RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

Better Beware...You're In For A Scare

Note: this is a queued post. I may or may not actually be around. I wrote it over the summer but thought it would be most appropriate as we approach Halloween season. [October edit: oh my god I'm so happy I did this earlier. Imagine having the time for this exercise now!]
After weeks of meaning to do this, I have finally hopped on Goodreads and decided to try and determine exactly which R.L. Stine books I've read, because this man shaped a good deal of my elementary and middle school reading experiences & set the stage for me loving horror movies, and it absolutely baffles me that I have so little recollection of consuming his work beyond "I LOVED IT!"

I don't know exactly when I started reading his books, other than "sometime in elementary school," because Goosebumps very conveniently ran for exactly the length of my elementary school experience. I have no idea why I began reading it, only that it instantly appealed to me with its spookiness. The first Goosebumps book I ever owned was the legendary Ghost Next Door, from book orders, and that was published in September '93, so I would have been 7, and starting second grade. That sounds like a plausible beginning, though it still could have been a bit earlier or later. Based on how many '94 books I owned, though, it's safe to say that I was definitely into it by the end of 2nd grade.

I do know that I began reading Fear Street in 5th grade, and I know this based on 2 things I vividly recall:
1) This is how I discovered the teen/YA section of the public library -- I heard an older girl say she was going to check out R.L. Stine's "Fear Street" books, and my little ears perked right up at the prospect of more scares and followed her to a brand new area. Also gave my dad a heart attack when he came back to get me and I wasn't where I was supposed to be, nor did I hear my name being called over the PA system because I was so engrossed in my new riches. :*)

2) When the teacher was taking suggestions for our next class-wide read, someone suggested Fear Street and when the teacher nodded and wrote it down, I very helpfully raised my hand and piped up, "Um, just so you know, there's a murder in almost every one."
(bless my heart! A murder? almost every one?? But honestly I was very concerned about appropriateness in a professional setting.)

I am assuming that the Goosebumps reading dropped off at some point in or shortly after 5th grade, between aging out and newly focusing on Fear Street, but I know that FS did not hold my attention past age 14, as it does not appear on my high school reading lists. Or maybe I'd just read everything the library had by that point -- back then I only visited the one branch, and it never really occured to me to look up or request books held by other branches as long as there were plenty of other unread books on the shelves.

I also know that I watched the Goosebumps TV show briefly, but I think it only had 1 season before my parents got rid of cable.

So without further ado...TO GOODREADS*! I haven't looked up these covers in 20+ years, so here's hoping I get hit with a Recognition Stick before I start doubting and questioning whether the covers look familiar from childhood or because I have seen them elsewhere.

*Or if you want the summaries in one easy place and don't care about the covers as much, TO WIKIPEDIA!

(FYI, I'm only going to list the ones I know or think I have read. The ones I'm uncertain about are in italics)

1. Welcome to Dead House: Yup -- as I mentioned before, this is 1 of 2 books I always instantly remember.

3. Monster Blood: This cover looks familiar -- and the summary definitely is.
Evan visits an eerie old toy store and buys a dusty can of Monster Blood. But then he notices something weird about the slimy green ooze. It keeps growing. And growing. And growing. And all that growing has given the Monster Blood a monstrous appetite. . . .

4. Say Cheese and Die!: I mean. Skeletons in Polaroids is hard to forget. (side note: this one apparently traumatized my fiance when he read it as a kid, haha)

5. Curse of the Mummy's Tomb: This LOOKS so familiar that I'm sure I read it. I loved mummy stories.

7. Night of the Living Dummy: Oh, god yes. THE TERROR.

8. The Girl Who Cried Monster: o my folly! I cannot recall if this is one I've read or if it's fresh in mind because I watched its Goosebumps ep on Netflix. I am 80% sure I did actually read it, but 20% is enough for Doubt.

10. The Ghost Next Door: the lifelong trauma of the ending reveal!! I love it.[spoiler for ending](I was terrified that I would die in a house fire from one of our own undoused backyard campfires, just like the kids in this book)
11. The Haunted Mask: YIKES YES.

13. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder: I OWNED THIS ONE. And I was taking piano lessons at the time, or shortly thereafter, so it's thematic.

14. The Werewolf of Fever Swamp: pretty sure I owned this one too.

18. Monster Blood II: Nnnng! The evil hamster bursting out of his cage, yep I owned this.

19. Deep Trouble: I don't remember this but I owned it, and the line about not going near the beautiful reefs makes my memory crackle.

20. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight: mmmaaayybe?

21. Go Eat Worms: mmmayyybe? I cannot FATHOM why I would have read such a disgusting-looking story when I was always grossed out by worms, but for some reason it feels a tiny bit familiar.

22. Ghost Beach: I don't remember this but I owned it.

23. Return of the Mummy: I...might have owned this? Or maybe just read it? OR DID I, because the summary seems less familiar than book 5.

24. Phantom of the Auditorium: I DEFINITELY owned this and I'm pretty sure it dovetailed with me learning about the Phantom of the Opera at the same time, whether it was via Wishbone or Great Illustrated Classics or both. The summary alone is so vividly familiar that I bet if I reread the text I would be overwhelmed.

25. Attack of the Mutant: I... am pretty sure I read this? Like 95% sure. It doesn't seem like my kind of thing, but the concept of a kid stumbling upon a real-life superhero villain seems so familiar.

26. My Hairiest Adventure: I would not swear to this, but a bottle of "insta-tan" that actually makes your skin sprout hair faintly rings a bell.

27. A Night in Terror Tower: I definitely owned this and it was one of my absolute favorites. I remember bringing it on vacation, even. Being locked up in the Tower of London after dark was TOO SPOOK.

28. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom: I owned this and really liked it. I can't remember WHY I liked it though.

29. Monster Blood III: Not sure if I owned it but I did read it.

30. It Came From Beneath the Sink: YESSSS. E-vil sponge! E-vil sponge! I owned this and I loved it. When I tried to remember which Goosebumps books I owned prior to looking them up, this was one of only 3 I could recall off the top of my head. It would creep me out EVERY time I opened up the cabinet under the sink to get a sponge or any other cleaning products for ages afterward.

31. Night of the Living Dummy II: THE DUMMY ON THE COVER GOT CREEPIER.

32. The Barking Ghost:
I don't really remember this, but also, HOW WOULD I HAVE MISSED A GHOST DOG BOOK.

33. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam: The only reason I know I've read this is that "Camp Jellyjam" rings a serious bell (and it definitely lodged in the back of my mind when I finally went to camp!)

34. Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes: omg yes. The evil, destructive lawn gnomes.

36. The Haunted Mask II: I remember this even better than the first one.
Steve Boswell will never forget Carly Beth's Halloween mask. It was so gross. So terrifying.

But this year Steve wants to have the scariest costume on the block. So he gets a mask from the same store where Carly Beth got hers. It looks like a creepy old man. With stringy hair. A wrinkled face. And spiders crawling out of the ears! Steve's definitely got the scariest mask around.
Too bad he's starting to feel so old. And so tired. And so evil...

43. The Beast from the East: Are these...aliens?? I MAY have read this, but not sure.

45. Ghost Camp: Thinking I read this solely based on the vaguely familiar cover.

47. Legend of the Lost Legend: FINALLY one I for sure remember -- because I owned it -- the fierce Viking lady.

50. Calling All Creeps!: Um...lizard people?? Not positive here, but this sounds kind of familiar: Ricky Beamer is furious when he gets kicked off the school paper. So he decides to play a joke on Tasha, the bossy editor-in-chief. Just a little joke. Harmless, really.After school one day he sticks a message in the paper. "If you're a creep, call Tasha after midnight," it reads.But somehow Ricky's message gets messed up. And now he's getting calls! Strange calls from kids who say they are creeps. Creeps with scaly purple skin. And long sharp fangs...

51. Beware the Snowman: Ohhh, creepy snowman good.

56. Curse of Camp Cold Lake: oh my god this terrifying lady-skull-with-eyeballs cover, definitely remember it

57. My Best Friend is Invisible: I have only a vague memory of this cover, but it's familiar enough that I think I read it. The name "Sammy Jacobs" seems familiar too. And that makes it the last of the 62-book series I read.

TOTAL: 26-35
Hm, seems like I would have read more...I do always try to be conservative on my estimates, though. There were a few more covers that seemed like they could have been familiar, but maybe I just thought they looked cool.
Fear Street
Here's where this gets interesting, because these covers and summaries are frequently a lot more similar to each other than Goosebumps, and I'm having a lot harder time determining which ones I've read. When I tried to create a list of books I remembered reading prior to looking them up, I came up with roughly 5. So without further ado, and with minimal commentary, here's what I got.

(Quick Goodreads Link)

5. The Wrong Number
7. Haunted?
10. Ski Weekend?
15. Prom Queen? (unsure if remembered from the 90s or because this cover was the example book in Paperback Crush)
17. The Best Friend?
22. Bad Dreams (this might actually have been the first one I read? or the first one I saw. It just has a special "feel" in my memory)
24. Thrill Club?
25. One Evil Summer?
31. Switched [edit: OOP late addition 'cause I just found it in the attic; I did not remember it at all]
33. Stepsister 2 (I suspect this largely because I recognize this girl's face. but I also wonder if this cover wasn't drawn based on a real person, because I feel like I have also seen it on a Lurlene McDaniel book. Like maybe... *New York 'beyonce?' reaction image* Dawn Rochelle?!?!)
35. The Face
37. Perfect Date
[edit: oop, also a late addition due to attic find]
39. The Boy Next Door?
40. Night Games?
45. Cat (definitely know this cover! also one of my first read or at least first seen)
47. Into the Dark (another Definite yes/early encounter)

There were 51 books in the original series...but wait, there's more! I had no idea how complicated this series was, or how many supplemental lines it had, until I tried to find a Fear Street Saga book for someone on Reddit's lost-book forum and knew that I'd read the same book, or one that had the same history told in it, but F Me if I had any idea which one and had to go combing through all of them until I narrowed it down.

Fear Street Super Chillers
4. Broken Hearts?
5. Silent Night 2 (but not the first one I guess??)
8. Bad Moonlight (I remember this one best because it was one of or possibly the only one I owned*)
11. Silent Night 3

*I feel like I might have gotten one of the Silent Night books for Christmas along with Bad Moonlight, though. Beause I have this intense memory of eating too much brown-sugar-glazed ham while reading a Christmasy Fear Street book and getting sick. More from the sugar than combining food with gore, but yeah.

Fear Street Cheerleaders
-The First Evil*
(possibly the 2nd and 3rd as well?)
-The New Evil (4th, also considered the 7th Super Chiller)

I vividly remember these books because no other book has ever had such a memorable Corky. I'm not sure I've ever seen ANYONE else named Corky.
(*and my most vivid memory of a single scene in any of these books is from the first one: her being scalded by boiling water while trapped in a locker room shower. ever since then, whenever I accidentally turn the water in the shower on too hot, I think about how that must have felt.)

New Fear Street
1. The Stepbrother (solely based on cover familiarity. I recognize nothing else)

Fear Street Seniors
10. Wicked: I have absolutely no memory of this but it turns out I did read ONE Stine book in high school, as I found this on a reading list (where I rated it 2.5 stars).

Aaaand at least 1 of the Fear Street Sagas that were historical thrillers about the original Fier family. The only one that actually looks familiar is 4, but 15 is the one I found for the person on Reddit.

Total: How about that. Only 16-28?? That cannot possibly be right! It's possible it isn't, and that there are yet more covers I read and just forgot. might be, given how many other authors I thought I'd read "everything" from where I turned out to have read 9 or fewer.
Tags: books, nostalgia

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