Don't Forget Me!

R. L. Stine, Author Avon Books $4.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-440899-8
The author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series is up to his kid-pleasing, tried-and-true tricks in the first installment of The Nightmare Room series. Fittingly creepy cover art will catch youngsters' eyes and the plucky plot should hold their attention. Fifteen-year-old Danielle and her family have just moved into a rambling, 100-year-old ""fixer-upper"" house. When her parents take off on a business trip, they leave the teen in charge of her nine-year-old brother, Peter. Danielle practices her school talent-show act and pretends to hypnotize him. She finds it a bit scary when he doesn't wake up immediately--and scarier yet when he finally does come to and seems to have lost his memory. Shortly after the author sends the parents off on their trip, Stine adds a man dressed in black, skulking outside the house, and the sounds of moaning and whispers emanating from the basement (where Danielle finds slime-covered, zombie-like children) to set a spooky stage for the eerie events that follow. Effectively laced with foreshadowing, appealing Danielle's first-person narrative keeps the tale moving at a quick clip. This may not bring on nightmares, but it's likely to make readers think twice about venturing into dark basements and may well bring them back for the next installment, Locker 13, also releasing this month. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) FYI: A Web site, www.thenightmareroom.com, offers related games and information about the 10 planned forthcoming titles; a story published exclusively on-line, Dead of Night, is also available on the site (Children's Books, Aug. 7)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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