Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Fear Zone #2

Alexander, K. R. The Fear Zone #2
December 29th 2020 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Two years after the horrific events in The Fear Zone, Andres, Deshaun, Kyle, Caroline and April think that all of the horror is behind them. They feel secure enough to go to the annual Halloween Cheery Charlie's Carnival, which is held, inexplicably, right next to the creepy cemetery in town. Of course, creepy things start happening, and all of the teens realize that while they may have overcome some of their fears, they have developed others. Andres no longer fears sharks but is bedeviled by spiders, his boyfriend Kyle doesn't worry about snakes but fears losing Andres because he feels that he is turning into his own horrible father, Deshaun worries that ghosts are after him, Caroline's fear of being buried alive morphs into a fear of zombies, and April is still stalked by the creepy clown while she fears being abandoned by her friends. When a boy in their school, Jeremy, goes missing along with his brother and three of his friends, April gets a threatening note that draws the group back into a nightmare scenario reminiscent of their previous one. There is a sleepover at Caroline's house during which the television explodes and the clown takes Deshaun. Kyle is busy battling his own demons, but the group has to deal with the townspeople all being turned into more creepy clowns. Will they be able to rely on their friendship yet again to defeat the forces of evil?
Strengths: Alexander takes his work seriously, and it shows. It is hugely helpful that the characters are in high school, and that even though one of the main fears is coulrophobia, it is not done in a cheesy way. The writing is intense, short, and has just enough creepy detail. Working in more serious topics like Kyle's father makes this a series that even high school readers might enjoy. I always look forward to more titles by this author. 
Weaknesses: Come on, Scholastic! This is published in paperback without even its own title? The Fear Zone 2? Lame. Super, super lame. All of Alexander's books need to be in jacketed hardcovers, since every middle school library in the country needs to stock up on multiple copies of these. 
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and have been repurchasing all of the Alexander titles that weren't returned last year. If I have multiple copies, that's okay. In twenty years, they will be nothing but piles of moldering paper, just like the R.L. Stine Fear Street books!

Ms. Yingling

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