Who Let the Ghosts Out! (Mostly Ghostly, Book 1)

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Who Let the Ghosts Out! (Mostly Ghostly, Book 1) Book Poster Image
Horror trashmeister begins a new series -- oh joy.

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence

A dog is turned inside out, Max is tortured with the feeling that all of his teeth are being drilled.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Various movies, video games, rock groups mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that a dog is turned inside out in this horror tale.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byshervinix December 30, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byschuymarch1 April 9, 2008

Another great book by my favorite all-time author (R.L. Stine)

If you like this series then I recomend Goosebumps I also recomend the horror series (Goosebumps and Nightmare Room).

What's the story?

Max discovers that there are ghosts in his new house -- the ghosts of siblings Nicky and Tara, who don't remember dying. They offer to help Max, a geek despised at school and at home, if he'll help them find out how they died and what happened to their parents.

But an evil being named Phears is stalking them, and he torments Max to find out where they are. Somehow they escape him, so Phears goes after Max again. And it all may have something to do with a mysterious tunnel that has appeared in Max's room.

Is it any good?

About the best that can be said about this book is that it's not as objectionable as Stine's usual. Stine eschews the usual conventions of literature -- character development, plots that make sense, setting, writing technique, occasionally complete sentences -- in favor of stereotyped characters, bogus cliffhangers, and disgusting bits of violence that keep reluctant readers coming back for more. At least this doesn't have the rivers of gore that have been the highlights of some of his previous efforts, nor is it as scary.

The argument usually made in Stine's favor is that he gets reluctant readers, especially boys, to read, and this is true. As long as they graduate to better quality, that's a good thing. If your child hates to read but enjoys this, don't worry. Wait a year, and if he's still reading nothing but Stine, then you can worry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between books like this and real literature. What defines something as "literature"? Who gets to decide? What are the pros and cons of different types of books?

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