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Sammy Baker is a quiet kid who wishes he wasn't so shy and timid. He is frightened but eager to prove he can be brave. On Halloween night, he follows his friend to the Marple House, an abandoned mansion on the other side of town.
Just past midnight, he feels a cold tingle at the back of his neck. The chill spreads across his body. It's unlike anything he's ever felt before. Soon, his whole head feels like a block of ice. He's about to scream - but the frigid sensation vanishes. Sammy doesn't realize that he has just met The Haunter...and that his nightmares are only just beginning.
I originally requested this book for my daughter but as she currently in the middle of another book I had to read on my own. I got her to read the first chapter so I could gauge some sort of response from her and she said 'that she liked it and was interested to see what would happen next'.
The great thing about Goosebumps books are they are so easy to read, chapters are only a couple of pages long and usually there is enough entertainment to keep you interested. This book was no different and I found with a couple of hours I had it finished. As much as I enjoyed it I am not sure my seven year old daughter is ready for it and it deals with ghosts and the fact, in this case, that they are real. I am not sure I am ready for the conversations that it could lead to and also my daughter is rather a scaredy-cat when it comes to these sort of things. It is entertaining and it is aimed for kids and it felt like it was written by a kid as most of the pranks are extremely childish.
One thing I did not like was his parents reactions to everything. They never had much time for Sammy and even after there was the possibility he was going to be expelled from school they were more interested in going to a party then sitting down with him to discuss the whole situation. Even when he wanted to talk to his parents they just said 'not now' and 'we are not interested in talking to you today and when we do talk it will be us talking not you'. I actually felt extremely sorry for Sammy and hope I never turn out like that.
It also painted kids in general in a bad light that none of his friends were really concerned and instead of offering help they were laughing and encouraging his bad behaviour through absolutely no fault of his own. I am not sure it gives kids the best support for how to deal with bullying or in how to get help when it is required.
I have some hesitation with passing this on to my daughter and think I will put aside for a year or so until she matures some more. I think this would be better suited for the older readers as I am sure with this subject matter it will result in asking parents some questions. It is still a good read and I did enjoy aspects of it.
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