Ah to be young and innocent again. When Fear Street, Christopher Pike and the Sweet Valley High twins were the height of literary sophistication.
Talk about a blast from the past! This little gem popped up in the “5 dollar or less” category on Kobo and I just couldn’t resist. Released in 2014 by R.L Stine, Party Games revived a popular series that I and many others grew up reading. Well, before the school librarians caught on and removed them from the shelves for being “inappropriate.”
Party Games (September 2014)
Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear’s birthday party at his family’s estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn’t know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.
The Original Fear Street Series (1989-1996)
Fear Street is a teenage horror fiction series written by American author R.L. Stine starting in 1989. Featuring classics such as The Wrong Number and The New Girl. The original series is part of a huge collection of works that has made R.L. Stine the bestselling children’s author of all time. Party Games marks the revival of this popular series, penned for a new generation of teens.
My first thought was “I can’t believe I thought these were the best books ever!” Then I put on my “12-year-old” glasses and enjoyed the nostalgia inducing story. There is a distinct cheese factor to Party Games that I don’t think I would have noticed two decades ago. That said, it is hard to imagine this book being called a children’s book as it would have been back in the day. Back then, there was no “Young Adult” genre. Books like Party Games would have been mixed with the rest of the children’s books.
I found Party Games a bit hokey and totally predictable but I have been spoiled by years of fabulous fiction and truly terrifying horror novels so I will try not to hold that against it. Mr. Stine’s attempt at making it more contemporary made me chuckle. He’s added modern teen habits like texting but still calls his characters old-fashioned names like “Patti.” Other than dating the author, it doesn’t really affect the story. It would be interesting to know how a modern teen would feel about it.
I enjoyed it for what it was. For me it was a trip back in time and I loved that. Would I go out of my way to start reading the new Fear Street books? Probably not. I can see how it would appeal to a new generation of readers who haven’t been exposed to really good fiction yet. On the other hand, the novels being released today under the Young Adult umbrella are fantastically written, imaginative and entertaining, very hard to compete with. Perhaps R.L. Stine should stick to Goosebumps.