You may not know this, but I am a huge fan of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. It is one of my favorite book series to read! And it has recently regained some traction, thanks to the movie version starring Jack Black.
There are so many books in the series that it can be difficult to choose which ones you want to buy first – especially if you’re on a budget and don’t want to go broke buying them all at once!
That’s why I created this list for you: The 13 (not an ominous number at all) best Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine.
Please enjoy these top picks from one who loves the Goosebumps series just as much as you do!
First off, here is the quick list:
The first book in the classic Goosebumps series is a part of this list for a reason. It’s Goosebumps gold.
Not only is it super fun to read, but it’s also the first Goosebumps book that Mr. Stine ever wrote.
In this book, a family moves into a house that is haunted by ghosts and other creatures of the night!
It’s up to them to take care of it while keeping their sanity in check. It really makes for an interesting story because you can’t help but be on edge during every moment reading about what will happen next.
Say Cheese And Die! is about a boy who finds a camera that shows the horrible things that will happen to you in the future.
He and his friends use it to their advantage – but soon realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew!
I love this book because it has a little bit of everything – mystery, horror and humor.
It’s definitely one that you should read if you haven’t already!
Welcome to Camp Nightmare is about a boy who goes to summer camp and learns that it might not be as safe as he thought.
He soon discovers the dangers of monsters lurking in the woods – including some right at his new home! As people are vanishing, eventually the boy finds himself all on his own, and you don’t know how he’s going to get out of it.
I honestly love this book because I think many people can relate to having a fear of going somewhere new for the first time.
It also brings out the idea of monsters being hidden in plain sight – which is awesome to read about. The twist at the end is a little hokey, but the journey to get there is worth it.
It’s definitely a great book for summer time reading!
The Horror at Camp Jellyjam involves two kids who get separated from their parents and end up at Camp Jellyjam, but things are not all what they seem.
The story follows the two kids as they uncover what is going on in this strange camp, and why the adults are acting very weird.
It’s one of the better examples of R. L. Stine’s writing mastery, which gives it a very appropriate place on this list.
I like this story because it has some good character development, and the ending is very interesting.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes Goosebumps or horror books in general, as well as those that like a bit of mystery with their scare factor.
Did your mom ever make you practice piano, and you would think any excuse to get out of them. How about a haunted piano?
That’s the premise of this book, where a boy finds a haunted piano in the attic. And as he starts taking lessons from the mysterious Mr. Shreek, he finds out that not all is as it seems.
This one was fun because it is an interesting twist on the haunted house trope.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes scary pianos, or just wants something fun and quick to read.
If you’re like me, you still haven’t recovered from seeing Jaws in theaters. If that’s the case, you might have a hard time with this particular story.
The story involves our heroes searching for a real-life mermaid, but that search leads them into danger as they face evil mermaids, hungry sharks, and a group of rogue bandits.
You’ll like this book if you like action, excitement and more than a hint of danger.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves sharks or mermaids, as well as those looking for some good old fashioned adventure.
Monster Blood is one of the most successful sub franchises in Goosebumps history.
Stine would later go on to write three sequels (the best of which is Monster Blood II) and a follow-up to Goosebumps: Horrorland that tied into it, but the first book is still the one you want to read. It’s about a boy who is stuck with his aunt for a few weeks and discovers a can full of greenish goo labeled monster blood.
The goo eventually takes over and becomes the blob, an entity that consumes everything in its path.
This book is great because of the classic R. L. Stine humor, as well as great suspenseful scenes, scary situations, and gooey monsters.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves monster stories in Stine’s work.
Easily the most popular antagonist in the Goosebumps series is a living ventriloquist dummy known as Slappy.
Slappy was first introduced in the Night of the Living Dummy. Funny enough, Slappy is only a supporting player in this book, and the real threat is his ventriloquist dummy brother named Mr. Wood.
It’s a chilling story, and one that I would highly recommend for those with a strong constitution. Faint of heart, do not get into this whole Slappy business. It can be terrifying at times.
But if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am not), then I would definitely recommend this.
Probably the book that I remember the most, or at least the one I saw on shelves the most, is The Haunted Mask. This was the first book to be set on Halloween, which may be surprising to some.
Have you ever been scared of changing into someone else, perhaps someone dark? That’s what happens in this story to a girl named Carly Beth who, in an attempt to pull a prank, puts on a spooky mask. But that mask ends up changing her, making her angry and violent.
Personally, I have a hard time with mutations stories. There’s just something about them that I really don’t like. But these books are supposed to be scary right? So I guess in that sense, it does its job well.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good Halloween scare.
One Day at Horrorland spawned a large franchise centered around this scary theme park. It’s about a family that takes a wrong turn and ends up at this spooky amusement park, and when their car mysteriously explodes, they are stranded and have no way of leaving.
They then have to survive rides that have a mind of their own, creepy employees, and locked gates as they try to find a way to leave the amusement park.
This book is great because it’s a fun read that has some spookier elements.
I would recommend this to those who love amusement parks and scary rides, as well as readers looking for something lighthearted with just a hint of danger.
This is another one where I saw the cover all over libraries. That image of the creepy snowman with arms raised in a menacing pose, is a sight to see. It’s about a young girl and her aunt who moved to a tiny village at the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Not only is the girl relatively alone, but there are some weird things about this village. At night there are strange howling noises, and there is a snowman in front of every house.
If you’re into spooky winter tales, then I would recommend this. It’s a good read for those who crave something chilling as the cold settles in.
Ghost Beach is more of your typical haunted story. It involves a pair of siblings staying at the beach, who discover an unexpected haunting, and a ghost who comes out to prey on innocent victims during a full moon.
It’s not the most original of Stine’s work, but it is definitely something you should check out if you like ghosts, graveyards, haunted houses, or beaches. We all like one of those things, right?
This is a book that probably resonated with a lot of children. Whenever you hear that garbage disposal in the sink, you may have thought it was a monster.
Well in this book, there is a monster under the sink, further feeding that active imagination of every kid.
I had a particularly hard time with this one, because now it’s all I can think about when I open up the drawers beneath my sink. So that’s nice…
But if you’re into those sort of stories, I would definitely recommend this.
And that will do it for my list of recommendations, but let’s talk about one more very important question…
I wouldn’t say they are ‘good’ per se, but I think it’s important to remember the impact these books have had. They gave us some fun stories, and were a big part of our childhoods. And before Harry Potter came along, this was the series that got most kids reading.
So if you see them on the shelf or in an antique store or something, go ahead and pick one up…or two. You may remember the nostalgia of how much you used to love them. Or you might find that your own kids love them just as much.
Or you might give them nightmares, who knows?
But overall, if you’re a fan of horror, or a young reader, and you want something more like Stephen King for kids, then the Goosebumps series is still one of the best out there.