and so that’s why it was chosen above all the rest because the others are just as good.

The Secret Bedroom

R.L. Stine’s books are not very long. I think the longest book I’ve ever read by him hovered around the 300 page mark (Eye Candy anyone?). My point is that I wouldn’t have thought it would take very long to write one of his books. Indeed, if this blog is any indication he should probably spend more time writing his books. Nevertheless, Stine is particularly proud of The Secret Bedroom, a book that apparently only took him eight days to write. He says that the story moved really quickly and I’d argue that it moves too quickly. While the story is actually a really good story, I had so many unanswered questions at the end that I felt I must have missed some plot points (in case you were wondering, no, it turns out I didn’t). However, in all fairness had Stine actually answered those questions, it might have proved too gruesome for the YA crowd (wait…is there such a thing for a Fear Street reader?).

The Perfect Date

*Breathes deeply* Ok Drucilla, just like we rehearsed….R.L. Stine says that this book is special to him because his son Matt is on the cover. He doesn’t mention anything else….because….because….I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!! THIS BOOK IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW I SAID SWITCHED WAS MY LEAST FAVORITE FEAR STREET BOOK, BUT THIS ONE FEELS ME WITH SO MUCH LOATHING I FEEL THE NEED TO LEAVE EARTH TO GET AWAY FROM IT! *thump* *crash* Ok, sorry about that. I think I got my anger under cont-IF WE THREATENED THE WORLD WITH READING THIS BOOK, THERE WOULD BE NO MORE WARS! *punch* *crash* *kick* Ok. *catches breath* I think that time it worked. So….The Perfect Date. While the story is decent and does have some potential, it’s full of Fear Street clichés (Fear Street hardly making an appearance, guys two-timing there girlfriends, etc.) and don’t even get me started on the ending. Nothing is explained and random crap happens. I mean, super strength, really!?!? Where did that come from!?!? The twist is completely redundant as well. It adds nothing to the story.


Well, let me go ahead and say it…I think Haunted is one of the better Fear Street books. Granted, it does suffer from some paradoxical problems, but the concept is great. I definitely see Stine trying something different with this novel and while he may not have necessarily succeeded, it’s different enough to stand out in the sea of similar Fear Street titles. He says he’s proud of the plot and tension and I have to admit that this was one of the few Fear Street novels that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

So honestly, I don’t know what I was trying to do with this article. I agree with Stine sometimes, but more often than not, his choices baffle me. I’m curious as to whether you agree with Stine or not. I guess to be fair here are my favorite Fear Street titles in no particular order (none got a five star rating so here are my four star ratings from Goodreads):

Broken Hearts
The Prom Queen
Double Date  (Because I loved that a Fear Street cheater finally got his comeuppance.)
The Face
What Holly Heard
Trapped -  review/recap coming soon (I’m sure)
Fear Park: The First Scream -  (Just the first book.)

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My love for Switched...I will never be able to explain the unexplainable. Thank you for coming around again, Drucilla! 

The next guest post from Fear reader Chris W. will be a very interesting little twist...I'm sure you ghouls will love it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest Post #4: Sagan

Hello! My name is Sagan, a reader of your blog for about a year now. I got rather excited at the prospect of writing about my own journey through Fear Street, so here we are. (Sorry if I ramble).

So, like many of us out there, I grew up with the Goosebumps and Fear Street Books. I don't remember too much about the Goosebumps books, except acquiring a permanent fear of dummies, becoming obsessed with mummies, and hating how every book ended. But Fear Street? That's where the real magic happened. I was consistently told by my mother that I was too young for Stephen King books, so I had to settle for the next best thing, Fear Street baby. While reading each book, I would picture myself as the heroine, and read their dialogue out loud to myself, (much to the chagrin of my siblings). Each book provided a source of inspiration. After reading Dead End, I tried to be like Natalie, and tried writing poetry. (Such good role models, R.L. Stine provides).

I also tried writing my own horror stories a la The Thrill Club, which usually ended in my mom thinking there was something wrong with me. Needless to say, these attempts at writing were thrown away pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure these books made me awfully suspicious. I would spy on my neighbors, positive that they were up to something heinous. Also, I would get so thrilled for no apparent reason, when one book would mention a main character from another Fear Street novel. I guess I thought Shadyside High was just one big happy family. (Sob).

Though, I have to say, my favorite memory is from 7th grade, when I auditioned for Bridge to Terabithia, with April's "Why I Killed So and So" speech from Truth or Dare. By the time I was done, the director was in tears (from laughing so hard). But I got the last laugh, I was cast as Girl #2, thank you very much. As a freshman in high school, in theatre class, one assignment was to perform one serious monologue, and one comedic one. For my serious monologue I chose Alison's "Why I Killed My Sister" speech from Sunburn. Once I finished that gem, there was silence, and my teacher finally said, "I thought I said one serious and one comedic, not TWO comedic monologues." OK, how dare you insinuate that Sunburn's monologue was comedic.

By the time I was in High School, my mother commanded me to throw away all of the Fear Street books. "Mom, nooo, you don't understand!" I pleaded. "Fine, you can keep 10, but the rest have to be thrown away!" She snapped, and so I chose my precious favorites, which were pretty much all of the "historical" Fear Street Sagas. (I can't tell you how much I love all the Fear Street Sagas, especially The Betrayal, The Secret, and The Burning. Nora Goode, and Daniel Fear = my preteen idea of real romance, how I hoped my future would hold something so beautiful as their relationship, except for, you know, one of them dying. Ditto Susannah Goode and Edward Fier).

Anyway, after that, I pretty much forgot about their existence for awhile, until one day I found myself straining to remember how the Cataluna Series ended, Googled it, and found myself at this wondrous blog, and here we are. R.L. Stine shall remain in my heart forever, regardless of the fact that his books are quite terrible, because when I was young, they were like Dickens to me.

Currently, for some reason, all of my Fear Street novels have disappeared. I suspect foul play.

I suppose that's it! My beautiful personal history involving Fear Street. I hope everyone is thrilled to have read it.

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Oh Sagan, this was truly awesome. I especially love the fact that you actually recited a whole passage from Truth or Dare in front of people. THANK YOU.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guest Post #3: Amanda

Fear Street and Goosebumps have always seemed a little shameful to me.  I never wanted to be seen reading them.  It was much cooler to say you were into Stephen King or Dean Koontz.  They wrote books for ‘grownups’ with sex and swearing and everything.  So even though I wouldn’t publicly declare my love of R.L. Stine’s books, I still coveted them in secret.  I used to try to force my much younger sister (who was not a reader at all) to buy all the Goosebumps books just so I would be able to read them myself.  Under the guise of spending ‘quality time’ together, I would greedily read while she played with Barbies in another part of the room.

The most shameful part of all of this was not how much I loved Fear Street and Goosebumps, but how absolutely obsessed I was with R.L. Stine’s one adult novel Superstitious.  I must have read this book at least 20 times and I have absolutely no idea why I loved it so much.  It is a terrible book.  The plot is intriguing enough, but the characters are poorly written and the dialogue is atrocious.  Shocking, I know.
For those of you who didn’t spend their childhood reading and re-reading this book, here is a short synopsis (This synopsis is actually from memory which is probably really sad. I can’t believe that this book’s plot is still taking up valuable space in my brain).  The main character is a graduate student in college named Sara.  Shortly after Sara gets to the school she meets and falls in love with a handsome Irish professor named Liam.  Liam seems like the perfect guy and Sara quickly marries him.  He has two slightly weird things about him though…he lives with his adult sister Margaret and he is extremely superstitious and insists that Sara abide by his very strict rules about his superstitions.  In the midst of this love story there is a string of grisly murders on campus.  The bodies are ripped apart as if attacked by an animal and a few people around town have seen fleeting glimpses of a weird creature.  And if you haven’t figured out who the killer might be yet, I don’t believe that you are truly a R.L. Stine fan.

It’s hard to say why I loved this book so much.  I was well aware that it was a guilty pleasure even when I was a teen.  It’s just so fabulously lurid.  From the opening scene where a girl is ripped apart while running drunk through a field and singing the song ‘Oklahoma’ to the fantastic reveal that yes, Liam is an actual monster and he has impregnated Sara with his monster baby.  Superstitious is just filled with gruesome murders (eyeballs being pulled out) and body horror (on Liam and Sara’s wedding day Liam’s tongue suddenly becomes all monstrous and extends four feet out of his mouth all yellow and throbbing).  And the sex.  Oh yes, this is the book where R.L. Stine write sex scenes.  And they are a sight to behold.  I’m sure they appealed to me as a teenage girl because they sound like they were written by a teenage girl.  Sorry, Stine.  Sexy you are not.   I’d like to think that he is writing this as a sort of cautionary tale for his teen readers…have unprotected sex with a guy you barely know and you will end up with a monster baby.  But most likely it’s just Stine letting us in on his particular bedroom kinks.  Shudder.

So there is my deep, dark secret.  I unabashedly love this book and honestly if I still had it I would read it right now.  That is definitely one perk to being an adult.  I can now proudly read any sort of cheesy 90’s book and just tell people I’m being ‘ironic’.  Bring on the Goosebumps!


Thank you, Amanda! Quick note: I have a copy of Superstitious and yes, you will all be exposed to it here eventually. Can you feel the excitement? CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guest Post #2: Spongey

*Note: I know I said I was only going to do these on Friday, but I'm not going by that. I'm just going to post these erratically because SCREW SCHEDULES. Now, I command that you enjoy Spongey's Fear thoughts.*


Hello, Spongey here.
Well, this is my first time being on a different, better blog. I saw that the best blog since Blogger Beware wanted guest posts, and I could not resist. So I think I shall tell you my experiences with both Fear Street and Goosebumps…well, mostly GB. Since all my FS know how comes from this blog and I’ve only read like…8 books. So the FS section is just brief  “reviews” of FS books, but I shall talk a bit about it.
How My Goosebumps Led Me to Fear Street

It was 5th grade and I had finished work. At that age, it’s the worst thing ever. I was too young to give a fuck about music so I had no iPod or any of that modern bullshit. So I had to look at the teacher’s bookshelf.
I looked through the crap until I found four Goosebumps books. I had known of the series, in passing. I thought it was like a hardcore horror thing. Silly 5th grade me. My first was Don't Go To Sleep. You know, the book with the awesome cover that had nothing to do with the book.

I liked it, so I read a few more, but Let's Get Invisible! turned me off cuz I wanted vanishing fun and not mirror double. Of course, now it’s in my top 13 GB books. Silly me! I put it off until 2007. Cartoon Network was showing the TV show. I watched and loved its cheesiness, so I was like “eh, I’ll read the books again”.
Now I have 42 of them. And that’s just the original series. I’d talk about how the 'so bad it’s good' bits of GB made me love it even to this day, and how Calling All Creeps is the best thing ever written…but I won’t.
Okay, let’s move on the main thing: Fear Street
Remember how I said I though GB was hardcore? Yeah, imagine how FS made me feel. My brother had one in the closet, Wrong Number 2. I passed on it since it was a sequel. After I found Blogger Beware, I saw someone mention a Fear Street blog. So I read this blog and loved it. I was like “I’ll finally read these”. I read Wrong Number 2 and liked it. Then I read the first one and saw how 2 copied 1 so much. I like FS ,in a way, for how dumb it can get. But GB is better to me since…well…Calling All Creeps > Wrong Number 1. That is all.

But I still find them to be interesting in concepts. I mean, they used zombies more than Goosebumps…which makes no sense, but whatever.
So now for My Thoughts on the Fear Street Books I’ve Read!

I really liked this one, actually. Good mystery, sweet ending, a freaking CULT?! Give me that shit. It was just good fun. But I didn’t get the dog killing scene. BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT much?!
Still, it works and I think its among my faves
Wrong Number 2 

Skipping 2 since it’s just okay, not much to say about it. First, I love the tagline drop. Never seen that done before! Anyway, most likely the best I’ve read, at least critically. A solid plot, a good villain, great suspense and A CHAINSAW MURDER! The most badass thing Stine ever wrote…besides any scene with Billy in Welcome To Camp Nightmare, but whatever. But the scene with the disguises was too sitcom-y for my tastes. But I still loved this one.

The Sleepwalker

I just read this one the other night. I like it, actually! Some decent suspense and we have a okay mystery. Not a great book, though, bogged down by some…Stine-ism. Yes, that is a thing. Walker (I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, this book is like 20 years old) being the villain…was obvious. But in an odd way. I first pegged Link for it “excuuuse me princess!”
SHUT UP LINK.       
-because it seemed obvious in a Stine book. But he got me there. He created a character so obvious I didn’t think of the more obvious one! I like Walker being a bit too bossed with Myra, I have a thing for creepy fanboys. Always creepy! Despite some dumb moments, I like this one

Okay, I loved this one as much as everyone else!  Good mystery, ghosts, a Weird Al name drop, and a smart main character! What's not to love?! The twist shocked me. I mean, a ghost from the future? Never thought that would happen…not much else to say. I mean ghosts from the future! Can I add to that?! No. Good book.
The Stepsister and Ski Weekend

Not too much to say about either so I am combining them. The Stepsister was good and had a great killer. Not much to just has a good killer. I OWN this one and have little to say! Ski Weekend was so dumb it rocked.

Lou said jackass. Love that. The only other swearing in a Stine thing is in the recent Haunting Hour show, where someone says “bitch”. No joke. Anyway, good killer and a cheesy yet awesome dude named Lou. That is all.
The Best Friend 1 & 2

Another crazy killer. I love killers that obsess over their victims. Okay, I love psychological horror, I admit. She counts, right? First book was mostly just alright, just with a good killer. Oh, and the ending? Love it. I know it’s unhappy, but it was great. Funny thing: people bitched about the downer so much they wanted a sequel. Goosebumps has downer endings all the time. No-one cared. What. The second one had a good first half and a crappy second half. I love how Sarah, the winner of  that contest, found this blog. Amazing. Okay books.

Final Grade

Confession time. This book scared me. No joke. Why? The villain. A guy who loves Lily to the point that he kills people to make her happy. I am scared shitless by ax crazy fanboys/girls. So Misery made me shit my pants, you see. I know this blog said this book sucks, but I was creeped out by the bad guy and thought it had a good story.

I’ve read some others (some of the Sagas, which I adore, Bad Dreams, The Thrill Club, which sucked hard. When a ghostwriter makes me miss Stine YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG) but I have little to say. Long, pointless blog here. But Stine’s books, even the awful ones, changed my life. I've made ideas for my own type of books, which read as parodies in a way. I had one that featured a robot working at a fast food place using the meat of his victims in the place of food. I had one with ghost pirates, one with a killer laptop, and other stupid shit. I mostly made this to help pay tribute to the blog that introduced me to Fear Street. Maybe it can be too harsh, but it’s still very funny and tells me which books to stay away from. I will never read Goodnight Kiss, but I may buy it to stare at its SEXAH cover. 

As for Goosebumps…over on my blog, my Wordpress one (look it up) I am doing a big Goosebump-A-Thon, looking at all the books. I’m on 52, so close to done. Shameless plug aside, this is my stroll down Fear Street. I will show these books to my kids and I hope you induct me into the Order of the Mole. See ya.


Maybe I should revisit Final Grade. I do enjoy torturing myself. Hmm. Anyway, Spongey, I thank you and OF COURSE you have been inducted into the Order of the Mole for wanting to psychologically scar your future spawn with these paper tragedies.

Next guest post: Amanda F.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The New Girl

Book Description:

Dying for a Kiss

She's pale as a ghost, blonde, and eerily beautiful--and she seems to need him as much as he wants her. Cory Brooks hungers for Anna Corwin's kisses, drowns in her light blue eyes. He can't get her out of his mind. And the trouble has only begun: Shadyside High's star gymnast is losing sleep, skipping practice, and acting weird. All the guys have noticed, but only Cory's friend Lisa knows the truth: Anna Corwin is dead and living on Fear Street. Now Cory must explore its menacing darkness to discover the truth. He has already been warned: come to Fear Street and you're dead!

My Description:


Anna is lying dead and bloody on the ground. The killer didn't like how perfect Anna was so he/she pushed her...down the stairs? Out a window? Not sure, but it doesn't matter because the result remains the same: Anna = deceased. Her murderer is possibly Anna's brother or sister because they keep referring to 'Mom' as in ' "[speaking about Anna] My Diamond", Mom always said.' The sibling slaughterer is looking down at Anna's crumpled corpse and decides it's time to pretend to be shocked and horrified. "Anna's dead, Mom! Come quickly! It's all too horrible-but Anna's dead!" Smooth, kid. Real smooth.

* * * * *

So the main character of The New Girl is surprisingly male. Usually we get airheaded chicks who don't know their ass from their elbow to guide us through our Fear. Will a teenage boy be any better? I wouldn't hold my breath. Anyway, Cory spots the beautiful blond new girl for the first time while he's performing childish stunts with his friends in the cafeteria. He ends up face planting in a tray full of food. Because he's just that awesome. As Cory is raking spaghetti from his fat head, he asks his friend David if he saw that bootiful girl, but David didn't see anything because he was too busy watching Cory make a fool of himself. Cory grabs a few things to eat from his friends' plates and thinks about how grateful he is that his gymnastics coach didn't see him bite the dust. Apparently gymnasts are supposed to be coordinated or something.

Cory goes to his locker amid the shouts of kids making fun of him for having slop all over his shirt. His friend Lisa has the locker next to his and she tells him how great he looks. He'll never look as great as Lisa, though, who is described as looking like Cher (circa 1989).

Kick. Ass. Anyway, Lisa gives him a black and white striped shirt ("It's from the Gap. It's for girls or boys. You know. It's just a shirt.") so he can change. Cory washes spaghetti sauce out of his hair in the drinking fountain, puts on the clean shirt, and spots the mysterious blond again. She's halfway down the hall and Cory notices that she seems to be floating. Floating is the preferred hobby of all dead chicks who are doomed to roam the earth for all eternity. Cory calls to her, and she turns, says something quietly that Cory interprets as "Please don't", and slips into a classroom. 

Three days later, Cory is still obsessing about the girl. It's interfering with his gymnastics bar stuff (Can you tell that I have no idea what I'm talking about?) Anyway, Cory had a dream about the girl kissing him all over his face in the cafeteria, but when he tries to touch her, his hand goes right through her. Cory doesn't understand this dream. Open your eyes, boy! She's the ghostliest ghost on Fear Street!

After gymnastics practice, Cory runs into Lisa and they walk home together (Lisa lives across the street from Cory). Cory mentions the girl and Lisa tells him her name is Anna Corwin and she has third period physics with Lisa. Lisa really doesn't know Anna because Anna never says a word and is absent a lot. But she does know that Anna lives on Fear Street and that scares the bippy out of Cory because everyone knows that Fear Street is full of horrors and such. Cory walks home thinking about what a nice, old-fashioned name Anna Corwin is. I've never known a teenage boy who ever called anything "nice and old-fashioned". Congratulations, Cory.

Later, Cory calls information for Anna's number and address. He debates over whether he should call Anna's beautiful corpse and eventually does. A young man answers and informs him that this is the Corwins' place, but there's no Anna there. THE PLOT THICKENS! Except not because we already know she's dead. Dammit, Stine, why did you have to tell us she's dead?! (As if we couldn't have figured it out ourselves even if he didn't tell us--this is Fear Street, after all.) And why is she going to school? What does that accomplish? A high school diploma will not serve you in the netherworld.

The next day, Cory sees Anna when he gets to school. He asks her questions he already knows the answers to and he can't get over how pale she is. "It's like I can almost see through her skin." Indeed. He tells her he tried to call her and asks if he had the wrong number or something, but she says no. She doesn't explain further because dead people just don't give a damn.

Later, Cory is at a gymnastics competition against a rival team, Mattewan. What, no Waynesbridge? As Cory is doing his routine on the bars, he spots Anna in the bleachers and of course he ends up falling on his ass. He finds it very funny: "I'm falling for her!" HAR. HAR. HAR. I should kick you in the face for that, Cory.

On Saturday night, Cory is sitting alone in his room thinking about Anna. He decides to go next door to hang out with Lisa in an effort to forget about Anna. Lisa answers the door and they sit on the couch to talk. As Cory describes how he screwed up at the gymnastics competition, Lisa starts running her fingers through his luscious locks. Ooooo! But the moment he mentions Anna, Lisa gets pissed and tells the clueless Cory to leave. Back in his bedroom, Cory wonders why Lisa freaked out, but he doesn't really care because Anna has infected his feeble brain like a parasitic worm and he can think of nothing else. He calls her house and a woman answers. He asks for Anna and the woman asks why he keeps calling. In the background, he hears a girl scream "Let me talk! It's for me! I know it's for me!" The woman tells Cory that Anna isn't there and hangs up. Cory is a little horrified at the screaming he heard and wonders if Anna is being tortured and held prisoner in her own home (only being allowed out for school and Shadyside gymnastics meets? Is that part of the torture?) He decides he has to find out and must go to Fear Street right away. Here we go, kids!

Cory has a few second thoughts before leaving, mainly because a family of three was recently found murdered in the Fear Street Woods. But he decides he has to make sure Anna is long as someone goes with him. He calls David and David tells him to pick him up. When Cory arrives at David's, he gets bad news: David's dear sweet mama won't let him go. David recently busted his ankle and he's still on crutches. Plus, he has a cold so his mom wants him home. Cory will have to venture to Fear Street alllll alooooone in the darrrrrrk. He makes it to Fear Street and parks because he thinks it'll be easier to find Anna's house (444 Fear St.) on foot. As he gets out of the car, he hears an animal howling. "It doesn't sound like a dog. Could it be a wolf?" It's a werewoof. Cory starts walking and singing "Love Me Do" to himself. (Keeping it '62 in '89.) He finally finds 444. The mailbox is lying in the street, the grass is overgrown, and weeds are waist-high. It doesn't looks like anyone lives here so Cory turns away and heads for his car. Suddenly he hears footsteps behind him and they're picking up speed. He starts running, but someone grabs his shoulder. AIEEE! It's just a guy who says he was out walking his dog Voltaire (does Voltaire know he is living in the deepest circle of hell?) when he saw Cory wandering around and thought he needed some help. Cory asks about the Corwins and the man says they do live there and they're very strange. "I wouldn't go up there uninvited, I don't think." The man walks off and Cory proceeds to completely ignore his advice and knock on the Creepy Corwins' door. A guy who appears to be in his early 20s opens the door a crack. Cory asks about Anna and says he goes to school with Anna. The guy begs to differ: "Anna is dead. Don't come here again. Anna is DEAD!" We heard you the first time, shrieky. Cory is shocked and numb at the news. He drives home and manages to fall asleep.

On Monday morning, Cory gets to school early to wait by Anna's locker even though he's now aware that she is a specter and their teenage love can never be. Anna never shows up so Cory drags his carcass to homeroom. Later, he asks Lisa if Anna was in physics and she says no. Lisa is still acting pissy with Cory because she likes him and he a) doesn't realize it and b) is totally obsessed with Anna Corwin who isn't even an actual human being anymore. As they walk to lunch, Cory tells her about Saturday night. Lisa thinks it's amusing because she believes that Cory simply got the wrong house, woke up the guy who lived there, and, as revenge, the guy played a joke on him by telling him Anna is dead. Cory doesn't think that's the case at all and stops paying attention to her so she says she isn't hungry anymore and leaves. Such a childish little girl.

After school, Cory does clerical work in the school's main office because apparently the school pays so little, no adults want the job. He realizes this is his opportunity to find out more about Anna. After using a ditto machine to make announcements (damn this book is old), he sneaks into the principal's office to sift through the student records. Before he can begin looking, Miss Markins, one of the secretaries, comes toward the office so Cory dives beneath the principal's desk. She leaves a moment later and Cory resumes his sneaky snooping. As predicted by anyone reading this book, there is no file for Anna Corwin. GASP!

A few days later, Cory is at a basketball game with his goofy friends Arnie and David. He ends up telling David about Anna's missing file and the fact that he's not sure she even exists. When he hears that Cory has access to student records, David gets excited and wants Cory to find his. David ain't interested in no ghosts. Cory leaves a minute later because his friends are worthless and Shadyside basketball sucks arse. Once home, he goes to bed and is awakened a little later by his ringing phone. It's a creepy weirdo with a hoarse voice (they're ALWAYS hoarse. Don't they have lozenges in Shadyside?) "Stay away from Anna. She's dead. She's a dead girl. Stay away from her-or you'll be next!" Cory is disturbed by the call and starts thinking about the guy who came up to him on Fear Street. Maybe it was he who called. Except Voltaire doesn't let him use the phone past 9 PM so it can't be him. A few moments later, the phone rings again. It's Anna. She she needs help and tells him to meet her on the corner of Fear Street. Cory agrees because Anna sounds so sexy on the phone...even though Fear Street scares the hell out of him. To scare himself further, Cory thinks about a story he read in the newspaper last spring. Two cars collided on Fear Street. There was blood everywhere, but when cops arrived, the cars were empty. I think Cory was reading something else...this sounds like a National Enquirer alien abduction story. Anyway, he arrives at Fear Street and waits. He doesn't see Anna so when she opens the car door a second later, he screams like a scalded girl. "You frightened me." *sigh* She says he's the only one who can help her. Cory plays it cool by confessing that he has been obsessing over her from the moment he laid eyes on her. She says she thinks of him, too. Then he says he needs to know that she's real so she kisses him to prove her realness. She tells him "You're all mine now." I think that means you're royally screwed, Cory. Anna admits she didn't need help at all, she just wanted to see if he would come. He mentions the man at her house and she says that's her crazy and dangerous brother Brad. When Cory tells her that Brad told him she was dead, she runs away. The dead are uncomfortable being reminded of their own death.

The next morning (Saturday), Cory's mom wakes him early because he has a gymnastics meet against Farmingville. Cory thinks about what happened the night before after Anna ran from him. He got out of the car and Voltaire pounced on him, knocking him to the ground. Voltaire's owner didn't seem too apologetic: "You back again, son?" Cory got a little freaked out and left. Cory can't stop wondering who that creep is and for a moment thinks it could be Anna's brother Brad in disguise. "Get real!" My sentiments exactly.

At the meet, he runs into Lisa who says she has to tell him something about Anna. Lisa's cousin has a friend who goes to Melrose (another high school...somewhere) and that friend once knew an Anna Corwin. "Well, you're not going to believe this. She said that Anna had been in her class-but that Anna was dead." Anna supposedly fell down her basement stairs and died instantly in the fall. Cory is finding this hard to believe because he kissed this dead girl last night. Lisa wants to play amateur detective and investigate the matter. They leave in the middle of the meet to go to the library to check out some microfilm (my kingdom for a Google search box). They find an article on Anna's death with a photo of her that confirms it's the same Anna these two have been seeing around Shadyside.

That night, Cory takes a joy ride around Shadyside, eventually ending up on Fear Street because that's where all roads in this town take you. He slows his car outside the Corwin house and sees Voltaire loping down the street with his owner walking close behind. This leads to the best lines in this book and possibly all other Fear Street books EVER. "There he is again, Cory thought. Do he and the dog prowl Fear Street all night? Are they ghosts, too? The Ghostly Guards, he thought. They've been assigned to keep people from discovering the truth about Fear Street-from discovering that everyone who lives on Fear Street is DEAD!" I love it. GHOSTLY GUARDS 4EVER.

At home, Cory goes to bed and has another Anna dream. Anna comes to his room and tells him she is indeed dead, but he can still take care of her. All he has to do is DIE. "Then we can be together." His ringing phone wakes him up. It's just Anna begging for help AGAIN. She tells him to meet her in front of Simon Fear's old burned-out mansion and he goes because he's been rendered droolingly stupid by lust. Once there, he waits for a while in the car and then gets out to see if he can spot Anna nearby. "He listened for the neighbor and his vicious four-legged companion. The Ghostly Guards." It will never get old. Cory waits and waits, but Anna never comes. Finally he jogs over to the Corwin house and bangs on the door. A very irate Brad answers. "ANNA IS DEAD! ANNA IS DEAD! Why can't you believe me?" Brad doesn't wait for an answer, he just pulls Cory inside and laughs at his obvious fear. Then he tells him to get lost and never come back. Listening is not Cory's strong suit.

A few days later, Cory is in the cafeteria with his idiot friends thinking about the usual ghost. He's tried to call Anna more than once over the past two days, but no-one ever answers the phone. Looks like Brad finally got caller ID. After Cory's friend Arnie pretends to choke on a peach pit, Cory leaves and goes for a walk around the parking lot. He comes back inside a little later and goes to his locker just as Lisa is arriving at hers. She awkwardly asks him to the Turnaround Dance on Saturday night and Cory, shocked, accepts in the hopes that this will make him forget about Anna. But no-here comes Anna now. She steps between Cory and Lisa and introduces herself to Lisa. They talk a bit before the bell rings. As Lisa is walking away, Anna grabs Cory and kisses him, effectively ensuring that he won't be forgetting her anytime soon.

A few hours later, school is over for the day and Cory and Lisa are at their lockers again. When Lisa opens hers, she gets a nasty surprise. There's a dead cat inside with a note attached: "Lisa-You're Dead Too" A cat had to die for THIS? Later, after helping Lisa clean out her locker and missing gymnastics practice, Cory starts walking home and is soon joined by Anna, the cat slaying ghost. She seems appalled at the cat in the locker story and Cory instantly knows she didn't do it. You poor dumb bastard. She mentions the Turnaround Dance and asks if he wouldn't rather go with her, but he says he can't do that to Lisa. Cory asks her about her phone call on Saturday night, but she says someone was playing a joke on him because she never called. Suddenly Anna flips out and says "he's" watching her and she runs off into the dark. Cory assumes she's referring to the crazy and dangerous Brad. Because he's crazy and dangerous and wouldn't be above sneaking out at night to spy on his dead sister and her foolish victim.

At home, after enduring his mother cooing over the fact that he's going to the dance with Lisa ("I always knew it would happen."), he goes to his room to study. But of course his phone rings. It's just David who's calling because he wants to know why Cory has been acting so strange lately. "Cory, you've been in a dream world ever since you met Anna." Cory gets defensive and they hang up angry at each other. To take his mind off that, he goes to Lisa's house where she flirts and he...talks about Anna and reads about crime in the newspaper. Then we get the obligatory "threatening" phone call. "You're dead too. You're dead too. You're dead too." Only on the inside.

It's now the night of the dance and Lisa is busy bitching about how she's sure Anna is the one harrassing her. Everyone else is dancing to Phil Collins and Cory wants to join them. They dance for a few minutes, but Lisa just ends up dragging Cory to the side to whine that he keeps defending Anna. SHUT. UP. Lisa gets angrier and angrier, even shoving Cory into the wall. Eventually she calms down, apologizes for embarrassing Cory, and leaves. Meanwhile, Cory is literally smiling because he thinks Lisa is jealous of Anna. Dude. You are such an ass. A girl screaming breaks Cory out of his smug state. "It was Lisa's scream!" NOOO! Someone shoved Lisa down some stairs, but she only twists her ankle, nothing interesting like a compound fracture cutting through her leg skin or something. Lisa describes the pusher and Cory realizes it was Brad. Crazy. Dangerous. Yep. Cory thinks Brad might still be around for absolutely no reason. So he and Lisa roam a deserted hallway looking for a psycho who kinda wants them both dead. They hear a noise in a biology classroom, but it's only two trashy teens making out like their lives depend on it. Lisa pulls Cory into a music room (why are the biology rooms and music rooms so close together?) so she can laugh her ass off, but it ain't so funny when Brad enters the room. When he spots them, he runs, slams the door, and throws something against it so they can't get out. Oh Brad.

Cory looks out the window and sees Brad jump into a car and drive off. He decides the only way they'll be able to get out is if he uses his killer gymnastics skills to walk a three inch ledge until he gets close enough to a nearby tree to jump on it and climb down. The ledge is a little slippery so falls onto a lower ledge and throws himself through a conveniently open window. "I'll have to thank whoever left that window open." 

He runs to the room where Lisa is trapped and lets her out. Brad used the hall monitor's desk to keep them inside. The hall monitor's desk. Why in the HELL would a hall monitor need a desk? Are the drawers full of the remains of kids who didn't have hall passes? Hall monitor's desk. Bullshit. Anyway, the two go to Lisa's house where she receives a phone call from a heavy breathing pervert who says nothing and hangs up. This scares her and Cory says he'll talk to Anna tomorrow and then they can go to the police about Brad who presumably made that sexy phone call. What are they gonna tell the police? They have absolutely no proof of anything. Oh well. The cops will believe them anyway because Shadyside cops don't give a shit about things like evidence.

The next morning, Cory drives to Fear Street and knocks on the Corwins' door. While he's waiting, the Ghostly Guard appears. "Don't ever see you much in the daytime." This guy gives me Deliverance vibes. He tells Cory that the Corwins left earlier, then he leaves, too.

The next day, Cory gets to school and searches for Anna. He doesn't find her until the end of the day. He tells her they've got to talk and she agrees. They go to the Pizza Oven in Division Street Mall which just sickens me. How dare they not support Pete's Pizza?!? Anyway, Cory tells Anna to tell him everything so she does. Here we go... Dad left, Mom is sickly, Brad is the head of the family, sister Willa FELL DOWN THE BASEMENT STAIRS, Brad always got the two sisters confused because his brain is no good (which explains the prologue) because his girlfriend Emily died in a plane crash and it really screwed him up, Brad tells everyone Anna is dead and sometimes won't let her out of the house, and the newspaper obituary that Cory and Lisa found that declared Anna dead was supposed to be Willa's, but Brad told the paper Anna was the one who died. So all this time there hasn't been a ghost at all. Just a broken family and a very disturbed young man in desperate need of psychiatric assistance. Son of a bitch. A few seconds later, they spot Brad at the window. Anna runs out a back door, but Brad just stands there staring at Cory. MENACINGLY!

At home, Cory burns up the phone lines repeatedly trying to call Anna. No answer. Finally Brad picks up and tells Cory "Anna isn't anywhere. Anna is dead." before hanging up. Cory is afraid Brad did kill Anna so he immediately leaves for Fear Street. He arrives at their house, knocks, and hears Anna scream "He's come for me! Let me go!!" Cory rushes inside and finds the two fighting. Obviously. Cory runs in and he and Brad wrestle. Brad tries to choke Cory, but Cory bashes his head with a vase. With Brad unconscious, Anna pulls out a letter opener to stab him, but Cory won't let her so she turns on him after leading him up the stairs and into the hallway. He falls out an open window trying to get away from her, but since this is the poor man's Spider Man, he swings himself back through the window and hears Brad coming up the stairs. He tells Cory, who is gripping the struggling Anna, that he tried to keep him away from Anna for his safety. Ready for more insanity? Anna is actually Willa. Willa lost her damn mind after Anna died because she's probably the one that killed her. She was insanely jealous of the perfect Anna (which explains the prologue, for real this time) and Brad wishes he had gotten her help sooner, before she started pretending to be Anna and trying to kill everybody. Cory asks why he pushed Lisa down the stairs at the dance and he says he thought it was Willa and tried to grab at her, but she fell. A likely story. Brad tells Cory to call the cops. "We've got to get her some help."

Flash forward to Cory eating chocolate cake with Lisa and explaining the whole Anna/Brad/Willa thing. "Another horror story from the folks on Fear Street." Then they kiss. Two thumbs DOWN.

Conclusion? - I liked this one until it started going off the rails like so many of these books do. This one should have been titled "The Ghostly Guards" and been all about Voltaire and Strange Neighbor Guy solving crime and patrolling Fear Street for evil ghosts. *sigh* What could've been!

Next time: "Beach Party" A beach. A party. Death. What more do you need to know?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fear's First Guest Post

Remember that time when I asked you ghouls to send me your Fear-y memories, etc.? Well, someone finally took me up on it. Introducing Drucilla (how awesome is that name?) and her first piece for Fear Street.


First off, I hope I don’t bore anyone with this guest blog, but when the word was put out for personal stories concerning the Fear Street series, I had to write this. I found this Fear Street blog in the latter half of 2011 and thought it serendipitous because I had started rereading my collection. Below are my experiences with both the Fear Street series and the Goosebumps series. I think they both had a big effect on me. While my guest blog won’t be hilarious or awesome, the real blog is and I can’t wait to read more of it.

My Journey Down Fear Street Gave Me Goosebumps

I was born in 1989. The same year the first Fear Street book was published and three years before the first Goosebumps was published. As a child of the 90’s, you couldn’t escape these series’. If you didn’t find them on your own, your librarian was ready to suggest these short, easy books for you. I was of the former persuasion. I loved to read and still do. There wasn’t really anything like YA when I was in school so you read middle school books and then jumped to adult authors like Stephen King and Anne Rice. Stine’s books were always must more fun, if somewhat repetitive. Some of the first books I ever owned where R.L. Stine books, specifically Goosebumps #20 The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight and #22 Ghost Beach. I also owned a few of his standalone works, such as Curtains and Beach House.

In my elementary school days, yes, I did a book report on Ghost Beach complete with costume (sorry, no pictures. I only dressed like I was going to the beach with fake mascara freckles). Yes, I also joined the R.L. Stine fan club. However, it wasn’t until high school that I decided I wanted to complete the collections because they were a big part of my childhood (I also can’t stand to have an incomplete series on my shelf). It has taken my almost eight years to collect every original Fear Street book (63), every Fear Street Super Chiller (13) and every original Goosebumps book (62). I limited my collection to these three series, otherwise I’d be broke and forever collecting (there’s a reason Stine has sold more children’s books than anyone else…he writes more children’s books than anyone else). Along the way, I’ve read so many more of his books and also picked up The Nightmare Room series and How I Broke Up With Ernie, one of R.L. Stine’s only comedic works (I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this book after hearing about it for years).  

If you’re thinking that eight years is a long time to be collecting something that’s not rare at all, you have to understand something: I wasn’t constantly looking for these books. Whenever I would happen upon them cheap on Ebay, in used bookstores, or more recently, on, I’d buy them. It was always exciting to spot Fear titles in a thrift store. It, also, always necessitated a call to my mother who would then traipse into my room to compare the titles on my shelf to the ones I had found in the store (my mother was always somewhat less excited than I was). So, finally, at some point in 2010, I managed to complete my collection…but when to read them?

You see, once I had found a new R.L. Stine book for my collection, I did not read it. I had intended on reading them back to back (although I soon learned that this would not prove to be the case). Having to cart loads of these quick reads back and forth to college (a 2 ½ hour drive) was illogical. Only a summer could contain the epic Stine-gasm that was to be (I now apologize for the mental image that “Stine-gasm” just gave you (and again just then)). Luckily, I just happen to be graduating so I had a nice long summer to which to devote to my project. However, I came across another problem, mainly, that if I read all of these books back, I’d be burned out on them (not to mention, I’d be ignoring the back log of unread books I already had). A formula presented itself: As the Stine books are relatively short, I’d read a Stine book between every other book I’d read. Thus, ends my story. I started reading the Fear Street series in May of 2011. I finished all of them in March 2012. I promptly started on the Goosebumps series and as of June 9, I am on #41, Bad Hare Day.  

Of course, in my readings and rereading’s, I found that this blog is right…a lot of these books are really bad. On Goodreads were I reviewed the books (not to the epicness that this blog does, sadly), I find myself giving many one star ratings, two star ratings, occasionally a three star one, and even rarer, a four star. Surprisingly, the Goosebumps books consistently get a higher rating from me. Go figure.

R.L. Stine’s books have had a huge effect on me. Be honest, I think everyone had one of his books or at least knew someone who owned one. I believe he made me a better reader and perhaps it wouldn’t be all that crazy to say that he helped make me a lifelong reader. With these series, I found books that interested me. Not the Stephen King books that everyone was reading (honestly, his books kind of freak me out) or the simple white washed stories for tweens where nothing really happens. I kept reading through that drought until I was older and could find better books that interested me. 

So there you have it. My “Journey of Fear” (shoot me for that title please). I will finish the Goosebumps Series before the summer is over and I go back to grad school to major in publishing. I will finish a chapter on my reading history (reading pun!). I probably won’t read these books again, but I’ll definitely keep them and my children will (I’ll make them.)


I love that she's going to force Stine upon her unsuspecting future children. We must expose the next generation or all will be lost. Thank you, Drucilla!!

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