The big deal in Shadyside this week is that the Outdoors Club is going on an overnight trip. Ooh, an opportunity for illicit romance? Probably not, since they’ll be camping on Fear Island. When will the gentle people of Shadyside learn to leave that shit alone?
Della O’Connor is our star this book, and is model pretty. She is joined by her sidekick Maia, who she describes as looking like Little Orphan Annie. Yikes – I love it when obviously pretty girls have friends who are very much not as good looking as them. And constantly need to point it out. It makes me like them a lot. Della had been going out with Gary, but broke up with him in a snit, expecting him to beg to take her back. Gary in fact does not do this, which makes me like him infinitely more than Della. Also, Gary is now seeing Suki Thomas, which is awesome! Suki is always described as having punky platinum hair and 4 earrings in each ear (!). She is also ALWAYS the major slut of the town, although someone has pointed out this is likely a realistic way a high school girl might deal with the constant trauma of losing friends to the violence and murder surrounding her. Just saying.
Anyways, all these kids are going on the Outdoors Club overnight, along with Pete Goodwin, a good looking preppy guy nicknamed “The Prep” who is into Della, and Ricky Schorr, an obnoxious fat kid who I believe is also in Halloween party, so I hope he doesn’t die as that would put a dent in the whole Fear Street continuity. They all meet for the Outdoors Club, where their supervisor tells them the trip is cancelled. Suki decides they should go on the trip anyways, and makes suggestive comments to Gary.
The six of them decide to go for it, and head out to Fear Island that Saturday, WITHOUT parental supervision. Della is disappointed because she expected to be able to get back together with Gary easily once they could talk, only Gary is attached at the lips to Suki. Meanwhile Pete is being a little too nice for Della’s taste. Della is laughably catty to Suki – whenever Suki says a 4 syllable sentence, Della comments what an awfully big word that is. Maia is being an annoying clingy child. Ricky is being an enormous dork, and makes them all play ZAP wars. I’m assuming ZAP wars is a made up game, a combination of paint ball and capture the flag, but maybe this was a thing in 1989? They play girls and against guys and run off into the woods.
Della immediately gets lost, and stumbles across a random good looking leather clad stranger. She flirts with him a bit, until he tries to sexually assault her. Instead of being turned on by this, Della pushes him into the ravine, killing him. Sensible move, I say. Della is worried this death might inconvenience her, so she goes about covering up the body. Unfortunately, her 5 friends have magically converged on that point at the exact time she is doing this. Della’s all “Oops” and “Accident!” For some reason, they decide the ABSOLUTE best course of action would be to keep it a secret forever, and still spend the night on the island so’s not to be suspicious. Suki and Gary make out.
Things start to go wrong as soon as they get back. They start getting threatening notes saying: I SAW WHAT YOU DID. And this was totally written before I Know What You Did Last Summer, so I must come to the conclusion that teen horror screenwriters also read R.L. This goes on for awhile, until Pete finds a newspaper article of 2 men involved in the killing of a local man. It includes their pictures, and one of them is the now corpse on Fear Island. They assume the partner is sending the notes, wanting to blackmail them. Della is so happy to find out that the man she killed was already a killer, so it, like, evens things out, or something, and she agrees to go out with Pete.
Della and Pete have a great time, until while driving home their car is nearly driven off the road. It’s the other car that ends up crashing, and in a stunning display of Fear Street heroism, Pete says they have to go back and help, even if they did just try to kill them. Pete is smart, brave, and after one date has not yet forced himself on Della, so I think he’s a pretty stand up Shadyside guy, even if he is nicknamed “The Prep.” The crashed car is … empty! Dun dun DUN!
The plot thickens when the Outdoors Club supervisor wants to take the club on a sanctioned overnight trip. They are all so not about Fear Island anymore, until Della remembers she left her ZAP gun next to the body. Looks like they’ll have to go back after all. Someone really needs to teach these kids about crime scenes, based on the amount of crime they could tumble over. I find it funny that at the beginning of the book there’s about 3 chapters detailing how none of their parents wanted to let them go on the first overnight trip, but no one has any trouble going on a second. This is just ignored.
Della and Pete try to sneak away to get the incriminating gun/make out, when their supervisor is attacked and knocked out. So, the bad guy is on the island, and Gary, Suki and Ricky take off to get the police. The others … hang out on the island where they’re being attacked. Good plan. Della goes off on her own to get the gun, and find that the body is gone. She’s attacked by the partner of the man she killed and hits him over the head with a flashlight, killing him too, she hopes. At this point, she just doesn’t care anymore. She immediately runs into the man she killed, alive and walking. He explains he’s a medical freak with a very faint pulse, so he is often confused for being dead. He and his partner wanted to scare them a bit before blackmailing their parents. No Pulse once again tries to assault Della, pointing a gun at her and demanding she be friendly. Ugh. She’s not friendly enough, because he shoots her with – paint. It was a ZAP gun all along. Della tries to get away and shoots No Pulse in the face with paint. Pete comes to the rescue, getting her back to the campsite where the police are waiting. I have a total crush on Pete.
The police get the bad guys, Della gets her dreamy preppy guy, and there’s also a reward given to the kids for finding these men. What’s with all these random awards for kids being alternately nosy, exploitative, and occasionally murderous? I think I should incompetently murder someone or break into their house, to see if I’m given a reward too. Other than random awards, The Overnight was pretty great, with the vengeful murderers, a heroic boyfriend, and Suki Thomas. 11 scary campfires out of 13.
PS. Check out the cover. Della, the chick in the middle, looks identical to Jade in The Wrong Number. Like, same face, same expression, same angle. Pretty much one of those was photoshopped in, if I believed they had photoshop in 1989. Also, Suki is on the cover, with her spiky blond hair, crazy earrings, and even an unmentioned-before-now tat. Good detailing, cover artist!