Fear Street: The New Girl

The New GirlI vaguely remember reading Fear Street when I was in Middle School. I was more into Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, and then later, Animorphs by K. A. Applegate. I stumbled across this Fear Street book on Amazon about a week ago, and despite my promise to not buy anymore books until I clear some of my queue, I snagged this and dove in head first. Now I need to read them all.

This book was awful… -ly amazing. It had some laugh out loud stuff going on, some cringe-worthy teen behavior, ninja gymnastic stunts, and a dead cat in a locker. When you read R. L. Stine, you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Don’t ask questions. Don’t look for literary elements. Don’t expect everything to make sense.

I’m about to review this thing. Skip this entry if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Cover

First off, let’s check out this cover. This book was published in 1989, and noticing the cover looked a little …not-80s, I decided to Google this book and see if there was another cover. There were two before this one.

 The New Girl
I think the first, the original, is the best of the three. The new girl looks uncertain and timid, and I believe it best fits how Anna came across at the beginning of the book. I also just love how it screams 1980s paperback. The second cover is… I have no adjectives. The skimpy, plaid, school-girl skirt, and what the heck is she holding? Is that a CD case? I had a CD case like that once back when I had CDs. Maybe it’s the world’s tiniest brief case? A case of tranquilizers? The ugliest purse?

And now, the cover of the version I read. I actually like the colors for this book. I like the Fear Street sign; I’m glad they kept that from the second cover. I like that the girl is translucent. It adds some mystery to her and the book. What I don’t like is the pose. This cover is very focused on the girl’s crotch. It makes me think she’s on her period, or maybe she has to pee. She looks like the girl from that commerical — gotta go gotta go gotta go right now. Either way, let’s find this girl a bathroom.

Tagline: He Had to learn her secrets — or die trying!

…Ok.

Plot Synopsis

Cory Brooks is a horny teenager who obsessively creeps on the new girl at his school, Anna Corwin.

Anna is not quite what she seems: she’s pale, she’s blonde, she’s beautiful, and she’s possibly dead. When Cory decides to manipulate an operator into giving him Anna’s number, and calls her way too late at night, a woman answers, and when he asks for Anna, the woman freaks out and screams that Anna is dead. Cory, acting completely normal, decides to pay Anna a few visits to her house on Fear Street in the middle of the night (We’re talking after 10 PM). He doesn’t quite understand why Anna’s family, including her weird brother Brad, are angry with him. I wonder.

Cory continues to obsess over Anna, thinking about her nonstop. It gets bad. He stops attending practice (Have I mentioned he’s a gymnast? This makes him cool at his school, believe it or not). He stops paying attention to friends.

Anna finds his creeping completely okay and starts creeping back. She calls Cory’s house in the middle of the night, naturally, and invites him to park in front of hers. She gets in his car and makes out with him, which makes Cory obsess over her more. All the while Cory wonders, is she real?

With his pal, Lisa, who is totally crushing on him throughout the novel, he looks into Anna and discovers that she doesn’t have a school record, and that there is an obituary for her in the newspaper. Cory tries to talk with Anna at school to get answers, but Anna chalks everything up to her crazy brother Brad, and runs away when the questions become too much for her.

Somewhere around this time, Lisa asks Cory to a school dance, and Anna overhears her and puts a dead cat in Lisa’s locker. Additionally, Lisa starts receiving threatening phone calls saying, “you’re dead, too.” Lisa gets pushed down stairs at the school dance by Anna’s brother, Brad. Cory and Lisa get locked in a classroom together, and Cory uses his super gymnastics skills to escape.

Cory, determined to protect the image of his girlfriend to his side piece — or do I have that backwards? — man-handles Anna and forces her to get a Coke with him. Cory must have stolen Coke at this restaurant at some point, because the waitress sits his Cokes down on their table and says something like, “Here are your Cokes. You must pay now.” Anna drinks all of her Coke and then drinks Cory’s. She was thirsty. She tells Cory that her sister, Willa, died by falling down stairs in the basement, and that her brother Brad had acted weird ever since. Brad apparently had a girlfriend named Emily who died, and who fits into this story somehow, I think, and Brad confuses his little sisters with his dead girlfriend, often calling them Emily and saying they were dead. After Willa dies, Brad calls Willa Anna and says Anna’s dead, too? And he apparently gave the journalist who wrote the obituary the wrong name out of confusion? Something like this happened. Their Coca-Cola date is cut short by Brad creepily glaring at Anna and Cory from the window. Anna leaves with Brad.

Brad decides to drive to Anna’s house to save her, and lets himself into their house. Brad and Anna are wrestling on the floor. Cory jumps on Brad, saving Anna. One thing leads to another, and Brad is knocked unconscious. Cory says they need to call the police, but Anna says they need to go upstairs to celebrate. Cory, being the horny gymnast he is, decides that’s for the best and starts to head upstairs with Anna. Anna says she wants to show Cory something, which turns out to not be her boobs. She shows him a letter opener and then attacks him with it. Cory uses his gymnast skills again in this scene to avoid being harmed by Anna. Brad wakes up somewhere in the mix, and subdues Anna.

Brad tells Cory that Anna is actually Willa, and that Willa killed Anna and has taken on her identity. Brad says he didn’t mean to push Cory’s friend Lisa down the stairs at the dance. He thought it was Willa, because pushing her down stairs is definitely okay. He says that he has been trying to scare Cory to keep him away from Willa to keep him safe. I can see how this makes sense only in the world of R. L. Stine.

After all of the excitement, Cory is with Lisa, and the two get their flirt on. Lisa, apparently is okay being Cory’s second choice after he can’t have Anna. That, out of everything in the book, was the scariest thing of all to me.

My Thoughts

This is the very first Fear Street novel, and it wasn’t half bad. It kept me entertained in the late hours of the night that Cory felt were appropriate to visit a near-stranger’s home. It had everything I loved about Goosebumps as a kid, but was more mature because it had kissing and more realistic fears. The dead cat had its stomach cut open, and that was pretty intense for a R. L. Stine book. The writing was surprisingly good. I’d read it again.

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