Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Goosebumps: Welcome to Camp Nightmare by RL Stine

First published in 1993.

The food isn't great. The counselors are a little strange. And the camp director, Uncle Al, seems sort of demented.

Okay, so Billy can handle all that.

But then his fellow campers start to disappear.

What's going on? Wh
y won't his parents answer his letters? What's lurking out there after dark?

Camp Nightmoon is turning into Camp Nightmare!

And Billy might be next . . .
(book back blurb)

The last time I read any of these books I was actually of target age to read them. So yeah, it's been a while. And while I couldn't get totally engrossed in it like I used to, it still kicked major ass. I really don't think RL Stine can do much by the way of wrong.

The writing is very simple and I think reflects the era of middle grade it was written in. If you compare it against MG of today, I don't even think it'd really qualify for that shelf space (although it still does). But even apart from the simplicity, it's still masterful at telling the story. Heavy emphasis on telling. But really, I didn't mind it. I could still visualize everything. I didn't feel like I was being talked at. I felt like I was being told a story by a twelve-year-old boy, which I'm pretty sure was the point. The language isn't disingenuous to the age at all (as I feel a lot of MG and YA can be) and it just sticks to telling the story how a twelve-year-old would tell it without fluffing it up.

I can't remember how quickly I caught on to the catch when I was in that age bracket (if I did at all) but I felt it was pretty obvious right from the outset. What I didn't see coming, and it was something I'd completely forgotten, was the very end. The story had a twist plus a triple axle. Totally awesome.

It had all the creepy elements required of telling a good spooky story but not so much that you'd end up shrieking like a banshee at the drop of a pin. Although it might make you freak out about the woods a little. For me, though, I don't need much help with that. Stine keeps the horror hidden and hinted at. We never get a really good look at these supposed creatures and the inaction of the counselors is far scarier than some true-to-form demon thing.

I'm so glad Goosebumps has transcended time like it has. This book is closing in on twenty years old! OMFG! I have to stop dating myself! But really, they're timeless. There's nothing in the story that dates it to a certain time. I don't think Stine felt a need to name drop like a lot of authors do today so his stories fared better. All the more power to them. It just means that more and more generations will grow up loving Goosebumps! Always a plus.


Lost in a Book said...

I love that you reviewed this! I loved the Goosebump books!

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

It's wild to realize that the Goosebumps series has been around for such a long time!

Who doesn't love Goosebumps?! :)

Corrine said...

I remember reading the goosebumps books when I was a kid too... lol.

I have an award or two for you... http://lostforwords-corrine.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-first-awards.html

Natasha Bennett said...

I remember R.L Stine when I was a kid. Those were some great books.


DarkWyrmReads said...

Wow! Talk about bringing up memories. A real blast from the past.

Donna said...

I seriously don't think I'll ever grow out of these books.

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