In an effort to balance the huge collection of Goosebumps I’ve somehow amassed, I started buying the Creepover series a while back. I figured my daughter might eventually grow into them, and I’m trying to put together a bookcase of “junk food books” to balance out the Good Books we also buy them.

You know what they say: bad books make good readers.*

But of course that means I’ve been reading them myself. They’re pretty cute: gorgeous covers, slightly more conversation-and-character development than an R.L.Stine, and a persistent theme of “sleepovers” (also echoed in the house pseudonym, P.J.Night).

They mostly toy with scariness rather than becoming flat-out terrifying, but each achieves a few genuinely creepy moments. Right now I’m reading #9, No Trick-or-Treating!, which as a “superscary superspecial” is just a tad longer than the first eight. That gives it an edge, because it can develop the setting a bit more thoroughly (a small country town which mysteriously doesn’t celebrate Halloween) and let events unfold slowly enough to build up some real tension.

I’m a fully-functional adult (more or less), and I had to resist the temptation to peek at the last chapter to find out what happens. Ha. I would have loved these SO MUCH when I was the right age. I’m enjoying them enormously even now.

The white dress on the cover glows in the dark.
The white dress on the cover glows in the dark.

*The hours I spent reading Nancy Drew and Fear Street and Sweet Valley High weren’t wasted time, after all. Aside from the sheer enjoyment of series books, easy reading made the absorption of words feel as natural as breathing. A child who struggles with the mechanics of reading is hampered at the gate, long before they get to the higher-level functions of wrestling with theme or understanding difficult instructions. The easiest way to get the mechanics down pat is to read. A lot.