Book Review · Children's · Mini-Review

Goosebumps!

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In 5th grade, this was me…

Over the past few years, the nostalgia for the ‘90s has skyrocketed as millennials have started to enter into their 30s, and are looking back at everything that defined our childhood years.

Now nostalgia is definitely a two-sided coin. Its nice to relive the fond memories of childhood, but sometimes our rose-colored glasses can make us forget the bad. It’s okay to revisit, but the goal is to always move forward.

With that being said, I think we can all admit, that the ‘90s were both ridiculous and glorious at the same time.

Oh ‘90s, you gave us so much.

Nothing screams ‘90s like Goosebumps. One of my first fandoms, and one that I look back on with fondness. I loved the series so much. I watched the show, was apart of a fan group at the local bookstore, and even had the PC Game.

Oh yes, there was most definitely a PC Game, and it was all that and a bag of chips.

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I got down to finishing the game within two hours. Oh gawd… I’m such a nerd…

I haven’t read Goosebumps (or Fear Street, which I equally loved by R.L. Stine) since middle school, so I decided to join a Goosebumps read-along on youtube and take a stroll through my very ‘90s childhood. The host of the read-along picked three Goosebumps books and read/discussed them.

Before I go into each book, I want to discuss a weakness that all three have, and that’s the cliff-hangers.

Every. Single. Chapter. Ok, maybe not every single one, but we are talking 90% or more. Some cliffhangers were legit, but most were fake-outs.

And when a book has multiple fake-outs, well it starts to wear out its welcome.

Also, all the books are at 4th-6th grade reading level, so I’m scoring more on nostalgia and if it’s able to send any shivers down this adult spine of mine.

Readers Beware, You’re In For a Scare!

1 The Headless Ghost

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The plot of the first book is pretty cut and dry, as two bored shitty kids decide to explore a haunted house to find the head of the headless ghost. What I like most about The Headless Ghost is the haunted house and the atmosphere it brings to the book.

I call them shitty because they have spent the weeks prior terrorizing the neighborhood and scaring little kids. So in terms of protagonists, I don’t really care and think they get what’s coming to them.

During their adventures in the house, there are a couple of great scenes in the attic that really chilled me to the bone. Probably the scariest scene out of all three books.

Sadly, the end felt really rushed. But not a bad entry in the series.

Score: 6/10

2 The Ghost Next Door

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In the second book I read, our protagonist, Hannah, starts investigating the boy next door after he moves in overnight and survives a near-fatal accident. The more she watches him, the more she suspects her neighbor might be a ghost!

The Ghost Next Door started off so strong. I actually really liked Hannah, and really felt for her, especially at the end of the book.

I think figuring out the main twist so quickly didn’t help, because tension was lost and I was just waiting for everyone else to figure it out.

But what really tanked this book for me was the secondary reveal. Even for a middle-grade book… it was just dumb and made zero sense.

Score: 3/10

3 The Haunted Mask

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Now THIS is the Goosebumps I remembered!

The Haunted Mask was one of my favorites when I first read the series and still holds up after all these years.

Poor Carly Beth is scared so easily that she is an easy target for pranks. But this year she is getting even, as she has found the scariest mask ever. Is getting revenge worth it if Carly Beth is stuck with the horrifying face forever?

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This book was also one of the best episodes of the show.

Not only am I completely invested in Carly Beth, who has the worst guy friends ever, but the terror in the book really worked. I’m claustrophobic and the scenes where Carly Beth can’t get the mask off are terrifying, even at a middle school level.

I would highly recommend this book.

Score: 8/10

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Thanks for taking this trip with me! Happy Halloween!

In the Margins:

  • I want to thank Richard, whose YouTube channel Books and Bullshit, for hosting this Goosebumps along!
  • And Yes, Jeff Goldblum was the big baddie in the PC Game:

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  • I didn’t even touch the TV show, but that could be another post on its own. I’ll just leave this here…*Ryan Gosling*….

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  • On Monday, a special holiday review: Dracula!
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