Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Goosebumps Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Goosebumps Series Book Poster Image
Captivating, spooky mysteries can pack an emotional wallop.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

For kids learning to write longer stories, there's real value in the pacing and quality of the storytelling. These mysteries grab readers' attention and go for an emotional connection to social situations they might be in at school or with friends.

Positive Messages

Some of these stories pack an emotional punch for this age group, especially kids who may feel bullied or abandoned. Strong messages against bullying. The terrible situations kids get in are always resolved, but not in ways that are entirely positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

These are spooky mysteries with monsters and ghosts and parents who secretly have fangs, so role models are hard to come by. Toward the end of each book, the characters make good choices in difficult situations, but the kids' earlier choice to, say, sneak into a forbidden beach cave on a rainy night certainly can't be counted as good. 

Violence & Scariness

These are well-written horror stories with plenty of suspense. Kids are in danger in every book, and it comes at them from every angle -- ghosts, man-eating plants, monsters, school bullies -- and the kids occasionally get hurt. Not for anyone already sleeping with the light on.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series lives up its name. These well-written, spooky mysteries assume the paranormal is normal, that parents eat dinner guests, or kids turn into lizard-faced creepers. That premise aside, these books reflect the reality of young readers' worlds: They go visit relatives, or are bullied at school, or fight with a sibling or parent, or feel misunderstood, and the writing can pack an emotional hit. The kids in these fast-paced horror stories are in real danger -- from, for example, monsters trying to take over the world, or murderous ghost children trying to create more playmates in the afterlife -- and sensitive readers could take that danger to heart.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byHendo H. U January 12, 2018

Reading level is 7+, but scariness level is 8+

My son has read all of these books and loved every single one!
Kid, 9 years old August 7, 2017

Wow! Scary books! Not for younger kids

Dear viewers, even though Common Sense Media's age rating is 8+, this series is still very scary. I first started reading these books when I was 7, and I w... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 8, 2017

love it!!!!!!!!!!

i am a big big big big big big fan of goosebumps not scary at all. i say five and up because some words they might not know

What's the story?

Each book is a standalone story in the GOOSEBUMPS series. Kids who are minding their own business find themselves stalking a mutant librarian, or hiding from a possessed parent intent on killing them, or coming face to face with ghosts, or any number of other terrifying paranormal situations. The kids have to find a way to stay alive and solve whatever problem they face alone, since the adults in their world are either unaware, unapproachable, or possessed. Issues are resolved at the end of each story, but not always wrapped up neatly, which only adds to the suspense. 

Is it any good?

These stories will captivate any reader who likes suspense, horror and fantasy. Goosebumps doesn't have much academic content or positive messaging, although the kids usually try to do the right thing while solving a mystery. But the books are creative, rich examples of how to write a captivating story. Readers who are learning to be writers can see how to hook a reader, how to pace a story, and how to have fun with the writing. The books are written the way kids this age think and speak, and have an age-appropriate amount of tension and violence -- just remember, they're designed to scare.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about weird things that happen in Goosebumps books. Have you ever seen something so weird you thought it couldn't possibly be real?

  • Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

  • Are Goosebumps books similar to any other scary, spooky, mysteries you've read?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love horror

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate