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Review: The Snowman by R.L. Stine

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Snowman
R.L. Stine

Genre: YA SuspenseThriller
Paperback: 181 Pages
Publication: February 1991
by Scholastic


Heather feels cold all the time. Alone. Her guardian hates her. He'd like to see her dead. He'd like all her money. But for now he settles for controlling it, and making Heather's life miserable.

Poor little rich girl, just like Cinderella...

Then the gorgeous, ice-blond guy shows up at the crummy restaurant where Heather works after school. He understands about Heather. He's her Prince Charming. No one can get to Heather now.

Heather feels so safe. So loved. So warm...


A lot of us 90s kids will probably remember R.L. Stine as the guy who wrote Goosebumps, but before he wrote those creepy stories for children, he was known for his joke books. It wasn’t until he was asked by his publishers in the late 80s to write a horror book aimed at teens, something that actually required some research on his part. After his first attempt at the horror genre was successful, he went on to write more of these novels, among them The Snowman.

To be honest, I was thrown off a little by the cover when I first saw it. Since I saw that it was a Stine book, I thought it would be about some evil snowman that could turn into a human or something. Then again, this was my first time reading Stine outside of Goosebumps and I ended up with a rather pleasant surprise. Since it was my first non-Goosebumps Stine book, it was my first time experiencing something of his that isn't speculative and is more realistic.

Heather as a protagonist works on certain levels. I gave her points for putting up with the situations she found herself in, but that was probably what I could give her the most credit for. I have to admit that I did find her kind of bland but relatable enough because of the angst and anger she feels towards her uncle, who does come across as very unpleasant. That being said, I felt like the uncle could have had more development. As is, he’s pretty one dimensional; he’s strict and makes Heather work at a lame job and yells at her for small things. There is a hint or two dropped that he may be stealing from Heather’s trust fund, but this is just glanced over. Heather also says that things have been like this since she was a little girl, and I actually would've wanted to see some of those moments in flashback, mostly to serve as justification as to why she hates her uncle so much.

The best thing about this book was its charismatic villain. Much like Alex from A Clockwork Orange and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, you really become fascinated with the antagonist in this novel. Though, I guess, the better word for this antagonist would be enamored. You gradually fall for him, and his turning out to be the villain is the big twist of the novel. It's not much of a twist, though, since some things about him do raise a few red flags throughout. Questions about him and his background do come up, but because they go unanswered, that may have just made him more interesting to me.

The plot was fairly straightforward. Because most of the chapters were short, averaging four or five pages, this book was really fast to get through, even though some of these short chapters seemed choppy to me. Overall, I felt that the book was a bit short; had it been longer, there would've been more room for some better character development, and perhaps answers to a few of the questions that come up.

This was a quick and fun read. It does have its faults, but I felt that they didn’t take away from the reading experience. Sure, the novel's a bit cheap and cheesy at times, but that didn't bother me so much because I was actually invested in the mystery, and because I have a bit of a fondness for campy horror. It's a good book if you go into it with the right attitude. Think about the mindset you would have before watching something like a cheap 80s slasher pic; that, I think, would be a good state of mind to be in when diving into this particular book.

Additional Information

  • Point Horror

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8 comments on "Review: The Snowman by R.L. Stine"
  1. I do love RL Stein. He always writes such a solid story with interesting characters.

    1. I haven't read too much Stine outside of 'Goosebumps,' but I am looking forward to getting some of his other books in the future.

  2. It's been FOREVER since I've read a book by R.L. Stine, but yes, I do remember the Goosebumps novels. Hehe The mystery sounds like it was top notch, despite the cheese. Happy Friday, Roxanne!

    1. For a cheesy mystery, it was pretty good. It's nowhere near perfect, but it does get you invested. I've been on a bit of a Goosebumps kick recently, and I'm thinking of collecting them since I didn't read them until I was in high school (mostly because I was too young for the series when it first came out and the show scared me as a kid).

  3. The charismatic villan sounds like a great addition to the story

    1. He is a great addition, and seeing him there actually made me glad that the book didn't turn out to be some stereotypical teen romance.

  4. This review makes me so, so, so very happy. I adore RL Stine, and this is probably my favorite book by him. never thought I'd see someone else review it, haha.

    1. This was actually my second time reading the book; the first time was when I got it back in high school (it had been a present from my sophomore English teacher). I've got to agree, Stine books are a lot of fun! Like I said in a previous comment, I've been on a Goosebumps kick since I discovered some reviews over the classic series. I read a few in high school, and now I want to find them since apparently there's value in reading them as an adult.


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