R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series for children and Fear Street series for young adults have catapulted him to the top of the lists. Stine's books have convinced millions of young people that reading is fun. Yet rather than congratulate him, many parents, teachers, and librarians see Stine and his writing as dangerous and debasing. Many adults have attempted to ban his books from libraries and deny his talent. At the heart of the controversy of Stine is a much deeper controversy over quality in literature and art in general. Those who deny Stine's validity draw a sharp value distinction between high art and popular art, especially when the audience is young people. This fascinating debate is one which reaches beyond the confines of any one author or genre. In this spirited defense, Patrick Jones examines Stine's genius for writing pop culture, a craft that has its own skills and value. He traces Stine's career from joke writer to horror series author to media king. Each step in Stine's writing life is discussed with emphasis on the teen thrillers. Jones proposes that debate about Stine has become a prism through which we view questions about youth and popular reading, particularly horror and other paperback series.
Patrick Jones is a librarian in Houston, Texas, and the author of Connecting Young Adults and Libraries: A How To Do It Manual. Jones is a frequent speaker at library conferences, the creator of the Young Adult Librarian's Help/Homepage, and the editor of a column for VOYA magazine about websites of interest to young adults and young adult librarians.