First Date (Fear Street #16) by R.L. Stine (Book Review)
Plot: Chelsea is the typical shy girl. Always home on a Saturday night, she would give anything to have her first date. Finally, Chelsea’s luck begins to change when two new guys move into town and both ask her out. Too bad that one of Chelsea’s new boys has a terrible hobby — murder. Now Chelsea may be looking for love, but he’s looking for a new victim.
My Review: As a teenager in Jr. High, I LOVED R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike books. I was a huge horror fan, but I wasn’t into reading at all until I picked up R.L. Stine’s “Hit & Run” book back when I was 12 or 13 years old. From that point on I was hooked. Even though I am now in my 30s, I like to revisit these same books from time to time and I figured before I sold off my R.L. Stine collection, I should give them another read and review them here.
First Date is the story of Chelsea, a lonely, plain, chubby girl (although you wouldn’t know that from the original book cover, she’s quite skinny and beautiful) who has just moved to Shadyside. And lives in a house on Fear Street (of course!).
If you are new to the Fear Street series you don’t have to read them in any specific order unless they have sequels of course. Fear Street is just a road in Shadyside where tons of terrible things happen. After all there are 60+ books in the series. It seems like anyone and everyone who lives on Fear Street has something horrible to happen to them. There is one or two characters that cross over into other books, and she’s in this one too. Suki Thomas.
Chelsea only has one friend, Nina, who is just all about her boyfriend and never seems to pay much attention to Chelsea. But soon Chelsea meets two boys who are new to Shadyside. There is Will, the shy new boy at school, and Sparks a mysterious boy that comes into her fathers restaurant. Both eventually ask Chelsea out, but of course one of them is a murderer. R.L. Stine tries to give us a little mystery about who the killer is and throw us off track by having two slightly weird and mysterious guys. But he tells us who the killer is
relatively early on taking any suspense away. The hardcover edition is only 165 pages and is a very quick read (I read it in two sittings because I didn’t have time to finish it in one). Roughly around the halfway mark, maybe even a little earlier we know which boy is the killer because he keeps trying to kill Chelsea only to have something go wrong and he can’t get the job done.
Personally I don’t think this was one of the best books by Stine. There wasn’t a lot of mystery, which I love, and I didn’t care too much for the characters. Not a lot of spooks either.
I did enjoy the scene towards the end of the book when Chelsea is talking to the killer about catching the killer not realizing the person she is talking to is in fact the killer.
One thing I didn’t like about the Fear Street novels as I got older was that he seemed to really shy away from detailing death scenes. For that sort of stuff I turned to Christopher Pike books. Of course, these are for much younger people then I, so I’ve definitely outgrown them. But I know there are a couple out there I still enjoy.
R.L. Stine also wrote a series of books for a younger audience – Goosebumps – but I never got into them.
Overall: I would definitely recommend these books for the intended audience of 12yrs of age and older. Maybe even 10yrs + depending on the maturity level of the kid. They are sort of dated by the way today’s youth is exposed to so much. So older children might not enjoy them as much. Either way this is not Stine’s best book, in fact its probably far from it. I’d still recommend giving it a read, but maybe not start out with this one as your introduction to Fear Street.