I received a copy from Netgalley.
actual rating 1.5 stars.
I think it was 90s nostalgia that made me request this title. RL Stine is a very familiar name to me, even though I never read any of the original Fear Street books or even any of the old Goosebumps titles. I did often like RL Stine's Point Horror titles which I read over and over as a teen. So I thought I'd give this one a try.
I don't quite know what to say on it. It had its moments. It wasn't scary in the slightest, at least not to me. It felt more like a Lifetime teen thriller movie, or at a stretch it reminded me very much of the old Nickelodeon show 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'. It had some rather unexpectedly gory moments. But the downsides were the plot felt a bit too much at times like 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and the end was utterly ridiculous.
Started out with a fairly intriguing premises, in the 1950s, with a seemingly likeable heroine, Beth, who had some unusual abilities. And an unwanted interest from local rich boy Aaron. She told him point blank she was not interested, but he was not the type to take no for an answer. Literally. Beth's abilities help her fight him off. But he screams "witch" and freaks. The dialogue is a little silly.
Then there's some rivalry between Aaron's father, who owns a big ranch, and Beth's father, who wants to start a new ranch. Competition is not appreciated by the reigning ranch and there are deadly consequences. This was the first surprisingly disturbing event. It was twisted and rather shockingly brutal and gory. Beth witnessed the event and had the makings of a strong, likeable heroine who thinks on her feet and wants to do something about the injustice. But she's caught and it all goes pear shaped.
Fast forward to modern day and in the same high school seventy years later, teens Michael and Pepper are hanging out. They're boyfriend/girlfriend, Michael's your average high school boy, Pepper is a feisty redhead with every redhead cliche. Something they poke fun at a lot in the book. This reader's eyes rolled a lot, but at least they seem to know its an overused cliche that redheads are temperamental and passionate and fiery etc. Michael wants to be a writer, he and Pepper run the school blog. He has a group of friends who seem like reasonably nice teens. Even if they do act dumb and say dumb things.
Then out of nowhere beautiful new girl Lizzy comes in. Michael is captivated by her right away noticing how pretty she is. Even though he sees her shoplift food from a grocery store and she knows his name before he's even introduced himself, he doesn't seem to see anything beyond how pretty she is. And suddenly, Lizzy is everywhere. Though weirdly enough has no contact info. No Facebook page, no phone, no email. No one knows where she lives or where her previous school was. Yet she waltzes around and inserts herself into Michael's group of friends.
No one seems to think this is weird. A terrible accident involving drinking and Snowmobiles is where things take a dark turn. Also, plotwise feels an awful lot like 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. Something terrible happens but the kids cover it up. Then creepy phone calls start and Michael's friends start having horrible accidents. Its supposed to be scary and confusing but the dialogue in the phone calls is so ridiculous it just makes me snigger, along the lines of "you killed me and now every one of you is going to suffer terribly..." It just makes me think along the lines of "the call is coming from inside the house!"stupidity.
At least they finally have the sense to get the police involved, but as usual in this type of teen thriller, experienced law enforcement officers are useless and its up to Michael to figure it all out. But of course, that's sort of why as a reader, you tend to like this sort of thing, even if it is unrealistic and daft. Michael is zoning out by this point, and everyone else is finally clueing into the fact that there's something not right about Lizzy. Yet when Michael thinks on this, the sensible line of thinking he has goes right out the window when Lizzy mysteriously reappears.
It did have some fairly good moments while Michael figures out the truth about Lizzy and with Pepper's help finds the connection to the 1950s story at the start of the book. (It is very obvious, but whatever). The book was okay until this point. It wasn't the creepiest thing i've ever read, but certainly not one of the worst. It was fast paced and to be honest, once I started it was fairly impossible to put it down.
The end was so stupid though. Completely spoiled it for me. In fact, it knocked what would have been a three star book down to a 1 star rating. It was just absurd. Though the last page did give me a grin, so I bumped my rating up 1/2 a star.
Other than the end, a reasonably entertaining read.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for approving my request to view the title.