Thursday, April 17, 2014

Focusing On Fear Street - First Date


Book #16 in the Fear Street series
Published: May of 1992
Cover Art by Bill Schmidt

As far as riveting covers go this is not one of them but yet again very nicely drawn with a guy about ready to strangle a poor unsuspecting girl on her first date. I think the girl is supposed to be blissfully happy but she looks kind of dead in those eyes. Now that I come to think about it why do the girl and guy look so familiar to me? Answer: not sure but I'll ponder it some more. When 2005 rolled around, this one of the dozen Fear Street books re-released with new covers and well we get this one:

Um yeah...just as riveting as the original...not! A girl putting on lip liner because it's her first date with a purple saturated cover is not going to have guys adding this one to their collection and it looks like a really bad teen cover. The only strong points I like are the fact that who ever illustrated it put a lot of good detail in the girl's lips and that little tagline: "It may be her last..." is a perfect one. As always I can find a pretty good German edition cover for the Fear Street books and this one is a good kind of dark cover:

Points go out to this one because it actually has an illustration of an actual book event and it is just so ominous! The only detail I don't like is that the boy and girl look really young to me and that just kind of creeps me out...

Taglines: "That's when he kills them." This one appears on the front just underneath the title so it kind of fits together because yes on the first date is when he kills them so you know exactly what you can expect to happen on the other hand the back one "Dying For A Date" is just a really bad pun like you aren't even trying now are you, tagline writer? I hope R.L. didn't have a hand in these if so he should really know better...

The First Line: "We can't see out and no one see in." she said, snuggling against his shoulder.

Oh sounds like we started on something really heavy which might be enough to get you hooked in! So a girl and a boy named Joe are parking but something is kind off about this guy who is very anxious and definitely not that interested in making out. He suggests they go for a walk but as they do he drops his wallet and the girl casually picks it up to see that his driver's license states his name to be Lonnie Mayes...uh oh! So Lonnie-Joe makes up some lame excuse, the girl seems to buy it but still asks too many questions and next we are told by our omnipotent narrator that he comes back from the cliff edge...alone. So apparently he has killed other girls before and his next stop just happens to be good old Shadyside: the apparent murder capital of the world which seems to be right up his alley.

Now I remember! It's been mentioned Scott Weinger (Steve from Full House and voice of Aladdin) kinda looks like the guy on the cover! Beware the nice ones indeed!

Our focus then turns to our main character, fifteen-year old Chelsea Richards who hasn't lived in town long. She seems to be an average girl with normal complaints about hating her life, doesn't have a dating life and only has one friend named Nina. Her mother suggests that maybe if she wore lipstick and lost some weight (wow really Moms?) she might actually get a date. It seems that ignoring Mom's advice is a good idea because suddenly there is a new boy at school named Will that Chelsea develops a crush on and then a guy named Tim Sparks comes into the diner owned by Chelsea's father where she works as a waitress.

If Chelsea's mom isn't careful she'll give her daughter a complex like the show Growing Pains did to Tracey Gold who I always thought was pretty and kind of looks like the girl on the cover...

He takes an interest in Chelsea and asks her out to a movie but before she can answer this kind of tough looking guy her dad interrupts their conversation and Sparks (as he tells everyone to call him) angrily bolts. Not long after Sparks leaves, some young thugs try to rob the restaurant and end up hitting Chelsea's dad over the head with a pipe so when he gets taken to the hospital poor Chelsea calls Nina to come stay with her and I feel her pain as a third wheel when Nina decides to bring her boyfriend Doug with her so they can make out (some friend you got yourself there, Chels!)

Don't ask me why but given her description I always imagined Nina looked kind of like early Christina Applegate and the way Kelly Bundy was before they changed the character into a dumb bimbo

So with her only friend being too self-absorbed in her own guy, Chelsea soon decides that the next time Sparks asks her out she'll accept but when he comes back all we get is an awkward silence scenario and when Sparks leaves he goes home and pulls a phone out of the wall because he didn't ask her out like he planned and we are also treated to a scene of the guy we know as Lonnie-Joe killing a poor kitten :( ! Lucking out with Sparks, Chelsea becomes over the moon happy when Will asks her to go out on a date and ends up taking her to the next town over and makes her promise not to tell anyone about their secret date. Secret dates, anger issues it seems that our first date serial killer is one of Chelsea's would be beaus but which one is it?

Now I could go into more detail but the book doesn't give us much of a twist and the big reveal of whether Sparks or Will is the homicidal killer is blown way early! When I first read it I have to admit I wasn't shocked at who the bad guy would be because they make the other one of the biggest red herrings I have ever seen! So if you have never read First Date, I won't spoil it for you and if you have well then you already know don't you? Sadly it's not the first or last time you have it so obviously spelled out for you just who the villain is in a Fear Street book...

Despite these annoying little niggles of detail, I enjoyed First Date because it does follow a real high school girl's thoughts. It may just be me but I can identify with Chelsea and even the description of her being short with curly brown hair and being a little chubby is kind of the way I was most of my school going years. I'm not sure how male readers may feel about this book but it has a decent plot worthy of a good horror flick or even a bad one depending on your taste that is ;)

Body Count: Candy, the girl in our semi-prologue and yet another poor little kitty :( The book is more of a thriller than a horror so if you were expecting gore sorry to burst your bubble *shrug*

Cameo Time!: Suki Thomas who happened to go out on a date with Justin Stiles from The Prom Queen is mentioned by Nina as talking with her boyfriend Doug at lunch. Suki seems to be the equivalent of the school slut and after reading this book, I think it serves Nina right for being such an awful friend to Chelsea. I've been there before girls who are way more worried about the boys they are dating than the friends they have in high school always have to learn the hard way.


When we first meet Sparks it is said that he is wearing a Metallic shirt to I guess emphasize how tough he is. In the early 90s is when Metallica was at its best (both my boyfriend and I can agree on that) so I'm guessing he's a big metal fan. You know what other metal band Sparks might like? Iron Maiden!

So in the book, it says that the movie Chelsea and Will go to see has both John Candy and both of the Quaid brothers, actors Dennis and Randy, in a sort of action-comedy thing. Hate to break it to you but there is no movie like that in existence R.L. just made it up! You know there were plenty of good real movies you could have sent them to, Mr. Stine if you wanted. Something action packed, roll on the floor hilarious or even romantic to see back in 1992 may not have been in one film but there were plenty of choices:

NEXT BLOG: Sometimes it's The Best Friend you've got to look out for...

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