The cover illustration features a bee with Gary Lutz's head.
Right Brain. Wrong Body.
Gary Lutz needs a vacation...from himself. Bullies are constantly beating him up. His only friend is his computer. Even his little sister doesn't like him. But now Gary's dream is about to come true. He's going to exchange bodies with another kid for a whole week. Gary can't wait to get a new body. Until something horrible happens. And Gary finds out his new body isn't exactly human...
Gary Lutz is enjoying an average summer day by himself reading comics in his bedroom. He does not have any friends and he is so clumsy that everyone has a habit of calling his names. So, he then decides to spend the July afternoon spying on his next door neighbor, a middle-aged man named Mr. Andretti. A bee farmer who owns multiple bee hives around his home. Suddenly Gary grows worried and is warned to run away, after Mr. Andretti is overwhelmed by the bees!
Only for it to be revealed, that it was only a trick...
This little mocking incident leads to Gary getting picked last in softball later in the day. They even have made a special rule for him that instead of three strikes, he can get four. And sure enough, he shows that this special rule has been made for a reason. This ends in tears, as Gary runs away from the field crying. Only to run into a trio of bullies who beat him up.
Finally home, Krissy, Gary's younger sister, also makes fun of him. To which his mother ends up laughing. But besides home and friend problems, Gary also does no better when it comes to love. Having a massive crush on a very beautiful girl named Judy. He tries to impress her with his bike skills, but he almost gets hit by a lamp post in the process and spills-out into the street nearby.
Back at home again, having been through a harsh day. Gary decides to relax by getting onto his computer to surf the internet. He spots a weird ad for a bizarre vacation and he goes to the address in the ad to get more information. He comments on how much the office reminds him of a dentists' office, but lacking dental tools and equipment. A woman speaks to him through a microphone behind a protective window and he goes to the back office inside. Inside, he meets the director, a woman named Ms. Karmen. She explains that children who sign up with this program switch places with one-another.
She then hands him a binder with many photographs and information of children and she asks him who he would like to put himself inside of. She then takes his picture, to add it to the book. A few days later, she gives Gary a call and she asks to come over, which Gary sees no problem with as nobody else is home.
She soon arrives and Gary tells her to just make herself at home and he would be down to see her when he finishes his hair. When he does come down, Ms. Karmen informs Gary that she has found someone, a muscular skateboarder named Dirk. Who was willing to switch with Gary, who wishes to switch places with him so that he can improve his math. Gary agrees and Ms. Karmen begins to set up her equipment for the two boys.
Unknown to them all, a bee flew into the room...
Ms. Karmen activates the switching process shortly after and it is a success! For Dirk only... who has wound up inside Gary's body. Gary however... has been turned into a bee!
After many bee oriented adventures, Gary soon puts to use the little amount of knowledge he has gained on bees from the book he read sometime while back. And he uses it to help himself out of a few sticky situations. Eventually, Gary flies back to the Vacation office and tries to use the microphone to plead for his body back. The receptionist tells him just to go back to the hive and wait the week out...
Fortunately, Gary has gotten a quick peak at Dirk's address and he goes to see Dirk, whose body was occupied by the bee that Gary is inside. He spots Bee-Dirk in Dirk's backyard trying to lick pollen from flowers. Bee-Dirk tries to then kill Gary, until the bee boy then flies home. He tries to type a message on his computer but it does not work and he goes to see the real Dirk, who is in Gary still and speaks with him. He can hear him just fine, but refuses to return to his body. He has been changing Gary from a total wimp, like giving skateboard lessons to Judy and her friends in the park. And also beating up the trio of bullies, and even befriends Claus the cat!
Very frustrated, Gary flies back to the hive. He rounds up the other bees and leads the swarm into his bedroom, where Dirk is. Dirk is not the least bit frightened, which Gary had hoped he would be and so, Gary tries the ultimate resort. Remembering that bees die without their stingers, he stings Dirk's body in the nose. Upon doing so, he then falls to the floor and blackens out...
Waking up sometime later, Gary sees that he has returned to his normal body. It is revealed that upon doing this and dying, he was returned to his body automatically. Only his bee body had died. Dirk was also returned to his normal body and he proceeds to apologize to Gary for hogging his body the way he did. The book ends as Gary releases the many bees from his room while opening the window..
Gary has been adjusting very well to the many positive changes that Dirk had imprinted into his life. When one day he comes across many flowers and he takes the time to just sniff a few... he then tries to taste the flower with his tongue.
Reprints and rereleases
Why I'm Afraid of Bees received its first reprint in April 2005. It will be reprinted a second time with the upcoming release of the Goosebumps 25th Anniversary Retro Set, which includes five of the all-time best selling Goosebumps books. It is set to release on September 26, 2017.
2003 - 2007 reprint series
||September 26, 2017||Collection||Paperback|
Why I'm Afraid of Bees is one of the few books in the original series to not receive a television adaptation for the Goosebumps TV series.
- Gary and Krissy's father was mentioned by name in the book: Ken Lutz.
- This and How I Learned to Fly are the only books in the original Goosebumps series without a supernatural enemy.
- The original cover is the only book in the original Goosebumps series to use black text for the tagline.
- The reprinted cover of this book that is featured in the 25th Anniversary Retro Set uses white text instead of black text.