The New Boy

otk8wwIn the first chapter of this book, we learn Deena Martinson broke up with Gary Brandt. So they’re both still in high school. I’m telling you: Shadyside time warp. No one escapes.

Janie, Faith, and Eve are all best friends. They were the head of the committee for the school dance, and they have to meet up after school to count the take and turn it over to the principal. Before they can get started, however, the mysterious new boy at school appears while clutching a bleeding wound and begging for help. Faith and Eve, who both have boyfriends, immediately rush to the rescue, leaving single Janie alone with the money.

Paul and Ian, Faith and Eve’s boyfriends, pop in while the girls are counting the money and make the kind of ‘jokes’ that involve grabbing handfuls of cash and gleefully throwing it around and stuffing it in pockets. Mr. Hernandez, the principal, steps out during the cash fight to inform everyone they’re being expelled because everyone thinks their a comedian.

The principal during The Prom Queen was Mr. Sewall. I’m just going to assume he was fired in disgrace over the multiple fires in the bathrooms and all the adults who have enrolled for the purpose of murdering students. Or maybe he went out of town and the time warp caught up with him and he aged a hundred years in a couple of weeks. Good luck to the new guy, I guess.

After the money–$1,241.65–is counted and locked in a drawer, Faith, Eve, Paul, and Ian all have an opportunity to be alone with the money. Of course it all disappears. Of course they all suspect each other.

Meanwhile, the three girls decide to bet on who can get a date with the new boy. $10 each, despite the fact that two of them already have boyfriends. Janie gets to partner with him in lab, but doesn’t work up the courage to ask for a date. Eve immediately wins the bet by walking up to him and asking for a date by way of introduction.

The next day, Eve and Ross both go missing. Ian and Janie just so happen to find Eve’s body shortly after, and when Ross reappears, it doesn’t take long for the rumors to get started about the new boy. Add in something strange that happened in his old town, and his home on Fear Street right near where Eve’s body was found, and it’s hard not to be suspicious. Janie starts dating him anyway, though she starts to worry when she stops by his house and the old lady who lives there has never heard of a Ross Gabriel. Then the poor guy tries to return the blue scarf Janie left in his car, and she confuses it for one of Eve’s and in the cafeteria with a full audience of students, she accuses him of murder.

Probably because they aren’t interested in dating her, the new girl at school didn’t make such a splash with the girls. Faith, however, spent some time talking to her about Ross Gabriel, and she has news she has to tell Janie, but she can’t possibly explain it over the phone, so Janie has to go over to her house. That’s convenient because if she’d just told Janie over the phone, she’d know what she wanted to tell her about Ross, but then Janie wouldn’t have been left in the dark and she wouldn’t have found Faith’s body after someone bludgeoned her to death with a fireplace poker.

Ross fails to appear in class and rumor says he was picked up by the police again. Jordan, who went to his school, catches Janie and tells her that Ross Gabriel wasn’t his name. He changed it when he family moved out of town after he killed his girlfriend. Of course the police questioned him and let him go, but the whole school knew the truth. And everyone knows teenagers and their rumor mills are way more reliable than the police.

Fear Street did see one honest to God, classic serial killer, but this time there’s something so much stupider going on.

So, the carnage? Pretty serious this time around.

Shadyside death count: 33. Both murdered girls are described in detail, too, and both are found by their best friend.

Additional carnage: No dead animals, but Ross is cracked across the head with a baseball bat.

Spoiler-laden point at which this all could have been avoided: Holy crap, there is zero reason any of this had to happen. It was all over the damned dance money. Eve stole it for Ian because his parents weren’t going to pay for his college. It was barely over $1,000. I know college was a lot cheaper in the mid-90s, but $1k still wouldn’t go that far. Eve lost her nerve and she betrayed Ian by going on a date with Ross over a bet, so he beat her to death, dumped her body, and framed Ross. Then he killed Faith because he assumed Faith knew about the money, and he tried to kill Janie because he was sure she knew, too. Out of everyone in these books so far, I feel worst for Ross and the titular stepsister from, um, The Stepsister.

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