The illustration on the cover shows a picture with a skeleton family having dinner.
The book is told from the point of view of Greg Banks in his English class being called upon by Mr. Saur, his English teacher, to report about what he did last summer. It starts with Greg describes Mr. Saur as a strict teacher who never laughs and is therefore, referred to as "Sour Ball" by Greg and his friends. Greg narrates what happened to him last summer with the wicked camera, which then results in him being given an "F" on his assignment. Greg insists to his teacher that it is true. Mr. Saur challenges Greg to prove his story by showing him the evil camera. Greg is desperate to visit his cousins in the summer and in order to do so, he must improve his grades in English.
Greg then plans to revisit the Coffman House to retrieve the camera. He discusses this over lunch with his friends, Doug, Michael and Shari, who are shocked at his decision and try to discourage him, as the camera had done so many evil/bad things to them last summer. But when Greg's English classmates named Donny and Brian, mocked him in public by pretending to take photographs with their hands and quipping "Say cheese and die!", Greg becomes all the more determined to find the camera and prove his story are true.
Later that night, Greg returns to the Coffman House, only to discover that it has been purchased by a new owner who has had the place cleared out. While Greg is searching for the camera in the debris, a boy named Jonathan catches him, taking him for a thief. He soon realizes that this is not the case. Greg learns that Jonathan is the son of the new owner of the Coffman house. Greg finally finds the camera under a raccoon's dead body/corpse, and Jonathan becomes curious as to why he is so interested in it. Greg says that he must show it to his English class, but Jonathan becomes interested in keeping the camera, arguing that it is technically his since it was originally in his new house. While fighting for the camera, Greg accidentally snaps Jon's picture. The photograph then shows a long carpenter nail through Jon's foot. Jon thinks that the camera is a joke and Greg asks if he can borrow it for a while. Jonathan then runs off to find his father, only to step on a carpenter nail, as predicted in the photograph, and then is rushed to the hospital after that.
The next day, Greg goes to school and is caught by Shari on the way. Greg tries to hide the camera from Shari unsuccessfully. They have an argument about Greg bringing the camera to school. This results in Greg accidentally snapping a picture of Shari, while they fight for the camera. The picture then develops and appears to be a negative, leading the two to believe that the camera is broken. Shari then grabs the camera and takes a picture of Greg, which then develops into a picture of Greg appearing to look like an obese person. Greg then goes to English class, excited to show Mr. Saur his camera as proof for his assignment. He is welcomed by Mr. Saur's substitute, which makes him upset. He then decides to put the camera in his locker; however, he is caught by Donny and Brian after exiting the classroom. They torment him with the camera; however, are stopped by the principal. The next morning, Greg wakes up to find himself fatter in his pajamas. His mother disagrees, saying that his pajamas are always too tight for him. Greg finds out in school that Shari has lost weight. Over the following days, Shari loses more weight while Greg gains more.
Mr. Saur arrives the following day and Greg shows him the camera which he ignores. He then makes his final decision, which is to give Greg a failing mark. Greg's parents insist that his weight gain is the result of some allergic reaction to something he ate. Shari and Greg, desperate for a solution, realize that if they make Greg's photo negative, there might be a chance of returning to their normal bodies. They rush to a photo shop where Greg's brother Terry works. They find him and plead with him to reverse their pictures. Greg offers him all of his allowance, which his brother accepts. His brother then reverses the pictures and the following day, Greg and Shari return to their normal bodies.
Against Shari's advice, Greg brings the camera to school and again insists to Mr. Saur to give him a passing mark for his assignment, offering to demonstrate the camera's powers. Mr. Saur takes the camera and insists on taking a picture of Greg with his entire class. He then snaps the photo. It is unknown what happens to Greg and the rest of the class at the end of the book.
Cover Art Gallery
- Say Cheese and Die - Again! has the longest time difference between installments of any sequel in the original series at 3 years & 7 months
- Unlike the previous book, Say Cheese and Die!, which was told in the third person narrative, Say Cheese and Die - Again! is told from Greg's point of view.
- We never learn what happened to the two bullies named Joey and Mickey, who found the camera and used it at the end of the previous book, although we must assume it had been something nasty, and the camera was obviously left at the Coffman House. Strangely, despite their use of the camera, the picture they took is nowhere to be found.
- Although Greg's age is not given in the previous book, in the sequel he indirectly reveals he is 13 years old by mentioning that his big brother Terry, although 17, looks like him, only four years older.
- This is the second and final appearances of Greg and his friends to date.
There are some differences between the book Say Cheese and Die - Again! and the television adaptation (Spoiler Alert) -
- As in the television adaptation of Say Cheese and Die!, the camera is initially located in the basement of an abandoned factory building, as opposed to a haunted house. When Greg goes back to retrieve the camera, he finds that the building has been razed, except for the basement level where he finds the camera hidden away.
- Doug and Mr. Banks do not appear in the television version of Say Cheese and Die - Again! as they did in the book.
- In the series Greg and Shari revert back to normal within moments of his brother reversing the photo's, and has a moment of suspense. Greg's brother works fast to alter the pictures, all the while Greg continues to grow, his jeans ripping open, while Shari is close to becoming skeleton. Greg tries to get her to eat a candy bar, but Shari barely has the energy to move. Greg calls out to Shari just as his brother finishes. The two having reverted back to normal by the time he leaves the dark room.
- Jonathan is altered in the TV version as a young adult security guard, who tries to confiscate the camera from Greg, only to end up as the camera's next victim/target when Greg accidentally snaps his picture (although he merely takes a nasty fall, as opposed to having his foot pierced by a nail).
- In the television adaptation of Say Cheese and Die!, Spidey survives, unlike the original book. However, his fate is remains unknown/mystery in the television version of Say Cheese and Die - Again! (although he does appear in footage shot at all from the earlier episode, as Greg is recounting his adventure to Mr. Saur.)
- The ending of the television episode is different. Instead of taking a picture of the entire class, teacher, Mr. Saur takes a picture of himself — which depicts him completely bald. He is impressed at the use of what he believes to be a trick photograph, until he reaches up and finds he really is losing his hair rapidly while the class laughs at his misery. We hear Spider's voice echoing "Say cheese!"
Television Episode Trivia
- This television episode was released on DVD along with Say Cheese and Die!.
- While this is the sequel to Say Cheese and Die!, the actors and actresses are different from the ones who played the characters from the previous episode. For example, Greg is now played by Patrick Thomas instead of Ryan Gosling. The episode nonetheless makes use of flashbacks from its prequel.
- The picture that was taken that made Shari disappear/vanished is seen with her initially in it, and then her image fading away, unlike the first television episode, which only pictured the tree she was standing under.
- In the television episode, the climax takes place for one day, as opposed to the book, where the climax takes place in a matter of at least a week.
- In the television episode, Greg is more fat when he wakes up than when he does in the book, but does not gain nearly as much as in the book. He also doesn't play baseball in the television episode.
- A poster of Party of Five is visible on Greg's bedroom wall.