52 Fear Street: James Joyce’s Goodreads Review of Fear Street: First Date

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitterto hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post comes to us from McNally Jackson bookseller Andi, who recently discovered it in the University of Buffalo’s Joyce archive. 

James Joyce’s Goodreads Review of Fear Street: First Date

Stately, young Lonnie Mayes came from the stairhead, bearing a tightly-wound rope between his shaking hands. Chelsea’s unfashionable yellow waitress uniform, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the crisp October air. He held the cord between both hands, cat’s cradle style, lifted it, and intoned:


- Fear Street. Where your worst nightmares live.

All Chelsea ever wanted was to be the flower of someone’s mountain or someone’s perfume all yes and eyes and yes but Lonnie’s mommy left him byegones and now Lonnie is Joe is Will is all boiled eyes and wrapped cord sstrkkkk ladynecks and they quiet right down and poor Chelsea unloved unknown by boys by men and new in town on Fear Street she just wanted to be the girl on the date First Date but Will with blue eyes and mommy ghosts and I like the woods at night, don’t you but there was Sparks and there were sparks and now Chelsea might not live to say her first yes she said yes she will yes.

52 Fear Street: Author Robin Wasserman on The Man Who Terrorized One Babysitter After Another

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post is from Robin Wasserman, author of The Book of Blood and Shadow, Skinned, and The Waking Dark

The Man Who Terrorized One Babysitter After Another

I am too old for Goosebumps, and always have been.

This kills me to say, not least because I’m still young enough that I resist the idea of being too old for anything. But the series debuted in 1992, when I was fourteen—slightly too old to be earnestly reading middle grade books, slightly too young to be reading them ironically. (Two years later I’d be hiding in the aisles of Barnes and Noble with a stack of Sweet Valley Highs, already, at sixteen, nostalgic for the simpler time of ‘my youth.’)

My timing was off again when I arrived at Scholastic as an eager young editorial assistant—a couple months after the last of the original Goosebumps made its way into the world. By the time I figured out where the bathrooms were and how to work the fax machine, the era of long-running paperback series had given way to Harry Potter, and Scholastic was all-wizard, all-the-time. (Or maybe that’s just how it felt to me, buried as I was most days in a mountainous pile of Potter paraphernalia.) I would have killed to work on something like Goosebumps (or The Babysitter’s Club, or Animorphs, both of which also came to a close along with the millennium), but once again: bad timing.

And yet. Here I am, with my own story of How RL Stine Changed My Life, because somehow, despite bad timing and missed connections, he did.

I started at Scholastic in 2000, a few years before the YA boom began in earnest, back when the words “young adult” were thought to be a death knell. Speak had been published, and soon Scholastic would launch Push, its boutique imprint for dark, edgy teen fiction—slowly, a few bold editors were carving out a place for brutal and literary stories of adolescence. But the kind of YA I’d gobbled up myself, the YA that had forever imprinted me with a vision for what teen life should be? The Sweet Valley High, the Christopher Pike, the Fear Street—the cheap paperbacks with soapy twists and high body counts? The romances, the thrillers, the tearjerkers, the stories designed not to educate on the ills of society or illuminate the human condition, but simply to entertain?

Forget it. That age was gone and, common wisdom said, never coming back.

So I forgot about it—had, in fact, already forgotten about it years before. College, and its arms race of literary pretension, will do that to a girl. These were the days of Harry Potter and Pokemon and Magic School Bus, and working at Scholastic may have evoked memories of how much I’d loved A Wrinkle in Time or The Westing Game, but anything skewing older than that was verboten.

And then I found them. Lying on top of the giveaway pile, a treasure trove of discards that those of us barely scraping by on our entry-level publishing salaries scooped up as eagerly as we did cheap wine at book parties and any snacks set out in the break room. Sometimes you could root through for half an hour without finding anything. Sometimes, you struck gold.

The taglines are enough to tell you exactly what kind of stories you’re getting yourself into:

His girlfriend’s back…from the grave.

New neighborhood. New nightmare.

A night to remember. A night of terror.

Someone is watching her. Waiting for her. And he won’t leave until she’s dead.

(Here’s where I had to take a little break from writing this post to start re-reading The Girlfriend, because at no point have I ever had the will to resist the promise of lines like, “Now Scotty has a new girlfriend. One who won’t go away. One who will stop at nothing. One who loves him…to death.”)

I know R.L. Stine is the master of middle grade horror, but for me he always has been and will be the man who terrorized one babysitter after another, who turned teenagers into killers and mental patients and voices from beyond the grave. The books in this photo are only a few of the R.L. Stine Point thrillers I found, all of them from the early 90s. I took them home with me, devoured three of them in one night, and still have them on my shelf as a reminder of what they did for me.

What they did:

Remind me of the books I’d once loved to read.

Reawaken my desperate wish to write some of my own.

I spent my next and last two years at Scholastic slowly but surely adding to my collection of dogeared paperbacks and trying to convince anyone who would listen that we should be launch a new era of commercial YA—that teenagers couldn’t have changed so much since the 90s, and surely there was still an audience for the kind of books I used to love. No one listened to me, which is fair enough, since I was five minutes out of college and, on most subjects, had no idea what I was talking about.

But on this one—as I’ve been unabashedly (and I suspect somewhat irritatingly) bragging to everyone I’ve met in the last eleven years—I was right.

There were a bunch of us at Scholastic nurturing our love for YA fiction, biding our time, as there must have been at all the major publishing houses, because (and by this point I’d quit, so I could only watch in blissed out awe and envy) eventually, they got their way. Suddenly everyone was putting out books that harkened back to the glory days of 90s YA, books that evoked the best of Francine Pascal, Christopher Pike, Lois Duncan, and of course, R.L. Stine.

If I hadn’t found that stack of books in the giveaway pile, maybe I eventually would have rediscovered my dormant love for YA, maybe I still would have pitched a commercial teen paperback series to Simon Pulse as soon as I’d quit my job, maybe, even without R.L. Stine and his murdered babysitters and evil girlfriends, I would have ended up where I am now anyway, writing and publishing YA books, living out a childhood dream.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

52 Fear Street: A User’s Guide to The Curse of the Creeping Coffins

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post comes to us from Michael, whom you can catch in action leading baby storytime every Friday at 4pm at McNally Jackson. Michael specifically requested to read One Of The Choose Your Own Adventure-Type Goosebumps, and offers the following list of materials to help you through your journey with Give Yourself Goosebumps: The Curse of The Creeping Coffins. 

Reader Beware, You Choose the Scare

Packing list for Give Yourself Goosebumps: The Curse of the Creeping Coffins 

1. A Ball of Twine

2. A Flashlight

3. Your Wits

4. Werewolf Spray 

5. Pen and Paper

 

6. Binoculars 

7. Ghost Repellent

8. Poisonous Ooze Ointment 

52 Fear Street: My First Stine

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post comes to us from McNally Jackson bookseller and YA specialist Jeremy. 

My First Stine

This is the story of time past and a grown-up’s chance at regaining his childhood once and for all.

It may shock many people that up until last month, I had never read an R.L. Stine book. You may say:
“But Stine is a classic!”
“He’s a legend.”
“I can’t imagine my childhood without him!”

But it wasn’t my fault. Including dear ol’ Stine, I was barred from reading many books that would be considered classics due to their content. Heck, even Animorphs was off-limits in my family! It was a dark time in my life.

So, nearly 22 years after Welcome to Dead House was published, I decided I’m taking back my childhood and reading Goosebumps. No longer can my parents deem it too frightening or dark for me. I picked up Goosebumps Most Wanted: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes and began to read.

The funny thing is, what may have been “frightening” as a kid, just came off as quirky as if Roald Dahl had a knack for writing horror stories rather than his timeless stories of messed up kids. But something both Stine and Dahl have in common is their love of unexpected endings.

The story behind Planet of the Lawn Gnomes tells of a boy who causes all sorts of trouble, so much so that his family has to move. When they arrive at their new home, he begins to notice the insane amount of lawn gnomes adorning everyone’s yard. Creepy, right? After being warned to never go out at night, he, bravely or stupidly, decides on a midnight stroll discovering that at night the disturbing, macabre gnomes come to life and aren’t too happy when they see a human in their club after hours.

While this book wouldn’t been directly related to my missed out childhood since it just released in 2012, the storytelling and writing is noticeably something childhood me would’ve loved. I mean, my favorite book as a kid was Holes by Louis Sachar and that is a strange and messed up story. I think it was the monsters that threw my parents for a loop. But not anymore.

Now that I have eaten of the R.L. Stine tree, I must have more. This time, I’m starting from the very beginning. I’m reclaiming my childhood, one 90s book at a time.

Cover reveal for one of our 2015 YA favorites, Maggie Lehrman’s The Cost of All Things

We are huge Maggie Lehrman fans here and cannot wait for this book to be released. Maggie will be here at McNally Jackson for a launch party on 5/12/15, and you can preorder a signed and personalized copy of The Cost of All Things via our store’s website. 

52 Fear Street: I Regret To Inform You That The Real Horror Is All Around You, or, Further Thoughts on Creature Teacher: Final Exam

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps. 

Yesterday, McNally Jackson bookseller Beth gave us her thoughts on Creature Teacher: Final Exam. Today Matt expands on the same topic. Matt has an M.A. in American Literature and Psychoanalytic Theory and a deep, abiding love for Goosebumps. 

I Regret To Inform You That The Real Horror Is All Around You

That R.L. Stine has substantially developed his craft over the past twenty-two years there can be little doubt, but that he has become an able cultural critic and polemicist is a surprising shift. Whereas earlier titles focused on the fickle and frequently abusive nature of youth relationships and the discursive strategies by which the suburban family unit normalizes and perpetuates itself, Stine’s recent efforts demonstrate a nuanced awareness of how social relations are constructed and compromised under the conditions of late capital.

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Emblematic of this critical turn, Creature Teacher: The Final Exam presents a damning critique of the ideology of self-interest and of Wall Street’s dog-eat-dog culture, and is remarkably consonant with the critiques of capitalism recently reappearing within mainstream cultural forms and media venues.

Within his family of hypersuccessful individuals, twelve-year-old Tommy Farrelly is a loser among winners. His mother is vice president of a bank, and an accomplished competitive cyclist, while his father is “a big-deal money guy” on Wall Street who “makes a ton of money for people.” Even his six-year-old sister is a “superstar” who reads far above her age and has poached the National Spelling Bee championship title from participants three times her age. No opportunity for competition is ignored; his family races for the best seats at the restaurant table, and his parents encourage their children to fight, because it strengthens their will to win. Convinced that their son suffers from a deficiency of self-interest, and hardly the type to appreciate Tommy’s observant, aesthetically-minded sensibilities, his parents ship him off for a two-week visit to Winner Island Camp, a kind of training ground for young Randians where campers are rewarded for outwitting, deceiving, and double-crossing each other (when they aren’t just bashing and mashing one another) in order to ascend the camp’s ranking system, and at any rate to avoid falling into last place. When he arrives several days late, Tommy rightfully fears beginning at a disadvantage, especially when other campers tell him that he’ll be eaten by a monster if he loses, and particularly when he discovers that they’re not lying. The titular teacher, Mrs. Maaargh, is a gruesome and hungry creature who has cowed the camp’s staff into subverting the camp’s ultimate aim—under her tutelage Winner Island becomes an iteration of the most dangerous game, where losers satisfy her appetite.

Seems horrific enough, but the old dog has some new tricks, since the true horror here is less the monster – a more or less banal fact of the novel’s world, whose existence is revealed early on – than the perverse social relations that obtain within a capitalist society. Here is where the break occurs between early and later Stine: in the former case, fantastical monstrosity or evil interrupt an otherwise realistic world, and the dramatic tension emerges from the protagonists’ efforts to acknowledge and contend with horrific elements. In the latter case, monstrosity and incredible evil are boring, even comic aspects of the fictional world, despite the mortal threat they may pose, and their function shifts from being the real object of horror toward becoming but the benign manifestation of a diabolical horror inherent in capitalist social relations. Though Mrs. Maaargh threatens to pick her teeth with the protagonist’s bones, she inspires little active fear; instead, she mostly reproduces the familiar monstrous gross-outs; boggling amounts of yellow mucus, a terrifying lack of dental work, oppressive halitosis. Meanwhile, Tommy can’t win for losing, as he finds it impossible to believe that his fellow campers have completely abandoned any regard for the social bond that for him is an inalienable, primary element of human interaction. Accepting the reality of a monster is relatively easy, compared to the terror of accepting an unfathomable annihilation of the social contract. When Timothy trusts his fellow campers, he is betrayed, but when he distrusts them, he’s also betrayed. Likewise, when he adheres to Mrs. Maaargh’s classroom instructions (to eat live worms) he is punished for failing to defy her (cowardice is for losers), and when he defies her, he is punished for breaking the rules. Tommy fails to discover the logic to the game by which he might survive, and his mortally threatening ranking remains unbudging, because there is no logic to Winner Island. The odds are maniacally, fatally against him, in a way that seems, to borrow a weak critical term, “unbelievable.” But Stine is not to be faulted for overstretching the bounds of reality; to the contrary, the presentation of determined forces seemingly conspiring to ensure failure as Tommy’s only major achievement in life – that is, being sacrificed to save a mob of unsympathetic campers from becoming Mrs. Maaargh’s gastric delight – are a masterstroke. Do not the hyper-antagonistic circumstances which all but ensure Tommy’s demise reflect the basic economic and social circumstances faced by every working member of society? Are not the fundamental irrationality and erosion of the social contract that exist at Winner Island merely the minimal exaggeration of the conditions of our everyday social relations? To repeat a Brechtian lesson, just as within our fundamentally corrupt capitalist situation there can be no purely “good” ethical position to inhabit, within Tommy’s world there is no “right” choice that he can safely depend on to save him.

A collective effort is required to revolutionize Winner Island Camp, but it never appears. Instead, via an heroic act Tommy narrowly survives, but so too does the perverse culture of self-interest that nearly destroys him. Thus, Creature Teacher ends on a bleak note. The treatment of the symptom, Mrs. Maaargh, rather than the underlying cultural—and fundamentally, economic—conditions, results only in a momentary suspension of terror. Not unlike a failed revolution, momentary respite and celebration give way to the reinstallation and intensification of the original destructive system, as the villain disappears only to be replaced by a more draconian one. This dark ending – but then, these are dark times – suggests the strongest aspect of Stine’s polemic, the advocacy of structural change rather than the mere replacement of representative leaders (elected or otherwise). Otherwise we’re doomed to reproduce the conditions that divide us into a very few winners and a great many losers. That Tommy survives only by endorsing the erosion of the social bond is disheartening; but that his success—defined in the Randian terms of the system which entraps him—is of the most limited kind (after a few days of respite and celebration, the system is reinstalled, and intensified)—is the real, blood-curdling horror of Creature Teacher, and certainly the nightmare that keeps Stine up at night.

52 Fear Street: It Was, You Know, Horrible: Thoughts on Goosebumps: Creature Teacher, The Final Exam

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitterto hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post comes to you from McNally Jackson bookseller-at-large Beth. 

It Was, You Know, Horrible 

R.L. Stine’s brilliance lies in his ability to pluck ubiquitous anxieties from the all-American pre-adolescent consciousness and then (sort of literally) regurgitate them as hilariously distorted and grotesque blow-by-blow narratives. It’s a pretty sweet feedback loop.

For instance: teachers. As children, teachers loom large and terrifying. They are the arbiters of taste. They decree our self-worth in the form of a single letter. They ask us to do things which seem ridiculous, or impossible, and sometimes you just don’t get it. Couple that dynamic with the pressure to succeed, thrown at you from all angles—from parents, siblings, and peers—and, voila, you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Hence, Creature Teacher: The Final Exam.

In Creature Teacher, the young protagonist, Tommy Farrelly, is sent off to Winner Island Camp, a camp, literally, designed to turn losers into winners, with a camp slogan that goes: Winners Are Always Winners. Tommy comes from a family of highly competitive overachievers — a father who is a football coach, a mother who is VP of a bank, and six-year-old superstar sister who won the National Special Bee at the ripe age of approximately five.

Winner Island Camp is situated on an island in the middle of a lake, with no cell phone reception (a fact established early on), a wild pack of terrified but gung-ho preteens bustling between Lord of the Flies and Hunger Games, a timid, chicken-legged camp manager who goes creepily by the name Uncle Felix, and one terrifying teacher, Mrs Maargh.

Mrs. Maargh is, in fact, a full-blown monster who eats the student who is the biggest loser at the end of camp’s session, the student who slips down to the bottom of her “Wait Watchers” List. Wait, watch. Wait, watch. Wait watchers. Get it? I’m not sure that I do.

Anyway, we know Mrs. Maargh is a genuine monster because early on Tommy, in a fit of disbelief, attempts to pull off her face with his bare hands. This, followed by disaster, disaster, disaster. I don’t want to ruin it for you because, really, there is no way to know what happens next, a hallmark of successful suspenseful fiction.

In my high school biology course, Mrs. Gilman, a tiny white lady who really, really, really liked horses, made us watch a video of a woman giving birth, not long after we had to dissect giant grasshoppers. It was, you know, horrible. At the time it felt monstrous. In fact, it still feels monstrous. That’s the brains of these little books—plucking out the everyday monstrosities and putting them on steroidal, idiotic display.

Lastly: don’t forget to take a good long gander at the cover. Then remind yourself that if she can find a mate to make her a Mrs., then you can too. Then think about the high likelihood that she consumed her mate and, therefore, you can too. Dream big. Channel your inner praying mantis. WIN WIN WIN.

52 Fear Street: Author Carrie Ryan revisits The Knife

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps.

Today’s post is from Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark & Hollow Places, and co-author of the upcoming middle grade release The Map to Everywhere.

This is the book — the one that turned me into a stay-up-all-night-until-I-finish speed reader. To this day I can remember that Saturday when I was thirteen (weeks shy of turning fourteen), picking up The Knife at the local indie in the afternoon, taking it home and starting it that evening.

I remember night falling, the house growing still and silent. My dad went to bed, then the dog went to bed. I remember glancing at the clock and thinking, “It’s only midnight, I’ll keep reading.” Then, “It’s only 1am, I’ll keep reading.” Then, “It’s already 2am? But I’m not done!”

Under no circumstances was I willing to put that book down and go to sleep. I had to know the ending! I began reading faster and faster, eyes skimming down the page so that I could quickly get to the next.

The end of the book was a blur and by the time I closed the cover I was almost out of breath from the heart-pounding intensity of it all. And then I flipped to the back page to find out when the next Fear Street would be coming out (because back in the day, that was the only way to figure that out). The cycle began all over again: eager anticipation, the trip to the indie on release day, and the late-late-late-late night reading.

RL Stine is the anthem of my teen years. He’s part of the reason I wanted to become an author and the reason I love horror. I’ve kept all of his books, moving them from house to apartment to house over the years. I still have them, their bright spines a happy reminder of falling in love with reading.

Fast forward to 2009, the year my debut novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, came out, and the year I attended the North Carolina Festival of the Book. I arrived in the hotel lobby and was waiting for the elevator when I glanced at the person standing next to me.

It was RL Stine and I just about died.

Here I was, at my very first book festival to promote my debut novel, and one of the authors responsible for inspiring my career was standing next to me. Of course I did the thing you’re not supposed to do: as he waited for the elevator I gushed almost incoherently about how much I loved his books, how I still had all of his books, and how much it meant to be able to thank him for his influence on my life.

And the best part was? He smiled. He seemed delighted. He took the time to talk to me not just then, but several times throughout the festival. It was perhaps one of the most meaningful moments of my career. Growing up, authors were like rock stars to me which made meeting RL Stine the equivalent of meeting Bono or Billy Joel. To find out that he’s just as amazing in person as I’d hoped made it all the better.

When I found out that RL Stine will be returning to Fear Street, one of the first things I did was grab The Knife from the shelf. I started re-reading it and once again, the time sped by: midnight, 1am, 2am. My heart pounded just as hard as I turned the pages faster and faster. And, just as I did as a teen, when I closed the book, I took a deep breath, savored the story, and then went right to work figuring out when the next book will be coming out.

Thankfully, with three brand new Fear Street novels being released this fall, I don’t have to wait long.

52 Fear Street: David Foster Wallace’s rewrite of Beach House

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps. 

Today’s post was recently discovered in David Foster Wallace’s archives by McNally Jackson Bookseller Valerie. 

David Foster Wallace’s rewrite of Fear Street: Beach House

written in 1999

———-

Summer of 1956
YEAR OF BEING WORRIED ABOUT SHARKS

Maria was coming to regret her decision to go swimming alone with Buddy in the late afternoon. She felt ambiguously uneasy now that the shoreline was obscured by the haze of the swirling/grey/cloak of fog and Buddy, who had been uncharacteristically(1) eager w/r/t getting into water and away from shore, had begun swimming in subtle but malevolent-seeming concentric circles of increasing proximity to her.

It was unnerving, she had to admit, that they were already so far from shore, even though it seemed (to Maria) like it was only a second ago that Buddy had grabbed her by the arm and lead her through the dark/encroaching fog, and into the water, which was, she had remarked to Buddy in an effort to emphasize the sacrifice inherent in her concession to this late afternoon/early evening swim, exceptionally cold and calm.(2)

There was no reason to panic,(3) she reasoned. Buddy, despite being Very Serious and Not That Fun, was proving to be a disarmingly good swimmer and also extremely forgiving of her failure to go on a date him (Buddy) the night before, Maria having been succumbed to Stuart’s(4) suggestion that she to go to instead to the drive-in movies in his (Stuart’s) dad’s pink convertible Thunderbird with grey leather seats. She was sure that even if she been complicit in The Incident that involved stealing Buddy’s swim trunks and leaving him naked in the ocean while she went to the drive-in movies with Stu-”Mr. Real Cool Cat”-art in his dad’s pink convertible, he (Buddy) benevolently bared her no ill will, and she was therefore kind of obligated to keep swimming with him in this heavy/shroud-like fog.

Maria, now disoriented, still lacking confidence in her swimming, accosted by increasingly chilly currents and the tantalizing memory of Stuart’s dad’s convertible, was feeling particularly dejected. Buddy, she noticed, had stopped swimming in concentric circles growing ever closer to her and disappeared, and she was being circled now only by the heavy/unseasonable/churning fog. Feeling confused and frightened particularly w/r/t whether or not she should feel confused and frightened, Maria decided that she would like to leave this situation A.S.A.P.

When Buddy appeared suddenly behind her, Maria expressed that one reason she was coming to regret her decision to go swimming alone with Buddy in the late afternoon cum early evening was because there had been myriad horrific shark attacks as of late.

Although Buddy assured her that the sharks would not bother her unless they smelled blood, Maria was not comforted, mainly because Buddy continued thereafter to inform her that despite his earlier acceptance of her apology that lead to this increasingly uncomfortable swim excursion, his feelings were still hurt from 1) when she took park in The Incident and 2) when she stood him up for Stuart and his (Stuart’s) dad’s convertible the evening before.(5)

Maria although apologetic, felt a little misled now that she was out in what could only be called the literal center of the Atlantic ocean surrounded by a dark/ominous fog, a particular position she did think she would have found herself in if she had not been attempting to compensate for her earlier faux-pas in the face of Buddy’s benevolence. She was now beginning suspect that perhaps the unfortunate conditions of their swim (i.e. the time of day, the fog, the temperature of the water, her own athletic shortcomings) were not simply circumstances of fate but rather orchestrated by a higher a power and/or Buddy.

Dark shapes. Skimming rapidly along the surface of the water. Like submarines.(6) Dark triangles moving silently toward them, cutting through the solid fog.

“Sharks,” said Buddy.

————-

1. Buddy has been described as a sourpuss/not a million laughs/very serious&not that fun

2. Not unlike Buddy himself. 

3. Maria was not necessarily a good swimmer, although she reminder herself while bobbing in the water, that her experience, even if limited to a few months of Red Cross lessons at the Y/family vacations in Dunhampton, was probably enough to make her a good swimmer after all what she really lacked was confidence. 

4. Stuart has been described as Mr. Rock n’ Roll/ Mr. Real Cool Cat

5. And when during the course of the conversation in which she had been persuaded by Stuart to stand up Buddy, she had agreed with Stuart’s suggestion that Buddy shared certain characteristics with That Puppet Howdy Doody when he smiled because smiling was not the natural state of his face, which was Very Serious. 

6. Although this simile seems unlikely, the Discovery Channel documentary “Shark of Darkness: The Wrath of Submarine” shows that sharks do sometimes resemble submersible watercrafts. 

52 Fear Street: The Quotable Stine

Welcome to 52 Fear Street, McNally Jackson’s month-long celebration of R.L. Stine. Join us on October 30th for an evening with Mr. Stine himself and his Fear Street editor Kat Brzozowski, and follow the #52FearSt tags on tumblr and Twitter to hear what authors, booksellers, and editors have to say about Fear Street and Goosebumps. 

The Quotable Stine

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