Going into the recording session, Surge hadn’t quite figured out how he felt about Fear Street: Haunted. In fact, immediately after finishing the book, he ran downstairs and said something along the lines of “let’s record, I need to figure this out”. Anna was in the middle of the season 3 finale of Black Mirror but hey, you record when you have to.
What can be said about the book without spoiling too much? Well, we can say that our predictions were off. We can also say that numerology still seems to play a large role in the Fear Street books, if you know Mandarin and German. RL Stine, we’re on to you.
What can we say with tons of spoilers? HOLY SHIT THERE’S A REAL GHOST ON FEAR STREET! This is what we’ve been waiting for!! Yeah.
What the main point of Haunted was though? Income and class disparity in Shadyside. We saw that a bit in Fear Street: The Sleepalker, with Mayra having to earn money to help the family out. But it’s clear as day here. Melissa comes from a very well to do family: both her parents are lawyers, she lives in a Victorian mansion, she gets a car for her birthday, and her family has a live in maid. Part of this book also takes place in the “poor” part of town, or the Old Village. RL Stine goes out of his way to describe the shabbiness of this part of town. The yards are more overgrown and smaller. The houses are falling apart. We enter Paul’s house and the contrast could not be more stark. Whereas Melissa has everything she could ever want in her room, Paul has a utilitarian room. A bed, a light, a counter built in to the wall, and a trashcan. Paul has grown up in an environment where he doesn’t always get what he wants, and he can see that there are people on the other side of town who don’t struggle the same way. And this rage boils within him and causes him to do some pretty awful things. But the thing is, the “rich” in the book doesn’t necessarily come off much better. Melissa’s friend makes fun of a less well to do girl in the mall who “dares” to be poor. However, because her dad grew up in poverty, he instilled values in Melissa to make sure it never went to her head. So Melissa stands up to her friend and lectures her about what she is saying. The thing is, the friend didn’t really care despite Melissa’s best efforts.
RL Stine could be writing horror shlock to sell more books, but he chose to write about something more. This isn’t a book about being haunted by something. It’s a book about how much the environment we grow up in shapes and affects us. And even more importantly, how much we let it shape us. Income inequality is an important topic, and for it to be a issue in a Fear Street book was a big deal.
Before our discussion on Fear Street:Haunted, Anna reviews We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. A new YA book that was recommended by booktuber ProblemsOfABookNerd.
Without further ado, check out Episode 08 – Fear Street 7: Haunted on Spreaker.