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A Nostalgic Look Back at: Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

Since Halloween is this week, I thought I’d embrace the spirit (get it?) of the holiday. Halloween for me is a nostalgic holiday. I’m not one to go to parties or dress up anymore, but I did trick or treat as a child. So, for this spooky post I’m taking a look back on some childhood favorites: The Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine.

Goosebumps are a series children’s horror/thriller books, with each one featuring a different protagonist who encounters something scary and supernatural. The common thread among these novels is that they all have surprise or twist endings. Just when you think the protagonist has escaped from the villain, they find themselves facing a whole new horror!

I chose three books from the original series, and two from the Give Yourself Goosebumps series. Give Yourself Goosebumps follows a different formula in that the reader of the stories is presented with several options. Depending on what they decide, the story will progress in a certain direction to an eventual happy or unhappy ending. I love this concept, as it really engages the young reader and involves them in the story.

For each book, I’ll give a brief synopsis and then talk a little bit about why I chose them out of the many books in their series.

Original Series:

1. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp


This book tells the story of Grady Tucker, whose family moves to Florida. Their house borders a swamp which Grady’s scientist father is using for his research. Grady quickly makes two friends, Will and Cassie, and adopts a large dog whom he names Wolf. Troubles ensues and Grady discovers a werewolf inhabits the swamp.

Why I Recommend This Book:

This was the first Goosebumps book I read, so it has an added touch of nostalgia to it. I liked the characters of the book, especially Cassie, who was quite fierce and sassy. I really loved the bond between Grady and Wolf and how they protected each other. My only qualm with this book is the ending. It wasn’t as creative as some others, and was rather predictable.

2. The Beast from The East:


This book follows Ginger Wald and her twin brothers, Nat and Pat, while their family is on a camping trip in the woods. They become lost and find themselves confronted by strange, blue furry creatures who engage them in a game that resembles hide and seek but has strange rules, and in which the loser becomes dinner…

Why I Recommend This Book:

I love the world building and atmosphere in this book. R. L. Stine took the time to craft the world of these strange beasts. It’s as though Ginger and her brothers enter an alternate forest. There are strange and colorful plants and creatures foreign to our world. The beasts are an odd but effective mixture of scary and playful.

3. The Blob That Ate Everyone:


Zackie Beauchamp wants to be a horror writer, and buys an old typewriter at an antique store. Things go haywire when the words Zackie writes come to life in the form of a large, pink blob creature that terrorizes his town.

Why I Recommend This Book:

While this wasn’t one of my personal favorite Goosebumps books, I included it because, as someone who has loved to write since childhood, I felt a connection to Zackie and his aspirations. I feel as though other children who share mine and Zackie’s dream would enjoy this book, and it may even inspire them.

Give Yourself Goosebumps:

1. Trapped in Batwing Hall:


The plot begins with you meeting a boy named Nick who invites you to join his club, The Horror Club, which meets at an abandoned house believed to be haunted. The story lines diverge depending on which team you join, though both incorporate a scavenger hunt. If you join the Red Team, you stay in the house but learn your new friends are actually monsters disguised as humans. If you join the Blue Team, you wander into a cemetery and wake the next morning as a vampire bat.

Why I Recommend This Book:

I enjoyed both storylines as they had an obvious connection yet also felt like their own individual, separate plots. I personally preferred the Red Team story line, as it was entertaining to explore the creepy house, but both were thoroughly enjoyable.

2. Invaders from the Big Screen:


The plot begins with you and your best friend, Laura, arguing over what movie to see. Depending on which you choose, you will be transported into one of three movies. In one story line, you find yourself in a jungle inhabited by a giant ape, in another you’ll be a star in your favorite superhero movie, and in the final one you’ll find yourself in a haunted house with a pair of eerie twins.

Why I Recommend This Book:

My favorite of the three story lines is definitely the haunted house one. I find the setting to be quite unsettling, and the twins are intriguing. I felt of all three story lines, this one had the most diversity within the optional endings. I liked the overall variety of this book, and even though I’m not the biggest movie fan, I liked the idea of becoming a part of the movie itself.

Final Thoughts:

There are far too many Goosebumps books to cover here, and I myself haven’t read all of them. I loved these books as a child, and would highly recommend them. They are light, easy, fun reads for children, and perfect for the Halloween season!

P.S. a few final recommendations:

· It Came from Beneath the Sink! (original series)

· Calling All Creeps! (original series)

· Scary Birthday to You (Give Yourself Goosebumps)

· Secret Agent Grandma (Give Yourself Goosebumps)


This Thanksgiving I’m doing a blog post about books and/or authors readers are thankful for. Everyone who submits a response will be entered to win a $20 gift card to EITHER Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books. All that’s required to enter is telling me your favorite book and or author and why you’re thankful for them. The post will only include initials, not full names. Entries can be sent to my email: by November 18th to be qualified!

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1 Comment

Oct 29, 2018

I can see why Haley Lynn Thomas likes this series. I think I would have enjoyed it as well had it been available when I was younger. The reviewer could have perhaps noted some downsides to the series, although it was provided to some degree by inference, that is, the lesser preferred story lines.

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