Book Thoughts: Goosebumps #18: Monster Blood II

Goosebumps was a series of classic horror books for kids written by R. L. Stine. They were extremely popular when I was growing up. Even these days, the volume sales of the series as a whole is second only to the more recent Harry Potter series. Before I gave these old books away, I decided to reread the books I had and write my thoughts on them. An interesting thing about Goosebumps was that both my sister and I liked it. My sister and I never got along, so it was rare sight for something to interest both of us. In fact, my sister originally got the first Goosebumps book. I only got into it after borrowing the books from her.

It was interesting to read a sequel to an earlier Goosebumps book. The events took off almost right after the previous book. The main character, Evan, was now in his new house in Atlanta. Some things were a little far-fetched though. Evan’s friend, Andy, just happened to have relatives in Atlanta. Her parents just happened to be visiting Europe, requiring her to stay with the relatives in Atlanta. On top of that, Andy just happened to pick up more Monster Blood at a store before visiting. It’s fine to reuse an old character if it makes sense. Andy’s appearance required too many coincidences.

The story would have been better to me if some new student happened to get Monster Blood at a nearby store. When Evan saw the evidence, he would be the expert in the situation. He would be the one to solve the problems that were caused by the Monster Blood. There would have been a lot of cool possibilities for the story with new characters.

I think the basic idea of Monster Blood was brilliant. Pretty much anything can be scary when it’s huge. Monster Blood did just that. Any living thing that ate it grew to be huge. It was an idea that was ripe for new stories. The author probably knew this. Monster Blood had many more sequels. I, unfortunately, only have the first two books, but I could easily see giant snakes, giant cats, even giant plants being parts of a good story.

In the story, I didn’t like the kids breaking into another student’s house to steal the Monster Blood from his room. The kid they stole it from had stolen the Monster Blood from Evan, but that still didn’t give them the right to steal it back. I just worry this could give kids the wrong impression, that if someone takes something from them, it’s okay to break into their house and take it back. Adults can understand right from wrong, but kids might get bad ideas from reading this. I’ve noticed this in some of the other Goosebumps books, but none of them had the kids committing a crime. In one book an older sister relentlessly scared her younger brother, which I think was very bad in the long term for the victim, but showing kids do illegal stuff was going too far.

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