Book Review: The Face by R.L. Stine


In this 1996 R.L. Stine novel, Martha is a popular high school student with a problem.

Ever since she was involved in a mysterious accident, she has had amnesia!  Her friends have been told not to tell her too much about what happened because it’s important that she remember it all on her own.  Her friends agree to not tell her about what happened and, if you know anything about teenagers, you know how good they are not gossiping and keeping secrets.  Martha’s recovery is in good hands!

Martha keeps having flashes of memory, all of which involve some sort of drama that occurred at a cabin between her and her friends.  And whenever Martha tries to calm her nerves by drawing, her hands instinctively draw a picture of a boy who she doesn’t even know, a teenager with a scar over his eyebrow!  (OH MY GOD, A SCAR!  That’s always bad news in any book written by R.L. Stine.  Personally, I think scars are sexy and mysterious.  In Stine’s books, they’re almost always a sign of anti-social behavior.)  Sometimes, Martha discovers that she’s drawn the boy’s face without even realizing that she was drawing at the time.  That’s weird.  Like, how would you not realize that you were drawing?

Anyway, I was really hoping that it would turn out that Martha had been given a hand transplant and her new hands belonged to a murderer or something and now Martha was sleepwalking and strangling people with her new murder hands!  But, to be honest, that’s more of a Christopher Pike type of thing than an R.L. Stine thing.  Instead, this is another R.L. Stine book where the lead character starts to get menacing phone calls and then eventually, she discovers that it’s because all of her friends are keeping secrets and cheating on each other.  There is one surprisingly violent decapitation and some nonsense about hypnotism.  If there’s anything that I’ve learned from R.L. Stine, it’s that hypnotism is very easy to learn.  Despite a promising premise, this is pretty much a standard R.L. Stine rush job, one that efficiently hits all of the expected notes without digging too deep into the characters or the story.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this book is that the Face itself never comes to life.  From the cover, I figured that the drawing would actually start to move its lips and speak and totally freak Martha out.  I mean, the cover literally says, “He had something to tell her …. from beyond the grave.”  But once again, a talking picture is probably more of a Christopher Pike thing than an R.L. Stine thing.  I really should have read more Christopher Pike this October.  Oh well.  Live and learn!

One response to “Book Review: The Face by R.L. Stine

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/17/22 — 10/23/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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