Book: “The Best Friend” (Fear Street #17) by R.L. Stine
Publishing Info: Pocket Books, 1992
Where Did I Get This Book: ILL fromhe library!
Book Description: Best friends…to the end!
Who is Honey Perkins? She’s been telling everyone in Shadyside that she’s Becka Norwood’s best friend. But Becka’s sure she’s never met Honey before.
Honey systematically moves in on Becka’s life, copying her in every way. But when Becka presumes to have more than one “best friend,” the horrible accidents begin.
Does Honey just want a friend? Becka wonders. Or does she want more—much more!
Had I Read It Before: No
The Plot: The Fear Street Protagonist in this book is Becka, whom we meet while she’s on a date with her snooze of a boyfriend Eric. They’re sitting in his car and she’s working up the nerve to dump him because he’s such a dud, and because he’s really handsy and she’s not too comfortable with it. She finally tells him it’s over, and he says that it’s okay as he tries to keep it together. He takes her home, and says that he’ll see her in school. Becka decides to drive around for a bit to clear her head, and then proceeds to crash into another car.
The next day she’s hanging out in her room with her BFFs Lilah and Trish, telling her about the very minor car accident she was in. Why that even happened, I couldn’t say, because soon they’ve moved their talk to Bill Planter, Becka’s ex whom Becka is still hung up on. Her parents never approved and so she and Bill broke up (I think it was because of that?), but now it’s the holiday season and she’s LONGING for him. As they talk, suddenly a strange girl runs into the room, and starts freaking out in a good way about Becka, throwing her arms around her. Becka is rightfully confused and put off, and the girl says that it’s her former BFF from childhood Honey, who moved away but is now back in town and right next door! Honey and Becka, Becka and Honey, the gruesome twosome who were always together. But Becka has no clue who this girl is, as she remembers Honey, but was never friends with her, and I feel like I’m reliving a scene in “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. Becka and pals decide to play along, but whenever Trish and Lilah try to talk to Honey she ignores them and continues to talk about how much she missed Becka. She even puts off Becka’s mom, Mrs. Norwood, but hugging her and saying how much she missed her. After Honey leaves, Becka, Lilah, and Trish find their fourth grade year book and spot Honey, who they now all remember, but also remember as having no friends. Becka realizes that the parrot pin that Bill gave her is missing from her dresser, the dresser Honey was futzing with. Trish suggests to go ask Honey if she forgot to take if off, and Becka says she will. After her friends leave she’s about to head next door, but then Bill calls asking her if she will meet him at the mall. She says no because her parents will kill her, but you can tell she wants to. She goes next door to confront Honey… But the house appears to be empty! She knocks on the door and looks inside, and sees nothing but darkness.
Some time later, Becka and Lilah are walking home together talking about the Christmas party that Trish is throwing soon. Bill is going to be there, and Becka plans to wear a sexy catsuit just for the occasion. When she gets home she hears a voice in her room, and sees HONEY is in there trying on her clothes. Becka storms in and rightfully asks what the HELL she’s doing, and Honey says that Mrs. Norwood let her in, and that she left but said Honey could wait in Becka’s room. Also, she loves Becka’s clothes and remember how they used to share clothes when they were besties? Becka does not. She asks Honey why the house next door is empty. Honey says that the furnace croaked and they’re in a hotel until it’s fixed. She asks Honey what happened to her parrot pin. Honey…. REACHES OUT TO CHOKE HER TO DEATH??? Or not, she just chokes her for a bit, and then says ‘don’t you remember the gotcha game?’ I’m appalled, as is Becka. Before leaving (FINALLY) Honey says that Becka GAVE her the parrot pin, don’t you remember? Then she leaves and Becka is quite shaken. So she calls Bill, suggesting that maybe they could start seeing each other again, like old times. He says they should sneak off, and she balks at that. Becka hangs up when her Mom returns home with groceries, and Becka asks why she let Honey into the house. Mom has no clue what Becka’s talking about, she hasn’t been home all afternoon.
At school, Becka and Lilah are preparing to go home when Honey rushes up saying she and Honey should walk home together. Becka says no, she and Lilah are riding their bikes home (in December? In “Ski Weekend” it’s implied Shadyside is a days-ish drive from a snowy part of Vermont, how are they biking?). Honey ignores Lilah again and says she should get a bike so she and Becka can ride. Whatever, crazy. As Becka and Lilah are biking they start down a hill…. And Lilah’s brakes don’t work!!! As she’s flying towards a busy intersection!! She’s hit by a truck and flies over the handlebars!! She’s (kind of) alive, taken away in an ambulance, and the police tell Becka that someone cut the brake cable away from her bike. OH WHO COULD IT BE? When Becka gets home she calls Bill, saying she WILL sneak out with him because, honestly, she may not be alive much longer with Honey going full Robert John Bardo on her. She turns around and sees HONEY in the doorway!! SHe hangs up and demands how she got in, but Honey just goes into how sorry she is about Lilah before giving her a literally suffocating hug. Becka says she wants to be alone, and Honey doesn’t leave. Becka starts crying, and Trish comes in, to which Honey whisks her away saying “Becka wants to be alone”. Luckily she leaves too.
On Saturday Bill and Becka are gettin BIZAY in his car with some make outs and heavy petting. After they break for air, Becka complains about Honey, saying that Honey will NOT leave her alone. She doesn’t want to be mean, though, because she thinks that Honey means well (COUGH COUGH). But now that she thinks of it, Honey was asking her about Lilah’s bike, specifically how the brakes worked. ANd she was at the bike rack. She looks out the window and freaks out because she thinks she sees Honey hiding behind a tree. Closer inspection implies otherwise, and Bill thinks Becka’s losing her mind.
On Monday Becka is home sick. Her Mom brings her breakfast and says that Honey volunteered to bring her homework to her after school. BECKA, FOR GOD’S SAKE, TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS GIRL. Trish calls that afternoon and asks Becka why she isn’t in the hospital, since she heard she had a complete mental breakdown because of Lilah. When asked where she heard this, Trish says that Honey is telling EVERYONE. Not only that, there will be no adults at the Christmas party that weekend, ooh la la. After hanging up, Becka is living, and then Honey arrives… And she’s cut and styled her hair just like Becka’s. STINE, YOU’RE LIFTING FROM “SINGLE WHITE FEMALE” NOW?! Later that night Honey calls her to reiterate that she’s always around if needed (WE KNOW), and that Trish was totally lying about Honey spreading rumors about her mental health. Which is totally refuted the next day when another girl outside of the group asks Becka how she is doing, mentally. Then Honey shows up wearing Becka’s clothes and the parrot pin and WE GET IT. Trisha and Becka go for a walk outside, and then they see Honey making out with Becka’s ex Eric, and Becka is disturbed by this. Honey sees them and tries to explain, but Becka isn’t having it. Honey runs off, crying probably. When Becka gets back to her locker, ti’s totally trashed. Thinking it must be Honey’s doing, she confronts the little creeper in the bathroom, accusing her of the locker misdeeds, which Honey denies, saying she’s just saying that because she’s mad about Eric. Becka FINALLY goes off on Honey, telling her to leave her the hell alone, and Honey starts crying that they’re best friends before pulling out a GUN!?! Which is just a water gun, another ‘gotcha’ joke on her part, and Becka runs out screaming.
That night at Bill’s house Becka tells him about all the Honey stuff that happened that day, but before the locker moment he asks her if she heard about the random guys who CONVENIENTLY broke into the school and trashed a bunch of lockers. Oh great. So Becka feels bad that she accused Honey of that now, but really, she shouldn’t because Honey is just the worst. She asks Bill if Honey has ever approached him for anything, and he’s kind of….. mum about it. She goes home, and is confronted by her mother… who somehow found out that Becka was out with Bill that night? GEE, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! They have a huge fight, and Mom grounds Becka from Trish’s upcoming party. Becka runs upstairs to her room to sulk, and Honey jumps out of the closet, as if that was a perfectly normal place to wait for her. She says she’s sorry for ratting Becka out to her Mom, but thinks that Bill wasn’t right for her. Becka tells her to get out, they aren’t friends, they never were, they never will be, and the only friends she has are Trish and Lilah. Honey slowly leaves, but not before telling her that she broke up with Eric that day.
Good news! Becka’s Dad, who has never actually shown up on page, caves and lets Becka go to Trish’s Christmas party! While there things are going okay, until Honey shows up in the same outfit as Becka. Becka freaks at her again, and makes a big scene. Honey walks away. Later, Trish is at the top of the steps with a cake. Becka sees Honey there…. who then shoves Trish down the stairs! WHO LANDS ON HER NECK ODDLY. While someone calls for help, Honey sees Becka saw her, and says ‘I tried to stop her from tripping but it was too late!’ Becka turns her attentions to Trish, who is still alive but breathing funny, and Honey says to her (Low enough so no one else can hear, natch) that she’s her only friend now. Becka runs, sees the police, tells them Honey pushed Trish, then faints.
She wakes up the next day in her bed with her Mom and a doctor (No Dad again!). They tell her that Trish is alive but has a broken neck (OH, IS THAT ALL?), and that Becka is having a nervous collapse and she should rest. The doctor leaves, and then Mom says she’s stepping out too. And then, just like clockwork, the phone rings. And it’s Honey, who tells Becka that she should come over right away because she has something Becka should see. Becka is going to not, but then hears a voice in the background… Bill’s voice! She rushes over and looks through the kitchen window. She sees Bill and Honey at the table HOLDING HANDS! Becka’s officially done. She storms into the kitchen, grabs a KNIFE, and LUNGES FOR HONEY! About friggin’ time. But she can’t do much because of her fragile (and vague) physical and mental state, and collapses. Bill says ‘I thought you told her I was here!’, and Honey tells him to stay away because Becka is HER friend!!! They wrestle over the knife, and Honey STABS BILL IN THE CHEST. GOOD FUCKING GOD. And THEN, and I cannot BELIEVE it, she PUTS THE KNIFE IN BECKA’S HAND. As Becka slowly starts coming to, Honey tells her that that she won’t tell the police that Becka murdered Bill, but that it was in self defense, because she’s her best and now only friend. To which Becka….. thanks her. THE FREAKING END.
Body Count: 1??? Bill died but I think that Lilah and Trish are okay???
Romance Rating: 5. Bill has his problems but he seems okay, even if Becka is only willing to sneak around with him.
Bonkers Rating: 9. This is the darkest and most fucked up “Fear Street” ending yet!
Fear Street Relevance: 7. Becka lives on Fear Street and so does Honey, and the final showdown is there.
Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:
“Becka gasped and hit the brakes. Her car slid hard into the other car. She closed her eyes against the crunch of metal and shattering glass.”
… And it turns out she was fine and the most damage was a broken headlight. What’s the point?
That’s So Dated! Moments: At the Christmas party the song on the CD player is Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, and I think that was kind of dated even for it’s original publication! Unless this is a bunch of hipsters, which it very well could be.
“‘What a night you had,’ Trish said, shaking her head. ‘First you wreck Eric. Then you wreck the car.’ Lilah laughed. ‘You should be a writer, Trish. You have such a way with words.'”
Yeah, that witty banter is sure to win a Pulitzer some day.
Conclusion: “The Best Friend” is truly the most disturbing “Fear Street” book I’ve read so far, and I’m kind of impressed that Stine was willing to do what he did with it. Apparently people were so incensed by this book he offered a contest to write the sequel, in a ‘well if you think you can do better, DO IT!’ kind of play. Up next for us, though, is “The Cheater”.