Book Review: Can You Keep a Secret?


Eddie and Emma are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emma discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag filled with hundred-dollar bills. Thousands of them. Should they take it? Should they leave the money there? The six teens agree to leave the bag where it is until it’s safe to use it. But when tragedy strikes Emma’s family, the temptation to skim some money off of the top becomes impossible to fight. There’s only one problem. When Emma returns to the woods, the bag of money is gone, and with it, the trust of six friends with a big secret.

ProsMy status updates reached a new level of snarkiness, Callie, actual death

Cons – the wolf plotline, practically everything about these kids, inconsistency of plot (which is saying a lot)

Review – At this point I’m going to assume you know what Fear Street is, that this is part of the Relaunch series and that while I will forever love Fear Street these are not the highest form of literary achievement.  I’m wondering if they can even be considered in the same category honestly.

The one thing you could count on in the “classic” Fear Street novels was that things would get creepy, somebody would die (hopefully several somebodies) and the plot would at least pretend to make narrative sense.  In this Relaunch series its been really hit or miss.  My favorite so far has been DON’T STAY UP LATE as that was genuinely creepy and somewhat terrifying (especially if I was a teenage babysitter, I don’t know what kind of research Stine did–if any–but he got the fears of being a babysitter down PAT). THE LOST GIRL has probably been the closest to a classic title however.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? doesn’t even try. It was almost like Stine wanted to mash together two books-one about this girl named Emmy who keeps dreaming of this horrifying black wolf who has been ripping animals (and later people) to pieces all across Shadyside. And the other about this girl named Emmy, her (kind of new) anger management problem boyfriend Eddie and their frenemies finding money and being hunted.

The wolf angle? INTERESTING. The money angle? So way less. The wolf angle tangling with the money angle? NO SENSE. None. Which is quite the feat when you think about some of the classic Fear Street. I can’t tell if Stine meant the wolf angle to be a sort of red herring or just thought it would add some nice tension to the story. But it didn’t. The one human kill the wolf is attributed with? Has nothing to do with the money plot that dominates this book. The guy involved was part of the group who hid the money, but that’s it.

In fact its so useless to the plot that for chapters the wolf won’t be mentioned at all until OMG I HAD A CREEPY DREAM and suddenly the money plot is forgotten for a chapter or two, until OMG A CREEPY DUDE IS FOLLOWING ME and the wolf is forgotten again.

As for the characters…ugh. Ok. You have Emmy (who is Emma, so unless they changed her name in the final version I’m sticking with Emmy) who is so in love with her boyfriend Eddie, except when she remembers she knows nothing about him and he’s waving a knife or gun around, their friend Danny (Emmy’s former boyfriend who’s totally okay with his best friend Eddie breaking the bro code by dating Emmy), Callie (Danny’s new girl?) the closest thing to a hero I’ve ever come across in these books, Riley (Danny’s friend and typical football guy) and Roxie (Riley’s girl…literally nothing else is said). Eddie is dirt poor (his stepdad Lou was disgracefully suspended from the police force without pay), works at a pet cemetery (run by Lou’s cousin Mac, also anger issues), is brooding, intense and apparently thinks carving up trees is a good way to show his love. Emmy is at pains to remind us that they’re all “good” friends, though its been sort of awkward lately (ya think?).

It takes zero point one seconds for these good friends to all turn on each other after Eddie finds the bag of money in the tree he’s carving up for Emmy. That’s not including the fact Eddie is like “I need this money more!” and doesn’t want to tell his “good” friends about it. A lot of fights break out as all the guys accuse each other of stealing/hiding the money at one point or another. Meanwhile Callie is the only one to consistently point out they should give the money to the cops. Emmy makes a point about it not being safe…but drops it every time she has a wolf dream.

Oh and there’s Sophie, Emmy’s younger sister who is your basic younger sister bitch character, constantly accusing Emmy of neglecting her then pretty much ruining her chances of Emmy wanting to hang out by being the biggest bitch this side of ever towards her when she’s terrified of her wolf dreams. Even after the dramatic reveal she’s not better. She’s actually worse. Like way worse. Like I don’t think she even remembers they’re family worse. Hormonal tee girls amirite? :wink wink nudge:

Random adults make appearances–Sophie and Emmy’s parents, Aunt Marta from the Vague Old European Country who believes in superstitions and Magick. And if you think any of the aforementioned adults have anything to do with the money plot you’re fooling yourself, they’re around just to remind us of the wolf plot of unnecessary.

You know I think I mentioned the wolf plot more than the actual book now. Wait…WOLF PLOT. Okay now I did. And that’s all I’m writing on this. It ranks below PARTY GAMES as a disappointment in the new Fear Street books.

Want to Know More?

Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release: April 12, 2016
Series: Fear Street Relaunch Book 4
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Connect with Stine: Twitter | Goodreads | Website


Lexie Words

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