The Bookworm: The Secret

The Secret, by R.L. Stine. 147 pages. Pocket Books. September 1993.

Simon gasped as Old Aggie pointed a long, terrible finger into his face. “You are under a curse!” she cried. “A curse cast by the Goodes, and by your own evil history. Now you have allowed a Goode into your home, into your family. Your suffering will know no end, Simon Fier.” (p. 139)

After slogging through Limber, I was very happy to return to the warm — albeit sometimes bloody — comforts of the Fear Street series.

The Secret is the second installment of the Fear Street Saga, which tells the story of Shadyside’s infamous Fear family and the evil that destroys them — and presumably continues to haunt the street that bears their name. The Secret picks up where the first book, The Betrayal, left off with Nora Goode continuing to write the history of the Fears.

Nora’s account continues in 1737, with Ezra Fier searching the colonies for the Goodes. His lifelong obsession has been to find the Goodes and kill them. Though he does not find them, the Goode’s curse continues to terrorize him and his small family. When he dies, his son Jonathan buries the mysterious amulet Ezra always wore around his neck, determined to end the curse forever. And all goes well for the Fiers for 100 years, until one of Jonathan’s descendants unearths the amulet and rekindles the feud. In the end, Simon, the last surviving male of the Fier family, decides to change the spelling of the family name to Fear in hopes that his family will forever be spared a fiery fate.

Though its story does not live up to the one in The Betrayal, The Secret is freaky. The first couple chapters, when Ezra Fier is driving his family through the abandoned town of Wickham and searching for the Goodes, are extremely eerie and hair-raising. In general, the Fiers’ time in Wickham is extremely creepy. And the creepiness does not stop there, though it does fade after a certain point.

Is there convenience in The Secret? Not really, though I do think it interesting that the feud and curse are rekindled after a 100-year hiatus, in which the Fiers have prospered blissfully and ignorantly.

One thing I wish Stine would have done is revisit the history of the amulet. I read The Betrayal in October and don’t remember much about the amulet. Did it originally belong to a Goode? I feel like it did but don’t remember. The amulet is prominently mentioned in The Secret, and its power affects those who wear it, but readers are never reminded of its importance.

What exactly is the secret in The Secret? Um…good question. I don’t know. There really is no secret.

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