Tag Archives: point thriller book covers

R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine is an American author of children’s mystery, suspense, and horror. Generally thought of as the “Stephen King of children’s fiction,” Stine has written more novels than anyone has bothered to count (okay, so there is what might be a complete bibliography at Wikipedia), plus worked in television, movies, and even wrote a few suspense novels for adults. Anyone who read choose your own adventures probably read one or two by Mr. Stine. He wrote more than 80 books in his Goosebumps series, which spawned a television show that ran from 1995-1998. He wrote well over 100 books as part of his Fear Street series, over 30 stand-alone novels, and many media tie-ins, including G.I. Joe novels, Indiana Jones choose your own fate books, Masters of the Universe stuff, and a whole slew of other choose your own adventure books in the Twistaplot and Wizards, Warriors, and You series.

Stine got his start publishing a humor magazine called Bananas through Scholastic Press and writing joke books for kids in the mid-1970s. His first horror novel, Blind Date, was published as part of the Scholastic Point Horror line in 1986 and he never looked back. He started his long journey down Fear Street in 1989 working with Archway books, and hit it big again with his Goosebumps series, which kicked-off in 1992.

Stine achieved the kind of success most authors only dream of. His Wikipedia article claims (you’re probably sensing lazy researching here and you’d be right, alas…) his books have sold more over 400 million copies worldwide. He was USA Today’s number-one best selling children’s author three years in a row, was in People magazine, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling children’s author of all time. He was on the Forbes list of the 40 top-grossing entertainers of 1996 and 1997 at $41 million. Movies and television shows have been made based on numerous Stine works, and his stories have inspired amusement park attractions at Sea World and Busch Gardens. I probably don’t even need to mention his awards. He’s got some.

In all seriousness, I give Mr. Stine his due — this is a man who worked hard to get where he is today. A collector looking for R. L. Stine books is in for a lifetime search, which is another way of saying he is one prolific dude. I can’t imagine what his annual output in word-count must have been at its peak, but it surely matched that of the pulp writers of yore who were churning out a new novel every two weeks.

I admit that as a teen I never read any R. L. Stine. I was already reading Stephen King at an early age, so Stein’s more “family friendly” horror didn’t appeal to me. That said, I know his Fear Street and Point Horror books served as a gateway drug to folks who went on to become fans of adult horror, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As an adult collector of paperback horror, I began to pick up a few of these here and there. I collected Point Horror for a while, so I started with those. I enjoyed them for what they were. I branched out into reading a few Fear Street books. It seemed to me they varied in quality; many felt rushed or unfinished. In any event, I am not a harsh critic, and I continued to enjoy collecting them for a while.

My oldest son (now in his early 20s) loved the Goosebumps books when he was a young boy. My youngest daughter (11 years old at the time) read a few Goosebumps titles as well, until one of them give her nightmares. And here I held onto all these novels thinking I’d indoctrinate my kids into the realm of horror. Heh … well, I wasn’t going to force it on her, but here I had a big box of these Point Horror and Fear Street books that no one would touch. My youngest daughter paled when I showed them to her (obviously reliving that previously-mentioned nightmare), my 15-year-old daughter wouldn’t look twice at them, and the YA novels seemed sufficiently suspicious in the “marketed-to-girls” department that my youngest son (already reading Star Wars young adult novels at 8 years old) wouldn’t touch them. So … millions of people were reading these books at some point. I get it, but … who were they? Check out the scans below. One of those books includes press-on tattoos in the middle of the book, like the kind you used to get out of Cracker Jacks. Crazy. I mean, something doesn’t connect in my mind with how these targeted readers. Girls? Yes. Age? Not sure. Clearly Archway and Scholastic had something good going on. My only guess is that the audience for these books (meaning the novels) was composed of more “tween-agers” in the ’80s and ’90s than young adults. Who knows? Stine knocked it out of the park, and it’s not my puzzle to solve. Ultimately, my plan to use them as gateways to the wider realms of horror for my children failed. As much as I enjoyed collecting them for a while, I have confidence they’ll all find wonderful new homes. In the meantime, it is my pleasure to share them with you here.

To browse the list of R. L. Stine titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright, except for four scans provided by Retro Reads. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.


Carol Ellis

Carol Ellis is an American author of young adult and children’s fiction. Her first novel, My Secret Admirer, was published in 1989 by Scholastic as part of their popular Point Thriller line. She wrote several more Point Thrillers over the next few years; Camp Fear, The Stalker, and The Window, to name just a few. She went on to write over fifteen novels in all, including a few titles in the Zodiac Chillers series published by Random House in the mid-1990s, and two titles in The Blair Witch Files series for young adults, published by Bantam between 2000 and 2001. Not much else is available online about Mrs. Ellis, who, according to Wikipedia, was born in 1945 and lives with her husband in New York.

To browse the list of her titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

A. Bates

A. Bates is the pseudonym of American author Auline Bates, who got her start writing fiction in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her early teen thrillers were published by Scholastic as part of their popular Point Horror imprint.  The covers shown below are four of her earliest works, including her debut novel Party Line. She went on to write several more thrillers for teens and middle grade readers, many of which are available in new electronic editions. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

To browse the list of her titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Caroline B. Cooney

CooneyCaroline_authorphotoCaroline B. Cooney is an American author of young adult horror and suspense. She has written over 75 novels for teens and sold over 15 million copies of her books worldwide. She got her start writing romantic suspense for young adults in 1979 and emerged onto the horror scene as an author of Scholastic Point Thrillers, starting with The Fog in 1989.  She wrote several books for the original Point Thriller line, including the Losing Christina series and The Vampire’s Promise trilogy, composed of The Cheerleader, The Return of the Vampire, and The Vampire’s Promise, and many stand alone novels. Cooney’s work has been nominated for the ALA Best Book for Young Adults as well as the Edgar Allan Poe Award. She lives in South Carolina.

To view a list of her novels and stories available in print and ebook formats, please click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.