The man behind Goosebumps and Fear Street assembles a collection of short stories written by his peers in the Mystery Writers of America.
In the first tale, authored by Stine himself, siblings Freddy and Teddy lose brand-new bikes to the local bullies who have terrorized them for ages. In sync with the other scary twists found in this anthology, “The Best Revenge” delivers as Freddy and Teddy get satisfaction when they offer an unexpected surprise to their nemeses straight from the dead. In Ray Daniel’s “Rule Seven,” Josh has set up a phenomenal prank in the local haunted house to scare his dad, only the prank goes awry when things get real after hours. “Area Code 666,” by Carter Wilson, presents 12-year-old motherless Julia, who gets her first cellphone for her birthday—and begins to receive cryptic text messages from beyond. Tonya Hurley’s “The Girl in the Window” has a Hitchcock-like title and tells the story of a young girl who becomes obsessed with a lifelike store mannequin, a relationship that ultimately spins out of control in a twist reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. Though it is not notable for its diversity, it’s a good, old-fashioned collection of modern scary stories, offering humor, innocence, and just enough fright to keep things age-appropriate, with no profanity, blood, or gore.
A great collection to have handy for Halloween classroom reading or a campfire. (Horror short stories. 8-12)