Jill, Andrea and Diane are best friends in a little group that also includes Nick and Max. The teens joke around about starting a fire, to get themselves out of school for a little bit. They play around and accidentally light a folder on fire, but blow it out. Not long after, the trash can where they dropped the folder goes up in flames, stopping class for the day.
Andrea, who dropped the folder in the can, swears she thought it was out. The rest of the group think it’s kind of funny and don’t seem to realize how serious it actually was. Diane mentions that her good friend Gabe is moving to town and that he might help Andrea create a new song for her gymnastics routine. She makes it pretty clear that she isn’t interested in him as anything more than a friend.
Of course Gabe is hot shit, though he acts like a dick. He spends most of his first few days making fun of Shadyside and bitching about how nothing is like it is in the city. He talks down about the pizza place and everything else in town. Then he turns around and asks Jill to take him on a private tour of town. The whole group takes a small tour and he makes fun of the town. He also learns about the fire and pushes people to set more fires. By the end of the night, he’s making out in the backseat with Andrea.
The fire game starts progressing from there, moving from small, harmless fires to much bigger ones. The group sets fire to a small shack in the Fear Street woods and then run off laughing. Jill and Gabe have their great date and she’s in luv with him, except that he also has plans with Andrea. Diane starts acting a little odd about the whole thing. The night ends with someone setting fire to Gabe’s car. She blames Nick because he wanted to stop the fire game and also never started a fire himself.
The girls share a few odd experiences together anyway. While shopping at the mall, Andrea accidentally wanders into Diane’s dressing room and the other girl freaks out. She later apologizes and says she thought it was some random stranger breaking into the dressing room. Andrea makes a point of inviting them over to her house and showing off her brand new laptop and printer, which uses bright blue ink. Then Jill has a vivid dream that ends with her finding her cat burned to death.
Jill makes a study date with Nick, but when she goes to his house, she sees him driving off with Max. She follows them and sees them standing outside of an old house on Fear Street. She leaves again and is stopped by a police officer. A detective visits her at the house the next day, announcing that the fire caused the death of a man staying there. She swears she had nothing to do with it, then calls Nick and tells him the story.
Nick claims he got a letter that invited him to meet at the house. Max came over and had the same letter, so they decided to investigate together. He shows her the note, which was printed in bright blue ink. They have a group meeting and Jill thinks someone knows about them and is trying to set them up, but Gabe laughs it off and thinks it’s someone in the group.
Jill and Diane have a long talk that ends with them deciding that Andrea is behind the fire. They confront her and she gets pissed, thinking they’re both jealous of her date with Gabe. She throws them out of her house, but later calls and invites Jill to meet her the next day before school starts. Jill finds Diana waiting, who explains that Andrea calls her too. They wander into the gym and find Andrea lying at the bottom of the balance beam, unconscious.
Diane suggests that they get away for a few days together and wants Jill to come stay with her at her parents’ cabin in the Fear Street woods. Jill goes because she thinks that they’re going to talk about everything that happened and decide what to do, but Diane doesn’t want to talk. When Diane takes a shower, Andrea calls. She accuses Jill of hurting her, but then freaks out because she thought she was talking to Diane. She warns Jill to get out as soon as possible.
Jill grabs her stuff and runs out the door, but then can’t find her car keys. She runs off, gets lost and comes across Diane in the woods, who says she was worried about her and found her car keys sitting on the porch. They go back inside, but when Jill tells her what Andrea said, she turns cold. She admits to hurting Andrea and setting the fires because she wanted Gabe for herself. She grabs a blow torch of her dad’s and chases Jill around the house.
Jill knocks her robe off and sees hideous scars underneath. It turns out that Diane was staying with her grandma when her furnace exploded and she was burned. Gabe visited her in the hospital constantly and was the one thing that kept her holding on. They fight some more and Gabe suddenly appears, saving Jill. You’d think that he’d spend the end apologizing to Jill, but he doesn’t. He tells her that Andrea called him and he rushed over. Then he comforts Diane and the book ends with him trying to make her feel better.