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"Say Cheese — and Die Screaming!"?

...More like "Say Cheese — and Take a 20+ Day Hiatus from Blog Reviews!"

Say Cheese — and Die Screaming! (review)

(This is a review, not a synopsis. For a recap, check out this page.)

No spoilers.

I've heard a couple of people say that they dislike this book. One reason that I heard was that this book didn't have Greg Banks, the protagonist in the previous two books involving the Camera.

I'm about to share an opinion that might shock you; most of the Goosebumps characters are completely interchangeable.

Think to yourself: what is one trait about Greg Banks that you like? What was his character arc?

There's a good chance that you'll be drawing a blank on both of those. You might say, "his arc was to defeat the camera!" ...But that isn't an arc. He was presented with a problem, so he tried to find a solution. What does he want to do besides that?

How does Greg change between his first and second appearance? Sadly, he doesn't. In his second appearance, he makes the same mistakes that he made before, and he learns nothing. If Greg was replaced by this guy or that guy, the story wouldn't really change. He doesn't grow as a character, and he doesn't really have any aspirations.

In my opinion, one of the only characters in the Goosebumps franchise who truly develops is Carly Beth Caldwell. She starts off as a coward, and she wants others to stop teasing her. She buys an evil mask, but she ends up having to fight it. After fighting the mask and winning, Carly Beth is no longer a coward, which causes people to stop picking on her.

Spoilers.

Are you telling me that after all of that typing, I still haven't written a review for this book?

Well.

Julie Martin is a part of her school's yearbook team, and she wants her photography work featured in the yearbook. However, she's constantly in competition with this other photographer, Danny. (Wow, those sound like aspirations!)

Her regular camera get's all busted up, so she goes and get's a Polaroid camera from a garage sale. And if you've read any book with the evil camera, you'll know that whenever the camera is used bad things happen.

At one point in this book, the camera takes a picture of two girls, and their skin starts to turn green and scaly. So, as is the logical conclusion, they accuse Julie of being a witch.

One photo depicts Julie falling from the school's high-dive. She had been planning on taking a photo of the whole school from the high-dive for the yearbook, but she is afraid that she will fall to her death. Julie allows David to take the photo instead, and she saves him from falling! (Wow, that sounds like character development!!!) Because Julie doesn't fall, the effects that the camera had on others wears off, and they return to normal.

Julie also gets a bright idea: make the camera take a photo of itself using a mirror! But (big surprise) the camera doesn't destroy itself... It clones itself. So presumably she has to resist twice as much temptation to not touch the camera... I guess. I really don't see how two cameras are that much scarier than one.

Also, couldn't she just bury them?

Rating & Explanation

(I don't know why this section has "Rating" in the title. I don't usually give books a number score.)

This book is pretty good. The main character is likable and motivated, and the story was good. I wouldn't say it's the best book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series, but out of the 8 books I've reviewed so far, this book takes the #2 spot. The #1 spot right now still goes to this other book.

...I'd rate this book a strong 16.

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