A Midsummer Night’s Scream by R.L. Stine

A Midsummer Night's ScreamHardcover, 250 pages
Published July 2nd 2013

If you are expecting a horror like no other, where you’ll have trouble sleeping and you’re constantly looking over your shoulder. Then this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re willing to not take a book seriously and simply enjoy where Stine takes you, then you’ll find this to be a campy good time.

Even though I like Shakespeare, I’ve never read a Midsummer’s Night Dream. In fact, the only Shakespeare plays that I’ve read were the ones that were required of me in school. So whether this novel does a good job in paying homage to the original work or if it had nothing to do with it, I honestly wouldn’t know. I think if I knew of the original work, my opinion of this novel might have changed slightly, but who knows. I don’t, so let’s not dwell on it.

Back in the 60s, a director tried to film the ultimate horror movie. Only, it was never finished because three of its stars ended up getting brutally murdered, while in character…and in scene. This was the start of the Mayhem Manor curse. Fast forward to modern times, and a studio has decided to remake the movie, because Hollywood is running out of ideas. Seriously, they are, just look at the new crop of movies coming out.

For Claire, this is her big break. She’s wanted to be a star since FOREVER! And since her dad is the president of the studio, she’s begged and pleaded to be cast in a show of his. He’s relented, until now. So she, along with her best friend Delia, auditioned and landed the roles in the movie. However, once the camera’s start rolling, actors start to drop one by one. The studio can’t afford for this movie to stop like the last one, but with more and more people dying, can they really afford to continue on?

Claire is worried about the movie, because she wants to be a star, but she’s more worried because her best guy friend, Jake, is pining over Delia and not her. However, Delia doesn’t like Jake, she likes his best friend Shawn, but it seems like Shawn likes Claire more. Yes, folks. Instead of a normal love triangle, we’ve reached a square…that never ends. Claire is determined to make Jake fall for her, so when she meets Puckerman she decides to use his potions to make Jake hers, but love isn’t always that easy. Or is it?

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn

Now, I want to start off by saying that this isn’t a good book. The writing isn’t the greatest. It feels like I was reading the Goosebumps novels, which I loved as a kid, but in order to make it more YA, scenes of drinking, making out, slut-shaming, and general teen mischief was sprinkled on in. I’m not going to lie; it sounded and felt really weird. It almost seemed inappropriate, because I kept picturing kids drinking, making out, slut-shaming, and getting involved in general teen mischief, instead of teens doing this. However, as time went on, I slowly got use to this writing style and saw it more as tongue-in-cheek than anything else.

When it comes to the characters, they were pretty one note and clichéd. This is usually a horrible thing when it comes to books. Unforgivable sometimes, but here, it reminded me of those bad B-movies that you can’t help but like. You know those movies where the writing isn’t all that great, the characters are not fully fleshed out, and the general setting is kind of stupid, but somehow, somehow you just love it. It’s just so campy that you simply enjoy your time watching it.

And that’s how I felt when I read A Midsummer’s Night Scream. It wasn’t the greatest book, not by a long shot, but it was kind of fun once you stopped taking it so seriously. I mean really. After two people die a smart studio would count their losses and stop production, but not this studio. They just keep trucking along even though the president’s daughter is one of the cast members. I mean, how can you take that seriously? You can’t, so why bother? I know I didn’t and I enjoyed the book a lot more for that reason.

If you are nostalgic for Goosebumps and want more than similar writing, the ending is classic Stine. It will have you questioning the morals of the characters in this novel and whether they are worse or better than the main villain.

Overall: Like I said before, this isn’t the greatest book in the world and it’s not going to be in my top favourite books, but it’s campy, it’s fun, and I don’t think you’re meant to take it seriously. Once you do that, you’ll kick back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s bonkers, but in a fun kind of way.

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