Back to Fear Street – The Sleepwalker (Fear Street, #6)
Welcome back to Fear Street! This is our sixth trip so far, and even though that’s not even the slightest dent in the Fear Street series, which includes fifty-two books from the original run and tons more from spin-off series, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I still enjoy these books after all these years. This outing was no different. The Sleepwalker is about…a sleepwalker. Bet you didn’t see that coming! Mayra Barnes is working for an older lady named Mrs. Cottler for the summer when she starts sleepwalking and waking up outside and sometimes in the lake. She has no idea what’s causing her to sleepwalk but suspects that old Mrs. Cottler, who lives on Fear Street, is a witch and that she put a spell on her. And if sleepwalking wasn’t enough, there’s a strange man who keeps popping up and scaring Mayra. Plus, Mayra’s ex-boyfriend, Link, and his sister, Stephanie, are also giving her grief over breaking up with Link and starting a relationship with her new boyfriend, Walker. Yes, the sleepwalker is dating a guy named Walker. This was totally lost on me, so kudos to Craig for pointing it out! The Sleepwalker was a pretty fun read, and I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. But it’s not without its problems, and I don’t think I can really discuss those without spoiling the plot. So consider this your official warning: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Turns out Mrs. Cottler is not a witch and not the cause of Mayra’s sleepwalking. So her living on Fear Street also turns out to not matter very much, but I guess it makes it easier for Mayra to think she’s a witch. The real culprit is…Walker, Mayra’s boyfriend. Walker’s not a witch, but he just so happens to be an aspiring professional magician, which is totally normal and not convenient for this story at all. Throughout the book, he’s mainly seen doing little card tricks, but the big reveal is that he has been hypnotizing Mayra. Why has he been hypnotizing her? Well, apparently when they started dating, Walker was a pretty unstable guy who one day decided to steal a car from a parking lot and go on a joy ride with Mayra. That joy ride ended up in them slamming into another car and sending it into the river, and the stranger who’s been bothering Mayra is one of the people who was in that car. He thinks Mayra was at fault and antagonizes her a bit when he sees her around town but helps her take down Walker in the end when he finds out the truth. To keep Mayra quiet, Walker’s been hypnotizing her so that she’ll forget all about it, and her sleepwalking has been the result of her trying to deal with this event in her sleep because it was too upsetting for her to deal with it while awake. Not only has he been hypnotizing Mayra, but he’s also been seeing another girl behind her back and has just been pretending to still like Mayra to keep her close and make sure she doesn’t remember the accident. I found all of this to be a bit unbelievable at first – that this straight-laced kid who did silly magic tricks actually turned out to be a criminal mastermind with the power of hypnosis. But then I thought of all the books I’ve read where a seemingly good character has been the devil-in-disguise all along and gave credit where credit was due – Walker pulled the wool over my eyes. Just like with Mayra!
And while we’re on the subject of Walker – that other girl he was seeing behind Mayra’s back was Suki Thomas, a name that might sound familiar as she appeared in The Surprise Party and The Overnight. She was only briefly mentioned in my blog post for The Overnight, but I now have a bit more to say about Suki. It’s been made clear whenever Suki comes up that she has a reputation for getting around, and it’s obvious that other girls think pretty lowly of her because of this although it’s never gone past her just having a bad reputation. However, in The Sleepwalker she takes it a step further by dating Walker behind Mayra’s back. It’ll be interesting to see if Suki winds up as the lead in her very own book since it seems like she has a few enemies of her own. Suki’s not the only recurring character. Pete Goodwin, a member of the Outdoors Club from The Overnight, makes an appearance but by name only. While Suki was actually connected to Mayra and Walker, she didn’t really factor in the main plot, and Pete just got an honorable mention. So again the recurring characters are more like cameos.
Now something I had a bit of a problem with is Link’s behavior. Mayra broke up with Link, and let’s just say he did not handle it very well. He kept popping up wherever Mayra was, wanting to talk to her about their relationship. In one particular incident, he sees her in the woods and decides to follow her. Mayra’s in the woods because she’s trying to figure out why she’s sleepwalking, but she tells Link that she’s there to meet Walker. Link tries to convince Mayra to let him take her home. He grabs her arm and then tries to grab her with both arms when she pulls away. He continues to maintain his grip on her all while telling her that he misses her. She yells out for him to let her go, but he says no and won’t let go. He then puts his arms around her waist and tries to kiss her, and after turning her face away she hits him in his left ear with her fist and gets away. About thirty pages later, after the big Walker reveal, Mayra and Link are now a couple again. They’re laughing about all of Link’s creepy ways, and he says, “ ‘The only reason I was such a creep was that I cared about you so much.’ “ Um, what?!? I definitely don’t think Link’s character would be written the same today, and that’s a good thing. I understand he was still in love with Mayra and didn’t want to accept that their relationship was over, but stalking her and physically assaulting her shouldn’t have been the way to her heart. But at least he admits to being a creep so…progress?
Finally, some fun asides. It was a big reality check when I found out that Mayra’s mother was thirty-nine years old!!! I’m thirty-six so this hit a bit too close to home. Another fun bit – Mayra and her best friend, Donna, are talking about random things including “the new Tom Cruise movie.” This book came out in 1990, and it’s possible that in 2018 a couple of teenagers are still talking about the new Tom Cruise movie. Don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool. There’s also a little aside where Mayra says that she’s “ ‘going with Walker now.’ ” I just thought that was a fun little blast from the past. Can’t remember when I last heard someone say they were going with someone. Finally, my edition of The Sleepwalker is actually from a library – St. Augustine High School’s library in fact. And the blank checkout card in the back shows that nobody was checking out this book. Maybe that’s because all the cool kids bought their copies instead!
Until next time!
Kia is a cohost of the Half Assed Horror Cast. Her favorite horror novel is Scott Smith’s ‘The Ruins,’ fave slasher is Freddy Krueger, and her favorite TV show of all time is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’