By Rimla Batool

Joe and Moose hid across the street, in the stakeout. They kept a lookout for the garden gnomes, ‘Chip’ and ‘Hap’, they suspected were not mere statues but troublemakers who come to life at night. Their suspicion turned to belief when the two garden ornaments started moving. Their eyes widened in fear as they watched the gnomes giggle while splashing paint across Joe’s house exterior and move towards.... “Aaaaah!” I let out a scream as my bedroom door burst opened and I saw a silhouette moving towards my bed in the table lamp light. “Aa...” I was in the middle of another cry when a voice called out, “Sssh, be quiet.” It was my sister.  “Have you seen my glasses?”

I was fifteen, snuggled in my bed at night, reading the horror story “Revenge of the Garden Gnomes” by my favourite horror author R.L.Stine when my sister barged in my room, scaring the life out of me.

Like millions of kids around the world, R.L. Stine, the “Stephen King of Children’s literature” had been my first choice for a spooky read in my teenage years.  He was introduced to me by a friend in high school and I immediately got one of his books issued at the school library for a read. Ever since, I was addicted.

Stine, passionate about his work has been quoted saying his job is to give kids the “creeps.”  And indeed, you will be feeling all sorts of “creeps”, whenever you read one of his works.

Though Stine has worked in the genres of humour for kids as well, it was his horror stories that have made him famous around the world. Having written hundreds of horror fiction novels, Stine has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide.

Stine began reading scary horror comic books when he was around the age of eight. A fan of horror movies and books, he would watch every scary movie he could with his brother. But instead of getting scared, the future of horror literature for kids would laugh during the scary scenes.

He wrote his first scary novel “Blind Date” in 1986 and since then he has authored more than 300 books.

Stine’s most famous book series include the Fear Street, Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, and The Nightmare Room. Other than these series, he has also written stand-alone horror novels.

One of my most favourite books from this series was “Switched.” As a young teen, it was the most unexpected and chilling twist to a story I had ever read.  Other good reads from this series include, “The New Girl”, “The Knife”, “Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?”, “Cataluna Chronicles”, and “Double Date.”

Stine’s Goosebumps series is best for children aged eight to early teens. He himself has described this series as “scary but funny” where young children are shown involved in scary situations. This series is known to not include any death in any of the stories. Stine also prides himself on the success of the books from Goosebumps series which, he says, are due to the absence of drugs, and violence.

The Mostly-Ghostly series is a newer series by Stine, aimed at middle-school aged children. The 11-book story is about a young boy who can see ghosts and find himself in strange situations as he tries to help out two young ghosts to solve a mystery. This series was so well-received by the readers that now it has its own TV show and a movie!

Lastly, The Nightmare Room series by R.L. Stine has stories based on children’s fears, such as ghosts and monsters.

With more than 300 books by Stine, I cannot really call myself an expert on his horror books but what I do know is that if you are aged from eight to 18 and looking for a scary read, one of his books will guarantee a scream, a couple of gasps and a lot of Goosebumps throughout the story.

So, go on and add a couple of his books to your summer read-list this time. I know I will be going for a few of his books to relive the old times at the Fear Street this summer, for sure!

Happy, scary reading!

Published in Young Nation magazine on May 14, 2016