Thursday, March 19, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Don't Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine

This is a book review for Don't Stay Up Late: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my review. The scheduled publication date is April 7, 2015

Ever since a car accident killed her father and put Lisa and her mother into the hospital, Lisa can't think straight. She's plagued by nightmares and hallucinations that force her to relive the accident over and over again in vivid detail. When Lisa finds out that a neighbor is looking for a babysitter for her young son, she takes the job immediately, eager to keep busy and shake these disturbing images from her head. But what promised to be an easy gig turns terrifying when Lisa begins to question exactly who — or what — she is babysitting.

I was feeling quite nostalgic when I requested this book from NetGalley. I used to read the Fear Street novels all the time when I was younger. Reading it again after more than twenty years, I can't help but wonder why I loved them so much. Maybe R.L. Stine's work has changed. Or maybe I have outgrown it. Here is what I liked about the book: the ending was a surprise. I kept thinking I knew what was going on, but there were several twists and turns that kept me guessing. Here is what I didn't like: everything else. 

I hated the main character so much. Lisa was overdramatic about everything. She talked in exclamation points and had two modes of communicating: shrieks and screams. And man did she scream at everyone about everything. After the death of her father, she showed no grief and no remorse, despite the fact that she was partly to blame for the accident. Yes, it was an accident but it wouldn't have happened if she hadn't been such a screamer. Oh yes, when her boyfriend tried to comfort her she did scream at him that she killed her father. But that was pretty much the only statement about guilt she ever showed (of course it wasn't a statement but a yell). I think that was pretty much the last thought she had about her father too.

Here is another issue I had: she woke up from the accident with a concussion and started having hallucinations. The doctors hold her hallucinations and nightmares are a symptom of the concussion. I know I am no doctor, but since when does a person with a concussion of hallucinations of demons and dead people? I also thought the doctors must be quacks to wait weeks to even suggest medication. Even though she knew she was having hallucinations, Lisa still screamed at every single person who told her they didn't see what she did. Man, she was annoying. I won't even talk about the romance part of it because there was zero chemistry and it seemed more of a subplot anyway.

There were a few creepy parts in the book, but it wasn't really scary. It was just gruesome more than anything at some points. Like I said, there were some twists and turns and I wasn't expecting the ending. But that was about it. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: just skip it


  1. Great review, Cynthia! I actually thought about reading this when I finished Shutter by Courtney Alameda because I wanted something else that's creepy and/or scary but now I'm glad I didn't give in.

    However, it's sad that you didn't enjoy it as much as his earlier works - I wouldn't know if they were good or not because I've never read anything by him - it's still a good review and I'm glad you said what you really think about it! :)

    Yvonne @ A World Between Folded Pages

    1. Thanks Yvonne! I know I read a lot of YA, but I really think the writing style lends itself to much younger readers. I feel like if I read this one when I was in junior high I may have enjoyed it more.

  2. This isn't the first negative review I've read of the book, and it's so disappointing that this didn't pan out! I mean Lisa sounds like a pain in the bum lol. It's just a shame, because I loved Goosebumps when I was a kid as well. Seems like we've just outgrown them! Great review.

    1. Thanks Jeann! I do think it is a matter of outgrowing them. I feel like his reading style is geared towards much younger readers. If I had read this when I was a lot younger, I may have enjoyed it.