Book: “Double Date” (Fear Street #23) by R.L. Stine
Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1994
Where Did I Get This Book: Ebook from the library!
Book Description: No girl in her right mind would say no to a date with Bobby Newkirk. Not with those great looks, that easy charm, and the awesome way he plays the guitar. Of course, some people think he’s just a bit conceited. But when it comes to breaking hearts, that hasn’t slowed Bobby down one bit.
At least, not until the beautiful Wade twins move to Shadyside. And Bobby brags to his friends that they’ll both fall for him.
And they do. Too bad for Bobby the twins never learned to share. One of them is jealous, murderously jealous. Is it quiet, shy Bree? Or bold, sexy Samantha? Bobby had better figure it out…or his double fun will turn to double terror.
Had I Read It Before: No.
The Plot: BUCKLE UP FOLKS. THIS IS THE LONGEST ONE YET!! So for this book we meet Bobby Newkirk, a festering shithead of a protagonist. Bobby likes to date girls as long as they entertain him, then he will toss them aside like a wadded up tissue and never look back. When we meet him he’s pressing a skinny redhead named Ronnie up against her locker, kissing her and teasing her. She treats him like a rapscallion up for some fun, but I think he’s sketch as hell right out the gate. He muses in his head about how she’s not the prettiest girl he’s been with, but she’s the last cheerleader on the cheer squad that he has yet to hook up with. As the go their separate ways, her to cheer practice and him to his garage band practice, he says that maybe he’ll call her, but it’s pretty clear he probably won’t. He runs into his acquaintances Markie and Jerry, and confirms that he dumped Cari Taylor, and ribs Jerry for having to work at McDonalds. Bobby wouldn’t know about that, because he’s rich. Oh great, more North Hills jerks. Then, ANOTHER cheerleader Kimmy Bass turns the corner and yells at him for standing her up the night before. He tells her he only did it because he got a better offer. Piece of work, this Bobby. Kimmy rightfully storms away. We then meet Bobby’s bandmates as he saunters into practice, late. There’s Arnie, the drummer, Paul, the keyboardist, and Bobby, the lead guitar. Apparently their band is called Bad to the Bone. After some gross chit chat about the girls that Bobby uses and tosses aside, Paul (the only one who is actually committed to the band and the only one concerned about their gig that Friday) makes an off the cuff remark about how surprised he his that Bobby didn’t try to date them both at the same time.
AND THAT is where the Wade Twins enter, Bree and Samantha. They just moved to Shadyside the previous year, and they are the most beautiful girls in school. They are looking for a teacher, but the guys tell them that he’s not there, so they go on their way. Bobby and Arnie make some objectifying remarks, and then Bobby decides that he is going to ask both of them out! Paul thinks that it can’t be done, but Bobby is totally willing to try. After practice wraps up, Melanie comes looking for Arnie. Melanie is Arnie’s girlfriend, but she used to date Bobby, but Bobby dumped her, natch. And he thinks that if she lost some weight he’d probably ask her out again. THIS. FUCKING. GUY. They then hear the Wade Twins in the hallway, and Bobby heads off to chat them up. Melanie tells him not to do it (at some point Arnie told her and we didn’t notice), but he blows her warning off. He goes in the hall and meets with Bree, who is quiet and demure. After chatting a bit, he asks her to come to the band’s show at the Mill that Friday night. She accepts, and Bobby thinks that’s one down.
Arnie stops by Bobby’s place after dinner and congratulates him on his skeezery, calling him “The Man” at Bobby’s behest. Bobby decides to take that moment to call Samantha and ask her out for Saturday. Samantha answers, and Bobby starts chatting HER up. Samantha says that she and Bree were just talking about him, and is suspicious when he says he wants to talk to her. He asks her out for Saturday night, and she reminds him that he had just asked Bree out for Friday, and then asks if it’s a dare or something. He says no, he’s just been thinking about her a lot, and thought that she’d like to go out with him too. She asks why he thinks she’d do that to Bree, and he says it’s because she’s just dying to go out with him. She calls him conceited, but accepts the date. He says that it has to be their secret, and she agrees. They hang up, and Bobby whoops and hollers with Arnie about how scummy this all is. Bobby is sure Samantha won’t tell because she’s so outgoing and cool. Arnie wonders why Melanie was so against this that she warned him about the Wade Twins, but Bobby doesn’t care.
Bree goes to Bobby’s show at The Mill, and Bobby hot dogs on stage and struts like he’s Mick Fucking Jagger or something. After the set he meets up with Bree on the dance floor and they dance around, but then Bree says she would like to go somewhere quieter. As they’re leaving they run into Paul, who chastises Bobby for taking the attention away from the rest of the band, but Bobby don’t care. He looks back at the dance floor and thinks that Melanie sure looks fat as she dances with Arnie. Christ. He and Bree go driving around Shadyside, and he talks mostly about himself since Bree is so quiet. He even talks about a science experiment he’s doing with two honest to goodness monkeys that his uncle, who imports animals to zoos. Oh, okay. Because it’s totally ethical to give your dumbshit nephew two monkeys he can do a diet experiment on. Anyway, he drives her home and they kiss for awhile. Bree asks him if he wants to hang out again the next night, but NO CAN DO, as he has a hot date with Samantha. He makes an excuse and they say their goodbyes with more kissing.
The next day Bobby meets Samantha at the Mall. When they walk up to each other she pretends that she sees Bree, giving him a jolt, but HA, just kidding! Samantha flip flops between thinking it’s cool that they’re sneaking around, to feeling weird about it, but she also doesn’t beat around the bush and tells him she’s heard of his whorish ways. They go into the Gold Barn, and Samantha starts trying on earrings willy nilly. The clerk asks that she not do that anymore, and she politely agrees. She then asks Bobby if he likes excitement….. and bolts for the door with the earrings in her ears! Bobby is shocked that she’s shoplifting, and then before they know it they’re being chased through the mall by the clerk! They manage to lose their pursuers, and have a moment where a security guard approaches them, but only because they were running. So they get away with it, scott free. ‘Okay, kind of weird, but also sexy,’ were no doubt the thoughts going through Bobby’s mind. As they get to his car Samantha says that she wants to drive, and she drives his car like a speed demon up to River Ridge, Shadyside’s make out point. They start kissing, and Samantha asks if he likes her better than Bree. He says sure he does. She tells him that there’s a way to tell them apart, but she’ll show him later, but then goes on to say to be careful with Bree because she’s ‘fragile’.
Some time later Bobby is heading to band practice. But before that, he detours to harass Kimmy some more, pulling her hair and asking what she’s doing on Saturday, only to tell her to take a bath. He runs into Arnie and Melanie in the bandroom (Paul is there too but pissed, apparently is thinking of quitting the band because Bobby is such a fuck), and Melanie asks if he’s still trying to juggle the Wade Twins. He brags about how Samantha was over for a study date and Bree showed up, but Samantha snuck out back, and how he has them both crazy for him. Melanie asks him what if Bree finds out and it causes a rift between sisters, but Bobby says that that’s just how it is. That night in his room, he gets a strange phone call, someone saying that two’s company, three’s a crowd, and that he’ll pay. It freaks him out for a bit, because who could do this? Turns out, though, it is just Arnie messing with him and telling him that Melanie is mad. Bobby implies that she’s still hung up on him, but hangs up when the doorbell rings. It’s Bree! She walks into the house, and he thinks that maybe he’s busted. Bree says that Samantha is seeing someone, but she won’t tell her who and it’s upsetting her. Bobby assures her that he’ll ask around, and kisses her goodbye, then struts around the house totally pleased that he’s manipulating her so perfectly. Then SAMANTHA calls him and tells him Bree is on the way, and that she suspects something. He assures her that he pulled it off, and she says that he needs to dump her right away because she’s sick of sharing him, and because if Bree finds out there’s not telling what she’ll do. Bobby isn’t ready to break it off yet.
On their usual date to the mall, Samantha insists on driving Bobby’s car. She drives like a lunatic, swerving into traffic and out of it and Bobby is convinced that they are going to die a fiery death. They get to the mall though, and she confides she doesn’t even have her license.
Over a slice at Pete’s Pizza, she asks him if he broke up with Bree while at Suki Thomas’s party the night before (YEAH SUKI MY GIRL!!!). He doesn’t really answer the question, but she seems satisfied when he assures her that she’s more fun than Bree. Eventually they make their way to the jewelry store again, and this time she dares Bobby to steal a charm bracelet. When she calls him a wimp, he says that he absolutely is not a wimp and lifts the case…. only for ALL the alarms to go off. But they make a clean getaway again, and Samantha accepts the bracelet for herself. Their merriment is short lived, however, as they are soon face to face with Bree!!! And Samantha looks absolutely terrified of her. Bobby says that they were just talking about her, and Samantha makes up some excuse about shopping and running into Bobby. Bree seems mollified, and both girls run off together, leaving Bobby in the lurch. Which irks him. But he’s still intrigued by them, and is convinced that he deserves a trophy for having them ‘both at once’. When he gets to his car in the parking lot, he finds that someone slashed some of his tires. EAT IT, CREEP. By coincidence (but Bobby doesn’t think so!), Melanie drives by, and offers to give him a lift. He’s certain that she has to be the one who did this because she’s jealous.
On the way to band practice that week, Bobby has decided that there’s no way that Melanie did it. For one, she does seem happy with Arnie, but for more importantly, there’s no way that a girl could slash his tires! On the way to band practice, he tries to catch up with Bree, but lost her as she went to chorus practice. Instead he finds Samantha, who pulls him into the science room. They kiss a bit, and she shows him the way to tell her and Bree apart: a blue butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. She then demands that he drop Bree because he doesn’t know her like she does. And boy is she adamant. She then shows him her science project: cannibal ants from New Zealand!!!
At their rock show some times later, Bobby is being his usual boorish self, hot dogging and blocking Paul as he performs. But then, when he strums his guitar, he is suddenly bowled over by and electric shock! When he comes to, he is told that his amp wire was cut. He sees both Melanie and Kimmy looking down at him, concerned. He starts to wonder if someone is trying to kill him. WHen he gets home he calls Samantha, asking her if Bree could have done this. Samantha says she doesn’t think so, but then, she could be capable of ANYTHING. Sadly for Bobby, he turns around and sees Bree in his doorway. He hangs up and she says that she was SO SCARED. He hugs her, but wonders if she’s being sincere…
Bobby meets Arnie for lunch at a diner, and tells him that he wants to quit the band. He’s convinced that someone is trying to kill him, but Arnie says there wasn’t enough power in the amp to do that. Soon Melanie meets them, and Arnie goes to check in with his parents. Melanie asks Bobby if he’s okay, and says that maybe this is a sign that he needs to stop dating the Wade Twins. He asks her what SHE knows about it, and accuses her of being jealous and wanting him back. He then nuzzles up against her because YUCK! She assures him that no, she’s quite happy with Arnie, and shoves him off. Bobby storms off. He eventually meets Samantha a few blocks from her house, and they go driving together. She tells him that Bree is out with their mother. He asks her if Bree has said anything to him about his guitar, and she gets defensive, saying no, and that they don’t talk much anymore. The arm of her shirt falls to the side, and Bobby notices that there isn’t a butterfly tattoo there… THIS ISN’T SAMANTHA!!! He asks where her tattoo is, but she doesn’t hear him over the music. He pulls over and he asks if she’s Bree. She gets defensive, and says that he KNOWS Bree doesn’t know so how could she be? He asks abotu the tattoo on her shoulder, and she says that she doesn’t HAVE a tattoo. She then demands that he take her home because she’s upset him. He complies.
The next day at school he approaches both twins, but they blow him off. He goes to his locker, but sees a note on it that says ‘THIS IS YOU INSIDE’. He opens his locker, and sees the severed head of one of this monkeys!! He pukes his guts out, and Arnie comes to see what’s going on. He looks in the locker, and shows Bobby the monkey head is fake. But someone is definitely messing with him. Bobby is getting really scared now.
Before his date with Bree that weekend, Samantha demanded that he take her out somewhere so they could talk. She says that she asked him to dump Bree weeks ago, and now it may be too late. She is tired of waiting, and demands that they kill Bree together. Bobby is shocked, but she insists that they do this because she wants him all to herself. He says he will to placate her… but then he notices that there is a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder!!!! He asks her where it went in the car, and she has no idea what he’s talking about. She then tells him she wants to take him to a ‘special place’. While she drives he starts to wonder if maybe SAMANTHA is behind all of this! She drives them to an isolated cabin, She says that they can do the deed here, it’s her family cabin, and no one will ever know. Bobby decides that he has to warn Bree.
He calls Bree when he gets home, and says they have to get together right away. She says he has to wait until their official date because she’s busy, and hangs up. He waits until their date, and drives her away from her house, intending to tell her what Samantha plans to do. When he does, Bree has her own confession: she and Samantha aren’t twins. There is a triplet named Jennilynn who was sent away because of her violent tendencies towards the other two. She was so jealous of Bree and Samantha that she locked them in their room and set the house on fire. Luckily their father got home in time to save them, and they got Jennilynn therapy and sent her to live with relatives. She thinks it must be Jennilynn who wanted her dead, because she’s jealous that Bree has a boyfriend. She tells him that the way to tell it’s Jennilynn is the BLUE BUTTERFLY TATTOO ON HER SHOULDER!!!!!
Well after Bobby drops her off, he goes to tell Arnie about this (even though he promised not to tell anyone). Melanie happens to be there too, and Bobby tells them both, and demands if Melanie knew since she’s known the Wade Twins so long. She says that she ‘can’t say’ because she promised, and she and Arnie got to the movies. Bobby decides to dump both twins because he never bargained for a crazy triplet. The next day he meets with Samantha, who asks him why her sister was so upset when he dropped her off. He says that she told him about Jennilynn… And then Samantha says that THERE IS NO JENNILYNN, this is a sign that Bree is REALLY OFF HER ROCKER. She says that she has to go home and tell her parents…. He soon asks where her tattoo is. She tells him that she has no tattoo, and he says that she showed it to him in the science lab. She says that never happened and he needs to get a grip.
That night Bobby is at home when his phone rings. The caller identifies herself as Jennilynn, and demands to know why he was meeting with Bree at the Mall! He says it was Samantha, not Bree, and she says that she knows her own sister, and when are they going to KILL HER?
SO THE NEXT DAY he still hasn’t called Samantha or Bree or WHOEVER to ask about this, and Samantha drives up to his house in her convertible. He knows it’s her because she’s dressed very boldly. He gets in the car with her, and says that Jennilynn called him. She says that it HAS to be Bree because Jennilynn isn’t real. She says they’ll talk more when they get to the cabin. He then realizes that her shoulder HAS A TATTOO. He points this out, she says duh, he says that she didn’t have it at the mall yesterday, and she says she wasn’t at the mall yesterday, what is his problem? He asks if she’s always had it, and she says she showed him in the science lab!
They get to the cabin and she says that she has Bree’s murder all planned out. They get out of the car, and she hits HIM over the head with a bottle.
When Bobby wakes up, he realizes he’s tied to a chair, stripped to his tee shirt and boxers. He sees Samantha by a roaring fire in the fireplace, and she says that she’s Jennilynn. He says there IS no Jennilyn, and she freaks. OF COURSE THEY SAID SHE WASN’T REAL!! But she’s the one with the tattoo, and she was the one in the science lab! He begs that she let him go, and she says that her sisters can’t be happy, so they both have to lose him. She then dumps a jar of honey on his head, and THAT is when he sees the New Zealand Cannibal Ants. I AM SCREAMING, this is amazing. She takes their container’s lid off, and the ants storm forth, crawling all over him and starting to bite. She tells him to scream, because no one will hear him. She leaves him behind to his apparent doom. He freaks and falls over as the ants crawl all over him, but the tie comes loose due to the honey, and he’s able to get free. He runs out of the house, only to see headlights. He thinks that it might be Jennilynn, but no… It’s Melanie! He tells her what happened and she tells him to get in, they’ll go get help. She says that she wasn’t looking for him, though, she was trying to help Samantha and Bree, as someone stole their convertible and they thought it was Jessilynn. She admits that she knew the whole time, and he says they have to warn them. So they drive to their house….
WELL, when they arrive, he bursts into the house to warn them…. And sees that Bree, Samantha, Kimmy, Ronnie, and a few other girls are there. Mr Wade asks who he is and what he’s doing there. Bobby says that Jennilynn kidnapped him…. To which Mr. Wade says ‘who?’ He then says that his triplet daughter kidnapped him. Mr. Wade says there is no third sister. BUT THE CANNIBAL ANTS. “There is no such thing as cannibal ants.” Also, they don’t own a cabin. Bobby turns to Melanie for confirmation, and she says she has no idea what he’s talking about. BUT THE ONE WITH THE TATTOO-, to which Mr. Wade says they BETTER NOT HAVE TATTOOS. And they don’t. Mr Wade tells Bobby to go home and leaves to get the phone. Bobby says that the Twins did this to him, and they both say they have NO IDEA what he’s talking about they’ve just been with their friends all night. And then Melanie says that they were all in on this together because he’s a misogynistic pig who thinks he can just treat girls like crap. Humiliated, Bobby runs out.
At school that week Bobby is alone, his band has broken up, and he’s confronted by Bree and Samantha who give him a note that says “Twin sisters don’t have secrets. We both knew everything from the very start.” They wave and leave, and inside the envelope Bobby finds a temporary tattoo of a blue butterfly. THE END.
Body Count: Zilch, and I’m not angry about it because this story was baller.
Romance Rating: 1, because Bobby is a serious douche canoe. But again, that’s just fine given how this all shook out. Maybe I’ll up the ante to a 2 because Melanie and Arnie are happy enough.
Bonkers Rating: 8. I say this because these girls went to crazy lengths to teach this misogynistic creep a lesson, like shop lifting, breaking and entering, and probably what one could call assault.
Fear Street Relevance: 4. The Wade Twins live on Fear Street, and there’s some action in the Fear Woods, but altogether it could have been anywhere. Not as bad as books that take place outside of Shadyside, though.
Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:
“Cut off just below the chin, the monkey head rested in a dark puddle of blood. Its tiny black eyes stared up lifelessly at Bobby. Its mouth frozen open in a silent cry of terror and pain.”
… And it’s just a plastic monkey head meant to freak Bobby out. I’m relieved, but how stupid.
That’s So Dated! Moments: Bobby named his test monkeys Wayne and Garth a la “Wayne’s World”, which is the second “Wayne’s World” reference in these books, so maybe Stine really likes this movie? Also their cover band plays a lot of songs from the 1950s, and I can’t imagine teens of today reaching THAT far back for retro points in the 2010s….
“‘I warned you,’ she said in a low voice. ‘This is what you get for the way you treated Bree and Samantha, and for the way you treated all of us. You’re not Bobby the Man. You’re Bobby the Total Pig!'”
Conclusion: It was unexpected and kind of refreshing in a lot of ways, so I really have to give “Double Date” the props that it deserves. It shows that Stine was a bit more willing to think outside the box when it came to these books and not necessarily stick to a formula, and I LOVED how it all shook out.