Book 10: The Ghost Next Door
This is one of the few books that I remembered the twist while reading it. However that was moderately cheating. In 2008 while living with my best friends we found the TV episode playing on Nickelodeon one Halloween and watched it. For the purposes of this article I read the book (and like some of the past books) watched the episode made based on it. I’ll get to that later however.
The book follows Hannah. She’s stuck at home this summer while all her friends are off to camp. No one is replying to her letters and she’s beyond bored. One day however a new boy named Danny has moved in next door. He swears he’s lived there for a while and is in the same grade as Hannah. However Hannah never saw him move in and doesn’t know any of his friends. Hannah begins to suspect that Danny is actually a ghost.
In the end it’s revealed that Hannah is in fact a ghost. She was killed in a fire five years earlier. She was sent to save Danny from suffering the same fate.
What shocked me was that even knowing the twist at the end, the book still kept me interested enough to want to keep reading. For the purposes of this month (and due to some of the books taking a while to arrive in the mail) this was the 2nd book I read (after Book 5: The Curse of the Mummy). This was a far superior book. While reading that book I kept just reading to get it over with, while reading this I wanted to know what happened next.
However when reading any of these books I have to shut my brain off a bit and put myself back in the mind-set of an elementary school student. R.L. Stine didn’t write young adult masterpieces like say... The Giver, but he created a fun way for young kids to (a) get into reading and (b) get into horror. So He has my respect for that.
THE BAD: Stine’s writing style is still far from good. It contains lines like: Bright colors. Not unlike the flames that surrounded Hannah’s bed in her dream last night. Also Hannah’s jump to “Danny’s actually a ghost” seems like an unreasonable logic leap. Although based on the fact that Hannah is a ghost (though unknowingly) one could at least assume that ghosts were already subconciously on her mind so I’ll let that slide I guess.
THE GOOD: As stated previously I found the book enjoyable. Most chapters end on a nice cliff-hanger that left me wanting to turn the page to see what happened next. That’s pretty much all you can really ask from a young adult book really.
I can't embed the video on this one so if you're curious just click here
THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This particular episode was bad by even kid’s television standards. Somehow the cut and dulled down a 120 page book where the logic leaps are even less logical and the young actress is sadly not very good and more annoying than anything else.