Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R. L. Stine is book 9 in the original Goosebumps series. Welcome to Camp Nightmare is scarier than most of the Goosebumps I have read before. The ending is a good twist that is set up from the start with little hints along the way, in my last review of The Girl Who Cried Monster Goosebumps 8 this was a big complaint. The Psychological horror of being stranded and having people go missing, that no one remembers being there in the first place works really well. The Welcome to Camp Nightmare 2 part episode from Goosebumps was a childhood favorite of mine, there’s minor differences a one plot point change that I liked better than the book. There’s a real lack of false scares in this one only one at the beginning, which is the smallest amont in a Goosebumps book so far. The book uses every camping horror trope but twist it and makes it fun. I’m reading these Goosebumps books in order and giving to my three nephews, and they will like this one a lot.
The Plot: Billy is going to his first Overnight camping trip for the summer at Camp Nightmoon. Billy makes fast friends on the bus with his bunk mates of Cabin 4 Jay, Colin, and Mike. The trip starts off bad as there are snakes found in Mike’s bunk and bite him right at the start. Mike’s hand starts swelling and is told there is no nurse. Larry the older cabin leader is relaxed and says cold water and a bandage are all it takes. Mike goes off to treat his wound and is not heard from again as all his stuck is removed. Mike is the first of many campers to disappear that no one but Billy seems to remember. Billy really freaks out when he finds out the phone is fake and the letters he’s been told to write are undelivered. Billy is in Camp Nightmare, not Nightmoon.
What I Liked: Billy makes a lot of smart choices. The reveal of the fake phone was pretty great. The first scare with the desert creatures could has been one of my favorite scares of the series so far. The Bus driver scaring them, the not saying another word worked really well as he starts dumping their stuff. I loved all the clues to the ending, pay attention to the way the land and sky are described. The final twist was pretty good. I liked Larry the do nothing relaxed camp counselor. The scares are pretty good for the most part.
What I Disliked: The forbidden bunk was never really used, that’s why I like the TV episode so much better, because you have this device the forbidden bunk already set up, why not learn the history of it. I thought the plot point towards the end where Billy was asked to shoot things was okay but not explained enough.
Recommendations: Welcome to Camp Nightmare worked really well, and gave off some good scares. It was one of the easiest stories to get into so far. It made me remember my sleep over camp days and a lot of the stuff that I was afraid of. I rated Welcome to Camp Nightmare 4 out of 5 stars, and it ranks third out of the Goosebumps books that I have already read. Here’s my full ranking of the 9 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite Stay Out of the Basement, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, and Monster Blood.