Book Review: The Dead Boyfriend

dead boyfriend

Caitlyn has never had a real boyfriend before. When she starts seeing Blade, she throws herself into the relationship with fervor. She ignores her friends who warn her that Blade may be a phony and that she is taking the whole thing too seriously. Caitlyn is smitten. She doesn’t care if she loses her friends. All she wants is Blade. When Caitlyn sees Blade with another girl, she completely loses it. She snaps. Everything goes red. When she comes back to her senses, she realizes that Blade is dead-and she has killed him. But if Blade is dead, how is he staring at her across a crowded party?

ProsMy status updates are just…precious jewels of wit, Stine’s inadvertent use of the “yandere” trope

Cons – Less sense than most Shadyside teens, overuse of “Diary”, patently unbelievable lies

Spoiler – I’m going to ruin the “twist” to this book. Not that it matters.

Note – as of writing this review I could not find a different synopsis than the one I have here. I found this one on…but the names were different (Caitlin vs Caitlyn, Colin vs Blade, which is funny considering what really happens in the book).

Review – Interestingly enough despite the premise of this being actually worrisome, I think the execution ruined any chance of this topping DON’T STAY UP LATE (my favorite Relaunch title). Its little better than CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? (my least favorite), doesn’t fulfill its deadly vow (like PARTY GAMES), and its Fear angle falls way short of the mark (sort of like THE LOST GIRL).

Plus Stine included weird bits of continuity; Michael and Lizzy (from THE LOST GIRL) make an appearance, Deena mentions her “famous Fear ancestors” (I’m pretty sure it was a picture of Simon and Angelica Fear, based on the limited description) and I’d almost swear there was a veiled reference to what happens with the Cheerleaders of Shadyside High at one point. I say its weird only in that the previous Relaunch titles have been pretty isolated from the original grouping of books.

More than anything else this was a disappointment. I recently lamented to a friend that no one seems to understand that the Fear Street books (the originals or new) aren’t meant to be taken seriously. These are like the dime store pulp novels of the olden days.  Entertaining. Over the top. Disposable. Their strength was in having outrageous situations wrapped up in an afternoon’s worth of reading.  Disbelief is shoved to the back of your brain and you just enjoy the thrill ride.

When the book is so awful though its hard to do that. Caitlyn is somehow every tired trope about YA females without actually sticking to any of them. She’s just pretty enough to attract attention. She’s quiet, but not shy about being forward. She only has a couple of friends, but she’s well known. She falls into insane love at first sight, but flits from guy to guy. Her friends are alternately very supportive and sickingly cloying in their attention. She thinks her parents are great even if they’re skipping her graduation to go to South Africa. She’s in all the advanced placement classes with only a B average.

Stine writes the book as if Caitlyn is writing in her “Diary” (and if you don’t get sick of her constantly saying “Diary” you are stronger than me), having her alternately recount past events that led to her crazy situation currently and current events. There’s a weird shift back and forth in tense use/her description of events so I’m not really sure what was going on there. The situation? Caitlyn goes ga-ga over a dude named Blade, who turns out to be a cheating fool that she stabs to death.

Oh. Not so bad right? Not really Fear Street material…sorry I forgot to mention Deena Fear appears out of nowheresville and brings him back to life, at his funeral, in front of everyone. He then promptly disappears and reappears all over town following Caitlyn during her daily life. No one else seems him though, except Deena who wants him all to herself. Meanwhile everyone and their mother (literally) thinks Caitlyn is going crazy and Stine ends not one, not two, but THREE Chapters with Caitlyn screeching “What are YOU doing here?” for mundane reasons.

When Caitlyn went off the rocker and stabbed Blade to death more times than Jon Snow got himself stabbed I was willing forgive some of the faults. Then he gave a cop-out reason for why she played Jason Vorhees in Real Life with Blade’s corpse and I was still sort of willing to forgive because at least a Fear was being a Fear. Then things went really sideways for no reason and I’m sorry I can’t really remember anything other then the rage I felt around the 97% mark.

Huge spoiler warning.

It turns out that Caitlyn–sorry Cathy-Ann–wasn’t writing in her Diary at all. Caitlyn–I mean Cathy-Ann–was writing a new horror story based on nothing more than the fevered imaginings of her dishwater dull brain. Caitlyn–wait no Cathy-Ann–used the people she knew in her real life as the people in her story because it was easier that way. So when Caitlyn–I mean Cathy-Ann–parents read it and were like “You are so messed up” she breezily said no worries, the kid died in a not stabbing related way and that Deena Fear chick doesn’t really exist so…its all good right? Her parents then tell her to publish it.

WHICH SHE DOES. The story jumps one year later and Caitlyn–or is it Cathy-Ann?!–has not only gotten her book published (yes, in less than year) but by a traditional publisher! Her cousin just happened to have a girlfriend who worked in publishing and two weeks after sharing Caitlyn/Cathy-Ann’s story with her publishing friends got Caitlyn/Cathy-Ann a contract! So now her Diary that was not a Diary is published and really super popular for a debut first time author and nothing could possibly go wrong because she has everything she could ever want!

Until at her very first signing (with an above average crowd) the dead deceased corpsified guy she based her fake book dead boyfriend on shows up! END BOOK.

Who wants to talk about all the things wrong with that entire last 3% of the book? So in the end this book was the biggest disappointment of the new relaunch yet and I can’t recommend it unless you are a diehard Fear Street fan.

The sixth book is about the Cheerleaders (GIVE ME A K-I-L-L) and honestly I’m going to be super harsh on that one since the original Fear Street Cheerleader books are terrifying to me.

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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