One of my students wrote a great review of Stine's book, Don't Stay Up Late, that is due out in April of 2015. She was so excited to find a favorite author from elementary school writing books for older kids, but she is a more discerning reader now and is quite insightful.
Here is her review:
"R.L. Stine, always the wizard of suspense, is known for his tales that chill readers and non-readers alike. As an avid reader of the Goosebumps series when I was younger, I fell in love with his compelling, page-turning novels. Now, six years later, I eagerly scooped up Mr. Stine's newest novel, Don't Stay Up Late, for I had outgrown Goosebumps, and this new novel seemed much more age appropriate. In the true essence of Stine, the novel is as gripping as ever. Stine knows precisely how to captivate his readers. Personally, I think it is near impossible to put down this novel midway. After finishing a chapter, I cannot seem to turn the page fast enough to continue.
However fast-paced and exciting the novel may be, it failed to meet my expectations. I had hopes that this novel would be more sophisticated than R.L. Stine's previous works. But no, this novel consists of the same flat characters, unimaginative monster, and hackneyed plot as any other Goosebumps story I have ever read. Make no mistake, I loved Goosebumps, and millions of children across America love Goosebumps. And that style of writing worked for Goosebumps. But if Stine is targeting young adults, he'll need to innovate. When I was younger, the shocks and twists terrified me every time. But now that I am older, the shock value is infinitely less effective. One last note: Stine clearly attempted to direct this novel for an older audience. He incorporated more mature concepts such as gruesome deaths and teenage love. Yet these concepts couldn't mask the immature plot. And also, the violence was upsetting and the teenage characters were stereotypical and underdeveloped. I know I am being critical, and maybe some teenagers will enjoy this novel, yet Stine should consider change the next time he writes for young adults."
Michaela B., sophomore