[Book Review] The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine

Sometimes, love is murder.

Too bad about Dex. He was in love with Joanna. She broke up with him. And then he died.

Joanna's sorry, of course. But it's not her fault he's dead, is it? Besides, she never loved him. Boys are just toys, to be used and thrown away.

But this time, Joanna's gone too far. Because Dex is back. From the dead. For one last date with her....

What to say about this book...? Not much, I think; it's really just your typical Stine YA horror novel. Fairly standard Point Horror fare, really, so if you're a fan of the series, you'll probably like this installment.

The strength of the book is its mystery, which I've found to be the case with most of these 80s/90s YA horror/thriller novels that Stine, Cusick, and others churned out. As I've been reading (and in some cases rereading) these books, I've had a fair amount of fun theorizing the how and whodunnit of the plots. In the case of The Boyfriend, that's all that really saved this book from being a one star for me.

Because while the mystery is solid enough throughout most of the book, there are flaws aplenty. Joanna, the main character of the book, is an incredibly unsympathetic protagonist and wasn't exactly a treat to read about. She's petty, cruel, and none too bright, and she comes with a ludicrously cliche Freudian excuse: when her father left his wife and daughter, it turned poor Joanna's heart cold... or some such poetic nonsense. The ending, meanwhile, is so melodramatic that it shoots straight past annoying and into the realm of hilarity.

So if you're thinking about taking a peek at the Point Horror series, you might want to put this one on the back-burner; while it's not the worst in the series by any means, it's far from the best.

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