Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fear Street: The Dare (R.L. Stine)

In the prologue, Johanna Wise is creeping across a lawn with a gun in her hand. She starts thinking about how the news will report on what happened and talk about how she was always such a nice and sweet girl. She then stops and wonders if she's really about to murder one of her teachers.

We then go back a few weeks to Johanna and her best friend Margaret heading to the 7/11 for dinner. Since they're both always broke, they often grab hot dogs for dinner. They see a group of rich kids like Dennis, Caitlin, and Zack goofing around. The kids make a huge mess, the clerk yells at them, and one of the guys pulls out a gun. It's just a water gun though, and Zack throws some money at the guy on their way out.

The next day at school, Johanna hears Dennis complaining to their teacher, Mr. Northwood, about their upcoming midterm. The poor little rich boy already has plans to go to the Bahamas for break, but if he misses the test, he'll get tossed off the track team. That can't happen because he has a shot at the Olympics. The teacher tells him that he won't reschedule the test, which is what should happen. Johanna hears a noise and thinks he punched the teacher, but he actually just threw some books on the floor.

Dennis starts talking to her in the hallway. He makes a bunch of rude comments about their teacher, to which she says that she has to be nice to him because he's her next door neighbor. Dennis chats her up some more, and they wind up flirting. She's about to ask if he wants to grab a bite, when he points to Caitlin waiting for him outside in her little coupe. He tells her they'd give her a ride but it's a two seater. Johanna rushes over, punches the other girl in the face, and takes her to seat as he smiles on. Actually, she just watches as they drive off together.

The date of their midterm arrives, and Dennis doesn't show up. Melody, one of his cult members – I mean friends, talks back to Northwood. He tells her to stop by after class, she says she has a tennis lesson, and he tells her to be late. Instead, she just runs off when class lets out. Johanna then hears the teacher getting really snippy about how rich kids in the school have too much power and deserve to get punished.

While on the phone with Margaret, Johanna starts talking about how their classmates are completely out of control. She then hears a car door slam and a crashing sound, which causes her to hang up and check to see if someone broke into her house. She finds Caitlin, Lanny, Zack, and Melody hanging around outside their teacher's house.

Zack is just about the only one who notices her. The girls go out of their way to make it clear she isn't wanted. Zack then starts carving Dennis's name into the teacher's bumper. There's a noise and Northwood comes tearing out of his house. He tells Johanna that he knows who it was and that he hopes she isn't friends with them. She swears she isn't and leaves as he gets ready to call the cops.

When she doesn't hear the cops, she assumes he changed his mind. The next day though, all the rich kids are missing. Northwood calls her to his desk, says he believes she doesn't hang around with them, and that he got the other suspended from school. Dennis calls her that night and tells her a bunch of stories about his trip, which makes her feel even poorer than ever. Despite him being a massive ass, she still has a crush on him.

Dennis also tells her that the principal lifted the suspension. Melody told him that all their parents showed up at school, threw a tantrum, and he almost cried. Johanna briefly thinks about how the principal would just laugh if her mom showed up at school. He also asks her to be his date to an upcoming party. Since he's such a winner, he tells her that Caitlin and him date other people sometimes and that she'll be out of town anyway. Somehow, she still agrees to go out with him.

When she goes back to school, he shows up with a conch shell. Even though he's super rich, all he brought her back was a shell he found on the beach. Caitlin comes in, says he told her he got the shell for her, and tries to rip it out of her hands. They fight, and Johanna smashes the shell against her face until she's bleeding everywhere and Dennis is just laughing. Got you. It's just another lame fantasy she had. She should really see someone about this crap. Caitlin really just walks up, ignores her, and Dennis follows her off like a little puppy dog.

Johanna finally realizes that Dennis may not her as much as she thinks. She catches him full on making out with Caitlin at lunch but still goes out with him. He takes her to the party, doesn't introduce her to anyone, and basically ignores her all time. At one point, he literally starts a conversation with someone else when she's right next to him. That doesn't stop him from joking around with everyone about how they're going to kill the teacher or making out with her in his car.

They get interrupted by a noise, which turns out to be Northwood taking out his trash. Dennis pretty much shoves her out of his car and takes off. Johanna goes inside, finds the gun her father bought years ago, and seriously thinks about killing her teacher. She goes from normal to psycho in a fraction of a second, all because she thinks he's spying on her. The only thing that stops her is her mom asking what the hell she's doing hanging out of the window with a gun in her hand.

In school the next day, Dennis asks if he can come over and study with her that night. She agrees but forgets about having plans already with Margaret. When Margaret calls, Johanna lies and says she's sick so she needs to spend the night in bed. Dennis shows up with his whole group, including Caitlin who spends all night feeling him up and practically peeing on his leg to mark her territory. Zack explodes because Northwood caught him cheating on a quiz and actually punished him. Gasp, the horror. He then says that he wants to take care of him tonight. God, I feel so sorry for these kids when they get to college!

Zack reveals that his college age brother gave him a vial of skunk “juice” from the college laboratory and that he wants to play a prank on Northwood. After a fight over who will do it, Johanna steps up. She gets to his doorstep, starts to change her mind, and gets scared when he opens the door, which causes her to spill it everywhere. She then runs off as he shouts behind her. The group thinks she's so cool that they take her out to dinner. When she gets home, Margaret is waiting for her with soup and is clearly disappointed in her friend.

The rich kids start coming over every night and make her a part of their group. While playing around one night, Zack finds her dad's gun. Melody tells him to put away or she'll leave. They keep horsing around, the gun accidentally goes off, and Zack gets shot. Everyone freaks out, Johanna calls 911, and Dennis comes up with a plan. The guys take Zack outside and dump him in Northwood's yard. The others, except for Melody who can't stop crying, clean up the living room until Johanna realizes the gun is missing. Dennis put it out in the yard and runs outside when the cops show up to tell them that Northwood shot Zack.

While making out with Dennis a few days later, Johanna fills us in on what happened. The cops found the blood in her living room, checked the registration on the gun, and realized the teacher had nothing to do with it. They let him go, but he now keeps piling up on the schoolwork. Pretty much everyone in school now hates him. Dennis tells her that his guy friends keep daring each other to kill Northwood, and when he dares her, she agrees to do it.

Word spreads around school faster than you would believe, but somehow the teacher never hears it. Margaret gets her alone and warns her about what people keep saying. Zack then tells her that they started taking bets. He's up to $1,000 and will give her half if she goes through with it. Wow, hiring a hitman is cheaper than I thought! Dennis calls her that night, tells her that she has to do it on Saturday, and that he's counting on her.

Johanna later sees Northwood carrying logs into his house. She wanders over, sees him fall, and grabs a log that she uses to bash him over the head. Since it looks like an accident, she just sneaks away. This is just another one of her disturbing fantasies though. It isn't until later that night that she grabs the gun and sneaks out to go over to his house.

She goes into his house, sees him arranging his logs, and pulls the gun out of her pocket. Her hands are shaking so bad that she can't even concentrate, which is when Margaret calls her name. She stopped by so they could study for an upcoming test. Saturday finally arrives, and Dennis shows up at her house. He's all nervous and twitchy, which she thinks is because he's nervous for her. Johanna makes an excuse to go upstairs, down some Pepto, and freak out about whether or not she's actually a murderer.

When she finally sneaks into his house, she finds him already dead on the floor with blood everywhere. Johanna flips out until Dennis comes in and starts talking about how he's so proud of her for doing it. When she says she didn't, he shakes his head and tells her to check her gun and see that it was recently fired. Caitlin arrives, Johanna runs to her for help, and Dennis tells her that it's all over. She gets excited and they start kissing. Really, Johanna, what did you actually expect to happen?

Dennis tells her that Caitlin dared him to go out with Johanna and convince her to take care of their little Northwood problem. Since he doubted she would go through with it, he did it himself and already called the cops. The cops arrive and immediately arrest Johanna as Caitlin bursts into crocodile tears and they tell the police that they tried to stop her.

Just as they're about to haul her off, someone notices that Northwood isn't actually dead. When they lift him up, they find that he had a recorder running in his pocket the whole time. It then plays the exact conversation Dennis, Johanna, and Caitlin just had. They arrest the two, one of the cops asks Johanna what Dennis meat on the tape about a dare, and she just mumbles something about how it was a sick fantasy they had.

Eh, not too bad. I thought the ending was pretty standard though. Dennis pretty much made it clear through the whole book that he had no real interest in her, and I have no idea why she wanted to hang out with his gang of ass hats either!


  1. I can't figure it out why she would want to date Dennis or be part of his group, they were horrible.

    1. Teen girls be crazy? :) Seriously though, I can't figure out why she even wants to date him when he makes it so clear that he has no real interest in her and already has a girlfriend!