Title: Fear Street #17 – The Best Friend, a.k.a “Baby’s First Fear Street”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: Sometimes friendship can be murder….
Summary: 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!
This is where it all began for me. I remember like it was yesterday. Me, a young child, with my mom and Nana in K-Mart looking at the book section. When suddenly I saw a small paperback with the image of a teenage girl horrified by a Christmas present in her lap. Upon closer inspection, I saw the present had a knife sticking out of it.
Even though I didn’t know what the title was, the memory of that cover stuck with me for a while. It was a couple of years later when I learned I was looking at “The Best Friend” in R.L. Stine’s teen series, “Fear Street.” I had no idea at the time Stine wrote this book, so it was an amazing coincidence that the book I remembered was also written by the guy who wrote “Goosebumps.”
Coincidence? Or maybe fate?
As you can guess, people have described this book as “Single White Female on Fear Street.” Of course I’ve never seen the movie myself.
Re-reading this book for the first time in years, I found myself feeling genuinely unsettled and disturbed by what went on. I knew of course the plot and what happened, but not from repeated re-reads. For some reason, the reviews I’ve seen of this book have derided Becka, the main character, as annoying and a bad friend. Honestly, I don’t see it. Becka’s probably one of the biggest victims in the entire franchise because of what Honey Perkins does to her life in this story.
[Wing: That is such a fun piece of art!]
Oh and FYI, when R.L. Stine signed my copy last year, he told me everyone HATED the ending when it came out. Which probably explains how “The Best Friend 2” happened.
[Wing: Damn it, Stine, stick to your guns!]
Things are probably not going to end well when the first words out of the main character are:
“Ow – stop! You’re hurting me!”
Becka Norwood is inside the car of her boyfriend Eric Fraser, and honestly she wishes she was anywhere else. Eric apologizes for gripping her shoulder too hard when Becka says they have to talk, and he giggles that annoying giggle she’s come to dislike so much. Becka’s been dating Eric for three months, ever since the school year began in September, and now she wants to break up with him. It seems like all they ever do is fight, and Eric never takes anything seriously or wants to talk about anything.
The other reason Becka wants to break up with Eric is Bill Planter, her ex-boyfriend. Well, he’s not her ex-boyfriend by choice. Becka’s parents hated Bill and forced Becka to break up with him after he got into some trouble at school. If they ever thought she was anywhere near Bill, Becka’s parents would probably murder her for disobeying them. They were just so thrilled she started going out with Eric, no matter how unhappy she was.
Becka’s really nervous about doing this, afraid she might cry and afraid of how Eric will react. But she wants this over with, so she musters up the strength to finally tell him they should see other people. What does Eric do? Giggle and shrug “No problem.” Becka’s honestly taken aback and tries to explain she didn’t want to hurt him or anything, but he keeps telling her not to worry about it as he drives her home. It’s really disconcerting for Becka since she didn’t think he’d take this THAT well. He’s acting so numb while she’s a nervous wreck.
Then again, Becka’s always a nervous wreck. At least that’s how everyone treats her.
Eric drops Becka off at her place and bids her a cheery goodbye, which comes across an insulting. After all, Becka was scared about hurting his feelings and accidentally starting another fight, and he’s barely fazed. Shows how much he must’ve cared about their relationship or how much all that arguing bothered HIM. It leaves Becka feeling self-conscious about how she always takes things more seriously than other people, since she wishes she could loosen up. Honestly I feel for her. I’m always wound up about everything so I know what that’s like.
Upset with how this break-up ended and not wanting to be near her parents, Becka figures she’ll drive around to clear her head. She briefly considers going to see Bill but decides it’d be a bad idea. She’ll simply call him later, and then she’ll call her best friends Lilah and Trish. God if only she could stop getting so worked up and nervous about everything.
Maybe then she would’ve noticed that other car heading her way!
Luckily, Becka doesn’t get hurt nor is the car badly damaged. The next day she has her friends over and explains only one headlight got damaged. Her dad was super pissed she took the car without permission though.
The girls are hanging out in Becka’s room while she tries to focus on knitting a sweater. Every year Becka and her cousin Rachel knit each other sweaters as Christmas gifts. She’s trying to knit in order to relax but it’s not working. Becka pricks her finger on one of the needles and worries about how Rachel’s gifts are always perfect while her’s are… not.
[Wing: Are … are knitting needles really sharp enough to prick a finger? I don’t knit, but all the ones I’ve seen look pretty blunt.]
Trish and Lilah tell Becka to take it easy while Trish puts a band-aid on her finger. The conversation moves to Becka’s new hairstyle; Trish and Lilah love it but Becka thinks she looks like a boy.
Hon if it makes you feel better you look like Haruka Tenoh.
The girls ask Becka for more deets on how she dumped Eric. They’re amazed he didn’t burst into tears or anything and joke he was probably too shocked to emote. When asked if Eric knows Becka wants to get back together with Bill, Becka orders the girls to keep their voices down. She doesn’t want her mom to find out and figures she’s probably listening in on them right now.
Lilah asks why Becka’s parents hate Bill so much. She reminds them about how Bill got caught with Clay Parker and Mickey Wakely (main characters in “Silent Night,” which Donna is recapping) the previous year. [Wing: So all that trouble happened before Silent Night? Guess Bill bounced from that friendship just in time.] The two boys sneaked into Shadyside High, broke into some lockers and made graffiti on the walls. Bill was with them, but even though he hadn’t done anything he still got punished. Wrong place at the wrong time. That was all Becka’s parents needed to decide Bill was trash and she wasn’t allowed to see him anymore.
Lilah and Trish remember how badly the forced break-up affected Becka; she almost had a nervous breakdown. Becka remembers too, but hopes this year will be different. Bill’s really been making the effort to straighten himself out and stopped associating with Clay and Mickey. But before she can explain further, the girls receive an unexpected guest. A girl with long auburn hair bursts into Becka’s bedroom, and she is just SO happy to see Becka. The girl embraces Becka and exclaims over and over again how great it is that Becka is here!
If only Becka knew who the fuck this girl was.
The girl keeps saying over and over again how she simply cannot believe it’s really Becka. Lilah and Trish are just as confused as Becka. None of them have any idea who this stranger is, with her full figure and dramatic look (dark lipsticked lips, a bright orange sweater, green skirt, black tights, grey eyes, and hands that appear to be too big). But this girl seems to know Becka. Becka cannot recall ever meeting this person, but figures she MUST know her from somewhere. Why else would she be so happy to see Becka?
The girl babbles about how great it is she was lucky enough to move in right next door to the Norwoods. When she found out Becka was her neighbor, she simply rushed inside to find her. And to think Becka looks exactly the same! Lilah and Trish try to introduce themselves, and the girl finally reveals her name is Honey Perkins. Becka can’t recall ever knowing anyone by that name. Honey’s so excited about Becka, she ignores Lilah and Trish as they try to ask her questions. It’s making Becka really uncomfortable the way Honey keeps staring at her, like she’s about to eat Becka. Honey’s even crying tears of joy!
Finally, Honey apologizes to Lilah and Trish and explains she’s simply overwhelmed seeing Becka again. Because, according to Honey, in 3rd and 4th grade they were best friends. Actually, they were BEST best friends. This is news to Becka, who remembers her best friend back in 4th grade was Deena Martinson. Honey continues to ignore Lilah and Trish’s questions while she rambles on and on about Becka, who is left too startled and confused by the things Honey’s saying. She tells Becka she moved back to Shadyside with her dad after her mom died, and is SO looking forward to reconnecting with Becka. It’ll be like Honey never left!
Becka is starting to feel really guilty, because it’s obvious Honey put a lot of value in their supposed friendship and she doesn’t even remember her. Like how cold can you get? Honey’s even thrilled to see Becka’s mom, who’s just as startled by how overly familiar Honey’s acting as Becka and the girls. Becka’s slightly comforted knowing her mom doesn’t recognize Honey as well. Mrs. Norwood quickly excuses herself away from Honey’s exuberance so Honey goes back to complimenting Becka. Oh you have such great taste. Your hair’s great. Your posters are great. Your clothes are great. YOU are great.
Honey’s eyes immediately dart to a small enamel pin, designed to look like a parrot, on Becka’s dresser. Becka explains Bill gave it to her because she likes birds. Honey says Becka always loved animals and starts talking about how the two of them rescued an injured bird when they were kids. She says Becka cried and cried when it died. Becka thinks to herself how she remembers nothing like that ever happening, but lies and says she does. Honey asks to try the pin on, basking in her own little world while the girls briefly mention how much it should snow. Ignoring the conversation, Honey gushes about Becka’s posters. Becka admits she’s kind of bored with them, which Honey assumes is permission for her to have them. Honey’s so fucking eager waiting for Becka to reply, she caves in. Yay for Honey!
Realizing it’s getting late, Honey says she has to head home. Before she goes she declares she can’t wait to get back to being best BEST friends with Becka.
The minute Honey’s out of the house, the girls immediately try to figure out what the fuck just happened. Who the hell is Honey Perkins? Trish and Lilah joke she’s obviously Becka’s best best best best friend. How could she forget her best best best best bestbestbest friend? You’re a horrible friend, Becka! Becka doesn’t think it’s funny, because what if she and Honey actually WERE best friends?
“Face it. You’re awful!” Trish declared. She and Lilah both thought this remark was hilarious too.
Becka heaved the pillow at Trish. It missed and bounced off the window.
“You’ll probably forget us too,” Lilah declared.
“Forget who?” Trish cried.
Both she and Lilah collapsed into laughter.
Becka’s not exactly proud of how she couldn’t think of anything to say to Honey. Trish admits she’s never seen this girl before, recalling all three of them were in the same 4th grade class with Miss Martin.
“Whatever happened to Miss Martin?”
“Moved away, I think,” Becka replied. “I think she had a baby and got married.”
“Don’t you mean got married and had a baby?” asked Lilah.
Um, no, Lilah. She probably doesn’t.
Becka digs through her closet and finds an old class photo from 4th grade. Noticing Becka’s awful hair cut in the photo, Trish and Lilah joke about how she ALWAYS had great taste.
The girls spot an unhappy looking girl who MIGHT be Honey since they have the same hair color. Vaguely, the girls remember this girl who could be Honey Perkins. Becka suddenly remembers Honey was a weird kid. And very quiet. They start recalling how Honey always choked whenever Miss Martin called on her to answer a question. No one seemed to like this kid. She’d start crying for absolutely no reason, and when she wasn’t crying she was scary.
So why is Honey saying Becka was her best friend? Lilah brings up how Honey suddenly moved away before 4th grade ended. She sat next to Honey, and one day Honey never showed up. No one knew what happened to her.
When Lilah and Trish are about to leave, Becka makes a startling discovery. Her parrot pin is gone! Honey took it!
Lilah and Trish figure she just forgot to take it off before she left. Honey didn’t steal anything. But Becka’s upset because that pin’s the only gift Bill ever gave her and it’s her favorite. Not to mention stylish, Lilah and Trish joke. Becka asks if they’ll come with her to get the pin back, but they don’t see what the big deal is and head home.
Becka puts her coat on and is about to leave when the phone rings, but it stops after the first ring. Her mom got to the phone first, and calls from downstairs that it’s Bill. Mrs. Norwood is angry Bill’s calling her since Becka’s not allowed to see him. Becka snaps she’s not interested in a lecture right now and picks up the phone.
Bill jokes Mrs. Norwood was obviously in a good mood, trying to make light of how Becka’s parents aren’t his biggest fans. He asks if Becka can meet him later tonight, even suggesting she could sneak out later. Becka tries to explain she hasn’t had a chance to talk to her parents about how he’s changed. It’s not the best time yet, but she’s hopeful she can change their minds.
On her way out, Becka’s confronted by her mom who demands to know what Bill wanted. Mrs. Norwood begins guilt tripping Becka about what happened during the break-up. Her parents don’t want to see Becka so upset again because of Bill. All this while ignoring Becka became so upset not because of anything Bill did to her, but because Becka’s parents forced her to dump him against her will. So way to gaslight your daughter, lady.
Becka scathingly mentions she’s going out, but don’t worry. She’s not sneaking around with Bill, MOM. Pissed at her mom’s judgmental nagging and controlling behavior, Becka heads to Honey’s place. The old house next to the Norwood residence has been empty for a while, so Becka’s glad people will be living in it. Might make it less creepy.
Trouble is, there’s no one in the house!
All the windows are dark and Becka can’t see anyone. There aren’t any recent footprints in the snow leading from Becka’s house, even though Honey said she was going back to her place. Becka knocks on the door but no one answers. Did Honey lie about living here?
The following Monday at school, Becka and her friends gossip about trampy Mary Harwood and David Metcalf (David from “The New Girl”) making out in the supply closet. Lilah asks if Becka had any other calls from Bill, but Becka figures he’s mad she didn’t sneak out with him on Saturday. After getting catcalled by Ricky Schorr (from “The Overnight” and “Halloween Party”) on their way home, Becka says she’s glad she’ll be able to see Bill at Trish’s Christmas party. She’s really happy with the awesome silver skirt she plans to wear with her black catsuit. Lilah wishes she wasn’t so skinny so she could pull a catsuit off instead of looking like a broom. Trish, meanwhile, fills in “The chubby friend” quota of the trio.
Back at her house, Becka heads upstairs when she hears a voice coming from her bedroom. She assumes it’s her mom but the closer she gets she realizes it’s Honey. She’s inside Becka’s room, she’s talking to herself, and she’s going through Becka’s clothes!
Becka barges into the room, but Honey’s not startled in the least. Honey says Mrs. Norwood let her in a while ago, but then she went out. When asked who she was talking to, Honey says she wasn’t talking to anyone. Before Becka can argue further Honey begins praising Becka for all her fashionable clothes. She especially loves the silver skirt and excitedly asks where Becka found it. Becka mentions she purchased it from a little shop in the Old Village, and is getting annoyed by how oblivious Honey seems.
Honey talks about how they’re the same size even though Honey looks bigger. She suggests the two of them can wear the same clothes again, like they did when they were little. Becka again doesn’t remember any of this, as Honey keeps chattering about how people thought they were twins since they looked so similar. She sounds so sincere, Becka has to wonder if Honey is living in some dreamworld rather than deliberately lying. [Wing: This would be the heartbreaking version of the book.]
While repeatedly asking Becka how her hair should look, Honey once again thrills at the thought of being best friends with her. Becka finally asks why Honey’s supposed house was empty the other day. Honey stops smiling for a moment, then she perks up and says they had to stay at a motel because the furnace wasn’t working and the house was freezing. Becka thinks she can buy that. But then she finally asks Honey if she accidentally took that parrot pin when she left the other day…
At which point Honey tries to strangle her.
Honey starts laughing at the thought of how well she got Becka. Becka, horrified, is all “What the fuck?!” Honey looks hurt as she talks about their “Gotcha Game” when they were kids. She says the two of them used to do the worst things to each other and then go “Gotcha!” Becka cries Honey genuinely hurt her and puts some lotion on her neck [Wing: …I’m not sure that’s going to do what you want it to do to help, but sure, go ahead. Give Honey a good look of you lotioning your skin, the skin she wants to wear, while you’re at it. Up the creepy factor.] while Honey brings up more “Old times.” Like how Becka supposedly hiked up Honey’s dress in front of a bus full of boy scouts. Boy was THAT a good one!
Becka goes back to the topic of her parrot pin, and Honey admits she took it. But only because Becka SAID she could take it.
*flips back to the previous chapter*
*finds no mention of Becka letting her take the pin*
Becka says she let Honey try the pin on, but then Honey interrupts saying Becka allowed her to keep it because Honey loved it so much. And she does. She loves that pin so, so much. It’s now her most treasured possession because her best best friend gave it to her. Becka tries to argue before Honey, getting rather upset, tells Becka to ask Lilah and Trish what happened. Becka’s getting extremely nervous because it looks like Honey’s about to burst into tears, so she mutters something about how much Honey likes the pin. Honey immediately zips back to happy mode like nothing happened and continues to look through Becka’s clothes. Jesus.
[Wing: Emotionally manipulative bastard.]
Wanting to put her clothes away, Becka asks for help and Honey figures she can try on the rest later when darn! Is that a stain on Becka’s blouse? Honey offers to have it cleaned at her place to make up for it. After all, that’s what best best friends are for. It’s also why she convinced their homeroom teacher to change the seating arrangement, so Honey can sit next to Becka every day. I’m sure Becka’s overjoyed.
While Becka puts the rest of her clothes away, Honey proposes they can walk to school together just like when they were kids. Becka asks where Honey’s family moved to when they originally left Shadyside. Honey makes a vague mention of Maine before describing what an awful day that was. The day she had to leave Becka behind, and they cried and cried before Honey had to go.
Becka just goes with it at this point, before trying to shoo Honey away. She can’t study with Honey tonight or tomorrow since she promised to help Lilah put up Christmas decorations at her house. Honey coldly mentions how nice it is she’s so close to Lilah…
Before she finally leaves (with Becka’s blouse), Honey says she enjoyed every minute of being with Becka. Once she’s gone, Becka can finally breathe again. Checking to see if her mom’s back, Becka then calls Bill. Of course Bill doesn’t do much to make her feel better. Becka tries to tell Bill about what a nuisance Honey is being, but he dismisses her saying a LOT of things make her nervous. When he asks Becka if they’re going out Saturday, Bill gets on her case for not talking to her parents about him yet.
At this point Bill is definitely being a douchebag, but somehow it doesn’t invalidate Mrs. Norwood’s horrible behavior too. Like, it’s appearing that Becka’s parents aren’t exactly WRONG that he’s a jackass. Yet I feel they’re handling it the wrong way with Becka and it’s no wonder she’s disagreeing with them.
[Wing: Because I’ve read so many other Stine books, I’m not sure he’s supposed to be coming across as an asshole. I think we’re supposed to be fairly sympathetic with him. Which: no.]
Anyway, Becka’s mom
arrives home with groceries and Becka says she was busy with Honey Perkins. After all, Mrs. Norwood DID let Honey in before she left to do shopping…
Except Becka’s mother reveals she was out of the house all afternoon. She never even spoke to Honey.
A couple of days later, Becka and Lilah plan to ride their bikes home from school. The girls had a lot of fun decorating at Lilah’s place when Lilah notices Honey waiting for them at the bike rack. Lilah asks why Becka doesn’t tell Honey to get lost, but Becka feels sorry for her in a way.
“Sometimes I’d like to,” Becka said thoughtfully. “But then I decide she’s not so bad. I think she’s just really insecure.”
“Who isn’t?” Lilah dryly asked.
Honey appears to be checking out one of the bikes when she says hi to Becka. Of course Honey totally ignores Lilah as Becka explains they’re going bike riding. Honey muses she should get a bike too. One that’s just like Becka’s.
As the girls pedal away, Lilah brings up how dejected Honey looked when Becka said she couldn’t go home with her. Like Becka killed her dog or something. Becka explains Honey’s an extremely emotional person, one minute she’s all giggly and happy, the next she’s about to start sobbing.
The two are biking up a hill as Lilah discusses what her family plans to do on Christmas break, but things take a disastrous turn when they head downhill. Becka is unable to do anything as Lilah starts careening down the hill into the path of a truck. Lilah screams something about her brakes and loses control.
Still picking up speed, Lilah flew over her handlebars into the intersection.
Becka shut her eyes.
Then she heard a loud thump.
Followed by a sickening crunch.
Becka has no idea what happened next. It all seemed to blur together, the truck driver frantically telling the cops what happened, the pool of blood in the street, Lilah being wheeled into an ambulance. Unconscious, but she was still alive.
Replaying the scene every time she closes her eyes, Becka suddenly recalls Lilah shouting about her breaks. Looking for Lilah’s mangled bike, Becka tries to get everyone to see the rear brake cable is missing. It felt like she was talking to herself as one of the police officers attempted to calm her down, before Becka asked to be brought home.
Becka quietly tries to tell Bill over the phone what happened. She adds Lilah is in stable condition, but he asks what exactly that’s supposed to mean. Becka sadly looks back on how happy they were the previous day, and now Lilah’s in the hospital. Bill attempts to console Becka saying Lilah will be fine… and then suggests they go out Saturday night so Becka can take her mind off this.
Becka agrees without thinking, surprising Bill. She’ll just sneak out and tell her folks she’s with Trish…
That’s when Becka realized Honey is standing in the doorway to her bedroom. Did she hear everything Becka said? After Becka hangs up the phone, Honey envelops Becka in a bear hug. Naturally Honey doesn’t even answer Becka’s question as to how she got inside the house. Becka’s at least able to say she doesn’t want to talk about what happened. She wants to be left alone.
Honey only “Soothes” Becka, saying of course she doesn’t have to talk about it. As Becka’s best friend, Honey knows perfectly well how horribly Becka must feel. It’s okay, it’s okay. Honey’s here. Especially since Becka doesn’t have Lilah anymore.
Becka tells Honey to repeat what she just said, and Honey goes “I’m right here if you need me,” omitting the part about Lilah. Becka knows what Honey really said as Honey is about to leave, when it’s finally too much and Becka starts sobbing. Becka keeps telling herself not to cry, at which point Honey reappears and promises it’ll be okay. Trish enters the room, confused at the sight of Honey comforting Becka when Honey tells her now’s not a good time.
After all, Becka wants to be alone.
Honey drags Trish out of the room, and all Becka can do is cry.
Come Saturday night, Becka and Bill are making out in Bill’s car. They’re parked overlooking the Conononka River and it’s the first time in ages Becka’s able to relax. She tries to tell Bill about how horrible things have been, lying to her parents, Lilah in the hospital, and of course Honey. Becka explains she simply hasn’t had the energy or desire to start screaming and fighting with her parents about Bill. She figures they’d change their minds after the yelling stops, but she honestly doesn’t want a fight.
Becka then starts explaining how annoying and smothering Honey’s been. She doesn’t understand how Honey’s concocted this elaborate fantasy about the two of them being best friends when they barely knew each other. IF they knew each other at all. Since Lilah’s accident, Honey’s gotten worse. She calls all the time, is dropping by Becka’s house as much as possible, follows her to school and home again.
Bill tells Becka to calm down but she can’t help it, with all the hugging and sad eyes. Becka still hasn’t gotten her blouse back, and when she asked Honey about it the girl acted like she had no clue what Becka was talking about. When asked why she doesn’t tell Honey to get lost, Becka explains she has a hard time hurting peoples’ feelings on purpose. And besides, Honey only listens to what she WANTS to hear. Not to mention her unpredictable moods and how intense she is about everything. She INSISTS on doing everything Becka does. Honey will even bring the exact same lunch Becka has to school!
Becka doesn’t appreciate how Bill thinks this is funny. Trish is the same way, and the Norwoods are even worse. They just LOVE Honey because she’s always sucking up to them. Now Becka can’t even get her parents to believe her when she talks about what a pest Honey is. They always side with Honey!
Attempting to change the subject, Bill asks how Lilah is doing. Becka visited her in the hospital and they had a nice, long talk. But things got a little strange. It seems the day before the accident, Honey asked Lilah a lot of questions. Questions about her bike…
Bill skeptically asks if Becka honestly believes Honey was responsible for Lilah’s accident. Like would Honey really try to kill Lilah just because she’s Becka’s friend? Well they can just ask Honey because SHE’S WATCHING THEM!
Becka thinks she sees Honey outside of the car, spying on them. Before Bill can stop her, Becka runs out of the car and into the woods, only to find she was startled by a red kerchief snagged on a tree branch. Becka points to this little incident as proof of how much Honey has her wound up.
The following Monday Becka is feeling horrible. Her temperature’s over 101 and she’s burning up. Mrs. Norwood’s letting her stay home but apologizes for being unable to stay with her all day. Loaded up with Tylenol and hot tea, Becka’s content to simply sleep in. Oh but also Honey offered to grab Becka’s homework for. Isn’t that nice of her?
For the rest of the day Becka sleeps and has some surreal nightmares about Lilah, Honey, and the bike accident. When she wakes up she gets a phone call from Trish, who’s surprised Becka actually answered. I mean, considering Honey told everyone at school Becka had been hospitalized because of a complete breakdown, that’s understandable.
This wakes Becka right up, who has to explain to Trish she only got a virus. Trish tells her Honey was going around saying Lilah’s accident totally messed Becka up, and Becka can’t believe she did that. Trish is sure Honey probably got her details mixed up. Yeah…
Anyway, the girls talk about Trish’s Christmas party. Turns out her parents won’t be supervising, so Becka can see Bill without Trisha’s folks telling Becka’s. They mention Lilah and how long it might take for her leg to properly recovery. It sucks she’ll be missing the party. Before she goes, Trish asks if Becka saw Honey yet, but decides not to ruin the “Surprise.”
[Wing: Trish, considering how weirded out you were when Honey first turned up, you are being far too accomodating of her now.]
Becka doesn’t have to wonder for long what that meant when she hears Honey from downstairs. Because apparently the Norwoods never lock their doors. [Wing: Pretty standard for small towns back then (and sometimes even today). If I lived in Shadyside, though, I’d have it triple bolted.] Becka’s determined to ask why Honey lied about her when she sees what Trish was alluding to. Honey’s cut her hair and it looks EXACTLY like Becka’s!
That night Becka gets another phone call from Honey, desperately trying to convince Becka that Trish is a liar and worried Becka hates her new hairstyle. Honey’s jabbering grates so much on Becka’s virus-addled head she says practically anything just to make Honey shut up. By the end of the phone call, Becka’s so upset by Honey it takes her two hours to fall asleep.
Becka’s feeling better the next day and is able to go school. At her locker Becka runs into her other friend, Cari Taylor, and she’s pretty surprised to see her. Becka bluntly admits she had a virus, much to Cari’s relief who’d heard something… different. That’s all Becka needs to confirm Honey’s a sneaky little liar. While heading into class, Cari says she’s gonna be skiing with Reva Dalby (Of the “Silent Night” books) and Mr. Dalby in Aspen. Becka says her family will probably have other a million relatives like they always do and is sorry Cari’s leaving before Trish’s party.
In class, Becka feels her blood go cold when she gets a look at Honey.
Honey, with her matching hairstyle.
Honey, wearing Becka’s blouse.
Honey, wearing Becka’s favorite pin.
Not helping is how the other kids seem to be staring at Becka, no doubt because they all thought she was in a mental hospital somewhere. Sinking into her seat, Becka’s chided by Honey for coming in if she’s still not feeling well. Honey would’ve been perfectly happy to get Becka’s homework again. She’d take care of everything. EVERYTHING.
During lunchtime, Becka takes a walk with Trish outside the cafeteria because she doesn’t have the appetite to eat with Honey staring at her. Walking around the football field, Becka asks what she can do to stop Honey from ruining her life any further. Trish bluntly answers they’ll have to kill her. Becka’s in such a bad state of mind, she honestly thinks Trish was being sincere. Once they get to the parking lot, Becka’s really considering murdering Honey because get this. Honey is walking hand in hand with Eric Fraser, and they’re kissing! Honey’s even after Becka’s ex-boyfriends!
Becka can’t believe how far Honey is going in copying her, but Trish keeps telling her to calm down. Like this ISN’T disgusting. Trish informs Becka the best thing she can do is be honest with Honey and tell her to fuck off. And she advises her not to make paranoid accusations about Lilah’s accident. Just keep calm and tell Honey to go fuck herself.
When Honey sees Becka and runs up to her, Becka decides to follow Trish’s advice.
“Can I join you?” Honey asked Becka.
Becka shook her head. “Not now, Honey. I really want to have a private talk with Trish.”
“Yeah,” Becka replied coldly.
Honey’s mouth dropped open. Her gray eyes narrowed. “What’s going on Becka?” she demanded, sounding hurt. “There’s nothing you can’t share with your best friend.”
“That’s why I’m talking to Trish!” Becka said pointedly.
Honey’s face briefly goes red before she mutters something about seeing Becka inside and runs away. Becka’s regretting saying that, out of fear Honey’s now going to do something to Trish. Trish shrugs asking what could Honey possibly do?
Inside the school, it looks like Honey didn’t waste any time. Becka’s locker has been broken into and all her stuff’s been destroyed. Figuring who was behind this, Becka goes into the girls’ room to vent and is surprised to find Honey huddled over one of the sinks. It looks like Honey’s been crying, but Becka doesn’t care. She starts accusing Honey of messing with her locker, but Honey claims not to know what Becka’s talking about.
Crying, Honey asks why Becka’s being so mean to her today, first with Trish and then about her locker. Becka snarls at Honey to stay away from her belongings, and Honey thinks this is about Eric. Honey goes back to checking her new hairdo in the mirror and reminds Becka she broke up with Eric. Becka finally tells Honey how she REALLY feels.
“I’m telling you, Honey, it isn’t Eric. It’s everything else!” Becka said.
“Now what are you talking about?” Honey asked, bewildered.
“Everything else,” Becka repeated. “I want you to stay away from my house! Stay away from my room! Stay away from my friends!”
Honey cringed, a wounded expression twisting her features. “You, you can’t talk to me that way, Becka! You can’t!” Her expression quickly became angry, her gray eyes burning into Becka’s. “I’m your best friend! Your best friend!”
And that’s when Honey pulls out a gun from her jacket!
Becka screams as Honey aims the gun at Becka and… squirts her with water.
Laughing, Honey declares she got Becka again and asks what happened to her sense of humor. Honey goes into another false account on their childhood, how they’d squirt each other with water pistols and get Miss Martin all angry. Becka starts screaming none of that ever happened, to which Honey casually responds Becka simply doesn’t remember is all.
Becka’s so upset she goes over to Bill’s house later that day. Having lied to her parents she was going to Trish’s, Becka starts to unload about Honey and how awful things have been. Once again, Bill tries to tell Becka to calm down because she’s acting crazy, even as Becka tells him about Honey turning into her mirror image. And sure enough, Becka’s mom still thinks Honey is the greatest thing evar. They even got into a really bad fight about Honey. Which makes sense considering how much ass Honey’s been kissing to please Becka’s parents. She’s got them wrapped around her finger.
As Becka tells Bill about this afternoon, he asks if she heard what happened. Turns out some guys broke into the school and messed up a bunch of lockers. Which means Honey really DID have nothing to do with that particular incident. That’s just gonna make Honey even more insufferable, and people are gonna keep thinking Becka’s a complete psycho.
Bill says Becka’s being a bit unfair to Honey, causing Becka to think about how Honey’s always trying to calm HER down. Maybe, she thinks, Honey believes BECKA is the unhinged one. Yet she still wants to be Becka’s best friend.
Becka, Becka no. Jesus the number being done on this girl.
But then Bill makes the mistake of saying Honey’s not that bad. She’s even kind of cute. Becka immediately asks what that is supposed to mean.
“Did she ever come on to you?” Becka demanded.
“You heard me. Did Honey ever come on to you?”
Bill turned his eyes back to the carpet. “Maybe,” he said softly. “But it was no big deal.”
DUMP HIS ASS.
Becka immediately leaves and tries driving around to clear her head, to forget about Honey and all the awful things happening to her. She gets back at 10 PM, and is shocked to find her mom waiting up for her. Who then reveals she knows Becka’s been sneaking around with Bill.
If Becka wanted to avoid a fight, that’s not happening any time soon. Mother and daughter finally come to blows about this, and even with Bill being an asshole Mrs. Norwood still comes across as a dick.
“Becka, Becka. You already had your heart broken once by that boy.”
“Mom, that isn’t fair!” Becka screamed, advancing on her mother.
The only reason she had her heart broken at all is because you forced Becka to stop seeing him! Why is everyone trying to gaslight this girl?!
Becka screams she knew her parents would never give Bill another chance no matter how much he changed and asks what her mom would’ve done. Mrs. Norwood haughtily declares SHE would’ve followed the rules instead of lying. Becka knew this would happen, because whenever they have a fight Becka gets more emotional and less coherent as her mom gets colder and colder.
Mrs. Norwood decides Becka is grounded. No car, no friends, no going out at night. No Christmas party.
Becka runs into her room and cries on her bed, when she realizes the window is open and someone’s inside the room with her. Surprise surprise, it’s Honey. Honey claims she sneaked in without Mrs. Norwood knowing. This is how frazzled Becka is by this point.
This can’t be happening, Becka thought. Honey hasn’t moved in? Has she? Has she moved into my room? Is she taking over my entire life?
Honey shushes Becka, and reveals she stopped by earlier and simply pretended she left. She’s been hiding inside Becka’s room all this time, waiting for Becka to come home. SHE WAS WATCHING BECKA WHILE SHE CRIED.
Honey says they did it all the time when they were kids, like when Honey hid in Becka’s attic closet. Becka doesn’t HAVE an attic closet. Honey explains she stuck around to apologize, because she “Accidentally” told Mrs. Norwood about Bill. It just slipped out, Becka. Honey pleads for forgiveness from her best friend.
Becka turned to Honey, her expression hard and cold. “You’re not my friend, Honey,” she said through clenched teeth.
Honey jumped back as if she’d been slapped. “Huh?”
“You’re not my best friend,” Becka said, her voice trembling with rage. “You’re not my best friend and you’re not my friend. Trish and Lilah are my friends. Trish and Lilah are my best friends. My only friends.”
Honey stared at Becka thoughtfully, as if she were weighing Becka’s words carefully.
But her face revealed no emotion at all.
And when she finally spoke, her tone was bright and cheerful, as if she hadn’t heard Becka’s hurtful words.
“Oh. By the way,” Honey said, winking at Becka. “I broke up with Eric today. Just like you did.”
Jesus Christ this girl is terrifying.
Miraculously, Becka’s father managed to talk Mrs. Norwood into letting Becka go to Trish’s party. Considering they haven’t let her go anywhere else. At least it gave her time to finish that sweater for her cousin. Trish’s house is really decked out for the occasion and there must be half of Shadyside High attending.
A glowing fire cast soft orange light from the fireplace. Large stockings filled with candy canes hung down from the mantel beneath a beautiful Christmas wreath of pine boughs and cones.
An enormous Christmas tree, which touched the ceiling, shimmered in the corner. Its red and white lights twinkled on and off. Dozens of red ribbon bows were tied all along the branches. Silver tinsel made the tree glitter as if it were draped with thousands of sparkling diamonds.
She’s even playing the Guns ‘n Roses Christmas album, which I honestly did not know was a thing.
[Wing: Is it a thing? Where’s Dove when we need her?]
Becka looks for Bill while she hears Ricky Schorr complaining about the lack of beer. How can you have a Christmas party without beer? Meanwhile I’m surprised he even wanted to come considering what happened at the last party he attended…
Deena Martinson runs into Becka while trying to find her best friend Jade (both of them the main characters of “The Wrong Number”) and compliments her on her skirt. Deena thinks it’s sexy and she looks great. And she, um, heard Becka had been-
Becka cuts her off as she finds Bill. The evening looks like it’s going pretty well as Becka dances with Bill and relaxes…
Until Honey shows up, dressed exactly like Becka and saying they’re twins. Twins! So different yet so similar! [Wing: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, is that you?] Becka is reeling as Honey talks about how lucky she was to find the exact same skirt in the shop Becka purchased her’s from. Doesn’t she look great?
Becka can’t restrain herself and she lets loose on Honey once again, not caring who hears her. Why should she, since people are already pointing and laughing at her because Honey’s dressed just like her.
“Honey, leave me alone!” she shrieked.
Some couples stopped dancing and turned to see what the fuss was about.
“Becka, please! Calm down,” Honey said.
“Go away! Leave me alone!” Becka screamed. “You’re not my best friend, Honey. You’re not even my friend!”
“Becka, please!” Honey pleaded, embarrassed.
“You’re not my friend! You’re not! Trish and Lilah are my friends, not you!”
“You look ridiculous!” Becka screamed, gesturing with both hands to Honey’s outfit. “You look gross! You look – pitiful!”
“Calm down, Becka. Everyone’s looking!” Honey begged.
“Go away and I’ll calm down. Go away, Honey! Leave me alone! I don’t want to see you anymore!”
Honey goes pale, then her face turns red. She looks angry. REALLY angry. But then she turns around and runs off without saying anything. Leaving everyone staring and muttering about Becka, like why they were dressed alike and how they heard Becka was in a nut house.
UGH now I remember why I didn’t re-read this book for so long. I hate these kinds of scenes, where the protagonist confronts the bad guy but they just end up getting embarrassed and shamed by a crowd.
Becka tries to find Bill when she notices Trish at the top of the stairs. She seems to be holding a big Yule log cake on a silver tray. Trish is coming down… and Honey’s right behind her.
It took Becka a brief moment to realize that Trish was falling, toppling headfirst down the steep stairs.
A piercing shriek escaped Trish. The horrifying sound followed her all the way down.
The tray hit first, clattering loudly on the hardwood floor.
And then Trish landed with a sickening crack.
At first everyone is silent, and then someone screams. Trish is lying on the ground, her head bent at an odd angle. No one’s sure if she’s alive. Becka feels like she’s weighed down by cement as she tries to see if Trish is okay while someone cries about calling 911. That’s when Becka looks up and sees Honey watching everyone with an odd expression on her face. As soon as Honey realizes Becka is looking at her, the waterworks turn on. She sobs she offered to help Trish carry the cake down with her because it was so heavy. She tried to stop Trish from falling. She tried…
Deena Martinson checks Trish’s pulse and discovers she’s still breathing, but irregularly. Trish begins to let out gasps of air, almost like she’s sobbing. Becka turns around to find Honey placing her arm around Becka’s shoulder, promising it’ll be okay. She still has Honey. Honey’s not going anywhere.
Becka screams Honey pushed Trish down the stairs and tries to get away from her, running out of the house and into two police officers. Becka keeps screaming Honey did it before she faints.
Becka comes to in bed, in her house. Her mother and a doctor, Dr. Klein, are with her, watching over her. Becka realize it’s morning and she somehow stayed unconscious the entire night. She’s told Trish is alive, but her neck is broken and she’s in the hospital. The shock of the accident was too much for Becka, they say. Dr. Klein suggests Becka stay in bed for a couple of days because of everything that’s happened.
The moment Becka learns Honey is calling, she flips out. She begs her mother not to let Honey call, or see her, or speak to her. ANYTHING. Dr. Klein agrees no calls would be best, but you can tell Mrs. Norwood thinks Becka’s acting hysterical even if she says she won’t let Honey in. In the meantime, Dr. Klein prescribes mild tranquilizers to help Becka relax until all this is over. Becka automatically assumes the doctor and her mom believe she’s crazy. Dr. Klein gently explains he believes she’s been through something horrific and is still in a state of shock. It will pass, though.
[Wing: This entire plot makes me want to burn things to the ground.]
Becka spends the next few days in and out of consciousness. One minute she starts sobbing about Trish and her mom, for once, genuinely comforts her. No matter how much she cries, Becka doesn’t feel better. She IS able to call Lilah and Trish at the hospital (not sure if they’re in the same one). Lilah’s feeling more talkative and much better, but Trish is still weak. She unfortunately doesn’t remember what happened, and Becka wishes she could make this all stop.
One evening, Mrs. Norwood has to leave for an hour and asks if Becka will be okay. Left alone, Becka can only stew in misery at how horrible her life is. The pills make her depression worse, and her friends are all hurt and in the hospital. She’s all alone.
So guess who calls a couple of hours later?
Honey’s all perky and happy as she talks to Becka on the phone, while Becka thinks of how unhappy she’s become because of Honey. Becka gets chided for the things she said to Honey at the party. Is that any way to talk to your best friend? But she’s got a surprise for Becka that’s gonna make EVERYTHING better. It’s at Honey’s house so come on over and get your surprise, Becka!
And that’s when Becka is sure she hears Bill’s voice in the background.
Horrified, partially delirious, Becka struggles to get dressed out of fear for what Honey’s done this time. Why did she hear Bill’s voice? As she gets dressed, Becka looks outside her window for the first time in ages. She hasn’t even had the strength to look outside her room!
Becka heads outside in the cold and snow and goes to Honey’s house, feeling like absolute shit, when she looks in Honey’s window and screams. Bill is with Honey, who’s wearing another sweater owned by Becka, and her parrot pin, and they look so… happy together. They’re even holding hands! Are they? Becka’s head is swimming, enraged and horrified. After everything Honey’s stolen from her, she’s not getting Bill too!
Bursting into the kitchen, Becka grabs a knife off Honey’s kitchen table. Bill and Honey are happy to see her and Honey even cries “Surprise!” before they see the knife. Becka’s overcome with rage as she raises the knife and is going to stab Honey-!
But after being in bed for so long, spending most of her time in a daze and taking pills, fatigue sweeps over Becka. She’s exerted herself too quickly and passes out. Bill turns on Honey after Becka passes out, angry as fuck Honey lied to him. Honey told him Becka KNEW he was over here, that she was coming over to see him!
Bill tries to help Becka when Honey grabs him and throws him back. She starts screaming at Bill to stay away from Becka, her best friend. Bill is horrified by the way Honey’s acting, saying Becka might be hurt and needs help. Honey doesn’t care, grabbing the knife off the floor and screaming Becka is her best friend.
Her best friend!
HER BEST FRIEND!
Bill tries to get the knife away from Honey, wrestling with her when the knife pierces his chest!
Honey watches as Bill slumps to floor, the bloody knife still in her hand. She starts to panic fearing what’ll happen to her now. What can she do?
And then she places the knife in Becka’s hand.
Becka slowly starts to get up as she hears Honey assuring her everything will be okay. She sees Bill on the floor and the knife in her hand and Becka asks what happened. What did she do? Honey keeps whispering and promising she’s not going to let the police take Becka away. She won’t get in trouble for killing Bill. They’ll make up a story, that’s it. They’ll tell the police Becka had to kill Bill in self defense. Because that’s what best friends do for each other.
“I’ll them you did it in self-defense, Becka,” Honey said softly. “They won’t have to know the truth. They’ll never have to know you stabbed Bill. Because I’ll protect you. I’ll protect you from now on. Because I’m your best friend. I’m your best friend, and I’m your only friend, aren’t I. Becka? Aren’t I? Aren’t I your best friend? Aren’t I? Of course I am. I’m your best best friend. And I will never let them know what you did to Bill. Never. Never never.”
“Thank you, Honey,” Becka whispered gratefully.
NO WONDER EVERYONE HATED THAT ENDING.
The publishing company ended up holding a contest where people could write in an appropriate way to end Honey’s role in the story after she escaped punishment. I can only imagine how much backlash the book must’ve received when it first came out. But keep in mind the sequel didn’t come out until years later, when they redesigned the logo the first time. Stine’s even said this was the one Fear Street book that didn’t have a happy ending…
Of course that’s not exactly true. A lot of books, like “The Rich Girl,” had downer endings.
Honey Perkins has got to be the most vile, loathsome villain I can recall reading in these books. And this book genuinely terrified me by how she systematically destroyed Becka’s life. Because this isn’t the typical “I want your boyfriend” routine or “I’m so jealous you’re hotter than me” thing. This was evil, pure and simple.
Another reason why Honey scares me so much is I’m often terrified of turning out like her. Her smothering, clinging, and desperation to please Becka in that backhanded, self serving way. I honestly think of myself as a rather manipulative, underhanded person who’s constantly using people to get free shit, even when I’m consciously trying not to. Reading about people like Honey makes me even more terrified that I’m a bad person and friend.
Becka I feel for because it’s clear to me, even before this started, she suffers from some type of anxiety. And it gets her degraded and mocked by everyone telling her she has to calm down. Her parents are awful and Bill’s no prize himself, but she gets stuck between them. “I’m a better guy as I try to pressure you into dating me” says Bill. “He broke your heart even though we forced you to dump him and are making you believe it was all his fault” says her parents. Trish is no help as she makes light of what Honey’s doing, even as she tells Becka to be honest. Is it any wonder Honey’s gaslighting worked so well on Becka? She was ALREADY suffering from it!
The scariest thing about Honey Perkins is how she simply didn’t introduce herself to Becka like many of these stories go. She barges into Becka’s life while spewing fabrications about their childhood, smothering her and keeping Becka reeling so she can manipulate her further. The worst part? WE STILL HAVE NO IDEA IF BECKA EVER KNEW HONEY. There’s no confirmation the girl they saw in the photo actually was Honey, or if they were remembering someone else. Honey could’ve been a complete stranger, and Becka had no way to prove it.
[Wing: I love Becka. This story is horrifying and terrible, but for once, I mean it in the very best way. Stine does a damn good job with the claustrophobic feel of a smothering friend and even worse when she and everyone else is gaslighting Becka. I can see why people wanted a sequel with a more satisfying ending, but I kind of love that this ends in a frightening place even though I hate false accusation stories and generally won’t read them.]