Monday, December 5, 2016

Scholastic's Point Horror Series and Fear Street

I have already mentioned how I read one R. L. Stine book as a teenager and did not care for it.  I decided to give Stine another try and purchased some of his books.  I also purchased some of Diane Hoh's Nightmare Hall books and some other miscellaneous teen books.

The books seen in this picture are the books that I sampled that are the main subject of this post.

It did not go well.  I tried to read all of them, but I only read enough of three of them to be able to list those books on my list of books read in 2016.  Even the three that I read were partially skimmed.  The other five books were skimmed until partway through and then abandoned without finishing them.

Seven of the eight books are Scholastic books.  This gives me little confidence in any teen horror book published by Scholastic aside from the ones written by Richie Tankersley Cusick.  I will probably try to avoid all Scholastic teen horror books from now on other than Cusick.

Let's start with R. L. Stine.  I cannot stand his writing style.  That must be why I did not like Blind Date when I read it as a teen.  I realize that many of you love R. L. Stine, but the allure of his books completely escapes me.  I think if I had been introduced to Stine's books at a much younger age than 16 to 18, I might have enjoyed them.  I suspect that most of us who did not read Stine as teens are unable to enjoy them as adults when reading them for the first time.

I find Stine's characters and their behavior to be obnoxious.  The characters in Stine's books go into hysterics over nothing.  They scream at each other and get scared often when nothing is wrong.  Stine's writing is repetitious with lots of short sentences, all designed to take up lots of space.  Here is an example.

To be fair, most of the text isn't as bad as this example.  However, I have a low tolerance for this style of writing, and examples like this are scattered throughout each of Stine's books.  This writing style is too much like books for very young children, and I am not interested in those kinds of books.

I tried four different Stine books and enjoyed none of them.  I did enjoy some parts of some of the books, but not enough to want to read more of them.

I tried Diane Hoh—or at first, I thought I did.  I began reading Nightmare Hall #2 The Roommate.  I couldn't believe how similar the style is to R. L. Stine.  I felt like I was reading another Stine book, so I looked at the copyright page.  I discovered that the book was actually written by Nola Thacker.  Okay, so Diane Hoh wrote a bunch of books, but some of Hoh's books were really written by Nola Thacker.  Here is the most awful part of The Roommate, and it reads just like R. L. Stine.

Somebody please save me!  I wasn't feeling too good about the Nightmare Hall series, but I wanted to read one actually written by Diane Hoh before making a final decision.  I started reading Nightmare Hall #3, Deadly Attraction, which is credited to Diane Hoh on the copyright page.  Too many characters are introduced too fast, and I found no reason to care about them.  The text isn't nearly as choppy as Stine and Thacker, but I still didn't like it.  The girls are shallow and only interested in hunks who are also shallow.  Spare me.

I decided that I wouldn't be reading any more Stine or Nightmare Hall books.

I tried The Vampire's Promise by Caroline B. Cooney.  The story is hard to follow, switching between characters and between past and present scenes for all the characters.  I couldn't keep anything straight and quickly grew bored.  Actually, I was bored from the first page.  I gave up within the first 30 pages since it wasn't worth it.

I tried Junior High Private Eyes.  This book actually reads the most like a normal book of all of these books.  Unfortunately, it wasn't very interesting, and I abandoned it as well.

After I photographed the books for this post, I tried Camp Fear by Carol Ellis, which is another Scholastic teen horror book.  Too many characters are introduced all at once.  I can never keep up with a plot when an author does that.  Despite my confusion, I tried to forge ahead, and then I gave up.  Authors who can write well avoid throwing a bunch of information at the reader all at once.

Finally, I tried The Accident by Diane Hoh.  It is okay, and I was able to get through the entire book.  However, I won't ever read it again.

The bottom line is that I won't be keeping any of these books, and at least I don't have to worry about building a set of R. L. Stine books.

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