Tagline: “It’s warm! It’s breathing! And it doesn’t do dishes!” (Guys, I can’t tell you how much this tagline delights me.)
Synopsis: Kat and her family just moved into a new house and everything about it seems great. There are balconies and extra rooms and even a demonic sponge beneath the sink. Oh, wait, that last part isn’t a good thing! The sponge, Kat and her brother Daniel soon find out, is an ancient creature called a Grool that feeds on pain and suffering. That’s why it seems to pulsate and chuckle and grow whenever someone gets hurt in its general vicinity. Friendly little guy, that Grool. Kat and Daniel desperately want to get rid of the Grool, but if they give it away, they know they’ll die within 24 hours. (Death sponges come with a lot of caveats.) And it cannot be killed by any violent or negative means. However, that doesn’t mean it’s immortal, as Kat finds out when she tries being nice to the Grool, cooing to it, singing to it, telling it how much she loves it, and even giving it a kiss. The Grool shrinks until it’s nothing but bits of fuzz, Kat and Daniel’s dog comes back home, all those flowers that died reappear (what?), and everything’s great again. Of course, there is still that other ancient creature, the potato-like, energy-sucking Lanx, hanging out underneath the sink, but that’s a story for another time.
Creepiness factor: More disturbing than creepy. The idea of something that feeds on suffering is a little disconcerting, but this never feels legitimately scary.
Signature Stine moment: Don’t worry, they’re back in force, and I found some great clunky foreshadowing this time around.
“I lifted my eyes to the plastic cage and glared at the Grool. I felt a deep hatred for the little creature.
‘If one more bad thing happens around here, I’ll bury you,’ I promised it. ‘I’ll bury you so far in the ground that no one will ever find you or see you again. Ever.’
It was a promise I would soon have to keep.”
Accuracy of title: 100% accurate. Yes. Yes, it did.
Moral of the story: Not entirely clear. I guess I’d say it’s to be resourceful and clever, but that’s not really a moral, is it? Or don’t move into a new house. Or don’t touch the evil object beneath the sink in your new house. It’s one of those three.
Overall rating: 7/10. This is not a terrific Goosebumps book but it’s pretty enjoyable. And now that I’m done with it, I get to read the next Night of the Living Dummy. So there’s that.