Wednesday, 26 October 2016

31 Days of Halloween: The Dead Boyfriend: A Fear Street Novel Review

St. Martin's Press; 276 pages; $18.99; Amazon
Once upon a time, there were young adult horror novels that didn't contain glittering vampires, dystopian worlds, or supernatural romances. Yep, back in the middle 1980s throughout the 1990s, there were a slew of YA horror novels, mostly published by Point Horror. Of course one of the most popular series at the time was Fear Street by R.L. Stine (who later created the Goosebumps series). Each novel played out like an 80s' slasher flick with the main character typically being a female teenager who is either being stalked by a killer or has stumbled into a supernatural plot involving the Fear family.

In 2014, R.L. Stine brought back the Fear Street series with Party Games. Now available from St. Martin's Press is the fifth installment in the relaunch series, titled The Dead Boyfriend: A Fear Street Novel.

Set in the fictional Shadyside, Ohio, the novel centers on a teenager named Caitlin, who is thrilled to be dating the new boy in town, Blade. Despite the objections of all her friends, she quickly falls in love with him. Sadly, Blade doesn't feel the same for Caitlin. After a brief public argument, Caitlin kills Blade in self-defense. With no witness in sight, she flees the crime scene, hoping she can get away with the murder.

Unfortunately, this is a horror story, so things don't go quite as easy as Caitlin thought it would be. It seemed Blade had another admirer - Deena Fear, a descendant of Simon Fier (Fear). The girl has never been popular in school, mostly thanks to her Gothic looks and cold-hearted attitude. Her obsession with Blade goes way beyond the grave when she uses a little bit of witchcraft to bring him back from the dead.

Final Thoughts: The Dead Boyfriend is a melodramatic teenage romance story, where the heroine, Caitlin, gets her heart broken by her new boyfriend, who she later murders. The real horror begins after her boyfriend is resurrected.

Compared with the other recent Fear Street releases, this one is better written and feels more like a young adult thriller than a middle grade book (Goosebumps). I thought the main character, Caitlin, whined and overreacted to everything. The character is a blend of Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries and Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga. As for the witch-like Denna Fear, her character was underused.

Overall, The Dead Boyfriend: A Fear Street Novel is a decent thriller; well, up until the twisted ending that came out of nowhere. Typically, I enjoy the Fear Street's twists, but this one felt like a cop out and a slap in the face to the reader.

Note: Don't be confused with The Dead Girlfriend, a non-Fear Street title by R.L. Stine.

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


About the Author: R.L. STINE is one of the bestselling children’s authors in history with more than 400 million books sold to date. In 1989, Stine created the Fear Street series, one of the bestselling young adult book series in history with 80 million copies sold worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling children’s series Goosebumps, which began in 1992 and has sold 300 million copies around the world. The Goosebumps series was made into a feature film starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine.

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