Back to Fear Street – Ski Weekend (Fear Street, #10)
Happy November! I hope your Halloween was sufficiently frightening and enjoyable! But now it’s time for winter, snow, Christmas, and everyone’s favorite pastime – skiing! That’s right – let’s go on a Ski Weekend, or at least let’s discuss the tenth book in the original Fear Street series. My last two write-ups were on R.L. Stine’s new series, Return to Fear Street. If you read those, you know I was less than enthusiastic about them so I was looking forward to returning to the original series, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. Ski Weekend was nothing special, and the twists were not very twisty, but it was a solid read so I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. The story follows a group of friends – Ariel, Doug, and Shannon and a stranger they befriend at the ski lodge named Red – who get stranded in a snowstorm while driving back to Shadyside from a ski trip. They get stranded when Doug’s car breaks down after he attempts to drive like a maniac through a blinding snowstorm. Doug then seals their fate when, after surviving a near-collision, he says, “All right! We’re gonna be okay from now on!” I know he was trying to be positive, but that was just too much temptation for fate. The group seek shelter at the home of Lou and Eva Hitchcock who end up being more than just good Samaritans. Basic but promising premise. I don’t think that Stine was making the reader question the intentions of Lou and Eva – to me it seemed obvious that they were up to no good. Eva’s very evasive, and Lou is extremely creepy and inappropriate with the teenage girls. There are also some interesting clues that not only point to Lou and Eva being of questionable repute but also suggest that the house might not even be theirs! For example, when Ariel asks Eva for a cup of tea, Eva has trouble finding the tea in the kitchen. When Lou puts on a coat before going outside, Ariel notices that the sleeves are too short. Ariel also notices that Lou’s jacket has ski lift tickets attached to the zipper, but Lou mentions that he hasn’t been skiing in years. So it becomes very clear that all is not as it seems.
To me, it was also clear that Red, the stranger the group befriends at the ski lodge, was also up to no good. Stine didn’t make this as obvious, but I think there were some signs. One, he’s a stranger. I’m immediately suspicious of those in literature and the world. Two, he’s the one that spots Lou and Eva’s house when the group gets stranded driving back. Third, the first night they’re in the house Red goes outside because he can’t sleep, and the next day the group finds that the car has fallen into a ravine. Fourth, it’s Red who finally reveals Lou and Eva’s plan to the group after he claims that he overhead them. Coincidence? Definitely not! I’m sure there were more clues that I’m not remembering, but these were enough to put me on alert. Honestly, knowing how these Fear Street books tend to go, the fact that Red’s a stranger was enough.
What Red reveals to the group is that Lou is planning to rob them and leave them at the lodge with no means of escape and that he’s forcing Eva to go along with his plan. However, while trying to escape the group discover a body in the barn. It soon comes out that Red and Eva are actually siblings; that Red, Eva, and Lou killed Eva’s brother Jake (the real owner of the house) because he stole their inheritance; and that they were going to pin the murder on the teens The plan obviously gets foiled and our group saves the day. End of story. So yeah – nothing special and no big twists that I didn’t see coming but a good read.
It wasn’t flawless, so I do have some complaints. This story has absolutely nothing to do with Fear Street. It doesn’t even take place in Shadyside. The only mention is when Ariel says, “Being home on Fear Street will be a pleasure after this!” By now I know that Fear Street isn’t as central to these stories as I had once thought they were, so the fact that Ski Weekend takes place in another town is fine. But nobody would actually say what Ariel said. Like, as a kid I would never say “Man, can’t wait to get back home on Mary Lou Lane!” You’d just say, “I can’t wait to get home!” So I think Stine could’ve snuck in a Fear Street mention in a less silly way.
Another complaint is that there was no good description of the layout Lou and Eva’s (or actually Jake’s) house. This might just be one of my things, but I need layouts explained well-enough so that I can actually picture in my mind where characters are going. I’ve even gone as far as to draw out layouts based on their descriptions so that I can have it in my mind when reading. So I just couldn’t follow some of the characters’ movements and where they were in the house because the layout wasn’t well-explained. This sounds silly as I’m typing it, but this is me. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
I also didn’t understand some of the characters’ actions during the big face off at the end. While the teens are being held at gunpoint by Lou, Ariel hits him with a snowball which causes him to drop his gun. Red and Doug both go for the gun and when Doug gets his hand on the gun…he throws it across the yard. Why would he do this? Nobody else had a gun so this would’ve given our group a one-up. Instead, Ariel, Doug, and Shannon run to the barn where there’s a Jeep. But…they realize that they don’t have the keys. Ariel realizes they’re trapped and thinks to herself, “I was stunned by how stupid we had been.” Ariel and I are definitely on the same page. Ariel then uses a snowmobile from the barn to lure Red and Lou away and she tells Doug and Shannon to run for help. Her plan works, and Red and Lou start chasing her on foot while Doug and Shannon find help. At first, I didn’t understand why Red and Lou would attempt to run down a snowmobile instead of going after the two who were on foot. On re-reading, I noticed that it says that Doug and Shannon snuck out of the barn, so I’m guessing Red and Lou didn’t see them. But shouldn’t the fact that they know that there are three teens and only one person on a snowmobile make them suspicious that this is a plan to distract them? Maybe not. I’ve never been in a life-or-death situation like this, so I’m sure clear thinking might go out the window. So maybe I’ll give Red and Lou a pass.
While not really a complaint, I wonder how this whole plan to set our group up was to be put in motion. I’m guessing Red was supposed to find a group of unsuspecting people at the lodge and catch a ride back home with them. But Doug’s car breaking down seems to have been the result of Doug driving like a moron in the snowstorm, so it seems awfully convenient that the breakdown occurs right in front of Lou and Eva’s house. Had Doug not been driving like an idiot, they could’ve potentially made it back safely. Maybe Jake had already been killed, and when the car broke down in that particular spot Red decided they could frame the kids. However, he tells the group, “You might say I recruited you guys. At the ski lodge.” So, it sounds like this was the plan all along. Which again makes it a little too convenient that Doug’s car broke down where it did.
Finally, I think this is the first book in the Fear Street series without any recurring characters. It’s possible that Ariel is related to a secondary character from Haunted based on their last names. Ariel’s last name is Munroe, and there’s a character in Haunted named Krissie Munroe. Krissie didn’t get mentioned in my Haunted post by name, but if you remember I discussed how Stine didn’t portray poor people very well in that book. One of my examples was a girl trashing another girl’s clothes to which our main character responds, “She’s just poor, that’s all.” Well, the girl doing the trash-talking is Krissie. If she’s Ariel’s sister, I’m guessing a couple apples fell off the family tree and blew away in completely different directions. But this is just speculation. Maybe future books will clear up this mystery once and for all.
Well fellow Fear Street travelers, I’ve come to a close. And I think to a bit of a hiatus in my journey back to Fear Street. I’ll be taking a bit of a detour, specifically to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as I attempt to re-read the Harry Potter series before the new year. So until then, I hope you enjoy this holiday season in whichever way works for you. Rather, that’s spending time with family, battling the crowds to do some shopping, traveling, staying warm and curling up with some good books (my personal choice), or all of the above, I wish you a great holiday season and hope that the end of 2018 closes out better than it started! Rest well – our Fear Street journey resumes in the New Year!
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.’