The teens of Shadyside are in for more scares now that Stine has returned to his beloved franchise.
Rachel Martin’s got a big-time crush on Brendan Fear. She’s incredibly excited to be invited along with the cool kids to Brendan’s birthday party on Fear Island, so much so that she’s willing to ignore an ominous dead animal in her bed and the warnings of her best friend. Of course, once the party starts and the guests start to drop like flies in gruesome ways, Rachel’s only concern is getting off the island in one piece. The author’s instinct for creative kills remains strong despite a 15-plus-year absence from the series. There isn’t a lot to chew on when it comes to character or theme, although it’s hard to imagine anyone looking for such a thing in a Fear Street novel. These books are designed to be a pleasant diversion as well as fodder for nightmares, and in that aspect, the author doesn’t disappoint. The only frustration is the lack of a supernatural element to the string of murders. Ghosts and zombies are the author’s strength, not masked killers and kidnappers. The frights make up for this misstep but only by a little.
More of the same—yet here, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. (Horror. 12-16)