When the Cheers turn to Screams

If you grew up when I did, or have a child that grew up when I did, you probably recognize R.L. Stine from Goosebumps fame. I loved those books! But what you may not know is that R.L. Stine had another series of books, known as the Fear Street Saga. There are many different people this Saga follows, but they're all set in the same place (not the same time, mind you), and follow the same character: an ancient evil spirit that likes to kill people. It can't kill on its own, however. It needs to possess someone who can help it do its killing.

I'm not sure how we came to own them, but when I was younger my brother and I stumbled across The Fear Street Cheerleaders Trilogy. This was before I knew what a blog was, I want to say before the internet even... when pretty much all of my free time was spent reading. There were only three of them then: The First Evil, the Second Evil, and the Third Evil. Now there are two more: The New Evil (which I may have read, now that I'm picking through it) and The Evil Lives! (which I know I haven't read).

The Cheerleaders Trilogy follows Bobby and Corky Corcoran. It starts with them trying out for the Shadyside High Cheerleading Squad, which a good number of the squad members are against (the squad was filled in the Spring and it just isn't fair, as Kimmy incessantly puts it). The girls not only earn spots on the squad, but the jealousy of a good number of the other girls (being the stereotypical, knock-out, blonde cheerleader will do that)! Then, horrible things start to happen, starting with a bus accident that leaves Cheerleading Captain Jennifer face down (and presumed dead) on Sarah Fear's grave! It's up to the Corcoran sisters to find out the source of the bad things, and make Shadyside safe again!

I know what you're thinking, and yes. It is kind of cheesy. But there is one death scene that has always stuck with me, and I needed a book to be my first purchase on my new Kindle, so I found The First Evil and downloaded it. And when I finished that, and I bought the Second Evil. And when I finished that, I hesitated... but ended up buying the Third Evil. I read them so fast, it was crazy. And they weren't all that much worse than they were when I was a kid.

The books play off of stereotypes a lot (the perfect blonde cheerleaders, the captain dating the quarterback of the football team, everyone's boyfriends are super good looking, etc. etc), but considering they were written in 1992, I'm willing to give Mr. Stine a pass. And he didn't focus solely on stereotypes. Kimmy Bass, the Cheerleader co-captain (and eventual captain) is a bigger girl, with crimped black hair and an easily reddened face, and Debra Kern is a girl with cold eyes that seldom smiles... strange for a cheerleader (something the book never fails to point out). I also don't think that a lot of attention was paid to how much time passed between books or murders (for instance, the Cheerleaders tend to have a lot of Spring tryouts... and a lot of springs!).

But for the most part, they're good reads. Quick, but attention grabbing. Unlike their Goosebump counterparts, Fear Street books have no qualms against killing characters, and you learn early on that no one is safe from the ancient evil. They're also marketed like murder mysteries, compelling the reader to try and figure out who is doing the murders, and how to stop them.

The fact that these books were just as interesting to me the second time through as they were the first means they're quite good reads (at least in my opinion), and I encourage everyone to check them out!

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