Expected Publication: September 30th, 2014
Party Games (Fear Street)
By: R.L. Stine
St. Martin's Griffin
Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party -- the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized nothing is as it seems...on Fear Island.
When I was a kid I used to devour R.L. Stine's books, like they were my favorite candy or something! I read most of the Goosebumps books, plenty of the off-shoot series, and the choose your own fate books. But my absolute favorites, were the Fear Street books. Something about that creepy Fier/Fear family and their curse (along with their tendencies towards evil) really drew me in to their world. Most of the stories take place on Fear Street itself, which seems to have absorbed its namesake's evil. Some are about the history of Fear Street and some are about the present. My favorites were always the ones that combined the two (i.e. the Fear Park trilogy, the Fear Street Saga series, & the Fear Street Sagas [completely different and not to be confused]). This wasn't one of them, but that's okay! I was still extremely excited to read it. There's still a very childlike part of me that loves a good scare.
This book centers around a girl named Rachel Martin, who is the definition of average. She's nothing special lookswise, her sister got all the brains, she has a hard time socializing, and her family isn't wealthy. In fact, Rachel's father lost his job recently and now works at the Wal*Mart a town away at significantly less pay. Her Mom has been sick with Lyme disease and unable to work. So Rachel has taken a job waitressing at Lefty's, the local teen hangout, to help with the bills. Imagine her surprise when wealthy, interesting (if somewhat geeky) Brendan Fear invites her to his birthday party out on Fear Island. She's always had a crush on Brendan, so she ignores the warnings of her best friend Amy and slightly creepy, possessive ex-boyfriend Mac. She's going to the birthday party and she has a good time doing it - until people start turning up dead. Is Rachel going to be the next victim? Is the island really haunted? Can she get out of there alive, or will the Fear family's curse of evil claim another victim?
There have been better books in this series. But there have been worse too and people need to remember, it's a less than 200-page, pulpy teen horror book. It's not meant to have deep character development or even be that well-written. It's sole purpose is to provide the aforementioned horror and bring some scariness into your life! It was fun reading for me, even if it wasn't the next YA classic novel. It had some especially creepy scenes, including the deaths (or were they?) of the other kids and a pit on the island that Rachel gets trapped in. Probably the only thing I really though was overkill, was the taxidermist ghost. It wasn't creepy, just kind of bizarre. Also, Brendan Fear is a gamer geek and doesn't really have that spark of sadistic evil in him quite like the other men and women of his lineage. It was a little disappointing. The whole thing with the murders was something I had figured out almost immediately. But then a secondary plotline I wasn't at ALL expecting hopped on the train! Overall, I enjoyed reading it. This book definitely took me back to a less complicated time and made me feel creeped out in the most delicious way. I think it's a great step back into the pond for R.L. Stine and a good introduction to the series for new readers. A solid effort, for the pulpy novel it is.
VERDICT: 3/5 Stars
*I received this book from St. Martin's Griffin, on NetGalley. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. The expected publication date is September 30th, 2014.*