The similarities between The New Girl and Halloween Party are greater than having a male POV character. Lisa even makes an appearance. I’m pretty sure she should have graduated by now, but she’s also still dating Cory, so I don’t know what to do with her. There’s no use trying to keep a timeline going.
There’s no introductory narration from a murderer, but there is a new girl in school. So as not to tread too closely to existing territory, Terry already has a girlfriend, and they’ve been invited to a very exclusive party by the new girl who lives on Fear Street. In order to get to the party, they have to walk through the Fear Street Cemetery…which is admittedly something I’d totally arrange if possible. Is it too late to start planning a Fear Street themed Halloween party? Think anyone would play along?
Before Terry and his girlfriend Niki make it out of the cemetery, we head back in time two weeks. It’s not a murderer! It’s the main character in the future! Totally different!
In the past, we find out that the gorgeous new transfer student, Justine, has invited nine people to her party. Most of them aren’t really friends, some of them have significant others who aren’t invited and aren’t welcome at the party. One guest, Alex, is Terry’s former best friend and Niki’s ex-boyfriend, which…I mean, isn’t dating your best friend’s ex pretty universally bad form? Although if anything I remember from high school is accurate, that’s probably some pretty standard drama. Justine won’t bend on the guest list, not even when a couple of bullies, Bobby and Marty, get pretty pushy about wanting an invite. Some of the party guests start getting threatening notes, but it’s Shadyside, so it’s kind of surprising they don’t consider that a Tuesday.
When it’s finally party time, Terry and Niki head to the creepy mansion where Justine lives with her uncle. There’s gourmet food and pizza and Justine has planned a series of surprises for everyone. When Bobby and Marty break into the party by way of driving their motorcycles into the living room, where they threaten Justine’s uncle, Justine refuses to call the police. There’s a party to focus on! Luckily, Niki realizes this is suspicious as hell, and she’s not willing to let anything go.
Niki is, by far, the best character featured in any of these books. She’s smart, she’s unrepentantly nosy, she doesn’t put up with anyone’s shit, she’s brave, and she ultimately saves everyone’s asses. She’s also deaf and described as having ‘olive skin,’ which may or may not make her Shadyside’s only minority so far, and the only student or main character thus far with any kind of disability.
Really, no matter how much I want to roll my eyes at this book, it’s got everything I’d expect out of a Fear Street book.
So, the carnage? As grim as it gets so far.
Shadyside death count: 20. Two young parents in a car accident twenty-eight years ago and one student who barely made any appearances at all. He still marks only the second dead Shadyside high student so far, however, and another kid not only found him, but two of them ended up moving his body around. It’s a definite escalation in violence and a reminder you’re not safe by virtue of being a kid.
Additional carnage: No dead animals this time around. It’s a trend I don’t mind at all.
Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: While the kids probably shouldn’t have gone to the party at all and definitely should have made themselves scarce when Justine refused to call the police…but I’ve really got to put the blame firmly on whatever idiots let a nearly 30-year-old enroll in high school and the family member who supported her in this plan.
(To keep up with a year of reading and reviewing Fear Street books, visit The Shadyside Review.)