I was apprehensive about doing Fear Street. I have fond memories of the series, and it was included in my attempt to buy back my childhood - scouring thrift stores for books. Long before I decided to write this essay series ("Rereading My Childhood" - in case you forgot), I read Fear Street: The Stepsister. I hated that book. When I say "hate," I mean I wanted to throw that book into a fire. I loathed every character - the sister main character who is entirely too paranoid, the inconsiderate stepsister, the fake actual sister, the dismissive mother, and the worst character in teen genre fiction history - the misogynistic father who serves no purpose other than to say creepy comments to his step-daughter and harass the mother. He should have been the killer. He should have died. However, he was not. In fact, the "twist" wasn't really a "twist" but something so obvious I called it on the third page, making it pointless and frustrating. After reading that book (and I won't do a Rereading of it - the thought of spending my time writing about it makes me want to destroy my computer so I have an excuse not to do it), I wasn't sure if I could read the rest of the Fear Street series. Are they unreadable to anyone over the age of thirteen?
I still read Bad Dreams and guess what?
I liked it! Like The Stepsister, this one also features a pair of sisters who don't get along. Unlike The Stepsister, it doesn't feature a gross stepfather and a dismissive mother. The mother in this book is a good character, and neither sister is outwardly evil. We see our protagonist's flaws while speaking to her sister, and her sister exhibits some petty behavior. This one also has several twists, some better than others, but the biggest one is so insane I never saw it coming. It's not a "deus ex machina," so I wasn't angry. Overall, this is a solid Fear Street book that centers on some great and flawed female characters.
SPOILERS AFTER THE COVER!!!
My Copy of Fear Street: Bad Dreams by R. L. Stine – First of all, one of these sisters is supposed to be homely, but I see two pretty girls. Secondly, what pair of teenage girls who hate each other have matching sleeping gowns? And lastly, what is up with their hands?
Fear Street: Bad Dreams starts with a prologue in which a nameless character is murdered by her sister in her gorgeous canopy bed. It's a creepy scene. There's something in the shadows of the room. It's her sister! Her sister with a knife! Her sister kills her - like straight-up knifes her. R. L. Stine is not fucking around. At least, not at the beginning.
Now we're in the first chapter. The chapters are similar to the ones in Goosebumps - short. It seems Stine's affinity for short chapters didn't end with Goosebumps. The short chapters are back and shorter than ever!
We meet the Travers sisters - Maggie and Andrea and they do not get along. Maggie believes that their mother holds Andrea to a lower standard than Maggie, despite their close ages, and Andrea is jealous of Maggie's inherit advantages in the looks department. Maggie is described as an effervescent, red-haired gorgeous teen, while Andrea is listless and dull. However, Andrea is a snob and resents moving to a poorer neighborhood after their father died and their mother was unable to maintain their lifestyle.