Young Scrooge by RL Stine | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Young Scrooge by RL Stine | Book ReviewYoung Scrooge by R. L. Stine
Also by this author: , The Dead Boyfriend
Published by Macmillan on September 13th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Holidays & Celebrations, Christmas & Advent
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781250112316

A funny, scary middle-grade send up of A Christmas Carol, about a boy who hates Christmas, from bestselling Goosebumps author R. L. Stine.
Rick Scroogeman hates Christmas. He can't stand the carols and the pageants. He can't stand the lights and the mistletoe. But what he hates the most is having to watch the old movie A Christmas Carol every year at school. Since his name is Scroogeman, all of his classmates start calling him Scrooge. And he hates being called Scrooge.
But everything starts to change when three ghosts visit him. At first, he thinks it's a dream. But then he realizes that it might be a nightmare. A nightmare that could become real.
Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story is a mashup of holiday and horror, a perfect novel for middle grade readers who like their Christmas stories with a side of spooky.
"Stine brings his characteristic humor and light scares to a reworking of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, set at Oliver Twist Middle School. . . . It’s eerie holiday fun." —Publishers Weekly

I love how many different iterations there are of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol. RL Stine’s Young Scrooge adds a bit of a twist to Dickens’ tale and adapts it for a younger audience. While this is not quite the genius that is A Muppet Christmas Carol, it is a fun seasonal read for the appropriate audience.

Young Scrooge by RL Stine has the subtitle “a very scary Christmas story.” When you begin the book, there is a note that it is not a retelling of A Christmas Carol. However, there are certainly shared elements between Dickens and this story. Young Scrooge follows Rick Scroogeman, a bully who doesn’t know that he is indeed a bully. So, Rick goes into a closet and is visited by some ghosts. Their aim is to get Rick to change his bully-esque ways. However, nothing really seems to get to Rick. Further, these aren’t friendly ghosts like the ones in  A Christmas Carol.

Rick Scroogeman is the sort of character where what happens to him in this Christmas story is kind of funny. I mean, he deserves each experience that is visited on him. At some points, the book is a little frustrating because Rick is so dense. As readers, we grasp the lesson and the moral rather quickly. However, Rick takes a whole lot of time to get to these same conclusions. His journey is certainly different from that of Ebenezer Scrooge. Yet, it retains the spirit of the original, with a few bits of irreverence.

Ultimately, I did feel a bit old for Young Scrooge. However, I acknowledge that I am not at all the intended audience for RL Stine’s Christmas scary story. This book would best fit intermediate and middle grade classrooms. I could see it working well for third grade through eighth grade. I think kids will relate to both Rick Scroogeman and his victims. I will say, as an adult reading this I did enjoy the nods to Dickensian literature spread throughout the book.


I would say that Young Scrooge certainly is festive, even though Rick Scroogeman hates Christmas for most of the book – as his birthday is on Christmas and so, it gets lost in the shuffle of the holidays. Yet, there’s Christmas parties and presents. There is also the take on that age old classic, so certainly this book does have Christmas spirit.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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