Do you have a bratty little brother? Is he always messing with your stuff? Picking on you? Making trouble? Amy knows exactly how you feel. But as bad as your little sibling might be, no one can hold a candle to her little brother Arnie. Making matters even worse, her parents never do anything to try and improve his behavior. They just make excuses for him. A girl can only take so much, and Amy has reached her breaking point, now it’s time for revenge. But revenge can be a very dangerous thing and Amy is about to learn that the hard way in Slime Doesn’t Pay!, the newest book by R.L. Stine.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Blackstone Publishing for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Slime Doesn’t Pay contains spoilers!]
Little brothers are monsters!
Poor Amy. Arnie is ruining her life. He’s her younger brother and he’s always doing mean things to her. From ruining her food to scaring her friends, to framing her for shoplifting, Arnie is always causing problems. And her parents never do anything about it! Finally, Arnie goes too far. Amy can’t forgive him for what he’s done, and she can’t move on. The only thing that will bring her peace is to hurt him like he’s hurt her. But how?
Amy and her friends have a revenge brain-storming party and finally, they come up with the perfect plan. Finally, Arnie will get what he deserves. But is it too much? Will Amy be happy to see Arnie the butt of the joke for once? And how will Arnie take it? There is an old saying that the man who plans revenge digs two graves. Amy is about to find out what that means firsthand.
Obnoxious siblings and childish pranks take center stage in Slime Doesn’t Pay!
Once again, R.L. Stine takes a completely normal childhood problem, in this case, an annoying younger sibling, and gives it a great twist. This is what Stine excels at. He starts with something that is completely relatable to the reader. This lures us into a false sense of comfort. We all have dealt with an obnoxious sibling in some form. Whether we were the older sister being annoyed, the younger brother being annoying, or the friend watching it all happen, we know this story. But then Stine gives that familiar scenario a hard twist into the land of horror.
Now it’s not just an annoying little brother that’s pushing Amy over the edge but a host of monsters that are invading her life. And just like no one helps her deal with Arnie, no one believes her about the monsters. In essence, the monsters are “getting away with it” just like Arnie does. It’s no wonder that she breaks and decides to get a little revenge. The fact that she actually manages to enact at least a little revenge feels so good to all of us older sisters who just had to take it from our younger siblings. For just a minute you can be Amy and slime your sibling. And it feels so good!
R.L. Stine books are the perfect childhood intro to the horror genre
R.L. Stine has been scaring me for well over three decades now. I cut my teeth on the original Goosebumps series way back in the third grade. As I got older I moved on to the Fear Street collections. And he’s even written a few adult books that I’ve read as a grown-up chill seeker. It’s actually a really cool thing to have books from an author that you love and that continues to grow with you. Stine may just be unique with his huge catalog of books that span so many age groups. Most writers stick with one age group. Some may write one or two books outside their target demographic, but I am not aware of anyone who has written so many books aimed at so many different age groups. It’s kind of amazing.
The really nice thing is that he manages to tailor the scares to the age he’s writing for in each book. Annoying brother who’s a monster? That is exactly what every eleven-year-old is thinking. It makes it scary, but not overwhelming. The level of fear is exciting but not nightmare-inducing, it’s really just that perfect balance.
A few loose ends left in Slime Doesn’t Pay!
As I review this, I do have to remember that I’m reading a book intended for someone much younger than me, with much less of an analytical mind than I have (absolutely not knocking children or saying their stupid, brains mature and grow over time). That being said, there are some parts of Slime Doesn’t Pay! that felt a little underdeveloped. I have a lot of questions about Arnie and his history that don’t get answered by the end of Slime Doesn’t Pay! It left me feeling a little unfulfilled, but I have a feeling that younger readers might not think of these questions. And since this is a book that is definitely targeting that 9-13 age range, it’s fine.
I also felt like a few things were “obviously” going to happen the way they did and I had the twist figured out after the first couple of paragraphs. But again, I have a lot of experience with stories, especially the kind that Stine specializes in. Meaning it probably wouldn’t be as obvious to his target audience, and would probably even be a big surprise for them. Even with these few caveats, the book was really cute and I enjoyed the story. I think that any third to eighth-grader out there would love it too. And just so everyone understands, I am going to rate this book below like I am a third-grade girl instead of a thirty-something woman. Then I think I might go mix up some slime for my little brother…
My Rating: 8/10
Slime Doesn’t Pay by R.L. Stine is available now! Will you be reading this one? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.