Fear Street: Fear Hall: The Beginning

The BeginningA few weeks ago, I found a bunch of Fear Street ebooks on Amazon for 99 cents each.  I snagged a bunch for Summer reading. Of all the books, this is the one I was probably least excited about reading because the cover didn’t jump out at me and make me want to pick it up, but the price was good. Out of curiosity, I flipped through some of the first few pages to get a feel of the book and see what it was about, and I got hooked. I literally could not put it down.

This book was, bar none, the best R. L. Stine book I’ve ever read. Its twist is awesome and ridiculous, and you have to experience it for yourself, so if you have not read this book, please skip this entry, go buy or rent the book, read it, and then come back and geek out with me. Spoilers will ruin the experience of this book.

Cover

As I wrote above, this is not my favorite cover. I don’t know. It just feels boring. I really like the cheesy early-90s font (though I’m sure it was not cheesy back then). I like the colors.

I don’t like the illustration of the girl staring out the window. It’s just random. It also looks like it has been raining, maybe? I can’t think of any scene in the book that would have inspired this illustration. This book could have been about anything.

I can see the cover artist tried, but the interesting elements of the cover seem forced, and again, random. There are some buildings and trees above the title and a girl hanging off the corner of “Street” in a super-hero action pose? You know how in Power Rangers after the Rangers have morphed, they stike poses and yell insults at the bad guy before fighting him? That’s what she looks like she’s doing. I just don’t get it.

Pink Ranger

Pink is not my favorite color. It’s about to not be yours! Hi-yah!

I was discussing this with my friend Rosy, and she thinks maybe the girl is holding a bag over her shoulder and running away.

What is this?

There are too many possibilities and they either don’t or very vaguely relate to the story.

They didn’t even put any effort in the tagline, opting to promote that this is a two-part story.

Tagline: The first part of a shocking two-part special!

My guess, or what I’m going to go with anyway, is that the powers that be wanted to guard the twist of this book so badly that they compromised the cover. It’s a shame because this book is so dang good, and I almost skipped it for a book with a more exciting cover. I hope other Fear Street fans haven’t done the same.

Plot Synopsis

To put it simply, this book is about a girl named Hope. Hope lives in a college dorm room with her three best friends, Eden, Jasmine, and Angel. Her boyfriend, Darryl, lives on the floor below her. Hope lives on the 13th floor, of course (I literally rolled my eyes when I read 13th), which is ridiculous to me because 13 floors for one college dorm building are a lot. Fear Hall must be massive. Keep in mind the building may be even larger. Just because Hope lives on Floor 13 doesn’t mean she lives on the top floor.

Hope has some self-esteem issues, but her boyfriend and her friends make her feel good about herself. I could feel the love for Hope flying all over the place in this book. It’s a good thing she has her friends, but everyone else thinks Hope is weird. Her three across-the-hall neighbors, Melanie, Margie, and Memphis! No, Meryl. Mary. It’s Mary (sorry, doing this without my book in front of me)… keep asking her if she is okay. She’s not, but she tells everyone she is.

Hope’s boyfriend, Darryl, has anger management issues. He killed a boy who was dating her roommate, Angel, because Angel was wearing Hope’s clothes and he thought Angel was Hope. Hope decides to keep his secret, and despite any reservations they have, her roommates keep Darryl’s secret out of respect to Hope.

The body is discovered outside their dorm, and everyone runs out to see it. Everyone on campus is shaken up about the murder. The 3 M’s are concerned about campus safety. They decide to organize a meeting with everyone in the dorm building and invite the Dean. They invite Hope. Hope says they (she and her three roommates) will all come to the meeting, which gets weird looks from Melanie. One of the M’s asks Hope about the boy who was killed, saying she saw Hope with him earlier that day. Hope says no, that was Angel. Angel was just wearing her clothes. She doesn’t understand how everyone keeps confusing her with Angel.

The book is narrated in first person and bounces around between Hope and her roommates. Eden, Jasmine, and eventually Angel all get a turn to narrate, and weird things happen to all of them.

Jasmine is a quiet and shy girl. She has a job at a diner. Her roommates come to visit her at work, and she sits in a booth with them during her break to talk. During her break, her boss stares at her. She also gets stares from the three M’s who are sitting at a table nearby. Her boss asks if she is okay. She works some more after her break, and when she gets ready to clock out and leave, her boss asks if she is working the next day, because he apparently can’t remember who he scheduled. She confirms she is working the next day.

Jasmine goes to work the next day. She is running a little late, so she is nervous, but she attempts to get straight to work. Her boss stops her and asks her to walk to the back. He takes care of the customer she was about to serve and then meets her back there. She thinks he’s there to grill her about being late, but he says it’s not just that she’s late, but that she didn’t show up the day before. He fires her. Jasmine is bewildered because she remembers working the day before. She thinks more about the day and then realizes she can’t remember what she did the day before. Jasmine has somehow lost an entire day. That’s about all that happens with Jasmine. Jasmine is pretty boring.

Eden’s parts are more exciting. Eden writes to her mother often. Unlike Hope, Eden has a good relationship with her mother. She starts to tell her mother about Darryl killing someone in a letter, but Darryl discovers the letter and is abusive toward her. She tells Hope that they need to inform the cops about Darryl, but she stays quiet for Hope’s sake. Eden goes to a History class, and the professor uses a seating chart to take roll. When he gets to Eden, he calls out Hope’s name. Eden explains that Hope is her roommate and that her name is Eden, but her professor says that there is no Eden registered for his class, and that she will have to leave until she can get the issue sorted out. Weird.

Eden meets a guy, Dale, from one of her other classes, and agrees to go on a date with him. She wears some of Hope’s clothes on the date. Dale takes her to a driving range, and they are the only ones around. Dale starts to teach Eden how to play golf, but is interrupted by Darryl who comes up out of nowhere. He grabs Eden’s club and bludgeons Dale to death. This scene is one of the most graphic death scenes I’ve read in a Stine novel. Darryl swings and tears Dale’s ear off. He hits him in the head and blood goes everywhere. It’s nasty. This scene had me shook.

Eden runs home and cries to Hope. Eden is forceful about wanting to turn Darryl in to the police, but Hope tells her a story about her mom, who made her feel fat and was cruel and unusual. Some of the things Hope describes would get a kid taken away from his or her parents by DSS today, but Hope had to bear it.

Darryl isn’t much better for Hope. In one of Jasmine’s parts, Jasmine comes home to find Hope crying over Darryl. Darryl called her fat. At least he didn’t cut her up or bludgeon her with a golf club. I don’t mean to infer that it’s okay for someone to call his or her partner fat, but Hope really doesn’t get sympathy for me as long as she’s keeping Darryl’s secret. TWO of her roommates had dates killed by her boyfriend.

The book kept going back to Hope, and I began to wonder if we’d ever see a part from Angel. It comes near the end of the book. Angel’s part exists basically to let us know she is a whore. She wears Hope’s clothes again (you would think she would have learned), and makes out with a random guy she met at a bar. They’re at his car. She tells us readers that she picks up guys a lot to feel good about herself. She says there’s no harm in it. She apparently has never taken a Sex Ed class. I have three words letters for her: H-I-V. Or S-T-D. HPV. HSV. CLAP. Wait, that’s four letters.

Anyway, she stops making out with the guy, looks up, and finds our boy walking toward her. She starts screaming, “No, Darryl! Don’t hurt him!” or something along those lines, and the guy gets in his car and tells Angel she is freaking him out. He drives off.

Hope gets the last part of the book. She comes home and finds her roommates all home. They all want to call the police on Darryl. Hope agrees they need to call. She doesn’t want to take responsibility make the call herself, so she asks Eden to make the call. Eden successfully makes the call, and police are on their way.

Out of nowhere, like always, Darryl comes in from the window and starts harassing Eden. He yells insults at her like, “You like making calls, huh?” Tired of verbally abusing the girls, he decides to physically abuse one. He picks Eden up, cracks her over his knee, and throws her to the ground. He picks her limp body back up and throws her out the window to the ground. Hope starts screaming because Darryl killed Eden. Just then, there is a knock at the door. The police have arrived. Hope is immobilized and backs up toward the open window. She panics and climbs out of the window onto the fire escape.

The three M’s let the police into Hope’s room. They ask for Eden, and this is where the big reveal happens. The M girls do not know an Eden. They say a girl named Hope lives here. The police say Eden is one of Hope’s roommates. The M’s are like, “what roommates?” They point out Hope’s room is a single room with only one bed. The police ask about Darryl living on the floor below theirs, and they laugh, saying no boys live in their dorm.

The M’s explain the weird looks they have been giving Hope. They say they see Hope talking to herself a lot. They hear arguments from her room a lot, but she’s always alone. They think Hope is very weird.

Hope has freakin multiple personalities. I know the way I wrote it out in this synopsis probably makes it pretty obvious, but Stine did a good job at dropping hints, but building up for a reveal. I was flipping out when I got to the end of this book.

The police say it looks like they are dealing with a “loony,” which is very unprofessional and kind of makes me hate the cops that exist in R. L. Stine’s head.

Hope, on the balcony, can’t believe she is being called crazy. She has Jasmine and Angel with her, and they are all upset. She wants Darryl, and when she thinks of him he appears. She reveals that that’s why she loves Darryl. Whenever she needs him, all she has to do is think about him. Daryl is one of her multiple personalities. Hope has been committing these murders.

The police spot Hope, which I’m surprised took so long, because if she’s not in the room like she should be, why not check out the open window? She gets away and vows revenge on the three M’s.

My Thoughts

I’m trying to decide if this is truly a great book, or if the twist is just so awesome that I think it’s better than it is. I’d have to say a little bit of the latter, but I can forgive any shortcomings the book has for the immense amount of creativity in the book. The amount of planning Stine probably had to do to make this twist work is admirable, and the twist paid off. I kind of want to read the book again now that I know the twist and see how obvious everything is, but there’s a sequel and I want to finish the story.

I’ll start the sequel as soon as I submit this post.

Death Count

Two boys and one personality was killed by Darryl/Hope: Angel’s date, Eden’s date (Dave), and Eden.

Ranking

This book easily outranks the other Fear Street books I’ve read.

  1. Fear Hall: The Beginning
  2. The Secret Bedroom
  3. Broken Hearts
  4. The New Girl
  5. The Wrong Number

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