“I took a few steps – then stopped when I heard a hoarse cry. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d really heard it or not. I thought it might be part of the music drifting down the hall. I took a few more steps…
‘Help me! Is anyone there? Please – help me!'”
Party Games, by R.L. Stine
St. Martin’s Griffin, September 2014
young adult horror
277 pages (hardcover)
Everyone in Shadyside knows that the wealthy and eccentric Fear family has a gruesome history. But Brendan Fear seems different. He’s outgoing, cute, and part of the popular crowd at school. And besides, Rachel Martin has a huge crush on him.
When Rachel is invited to Brendan’s exclusive all-night birthday party on secluded Fear Island, she says yes right away despite her best friend’s warning. Brendan may be a Fear, but what’s the worst that could happen at a birthday party?
When Rachel and the rest of the guests arrive at the island, the party games begin. But the games Brendan Fear planned aren’t games that anyone would want to play. When a scavenger hunt turns up some horrifying surprises, Rachel has to fight to survive the deadliest game of all – the game of murder.
I’ve been looking forward to this book since it was first announced. I’m well beyond the point of being frightened by Fear Street; most of the entertainment comes from the nostalgia factor rather than the stories. Still, I’ll always consider myself a fan, and when I heard R.L. Stine was bringing the series back, I knew there was no way I couldn’t read this.
After refreshing my memory on some of the classics, I jumped into this one… and it felt just the same to me. This one was longer, and it felt weird to be reading it in hardcover. But the story had that same Fear Street feel.
Unfortunately, there’s really nothing special about the story itself. For those of us who grew up on the originals, it has nostalgia but little else, and I think teens would find it lacking compared to what they’re used to in YA today. Age of the characters aside, Fear Street feels more middle grade than young adult to me. Of course, those lines are clearer today than they were when the series was first written… and since this is in the same style, it falls into the same grey area.
Whatever its official designation, it was back in middle school that I was hooked on Fear Street… and middle school me loved them. And I’m sure she would have loved this one too. Current me, though, can’t give this any better than 3 stars. (Even that feels like a stretch when I think about it too hard. But despite its issues, it was fun to revisit Shadyside.)
Does Party Games sound like something you’d pick up? Are you a Fear Street fan from way back when?