Friday, June 3, 2016

Goosebumps #10: The Ghost Next Door (R.L. Stine)


Hannah wakes up after having a nightmare that her room is on fire. So grateful that it was just a dream, she's actually nice to her younger twin brothers and helps her mom clean the kitchen. Later, she goes outside and meets a new kid named Danny. He tells her he moved into the house next door, which she thinks is weird because the house has been empty for so long. He thinks it's weird that she lives in her own house for some unexplained reason. Well, I know the reason because I watched the Goosebumps movie not too long ago!

Her parents didn't have the money to send her to camp this year, so she writes a passive aggressive letter to her best friend at camp and then tries to find ways to keep herself busy. She tries talking to a few neighbors, who act really snobby or outright ignore her, before walking into town. Mr. Cheney, the head of the post office, screams at Danny and his friends. He apparently even threw rocks at one kid's dog and threatens to call their parents. She also sees a dark figure gesturing to her from the street and calling her name, which causes her to run away in fear.

Danny later tells her that those guys were his friends from school. She thinks it's weird that he already has new friends, especially when she finds out that he goes to the same school as her and yet they know none of the same people. When he accidentally throws his ball on the roof, he climbs on the ladder to get it. She warns him about going up there and then screams when he suddenly falls head first off the roof.

Though she can't explain it, Danny manages to land on his feet. He tells her that he's something of a daredevil and just laughs it off. Her mom, who calls her home, claims that she didn't see her playing with anyone. Worried about what that means, she decides to follow him the next day. The same creepy figure comes out of nowhere and causes her to fall down. Danny helps her up and claims he didn't see anything weird.

Hannah writes another letter to her friend and goes over everything she knows about the new kid. Danny suddenly appears to her with light shining through him and hovers a few inches off the ground. He tells her that since she now knows his secret, he has to destroy the letter. He gets closer and closer until her little brothers wake her up and she realizes it was just a dream.

Still convinced that he's a ghost, she goes to his house and knocks on the door. Even though she can see his mom inside, the woman doesn't get up, not even when she pounds on the glass. Hannah suddenly realizes that this must mean his mom is a ghost too. This doesn't slow her down too much though. She just decides to follow Danny again.

This time, she sees him and his new friends run out of an ice cream store with the owner following them. He hits her from behind, knocks her to the ground, and doesn't even apologize. He just starts complaining about kids not paying and wanders back inside. The boys get a brief scare when they think they see the cops coming, but it's just some guy who needs directions. They go to Mr. Cheney's house and dare Danny to steal his mailbox, which is shaped like a swan.

Hannah sees the dark figure coming towards her again, only this time it has glowing red eyes. The figure gets closer until she runs away and hides in the bushes. Mr. Cheney catches the boy and threatens them again, which causes them to run away. Hannah finds Danny, warns him that he shouldn't hang out with guys like that, and then tells him what happened with his mom. He gets really quiet and then says he wants to tell her a secret. His secret is that his mom is actually deaf.

Still not sure if she believes him, Hannah finally confronts him the next day and asks if he is a ghost. He seems really confused, so she just changes the subject. While playing soccer, Danny falls down. When she tries to help him up, her hand goes right through him. She thinks it's proof he's a ghost until she tries it again and he gets a scared look on his face.

Finally realizing that she's the ghost, she runs home and sees a real estate agent and a grumpy woman in her driveway. The agent says that the house burnt down five years ago and killed the whole family who lived there: parents, twin boys, and a little girl. Hannah realizes that she's dead, which is why no one ever talked to her and why her friends never wrote her. She runs inside and finds her whole family missing.

After feeling depressed and falling asleep, she wakes to find her house empty and dark. Still depressed, she goes for a walk and sees Danny and his friends breaking into Cheney's house. Something grabs her and pulls her back, but she just got caught on a garden hose. The kids goof around with matches, accidentally light the house on fire, and run outside. Danny is still trapped inside.

Hannah runs in to save him and sees the dark figure come after her. It finally reveals itself as Danny's ghost, which will become real once he dies in the fire. She fights him off, tracks down Danny, and helps him get out. Danny tells his mom and others that Hannah saved his life, but they tell him that Hannah was the girl who died in a fire years ago. Hannah's mom then calls to her from the beyond and she leaves, hoping that Danny will always remember her.

*Ugh, why do all these like 10 to 12 year old girls get so obsessed over guys? Hannah writes to her friend about how she hasn't seen a single cute boy all summer and wonders if her friend hasn't written because she's surrounded by hot guys. I'm pretty sure I was still playing with dolls at that age!

*Her second letter is even worse. Not only does she threaten to kill her best friend several times for not writing to her, but she even threatens to drown her in the freaking lake.

*What kind of ice cream place lets four kids place an order without paying? The owner deserves to have them run off.

*I love that the house burned down, everyone died, and yet someone still rebuilt the house. Who was it? If her parents were the owners and they died in the fire...Plus, why rebuild it if it's just going to sit on the market for five years without a buyer?

*I didn't post about it before, but if you haven't seen the Goosebumps movie, see it. I personally cannot stand Jack Black but thought it was really good, and there's even an R.L. Stine cameo at the end!

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