(I don’t usually feel the need to share cover art with you, dear reader, but this one was just too good to pass up.)
Tagline: “She’s got the monster of all problems!”
Premise: The wildly unlikeable Lucy Dark, age 12 (!), thinks her local librarian is a monster. And let’s not beat around the bush here, he is. He eats turtles and snails and eels after his head swells up and his eyes pop out and his mouth becomes a gaping black hole. But since Lucy tells monster stories all the time, no one believes her. Eventually, her friend Aaron sees the librarian transform, forcing Lucy’s parents to believe her. Then the most hackneyed twist in the short history (eight books in, remember) of Goosebumps occurs: Lucy’s parents eat the librarian for dinner, because they want to be the only monsters in the town of Timberland Falls. That’s right. Lucy’s parents’ fangs pop out, and they eat the librarian. Seems as good an explanation as any.
Creepiness factor: Pretty low. The monster sounds too goofy to be scary, and the twist comes on way too suddenly to do anything but surprise you.
Signature Stine moment: Horrible simile on page 80.
“I felt myself getting more and more nervous. My hands were ice cold. The camera suddenly seemed to weigh a thousand pounds, like a dead weight around my neck.”
“Like a dead weight?” Come on, Stine, it’s like you’re not even trying anymore.
Accuracy of title: 100% accurate. No one believes Lucy that Mr. Mortman is a monster because she talks about monsters too often.
Moral of the story: Hardly discernible. I guess I’ll go with this: if your librarian is a monster, find someone else to witness his or her transition right away so you don’t have to deal with an entire book’s worth of your parents not believing you and/or thinking you’re a paranoid schizophrenic.
Benchmark moment: This is the first time the protagonists turned out to be the antagonists. I don’t recall this happening particularly often, but it’s always about as strange as it is here.
Overall rating: 5/10. Kind of a dull and repetitive book, with a wildly unlikeable protagonist, but I have to give it points for the sheer absurdity of the ending. Next on the docket: Welcome to Camp Nightmare.