Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fear Street: The Secret Bedroom (R.L. Stine)

Lea is new to Shadyside and since her parents love restoring old house, they decide to buy one on Fear Street. Suki Thomas’s mom is the real estate agent and she tells them about a mysterious locked room in the attic. Years ago, someone was murdered there so they shut the door, barricaded it with wood planks and let the room closed off. Somehow they don’t find this even slightly odd.

She has a hard time fitting in with other people, but she does make friends with Deena Martinson. One day in the cafeteria, she trips and spills chili all over popular girl Marci. Cute guy Don helps her clean up the mess and asks her out on a date for the next weekend. Deena warns her that Don and Marci have been dating for years, but she ignores her.

The night of their date, she gets ready and just sits in her room. Lea calls Don’s house and his mom tells her that he went out with Marci. Convinced that he used it as a cover story, she calls Marci’s house. Marci answers and cracks up laughing because she got Don to ask her out as a joke. Lea remains convinced that he really does like her and that Marci made it all up.

Marci wastes no time telling the story to everyone in school. In her version, Lea is a pathetic loser that keeps hounding him for a date. Then, Don calls her up and tells her that he snuck away from Marci and really wants to see her. She rushes off for their date, only to find him sitting in the pizza place holding hands with Marci. Yup, he’s a total winner.

Then, because it’s a Fear Street book, weird things start happening. She hears noises coming from the attic and what sounds like footsteps. When she gets close to the door, a series of spikes pops out. The next time she investigates, she finds blood dripping from the door. Gotta love Deena because when Lea first calls her, she says she had a bad experience on Fear Street and doesn’t really want to come back. Of course when she gets there, the blood is gone.

Lea finally gets it in her mind to break into the secret bedroom, so she rips the boards off the door. When she walks inside, she sees a girl sitting on a canopy bed. The girl says her name is Catherine and she’s a ghost. She freaks Lea out by grabbing her hair and holding on tightly. Naturally she runs away, but then decides to go back and see her again.

Lea gets Catherine to go with her to Marci’s house and give her a scare. Catherine gives her one by slipping in her body, saying it’s the only way she can travel long distances. Catherine scares the shit out of Marci, by moving things around the room and Lea tells her that she’s doing it because she has “powers.” Marci runs upstairs, trips and falls over the banister and dies.

Lea flips out and tells her parents all about Catherine. They decide that she’s just sick because of a high fever. Then, Catherine takes over her body. She reveals that Lea never went in the attic, but Catherine made her think she did. Catherine’s bedroom and the secret bedroom were always Lea’s room. Lea tries to force her out of her body, but can’t stop her.

Catherine reveals that she was born before her parents were married and they were so ashamed of her that they kept her locked in the room. She takes over her life completely, even visiting Don. Lea realizes that she periodically (and conveniently) leaves her body at times and the next time she does it, Lea runs upstairs. She rips the boards off the bedroom door and finds two skeletons sitting on the bed.

The skeletons are Catherine’s parents, the same parents she murdered. Catherine jumps in her body and her parents attack, strangling Lea until she leaves. She passes out and when she wakes up, she’s in the hospital with the same fever that made her sick before. When she gets out, she goes upstairs and finds the boards back on the attic door…

Pretty good, but I’m confused about a few things. If Catherine killed her parents in the room, then who boarded it up? A century ago people would be pretty suspicious of a teen girl living alone and her parents were popular, so people would check up on them. And did she die in the house? If she did die, then how? Eh, maybe the whole thing was just a hallucination caused by Lea’s fever.

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