Can You Keep A Secret? Fear Street Is Struggling To Scare

Another book into the relaunch and I’m becoming more and more antsy that it’s not going to come together. The fourth book is better than the third, The Lost Girl, but just barely. Does Fear Street have a place in modern YA horror… I want to say yes, but I just don’t know. Don’t tell anyone, though!

Can You Keep A Secret? (Fear Street Reboot #4)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Fears

Eddie and Emmy are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape from their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emmy discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag filled with hundred-dollar bills. Thousands of them. Should they take it? Should they leave the money there? The six teens agree to leave the bag where it is until it’s safe to use it. It’s a discovery that will lead to the end of friendships – and to murder.

Meanwhile, Emmy is having strange, terrifying dreams about wolves. Are her dreams somehow connected to the real wolf attacks that plague the town of Shadyside? It seems that Emmy is about to make a horrifying discovery about herself…

This book opens with Emmy having a nightmare about a wolf. At first a wolf is attacking her, then she is a wolf, fighting with another wolf. A few pages later, her mother is telling her how she was bit by a dog when visiting her great aunt in Prague when she was younger. On the news, a dog was savagely murdered by a wolf at a park near their house. I’m sure everyone knows what is going on by this point. Because the thing about Stine is, he isn’t subtle. This is the B storyline. Even though it shows up first, it takes a backseat (mostly) to the other main storyline.

Emmy is seeing a guy named Eddie. They’ve only been going together a month, and it seems like an odd pairing, but whatever. Emmy’s ex, Danny, is Eddie’s best friend. But don’t worry – there is no awkwardness there because Danny dumped Emmy for this girl named Callie. A guy named Riley and his girlfriend Roxie fill out their “crew”. God, I do not miss high school. They all sneak out to have an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods. Why Shadyside teenagers still mess around in the woods is beyond me – it’s just plain stupidity at this point. And that’s not even factoring in how there is a wolf on the loose nearby.

Eddie and Emmy find a bag of money and they’re arguing about it. Emmy wants to let it be, figuring that over a hundred thousand dollars in a briefcase can lead to nothing good. I’m with her. She figures it was procured by some sort of illegal activity and whoever is coming back for it is dangerous. But all Eddie can think about is how badly his family needs the money after his stepdad was suspended from the Shadyside police force. Their friends come upon them and the money and now all the guys want to keep it while all the girls are using their brains and want to go to the police – shocker.

They decide to bury it, and they’ll come back and divvy it up once they know it’s safe. A few days later, Eddie and Emmy hear about an armored car robbery from Eddie’s stepfather. They realize the money they found is the money from the robbery. What’s worse, Eddie had carved their names in the tree where they found the money (but before they found it) so they’re worried the robber will come looking for them. They decide to put the money back, but when they go to dig it up – it’s gone!

With someone following Emmy, and the money missing – things couldn’t get any worse… Until one of the friends is brutally murdered by a wolf! The remaining five friends don’t know who to trust and worry that the robber is going to come after them. Who took the money? Who wants the money? Who robbed the armored truck? What are they going to do? All this, with the werewolf storyline, dotting in and out throughout this book.

I have to say, I didn’t love this book, mostly because everything was so in your face it wasn’t giving the reader any credit. I don’t want things spelled out for me, I want to get there on my own. I also felt the two storylines thrown in together was a bit much. They didn’t really go together, and with both of them there, Stine didn’t focus on either. I thought the missing money, friend betrayal storyline could have had a lot more suspense, thrills and even a higher body count. I wanted to feel the tension here. It’s the same with the werewolf storyline. There is so much horror that could be explored if the main character is afraid they’re a werewolf, killing people at night. The sickening realization, confusion, desperation involved – and again a higher body count. I felt like this book had two winning storylines, but having both of them, meant Stine split his focus. He couldn’t concentrate on either storyline or really do it justice. I felt if he had chosen one or the other, this book could have been much better!


This book had so much potential, but Stine’s indecision effectively killed what it could have been. Still, this book is much closer to what a new Fear Street book should be. I just hope the last two books in this relaunch actually have their potential realized…

(Also, higher body counts please!)

-DMW

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