And now I remember what it feels like to be a kid again discovering horror for the first time in books. Like many other young Constant Readers, R.L. Stine was my guide into this literary genre. While the stories themselves may not be terrifying to to us as adults, I think we can all still find enjoyment and entertainment from them as well as appreciate R.L. Stine for the gift he gives the younger readers. I forgot how the series title on the cover of the book is textured to give a blood or ooze effect! And the chapter titles numbers are the same font – so as a reader it makes you keep turning those pages faster!
Welcome to Dead House, published in 1992, is the first EVER in the Goosebumps series! The book follows Amanda and Josh whose father’s Uncle just died and left them a house no one knew existed. A free, bigger house is too good of an offer to pass up, so the family moves to the spooky, dreary town of Dark Falls, which is about four hours away from life as they know it.
When they arrive the start to suspect their house is haunted as they begin to experience strange things, and their dog, Petey, begins to act peculiar, too. Thinking they are overthinking, Amanda and Josh start to make friends in the neighborhood. But these friends are also a little odd. And they want to be friends with Amanda and Josh… forever!!! *maniacal laugh maniacal laugh*
One of the aspects I love most about this book was its ability to pull you in to the story and the characters as quickly as it does. Being a book of only 123 pages it has to, right? I actually found myself panicked a couple times hoping that Amanda, Josh, and Petey were going to make it out of a couple situations. From what I remember, R.L. Stine will George RR Martin a bitch so fast you could never see it coming! Being able to cause the reader to immediately connect to the protagonists is something that not all authors can do.
Another feature of the book I enjoyed was some of the language and wording. Yes, this is catered to adolescents. But that doesn’t mean it has to read like a Dick and Jane book. And it doesn’t! I find the descriptive imagery that R.L. Stine uses to be the kind that forces the readers to think a little and also has the ability to place them in that exact scenario as if they, themselves, are inside the story. Isn’t that the whole point?
Welcome to Dead House? More like “Welcome to the first book of this series that I am totally going to fanboy over until I am done!” 4 out of 5 stars for me on this introductory book to a spooky and fun series! On to the next…