Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Summer Reads: Can You Keep A Secret?: A Fear Street Novel

St. Martin's Giffin; 288 pages; $18.99; Amazon
During my middle school years in the early 1990s, I always had a Point Horror novel in my backpack. I was addicted to those horror stories and I just couldn't get enough of them. One of my favorite book series back then was called "Fear Street" written by R.L. Stine.

The series centered on a fictional town of Shadyside, Ohio, where the "Fear Street" was located at. Centuries ago, an evil man named Simon Fier (later changed to Fear) killed innocent souls on the land where Fear Street now lies, and the street just happens to be cursed.

Many of the "Fear Street" books are standalone stories; though there are a few spinoffs with continuing storylines, like 99 Fear Street; Cheerleaders; Fear Street Sagas, etc.. R.L. Stine revived the series in October 2014 with Party Games; followed by Don't Stay Up Late, and The Lost Girl.

Now available to purchase in bookstores from St. Martin's Griffin is the newest installment, titled Can You Keep A Secret?: A Fear Street Novel. The novel centers on Emmy (Emma), a high school teen who has suffered from nightmares ever since she was bitten by a dog when she was a little kid. As a teenager, she is into everything a girl her age should be into, like driving around town and hanging out with her new boyfriend, Eddie.

Ever since his step-father was suspended from the police department, Eddie has been trying to provide for his family; which means he takes any job he can get, including working at a pet cemetery.

Late one night, Eddie and Emmy head out to the Fear Street woods to hang out with their friends and drink beer. That's when they stumble upon a bag full of hundred-dollars bills. Eddie instantly believes this is the answer to his family's money problems, but Emmy convinces him to hide the money until they can figure out if someone had stolen it.

With the money hidden safely in the pet cemetery, Eddie, Emmy and their friends are going to wait it out before splitting the money. However, something terrible happens - the money disappears from the hiding spot. Did one of their friend's take it? Or has the original owner come back to claim the money?

Final Thoughts: Like I already mentioned above, I'm a big Fear Street fan, so my expectations were probably higher for Can You Keep A Secret? than what your average reader has for it. Like most Fear Street titles, the plots have young adult themes, but the style of writing is written for middle graders.

At 288 pages, R.L. Stine wastes no time introducing the main character Emmy. Now I would like to point out that I reviewed an advanced uncorrected proof, so I believe the name has been changed to Emma for the official publication.

Anyhow, there are basically two different plots here. The first one involves the teens finding a stolen money in the Fear Street woods. The second centers on a bizarre wolf-like attacks that have occurring all over town, which Emmy believes are connected to her nightmares.

Blending in a crime story with a supernatural tale somehow works well here. The only downside I found with the novel is that there aren't enough scares in it. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading Can You Keep A Secret?; it's the prefect escape book to read on a rainy summer afternoon.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

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