Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fright Night

Stoffels, Maren. Fright Night
September 1st 2020 by Underlined
E ARC provided by Netgalley

**Spoiler Alert** Bit of a spoiler in the "Strengths" section.

Friends Quin and Dylan are planning to go to a haunted house that is really intense; you have a to sign a paper to participate, tickets aren't cheap, and there is even a safe word, "ketchup", if things get to scary. Of course, once the safe word is used, the haunted house is over for the entire group. Dylan is living with Quin's family; he tells everyone that his mother has cancer, and that he injured his leg in a bicycle accident. There are dark secrets in his past that he doesn't want to share. There is a new girl in school, Sofia, who has connected with Dylan. For his birthday, she wants to make him a photo album, but comes across even more inconsistencies in his stories about his past. Friends Kelly and Sandy are in care, and find that working at the haunted house is a good way to make money. As the night progresses, connections between the people at the haunted house are uncovered, and secrets are revealed. Some of these will push people to the edge and end in tragedy.
Strengths: I found Dylan's story to be very intriguing; I was able to connect his illnesses with his mother's behavior right away, and found it interesting that he was based on a real person whom the author knew who suffered the same kind of abuse he does. The cover is fantastic and would lead readers who want scary stories to pick it up right away. Definitely has an R.L. Stine Fear Street feel to it. Haunted houses are always a good subject.
Weaknesses: There's a bit of a cultural disconnect; the author is from Amsterdam and this book is a translation. The teens are shown smoking in the book, and there's an interchange where Sandy says "Did you see the (insert somewhat rude word for parts of anatomy) on her?" This might be okay for high school, but the story wasn't scary enough to justify these odd things.
What I really think: I think I will stick to the new Joel Sutherland Fright Night books or the K. R. Alexander stories that are coming out from Scholastic.
Ms. Yingling

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