At Shadyside High, cheerleading can be a scream!
For the first time since the original series, R.L. Stine brings back his most beloved characters—the cheerleaders of Shadyside High.
The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Heather Wyatt, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Heather make the squad—if there’s even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?
Packed with screams and guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine, this is a terrifying installment in Stine’s bestselling Fear Street series.
Pros – none. Well ok Stine writes as energetically as usual.
Cons – Possibly everything.
Spoiler – You know what, who cares – read my spoilers below.
Note – My level of livid is pretty high here folks.
Review – As the sixth book in Stine’s Fear Street Relaunch this was an uneven mess that I can’t even snarkily comment on because that may lead someone to believe this has entertaining merit to it. Let me put those thoughts to rest – it’s not entertaining in the least. It’s not amusing, it’s not terrifying, and it’s not cheesily thrilling.
I’ve mentioned it before but the old school Fear Street novels were cheesy, but largely entertaining. Sometimes they even verged on the creepy. I’m not sure what the point of these new ones are. Aside from rare moments of actual creepiness/suspense these books are largely watered down versions of the tales those of us with nostalgia glasses on enjoyed. Am I disappointed that this had nothing to do with teh original Cheerleader books? Yes I really am. Was I willing to give it a chance anyway? Yes I was because Stine’s writing is, as ever, engaging and kinetic. He does atmosphere well and if he didn’t invent the chapter end cliffhanger that resolves itself as the most mundane thing known to mankind trope, he surely elevated it to an art form.
And then we have this book.
We have new girl Gretchen with a mysterious past who moves to Shadyside and was an A+ cheerleader in her old town. In Shadyside however, because of a girl with a powerful father and lots of money, she’s forced to join as an alternate on the team. Her rival, Devra has really good reason to dislike Gretchen – let’s start with Gretchen chasing after Devra’s boyfriend every chance she can and continue with her insistence that Devra is out to get her. To the point that Gretchen accuses Devra of fatally harming another student JUST to hurt Gretchen.
Meanwhile Gretchen’s mom is really kind of…WEIRD about Gretchen joining the cheerleading squad and Gretchen treats her like total crap. I’m not talking she’s the normal teenage rude towards her single mother who is overworked and at her wit’s end in various ways. No I’m talking Gretchen is VILE towards her. Is her mother kind of dictatorial? You betcha. Does she have a really good reason? Oh yeah she does.
Though don’t mind that good reason it has NOTHING to do with the plot. Neither does the cheerleading by the way. None of it has anything at all to do with the actual motive of the actual killer. In fact those elements are so far removed from the ACTUAL motivation that I had to reread that freaking section several times to make sure I hadn’t slipped into a coma and woken up a decade later to the Fear Street books being complete messes.
It was pointed out to me, some time after I originally read this book, that Stine never intended for these books to be canonical to the original Fear Street books. That’s fine. I understand that and its his prerogative. The main problem I had was the marketing didn’t make that clear. In fact the marketing for this particular book was “The Shadyside Cheerleaders are back!” And while that’s technically true, its not wholly true.
Which made me feel betrayed. So betrayed. These books just weren’t Stine’s best showing at all.
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Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release: April 4, 2017
Series: Fear Street Relaunch Book 6
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