The Beach House: A Scathing Review

The Beach House: A Scathing Review

Nicole-Lyn noticed a serious lack of pre-2000 book reviews and decided to bridge the gap with a gem from 1992. Were books even INVENTED by 1992?—Sparkitors

You remember R. L. Stine, don’t you? He’s the guy who wrote a book in one day, got it published the next day, and taught a legion of young literates the meaning of horribly clichéd time and time again. He uses the same characters (albeit with different names) over and over, inserting them into  situations created by a handy-dandy plot generator, which works a lot like a page of mad libs. (In fact, I’m forced to assume that it is indeed a page of mad libs.) You loved the books when you were 10, but as soon as you turned 12 and discovered that you could lie your way into PG-13 horror movies, you said, “Wait a minute, these books are so bad just looking at them causes the water in my eyes to boil and cause partial blindness.” True story.

My sincerest apologizes to all of those whose nostalgic reading memories have been crushed by the above statement.

As I’m sure all of you know, Mr. Stine has also written plenty of books for an older, more mature audience. And now I officially bring you the book review that nobody wanted: the review of R. L. Stine’s 1992 classic, Beach House. (Cue creepy music.)

Readers beware; there are spoilers in there! (Rhyming FAIL.)

Beach House focuses on two different yet interwoven plots, one taking place during the summer of 1956, and one taking place “This Summer,” which I’m assuming is 1992. Each time period features a different group of teenagers doing what teenagers usually do in works of fiction: have fun, date, participate in pointless drama, and die. Buddy’s a character you see in 1956, and I’m not going to waste time by listing all the other teens because they all die. Ashley, Ross, and Brad are the main characters in “This Summer.”

All the teens in 1956 start dying because of peer pressure or something while the real main character, Ashley in the present, remains determined to overpower the inherent entertainment of gory book death with overwhelming amounts of boring. If the occurrences in 1956 were based off slasher movies, then the “This Summer” plot was based off a scare-‘em-straight short film about the dangers of hooking up while on vacation. “Don’t date on break kids—your new sweetheart’ll be a homicidal creeper!”

I read R. L. Stine’s books when I was a kid for the same reason everyone else did: I wanted to read an awesome twist ending that I would later find out to be a shameless rip off of the “Twilight Zone.” And Beach House doesn’t disappoint in that department. In fact, the twist ending is so over the top and stupid, it almost makes it worth wasting the hour it took to read it. The titular beach house is built on a time warp that connects two of the most random years ever together for no discernible reason other than to provide the severely antisocial Brad/Buddy the means to kill some random teenagers in 1956 and get away with it. I’m just gonna let that sink in for all of you who didn’t believe his books were made with mad libs.

The beach hose is a time machine. And jacked-up-in-the-head Brad/Buddy killed people because they made him sad because he’s jacked up in the head.

There’s not much else to say about this book. It suffers from the same problems all of Stine’s other books suffer from: recycled characters, a thrown-together plot, extremely simplistic writing, and so many clichés you feel like they’re going to climb out of the pages and frickin attack you. It’s like his kids’ books: it quick, fun, and easy to read, but when you put it down you realize it was crap. That whole boiling eye incident may or may not happen to you. (It’s a true story).

Don’t go rummaging through the nearest ten-cents-a-piece shelf at your local book store for this—it wouldn’t be worth the dime and ink-stained fingers. But if you ever come across this book and you don’t have to pay for it, read it for the ending. I already told you what happens, but trust me when I say that is will be ten times funnier if you actually read it yourself. It may just be the brain cells you lose while reading the rest of it, but that twist is just utterly hilarious by the time you get to it.

R. L. Stine’s book Beach House has officially earned my ‘So Bad It’s Good’ rating—right alongside every Sci-Fi channel movie and direct-to-video slasher film sequel known to man.

The house is a TIME MACHINE?! Why didn't WE think of that?

Related post: Sparkler Book Review: Infinite Days

Topics: Books, Life
Tags: sparkler posts, ya novels, funny things, book reviews, horror movies, books we hate, teen fiction, the beach house, rl stine

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