Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine is book 12 in the original Goosebumps series. This is an episode of the classic Goosebumps TV Show that I remember little bits and pieces of the name of the main character Samantha Byrd, the cruelty of kids (it’s even worse in the book), and the ending. The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. The story is like that of the Monkey Paw where wishes go bad what makes this story worse, is Samantha does a good deed and still has two out of her three wishes go bad without her fault.
The Plot: Samantha Byrd is a tall awkward 12 year-old, who gets made fun of constantly by mean girl Judith. Judith is the ring leader who likes to torment Samantha. She calls her “Stork”, spills stuff on here accidentally on purpose, and trips her at every occasion. Samantha is on the basketball team for her height alone, she can’t shoot or catch a pass. Judith the star of the team, torments her again tripping her further, telling her to, “fly away Byrd and don’t come back.” Judith in all her rudeness ask Samantha not to show up to the game so they can win. On her way home she meets an old lady wondering the streets clearly lost. Samantha talks to her finds the right direction, the woman thanks her and says, for your help I will give you three wishes. Samantha tries to say that’s okay, but the old woman persists until Samantha says, I wish I was the strongest player on the basketball team. The woman holding a little crystal ball grows bright red. She doesn’t think any thing of it, she plays her brother and gets beat pretty bad. At the basketball game the next day, Samantha doesn’t feel any different, noting she shoots goes in, but the rest of her team can’t either. The rest of her team starts getting drowsy and felling weak making Samantha the strongest player on the team, at first she has fun with this, but the next day when her entire team doe not come to school for being to weak, she fears that her wish could kill them eventually, that’s not what she wanted. She visits Judith to see how bad it has gotten, Judith calls her a witch, and says she cast a spell on the team. since she’s the only one who didn’t get sick, Samantha admits to the wish which makes Judith only taunt her more calling her witch. She leaves in a huff and wishes out of anger only to have the old lady right around the corner, say as you wish.
What I Liked: The wish to be the strongest player on the basketball team is pretty funny, how it plays out on the basketball court, I liked R. L. Stine’s clever trickery there. The third wish is pretty good just how extreme it gets and backfires. The ending is good and is telegraphed well, and was pretty perfect. I do like the message, which is literally, be careful what you wish for. Judith as a mean girl is very effective, she was a nightmare that is instantly disliked.
What I Disliked: The story takes way too long to get to the wishes, and it takes a long time to see the effect of the first wish. I felt that the wish should be a punishment for a mean girl, not for a good deed, and the wish maker is just horrible at doing her job, saying, I’m doing my best.
Recommendations: This one is a pass for me, it does a couple clever things and does have a god ending, but really lite on the actual fright. The Goosebumps TV episodes was a lot better than the book. I rated Be Careful What You Wish For… by R.L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 12 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite Stay Out of the Basement, The Haunted Mask, 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, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.