This is only a Fear Street book by the very thinnest of margins–three of the main characters are from Shadyside and one lives on Fear Street. Mentioning it briefly is as close as the entire story gets to the titular street. Since RL Stine also published Point Thrillers and other books, I’m not sure why this was a Fear Street book. Since all the Fear Street books before this one were published in 1989 and 1990, maybe it was a deadline thing.
In any case, I really struggled to get through this one. Ariel, Doug, and Shannon went on a ski weekend in Vermont and are trying to get home to Shadyside. The met Red in the ski lodge and promised to give him a ride home to a town on the way. What we learn about Shadyside is that it’s close enough to Vermont for a long weekend trip.
Doug is a reckless jerk and they all end up stranded in the snow not far from a ski lodge. They hike up through the snow where they’re taken in by Lou and Eva. Lou is a rude, violent, drunken asshole, Eva is super shy, everything is really shady, and the whole story was just so boring.
To be fair, I’m not sure if it was really that boring or if I was just irritated by the location.
No, the outrageously stupid plot didn’t help.
Lou actually assaults Eva at one point, and he goads Doug into a wrestling match, then shockingly turns out to be a sore loser and hurts Doug. Their car gets pushed off the road into a ravine, the phones stop working, and it keeps snowing. The three Shadyside teens spot a masked stranger outside, and Red claims he overheard Lou planning to rob all of them. They decide to steal Lou’s van and Doug ends up shooting the masked man.
I hope I’m not accidentally making this sound exciting. I usually read one of these books in a couple of hours on Friday evening or sometime on Saturday, but I took a whole week to struggle my way through this a bit at a time.
The carnage? Lou talked a bit about people he knew who died. There was the masked man, who turned out to be Eva’s brother and the rightful owner of the ski lodge. There’s an additional death during the climax.
Shadyside death count: Still 21. People died, but they were in Vermont, or at least not in Shadyside.
Additional carnage: Two mice are killed in traps and left to struggle and suffer for the reader’s supposed amusement. One is even described as having its innards oozing out. Snap traps are awful, but usually not quite that awful.
Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: I’m going to set two points: the Shadyside kids could have not picked up a hitchhiker. They probably still would have been stranded in the blizzard, so it’s hard to tell if this worked out better for them in the end or not. Eva, Lou, and Red should have come up with a brighter idea than framing random teenagers from a distant ski lodge, because that seems unnecessarily complicated.
(To keep up with a year of reading and reviewing Fear Street books, visit The Shadyside Review.)