Throwback Thursday: The First Evil by R.L. Stine

Between the ages of 11-14 I readily devoured all things R.L. Stine at a speed that would make anyone’s head spin like Regan’s in The Exorcist. I was also very lucky to have a dad that didn’t mind shelling out hundreds of dollars a year to sustain my R.L. Stine book addiction. And although many people loved Goosebumps, I was always a Fear Street stan and out of all the stories within that series my absolute favorite was what I dubbed as the “Fear Street Cheerleaders.” meaning “The First Evil,” “The Second Evil,” and “The Third Evil.”

Maybe it was nostalgia sparked by the recent viewing of Netflix’s Fear Street films, but I found myself compelled to reread the first book of a series that I so dearly loved and whose creepiness has followed throughout the years.

“The First Evil,” is about the Corcoran sisters, Corky and Bobbi are newly transplants from Missouri to Shadyside and live on the unfortunate street called Fear Street. The two sisters were cheerleading sensations at their former high school and hope to recreate their past success at their new school, only the cheerleaders at Shadyside aren’t so easily won over by the charming Corcoran sisters, especially Kimmy (second in line to becoming Cheerleader captain). Thankfully, they manage to win over the coach’s and Cheerleading Captain Jennifer’s hearts and secure themselves a spot on the team.

Things take an ugly turn when Jennifer becomes paralyzed after a bus accident and Bobbi takes over as the Cheerleading Captain which enrages Kimmy even more. Soon, sinister things begin to happen and the reader isn’t sure if it’s teenage bullying or an evil entity (cause ya know, teenage girls can be as cruel as a demon).

YA has come a long way since R.L. Stine was penning his chilling stories, so I quickly realized how very “dumbed down” the writing was in regards to today’s YA selections (I also believe that nowadays, YA is simply a genre that has a teen protagonist but many times the writing level in the novel is on par with that of adult fiction). Despite the simple writing and one dimensional characters, Stine excels when it comes to painting a sinister picture, and he’s the master of the innovative causes of death (and the reason why all of my phobias have originated from his books).

The Fear Street Cheerleaders is a series that has heavily influenced my writing especially my most recent completed manuscript, “Girl that You Fear,” where Spencer Torres (also a cheerleader) becomes possessed by an ancient demon (and in honor of Corky and Bobbi, beautiful girls with seemingly masculine names, is why Spencer was my only choice when it came to naming my protagonist).

I only read “The First Evil,” one time when I was 12, but re-reading it now almost twenty years later, I recalled many of the events that occurred (especially a particular death in a locker room shower). Overall, “The First Evil,” continued to be a thrilling ride and I noticed that two more books have been added to the series since the last time I read it, so I’m eager to find out what else lies in store for Cory Corcoran and her hapless group of cheerleaders.


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