Despite the end of Halloween, the Fear Street reread project is going strong — keeping the horror alive all year long!
A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
Two best friends, Nicole and Lucy, learn how to switch bodies with one another, but Nicole learns some dark secrets about her best friend!
It’s another Bill cover! Check out the fabulous 90s attire: choker, a dress I am pretty sure I have seen Rachel Green wear a dozen times, and, most importantly, that super-sized scrunchie.
After my quick and dirty review for The Sleepwalker, I decided to review a Fear Street that I vividly recalled so we’re jumping ahead to 1995. So kiss your publicly-funded internet goodbye, because Switched, like The Secret Bedroom, is a fast-paced story with a mind-trippy twist ending.
Written from a first person perspective, Switched tells the tale of Nicole Darwin. A down on her luck teenager in need of some fluoxetine, but as this is 1995, and Prozac Nation has only been out a year, public consciousness regarding antidepressants is still pretty low. Anyway, Nicole is bemoaning to her best friend Lucy, and Lucy is like, “let’s switch bodies” because what else do you do when don’t have Prozac readily available and you live on Fear Street?
Lucy takes Nicole into the Fear Street woods. Along the way she explains how her grandfather learned from the Fear Street cemetery caretaker about the Changing Wall. Two people climb up it, hold hands, jump off to the other side, and bam, switched bodies. Clearly, Nicole and Lucy have not watched enough Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! because if they had, they would know you never trust the creepy caretaker.
Let’s take a moment for a slight diversion. By 1995, Fear Street had found its stride. Protagonists were generally females of the “pretty, but not too pretty” variety lest we average Janes quiver with jealousy, and more page space was devoted to descriptions of outfits and physical appearance. Clearly, Stine and the rumored ghostwriters were trying to appeal to the teenage female which is pretty hilarious considering that 90s fashion was…well, this:
And because it is so obvious that people not remotely interested in fashion wrote it. At one point, Lucy, a blonde, is described as wearing yellow tights and a matching yellow top.
So everything works accordingly, and Nicole is in Lucy’s body and Lucy in Nicole’s. They vow to tell no one and then part ways. Nicole heads to Lucy’s house, but arrives and finds Lucy’s parents murdered — lots of blood and slashing, good gorey stuff on white shag carpeting.
Nicole then runs to her house to find Lucy and tell her, but when she gets to her house, no one is there. Nicole heads to Kent’s (Lucy’s boyfriend) house. Kent doesn’t even bat an eyelash at the whole body switching thing. He goes to get her a glass of water, but the dirty rotten snake calls the police on Nicole.
Nicole books it back to her house where she discovers all the clothes in her closet missing, a bloody butcher knife, and a succinct note from Lucy:
I HAD TO KILL THEM
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE
This happens within the first few chapters, and the rest of the book is Nicole darting around Shadyside — running from the police and trying to find people to explain her situation to, so I am going to keep it to the high points (which are obviously the gruesome deaths):
- Everyone keeps referring to her as Nicole and acting shady. Nicole assumes Lucy told them because weirder shit has happened in Shadyside, so why not?
- At one point, Nicole goes back to Kent’s house where she decides she will threaten him into telling her the truth with a butcher knife, but then she finds him beheaded. I love when Stine goes the beheading route! Then the police arrive to see Nicole standing over Kent’s headless corpse with the butcher knife in her hand. Looks pretty fishy, but to be fair, she’s holding a clean knife, and I am pretty sure it takes more than a butcher knife to behead someone. I mean I’m not sure as I have never beheaded someone. Anyone know?
- The police apparently know, too! Again, it’s Shadyside so probably not that weird.
- Nicole and Lucy’s friend is murdered in the locker room with a shot put. Nicole assumes it’s Lucy.
So after all the wandering and murdering, Nicole decides to go visit Lucy’s Grandmother Carla at Grandma Carla’s farm in the next town over. When Nicole-as-Lucy asks for Nicole, Grandma sits her down to get her some food then Nicole hears her on the phone with the police.
Nicole starts running around the farm. She finds Lucy in the barn and starts chasing her, but then someone catches her. It’s Kent with his head on, and no, not zombie Kent, real live Kent!
Lucy winds up in a well and calls for Nicole’s help. Nicole tries to help her, but Kent holds her back. Kent insists on letting Lucy drown, but Nicole manages to get away from him. Too late: Lucy falls. Nicole is distraught, but then Lucy steps out from behind a tree. This was before The Ring so no calling out of wells. Lucy makes a go for them and casually rips off Kent’s head. I say casually because all it takes is a “strong tug.” I believe “Velcro” was mentioned.
So Kent loses his head again, but he proved resilient the first time so let’s see if he gets reheaded.
Then two police officers arrive on the scene along with Nicole’s and Lucy’s parents. And Kent is back with a head again! Yessss! Alas, they are not zombies because it is a twist ending!
Nicole has been hallucinating the whole time. I am sure you are just as surprised as me! To be fair, young Ginnis was totally blown away by this ending despite all the heavy-handed hints.
Lucy died in a car crash three years ago, and Nicole hasn’t been handling it well. Everyone thought she was better, but, as you can probably surmise, she ain’t. But Nicole is happy everyone is alive and reheaded, and she doesn’t even resist when the two men (not police officers, but hospital workers) take her away.
In the final chapter, Nicole is doing much better because Lucy comes to see her everyday. Mwahaha!
Moral of the Story
Is *this* real or is it just a trick of your mind?
None really since they were all fake, but the multiple beheadings were worth it.
The woods, creepy caretaker, wells, unreliable narrator, Twilight Zone mind fuckery
Super-sized scrunchies and other poor fashion choices, but poor fashion choices are timeless really.
5 out of 5 for fast pacing, no rapey boys, and leading a young Ginnis into yet another existential crisis.