Novel Review: One Evil Summer by R.L. Stine


It’s summer!  That means that it’s time for the Conklin Family to take a vacation to the lovely resort town of Seahvaen.  Unfortunately, Mr. Conklin and Mrs. Conklin are both bringing their work with them and oldest daughter Amanda is having to take summer school classes because she failed Algebra.  (How do you go on a vacation and so summer school at the same time?)  Despite the fact that I never had to do a day of summer school, I could still relate to Amanda because Algebra was always my worse subject.  Fortunately, my sister kept all of her tests from the previous year so I was able to cheat my way to a passing grade.  I still suck at Algebra and, as Case can tell you, I still throw a fit whenever I have to discuss anything that has to do with math but the important thing is that my summers were mine.

(To be honest, I probably could have done just fine if not for the “show your work” requirement, which always struck me as being fairly nonsensical.  If I got the right answer, why did it matter how I got it?  Usually, I do most of my work in my head and the notes that I jot down are usually written in such a way that only I can understand what they actually mean.  That works just fine for me.)

Anyway, someone has to look after the youngest two Conklin kids during the day so Mrs. Conklin hires Chrissy, despite the fact that Chrissy has absolutely no references and is obviously batshit insane.  Amanda keeps trying to get her parents to understand that Chrissy is crazy and planning on killing everyone but her parents are just like, “That’s what you get for failing Algebra.”  Bleh!

The book has an intriguing premise and the first few chapters were so silly that I thought I was going to really enjoy One Evil Summer.  But then all three of the Conklin family pets died, including a cat named Mr. Jinx and two parakeets that got their throats slit and ended up bleeding all over the place.  That pretty much turned me off of the book, as it all just felt gratuitous and cheap.  I pretty much lost all interest in the story when Mr. Jinx died and the death of the two parakeets pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn’t get that interest back any time soon.  I did skim the rest of the book, just so I could be honest when I wrote this review.  Chrissy turns out to be a witch with a secret!  I figured out the secret pretty quickly.

To be honest, things get pretty silly towards the end of the book.  It would actually have been enjoyably over-the-top if not for all the dead animals.  But the death of Jinx and the birds just kind of made the rest of the book too depressing to really enjoy.  To Stine’s credit, Amanda to get a new kitten and the kitten got a bit of revenge for its predecessor but still, the whole book just left a sour aftertaste.

One response to “Novel Review: One Evil Summer by R.L. Stine

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Sleepwalker by R.L. Stine | Through the Shattered Lens

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