We get to switch things up this time, opening from the viewpoint of a girl being murdered by her sister while sleeping in a canopy bed. She was having a nightmare because the book is called Bad Dreams.
We immediately move on to Maggie Travers, in the car with her mother and sister as they try to find their new house on Fear Street. None of them know how to get to it, despite the fact that the girls have lived in Shadyside all their lives. No knowing how long Mrs. Travers has lived there. I get that they’re moving from North Hills, the rich part of town, but am I really supposed to believe anyone in Shadyside doesn’t know how to get to Fear Street? Or that someone would buy a house in the very small town where they live and not know how to get there by moving day? Or, hell, that neither girl has a friend who lives on Fear Street? At least half of Shadyside High must live there. It’s even mixed with wealthy and poor families, in case the Travers aren’t the sorts to mix with the poors.
Her relationship with her younger sister Andrea is immediately set up as adversarial. I think we’re supposed to see Andrea as sullen, but we immediately start out with Maggie recounting all the ways poor Andrea is just a sad, lesser version of herself. I’d be kind of curious to hear this story over again from Andrea’s point of view. Well, a brief summary. I don’t know if I’m up to reading the whole thing a second time. Both of them have red hair and green eyes. Shadyside has an unusual number of redheads, along with people with green eyes. I suspect RL Stine is partial.
The family has an old golden retriever, and usually no good comes to pets in these books. There’s an immediate cheat ‘did the dog get hit by a car’ scare, but Gus actually makes it safely through the entire book.
Maggie is also dating Justin Stiles. You’d think she’d remember the part where he cheated on his girlfriend so much she went flying off the rails and murdered several other girls. The murder part is not at all his fault. The ‘cheating constantly’ part is something that you’d think would take him off the ‘potential boyfriends’ list. One of her best friends is even Dawn Rodgers, who warned her the guy has ‘a wandering eye.’ You’d think she’d also remind Maggie about the part where Dawn was assaulted and eventually stabbed over the guy. And that the victims were undoubtedly mutual friends–or at least acquaintances–of theirs.
Does Shadyside’s time warp include a certain amount of memory loss from year to year? I guess it would have to. Otherwise, everyone would notice that they’re all juniors and seniors until they end up dead due to something or other loosely connected to Fear Street.
The girls immediately head to the bedrooms they chose–so they have all been in the house before. Maggie discovers a beautiful antique canopy bed in her room, and Andrea immediately angles to get the bed because…because of course she would? I dunno, I’m mostly on Andrea’s side, or at least get her, through most of this, but not on this. Moving giant wooden antique canopy beds is an enormous pain in the ass.
Maggie immediately starts having bad dreams while sleeping in the canopy bed because it’s right there in the title, duh. She gets to witness the murder from the prologue, so we get to read about it over and over. Lucky us. (Lucky me?)
Both Maggie and Andrea are on the swim team, along with Dawn because Dawn is super athletic and good at everything. At least, she is up until she gets pushed down the stairs at school and breaks her arm. Dawn seriously needs to get out of Shadyside, and not just because of the time warp. Dawn blames Maggie to start, and not long after, Maggie discovers another member of the swim team just after she’s been stabbed. Because no one ever does anything right around here, Maggie grabs the knife instead of, you know, applying pressure to the wound or going for help or something.
By then, Maggie has learned that a girl was stabbed to death in the very bed where Maggie has been sleeping. She’s convinced that Andrea is going to reenact the murder, but naturally what’s really going on is just so much stupider.
So, the carnage? Arguably light. Unless you’re Dawn Rodgers.
Shadyside death count: 34. That murder happened before the book opened, but it still counts.
Additional carnage: Considering Maggie was supposed to be our primary victim here, this really hit the members of the swim team the hardest. Dawn’s activities on the swim team and playing tennis and probably in drama and whatever else she does are going to suffer due to that broken arm. I guess since it’s Shadyside, she can always get back to it next year. It’s not like anyone’s going to graduate or anything. Additionally, another swim team member was stabbed.
Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: I don’t even know how to approach this. Not immediately throwing out a beautiful antique bed isn’t really something I’d hold against anyone. It’s not like those are usually murder sites. I have to assume the mattress was replaced. You’d think the stains would be suspicious. As for having a crazy person living in the attic without everyone knowing? On the one hand, I want to call that super stupid, but on the other, it’s happened a few times to other people. I assume RL Stine saw one of those news stories and then this mess happened.