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Give Me a K-I-L-L: A Fear Street Novel Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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About the Author
R.L. STINE is one of the bestselling children’s authors in history with more than 400 million books sold to date. In 1989, Stine created the Fear Street series, one of the bestselling young adult book series in history with 80 million copies sold worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling children’s series Goosebumps, which began in 1992 and has sold 300 million copies around the world. The Goosebumps series was made into a feature film starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine.
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Here's the deal: it wasn't bad. It also wasn't good. Now, keep in mind that I read a lot of YA. YA is moving and changing. R.L. Stine hasn't changed a bit. I actually looked to see if this book was originally written in the Fear Street heydey and just updated with new pop culture references. The writing style needs to be updated if it will be marketed to mainstream teenagers. However, I do think this would be a good recommendation for reluctant readers and high school age students who are at a lower reading level. Or my middle school age daughter who will be force fed at least one original Fear Street book in her lifetime.
Sticking to the familiar beats of Fear Street was a smart move. It brought on the nostalgia. Readers like knowing the 'feel' of a story, its rhythms, as they read. You will definitely experience that "and here comes the twist" feeling. It was a great twist - very typical of R.L. Stine - a DOUBLE twist which was super cool. I actually wish we had more time with the first twist and to explore the backstory of that. However, the ending felt very rushed and anxious to be over with itself.
Good way to walk down memory lane, but I think I'll be sticking with the originals, personally.
After her parent's divorce, Gretchen and her mother move to Shadyside for a new start. Gretchen had been the co-captain and star of her previous school's cheer team and wants nothing more than to make the squad at Shadyside High. Unfortunately, there's only one spot open, and it's given to Devra Dalby––a spoiled, rich girl, who just happens to be the daughter of one of the school's biggest contributors. But when the coach sees a video of Gretchen's previous cheers, she orders a new tryout. Now it's Gretchen against Devra, one on one, to see who’s the best. The competition is anything but civil. Caught up in a deadly game, Gretchen fights to make it out alive. R.L. Stine has brought out the Fear in his new book, GIVE ME A K-I-L-L. A creative storyline packed with action, suspense, and a surprise double twist that will keep you guessing until the very end. Fans of R.L. Stine’s work will not be disappointed!
** I'm a reviewer for TopShelf Magazine giving an honest opinion without compensation nor a free book.
“All teenagers profile as sociopaths” was quipped on the TV series “Criminal Minds,” but what if you were faced with a literal sociopath in your new high school? What if some people thought you were a sociopath? When Heather Wyatt moves to Shady Side and auditions for Cheerleader, that’s exactly what she goes through. Someone is playing cruel jokes on her, killing a close friend and horribly maiming another cheerleader. To make matters worse, all signs point towards her being the culprit. How can she prove her innocence and reveal Devra Dalby, the vicious spoiled rich girl she believes is responsible, to be the real killer? These are the questions answered in perfect timing by Stine in this suspense filled tale.
Written in third person past tense, the story engages the reader quickly and immerses them in Heather’s world. After immersing the reader, Stine keeps them in complete empathy with the emotionally drowning main character until he is ready for the big reveal that sets up the climactic final sequence. The rare scenes that divert from Heather’s perspective always drive the story and reveal information that will soon insert itself uncomfortably into her frame of reference. When she isn’t in scene, you’re thinking about how this action relates to her. This is top notch storytelling.
Character development was really good. Stine uses tropes like spoiled rich girl, high school cheerleader, band geek and embattled administrator as effective launch points for characters you can actually empathize with. You aren’t limited to Heather’s analysis of character. You get the idea that she is somewhat average as much by the way she fails to observe mannerisms and character reveals as by what she does observe.
Stein glosses over world development here, which is both the product of the novel being written for a large audience already familiar with the setting and a clever trick of the author to allow readers to project their own view of normality on the setting. So missing the details of the house that Heather moves into in Shady Side, for example, creates a situation where the reader imagines the house as a typical 2 story dwelling near them rather than placing the house in a different region that could potentially emotionally distance the reader.
The characters were really likeable except for the villain apparent, Devra Dalby. From Devra’s best friend, confused about what is happening between the two members of the cheer squad, to oily Sid and Heather herself, you understand their conflicts and want things to go well for them. The author even gives the reader insights into Devra’s motivations, albeit not without hardening us against her in advance since the story would not be the same if we were to suddenly find her likable.
The scene where Heather’s only real friend in Shady Side is murdered with her own violin is original and unforgettable. This is more than the token reminder that life is fragile. Heather needs Madison’s friendship and the readers needed to see how Heather was going to integrate her friendship with Madison and her passion to truly belong in the cheer team. The idea that the writer has something else in mind for the characters is unexpected and frightening.
If you are at all interested in the suspense genre, you will love this book. It is that good. Stine delivers suspense effectively without any of the baggage that can turn people off to that. The story is neither gory nor plodding, the Priscilla and Charybdis that suspense writers must contend with to produce a tale of this type. This is well worth reading.
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Author: R. L. Stine
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Genre: Mystery, Thrillers &...Read more
Gretchen/Mrs. Eleanor Page (43) moved to another town where she would now be enrolled in Shadyside HS...Read more