R.L. Stine hits his stride with this next group of Fear Street books. It is a list of complete wins, hits and includes Fear Street’s first Super Chiller, which lives up to its name. The hardest part about this book list was figuring out their reading ranking because in all honesty three books pretty much tie for first place and the other two for second place. This was a great stretch for the early Fear Street series.
Emily wants to like her new stepsister, but Jessie doesn’t make it easy. As soon as Jessie moves in, she takes over Emily’s room, wearing Emily’s clothes and making secret late-night phone calls from her phone. No one believes Emily when she complains to her parents. Then horrible things begin to happen and Emily is living in fear of Jessie, which is made worse when she picks up Jessie’s diary and discovers a horrible secret from Jessie’s past. Did Jessie really murder someone? Soon it becomes clear that Emily’s life is on the line. Emily must find out Jessie’s dark secret; her life depends on it!
It pained me to put this book in third place (remember three books basically tied for first place, two for second place). This story made me incredibly thankful I never had to deal with stepsiblings. Granted, most stepsiblings don’t carry around a secret like Jessie’s. Emily’s life is turned upside down and instead of a honeymoon period there is the bad and uncomfortable period and then the threatening messages, horrible accidents and being pushed down some stairs to which leads to the ‘I don’t want to die’ period of this book. The ending is surprising and makes you rethink a lot of things you previously considered. Jessie, Emily and everyone else in this book are not the people you think they are… You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean! 😉
Ariel Munroe, Doug Mahr and his girlfriend Shannon Harper, are grateful they met Red Porter during their ski weekend. When they set out for home they are stranded by a blizzard and Red is the one who sees the hilltop lodge. Red took charge when they were looking for refuge, but can he save them when their refuge becomes a trap? Their hosts are acting very sinisterly, Doug’s car disappears and all the phones are dead. The four are desperate to escape and the house is full of guns. If they steal one… maybe they can escape? Of course once the first shot is fired and a body drops – that is when the real terror begins!
This book holds a very special place in my heart because it was the first Fear Street book I ever read. I was ten and had tried “Goosebumps: The Ghost Next Door” (also by R.L. Stine) but found it too tame. The back of this book pulled me in and it was this book that hooked me onto the Fear Street series. This book mixes mystery and conspiracy with the immediacy and danger of murder. Usually, books in this series have a murderer stalking or terrorizing someone, but in this book there is essentially one main setting: the lodge. This adds a claustrophobic element to the reading experience, much like what the characters themselves are feeling, which enhances the book’s overall effect. This book is a must for anyone who is considering even picking up one Fear Street book. Just be careful, reading this book will likely get you hooked!
The first fire was an accident: a wastebasket in the school library. Jill Franks and her friends found it exciting and it got them out of classes for a few hours. Who could have guessed the fire game would spread so quickly? One fire leads to another, and then another… until one of their fires ends in murder. That is when the game ends and the terror begins. Jill and her friends realize that someone is playing for keeps. Can Jill catch the murderer before her life goes up in flames?
This story is one of the most fast-paced Fear Street books so far (“The Wrong Number” and “Ski Weekend” are the only others that I have already touched on that match its pace). I figured out ‘the who’ sometime in the middle of the story, but it did not cut into any of my enjoyment of seeing how everything played out. This book would have received 5 out of 5 if it hadn’t been for the ending. You find out who the killer is, but the ending abruptly ends as soon as you do. I would have liked to know what happened to these characters in the aftermath, nothing in-depth, but some kind of resolution, especially considering everything that happens to Jill and her friends before the end (I narrowly escaped giving away spoilers there). Even if you don’t intend to read every book in this series, live dangerously and give this one a try!
Cari Taylor and her three friends can’t wait for their ‘party summer’ working at The Howling Wolf Inn, an old hotel on a tiny island off Cape Cod. To their dismay, they find the hotel completely abandoned, and someone warns them to leave immediately. The mysterious owner, Simon Fear III, allows them to stay and have the run of the hotel. They’re all thrilled until they discover they have been put up in the ‘haunted wing’. Then they start to hear a woman scream, “No party – please no party!”and the walls and faucets begin to drip blood! When Simon Fear III is murdered, Cari and her friends are desperate to get off the island, but they’re trapped. They realize there is no escape and that is when the “party” begins…
The first Super Chiller lives up to its ‘super’ status. When the four friends (Cari, Jan, Eric and Craig) go to the island they are supposed to be accompanied by Jan’s aunt who falls ill on the way. She is supposed to meet them a few days later, but never does. This is the first mystery that hooks the reader. Where is Aunt Rose and why can’t anyone reach her? Then when you add a ghost roaming the halls, the screams, the blood and the secret underground passageways (not to mention the creepy caretaker who keeps warning them to leave if they don’t want to get hurt) and you have a major chill factor permeating throughout the pages. The screams begging for no party fill the reader with dread and pays off in the Part 3 of the book (the last 57 pages) which is titled: The Party.
This story is fantastic, original and full of surprises. I doubt anyone will figure out what is going on until Stine decides to clue them in and I do love a stumper. I love how Stine makes it all come together in the end. The only thing I wish for has nothing to do with this story but the world of Fear Street, which is a more comprehensive and consistent Fear family tree. Later when Stine goes through the Fear family history he never connects Simon Fear III’s branch of the family tree. This book can’t be faulted for that, but I wish he would do so (and he has the opportunity since it he is relaunching the series this October). Another must for any Fear Street fan (dabblers also welcome).
Something is very wrong at Camp Nightwing and junior counselor Holly Flynn is determined to solve the mystery before it destroys the camp. First there are frightening acts of vandalism with a red feather left behind at each scene, and then a camp counselor is found dead. The police say it is an accident, but Holly knows better. She can’t trust anyone now as she sets out to stop the camp killer. Can she solve the mystery and stop the killer before it is ‘lights out’ for her?
Just because this book is the weakest link of this list, does not make it weak. When you have a list full of winners, one book has to bring up the rear, but on most other lists this book would easily be in the top three. I really appreciated the escalation in this book. What starts out as vandalism (seemingly unconnected incidents) quickly turns far more sinister before becoming deadly. Holly is the camp owner’s niece, and the killer knows she is determined to keep the camp from closing, which makes it an unexpected game of cat and mouse. And when it comes to this quaint summer camp full of fun and sun, there are plenty of suspects to go around. Don’t wait for the summer to read this book!
And there you have them, some of the strongest early Fear Street books all on a single list! If you want to read these books in order, at least you don’t have to worry about waiting long to get to some of the best that Fear Street has to offer…