I've read probably a couple hundred books by RL Stine. When I was between 11-14yrs, I read all the Goosebumps, and when I was done with those I read all of the Fear Streets. Was not a fan of Goosebumps 2000, for me, the originals were by far, the best. Being the big RL Stine and child/YA fiction fan I am, I figured I would enjoy this book.
Overall this book is pretty low on the character end of things, which is not abnormal for an RL Stine book, though many of his early Goosebump books had a better set up than this one did. I am not entirely sure why the lead character and his best friend were friends as they were so at odds with just about everything when it came to what they liked and personalities, there really wasn't a thread that tied them together, such as, they were next-door-neighbors, or something like that.
This relationship being the center of the book though kind of made some of the events harder to buy that involved her, especially since she appears to be very amoral but she does a few things which seem the opposite of that, which to me, she didn't have the proper motivation to do. However, I did actually feel genuinely at times that the lead character was in peril, and it did keep me guessing because of his friends bi-polar nature, I didn't know if she was hurting him or helping him until the end of the book.
The intro to this book, and the first few pages make this clear it IS a homage to the film "The Incredible Shrinking Man", I have never seen that film, but you can tell this book was a labor of love and that RL Stine had a lot of fun writing it, and putting his own spin on the tale. :)
Though, because of the co-lead character's lack of development of motives, I just can't rate this above a 3, but surely kids 12 and under would love this book, it is a lot of fun and a super quick read!
God Bless ~Amy