This includes nothing, because I know if there were a Fear Island close enough while I was in high school, I probably would have tried to get someone to go camping there with me, and I probably would have been really disappointed when nothing at all happened.
This being a novel, however, something did have to happen.
The third Fear Street book departs from what looked like it would be the standard formula by not opening with a first person narration from a murderer. It opens instead with Della O’Connor, who is hoping to speak to her ex-boyfriend and maybe patch things up with him. It seems she’s the one who broke up with him, so her anger at his having the audacity to be around another girl seems a bit overwrought. How dare he believe her when she broke up with him!
Della, her ex, his new love interest, Della’s best friend, a would-be class clown, and another boy are all of the members of the Outdoors Club. They have an overnight on Fear Island coming up, proving that the bad decisions behind this whole stupid book started well before the book did. The teacher leading the club has to go out of town due to a family emergency, and trusts a group of teenagers to tell their parents the trip has been postponed, so of course they pack up and head off to have a weekend by themselves.
While she’s alone on the island (which is positively filled with birds. We learned in the last book that the Fear Street Woods doesn’t have any birds, and this is something scientists have come to study. Fear Island is located in Fear Lake behind the Fear Street Woods, because of course that’s what they’d all be called. I don’t know if that makes it count as part of the bird-free woods, but it is supposedly full of mutated animals), Della is accosted by a strange man. Because Della has absolutely no sense, she spends the first half of their encounter thinking about how hot his is, and she ultimately pushes him into a ravine, where he breaks his neck and dies.
Because Della doesn’t understand how leaves work, she tries to bury him with dead leaves and is caught by a few members of the Outdoors Club. Because none of them are smarter than Della, they agree that her plan was a good one, bury the body in leaves, and continue about their camp out so no one will be suspicious. That isn’t even the last terrible decision in this book.
Della goes home, where she sleeps just fine, eats a big meal, and would probably forget about that whole manslaughter thing if only people would stop reminding her of it. She and Corey might team up as the bad guys in a future novel. Creepy letters take the place of creepy phone calls, and the Shadyside PD does finally get a chance to do their jobs. It’s a pity so few people are inclined to call them in, because they seem pretty on the spot when they get the opportunity.
This was also the book where I noticed ‘cried’ is RL Stine’s favorite dialog tag. When I mentioned it, a drinking game was suggested, but it showed up twice on a single page. I can read one of these books in a couple of hours, and I’m pretty sure my liver couldn’t handle it, so that’s not happening anytime soon.
And the carnage? Very light again.
Shadyside death count: Up to 11 total. The single death this time happened off-page when a man was murdered during a burglary gone wrong.
Additional carnage: No more dead animals. No pranks or tricks where anyone thought an animal was dead, either.
Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: Oh, gods, let me count the ways: how about not camping at a place called Fear Island? Not going to Fear Island without an adult? Calling the police when someone accidentally dies? This is not a book that should have happened. Everyone made the dumbest possible decisions because plot and no other reason.
(To keep up with a year of reading and reviewing Fear Street books, visit The Shadyside Review.)