What to Read After... Goosebumps
Published on: 29 October 2018 Author: Anna McKerrow
Goosebumps is a total phenomenon - but if your child has devoured R. L. Stine's spooky series, which other stories might they enjoy next? We have ideas - and we want to hear your thoughts too!
Since the release of its first novel, Welcome to Dead House, in July 1992, R. L, Stine's scary series for upper primary-aged children has sold over 400 million books worldwide in 32 languages, becoming the second-bestselling book series in history.
From 1992 to 1997, 62 Goosebumps books were published, and at the height of the series' popularity, Scholastic were selling 4 million copies of the books per month. Clearly, kids love this schlocky, fun and frequently silly horror series that is as a continuing favourite with reluctant readers and bookworms alike.
If your son or daughter is hooked on Goosebumps' gory plotlines and refuses to read anything else, here are some spine-tingling suggestions that might tempt them away from their fearful fascination...
School Librarian of the Year 2017-2018 Lucas Maxwell at Glenthorne High School recommends two spooky tales: new release Twister by Juliette Forrest and Coraline by Neil Gaiman, a modern classic fantasy tale with a horrific doll mummy with buttons for eyes. (Over on Twitter, by the way, @Book_Review2016 recommended another Neil Gaiman classic - The Graveyard Book.)
For children who want another scary series...
The Spook's Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney isn't quite the 62-book leviathan that is Goosebumps, but includes 13 instalments full of scary witches, demons and ghosts. After that, young horror fans can get in on the ground floor (or, the spooky cellar, if you will) by starting Delaney's scary new Aberrations series which is currently still on book one: The Beast Awakens.
Horror favourite Darren Shan might also be the place to go readers looking for something truly terrifying – the 12-book Cirque du Freak series follows the eponymously-named hero through a series of supernatural adventures that are all the more terrifying for being set against the normal lives of the main characters.
@Hobnobette on Twitter couldn't agree more with the Cirque du Freak suggestion: 'I found myself eager to read the books as soon as my kids had finished them (and even when they were at school!) Highly entertaining stuff.'
If you're not ready to commit to a full series, Mind Writer by Steve Cole is a chilling, short, one-book read for those that like their horror served up fast, while Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller really captures the nightmarish strangeness of the Goosebumps books.
For children who love Goosebumps' strange, quirky horror
You could try Jeff Norton's Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie: Escape from Camp, where Adam (a boy zombie), Corina (a vegan vampire) and Ernesto (a Chupacabra) are sent off to a holiday camp and discover there's a plan afoot to turn them into doughnuts. Or try the Creeper Files series, which has a similar Goosebumps-esque silly horror vibe.
For readers who love friends solving mysteries
The Chasing Danger series by Sara Grant features plenty of action, peril and adventure with a teen female protagonist and her best friend, and it is completely suitable for 10+ readers. Alternatively, S.C.R.E.A.M: The Mummy's Revenge features mystery, creepy paranormal baddies and lashings of sharp humour in Victorian Edinburgh, where a monster is destroying the city.
For older readers
For those who have started to (shock horror) outgrow Goosebumps, why not try one of the following suggestions? Hollow Pike by Juno Dawson tells the story of a bullied teen that moves to the country, only to find herself embroiled in a drama following a murder. Or for those teens looking for their horror in shorter instalments, Jeremy de Quidt's The Wrong Train is a masterly collection of horror-themed short stories, set in the real world.
As always, you came up with some absolutely brilliant recommendations about what to read after Goosebumps - below are just a few of our favourite suggestions!
Recommendations from authors
When the author of brilliant books like The Island at the End of Everything and The Way Past Winter speaks up, we listen! Kiran Millwood Hargrave was one of the first people to get in touch and let us know about some 'excellent recent reads that chilled and thrilled' her: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden and Seaglass by Eloise Williams. Author @sophieplowden also recommended Seaglass, describing it as 'spine-tinglingly spooky'...
Meanwhile, Ross Montgomery 'heartily and shamelessly' (his words, not ours!) recommended his own Christmas Dinner of Souls, saying, 'It was heavily influenced by a childhood spent reading Goosebumps and Point Horror and feeling annoyed there wasn't anything around like them! If you can't find it, write it...'
For more comedy horror
Since lots of Goosebumps fans enjoy the silliness of the scares, @skippity_doo suggested Christopher William Hill's 'darkly amusing' Schwartzgarten series, while @ThriftyParentUK recommended Tim Collins' Diary of a Wimpy Vampire and Mo O'Hara's My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish. That title is certainly intriguing...
For older readers
If it's a case of your children outgrowing Goosebumps, they might like to check out some of these suggestions. First up, @joboyley recommended Martin Stewart's 'insanely enjoyable horror for teens' The Sacrifice Box and Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan: 'a gothic fantasy filled with intrigue, action and necromancy... which is everything I want in a book'.
More ideas came from @GSA_Library, who said The Call by Peadar O'Guilin has been 'really popular' with their students and also recommended Stripes Publishing's Red Eye series of books ('I'm still haunted by Frozen Charlotte [by Alex Bell]'). Frozen Charlotte was also a hit with @skippity_doo's Year 8 students, so worth checking out.
Oh, and @CambsPublishing suggested those classics - the Point Horror series. @kwade88 was certainly a fan: 'I went in to Point Horror after Goosebumps, which happened during the move from primary to high school. Still love them to this day.' Katie also told us: 'I always remembered a series of horror YA around horoscopes that I couldn't find anywhere or remember properly until I just mentioned it to my colleague, a librarian, and she found it in a few minutes'. It turns out it was the Zodiac series by Jahnna N. Malcolm - 'amazing as a teen goth', according to Katie!
- @sipclark was quick to mention Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co books: 'a brilliant and terrifying series that's perfect for Goosebumps fans'. Oh, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events books for those looking for 'scary villains' ('you can't go wrong').
- Leo Hunt's 13 Days of Midnight trilogy came highly recommended by @_sunshinebooks, who said: 'They are creepy, full of action and are perfect for fans of Derek Landy and Jonathan Stroud which others have mentioned'.
- We recommended Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan - but @PaulaMe13022943 and @elliotslade800 also spoke up for his Demonata books (with Elliot also recommending Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone and Books of Blood.)
- @missfanningpa had a good tip from her Year 5 and 6 students - The Shadow House series by Dan Poblocki - even if she can't quite dare to read them herself! 'I can't even look at the covers but they can't get enough of them,' she joked.
- @PeaKayEff spoke from experience when she proposed the Darkmouth series by Shane Hegarty: 'My son devoured all four books recently. Not quite horror but definitely some creepy or dark elements and very good writing!'
- @BookSuperhero2 suggested that Jan Eldredge's Witch Girl is 'sutably creepy', while @skippity_doo suggested Helena Duggan's 'rivetingly creepy' A Place Called Perfect and Catherine Storr's 'deeply haunting' Marianne Dreams.
- Finally, @Book_Review2018 proposed Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree for older readers, while among @WatUxbKids suggestions were The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross and Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz: 'Goosebumps were the books that made my younger brother a reader, great books!' We heartily agree - and we hope we've helped you find some new favourites in this list.