Throwback Thursday: Beach House by R.L. Stine

Over twenty years ago, I bought the book Beach House by R.L. Stine when I was a high school student. I remember feeling that this book by him was so much more mature than his other works and was super impressed by the fact that it alternated between the year 1956 and the present day. With that being said, I was even more impressed that he included time travel into the novel and was totally surprised that one of the characters had "come back from the dead" to kill him. At that point in time, the only other book that had to do with any kind of "time travel" that I read was Mary Downing Hahn's middle grade book Wait Til Helen Comes, which isn't really a comparable book.

A few months ago, I came across a copy of Beach House at Goodwill and decided to buy it because I had such fond memories of it. This past weekend, I finally picked it up and read it within a few hours (maybe 2-3 hours total reading time). As I read it, I had vague memories of the time travel and one of the characters being a time traveler who killed his friends, but I couldn't remember who it was and whether he lived in 1956 or the present day. I had also forgotten the very end of it as well. I enjoyed rereading it for nostalgic reasons but probably won't read it again.

Things I found interesting were songs from the 1950's were included in the book like Shake, Rattle, & Roll and Earth Angel. Boom boxes and Walkman were mentioned as well. I honestly wonder if a tween or teen would even know those songs today or even know what a boom box or Walkman was if they actually read Beach House now. I didn't give these things a second thought when I originally read the book in high school.

Another thing I found interesting was that the present day teens used beach towels that were labelled with MTV and Coke. Having a degree in Communications and having worked in both advertising and the movie industry, I wonder if R.L. Stine was paid for product placement within Beach House or if he was just trying to make the teens appear to be one of the cool kids. I thought nothing of it as a teenager.

What I find sad is that in today's times, Beach House would likely be classified as a book suitable for kids 8-12 years of age instead of 12-17 years of age. I think most teenagers would laugh at this book now, and many tweens probably would as well because it seems as though kids are growing up a lot faster than they use to. I would definitely recommend this book to a tween or teenager who is young at heart and has been a bit sheltered (because of my previous statements about kids growing up faster).

Synopsis of Beach House by R.L. Stine
Alternating between 1956 and the present day, teen friends are spending their summer vacation at the beach. Slowly, one by one, they are being killed off by a stalker who disappears without a trace.

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