October 2, 2015

The Bookworm: Double Date


Double Date, by R.L. Stine. 152 pages. Pocket Books. April 1994.

At Shadyside High they’ll be talking about Bobby the Man for years to come! They might even have to put a special trophy in the case in the front hallway of the school. BOBBY THE MAN, it’ll say. BOTH WADE TWINS AT ONCE! (p. 76)

Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s time to return to the Fear Street series.

Having reread almost all of the books in my original Fear Street collection, it is time to move on to the gently used and “like new” books I am slowly acquiring. Amazon has been the best and only source for Fear Street books thus far, but whenever I find myself in a local used book store I check the shelves for the series’ familiar logo and all-caps text on the spine. (I have one book remaining from my original collection — the second book in The Cataluna Chronicles. I never read it before, but plan to very soon.)

First up is Double Date.

This copy of Double Date is one reason why I am leery of buying any book through Amazon in worse condition than “Used - Very Good.” This copy is in great condition, but a previous owner scribbled her name inside the front cover with an orange marker. She also highlighted Stine’s name in a 99 Fear Street advertisement and the Archway Paperback logo. The ink bled through to the cover. Not cool, but it’s an acceptable blemish and the rest of the book is complete and spotless. Before reading Double Date, I thought the butterfly tattoo on the cover was an owner customization, too, but it isn’t. It’s actually part of the story.

Surprisingly, Double Date has a male protagonist — Bobby Newkirk. Sadly, Bobby is a conceited, womanizing pig. He treats the girls at Shadyside High like they are his personal playthings, loving and dumping them as often as the wind changes directions, not caring about their feelings. He is so confident that he challenges himself to date twin sisters Bree and Samantha Wade at the same time. He does it, going out with Bree on Friday night and Samantha on Saturday. On Monday, he proudly brags about his “all-Wade” weekend.

At first, things go pretty smoothly. “Bobby the Man,” as he calls himself, is confident neither sister suspects anything. However, Bobby soon finds out that dating twins isn’t easy, and that it could cost him his life. Or so he thinks…

Double Date is a little unusual for the Fear Street series, but it is a fun and hilarious read, an energizing breath of fresh air compared to the other reading I have done this year. Bobby’s conceitedness is both disgusting and entertaining. He is begging for bad karma. His characterization may be a little over the top, and it is hard to shake the sense that Double Date, despite featuring a male protagonist, is written with adolescent girls in mind. It seems to reinforce an adolescent stereotype and overgeneralization.

Much like other Fear Street books, though, a lot remains unexplained in Double Date. The ending may tie some loose ends, but others remain dangling. Also, the title is inaccurate. A double date, I have always assumed, is when two couples go on a date together. There is no double dating in Double Date.