Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Lost Girl or "Someone Gets Stabbed Through the Eye With a Flaming Candle, No Joke."

Welcome back to Fear Street y’all!

Turns out that R.L. Stine is publishing the new Fear Street books pretty fast and furious. Nothing like he was in the 90s (approximately 400 per year) but he’s been publishing one every six months since 2014! We have some catching up to do, clearly.

I am back with The Lost Girl, and boy, what a return to form it was! Like all great Fear Street novels, this one starts with a prologue and jumps back and forth between 1950 and 2016. The prologue is actually pretty long (like 8 chapters!) and focuses on Beth and her Italian family.

Beth’s family is finally opening their own stable. Beth’s father, Angelo Palmieri, worked as a stable hand for a prominent Irish family, the Dooleys, basically his whole life. (My immediate thought was they are all in Italian/Irish gangs! I wasn’t that far off). He’s finally saved enough money to open his own stable, and today is the opening day.

The whole family is ridiculously happy, although there is some tension between Beth and her mom. Beth is mad because her mom grounded her from last Sunday’s sock hop since Beth failed geometry. Beth thinks “Everyone knows girls aren’t good at math. Why does mom expect me to be special?” This has nothing to do with the plot, I just loved that these types of lines were thrown in. Classic Fear Street.

Another Fear Street classic is coming up - Beth is being stalked by Aaron Dooley, of Dooley Stables fame. Well, he’s the nephew of the stable owners. He follows Beth around, trying to convince her to kiss him. This is on page 8: “I tried to squirm free, but his gloved hands were inside my open coat and he tightened them around my waist. ‘Aaron, get off’ I snapped. ‘Get your paws off me. I’m in a hurry.’. The icy blue eyes flashed with excitement. He tightened his grip and pulled me to the side of the apartment building. ‘I’m tired of playing games with you,’ he said.”


And yes, it only gets worse! Assaultist Aaron pins Beth down and covers her face with kisses (weird), until Beth reveals the trick up her sleeve - she’s telekinetic and is mentally choking Aaron out.  She says “Why Aaron, you seem to have swallowed your tongue”, which admittedly, is a pretty bad ass thing to say while you’re choking someone.  Beth doesn’t kill Aaron, but instead leaves him in the snow, feeling very satisfied that he is now afraid of her. She’s not any worse for wear for the horrifying assault, as she laughs at how scared Aaron is, so that seems about par of the course for Shadyside women. She continues on her way to her dad’s stable opening and has a fine afternoon. Could RL have picked a less awful way for Beth to demonstrate her skills?

Martin Dooley, proprietor of Dooley Stables, shows up after the stable opening. Beth obviously stands around to eavesdrop, like all good Shadyside characters do. Martin accuses Angelo of betrayal for opening a competing stable, although how could he not have noticed this earlier? Like, when Angelo quit and built the stable? Maybe he has a flair for drama.  

While threatening Angelo about the business, Martin brings up Beth and how she “thinks she’s too good to go out with a Dooley?” Uh, yeah Martin, even Beth, the math dunce, is too good for Aaron. Anyways, Angelo and Martin get into a fight about who’s junk is bigger (I can only assume) and Martin leaves after threatening Angelo. The chapter ends with a classic “Two days later, my life ended.” OOOOOOOOOOHH.

Two days later, Irish thugs come and kidnap Angelo from the stable, while Beth looks on in horror from the office. She goes after the cars with her father in it, in the most boring and slow car chase. It is literally during a traffic jam. The thugs take him to Dooley’s Stables, of course, where he’s tied up on the ground between two stakes. Beth tries to do some telekinesis magic spell, but it doesn’t work. Beth kinda sucks.

What follows here though is quite possibly the most INSANE Fear Street death. Martin Dooley comes out and covers Angelo in honey and oats (delish!) and then releases...the horses? Yes friends, Angelo is savagely ripped apart when the horses are let loose and they eat the honey and oats, and I guess just keep on eating and kill Angelo? What? Is this something that horses do - eat their food and then just keep eating whatever’s beneath it until they’ve tunneled through to the centre of the earth? I actually googled “horses eat human flesh?” (note the incredulous question mark there). All I found is Greek mythology and a list of 10 countries who eat horse flesh. Maybe it was a revenge murder then.

Anyhoo, Beth has been watching this happen from behind a building. Since she kinda sucks, when she turns to run and get help, she runs the wrong way, and is quickly seen by the murderous irishmen and their band of flesh-eating horses (huh).  Oh, Aaron has shown up now too. They chase her into the woods and she crawls into a cave, hoping to hide from the absolute insanity she just saw. As she rushes deeper in the the cave she suddenly feels like she’s falling…

Present Day

We now meet Mike. Mike’s dad owns the snowmobile store and rental place in Fear Street which is pretty cool, and he has a girlfriend named Pepper who has fiery red hair - OF COURSE she does. We’ve discussed how Shadyside seems to have the highest proportion of redheads in the world, yes? I guess due to all the Irish gangs.

Anyways, he’s out grocery shopping for his mom when he spots the most beautiful girl - he describes her as looking like Emma Stone. Interesting. I think given our knowledge of RL’s love of redheads, we may have stumbled across his celebrity crush!  Mike is watching her so intently, he also watches her steal a bunch of food. Odd. They talk outside the store about Mike’s dog and two weird things happen: she knows his name without him telling her; and he apparently wandered out of the store without his groceries and has to go back in. She introduces herself as Mindy Barker. Get it together, Mike.

The next chapter introduces the rest of the characters: Gabe is Mike’s best friend, who loves video games. Diego is the big athlete, and Kathryn is the small artsy one. Pepper rounds them out. When Mike runs into Mindy in the hall and introduces Gabe, she laughs at Mike and tells him her real name is Lizzy Walker. Mike is embarrassed for some inexplicable reason - how would you know this random new girl would give you a fake name?? This had no impact on the plot. So weird!

Also, the name Lizzy? Are teens slower than they were in the 80s and 90s? Or does RL want people to catch on early? If you don’t understand my meaning, I’m sure you’ll catch up soon.

Mike runs into Lizzy again that afternoon - she tells him she’s LOST. Get it? He points her in the right direction and she attempts to hold his hand. Actually wait. She holds his hand, then pricks his finger with a thumbtack, pricks her own and pushes them together before Mike can react. WHAT?! She whispers “now we’re bloods.” Please tell me what your reaction would be if a person did that to you. Because holy crap, how Mike is not terrified for his life is beyond me.

He thinks very little of this extremely distressing incident and then goes to work on the yearbook with Pepper. Pepper saw him with Lizzy earlier in the day and is jealous (of course) but he tells her she has nothing to worry about. As he has Lizzy’s blood coursing through his veins! Scandalous!

That night, Lizzy wanders over to his house out of the blue claiming she got *lost* and also doesn’t explain how she knew where Mike lived. Super weird. His mom invites her in for dinner where she eats like a feral animal that’s been caught in a cage for weeks. She hears that Michael and his friends are going snowmobiling the next day and begs to come. When he says yes, she kisses him on the cheek out of happiness! Which is totally something new friends do... Of course Pepper comes over right then to see Lizzy eating at the dinner table with the family, also kinda kissing Mike. With Pepper super pissed off, Lizzy wanders off into the night again, in the wrong direction. Classic Lizzy!

The most surprising part of the snowmobile day is that the kids are drinking again! I mean, I’m not surprised teens are drinking, but it was very rare for Fear Street kids to drink in the original series, but it seems like they drink in every book now. It’s Mike, Pepper, Lizzy, and their three friends whose name I can’t bother looking up right now. Diego and so and so.

Anyways, after downing a few beers, they start snowmobiling. Everything is going well; Pepper even promised to try to be nice to Lizzy since she’s new in town - probably a bigger person than me.  Mike is snowmobiling down a path and … someone starts to cross in front of him. Mike feels like he can’t move his arms to swerve, or hands to brake! He runs over the guy, and then is able to get his body under control. Too late - he's dead.

Everyone is freaking out. Lizzy says that she knows him - his name is Angel and he almost beat two kids to death! They all agree that he was bad news, and should probably just leave him there. Wha?  Luckily, Mike has a change of heart before they get back to his dad’s shop. He realizes that it clearly looks like Angel was run over by snowmobiles, so it probably won’t take too long for (even) the Shadyside police to put two and two together. So even though their change of heart was more based on logistics than morality, they troupe back to the scene of the crime to call for help.

Except.. The body is gone!

Part Two- 1950

It’s been a few days since Angelo was murdered by flesh-eating horses, and Beth is still missing. I guess the Irish gang dumped Angelo in the forest as the police tell her they think he was eaten by wolves. Nice police work there. Beth’s mom, Gina, decides to have a double funeral.  

During the funeral Martin Dooley comes to pay his respects, which does not sit well with ol’ Gina. She stabs him in the eye with a goddamn candle, which lights his face and head on fire. Gina does NOT eff around! This is how she reacts after she sees Martin Dooley go up in flames: “Gina crossed her arms in front of her chest and watched.” Bad ass.

Part Three - Present

Of course the Shadyside teachers take their students grave rubbing. Reminds me of the teacher in Hocus Pocus who is way to into the Sanderson sisters. Like, I get it, you live in a creepy town. You don’t need to drag children to cemetery on a dreary day.

Lizzy conveniently finds Beth and Angelo’s graves to do rubbings on. Weird.  Weirder still, when Michael is by himself, he sees Angel climbing out of a grave! His friends think that Angel must be alive then, that Michael didn’t kill him in  the snowmobile accident. So...the theory is that Angel is fine, but just hangs around in open graves…? I mean, it’s Shadyside, so this might be a valid theory.

Lizzy on the other hand thinks that Angel is dead (she claims he was real dead when she examined him at the accident) so it must be an evil ghost. I guess as equally likely a theory. Lizzy is very scared, so Michael gives her a hug. As he’s hugging her, this happens: “I held onto Lizzy. Her tears felt hot against my cheek. Am I becoming obsessed with her?”  Hahaha WTF. By the way, the italics were R.L.s, not mine! Classic Fear Street fear boner.

Anyways, Pepper sees this hug and dumps Michael, thank goodness. What a wang.  He gets a threatening phone call that night and the caller claims that Mike killed him. Mike refuses to go to the police, which is probably fair enough. I mean, this guy made a threatening phone call, but Mike had previously run him over.  

(Confession time: At this point in my recap, I put the book down and didn’t pick it up for 2 months. My recollection is hazy and my notes aren’t that good. Luckily, this recap is already super long so I don’t feel guilty with how poorly I will recap the rest of the book. This is only halfway!)

The next day, Lizzy gets knocked out at school and although she (unsurprisingly) doesn’t see her attacker, he whispers in her ear “one by one”. Much to Mike’s delight, Lizzy kisses him later that week at his house. Much to my disgust, she reminds him that they’re “bloods”, as in, remember that time I pricked your finger and gave you a blood-born illness? After she leaves his house, his mom is missing her special amethyst ring. Mike is flabbergasted by what could have happened to it!

Obviously, Lizzy is wearing the ring and telling everyone Mike gave it to her. He’s so mad he thinks about how he is actually seeing red! A little bit of a rage issue, like all good Fear Street men. Before he can confront Lizzy, he is given a paper bag full of red hair by a random student - Pepper’s hair! Mike doesn’t know what happened to Pepper, so he and Gabe rush to the hospital. On the way, their car is chased and rammed from behind.

Mike wakes up in hospital.  Gabe was crushed to death. My next notes says “Confesses all to cops. Asks about zombies?” I don’t remember that, but I really liked that note, so there you go. Even after all that has happened, Mike is still mostly thinking of Lizzy.  The police visit him a few days later to ask about Lizzy, since they’ve discovered there is no Lizzy Walker in school. Mike thinks about how he doesn’t know anything about her and “Maybe she’s poor…”. Worst case scenario for any Shadysider, I know.

Lizzy comes to find Mike and begs for his help.  When he tells her to go to the police she is certain that Angel would kill her for doing that, and insists she needs the help of her “blood”, gross.  She makes out with Mike then asks him to kill Angel for her (specifically, tomorrow night). Mike agrees and Lizzy says she’ll get a gun. That was fast.

In an interesting way to spend their time, Mike and Diego decide to continue filming a class project. Macbeth, to be exact. Diego wants to film it in the boiler room of their school, for unknown reasons. Mike agrees but when he goes down, Diego has been tied to the boiler, and when Mike releases the ropes, all his skin slides off his back. Barf.

Diego is surprisingly alive, although probably wishes he wasn’t. Pepper (who is fine, just got knocked out and had her head shaved) and Mike try to work on the yearbook to take their minds off their dead and maimed friends. They make an interesting discovery - in an old 1950 yearbook, there is a Beth Palmieri that looks identical to Lizzy! Pepper also points out their names are the same.  Mike remembers he saw something like that in the cemetery and they go confirm that, yup, Beth Palmieri is buried there. They don’t know what to make of this. Pepper asks to hang out that night but Mike says no, thinking about how Lizzy is getting a gun.

He goes to meet Lizzy that night at the spot of the old Fear Mansion. He can’t find Lizzy so he just wanders around the Fear Street Woods (at night in winter) until Pepper comes up behind him. She followed him because he’s been such a weirdo.  Lizzy comes then and flies into a rage when she sees Pepper there. She uses her telekinesis (which I kinda forgot about) to freeze Pepper in place. Lizzy excitedly tells Mike that he’s here so she can kill him.  Angel steps out of the woods too. It is actually Aaron Dooley for some reason? They are working together?

So apparently Lizzy has been lusting for revenge on Mike because (surprise!) Mike is Martin Dooley’s grandson. Martin Dooley has been dead for years (probably because his face caught fire), but Lizzy doesn’t let that satisfy her. Lizzy and Aaron lead Mike to the cave that she used to escape in 1950 and explains it’s actually a time travelling tunnel back to that year.  She also explains that Aaron followed her through the time portal, (most likely, because he was/is a stalker who is obsessed with her).  Aaron claims he was disgusted by how his father killed Beth/Lizzy’s father and he was too scared to move when it happened.  That doesn’t explain the assault from the beginning of the book. Oh here it is: “We...had a bad time before...A bad moment a few days before. I actually hated him. But I was wrong about him. He loved me. He loved me so much, he followed me into the cave.” God dammit R.L.

Lizzy and Aaron go to shove Mike through the time travelling cave where they say he will cease to exist (although I should mention that if they travelled from 1950 to 2016 and stayed 16, Mike would travel to 1950 and also remain 16. If they didn’t age, he wouldn’t anti-age into non-existence. The physics is all wrong!). Luckily Pepper comes out of her frosty spell and screams. This moment of distraction allows Mike to shove Lizzy and Aaron into the cave where… they age 70 years very rapidly (I don’t think this is how time-travel works). Also, they age until they are an old pile of bones, which I think if very unfair to 86 year olds.

The books of course ends with Mike doing a grave rubbing of Beth Palmieri’s grave, because why the eff not.

Alright, this book was waaaaayyyy too long and also, didn’t make the best sense. Putting the issues with time-traveling caves aside, I don’t really get Lizzy and Aaron’s plan. Okay, they wanted to torture Mike for what his grandfather did. Did they have to kill and maim multiple innocent others? Also, why did they have to run Aaron/Angel over with the snowmobile?? Couldn’t they have just started stalking Mike out of the blue? Aaron seemed great at that!

Well, there you have it. The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine.  I can’t say that I loved it because it was a little crazy in a bad way. Seventeen flesh-eating-horses out of thirty-two.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Don’t Stay Up Late, or “Crazy Things Happen to Crazy People”

Time for another new Fear Street!

I am liking the new Fear Street relaunch, in theory. The new books definitely look appropriately scary, anyways, and Don’t Stay Up Late is no different. Girl alone in a darkened room, horrifying shadow pressing in behind her. It’s creepy. Even the title, Don’t Stay Up Late, gives a shivery warning, which makes it feel just a little bit naughty. The tagline: In the dead of night, the evil one awaits. That is effing creepy. So far I’m impressed. Does the substance of this newer, sexier Fear Street live up to its shiny wrapper? Wait and see …

Part One

Oh, lordy yes! Already divided into parts. This used to be how you could tell a super chiller from a regular Fear Street, it was separated into parts. Now, all the books have parts? We will roll with it.

Enter Lisa, our heroine of the novel, who is new to town and self-identifies as a twisted psycho. An interesting way to introduce yourself, she’ll fit right in at Shadyside High. Lisa has been at school for a month and already she has a best friend (Saralynn) and a boyfriend (Nate). Nate and Lisa met when she (accidentally) pushed him down a flight of stairs. It was love at first assault. They also have another friend, Isaac, who is described as chubby and funny, which pretty much ensures his death.

She explains the night of the accident started off like any other. She was out with her friends at the local burger joint as Saralynn tells them that she wants to make a horror movie for a class project. And it just so happens that Nate is a horror film nut, with tons of movie posters and costumes in his attic. They all agree to be in this film. I love it, I can already see how things are going to go south here, crazy boyfriend, film becoming much too realistic.

While they are chatting, Lisa confesses she snuck out of the house to be there as her parents are super overprotective. This is just as her dad comes storming into the diner and forces her to leave, causing her to die of embarrassment. Lisa behaves exactly like any other teen ever, and is a brat, fighting as they drive home. Her dad loses control of the car and they have a horrific accident.

When Lisa wakes up, she’s in a hospital bed. Her father is lying next to her, the steering column jammed through his skull. As she starts screaming again, her mom and nurses appear to calm her down and explain she’s had some head trauma that is causing hallucinations. But she was right about one thing – her dad is not okay.

Well, that is effing horrible. Rarely do Fear Streets start off with such genuine grief and horror. I’m feeling for Lisa. On top of losing her father, she’s going to see horrific visions due to the brain trauma. That’s just peachy.

Part Two

Lisa has started to see a psychiatrist to help deal with her grief and hallucinations. Dr. Shein doesn’t think she’s up for school yet. Just as an aside, I’m impressed that they all seem to be coping with their dead dad/husband quite well, as in their actually trying to deal with their loss. Like, she’s having nightmares of his death after two weeks? No problem, that’s normal. In old Fear Streets, you were supposed to get over death instantaneously. Grief must expire at the funeral, otherwise everyone acts like there is something wrong with you.

Late one night, Lisa hears a dog howling under her window so goes out to find it. The world looks strange at night, and she sees a shadowy creature – standing on two legs, skinny, bald, with red glowing eyes, pig ears and snout and a row of fangs. Lisa figures she must be dreaming but she can’t stop screaming, and the shadow creature grabs her …

It was her mom, who’s frantic that her daughter’s sleepwalking in the middle of the night. Lisa wonders if she’ll be crazy forever.

The next morning she goes to Nate’s and starts screaming because she sees a hideous green creature. It comes towards her and grabs her around the waist – it was Nate and he’s all pleased with his joke, as Lisa is like – yup, I’ll be crazy forever. They are filming Saralynn’s horror film, using one of Nate’s many horror costumes. Hmmm … like maybe with a weird pig mask with red eyes? Lisa gets a funny feeling that Nate and Saralynn are keeping something from her. Like how they are trying to make her even more crazy by torturing her with monster costumes?

Lisa sees her shrink again, who lets her go to school and encourages her to get a job. She knows of a woman looking for a babysitter for her little boy, which would be perfect for Lisa. And they live on – dun dun DUN! – Fear Street.

Part Three

Isaac tries to convince her not to take the job. She’s at his house, waiting for her other friends to arrive, listening to his horrible band rehearse. Isaac is wearing a (pop culture reference!) Vampire Weekend tshirt. Yay! I don’t remember that many pop culture references from the older books – maybe I just didn’t get them. Isaac stresses how much she should not go to Fear Street. He even gives a brief run down of the Fear/Goode curse and that they learn about it in school! Awesome. Lisa is mad that Isaac is such a downer. Then he behaves as all Fear Street men do and leans in to kiss her after trying to scare her. Nate arrives just then and Lisa doesn’t know if he saw the kiss or not, but he doesn’t mention anything. He does say that Brendan Fear is a good guy and Fear Street isn’t so bad. He drives Lisa to meet her new boss, Brenda Hart.

The babysitting job isn’t hard – she’s to pick up eight-year-old Harry from his aunt’s house (where he’s homeschooled) three days a week when Brenda has to work late, and the job pays really well. There are some signs that Harry is different – he’s super self sufficient, there’s no sign of a kid in the house, and he goes to bed very early. Brenda stresses how important it is that he doesn’t stay up late. Lisa thinks Harry is adorable, but Brenda warns Lisa to NEVER let Harry stay up late. She’s very intense about this. Her reason is because he would be cranky the next day. Haha, as a mom, I totally get this.

Lisa gets a call from Summer Lawson, Nate’s ex. Summer warns Lisa that she’s in lots of trouble because of Nate, then hangs up. Alright, Lisa is getting creepy on all sides here.

The next day she goes to pick Harry up, first day on the job, and once again thinks how angelic he is. Lisa hears what sounds like sobbing from Harry’s aunt’s basement, but the aunt says it’s just the cat.

Nate calls her while she’s babysitting to see how it’s going and Lisa tells him about the weird call from Summer. Nate gets cagey when she asks him where he is and he just says “out.” Hmmm, following his cheating heart or getting ready to terrify his girlfriend? Given that it’s Fear Street, I’ll take door number two …

Lisa drifts off on the couch as she does her homework, only to be awoken by tapping upstairs. She sees a figure at the top of the stairs – she chases it to Harry’s room where it jumps out the window. It looks up at her and she sees the same demon face as before.

Harry isn’t in his room and she’s full out panicking, until he makes a noise at the front of the house. He was hiding in the front closet all along. Lisa doesn’t tell Brenda about the demon intruder because she doesn’t want to lose the job. That’s some crazy logic. I’d be like: fuck you and this crazy house, I am out of here.

She does tell her mom, Nate, and her shrink about what she saw, and not one of them believes her. Dr. Shein wants to put her on medication for her hallucinations.

Friday night, she goes to hear Isaac’s band playing. They talk about their fake IDs and their club outfits – the place is open to teens because a teen band is playing, but Nate has to use his ID to get beers. Nate snuggles into Lisa’s neck and it sends a chill down her spine, but in a good way, I guess? Lisa likes that kind of thing. Saralynn cryptically tells her there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Nate. To reiterate this, Summer Lawson approaches her and warns her about Nate, but Lisa thinks everyone is just jelly. She’s the only one who’s getting his spine-chilling caresses! Nate comes to kiss her again and she gets another chill when his cold lips find hers – Fear Street is so hot.

Summer calls her again when she’s babysitting, but she doesn’t answer. Later on Lisa hears footsteps in the kitchen and freezes in fear – the demon! She goes to call 911, but her cell phone is dead – of course it is! Half of horror stuff can’t happen when there’s proper communication. She makes a mental note to ask Brenda for an iPhone charger. Then she goes back to being terrified.

Never mind, it was just Nate, creeping around. He wanted to make her feel better about the intruder last time by breaking in himself. Good to know some things haven’t changed in Fear Street and boys still behave like stalkers. Lisa goes to check on Harry, and when she comes back down, Nate is gone.

The only person there is the demon creature! It spit green goo at her and runs out the back door. She hears screaming outside but doesn’t see anyone.

When her babysitting shift is over, Nate comes back to pick her up. He has blood and scratches on his face he can’t explain. As they leave, they see something across the street. It’s Summer Lawson’s body, her stomach ripped open and bite marks all over her.

Part Four

At the police station, Lisa is told Summer was torn apart and eaten by a human, yuck. Lisa tells the police about the creature and is shamed by everyone, because they are all a bunch of assholes. But Lisa is beginning to suspect that Nate is into more than just horror movies.

Once she has Harry again, it is reiterated that he absolutely can’t stay up late. Now they’re telling her he gets seizures if he doesn’t have enough sleep. You would think that’s kind of pertinent information.

When Harry is in bed, Lisa peeks through some family albums on the shelves and finds a photo of a family reunion that includes both Saralynn and Nate. She calls Saralynn with the evidence and Saralynn confesses they are all second cousins, Nate just didn’t want to tell her.

On Friday, she picks up Harry, and this time her friends come over and they study together – I guess it’s okay because they are related to Brenda and Harry? Nate leaves to see if he can find Isaac. Right after that, Lisa sees the creature, but Saralynn calmly tells her nothing is there. She’s totally gaslighting her, right? Lisa runs to check on Harry – he’s gone too.

As they search for him, she hears a fight outside, then screaming and runs out to see the creature running away. It left something behind – Isaac’s mangled body, half-eaten. Yuck again.

At the police station, once again no one believes her and call her crazy. Saralynn explains she didn’t see a creature. But, like, there was still the body, right? A hallucination didn’t do that. Dr. Shein thinks that Lisa should be better by now – ouch. She puts her on medication and threatens her with a mental hospital.

Lisa has had about enough. She doesn’t take the meds and decides that Nate is the killer. Just then Brenda calls, because she needs an overnight sitter. Lisa thinks she can find something at the house. She searches all the photo albums for clues, and finds a letter from Harry’s former babysitter, Joy, explaining she was having nightmares from her time at their house and had to quit.

Lisa goes to see Joy from the address on the letter, only to be told she was at a mental hospital. Damn. Joy looks normal, but freaks out when Lisa mentions Harry. She keeps shrieking “he’s a demon,” while Lisa is like “oh, so you know Nate?” Lisa is not exactly the sharpest tool in a Fear Street mental institute.

The next day with Harry, because Lisa keeps going back despite the pile of disemboweled bodies, he forgets his backpack at his aunt’s house so Lisa goes back to get it. She hears screaming at the aunt’s house, and follows the sound to the basement, where there are three creatures like the one she saw, in cages. So, it’s a family of demon breeders? She’s all like, yay, proof, but doesn’t take an effing picture, because that would be too easy. She gets Harry home, calls the police, then leaves Harry by himself to go see what happens at the aunt’s. But when she arrives, there’s nothing in the basement and everyone is pissed. Lisa realizes she’s about thisclose to rooming with Joy. She lets Harry stay up late and that’s when the shit hits the fan. His eyes glow and roll back in his head as he turns into the demon and tries to eat her.

Brenda comes home and is remarkably calm, is just mad at Lisa for letting Harry stay up late. She can’t let Lisa go, now that she knows about their family and how they raise demons. There is no explanation as to why they are raising demons. Or why they would rely on a bunch of teenage girls to keep these demons in check. Seriously, what is Brenda doing on those nights that’s more important than not letting the demon out? Anyways, Harry is special because he can take human form. Brenda then tries to stab her in the chest. Nate comes in and saves her and Lisa escapes.

Lisa is at Dr. Shein’s, telling her everything. Of course Shein is in on the whole thing and plans to have her institutionalized because she knows too much. Lisa was chosen for the job because she was already hallucinating since her accident.

But, haha, Lisa was on FaceTime the whole time with all of the police officers outside the door, and they watched Shein’s entire confession. FaceTime ftw! Lisa had figured out Shein’s involvement because she had referred her in the beginning. Lisa and her mom get to go home. Nate and Saralynn disappeared in the night, as does anyone else in connection with the demons.

All is well in the world. Lisa gets a job at a daycare and really likes it. Until one day an angelic little boy comes in, looking exactly like Harry. He’s not Harry, but he does want to stay up late …

Okay the final word on this is that it started off with such promise, and ended up being really cheesy. I mean, the whole demon breeding thing doesn’t make any sense. I guess I’m expecting too much, but I think the whole thing would have been much creepier if her friends had actually been trying to drive her crazy while filming it. That would have been genuinely horrifying. And while little kids can be uber creepy, once Harry turned into a demon, all I could imagine was some kind of cheesy old school horror movie, like creature from the black lagoon, especially with the spitting of green goo.

But hey, I’m just happy that there are new Fear Streets out there! I give this book 4 cheesy swamp monsters out of nine.