Saturday, December 24, 2011

Goosebumps #1: Welcome to Dead House


Amanda and her little brother Josh are moving into a new house in the town of Dark Falls. Mr. Dawes, the real estate agent explains that their dad had a long lost uncle that died and left them the house. Both think it looks like a haunted house and Amanda is sure that she sees a boy looking down at her from upstairs.

Things are pretty weird from the moment they move into the house. Their dog Petey hates Mr. Dawes and keeps growling at him. Amanda thinks she sees people in the house, usually kids. Someone keeps rearranging the clothes in her room or leaving clothes sitting out and her dad thinks she’s just imaging things until she gets used to the move.

The two meet a neighborhood guy named Ray, who says he used to live in their house, but moved. He introduces them to some other kids, including Karen and George. The kids pretty much play baseball and chill for most of the book. Then Petey disappears one night and they can’t find him anywhere. Josh sneaks outside and Amanda follows after him.

They run into Ray, who starts acting weird. He leads them into the local cemetery and shows them a huge amphitheater where the town holds meetings. They find Petey, who won’t come near them and smells awful. Then they find a headstone, with Ray’s name on it. Ray reveals that he’s dead and all the other kids step out of the woods.

They explain that they all lived in their house, until they died. They keep inviting a new family every year, to get new blood and it just so happens to be their year. Josh accidentally shines his flashlight on Ray and he dissolves into pieces. Of course he also explains that they take the dog first and Petey is dead.

The kids chase them out of the cemetery and Mr. Dawes comes out to rescue them. He explains that since he recently moved to town, they came after him too. He saved their parents and now he wants to take them to find them. He takes them through the cemetery and they find his tombstone. Josh tries to shine his flashlight, but it stops working. He hits him with it and he crumbles. They track down their parents, but the whole town is surrounding them and sun is starting to come up. Amanda figures out that the dead people die when they get hit with light.

One tree is blocking the area from sun, so they work together to knock it over. The sunlight comes through and everyone dissolves, but not before Karen thanks Amanda for saving her. They save their parents and luckily they never sold their old house, so they can move home. Just as they get ready to leave, they see a car pull up and kids climb out. They’re talking about moving into the house. Amanda turns back and thinks she sees Mr. Dawes on the porch, but believes that it can’t be and walks away.

*Nice of her to not even try to help the other family get out of Dark Falls. She pretty much just walks away and doesn’t say a word.

*Dark Falls was, according to the book, a regular town that had a factory. Something happened at the factory and yellow gas poured out. Somehow that turned everyone into weird ghost things.

*Josh went into the cemetery multiple times throughout the book and never once saw anything weird, yet suddenly they walk in and find dozens of tombstones with names they recognize.

*I love that their parents never once questioned inheriting the house. Her mom says she doesn’t remember him mentioning his uncle and he admits that he didn’t know he had one, but they don’t find it even slightly weird.

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