Probably because I bought the book used. And it’s 20 years old.
Seriously, these books are 20 years old. I’m also pretty sure I once belonged to some Fear Street books of the month club, and I got this one along with the temporary tattoo. Odds are high I wore it at some point. I was really into temporary tattoos clear up until I got a real one.
I’m rambling to avoid talking about this book, because instead of opening up with murder or something, it launches right into sexual harassment in the halls of Shadyside High. Bobby Newkirk is a member of a band that can’t decide on a name, and he’s very pleased with his prowess with the ladies. His best friend is only his best friend because the guy happens to be Bobby’s biggest fan. He’s apparently got a whole string of girls he’s been with once or twice, but he wants to be sure to spread himself around since everyone deserves a piece of Bobby-the-Man. Since we’re 23 books into the series and this is the first time we’ve heard of Bobby, I’m pretty sure his legend is entirely in his own mind.
I don’t want to spend too long on this book because Bobby is a miserable, conceited son of a bitch, and we spend the whole time in his head while he’s trying to simultaneously date twins without getting caught. He has to pause to admire himself every single time he catches his reflection anywhere.
I guess RL Stine gets kudos for pulling together such an entirely loathable character. He’s even got a pair of monkey’s he’s experimenting on in the biology lab. He’s feeding one a regular diet and the other nothing but bananas. I mean, I know we’re talking about a 20 year old book, but I’m pretty sure you weren’t allowed to do that kind of crap to monkeys in high school in the mid-90s. One of the sisters has an experiment involving highly dangerous cannibal ants. I get that Bobby’s an idiot, but if they’re cannibals, wouldn’t they eat other ants instead of people?
Naturally, the twins live on Fear Street. Their family even has a cabin in the Fear Street Woods, because why wouldn’t they? Bobby decides he can tell them apart pretty quickly, but things start getting crazy (?) very quickly, what with Samantha driving all crazy and shoplifting earrings and stuff. Then Samantha tells him he can tell them apart because she has a tattoo of a butterfly on her shoulder. Soon enough, it seems the girls are switching places on him and playing mind games. When he finds out they’re really triplets and it seems their psychotic sister has arrived, Bobby is…totally thrilled he’s been dating three sisters at once. Because Bobby is the worst.
So, the carnage? None. Unless you count the monkey being malnourished in the lab. The Shadyside teachers really are the worst.
Shadyside death count: Holding steady at 34.
Additional carnage: There’s a fake-out with the monkeys, because any animals that appear in these books either die or almost die or there’s a prank involving them or something. Bobby gets kidnapped, dowsed in honey, and fed to cannibal ants, which sounds miserable, but possibly also light punishment, considering.
Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: Bobby could have been a decent human being? This entire thing was an extended prank to teach Bobby a lesson, but unless he shows up in a future book as a changed man, I’m going to assume this was really just fun for the girls involved who were getting their revenge, but not actually useful.