Don't Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine
Will Publish on April 7, 2015
Received by St. Martin's - thank you!
I grew up with R.L. Stine and I’m sure a lot of people did as well. I had always loved his creepy, horror stories so when I got the chance to grab a hold of this book, I was delighted. I was very intrigued in how R.L. Stine’s books will be like in the YA sector rather than the children/middle-school category. All I can say after reading this book is that R.L. Stine certainly excels in the horror/scary area. It was not the greatest idea on my end to read this book right before I went to bed as I was delightfully creeped out.
However, that was the only positive for this book. I was disappointed to see that his writing style did not change – it was still the same choppy and clunky style of writing and as someone whose tastes had matured over the past 10 years, I was not particularly impressed. Plus, since I am assuming that he is trying to break into the YA sector since his characters are now set in high school, I was surprised he did not change his writing style to accommodate an older group of readers. The writing style certainly worked back when I was, say, 13 years of age but now at the age of 23? Not so much. Especially with the huge and diverse group of authors out there writing specifically for YA readers, there is a sort of level that you need to be at and unfortunately, I think R.L. Stine should remain in the MG group rather than the YA sector.
Now, for the story itself. I thought this book was very shallow. There was no depth to it – no character building and very fast-paced. Granted, a fast-paced novel is not necessarily bad but since there didn’t seem to be any character development nor world building, it didn’t really work. I believe R.L. Stine assumed that everyone was familiar with Fear Street and the background but for those who are not and those who did not grow up with his novels, would not understand completely. The main character, Lisa, was surprisingly lacking – the background story and the loss of her mom led her to the nightmares but everything seemed fake and somewhat off.
The monster in the book was extremely predictable – maybe because I’m older now and R.L. Stine is still stuck in the MG category rather than YA but I was able to tell who the monster was from the beginning. That being said, I still enjoyed the somewhat subtle hints throughout the novel.
The one thing that nagged me throughout the entire book was his writing style. I already mentioned how his writing style is still choppy and not particularly fluent but there was this one aspect of it that annoyed me to no end. The whole “do you? DO you?” or “you do, don’t you? DON’T you?” part - I thought that was incredibly annoying. I mean, there is absolutely no need to emphasize that question over and over again nor was there a need to put caps in there. It seemed redundant and incredibly childish. Plus, it was used multiple times throughout the entire book. I mean, WE GET IT. I mean, do we? DO we?
Overall, I was somewhat dissatisfied with this book. Maybe I was expecting too much but seeing that R.L. Stine was an author I had enjoyed when I was younger, I thought that his books now would be even better and would mature along with his would-be audience. Needless to say, that was not the case. I would recommend this book for middle school or younger as his target audience. Since I am far from his target audience, the book just didn’t really do it for me.