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Official Article

For the Love of V-Day! Part 3

By: MissM

Don’t get sick just yet, there are some more trips to the heart for this upcoming Valentine’s Day. Instead of the sweet candy treats and ode to love songs, I want to share some retro fondness for the greatest Valentine’s Day book ever written: Fear Street’s Broken Hearts by R.L. Stine! The exciting thing about Fear Street books was that most holidays ended up getting a horror themed story at some point. Broken Hearts was the story that marked a true Fear Street Valentine’s Day special. Labeled a Super Chiller, this super sized book was big on the thrills.

 

I was in middle school when Fear Street was at the height of its popularity. Nothing could stop R.L. Stine from releasing book after book, not even parental groups that thought the books were rotting the youth of America. (At least kids were reading.) Broken Hearts was the first Super Chiller that I read and probably my second or third Fear Street book to geek out over.

 

Originally I got my Fear Street books from the Scholastic order forms that we’d get in school. I lived for Scholastic books. That slim catalog made up of thin paper and full of books for sale was just the perfect way to let my inner dork free. I loved looking at those books and imagining the kinds of stories found inside. (Don’t even get me started on the Book Fair.) Fear Street proved to be my undoing until I was able to get them in stores. (It all went downhill from there.)

 

Either way, I ordered a copy of Broken Hearts from the Scholastic order form and waited for what felt like an eternity for the book to arrive. I was always harassing my teacher, begging to see if there was a special Scholastic box in her hands after lunch. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Broken Hearts. It came out at just the right time; it was sometime in the winter and around Valentine’s Day. Check out the cover to understand why this was an important read.

 

Everything about this book just screams, “Pick me up and relish every word.” The cover art had such a mixed look. A girl is merely opening her locker and inside is a pretty heart, maybe from a special valentine, until she notices the horrific message, “You’re dead.” Add to it a cover tagline of, “Valentine’s Day can be a killer” and this had the makings of a fantastic story.

 

To begin with, the idea of Valentine’s Day being equated with a scary thriller was just unheard of to me at the time. Valentine’s Day was always a fun and happy time of the year filled with candy hearts and bright reds and pinks. What kind of dastardly world would I be visiting where even a Valentine’s Day on Fear Street would prove to be dastardly delicious?

 

The basic premise goes like this; Josie and Melissa get frightening valentines from a killer. Before they know it terrible things start happening and a body count begins to rise. Who is attacking the female students at Shadyside High? Why do people insist on living on Fear Street? Personally, I’d just move.

 

This book took me awhile to read when I first read it. As a pre-teen I didn’t really have much of a life so I usually finished books with great ease, yet for some reason it took me a couple months to finish this book. Once I reached the second half though, nothing was able to stop me. The book swapped the perspectives of Josie and Melissa between each chapter and when one of the main characters ended up dead half way through, I was completely shocked. In a way, one could say that I had a broken heart. I was simply devastated, which is a hallmark of a good book. Even one marked Young Adult.

 

I understand that Fear Street books weren’t exactly Shakespeare, but the story was incredibly entertaining and provided me with some true shock-and-awe moments. Broken Hearts also exposed me to viewing Valentine’s Day as a holiday that does not have to be so “sweet.” I still fondly recall this book every year around this time. Books were the ultimate valentine to give myself.

 

On a side note, I’ve often wondered this, but were there any Fear Street male readers? I don’t know that I have met many guys that read these books. Though it would seem that the horrific nature of Fear Street novels would gear themselves towards a male audience, I only ever remember my girl friends and I reading these books. Of course, I didn’t really have guy friends in middle school, but I have often wondered if there was a large male fan base of these books. They are still fun to look over all these years later. Did you ever read Fear Street books? Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day book? Let me know! And get ready, Valentine's Day is coming right up and there are still just a few more retro memories on the holiday of love!       

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MissM Posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 08:07 AM

Well Vaporman, with one of the main characters killed off half way through, the other half really focused on the other "main" character and trying to solve the mystery of who was killing everyone. It was certainly a different kind of departure from what I had been reading at the time.

And Erik, this was really the only Valentine's Day book I recall reading when I was younger. And I'm not exactly sure this would really count, aside from it taking place around Valentine's Day. lol And I know what you mean about stories where the main couple doesn't end up getting together. I relate to that and in some ways I enjoy that being an ending because there is the happiness that the two people love each other, but then there is the gut wrenching sadness that they won't be together. It makes for epic story telling. Sometimes. Other times a girl can only dream that a happily ever after is in the cards.

IllustratorErik Posted on Feb 17, 2014 at 04:51 PM

I can't think of any Valentine's Day books I've read before, but I have a warm fuzzy side of myself that enjoys classic romantic movies like Casablanca, Roman Holiday or Patch of Blue.

Then again, none of these movies have the main couple actually get together in the end, so many thats why I relate to them so much.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 10, 2014 at 05:36 PM

That would really throw me for a loop... having the main characters killed off halfway through. But that leaves me wondering what the second half of the book focused on???

Don't fear handing out the spoilers... give us the scoop! :)

Thanks again Miss M!

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