don't stay up late book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

In the nineties, young adult author R.L. Stine dominated the bookshelves in bookshops everywhere. During that time, I built up quite the collection of books from the Fear Street series. I was so excited to see that R.L. Stine is making a comeback to terrify a new generation of young adults with the revival of the Fear Street series. Party Games debuted in 2014, and was followed by Don’t Stay Up Late in April of 2015.

New to Shadyside, Lisa Brooks is unaware of the reputation of the Fear family and the horror stories that are whispered about the infamous Fear Street. After a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her father, Lisa begins to experience nightmares and hallucinations. They seep over into reality once Lisa begins babysitting a charming little boy named Harry—who just so happens to live on Fear Street.

Lisa is warned not to let Harry stay up past eight, but she just can’t help herself and gives in to Harry’s pleas. Each time she does, Lisa sees a horrifying creature that she describes as a demon. No one believes Lisa—not her mother, therapist, or even the police. But Nate, Lisa’s boyfriend, might know exactly what it is that Lisa is seeing. That is, if Nate himself doesn’t have something to do with the grisly murders of two of their classmates. Lisa knows she should stay away, but Nate might be the only person who can help keep her out of the mental hospital—that is, if she can stay alive long enough to reveal the truth.

With Don’t Stay Up Late, R.L. Stine proves he still has what it takes to write a thrilling novel that I just didn’t want to put down. The Fear Street books aren’t known for in-depth characterization, well-explained plot lines, or a high quality writing style. That’s not why I read those books then, and it’s not why I want to read them now. I find books like Don’t Stay Up Late to be more enjoyable than the teen slasher films I also grew up with in the nineties, and reading them rather than watching them saves me from getting grossed out by the gory visual scenes.

For adult readers who might read Don’t Stay Up Late purely for nostalgia, the mystery in the story will be easy to figure out. But younger readers who will be introduced to this author for the first time may be completely surprised by the twists and turns in this quick-paced thriller. Despite the fact that I’m not the author’s target audience, I will be returning often to Fear Street.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.