Seniors #5: Last Chance is, at least for the first few chapters, genuinely one of the most disturbing Fear Street novels. Unfortunately the creepiness comes not from what is actually happening (which I’ll get to soon), but from what adult-me reading this in the present day can imagine happening.
The Plot: Mary O’Connor, having already been arrested for shoplifting, can’t risk anything else going wrong. So when well-liked teacher Mr. Morley (who lives on Fear Street) leaves her alone in his office with the answers to an upcoming test in clear view, she sensibly leaves the room. LOL no, I’m kidding. She actually looks at the test and gets caught, because Mary is an idiot and “entrapment” isn’t in her vocabulary.
But kindly Mr. Morley offers her one last chance, if she’ll help him out of an embarrassing predicament by “stealing back” the jacket he loaned to another teacher. She does, and NATURALLY gets caught by Mr. Wise, who insists it really is his jacket. Gradually the things Mr. Morley asks her to do in exchange for his “help” (which actually always makes the situation worse) escalate.
Okay, can you see now why present-day me found this really seriously creepy? But don’t worry: the is a Fear Street novel, so sex isn’t one of the things on the table as Mary desperately tries to dig her way out of trouble. Instead things culminate with Mr. Morley asking her to kill another teacher.
“Fortunately” Mary finds out in time that this whole thing has been a set up. Morley is running some kind of unethical and highly illegal “psychology experiment,” and literally everyone (including the requisite cute guy and the other teachers) is in on it.
She gets a little of her own back by making Morley and the Cute Guy think she’s really poisoned them. Haha, really she’s only knocked them unconscious with medication she stole from her mother! So I guess Mary is as sociopathic as everyone else in this book by the end.
I can’t say they didn’t have it coming, though.
Seniors #6: The Gift was a more straightforward outing, in which Jennifer Fear gets an antique necklace for Christmas and then a Fear ancestress starts possessing someone. You know. Just another day on Fear Street, really.
The Plot: Jennifer Fear has a gorgeous antique necklace that her Fear-obsessed father found secondhand. It used to belong to someone called Dominique Fear.
Jennifer is friends with rich girl Trisha Conrad, the one who had the vision of the entire senior class dying.
And since school opened in September, four people had died. Mr. Torkelson, Danielle Cortez, Ms. Sanders, Debra Lake…(p. 8)
Hold up there, author. Mr. Torkelson died in the first book, so that was either June or July. School hadn’t re-opened yet.
Anyway, Jennifer has a boyfriend called Ty Sullivan. Trisha warns her that Ty dates multiple girls at a time. Ty swiftly breaks up with Jennifer, telling her she’s too serious for him, which I think is code for “doesn’t want him dating other girls.” He’s an asshole, and I look forward to his demise in a later book.
Sadly, he doesn’t die in this book, although for a while there I had my hopes up. Someone nearly strangles him, Jennifer almost accidentally hits him with her car, and someone sets his house on fire. Because she’s been sleepwalking (and found her own glove at the arson scene) Jennifer starts to think Dominique Fear is possessing her.
Dominique, she finds out, was wrongfully hung for the murder of some guy she loved who married someone else. Dominique vowed vengeance, claiming she could use someone with Fear blood to take her revenge by…killing some random jackass centuries later? Not that I object to anyone killing Ty, but that does seem a weird form of revenge.
The Twist, or, DUN DUN DUN: Jennifer finds out from her father that they changed their name to Fear a couple of generations ago! She can’t be the one doing the stuff, because Dominique can only possess real Fears. (Jennifer’s father collects documents and geneological stuff for a family that isn’t even his? Okay. That seems incredibly odd.)
The further twist, or DUN DUN AGAIN WITH THE DUN: Trisha is descended from the Fears, and she’s the one with the bad case of murderous possession. Jennifer shows up at the graveyard just in time to stop her from killing Ty, and throws some ashes in her face to (theoretically, anyway) depossess her.
Oh yeah, also: Trisha was secretly dating Ty.
Trisha gazed after her. Jen’s such a good friend, she thought. I still can’t believe I went out with Ty behind her back. Not just once or twice, either. Dozens of times. (p. 150)
See, that’s the sort of behaviour likely to get you killed in a later book. Don’t blame me if you don’t make it to the end of the series, Trisha.