A Midsummer Night’s Scream Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 4 CDs (5 hours)
Read by Brittany Pressley

Children’s author R. L. Stine has been giving kids nightmares for more than two decades with his Goosebumps books. Now he returns with some Hollywood-style scares in the standalone thriller, A Midsummer Night’s Scream. And, if you’re taking your horror-loving family on a late-summer road trip, the audio version could be a great—and gruesome—way to pass the time.

A Midsummer Night’s Scream takes place at a Hollywood studio, where the planned remake of a 60-year-old horror classic goes horribly wrong.

Claire’s parents run the studio, and she’s thrilled when she earns a part in her very first film. The problem, however, is that the thought of the movie gives her the creeps. Production on the original film ended after three of the actors were killed—for real. And when freak accidents start occurring on the set of the new Mayhem Manor, Claire begins to wonder if she’s destined for the same fate as the girl who was cast for the same role 60 years ago.

The Hollywood setting of A Midsummer Night’s Scream makes it an intriguing adventure for scary movie buffs. It’s fun to follow along with Claire as she wanders around the studio lot and takes part in the film’s production. And Claire makes a pretty likable tour guide, too. Though her parents’ profession places her in the right zip code, she’s still a pretty normal teen. She’s also sweet and ambitious and eager to succeed in the film. And she’s appropriately spooked by the on-set accidents—and what people are calling “The Curse of Mayhem Manor.”

Readers will be spooked, too—because the things that play out here aren’t for the weak of heart (or stomach). These aren’t just things that go bump in the night. The accidents may not be frequent, but they are pretty graphic—and gruesome, too. And it all starts right away, with the first chapter—so you’ll want to be sure that everyone in the car can handle the horrors before you start listening.

While the story itself is fun and creepy, though, the set-up poses a whole lot of nagging questions—especially as it relates to the original Mayhem Manor. In fact, the whole movie—and its accessibility to the public—seems to make little or no sense whatsoever. And it’s sometimes pretty difficult to get beyond the unlikelihood of the story’s past to be able to enjoy its present.

Still, if you’re able to accept the story’s flaws, this relatively short audiobook will help you pass the time while hitting the road with the kids. If you pop it into your car’s CD player on your next road trip, you might even get your teens to turn off their iPods for a while (or at least turn down the volume).

Listen to the review on Shelf Discovery:

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