Jill, Andrea, Diane, Max, and Nick want get out of taking a superhard Geography test. What can they possibly do, since apparently into not an option to study or to track down someone who has a copy of the test from last year?
If you said accidentally start a fire in the school library so that the test gets cancelled, congratulations! You could be the star of an R.L. Stine novel!
The day after the fire, school is still a bore. Our group of friends, who are all gymnasts for some reason, want to get out of class so that they can hang out with Gabe, the supercool new kid who has an odd fascination with burning things. What’s the best way to get out of school? How about blowing up the boy’s bathroom? Not only does that cause classes to get canceled but everyone now gets to hang out on Fear Island!
R.L. Stine’s 1991 book, The Fire Game, is all about people like to set fires. Admittedly, the book doesn’t really go into the reasons why these people are so obsessed with fire. For the most part, it’s just something that they do because they’re not imaginative to come up with any other way to skip school. (Has no one ever heard of faking not feeling well? When I was in high school, all I had to do was say the word “cramps” and the gym teacher would practically escort me off campus and tell me not to come back for a week. It’s not that difficult.) Anyway, eventually a house burns down on Fear Street and all the members of the Fire Club are like, “Wait! We didn’t do that!” It looks like someone is trying to frame the arsonists!
The main problem with this book is found in the last sentence of this paragraph. Yes, the Fire Club is, more or less, innocent of burning down that house and killing the homeless man who was living inside. But, they’re still a group of people who DELIBERATELY SET FIRES! It’s like, “Okay, it sucks you’re being framed for that one fire but how about all the ones you actually started?” Not a single lesson is learned and usually, I’m in favor of that but in this case, our heroes are actually doing something that could kill someone or something.
Still, even if there’s absolutely no one to really root for in this book, it’s hard not to be a little impressed by the fact that R.L. Stine felt that gymnastics and pyromania would be a natural combination. Though the majority of the book is Stine on autopilot, arsonist gymnasts is at least an interesting concept. Plus, Arsonist Gymnasts sounds like it would be a great band name.