The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is book 14 in the Original Goosebumps series. What is scary in this book is the setting of a Florida swamp called Fever Swamp. The swamp seems way more dangerous than the werewolf that slowly starts killing animals. This book helps if you’ve read other goosebumps books and are looking for the twist to enjoy it because I thought my first guess was just too easy, but that was it. The story thrives on misdirection and it doesn’t work. It is also a story that once you know the twist the story makes no sense, it reveals in the end that the Werewolf knows they are a werewolf and still has thoughts, which will make no sense when the thing or person is revealed to be a werewolf. My pet peeve in twist-telling stories is that they make sense no matter how far they go and it does not.
The Plot: Grady and Emily are siblings that have just moved to Florida and remote place called Fever Swamp. Their are parents scientist looking a swamp deers in in Florida’s Fever Swamp. The siblings explore and soon find out that the swamp can be dangerous, as they get lost, find a bog that will suck you in, and a hermit that chases them. The siblings get a fever and start possibly hallucinating as they here scratches and howling from outside. The fever only last though the night then they feel better by morning. In the morning Grady is attacked by big dog that knocks him down and keeps licking him, the dog is a stray that he wants to keep and calls him wolf, because of his size, he thinks this describes the scratching and the howls. He meets and makes a new friend in Will who wants to explore the swamp together, when they explore the find a heron torn in half. Grady learns of the werewolf and a missing neighbor. At night Wolf freaks out at the howling and tries to break out of the house waking every one up, Wolf gets put out and the family finds animals ripped in half in the morning. Is Wolf the werewolf? Or the crazy hermit? or someone else, he were wolf seems to be targeting Grady’s house.
What I Liked: Wolf the dog, is a little bit rough, but I like what Stine does with him at the end. I loved that the hermit over hears them thinking he’s a werewolf then pranks the kids as he runs after them screaming, “I’m a werewolf!” The Swamp as a character is one of the best things, the elements are against the kids. The snake bite scene was a twist on Lassie and I liked it. The final scene was good were we get to acknowledge that the werewolf still has conscience when a werewolf.
What I Disliked: Once you know who or what the werewolf is, the actions don’t make any sense at all. There is no character motivation of the werewolf. The only motivation is by writer Stine to have you not figure out what is the werewolf.
Recommendation: This is not the worst Goosebumps but it is in the bottom five. If you’re like me on a quest to read them all then you can’t skip any, but this one is a skip for any other reason. Even if you like werewolf fiction the werewolf only shows up in the final pages. I rated The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 14 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, 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… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and Monster Blood.