Welcome back to another review of one of the 30 Tales to Give You Goosebumps that'll be going on all throughout October. Today's story 5, "Good Friends." I think we'll learn that the real goosebumps are the friends we made along the way...
Dylan and Jordan are the "good friends" the title of this story seem to be referring to. Like all great Goosebumps characters they are in middle school. Where they are unique though is in their family problems. Dylan has an overbearing jerk of an older brother just dying to get him in trouble when he watches him after school. Jordan has a younger sister that plays with an imaginary friend all the time.
Ok, well I guess Jordan doesn't have much of a problem but he feels like he does. Little sisters are so annoying! That's why he always plays tricks on her and teases her about her imaginary friend. Dylan goes along with it because Dylan is a follower, and also he seems to be pretty meek.
Jordan in his deviant little mind hatches a plan to use one sibling to harass the other. Dylan's older brother has 2 pet tarantulas that would absolutely freak out Jordan's sister. I would just like to point out the detail that the spiders' names are Axel and Foley which I am pretty sure is a reference to Beverly Hills Cop. Nice.
The plan is simple, "borrow" the spiders, scare the sister, convince her one has eaten her imaginary friend. Kind of mean, but that's how older siblings get their kicks. Step one is easy enough. The spiders were secured with no fuss. They sneak towards Jordan's sister...
CAUGHT! Dylan's older brother caught him red handed. That's right, Dylan stole his older brother's spiders and why? So he could play with his imaginary friend Jordan and his imaginary sister. What a dweeb, he's too old to have imaginary friends!
Ok, my first thought is, "that ending is like a rated G version of the Sixth Sense." Also, spoiler alert, BRUCE WILLIS IS IMAGINARY.
This story follows suit with the others by really gearing up for a twist ending. The twist ending here works pretty well though. While you are trying to sniff out the twist you are thinking about the spiders or about the sister's imaginary friend. Heck you might even be thinking about the mean older brother. But I don't think you were thinking "Dylan is the one with imaginary friends." He must be a creative kid. He invented an imaginary friend with an imaginary sister who has an imaginary imaginary friend.
Some aspects of the story remind me a bit of my childhood. Not the imaginary friends or spiders, but the relationship between Dylan and Jordan. I remember hanging around friends that were really mean to their little sisters for no apparent reason. It was awkward. I think I was always the mild mannered one, who was like "this isn't a good idea guys." Probably young readers will identify with one character or the other. I think one of the best things about these books is when a young person can relate to it a little.
Not to get too nice to this story. It still follows a very familiar formula and doesn't shake things up too terribly much. Also this isn't so much scary as it is a "mind freak." I think it could freak some 9 year old minds though. I mean.. what if I'm imaginary RIGHT NOW?!?
Rating: 4 out of 5 Axel Foleys
And once again I'll remind you to check back tomorrow and every day in October for another review from the short story collection 30 Tales to Give You Goosebumps.