Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Just Beyond #1

The Scare School

Rate this book
Middle grade supernatural horror series takes young readers Just Beyond the reality they know…Just Beyond their normal lives…Just Beyond the real world to an always surprising place of fantasy and fright.

Surviving middle school is hard enough but when Jess, Josh, and Marco encounter a strange and deadly creature wandering the halls of The Scare School, it leads them to a sinister secret in the boiler room...

As they leave their school behind, these three unsuspecting students enter a horrifying reality just beyond the one they know, one filled with supernatural terror and fright. Will they survive the harrowing journey and save the other children they find trapped there, or will they forever be trapped on the wrong side of The Scare School?

R.L. Stine, the worldwide bestselling author of Goosebumps, and visionary illustrators Kelly & Nichole Matthews (Pandora’s Legacy), take you to the other side where the only constant is fear.

144 pages, Paperback

First published September 3, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

R.L. Stine

1,599 books15.7k followers
Robert Lawrence Stine known as R. L. Stine and Jovial Bob Stine, is an American novelist and writer, well known for targeting younger audiences. Stine, who is often called the Stephen King of children's literature, is the author of dozens of popular horror fiction novellas, including the books in the Goosebumps, Rotten School, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room and Fear Street series.

R. L. Stine began his writing career when he was nine years old, and today he has achieved the position of the bestselling children's author in history. In the early 1990s, Stine was catapulted to fame when he wrote the unprecedented, bestselling Goosebumps® series, which sold more than 250 million copies and became a worldwide multimedia phenomenon. His other major series, Fear Street, has over 80 million copies sold.

Stine has received numerous awards of recognition, including several Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards and Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Awards, and he has been selected by kids as one of their favorite authors in the NEA's Read Across America program. He lives in New York, NY.


Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
61 (12%)
4 stars
76 (15%)
3 stars
169 (33%)
2 stars
141 (28%)
1 star
52 (10%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 98 reviews
Profile Image for Chad.
7,704 reviews867 followers
June 9, 2021
I can't imagine anyone older than 5 or 6 being scared of this. I can imagine myself picking this up as a child and tossing it aside, saying "It's for babies". Nothing about this makes much sense. The story is also much shorter than the page count suggests. There's 50 pages of filler in this. The art was pretty good though.
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,283 reviews173 followers
November 25, 2020
Just beyond The Twilight Zone is another dimension not only of sight and sound but of stupidity. Yes, welcome to the Stupid Twilight Zone.

This done-in-one story has a stupid premise, stupid characters, and a stupid twist at the end. If I had to sum it up in a word, I would have to say . . . ummm . . . stupid.

I would only recommend this book to children I do not like.
Profile Image for Jen .
2,547 reviews27 followers
March 8, 2020
Ummm...well that was an unexpected steaming pile of no. I love RL Stine. He’s a nice guy and his Goosebumps books bring back fond childhood memories, but this book isn’t going to cause happy memories, only confusion and then disappointment. That ending was complete trash and not believable at all. The artwork was ugly and confusing to follow. The story was kind of ok, but the world made little sense and the adults in it really loved to use the word “terminate” when discussing children who didn’t do what the adults wanted them to do.

1 star, as that was my gut reaction when I closed this book in disbelief. I’ll stick to my Goosebumps, thank you very much. Not recommended. I did like the dog though. He was cool, if a tad Deus Ex Machina. I expect him to save the day all of the time.
Profile Image for Centauri.
Author 2 books3 followers
March 17, 2022
Yes, its a story intended for younger readers. And yes, its intended to be a thriller (I think). The tale left me with a lot of questions.
Referencing that the dog could open doors and the antagonist was constantly afraid someone else would open the door between realms clearly made it obvious the dog would save the day. Having the children call the dog "bad dog" for being able to escape, also only meant they were gonna be a "good dog" for the same actions. That was good plotting and foreshadowing for a children's story. I also thought the art style was fun and easy to follow.
Everything else was "wait! what?" and disappointing.
We never actually uncover the antagonist's plot, or where the children all came from (are they from the real world, kidnapped? Or were they always, somehow, part of the void?). We never find out where the teachers, guards, or Drogg come from. We never find out what was meant by "terminate" nor why 2 children were able to break the spell and escape the void. And lastly, the ending wasn't shocking in a good way. The so-called twist made absolutely no sense. There was absolutely nothing written that would elude to children taking up the evil void master mantle. And no, calling the original young "heroine" Leeda the leader definitely doesn't count.
Profile Image for Katherine Moore.
167 reviews45 followers
October 6, 2019
Ultimately this was a pretty confusing read, and that’s not good when it comes to middle-grade reading, as the basic storyline should be easy to follow. The story even started as though a chapter was missing. Given that the famed author is adept at stringing a yarn or two together, I kept thinking it was going to become crystal clear. I enjoyed the illustrations and some of the concepts involved but if the Scare School is going work in graphic novel form, the storylines have got to be WAY clearer than this.
Profile Image for Cale.
3,557 reviews24 followers
February 13, 2021
Maybe it's because I predate the Goosebumps era, but this book didn't work for me at all. I can deal with the lack of happy endings and some grotesque moments in the story, but the characters throughout this story are uninteresting, the plot meandering and illogical, and the twist at the end seems to contradict the central plot point. The antagonists aren't threatening, and the deus ex machina is dependent on the superheroic abilities of a dog (whose amazing feat takes place off-panel). The characters are annoying (at least some intentionally), the motivations of everyone have to be spelled out because they don't follow from anything else in the book, and aside from the transit scenes, the art is basic and uninspiring. The creature's design is a little creative, but the interactions with it go from unlikely to utterly unbelievable.
The more I think about this, the less I like it. There's nothing here to really recommend it; the only reason it gets two stars is because it wasn't outright offensive.
Profile Image for Heather.
Author 18 books131 followers
July 10, 2019
R. L. Stine does not understand the structure, nuances or indeed the point of the graphic novel form.

I read this for our podcast Teenage Scream, which dissects the best (and worst) of 90s Teen Horror.

Profile Image for Mandy.
Author 2 books9 followers
December 5, 2020
This was a fun read! I’m excited for the others!
Profile Image for Wayne McCoy.
3,861 reviews22 followers
September 21, 2019
'Just Beyond: The Scare School' by R.L. Stine with art by Nichole Matthews and Kelly Matthews is a graphic novel for young readers with a spooky story. What could be more scary than school?

Scare School has a name that no sane parent would send their child. It's named after a mysterious headmaster. My review copy was missing the beginning of the story, so my story began with three kids in weird clothing being pursued down a hallway by scary creatures named droggs. They manage to escape into a school assembly. We then follow a story with some different kids and that's where the story manages to come together.

It's a confusing beginning to the story, but all gets explained for patient readers. The art is passable, but I found it confusing when it changed the story perspective as well. Overall, it doesn't seem all that scary, but I have been out of school for quite a few years. It could be a fun read for a reluctant reader.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
Profile Image for Deviki.
693 reviews19 followers
January 25, 2021
Whaaaat a graphic novel R.L Stine ??? Awesome !!! Why not give it a try ?

**Disjointed review because I'm reviewing it as I reading the comic**


Hurmm what's this looks like a normal primary/middle school but kids are wearing weird looking uniform ? Why are they sneaking around? Where is everyone else?

So far we have:-
Leeda - Cute brown-skinned girl, very determine
Drake - Ginger head boy, very cautious
Buddy - Chubby boy, very nervous

Wait....there are other normal looking kids though...Holly!! mother of god what the heck, that's a scary looking creature ? Drogg ? A robotic warrior guard with killer instincts for humans ?

Wait a sec, how other "normal" kids don't see Drogg and the 3 kids ? WTH ? Oh wait they do see them LOL. OMG, these kids can't catch a break !! Let them escape got dammit ...move sir!!!

Whoaaa vampire looking school principle lol. Mr. George P. Scare LOL Pee-scare LOL!!! Wait, who is Master Dean ? Am I reading the correct issue here ?

Invaders ? Drogg's left eyes got camera and paralyzing laser blast ...ok got it !! Brave brave Drake!! Owh so the Drogg is half animal half robotic ...good to know.

Bloody hell Buddy !!! Captain of the student guard?!! Noooo Leeda!! Drake !!! They have underground school too ? And that machine transported both of them to alternative space and time...just beyond ?


New story...Manders family

Twin Bro - Josh
Neighbor - Marco
cute doggy - Lucky
Crush - Carla

Huh...Lucky is a very smart dog ...open doors ? Dayum
Oh now this is another reality of scare school but with same principle ....or is it ?
Aww, poor Jess LOL. Lucky came to school too ? Holy molly !!

Gasp !! Jess saw the trio gang !!! Mrs. Daley....hurmm suspicious looking drama teacher. Wait a sec....Daley's shoes looks suspiciously like the underground guard!Oh oh wait !! This is happening the same time with the first story....awww cool !!

Ok so everyone else heard some commotion happening outside the auditorium. But odd though nobody seem to care at all ....well except Jess. Whoaa they found the broken/wounded Drogg.

They dragged the Drogg....they dragged it LOL Oh ok .....it came alive ...kids why are you even surprised LOl. Sure, follow that thing ...very logical thing to do. Yes Jess, let's follow a creepy looking thing into a tunnel and through a unknowing door.

Ohhh.....they came back to the ealier kids school ..their reality....the one with the chef uniform. Cool !!Yeah Marco, I don't think asking those kids for help is a good idea, especially since they are walking casually next to a Drogg.

Ah there you got vampire principle and witch drama teacher LOL.....Whoa there is nothing like white blank canvas ...a void outside the scare school. Shoot!! Leeda and Drake is in detention waiting to be terminated ??? So there is two Dr. Scare in both reality, I guess same goes for Mrs. Daley.

Ah, so they sense a blimp on the reality screen if someone passes between two reality without permission. Opps!! I hope Jess, Josh and Marco realize they're talking about them. Smart Jess, yep find the boiler door, if you pass into this world ..maybe there is a way out too.

Coloring...Nap time ? WHoaaa chef kids are being treated like 7 year olds. Gaah Buddy again!!! Guys, Jess is getting "eaten" up by door knob jelo and you're just staring at her ??? Way to go Jess!! Great now that stupid door won't do it's thing.

Ewwww......inside monster gut. Great captured and sent to detention hall. I wonder if they will meet up with Leeda and Drake. School teaching middle schooler childish things ? Same school ???
Explain Drake !!

Ah ....two reality of the same thing. Jess's school is the real deal and Leeda's is fragile reflection. The school is the nexus (a connection or series of connections linking two or more things). So there is another alternative connection to the other side besides the boiler.

Ok Marco good idea but terrible execution, but still it worked. Ok, I agree with Marco and Jess, no way I'm risking the void outside!! Leeda the leader ? Should I be concern about her ? I'm impressed they managed to make that climb.

Seriously though...why do villain always make grand entrance ? LOL

LUCKY !!!! Yay !! Ah another 1 more invader and the fragile reality is shook!! Scare is going apeshit .....and flew out the window LOL Oddly though with Scare gone the school remain intact as though nothing had happened.

Whoaa wth is Leeda and Drake going on about ? Why won't they let the other 3 go back ??
Ugh... Oh nooo...I new something was up with the "leader" talk !!! Great now there is a new villain....


Wilderness weekend at Happy Landing preserve forest.

Annie - ginger head
Parker - indoor- enthusiast
Cousin Clark - punk older kid, annoying
Mom (Jenny)- bird, outdoor - enthusiast
Dad (Harold)- studies bugs - outdoor enthusiast

Yea ok, cousin Clark...keep up with your scare tricks...you know you gonna get karma back real soon. Ah, great Parker is a klutz and the first thing he does is knock off a bee hive. Yeah mom give Clarke some "advise" for his uncalled behavior.

Oh opps what's that ? A Indrasaurus?? Oh hell naw....that's a monster not a bird!! Oh look at brave Clark...just stares while his aunt gets attacked by the big monster !!! Sheesh...

wait what!!......that was a sneak peak ? Dammit !!
[image error]

Hey, you know what this was really great !! I will definitely follow this series again. The artwork, coloring and character designs are really great and the storyline, pace and artwork makes reading this comic really fun. So, far I'm liking this one :P

:) yay
Profile Image for Kristen Harvey.
1,961 reviews262 followers
October 14, 2019
What kind of nonsense was that... who narrates a graphic novel in 1st person while speech bubbles are going on...

We start with a group of characters. First person narration.

We start with another group of characters. First person narration.

I disliked the whole book. It was boring. It was not scary. I was not impressed. I'm not sure how kids will react, but it was not a natural flow and I had to flip back to the beginning a few times and reread. Not a good sign.
Profile Image for Dubzor.
790 reviews8 followers
November 8, 2019
Granted I haven't read any of his recent work, aside from MAN THING, but this feels like both familiar and new territory for Stine. It feels just like a Goosebumps book, which is great, but at the same time he's branching out a bit and exploring new ideas.

Sadly, it's not flawless. The ending is extremely unsatisfying and the bad guy is evil for no real reason other than you need a bad guy.

It's a fun enough read, just don't expect anything transcendent.
Profile Image for Cornerofmadness.
1,643 reviews10 followers
October 27, 2022
This felt absolutely rushed to the finish. Okay yeah sure it's written for middle graders which I'm not but even a kid is going to see the holes in this story. There are two converging story lines. Three students have escaped their school, their very reality, to ours (I'm assuming) Leeda (who is abrasive), her friend Drake and a tagalong neither of them like, Buddy. They are on the run from their principle and his Droggs some kind of cyborg insect thing.

They get pulled back for extermination leaving a rift that three students from our side end up going through Jess and Joss the twins and their friend, Marco notice these strange students and end up following through the rift and now they're in danger.

Why is there the same principle in both realities? Why is the mirror verse keeping the students infantilized? Why is the school the only thing in the other universe? Keep wondering because you're never going to know because the story line is rushed and unworthy of a graphic novel adaptation by itself (truthfully the story is only about half the pages the rest are ads and sneak peeks of other volumes so glad the library bought this and not me).

The story had potential it failed to live up to. The art was good though. The most interesting thing about this graphic novel was the sneak peek for Hotel Dare at the end.
Profile Image for Lacy.
668 reviews45 followers
February 27, 2022
I currently have a trial Comixology subscription on Kindle and I ran across this book while browsing titles. I read every R.L. Stine book I could get my hands on as a kid. I was excited about a graphic novel. Unfortunately it was bad. And not in the cheesy Goosebumps way. It felt like at least a half of a book was missing at the beginning and nothing made sense from there. Nothing was explained. AT. ALL. LITERALLY NOTHING. The best thing was the art. So that gets an extra star. Not sure if I'll pick anymore of these up. If there are more. Yes I will.
Profile Image for Theresa.
529 reviews
June 24, 2019
I received an ARC at BEA 2019. Recommended for ages 8+, this graphic novel from R.L. Stine hits that age level perfectly. Kids are fighting robots and solving mysteries in their school. Not much character development, but young reader's will easily follow the story and want to see the kids succeed and try to save the day from a devious headmaster.
Profile Image for Dustin Holden.
88 reviews3 followers
October 19, 2021
Typical Stine fare. Loved the kids’ sarcasm throughout. Definitely not his best but I can see how the Disney+ tv series came from this weird series. The twist at the end was lacking but the overall story was interesting. Would like to see a sequel where we get a more definite end that didn’t feel like a cliffhanger. Overall, this was a quick read with decent artwork
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,534 reviews15 followers
October 16, 2019
Classic R.L. Stine scary-goodness and a twist ending apired with art from my favorite artist team Kelly and Nichole Matthews aka Kicking Shoes, perfection! Big fan! Can't wait for the next volume! Must read!
Profile Image for Selina Lybrook.
21 reviews
April 9, 2020
I love this book because of the mystery and apparently there is more so hopefully they will be nice too! Also i think R.L stine is a good writer.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews185 followers
June 21, 2020
The Scare School (Just Beyond #1) by R.L. Stine, 100 pages, GRAPHIC NOVEL, Kaboom , 2019, $10.

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content G; Violence: G



Just when you thought middle school couldn’t get any worse, three classmates discover a horrifying creature in the school hall. Thinking it is a classmate’s robot project, they fix it up enough to follow it through the boiler room door into an even creepier middle school. If Jess, Josh, and Marco can’t figure out a way to get away from the Master Dean, Mr. Scare, they might not be able to escape and they’ll be trapped, (insert evil laughter here) in the Just Beyond!

R.L. Stine makes the jump to graphic novels, hooray! Loved the art, loved the premise. R.L. Stine doesn’t disappoint. If you like his novels, you’ll be a fan of his new line of graphic novels. At just 100 pages, it left me wanting more. Should hook even the most reluctant reader.

Michelle in the Middle
331 reviews15 followers
March 23, 2023
I wanted something on the quicker side after spending the week working on the blog review for the I.M. Fine sequel. I figured now was a good time to go back to Stine's Just Beyond which I had been meaning to do. I was gonna maybe save this for a blog review down the line as being the first it would make sense to have that be the blog review for the series.

Maybe it still will be but I get the sense these work better review-wise when it's done blind instead of knowing it all before hand. Anyway, I read Welcome to Beast Island and liked it fine but felt it was fairly flawed. I figured maybe he got his strong stuff out first and there was diminishing returns and I think I was kind of right?

To make it brief, I enjoyed this more than Beast Island. The positives are that it flows well and doesn't have too much that is annoying per say. Overuse of caption boxes because he forgets this is a visual medium. It's not as annoying here though as sometimes they can build tension alright. Characters are flat but are likable enough with Jess, our protagonist being decently proactive.

There's some humor that works, maybe the banter here would have fallen flat on paper but the comic style makes it work better. The art is really good here, they do some cool things here due to the reality warping part of the plot.

There are a few creepy-ish moments so the tone doesn't go too overboard in goofy-ness. There's some set/payoff as well, but of course a few things get dropped. A friend of Jess' brother is competitive with him but that doesn't go anywhere, while them being good at robotics is important.

There isn't much for character building or whatever, a setup scene at home with the kids is all we get. It's not like we get a lot of that in Goosebumps but it feels we get more in those on average, even in just minor ways. It's mostly a lot of running/sneaking around.

The story is where it falls short. There's some cool idea regarding this other world where these other kids come form an evil guy named George P Scare running this school. But it doesn't make much sense, it's very Don't Go to Sleep in that way. Beast Island had a bit more logic to it so it's a by product of the nature of the idea I guess.

It doesn't annoy me a ton but I am left with questions on how the other world operates and the villain. He's cool if not exactly deep. The first part is from the POV of these kids from the other world and Leeda the leader was cool, I wish we got more with them as they don't a ton when they come back. Leeda's POV being stripped away once we get to Jess is interesting as Leeda is black, meaning we came so close to Stine having a black protagonist only for him to cock-tease us. Figures lol.

The twist is a cool idea but it's a twist for the sake of it, doesn't make a lot of sense. So yeah, there is plenty to pick at in regards to the story and all that. But it is fun, with some decent elements in the writing but the art is what tends to carry it and help it flow well. I imagine a lot of it was written with cool imagery in mind on Stine's part.

It about evens out, it's Good on an entertainment level mostly but closer to Decent as far as being objective goes. It can go either way. It's weird but there is enough to enjoy. While it has Stine-isms (we gots the redhead) it honestly felt more like a Ghosts of Fear street book. It has that feel of getting his style but not perfectly emulating it. Anyone else see it?

Anyway, it was quick and fun, and that's what I needed. I have a couple ideas for next time so we'll see. Allbright Academy coming tomorrow at least. See ya then.
355 reviews4 followers
January 30, 2022
I'll figure out what the rating is after I write the review because I am just not sure.
Which is a problem.
So the book has a prologue, which I didn't realize was the prologue until several chapters in because I think the book has it numbered as chapter one. It's not chapter one. It's a prologue of the same variety of Supernatural showing the monster/person about to be killed to draw you in.
Okay, great. That's fine. I love me a good prologue. I don't need things to be explained, but there is almost nothing explained. So then we get to real chapter one and I had to reread that first page about three times to figure out who the POV was. And given this is a children's book, I can reasonably expect that the twists are foreshadowed early and loudly and the penultimate twist was foreshadowed. It wasn't a deus ex machina. The first major twist wasn't foreshadowed. At least, I don't think so. So that's a problem.
And then I ended the book going "That ending was absolutely not foreshadowed." Except it kind of was? But it wasn't. The ending also didn't feel like the ending. I was expecting something more based on what had already happened and the info we'd been told. So the abruptness was really...not good.
All of this is a shame because it really, really is a good premise. I just think the execution was badly done.
Plus, there were a lot of extra pages at the end that weren't part of the book. The concept art and storyboards were cool but like...I'd rather have had more of the ending, especially over the sneak peeks.
There we go! I just realized what I was reminded of.
This book is like Coraline, with the ending cut off and even fewer explanations and not as well written. Also, super light on the scares. There was a point that I went "Oh, yeah. Here we go." Then nothing came of it.
Kids who love to read probably wouldn't like it because it's not...serious enough. Kids who hate to read probably wouldn't like it because it's too confusing. Kids who just kind of feel meh about reading...they might like it? But I'm not sure. But if your kid is expecting something like Goosebumps, I wouldn't risk it.
Profile Image for Yaritza.
676 reviews125 followers
January 6, 2020
Imagine being in the same school but in two different worlds. One world is real, while the other is another dimension. A school where middle school kids are being taught at a kindergarten level. I think no one wants to be coloring for the rest of their lives, with crazy robots ready to keep you in check. I like the illustrations and the idea of the two different schools was very thought out. Having the school in the middle of nothing was truly creepy in every sense. The added bonus is huge robot insects ready to keep two worlds apart. It started off pretty confusing, since no back story was given. It eventually unravels what is going on as you continue reading. The book had a total of three different comic stories that ended all in a weird creepy way. The stories weren't as scary as the books R.L. Stine usually writes. I was waiting to be at the edge of my seat but I was too busy looking at the cool illustrations. The Scare School lacked the scariness.
Profile Image for AlenGarou.
1,279 reviews95 followers
December 29, 2021

Sebbene la serie di Fear Street sia un buco nell’acqua per la sottoscritta, sono una lettrice semplice e mi butto di pancia a prescindere: motivo per cui non ho potuto evitare di prendere pure queste graphic novel. Certo, non sono ai livelli dei Piccoli Brividi a causa della loro cortezza, ma decisamente ho ritrovato la penna del caro Stine. E Scuola da incubo ne è la prova.
Non solo Stine riesce a creare un intero universo parallelo con pochi elementi, ma ci regala il suo classico finale amaro con plot-twist che ci fa scattare l’hype. Atmosfere e mistero sono magistralmente creati grazie grazie alle illustrazioni e ai toni usati della palette, anche se i tratti risultano un po’ soft date le premesse.
Tuttavia, la cortezza non è l’unico difetto. Sarà a causa del formato, ma la trama è basica e adatta a un target molto più giovane del solito. Non che mi lamenti, dato che finalmente è ritornato il plot-twist, però è fin troppo leggera.
Ad ogni moto risulta comunque piacevole.
Profile Image for Megan Willome.
Author 5 books7 followers
July 12, 2022
The Scare School R.L. Stine

As a child, I did not like scary stories. I was that super-sensitive girl who had nightmares from fairy tale filmstrips. But there are a lot of kids who enjoy being scared. I’m glad I’m a little braver now, because I missed all the books by R.L. Stine. (Twitter bio: “My job: to terrify kids.”) It’s clear that this author, who has sold more than 400 million books, is having so much fun. Which is to be expected for someone who once wrote under the pen name Jovial Bob Stine.

He said that his favorite fan letter ever was: “Dear R.L. Stine. I have read 40 of your books and I think they are really boring.”

Stine is the author of the Goosebumps series, for younger kids; the Fear Street series, for older ones; plus a couple of spooky picture books. This new graphic novel series, Just Beyond, of which The Scare School is the first, falls squarely in the middle-grade range.

Graphic novels allow for experimentation. In this book some panels are vertical, some horizontal, some zig-zag. My favorite is a page that is almost entirely white, to show us that our heroes have entered a new dimension. There is an austere school building behind them, and the one line of text says simply, “OMG.” No other panel in the book looks like this one, and the sudden whiteness is worthy of that dramatic exclamation.

The story has strong Stranger Things vibes. There is a group of kids from our world and a big ugly monster (although this one is partly mechanical). When Marco says, “I love happy endings, don’t you?” and there is still a page to go, it’s clear there will be no happy ending yet. Welcome to the cliffhanger: time to buy the next book.

In graduate school I was the TA for a freshman lit class that focused on horror. We used the guideline that horror is the difference between what we expect and what actually is. That’s a nice, broad description that includes everything from a scary school to the 2020 we were expecting on New Year’s Eve and the one we actually got. Instead of asking, How do you face a pandemic, Stine instead asks, How do you face evil drogg monsters? For both you need bravery, cleverness, and loyal friends. (A dog named Lucky also helps.)

Now that I can enjoy an occasional spooky story, I usually read something scary in October. The truth is that I don’t know what monsters I’ll have to face or what will finally defeat them. But I’ll go there with Jovial Bob Stine, who doesn’t take his scares too seriously. Describing his apartment-based office, he says this:

"And I do have some creepy atmosphere — a life-sized skeleton, some plastic rats, and a cup full of eyeballs. But that’s just in case kids come by.”
Profile Image for Diane.
6,760 reviews
March 29, 2020
A school that has been opened on the nexus between two realities: one that is anchored in the reality and the other “just a floating idea.” In charge of both of these schools is a man named Dr. Scare. In the real school, he’s just an ordinary principal, but in the other realm he calls himself the Master Dean, and he is much more frightening. After all, his school has Droggs (half robot half something else) roaming the halls to keep students in line. And if you try to escape class? That’s cause for termination.

When Jess, Josh and Marco accidentally enter this alternate reality, the upset the balance of things and become targets for termination.

I think my students will really enjoy this one and I love the ending. This has some complicated ideas, so it will probably be more for 4th grade and up, though younger kids will probably want to check it out because of the cover.
Profile Image for kiki thelibrarian.
304 reviews8 followers
September 15, 2019
Just okay. Nothing special or especially scary about this title, though young readers may feel differently. Stilted dialogue and a confusing beginning made it hard to get into this title. The ending is definitely eerie.

The preview of the next Just Beyond title is terrible - hopefully, the editor and RL Stine will find a way to rewrite the overt and awkward narration/captioning of the panel actions before the final copy goes to print. Would only recommend this to young, die-hard RL Stine fans.

Now, the preview of Hotel Dare does that title some justice! My advice: skip the Just Beyond books and check out Hotel Dare instead!

Thank you to Kaboom! for a free review copy of this title.
3,035 reviews10 followers
January 14, 2020
I am reviewing this from an ARC.
The writing of this book was surprisingly weak, especially in the rushed and confusing resolution. The actual ending of the story made no sense and neither did the way that the main bad guy's story was resolved.
Before that, it was an interesting but unconvincing alternate-world story in which the reader never learns why anything is happening. This is important in a few cases, such as why the alternate-world school leader is trying to keep the students from being educated.
The artwork is okay, but a little cartoony for the grim parts of the story.
Fans of R. L. Stine will pick this up, but I'm not sure they'll enjoy it very much.
Profile Image for Linda Naquin.
699 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2020
The story was really confusing to follow, and even though its a GRAPHIC novel, meaning the story can SHOW us what's happening, a lot of times we would just move to the next page or panel, with no indication of the passage of time, and the current problem would suddenly have a solution out of nowhere. Like, where did that thing come from, how DID you fix that thing, we didn't get to SEE any of this. I get that this was a middle-grade book, and I have passed the book along to my 12yo, but I have a feeling he'll have the same opinion as me, because I think most middle school students have higher standards in their literature.
Profile Image for Fig.
42 reviews
March 2, 2020
I really enjoyed it for the most part, I was not expecting much by it since it’s aimed at middle grade kids. Yet I felt like the story was a little hard to understand, and the twist at the very end wasn’t very “stine-esk”.

I’m not particularly sure if it is because the format in which the story is being presented is through drawing, or because the story seems to be kind-off not flowing very well but, but at the end of the GN it didn’t feel like you were reading something by R.L. Stine and instead something that might’ve been ghost written.

I did enjoy the art stile, and the front cover is what definitely attracted me to this GN.
Profile Image for Sundee Perkins.
261 reviews10 followers
January 23, 2021
There's a line from the Goosebump's movie where R.L. Stine (played back Jack Black) is talking about the structure of a story. "Every story has three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist." I really feel like for this series, that is the recipe. Scare School was a lot of fun. I liked the Droggs and really felt for the characters. But, like the first Just Beyond I read, it ended with a twist (I'm not complaining about the twist. I'm commenting on the predictability of the story structure). Still a fun read, though.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 98 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.