Goosebumps is a truly classic kids book series. You probably read some of the books if you grew up in the US (Goosebumps has been read all over the world but I don’t know how much of a staple it was outside the US) or might even remember the TV series.

I started re-reading the series last year and I was surprised on multiple levels. I was initially shocked at just how much I remembered from reading it 25+ years ago. Some scenes and descriptions had totally burned into my subconscious and I had a deep sense of reliving my initial scares when I read it as a kid.

My second surprise was at just HOW FREAKING GOOD some of the stories were. Yes the writing is simple, yes the plots often have the same structure, and yes it’s for pre-teens and younger, BUT! some of the stories are so bizarre, creepy, and fun, I couldn’t believe my mid-30s self was getting completely absorbed in them. Many Goosebumps stories are incredibly unique for what you think would be standard scary stories for kids. Some ideas are drawn from general horror but many of the stories are either mostly or completely original. The second book in the series, Stay Out of the Basement (one of my personal faves), is about a kid’s father who works in his basement to do testing on his plants. The father acts increasingly strange over time and the kid realizes his dad’s been replaced with some kind of plant clone. That’s the SECOND book! Totally weird and risky choice for a second book.

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I’m 15 books into the series. I read one every month to not get burned out on them. Some of them are just okay, I haven’t read any that are bad, and when they’re great they’re seriously amazing. R.L. Stine has some really wild ideas for these stories. Considering how many Goosebumps books he wrote it’s amazing how much effort and creativity he put into the series. I’m hoping to read all the books in the original series - there are 62 - but then there are also several spin-off series. If I want to read those before I die I’ll have to pick up the pace. Goosebumps is the second most successful book series of all time, only beaten out by (obviously) Harry Potter. It’s seriously worth revisiting so pick one and give it a shot!