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Literature / Shivers

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"Do you enjoy being frightened? Would you rather have nightmares instead of sweet dreams? Are you happy only when shaking with fear? Congratulations!!!! You've made a wise choice. This book is the doorway to all that may frighten you. Get ready for cold, clammy shivers running up and down your spine! Now, open the door—if you dare!!!!"

Shivers is a children's horror series by M.D. Spenser with thirty-six books, starting with The Enchanted Attic and ending with Madness at the Mall. The series follows in the footsteps of Goosebumps, but has the tendency to be much darker. The series began to be released as ebooks in 2011, with the first seven having been released as of 2013 and none since.

The series consists of the following:

  • #01: The Enchanted Attic
  • #02: A Ghastly Shade of Green
  • #03: Ghost Writer
  • #04: The Animal Rebellion
  • #05: The Locked Room
  • #06: The Haunting House
  • #07: The Awful Apple Orchard
  • #08: Terror on Troll Mountain
  • #09: The Mystic's Spell
  • #10: The Curse of the New Kid
  • #11: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
  • #12: The Secret of Fern Island
  • #13: The Spider Kingdom
  • #14: The Curse in the Jungle
  • #15: Pool Ghoul
  • #16: The Beast Beneath the Boardwalk
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  • #17: The Ghosts of Camp Massacre
  • #18: Your Momma's A Werewolf
  • #19: The Thing in Room 601
  • #20: Babyface & the Killer Mob
  • #21: A Waking Nightmare
  • #22: Lost in Dreamland
  • #23: Night of the Goat Boy
  • #24: The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh
  • #25: A Ghostly Playmate
  • #26: One Foot in the Grave
  • #27: Camp Fear
  • #28: Watch 'em Kill
  • #29: The Terrible Terror Book
  • #30: Creepy Clothes
  • #31: Shriek Home Chicago
  • #32: Beware the Bog Girl
  • #33: The Forgotten Farmhouse
  • #34: Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum
  • #35: Terror on Tomahawk Island
  • #36: Madness at the Mall


Tropes featured in these books include:

    open/close all folders 

    In general 

  • All Just a Dream: The endings of The Spider Kingdom, The Curse of the New Kid, and Babyface and the Killer Mob.
  • Dedication: Each book has one, although usually with no explanation as to why that person is important. Sometimes they will share a name with one of the characters though.
  • Monochrome Casting: The only non-white protagonists were Colombian siblings Nico and Ana from The Forgotten Farmhouse. The series as a whole is rather white bread, only having a Token Minority (like Martin Littlefeather in Pool Ghoul and Nadina in The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh) every so often, though a notable exception is Beware the Bog Girl, which prominently features the Gullah subculture of African Americans.

    #01: The Enchanted Attic 

  • Creepy Doll: The dolls who are actually spirits of dead people that were turned into dolls after a man begged a witch to keep his dead loved ones with him somehow.
  • New House, New Problems: The protagonists move into a new house and discover something strange in the attic.
  • Weakened by the Light: The dolls become motionless when even the tiniest bit of light hits them, and come to life in complete darkness.

    #02: A Ghastly Shade of Green 

  • All Myths Are True: As Jason and Snake Eyes are on their way out of the Florida bayou, the former having accidentally lost his way (while trying to flee from Snake Eyes whom he mistook to be a murderer) Snake Eyes then narrates an old Indian legend about a platoon of British soldiers who entered the Everglades during the War, and disturbed an old Indian Curse about the forest coming to life and were never seen again. While historians speculate it's either the local Indians or French soldiers who did them in, Snake Eyes claims the Everglades' plants is alive and the missing soldiers must've disturbed the local vegetation. Turns out Snake Eyes was right, the plants are indeed sentient and royally pissed that Jason's botanist mother is intending to convert the Everglades into a fertilizer research facility.
  • Creepy Good: Snake Eyes, the hermit Jason meets at the side of the cabin. He have one eye, rotten teeth, talks with a sneer in his voice, looks and sounds like a stereotypical Serial Killer... and is a good man who saved Jason's life later on, besides helping him out of the jungle after he got lost.
  • Green Aesop: The characters learn not to destroy the environment for money.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The plants attack humans who harm the environment.
  • Red Herring: Most of the story seems to mislead Jason - and the readers - that the creepy one-eyed hermit, Snake Eyes, who lives in a cabin at the edge of the forest and is often seen with a machete is a murderer out to get Jason's family. Nope - Snake Eyes is a good man, and it's the plants which wants them dead for destroying the environment.
  • Machete Mayhem: In the final battle as the plants start converging on Jason's family, with Snake Eyes coming to the rescue, Snake Eyes puts his trusty machete to good use hacking away branches and vines trying to grab the family.
  • Potty Failure: Jason's kid brother suffers this fate when the two of them are pursued by killer plants in the Everglades, the first thing Jason did once he's in the comfort of his cabin being changing his brother's shorts.
  • Stab the Scorpion: When Jason sees Snake Eyes for the second time - as he is fleeing from him (believing Snake Eyes to be a murderer after his family) Snake Eyes have a machete with him, which he swings at Jason... past his ear, killing a poisonous snake about to bite Jason and pulling him away. At this point Jason realize Snake Eyes is actually an ally.
  • When Trees Attack: The very premise of the story, when Jason's botanist mother moves her family to the Florida Everglades to study the plants an d harvesting them for creating chemical fertilizers. And then it turns out those plants are sentient, and wants to eliminate the entire family for their intrusion.

    #04: The Animal Rebellion 

    #05: The Locked Room 

  • The Bluebeard: Bill killed all his previous wives before marrying the protagonists' mother, which is discovered by pictures of his wives in the titular locked room. His full name is Bill Beard, which might be a deliberate reference.

    #06: The Haunting House 

  • New House, New Problems: The protagonists move into a new house and discover it's intelligent, and has murderous intentions towards its new residents.
  • Recursive Canon: The story mentions that the protagonists read Shivers books.
  • Sapient House: The titular Haunting House. The book explains that while a haunted house has ghosts that don't intentionally harm the inhabitants, a haunting house, which the protagonists move into, has the house itself hate anyone in it and want to kill them, which it then attempts to do to the protagonists.

    #07: The Awful Apple Orchard 

  • Death of a Child: At the ending, the main characters find their mangled bodies inside the cider press and realize they'd been killed earlier in the book.

    #08: Terror on Troll Mountain 

  • Cat Scare: While Paul and his cousin Anthony are exploring and find an old cabin on the mountain, Paul peers in... and freaks out, falling backwards, when he sees a pair of eyes looking back out at him. It turns out to just be the pet cat of the cabin's owner.

    #11: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 

  • I'm a Humanitarian: The book features a family that is made up of cannibals. People who come to their house for dinner often vanish and at one point they capture a teacher with implied plans to eat her.

    #15: Pool Ghoul 

  • Green Aesop: The plot has the protagonist's brother starting a recycling campaign along with a company called Chem Corp, but it turns out that one of the people working for the company has been polluting some caverns with the materials.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Mr. Campbell straight-up threatens the child characters at gunpoint in the climax.

    #17: The Ghosts of Camp Massacre 

  • Death of a Child: The initial backstory has a two-year-old child being slaughtered by the Native Americans. While it turns out it was the settlers who massacred the natives, the child still appears as a ghost and it's not explained how he really died.
  • Goth: Satin which may or may not be her real name. Despite being a preadolescent, she is described as being unhealthily pale, with dark mascara and lipstick, multiple piercings in both ears, and Boyish Short Hair that is dyed jet black. She also claims to be proficient in magic, but her attempt at using it left a lot to be desired.
  • Insufferable Genius: Samantha who frequently explains the meaning of words to the reader as if they can't read this very book.

    #19: The Thing in Room 601 

  • Death of a Child: The backstory also features murdered children. In this case, it's the two kids who were killed by their mother.
  • Hell Hotel: An interesting case as the hotel hell is mostly fine, the protagonist's mother has even been there before. The danger comes from the titular room, where a hotel maid murdered their children and their ghost haunts the room.
  • Shout-Out: The book takes clear inspiration from The Shining, with there being someone driven crazy and attempting to murder their family.

    #20: Babyface & the Killer Mob 

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The story has a kid who wants to be a gangster, but the local mobs won't let him in. After a blow to his head, he finds himself in the body of an adult mobster and discovers the gangster life is way too dangerous and it makes him realize being a normal kid isn't so bad.

    #21: A Waking Nightmare 

  • A Dog Named "Cat": Martin's pet black-and-white cat is named Skunk, for their fur color.
  • Hulking Out: The plot of the story revolves around Martin, the narrator, having a condition called "Cholera Metamorphosis", in which his uncontrollable rage turns him into an animal-like monster. The cause is because he's angry at himself, blaming himself for things that aren't his fault — like his parents' divorce — and subconsciously trying to punish himself by making others angry with him by wreaking havoc. He's cured of the change when he's convinced to stop blaming himself.
  • Police Are Useless: The police are content to blame the initial acts of vandalism that occur throughout the book on Martin, and when he personally calls them later on to report that somebody broke into the house and smashed up the furniture, they do not even bother to dispatch someone to check things out because they just think that he is lying. They do manage to redeem themselves by helping to non-fatally capture and restore the Hulked Out protagonist at the end of the story, though.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: During the story, Martin's pet cat Skunk (whom he thinks is a boy) goes missing, and Martin suspects the book's antagonist may have killed him. It turns out Skunk was a girl, and returns at the end with seven kittens.

    #22: Lost in Dreamland 

  • Adults Are Useless: Averted to hell and back where the protagonists' parents immediately went to the police when their kids went missing and were instrumental in taking down the kidnappers running the amusement park for good.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Dreamland is home to where park attendants are kidnapped and sealed inside robotic shells so they can perform the same task perfectly over and over again.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the attractions is based on the "famous story" of The Haunting House, and it comes complete with animatronic duplicates of the book's protagonists, Caitlyn and Lynne.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: The reason why the animatronics are so realistic is because they are made out of people. The roboticization process turns out to be painlessly reversible, though.

    #24: The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh 

  • I See Dead People: The protagonist of The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh gets the power to see ghosts after being near a tree that was struck by lightning.
  • Magical Negro: Nadina in The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh is able to sense Sam has the power to see ghosts and tells her how to exorcise Nana's spirit.
  • My Beloved Smother: Nana of The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh was a grandmother with an abandonment complex. She tried to keep her grandchildren, Sylvie and Sam's dad, with her even as adults and pretty much disowned them when they left to have lives and families of their own. Not helped in that she raised them from childhood and pretty much was their only mother figure.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh, during Sam's dream she hears a woman arguing with the spirit that takes on the form of a snake and begins haunting her. In the dream, the snake is attacked by a jewel bird trying to protect Sam, and is later revealed to be the spirit of Sam's father while the snake is Nana. It's never revealed who the other woman was arguing with Nana, though it's implied to be another deceased relative buried in their family's plot.

    #29: The Terrible Terror Book 

  • Recursive Canon: The book mentions that the protagonists read the Shivers books.

    #30: Creepy Clothes 

  • Abusive Parents: It's about two kids learning about how their dad and aunt grew up with a physically abusive stepfather.
  • Alliterative Title: There's two "C"s in Creepy Clothes.

    #31: Shriek Home Chicago 

  • Sequel Episode: The story is a direct sequel to the eighth book Terror on Troll Mountain.

    #34: Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum 

  • Alliterative Title: A triple "W" in Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum
  • Death of a Child: Many of the Keeper's past victims include children as well as adults. Billy starts smashing open the wax figures around him but is shocked to find most of the older figures only contain human bones, and is told to focus on the most recent victims.
  • In Medias Res: The plot begins with a scene of the main family being trapped in a dungeon made of melting wax, and it goes back to explain how they got that point.
  • Insufferable Genius: Billy is one in the sense that he's certainly intelligent and also incredibly smug and vain. The Nedley Family are a more straightforward example, having the stereotypical big glasses and sophisticated vocabulary.
  • Meaningful Name: The main family has a father who tries to spend as little as money as possible, and their last name is "Miser".
  • Never Trust a Title: The owner of the titular Wax Museum is actually named Mad Mac, not Weirdo Waldo.
  • Pyromaniac: Chrissy Miser is exposed as a budding pyromaniac. She kills the Keeper at the end by lighting his robes on fire.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Louise Miser is a former beauty queen and apparently rather vain, as she's vocally unhappy by the lack of attractive people in the wax museum tour group. Her son Billy inherited this trait.