1 out of 4 stars
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When I was a teen, I wrote my very first "story". This story was never finished, and looking back at it now is rather hysterical - I overused exclamation points, killed off a character named after someone I didn't like repeatedly and the action was all over the place with almost no detail or plot. The only detail I did include was ridiculous and really didn't make much sense for why I included it.
I bring this up because I can totally relate to Matthew Westerfield's My Unhappy Halloween: Frights. This is (presumably) the second book in the Frights series; although it doesn't specify anywhere on the book or Amazon page it was released between the first and third entries and is the only unnumbered book. I actually reviewed the original book in the series a year and a half ago, and some of the things from the original do cross over: witches, evil monkeys, and a few of the main characters including Eddy Groten. This book absolutely stands alone, although there are a few references to previous events.
Where the first story in the series involved a mysterious skull and the mysterious setting of some woods near Eddy's uncle's house, this one takes place in the weeks leading up to Halloweenat home. Eddy is leading a rather nice life - the book begins with Eddy and his best friend Devonte playing basketball when a girl named Rachel walks up to watch. Eddy likes Rachel, and their little cute innocent flirtatious interactions are adorable to read. As Halloween approaches, the spooky empty house near Eddy's house is and he ends up seeing someone with green eyes inside through a window at night. Suddenly he's having terrible nightmares, putting him on edge as the group of friends go to a haunted house and more mysterious things happen.
This is a very short story; the PDF file I reviewed was 15 pages long, and Amazon says it's just under 30. Unfortunately, I counted over 70 errors in the PDF file, meaning I found an average of almost 5 per page. Despite the story being short, it jumps all over the place. There are some humorous bits like Uncle Fransisco's ridiculous level of clumsiness, and the scenes with Eddy and Rachel are cute. I really liked that since Eddy was the most scared one at the haunted house, Rachel stepped up to be the brave one to "protect him". When I wrote my story, I was the amazing hero and my friends were just in awe of me, so it's nice to see Matthew writing Eddy as humble and not always the best at everything.
Unfortunately, when all is said and done this doesn't add up to an actual story. Things happen in the blink of an eye, and other things - like a televised football game (Matthew is clearly a Clemson fan) - get far more detail than even the more important events. In the end I really feel like nothing much happened here. Between the great deal of errors and less of an actual story, My Unhappy Halloween feels like a step backwards from Why I Don't Like Camping.... Since I gave that one 2 stars, I definitely feel compelled to give this one 1 out of 4 stars. I do hope that Matthew keeps writing, but this book would need a good bit of editing and polish before I can recommend it
My Unhappy Halloween
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