Children's Fiction · Novels · Reviews

31 Horror Goosebumps Books: Mini Reviews

Hi friends, happy Thursday! I hope you’re all well. If you’ve been following my blog for some time, or in the last month, you’ll have heard that I decided to challenge myself by reading an R.L. Stine, Goosebumps book a day for the month of October… and I did just that. So today I’m going to be posting my mini reviews of the books I read.

Before I get started I just wanted to state that some of these books hold up, while some just do not. It was a fun experience, and I kinda want to do it again next year, since this year was such a success. Another thing I picked up on while reading these was he liked to give his characters red hair, a dog that was usually a collie, and the bad guys always wore death metal t-shirts (as if that makes them more of a bad boy 😂). The plots usually progressed because the main character liked to annoy another character for no good reason (I thought that got annoying fast).

Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps #1) Amanda and her family have mysteriously come to inherit an old house. Upon moving in, strange things keep happening and the kids around town are not who they appear to be. Overall, this was a spooky tale full of ghosts, mystery and intrigue. The plot was fast paced and had the reader guessing; it was unique and they enjoyed the concept. There were moments in the middle that dragged a bit, but the story played out well all the way until the end that was just as bone chilling as the beginning.

Monster Blood (Goosebumps #3) Evan is sent to his aunt’s house when his parents need to look for a house. While there, he meets Andy and the two of them find Monster Blood at a toy store, only this slimy goop is more than a toy. It took a little bit to get into the story and the plot. Aside from being slightly dated, this wasn’t scary, it was more of a fun, thrilling read as the main characters tried to figure out what they were going to do with this monster blood. Stine put in enough details so that things didn’t just happen out of nowhere. The ending at first felt like it was going to be anticlimactic, but it turned out to have a decent ending. The reader knew the aunt was involved somehow, they just weren’t sure how and it looked like Stine tried to make it so you wouldn’t figure it out. Overall, this was a fun read. 

Say Cheese and Die! (Goosebumps #4) When Greg and his friends break into an abandoned house and steal a camera – the camera does more harm they know how to explain. This was a gripping story that was so fast paced it was easy to read in one sitting. It was a little info dumpy in the beginning and the end but the middle was done really well. Stine did a great job of creating good characters that were memorable. 

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (Goosebumps #5) Gabe travels with his parents to Egypt. When they have to go somewhere for work he’s left with his uncle and cousin, where they get up to trouble in the pyramids. The plot to this one wasn’t that strong; it took a lot to keep the reader engaged. The pacing was spot on though, it left the reader’s heart racing as adventure after adventure ensued. Overall, a decent read. 

Let’s Get Invisible! (Goosebumps #6) Max and his friends find a magic mirror that can turn a person invisible with the pull of a switch. But after one too many times, Max gets a funny feeling as his friends come back slightly changed. This story had a lot of build up; it felt like it took some time to really get to the heart of the story. Near the end the reader felt a little impatient as to what was truly the point, but Stine really pulled this one off. The ending had the reader gasping out loud; it was possibly the perfect ending, so subtle yet spooky.

Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps #7) Twins, Kris and Lindy, share everything. When Lindy finds a ventriloquist dummy, Kris decides she wants one too… only be careful what you wish for as they may not look as they seem. This story had good pacing and kept the reader captivated throughout. It was an engaging story but it didn’t feel super spooky. There were creepy elements but for the most part this was just an okay read. This one tried to pull off a creepy ending, but it wasn’t as shocking as it could have been. The characters in this one also didn’t help this story, they just kind of annoyed the reader. Overall, this was just an okay read. 

The Girl Who Cried Monster (Goosebumps #8) Lucy loves monster stories and enjoys frightening her younger brother. But when Lucy forgets her skates at the library she returns to see their librarian turn into a monster. Now she has to convince everyone it’s true, but they won’t believe her. This was a fun, spooky story that the reader enjoyed until about the end. The characters and plot were good, as well as the pacing. But as the novel started coming up to the end the pacing felt off because it didn’t feel like the story was ending. The way this one ended was strange and unexpected. Stine has a way of ending his novels this way and usually it’s done well, but this felt like it came out of nowhere making it a rushed and need to over explain ending. The rest of the story was so good and the whole build up was scary, but the ending felt lacklustre at best. 

Welcome to Camp Nightmare (Goosebumps #9) Billy has been sent to Camp Nightmoon, his first sleepaway camp. He’s a little nervous and as time goes on strange things keep happening and his bunk-mates keep disappearing. This kept the reader actively engaged as strange thing after strange thing kept happening. There wasn’t ever a dull moment and the characters were strange themselves which gave off this truly creepy vibe. The ending was comical but once it really sunk in it became truly horrifying, moreso as a adult reading this, than a kid. 

The Ghost Next Door (Goosebumps #10) Hannah has met her new neighbour, Danny, but she has no memory of him moving in. Strange things keep happening that lead her to believe her new neighbour is a ghost. This was chilling yes, but this story also had heart. The story strayed away from typical horror. At first the reader was really invested and they liked the little clues left to figure out the true mystery. After a while the reader couldn’t figure out where the story was going but the end was truly beautiful. It was fast paced and heart racing, yet the moral and point of the story came out and it was really well done and full of heart. The only thing the reader didn’t like was how disability was represented as a tool to progress the plot, otherwise this was a good novel.

The Haunted Mask (Goosebumps #11) Carly Beth is tired of being the scaredy-cat of the group, so this Halloween she has a plan to get them all back… by using a mask that is so scary it could even scare herself. The chapters in this novel were super short which helped move the plot and had the reader flipping the pages so quickly. The story was intriguing, even if it was a little on the predictable side, the reader still enjoyed this. 

Piano Lessons Can Be Murder (Goosebumps #13) When Jerry and his parents move into a new house, they find an abandoned piano where Jerry begins lessons… that end up stranger than he could ever predict. This was fast paced and well told. The plot was interesting and had the reader invested throughout. Some parts in the middle were kinda slow, but it didn’t last long. It wasn’t too scary but just enough to give the reader a bit of a fright. 

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (Goosebumps #14) When Grady and his family move to Florida for their parents’ science experiments things start to get weird. Animals and people alike keep getting attacked or killed and everyone thinks it’s Grady’s new dog Wolf, but Grady knows better. This one was kinda boring. Stine ended every chapter pretty much on a cliff hanger to try and get the reader invested in the story, but if anything, it made it annoying and the reader was tired of the guessing that by the end they just wanted to know what was going on. The suspense didn’t hold and there wasn’t anything that really interested the reader throughout. The very last page was good; Stine is a master at giving all his stories really good endings so this story had that going for it. 

You Can’t Scare Me (Goosebumps #15) Eddie and his friends are tired of how brave Courtney is, so to prove that she can get scared, they try to prank her. Again and again they try, but they keep failing. This novel felt repetitive after a while. It was interesting to see the different tactics they try. Even though this was a short book, it felt really long with all the trials. The reader found themselves bored and less scared; the idea wasn’t the best and even the ending couldn’t save this one.

One Day at Horrorland (Goosebumps #16) Lizzy and her family stumble upon a amusement park called Horrorland after getting lost. Thinking everything is fun and games until things start to get really spooky and they must leave the park to save their lives. This was a fast paced and thrilling read. The atmosphere was chilling and fun. The concept of a monster amusement park was spooky as different attractions did different things and Stine is really good at adding little details to make it scarier and believable. This one had a great setting and great plots. 

Why I’m Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps #17) Gary has, what he thinks, is a terrible life. He gets bullied, he’s not good at sports and his family laugh at him. All he wants is to live a different life. When that opportunity presents itself, Gary jumps on it, but things don’t go the way they were supposed to. This concept for a novel was interesting and for the most part creative. The way Stine used the main character’s fear to move the plot along and to face his fears was really good. There were funny moments as well as really heartfelt moments and it was a good balance. The lesson that Gary learns was a good one. That whole will he, won’t he type plot was exciting and the reader was curious to see how it would all end as they had no idea how it would play out, and as always it played out well. 

Deep Trouble (Goosebumps #19) Billy and his sister Sheena are spending time with their uncle, Dr. D, on his boat while he conducts science experiments. When he’s asked to look for a mermaid, Billy can’t wait to jump at the opportunity for glory…  but is it all worth it? The plot to this held some excitement and some suspense, but it wasn’t truly terrifying. This one definitely had a good morale to it and the lesson that Billy learned was important. Aside from that, this was entertaining with some good, shady characters to spice it up. 

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight (Goosebumps #20) Jodie and her brother Mark always go to visit their grandparents on their farm every summer, but this summer something is different. Everyone is acting strange, even the scarecrows are acting strange… but why? This had such a spooky vibe; the reader really liked the atmosphere and the plot was addicting too. The reader didn’t know where the story was going to go and that was what made it even more thrilling. The reasoning behind why the things were happening wasn’t the greatest – but for a children’s book, it made sense and brought a lesson about laughing at others. 

Go Eat Worms! (Goosebumps #21) Todd loves to dig up worms and keep them in his basement. One day when he cuts a worm in half, they start to stare at him and start showing up in all kinds of places. This one wasn’t scary, it was more gross than anything else the way the worms were used as a plot device. It was fast-paced, but the way things unfolded felt kind of out of nowhere and just really random. The reader had a hard time getting over the worms, so trying to focus on the story was hard. This one isn’t for people who are squeamish. 

Ghost Beach (Goosebumps #22) Jerry and his sister, Terri, are off spending some time with their cousins in a beach town when they hear about the ghosts who haunt the beach. Despite the warnings, both of them need to solve the mystery once and for all. This book had such spooky, chilling vibes; not only did it deal with ghosts, but it took place on  a beach at night in the rain to give it that extra chill factor. It was fun to try and work out the mystery and the ending was done just right. The reader had suspicions about the end, so it was fun to know they were right. 

Phantom of the Auditorium (Goosebumps #24) Brooke and her best friend Zeke have landed the main roles in their school play, The Phantom. But when an old ghost story about the origins of the play start swirling, weird things start happening that might cancel the play. The setting for this one was another cool and fun spot for a spooky story. The plot was entertaining and the red herring that Stine used to throw off the reader was really clever. It really made the reader think about who could be doing all the weird things. As always the ending was so well done; it was chilling and exhilarating. 

Attack of the Mutant (Goosebumps #25) Skipper loves his comics; one day when he accidentally misses his stop on the bus he sees a place that looks just like the villain’s secret headquarters in his favourite comic book. Determined to check it out, things start to take drastic turns and he gets more out of his comic than he ever thought possible. This was a fun story that wasn’t scary, but it was thrilling to see where it was all going to go. Bit by bit the plot progression was so well done because the reader had no idea what it was really leading up to and true character motives. This one was more of a mind bender that was exciting and exhilarating to read. 

Night of the Living Dummy 2 (Goosebumps #31) Amy has a passion for being a ventriloquism but when her old dummy keeps falling apart, her dad buys her a new one… Slappy. It’s the return of Slappy, this time he’s the evil ventriloquist dummy. For the most part, the pacing of events was good but the reader just can’t get into these stories. All of the characters are treated like dirt as Slappy says and does mean things all to show that he’s an evil dummy come to life. It was infuriating to read and tiresome after no one believes Amy in her attempts to tell the truth. This was slightly spooky but it was more annoying than scary. Stine did manage to give this a good ending though. 

The Barking Ghost (Goosebumps #32) Cooper and his family have just moved into a new house, secluded in the woods. When he hears dogs barking at night no one, but his new friend Fergie, believe him. It’s up to them to prove they exist and that the house is haunted. This was a lot of fun to read. It had the reader on the edge of their seat the entire time. There was no way anyone could predict what was going to happen next. The pacing was really good this time around and just when you thought you knew where this was going to end, nope. Stine pulled another one of his classic great endings to spook the reader. 

The Haunted Mask II (Goosebumps #36) Steve is determined to scare the little first graders who are a terror. Halloween rolls around and he knows the mask Carly Beth had last year was frightening so he wants to know where she got it. Carly Beth warns Steve, but it’s not enough for him to have his own night of terror. This was another fun novel; this followed the same premise as the first story by the same name. This time things were a little different and the way Stine chose to end this one differed so that gave the reader a fright as they had no idea what or how this was going to end. This was enjoyable, some parts of the plot had holes but overlooking them, this was a good spooky, story. 

How I Got My Shrunken Head (Goosebumps #39) Mark loves the jungle and has for as long as he can remember. When a mysterious lady, who says she’s a friend of his aunt Benna, comes to town she gives him a shrunken head, luring him to the jungle where his aunt works. Once there, things are not how they seem. Overall, this was a fun adventure. The plot took on so many twists and turns that the reader had no idea where anything was going to go. There was character betrayal that really made the novel turn. This wasn’t scary but it was thrilling and really entertaining.

Night of the Living Dummy 3 (Goosebumps #40) Trina and Dan’s dad used to have a ventriloquist act, but now the dummies stay up in the attic as a sort of museum. But when Slappy joins the collection, things get strange and dummies keep showing up in strange places. This was actually a decent Slappy book. This one didn’t revolve around yelling obscenities and unnecessary mean things at the characters. Instead, dummies just kind of started appearing in places and having Slappy come to life without really talking much. The plot was good and it did have the reader questioning who was behind everything since the characters weren’t always truthful and some were highly suspicious. The reader enjoyed the ending, and of course this isn’t the end of Slappy.

Bad Hare Day (Goosebumps #41) Tim’s dream is to become a magician. When his all-time favourite hero, Amaz-O comes to town, Tim is desperate to go and see him. Things start to take a turn when he becomes part of the act and he realizes who the true Amaz-O is. This was a fun story with a lot of exciting twists and turns. The plot was fast-paced and kept the reader engaged as the characters set out to do things they knew they shouldn’t be – that really kept the story on edge. The way this ended didn’t feel resolved and the reader didn’t like the way it ended. It felt rushed and it didn’t really make sense. It did in one aspect, but not in another. The story was doing so well until that last chapter; the reader was shocked to find there was only one chapter left and that it jumped years into the future. Stine is great at endings, but this one didn’t work. 

Egg Monsters From Mars (Goosebumps #42) Dana loves everything science, when his sister has a birthday party where they have an egg hunt, Dana finds a mysterious egg that he can’t wait to examine. This was a bit of a thrilling read; for the most part the reader was really curious about this mysterious egg that was found and what would happen once it hatched. Even afterwards the plot progression with the scientist was done well, it was heart pounding to see what would happen to Dana. Stine has this way of making all his characters sound incredibly crazy, which is both intriguing and infuriating to read. The ending to this one was more on the comical side and less on the scary side, but the reader still didn’t see it coming. 

The Beast From the East (Goosebumps #43) Ginger and her twin brothers have wandered off while camping and run into some scary beasts. In order to escape them, the three must play their games, rule changes and all. For the most part, this was an adventurous novel. The games were somewhat fascinating, but they got boring after a while. The plot was thrilling and when the rules kept changing, it was frustrating to read, but it made the story move quickly and kept things interesting. This almost felt like it was never going to end because things would change over and over again, like this story was moving in circles. Even the ending wasn’t that great because just when the reader thought it was over, it wasn’t really, so this didn’t feel like it had a resolution.

Say Cheese and Die – Again! (Goosebumps #44) Greg thought he was done with the evil camera, but when he writes a report about what happened, his teacher doesn’t believe him. So now, he has to bring it out once more to prove it’s evilness. It was fun to see these characters and this story again, but this story wasn’t as good as the first one… it wasn’t really good at all. Sure, the plot and concept were still the same, but the things that happened to the characters, that was supposed to be scary, wasn’t really scary. Yes, it’s scary when things happen to your body that you don’t know why it’s happening, but it felt uncalled for to use body image and talk about it so negatively to tell a story. It came off as bullying and fat shaming. Then on top of that, what we learn in the first book about the photos is forgotten in this one so it didn’t really add up how this story was going to end. This didn’t need a sequel, so not sure why Stine thought this was a good idea because this book feel very flat. 

The Blob That Ate Everyone (Goosebumps #55) Zackie loves writing scary stories for his two friends, Alex and Adam. One day they enter a store where there is a typewriter he’s fond of which the owner lets him take. Once he starts to use the typewriter, his stories start to come to life. This was a lot of fun to read. Watching stories come to life is always an exciting plot because the possibilities are endless. The story was a slow build up, but it went by quickly as the chapters were super short. The ending was not what the reader was expecting; the final chapter took them by surprise, it was like an alternative ending. The reader also liked that the characters talked about story structure and about story endings. 

And those were the 31 Goosebumps books I read in October! Have you read any of these? Do you enjoy Goosebumps books? TV show? Movies?

5 thoughts on “31 Horror Goosebumps Books: Mini Reviews

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