This is an R. L. Stine book that is NOT a Fear Street book. The difference? There was no two line intro of how super creepy Fear Street is at night. But since I just did that for you, we can move on.
The setting is a drama summer camp, where theatre mixes with camping. Because we all know that theatre types are big into the outdoors, obvs. They are putting on a super-thriller play, Curtains, which hopefully is more spine-tingling then the usual super-chillers we find at Fear Street. There is one too many overdramatic types running around, which results in murder … well, actually no murder, but a swan is killed. Does that count?
Rena: Beautiful, Michelle Pfeiffer-esque (really), a troubled teen with no acting experience/ability who lands the lead in the play. All men love her; all women are homicidally jealous of her. She is haunted by a tragic past, where she accidentally killed her boyfriend playing Russian roulette. Oops!
Bax: Washed up Broadway director who plays cruel games with the campers to help them access their inner fear or inner rage. This includes making them all walk around in bathing suits in front of each other making mean comments about their bodies, and staging his own hanging. Based on the above, I’d say Bax is a little effed up.
Hedy: How do you pronounce Hedy? Is it like Heidi? I think head-y, but who would name their kid that? Anyways, this drama queen is easy to pick out because she has long red hair. She publicly vows to take the lead away from Rena no matter the cost, and is a total uber-bitch.
Chip: All around nice guy, until he is accidentally stabbed by Rena. Oops!
Julie: Best friend of Rena, although she kinda openly hates her because she always gets all the attention and boys. Julie is clearly a total slut because she wears a little bathing suit and runs off with boys at night (although all they want to do is talk about Rena). She is also described as looking like Cher. I can only imagine this is a good thing in 1990.
George: Good looking prop-master who’s a little intense. Maybe TOO intense.
The Plot (no, really): Creepy things happen to Rena, like finding a slaughtered swan in her bed, or slashing all her clothes. She gets more and more freaked out and blames everyone, or goes into a catatonic state, whichever is less helpful. When she finally decides to leave the camp, she is tricked into going to the old boathouse with George, who makes it seem as though they are locked in. With acting. The boathouse is old and completely submerged in water when the tide is in (at a lake, mind you.) George tells her he’s really her boyfriend’s younger brother, and will make her pay! Rena realizes the door wasn’t really locked and gets out. The boathouse collapses on George. Rena then realizes she didn’t actually kill her boy friend, he killed himself. She saves George and everyone is happy.
Except me. There was no suspense in this story at all. I mean, the worst thing that happens to Rena is she is in a boathouse filling with water, and then walks out. It was like Fear Street-lite.
My biggest problem was this boathouse thing. Why was it apparently built underwater? It clearly serves no functional purpose whatsoever, except to frustrate me. Surely that can’t be good for the boats? I give this book 3 stars for the 3 hunks Rena accidentally tries to kill.
L. K. Stine