About the Book

Title: The Dead Boyfriend (Fear Street Relaunch #5)
Published: 2016
Series: Fear Street

I’ve quite been enjoying R.L. Stine’s newly revamped Fear Street series, but I have to say, The Dead Boyfriend falters somewhat. It’s got a pretty cheap ending and feels a bit like he’s running out of ideas. Still and all, I’ll be reading Fear Street books until the day I die, because Fear Street is where my teen horror-loving heart resides.

The Deal:

Caitlin is a tempestuous sort, and once she meets Blade, her first real boyfriend, she throws herself into the relationship with no attempt at moderation. But it appears she’s not the only one obsessing over Blade – goth hottie Deena Fear, of Shadyside’s notorious Fear Family, has her eye on Blade, as well. After a terrible accident (OR IS IT?!), Blade’s dead and Caitlin is in big trouble. But why, then, does she keep seeing Blade everywhere she turns? 

Blade raised himself, his body stiff, his lips clamped tightly together, glassy eyes straight ahead. With his painted pink cheeks and lipsticked lips, he reminded me of a ventriloquist dummy. I suddenly felt like I was in one of those horror movies, the ventriloquist dummy coming to life, evil and menacing.

The First Line:

Here I am, my dear diary, about to confide in you again.

Yes, The Dead Boyfriend takes place entirely through Caitlin’s diary entries.

The Suspects:

Well, Deena Fear is sure suspicious as heck, or the culprit could be one of Caitlin’s two besties, both of whom seem jealous of her relationship with Blade. And Caitlin, herself, is definitely not off the hook here. Also she works at the popcorn counter at a movie theater, and her boss seems weirdly invested in her.

Cheapest Cliffhanger:

R.L. Stine is known for his chapter cliffhangers, many of which are misleading. 

End of Chapter 9: 

When my phone beeped, it shocked me from my dazed imaginings. I grabbed my bag and fumbled the phone out.

I read the short text message on the screen – and gasped, “Oh no.”

Beginning of Chapter 10:

The message from Blade was short: “Can’t make it tonight. Got hung up.”

Oh no!

Deena Fear:

Deena Fear is my hero! She always looks so, so rad. Allow me to treat you to a few descriptions of her ensembs: 

When I came out of the bathroom, I walked right into a girl with long straight black hair, dark eyes, and black lipstick against pale skin. She was carrying a white take-out bag of cheeseburgers.

A cheeseburger-eating goth after my own heart. And then, ONE HOUR LATER:

Deena sat at the bottom of the stairway that led upstairs. Dressed in black as always, she had her pale hands clasped tightly in the lap of her skirt. Her black hair fell loosely around her face. […]

Deena stepped through a dancing couple to get to us. Her face was even paler than usual, and her lips were covered in a neon purple lipstick. She stepped up to me, a few inches too close. I mean, she didn’t give me any space at all.

First, that’s a major power move, getting up in Caitlin’s grill like that. Second, I LOVE that she changed her lipstick from black to neon purple over the course of an evening. 

It took me a few seconds to recognize Deena Fear. I stared at her as she approached the counter. She wore a dark purple sweater over a short black skirt and black tights. Her purple lips matched the sweater.

Her long black hair flowed down her back in thick tangles. She had dark mascara circling her eyes. It made me think of a raccoon. 

Ughhh, I wanna be Deena Fear so bad! Also, she’s at the movie theater where Caitlin works to watch something called Vampire High School III, because “the first two were awesome…Life-changing. Seriously.” Deena’s a Twihard!

Spookiest Fear Street Description:

Shadows swallowed my car as I turned off Old Mill Road onto Fear Street. Tall, ancient trees on both sides had formed an archway over the street. Sunlight struggled to get through the tangled branches. 

Fear Street winds along the east side of Shadyside. Large, old houses, mostly stone and brick, line one side of the street. Most of them are far back from the street, sitting on wide front yards, hidden by tall, well-trimmed hedges. 

These are the oldest houses in town. They were built by rich settlers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the notorious Fear family (who were thought to practice strange dark magic).

The houses all face the Fear Street Woods, a thick tangle of tall, old maple, sycamore, and oak trees, deep silent woods that stretch for miles, and, some say, are always in shadow. That’s one of the many legends about the street. That the sun refuses to shine on the Fear Street Woods. 

So many dark stories. 


The blank green eyes glowed. He grabbed my face with both frozen hands. Spread his hands over the sides of my head and drew me to him. 

He pressed his lips against mine in a hard kiss. An angry kiss. He held me there, held my face against his, pressed his lips, so hard and cold, against mine, grinding them against my lips until my mouth ached. 

I finally pulled my head back, gasping for breath, the taste of his icy lips on mine. And then I uttered a horrified gasp. 

His lips were still sewn together.

I started to gag. I forced myself not to vomit. I rubbed my mouth but I couldn’t get the cold of his lips off them. 

He held my shoulders, breathing heavily into my face. His breath was rotten. It smelled like spoiled meat. Like death. 

A twisted smile spread on the stitched-together lips. I could see the black thread clearly. Some of the stitches at one end had popped. 


The Last Line:

[Redacted For Spoilers!] dropped her pen and started to scream.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book. I received neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review. Don’t Stay Up Late is available now.

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.