Retro Reads: CHEATER R.L. Stine [Review]


So Kristen had the brilliant idea of reviewing books we loved when we were younger. In junior high school I was really into the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine. Fear Street books were scary tales that often included a murder/mystery. There were written for a slightly older audience than Stine’s other scary series, Goosebumps.

I recently re-read the book “Cheater” to see if I could rekindle some of the old magic I enjoyed as a teenager. Cheater is the story of what happens to high schooler Cater Phillips when she decides to cheat on an important college entrance exam. First off one of the best things about an R.L. Stine book is the character names. Carter Phillips’ boyfriend, Dan Mason, and best friend Jill Bancroft round out this trifecta of generic upper-middle class names, which is perfect because the book takes place in a generic, upper-middle class town.

After Carter cheats on the exam, with the help of Adam Messner (a greaser from the wrong side of the tracks), Adam decides to black mail Carter (who comes from a well-to-do family) for everything she’s got.

Another great thing about Fear Street books is there is almost always a twist. Just like in Scooby-Doo. You think you know who the bad guy is, and then boom, the ghoul takes off their mask and exclaims why these pesky kids just don’t mind their own business – which is almost exactly what happens in Cheater.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Cheater:

“Adam was not a friend of Carter’s. He lived in a shabby house on Fear Street, and he hung out with a rough crowd.”

“Sheila Coss was Adam’s girlfriend….She was though and didn’t mind getting into fights”

Although these descriptions are almost absurdly simple, they made perfect sense to me when I was 13. What I didn’t expect, is how much I would still get drawn into the plot of the book. I couldn’t remember how the book ended and I stayed up late to finish the book and find out the ending (which I wasn’t able to predict). I would recommend the Fear Street books to young adult readers who are looking to get a little spooked. I had so much fun reconnecting with this book that I think I’m going to check out a few more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Simon Pulse | Pages: 152 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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