About the Book

Title: The Stepsister (Fear Street #9)
Published: 1990
Series: Fear Street

Welcome to a new series for the month of October: Fear Street Revisited! This was the brain child of the great Mandy W, but I’m the designated Cheesy Teen Horror Book correspondent for FYA because that’s the only young adult fiction I read growing up. While Christopher Pike was my number one jam, R.L. Stine was a very close second, and re-reading these books has been more fun than I could have hoped. They also take approximately fifteen seconds to read and most of them are available for five bucks on the Kindle, so please feel free to join me in this endeavor!

First up: The Stepsister

The Deal:

Emily and Nancy lost their father over a year ago, and now their mom has remarried. At first Emily’s excited to have her new step-sister Jessie move into her room, until a series of unsettling mishaps develop. Her teddy bear’s dismembered, her favorite sweater’s torn, her English report’s deleted, her hair is bleached…and that’s just the small stuff. Soon Emily’s dog has been murdered (!), she’s pushed down the stairs at a concert, locked into a burning bathroom at school and almost buried alive! Jessie has a mysterious past and a dead best friend, so is she as angelic as she looks? IS SHE?! 

The First Line: 

“I hate my hair!”

Best Reminder These Books Were Written in the Early ’90s: 

“You’re just freaked out because Jessie and Rich are coming,” Nancy said, lying on her stomach on the bed, an old copy of Sassy magazine in front of her.

Best Outfit Description: 

She was wearing designer jeans that emphasized her slight, boyish figure, and a pale green turtleneck that looked sensational against her copper-red hair. Unlike Emily’s, Nancy’s hair was straight and smooth and always fell right into place at the touch of a comb.

Best Fear Street Description: 

Sure, she had sometimes heard strange moans and howls coming from the woods late at night. But the Fear Street cemetery never held any particular horror for her. And she didn’t really believe all the Fear Street stories about unsolved murders and mysterious disappearances, stories that sometimes even made it into the Shadyside newspaper.

The Suspects: 

Well, the title is The Stepsister, so obviously Jessie’s the number one suspect, but ol’ Stiney doesn’t make it too easy on us! Jessie’s brother Rich is A STEPHEN KING FAN YE GODS, so clearly he’s a dangerous weirdo (what a strange thing to write in a book read, like me, by pre-Stephen King fans), and her new stepdad’s a little off, too. Emily’s boyfriend Josh is one of those characters always referred to but rarely seen, and that makes him seem shady and/or boring. Jessie has a new friend Krysta who’s always nosing about, and there’s also a throwaway line in the first chapter that Emily stole Nancy’s boyfriend Josh some time ago, so even though Nancy’s super sweet and supportive to Emily, she can’t be discounted. 

Steamiest Passage:

Josh tossed his book down, too. Then he slid closer to her and put his arm around her shoulders. He pulled her close to him. He felt so warm, so safe. His skin smelled sweet to Emily. She kissed him on the cheek, and then he turned her face and kissed her on the lips. 

Suddenly she pulled away from him and uttered a whispered cry. She had a funny feeling they were being watched.

“What’s wrong?” Josh whispered, moving to resume their kiss.

Emily looked toward the front stairway. The hall was dark, but in the shadows she could see someone watching them from the staircase.


“She’s taken over my room, she’s wearing my clothes, and now she’s spying on me,” Emily thought angrily. “Well, there’s one thing of mine that she can’t have – Josh. I hope the little Peeping Tom enjoys the show.”

Emily reached up with both hands, pulled Josh’s face to hers, closed her eyes, and kissed him with renewed passion.

Scariest Passage: 

She dug her knees into the side, scrambling up, pulling herself up. 

She was almost out when the soft dirt gave way again, and she slid right back down to the bottom of the hole.

“I won’t give up,” she thought. “I won’t.”

But what was that disgusting smell? It smelled like rancid meat.

Emily looked down. The corpse of a rabbit, its fur eaten away by insects, lay at her feet. “Ugggh!” The rabbit must have fallen into the grave and starved to death.

‘Now I’m the rabbit,’ Emily thought.”

The Last Line: 

Laughing together, the three of them headed downstairs to lunch.

“Wow, things really are changing around here!” Jessie exclaimed.

They’re laughing because now Rich is reading a Hardy Boys book instead of Stephen King, so I guess he’s not evil anymore?

Whodunnit (Spoilers, Obviously):

It was Nancy! Of course it was Nancy, with her perfect copper-red hair and her jealousy over the incredibly bland Josh. At one point Emily thinks she sees Jessie making out with Josh in a steamy car, but it was really Nancy. Ladies, ladies: you can all do better than Josh. Please trust me. He’s short.

That was fun, right? I’ll be doing this every Thursday of October, ending with the BEST Fear Street book on Halloween (Halloween Party, obviously), and I am open to title suggestions! Let me know which Fear Streets you’d like to see revisited downstairs!

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.