Monday, October 17, 2011

Goosebumps: Ghost Beach by RL Stine

Published August, 1994.

Jerry can't wait to explore the dark, spooky old cave he found down by the beach.

Then the other kids tell him a story. A story about a ghost who is three hundred years old.

A ghost who comes out when the moon is full.

A ghost . . . who lives deep inside the cave!

Jerry knows that it's just another silly made-up ghost story . . .

Isn't it? (book back blurb)

Another piece of awesome from RL Stine. Even for a middle grade book, he really doesn't pull any punches.

Sure there are some cheesy moments. Some kooky senses of humor being thrown about. A lot of spooky moments that turn out to be something not so spooky after all. But it all comes back around in the end, leaving everything hanging, including Jerry and his sister!

Stine's got the MG voice down pat. He doesn't dumb it down for the reader and he doesn't skimp on the spook. He targets an age that he knows needs a bit of a goof but isn't afraid to get scared too. And I have to say it again, it all comes back to the ending. It was fantastic! You'll probably see it coming but where Stine leaves the story off, you have to give him credit for it. No nice neat, tidy endings for him.

GOOSEBUMPS is a great series to get the young ones hooked on horror early. It'll help develop their appreciation for the spookier things in life. My entry into the horror realm wasn't so subtle (Poltergeist at age 4, The Exorcist at age 6) so by the time I got to reading these books, they were old hat and far beneath my horror comprehension. But for the better protected youth who needs their horror a touch watered down but not entirely forgiving, GOOSEBUMPS is the way to go and GHOST BEACH is an excellent addition to that classic series.

Ban Factor: Medium - It's horror. It'll be on the banners' radar just for that. Age inappropriate or whatever. But there are sure to be other books at the front of their list. GOOSEBUMPS is a bit tame for them.
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