Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Evil Summer

I love the title of this book because whenever I read the word evil, it is all stretched out and ominous in my head … one eeeeeevil summer. And the e word is thrown around a lot – the catch phrase is “Chrissy is perfect – perfectly eeeeeevil. That pretty much sums up the plot.

It starts off, in very typical R.L. fashion, with a scene from the end of the book, where our intrepid protagonist, Amanda Conklin, is all crazy in a mental institution. So you know from the very start, things aren’t going to go so well for her. She reveals through her crazy inner monologue that she has been there for 3 days (which actually isn’t that much of a hardship, I feel less sorry for her already), and she blames everything on … Chrissy!

The next chapter starts up with us going back in time, where Amanda’s family is leaving Fear Street (which is where they live, of course, there MUST be some kind of tie in to that eeeeeevil street). They are heading out to the town of Seahaven. Very imaginative name, R.L., for a fictional coastal town. There is the requisite description of Fear Street: “Fear Street looked so normal in the day time. But at night … shudder!” This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, let’s just ignore that street for the rest of the book.

Apparently this is a working vacation for her parents. Her father is a public defender lawyer (and therefore one of the good guys), and he has asked to have no trials over the summer to catch up on his paperwork. Okay, WTF. You are a trial lawyer, with no trials you have no paperwork … you know what, never mind. Good research, R.L. Her mother is working on a magazine article about the stresses of young people. This is an article that apparently will take all summer. So, her mother actually doesn’t understand a thing about stress, since she clearly doesn’t have to deal with things like deadlines. Amanda’s parents are lazy, that’s all.

It is revealed that Amanda FAILED Algebra II (oh, I hope there’s a cute tutor involved here!), and has to take summer school, and therefore is unable to babysit her two younger siblings like she promised. Because her parents can’t watch them when they’re reading they’re “paperwork” or writing a “magazine article”. Guaranteed papa is down at the casino everyday, and mom is into the Long Island Iced Teas the entire time. Anyways, they put a huge amount of guilt and stress on Amanda over this, then her mother turns around to question her about what stresses her out. Seriously, mom, have another iced tea.

They settle into their cute cottage overlooking the sea on a cliff, when a very pretty girl (Chrissy) comes to the door, in answer to the babysitting job. While Amanda tries to track down her parents, her very friendly cat starts hissing at Chrissy. Of course he does! Of course he had never done anything like this before, ever. Amanda finds Chrissy hissing back at the cat, in a cat-like way. Creepy. Amanda thinks this is normal.

Chrissy is hired even though none of her references answer because she is PERFECT! She moves in right away, because conveniently she has her suitcase in her truck, just in case she got the job. Creepy things start happening. Amanda’s birds stop singing, and seem to be stoned all the time. She finds all these newspaper clippings that reveal that Chrissy has a twin sister who is in a coma with brain damage after inhaling carbon monoxide. In a random plot twist, Chrissy reveals her twin is evil. (for no reason, ever).

We follow Amanda to summer school, where she meets the cute guy in her Algebra class named Dave – they ‘partner’ up. I love cute boys in Fear Street books. Nothing like a few spine-tingling thrills to amp up the sexual tension. Of course, we know for sure he will either end up dead, is in fact already dead, or a murderer, at this point, so you always have to be careful about that. Anyways, Dave is so cute she reveals all her issues about Chrissy to him right away, and has an immediate confidante.

She comes home to find her little sister Merry facedown in the pool. (gasp!) She dives in to save her, only to find out Chrissy is underwater helping her float. Now everyone thinks Amanda is crazy. Only – why? She sorta jumped to conclusions, but was trying to save her sister, but she is treated like a leper by everyone. Amanda’s family is lazy, and not very likable.

All of a sudden, an out of control car jumps the curb and tries to run over Merry and Kyle (the little brother). They are saved by Chrissy, and the driver claims the car developed a life of its own. Everyone seems to think this is reasonable and send him on his way. Amanda then finds out her cat has been run over (sad!) and she sees Amanda smirking to herself. Don’t you go hissing at Chrissy! Everyone in her family immediately gets over the death of Amanda’s cat, because they’re awesome people.

Amanda wakes up later in the night hearing Chrissy’s eeeeeevil laughter. She sees her in her room, floating half a foot off the ground. Creepy! Amanda faints, and everyone thinks she’s crazy and traumatized by the tragic death of her cat. So, to prove them completely right, she gets up later in the night to rummage through Chrissy’s things, and is caught by Chrissy, but not before stealing one of the mysterious newspaper clippings. The article details how Chrissy’s family lived close to Shadyside (of course they did) and there was a mysterious accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Her parents died, and only their daughter (Lilith) survived in a coma – there was no mention of Chrissy. Chills! The clipping then bursts into flame in her hand. Double chills!

The next day, Amanda gets down to investigative work. She has her friend in Shadyside do some research about Chrissy’s family at the library. Her friend agrees reluctantly, then tells Amanda that a very pretty blonde girl came looking for her family right after they left on vacation. Amanda starts to react, but then the phone melts in her hand, and she can hear Chrissy’s voice through it. It then bursts into flames. I’d stop touching things, Amanda.

Amanda confesses every creepy thing that’s happened to new bf Dave. He takes her to a ‘secret hideout’ and shows her blood all over the floor, then brandishes a knife. You sure know how to romance a girl, Dave. Apparently it works for her, because they start making out. Kinky, Amanda. They come up with a plan to plant a knife in Chrissy’s things so that everyone can see she is dangerous. Unfortunately for this plan, just as she’s about to plant it, it starts spraying blood everywhere, getting all over Chrissy’s things. The family come in to discover a very bloody room, a very bloody Amanda, and the birds have all had their throats slit. Her parents decide it’s best she see a psychiatrist, and Amanda decides she will play nice with Chrissy, and try to get through the summer.

Amanda gets the news a few days later that her friend who had been doing research in Shadyside suddenly slumped over oozing blood everywhere. Gross. It sounds like the ebola virus, which wouldn’t shock me for a second. Anything can happen in Shadyside! Nobody seems to think this is a big deal, and we never find out whether she dies or not. Figuring she has to do something, she comes up with another plan with Dave. He asks Chrissy out on a date, giving Amanda time to search through the clippings and figure out the mystery that is Chrissy. Only they come back early! So Amanda grabs the clippings and they make a break for it. She learns that her hard-working public defender father was the reason behind Chrissy’s family being charged with arson, or something, which led to Chrissy’s father attempting to kill them all in their beds with carbon monoxide. He almost succeeded, but evil twin Lilith/Chrissy survived.

Chrissy has caught up to Dave and Amanda, and Dave seizes up and starts oozing blood everywhere. Still gross. Dave is now dead, and Chrissy reveals to Amanda she can move things WITH HER MIND! She was the evil twin Lilith, and being in a coma gave her super-powers. Apparently, telekinesis includes causing ebola-like symptoms, which is really disturbing to think about. Amanda is mind-locked in the car, and it starts mind-rolling towards the edge of the cliff (of course they parked on the edge of a cliff – it’s the only place you are allowed to park in R. L.’s books). Amanda is thrown over the edge of a cliff in a car, but survives. She realizes Chrissy wants to kill her whole family, because she blames Amanda’s father for the death of her family. Amanda bravely heads back to her house to rescue little Merry and Kyle.

Chrissy has sent her parents back to Shadyside to look for Amanda, on the story that she ran off with her boyfriend and is crazy. The first thing Amanda does when she get to the house to rescue her siblings in their life threatening situation is to … head to the Cheerios. Smart move Amanda. She leaves the Cheerios out in full view, which tips Chrissy off that she is still alive. Chrissy then tries to kill Amanda with her brain (awesome).

Amanda once again runs away without her brother and sister and heads out to sea again. I guess she only really wanted the Cheerios anyways? She steals a boat and heads out to Dave’s island hideaway of love. She does this because it’s full of weapons! Um, Amanda? Chrissy can kill you WITH HER BRAIN! I don’t think that knife is going to help you. At that point, Amanda realizes she has left her siblings alone with a raging telekinetic psychopath, and feels a bit guilty, so heads back to her home, only to find Chrissy bringing the kids out to sea.

Okay, this is the most longest drawn out fight to the death ever, so … eventually Chrissy sets the house on fire, trips over a vengeful cat, and turns into a human torch. Everyone is safe and happy, except for Kyle, who goes catatonic.

We then flash to the mental institution where we begin this whole crazy journey, because nobody believed Amanda’s Chrissy’s brain story. But then, Kyle wakes up and starts talking and everyone knows that Chrissy was the for real psychopath and everyone is happy. Except for Dave and Amanda’s friend, who both got brain ebola.

You know, for a Fear Street book, this wasn’t actually bad, there were some suspenseful moments: is Amanda crazy? Was Chrissy really floating? How does she give people ebola? But there was no predictable twist at the end, which I always enjoy. On a scale of suspenseful moments, I give it an 8 out of 10.

L. K. Stine


Drew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew said...

how much would you love to have copies of the original cover artwork hanging in your home? seriously these covers are epic. im wondering if it was just one artist.
could you provide info on the cover artists AND maybe rate the covers in terms of:
a)how misleading it is
b)how awful it is
c)how funny it is

that would be awesome!

Broken1again said...

i love your description of this one LOL!!!! This was the first fear street I ever read...and then the addiction began!! ha

RecallerReminder said...

This was my first FS book, one of the best. Its so good I think should make a movie based on (too bad so far is wasted as just one more FS book).
Still im confused over the ending (which you dont mentioned), like that last vision of Chrissy (or Lilith) and the fact she was using the name of her cat...what that means? Like, dunno, the accident actually gave powers to the cat, and it somehow transfered to Lilith and this is why she got so psychotic? Makes more sense to me.
And the bleeding part was not like ebola virus, is actually part of the telekinetic powers (they make presion over people brains, thats why is almost likely they end up death or into coma because is causing severe brain damage....wonder why she just didnt use it on Amanda? would be so easy).