Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2035
Fear Street History
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
In 1923, sisters Ruth-Ann and Rebecca have an uneasy relationship, especially after Rebecca hastily throws over her boyfriend Melvin for Ruth-Ann's intended, Peter. Little does Rebecca know that her sister has been dabbling in the dark arts of the Fear family that she has discovered in the attic, and that she has the ability to cast spells, some of them very nasty. Since Rebecca has always been her family's favorite, and because the girls seem very much determined to make their futures by marrying well, Rebecca's wedding is planned, with much to-do. Their father even charters trains to take guests from the East coast to a lodge near Denver, so Rebecca can have a scenic wedding. Unfortunately, that setting lends itself to a horrific act on the part of the groom.



Fast forward to the present time, to two more Fear sisters. Harmony and Marissa also have a troubled relationship, since Harmony's own dabbling in magic has caused Marissa to lose her boyfriend, Aiden. Their brother, Robby, is interested in the magic but doesn't know much about it. Instead, she is going to marry a boy from their town, Doug, but wants to travel to a lodge near Denver to have the wedding. Grandpa Bud knows that this is a bad idea, and after the rehearsal dinner is plagued by guests choking on the food and squirrel attacks, he warns Harmony that she must stop her magical pranks before real harm is done. On the morning of the wedding, Marissa is gone, and the only clue to her disappearance is a scrawled note in red ink that says "Don't try to find me." Of course, everyone does. Calls are made to Nikki, Robby's girlfriend, and Harmony tries to find Aiden, who had been at the hotel, only to find no trace of him or anyone with whom she saw him interact. When Marissa's best friend Taylor is found dead at the bottom of the cliff, everyone assumes the worst. Harmony returns home, but soon is drawn back to the lodge, where she finds that there is more to the Fear family curse than she ever could have imagined. Can she manage to use her powers to go back in time and prevent not only her sister's tragic end but the fate of the sisters in 1923?
Good Points
First of all, Stine should teach master classes in writing convincing historical fiction! I thought he got the 1950s details so right in The Lost Girl because he was drawing from his own life experience, but he portrays the fashion, language, food, and social customs of 1923 brilliantly! This sets the stage for the later part of the story nicely, especially when we get to the twist at the end!

Stine also writes a good troubled romance story. Both the relationships between Ruth-Ann, Melvin and Peter and Marissa, Aiden and Doug have just the right amount of angst and teen drama in them. This was an addictive read because of all of this drama, and for some reason I thought of V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic books as I was speeding through it. There is something deliciously creepy and gothic about the setting as well as the black magic.

While I wish I knew a little more about the history of the Fears and the Goods, I was glad to read a little history of their relationship, and also about the powers that the Fears had. It's very easy to believe, as a young teen, that it is possible to cast spells to get one's way. Both Ruth-Ann and Harmony certainly make that seem possible.

Stine's trademarked creepy, deliciously cheesy style is what compels me to keep all of his books even though they are falling to little bits. Scary stories that aren't too scary are always popular with young readers, and there are lots of reasons why Stine is one of the best-selling children's authors!
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