Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-This horror-mystery anthology features 20 never-before-published short stories from members of the Mystery Writers of America, including Chris Grabenstein, Heather Graham, and Bruce Hale. Each story has a caveat: it must begin and end with a scream. Most of the stories within are standard children's horror fare, offering more shrieks of mirth than horror-a shapeshifter attacks children as a shark, a supposedly haunted house scares the pants off of a father and son when it turns out it's infested with a zombie, a town is overrun by squirrels-but there are a few stories nestled in that truly terrify. A harmless attempt to create the best haunted Halloween house on the block results in summoning a demon. A girl receives a series of mysterious texts from an unknown number with the area code 666. With the balance between playful horror and truly spine-tingling spookiness, Stine-who also contributes a story about a pair of siblings that deal with bullies in an unconventional manner-pulls together a comprehensive introduction to the horror genre for kids, much as he has done for years with "Goosebumps." VERDICT Perfect for budding horror enthusiasts.-Tyler -Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Review
The man behind Goosebumps and Fear Street assembles a collection of short stories written by his peers in the Mystery Writers of America.In the first tale, authored by Stine himself, siblings Freddy and Teddy lose brand-new bikes to the local bullies who have terrorized them for ages. In sync with the other scary twists found in this anthology, "The Best Revenge" delivers as Freddy and Teddy get satisfaction when they offer an unexpected surprise to their nemeses straight from the dead. In Ray Daniel's "Rule Seven," Josh has set up a phenomenal prank in the local haunted house to scare his dad, only the prank goes awry when things get real after hours. "Area Code 666," by Carter Wilson, presents 12-year-old motherless Julia, who gets her first cellphone for her birthdayand begins to receive cryptic text messages from beyond. Tonya Hurley's "The Girl in the Window" has a Hitchcock-like title and tells the story of a young girl who becomes obsessed with a lifelike store mannequin, a relationship that ultimately spins out of control in a twist reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. Though it is not notable for its diversity, it's a good, old-fashioned collection of modern scary stories, offering humor, innocence, and just enough fright to keep things age-appropriate, with no profanity, blood, or gore.A great collection to have handy for Halloween classroom reading or a campfire. (Horror short stories. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.