Back cover: Zach, 16, has just moved from NYC to a creepy small town. He quickly becomes convinced his new neighbour, Hannah (also 16), is in danger. When he tries to rescue her, he accidentally unleashes the monsters created and brought to life by her writer father, R.L. Stine. Now it’s up to Zach, Hannah, and Stine to get the monsters back in their books where they belong. Can they stop the monsters . . . for good?
I hate the cover. I know, I know: it’s a movie tie-in. It was destined to have a cover based off the actors from the movie. I still hate it. I wish they’d gone with the traditional style of Goosebumps cover.
I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but “a relatively sensitive portrayal of a boy who’s lost a parent” definitely wasn’t it. As much as I enjoy R.L.Stine, realistic characters with some depth aren’t really a thing in the Goosebumps books. It’s startling. The humour feels different as well. Slightly more funny, slightly more sophisticated; the kind of jokes a middle-schooler might actually laugh at. It’s weird.
Once the plot gets underway it’s fairly predictable: the monsters have escaped from his book, so R.L.Stine-the-character has to write a new one which neatly defeats all of them (aside from one, left free to provide the necessary twist ending). In terms of ideas, it’s most similar to The Blob That Ate Everyone. But the pleasure of this book is that of clip shows: a chance to be reminded of elements you enjoyed in the past. I look forward to the movie, for the same reason.