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Practice till you drop . . . dead.When Jerry finds a dusty old piano in the attic of his new house, his parents offer to pay for lessons. At first, taking piano seems like a cool idea.But there's something creepy about Jerry's piano teacher, Dr. Shreek. Something really creepy. Something Jerry can't quite put his finger on. Then Jerry hears the stories. Terrifying stories. Practice till you drop . . . dead.When Jerry finds a dusty old piano in the attic of his new house, his parents offer to pay for lessons. At first, taking piano seems like a cool idea.But there's something creepy about Jerry's piano teacher, Dr. Shreek. Something really creepy. Something Jerry can't quite put his finger on. Then Jerry hears the stories. Terrifying stories. About the students at Dr. Shreek's music school. Students who went in for a lesson . . . and never came out.


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Practice till you drop . . . dead.When Jerry finds a dusty old piano in the attic of his new house, his parents offer to pay for lessons. At first, taking piano seems like a cool idea.But there's something creepy about Jerry's piano teacher, Dr. Shreek. Something really creepy. Something Jerry can't quite put his finger on. Then Jerry hears the stories. Terrifying stories. Practice till you drop . . . dead.When Jerry finds a dusty old piano in the attic of his new house, his parents offer to pay for lessons. At first, taking piano seems like a cool idea.But there's something creepy about Jerry's piano teacher, Dr. Shreek. Something really creepy. Something Jerry can't quite put his finger on. Then Jerry hears the stories. Terrifying stories. About the students at Dr. Shreek's music school. Students who went in for a lesson . . . and never came out.

30 review for Piano Lessons Can Be Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    ✨Bean's Books✨

    #13 "Play it again, hands!" Jerome (Jerry) just moved in and has found a lovely piano in pristine condition in the attic of their new home. Consequently his parents decide to get him piano lessons. Besides having strange dreams about his piano teacher, Jerry also starts seeing the ghost of the piano's previous owner! And this ghost has a warning for Jerry... "Stay away from my piano!" This was a meh for me. #13 "Play it again, hands!" Jerome (Jerry) just moved in and has found a lovely piano in pristine condition in the attic of their new home. Consequently his parents decide to get him piano lessons. Besides having strange dreams about his piano teacher, Jerry also starts seeing the ghost of the piano's previous owner! And this ghost has a warning for Jerry... "Stay away from my piano!" This was a meh for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    O.O <---- My wide eyes and tiny nose after reading this. I thought it was spooky and good. Jerome, better known as Jerry, has just moved with his mom and dad and evil cat Bonkers to a new house in a new town. The house is completely empty. Except for a piano in the attic. Jerry hears the piano being played. At night. He knows it's not his parents - they can't play. And frankly, his cat just isn't that skilled. When his dad finds him, crouched in the attic, claiming he heard piano music, he offers O.O <---- My wide eyes and tiny nose after reading this. I thought it was spooky and good. Jerome, better known as Jerry, has just moved with his mom and dad and evil cat Bonkers to a new house in a new town. The house is completely empty. Except for a piano in the attic. Jerry hears the piano being played. At night. He knows it's not his parents - they can't play. And frankly, his cat just isn't that skilled. When his dad finds him, crouched in the attic, claiming he heard piano music, he offers Jerry piano lessons. Jerry accepts. Piano lessons might be fun, I thought. If they let me learn to play rock piano, not that drippy, boring classical stuff. After a few lessons, maybe I could get a synthesizer. Get 2 or 3 different keyboards. Hook them up to a computer. The I could do some composing. Maybe get a group together. Yeah. It could be really excellent. Keep dreaming, kid. Everyone knows kids take music lessons and then get bored and beg to quit (except for Nenia Campbell and her flute-playing. She's just awesome like that). A man who looks just like Santa Claus without a beard comes to the house to teach Jerry piano lessons. His name is Dr. Shreek. I know. Alarm bells are going off already, aren't they? First, the good doctor starts acting freaky about the piano: "Don't you wonder who played this piano before you?" he asked softly. "Don't you wonder whose fingers touched these keys?" "Well..." I really didn't know what to say. "What a mystery," he said in a whisper. Then, he starts obsessing over Jerry's hands. I started to say something, but he grabbed my hands. "Let me take a look," he said, raising my hands close to his face. He turned them over and studied both sides. Then he carefully examined my fingers. "What beautiful hands!" he exclaimed breathlessly. "Excellent hands!" I stared down at my hands. They didn't look like anything special to me. Just normal hands. "Excellent hands," Dr. Shreek repeated. This happens more than once. Eventually the Dr. tells Jerry that he won't come to his house anymore, he's graduated to being able to attend Shreek's school. Telling classmates at school that he's taking lesson's at Shreek's makes them literally flee him in terror. Yes, they run away upon hearing this news. Meanwhile, Jerry is still hearing the ghost playing the piano every night. Eventually, the ghost manifests itself to Jerry in a very scary scene. Really. Well done, Mr. Stine. She screams at him to stay away from her piano. No one will believe him about the ghost...in fact after his parents determine he hasn't been playing practical jokes on him, they make him see a child psychologist. Of course what's really wrong can't be fixed by a shrunken head... .... (view spoiler)[ One of the most awesome scenes is where the ghost finally reveals she has no hands, raising her stumps to let Jerry see. Dr. Shreek turns out to be a robot, and the janitor/mechanical genius of the school turns out to be an evil scientist who lures people into taking lessons at the school and then kills them, harvesting their hands (which are too complicated to replicate mechanically) to use them to play perfect music over and over again. Luckily for little Jerry, the vengeful spirit of the woman who lived in his house comes to exact revenge on Toggle for all the murders he's committed. And the ghosts of all the dead rise from each piano he has, seize him and drag him into the forest, never to be seen again. So it's a happy ending. Jerry takes up baseball as his new hobby. Everyone says he has great hands. (hide spoiler)] ... All in all, a VERY satisfying read. Very spooky. Especially the ghost, I kept picturing her as The Grudge, or Kayako I guess her name is (we just call her The Grudge in my circle). Super-eerie. Especially the one scene that's in the spoiler! *chills Anyway, I really liked it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex | | findingmontauk1

    3.5 but rounding up to 4 stars because this would have definitely freaked me out reading this as a kid! Full review to come

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Hixson

    Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine is pretty scary for a goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. This book is number 13 in the original goosebumps series. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy, and only one that R.L. Stine co Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine is pretty scary for a goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. This book is number 13 in the original goosebumps series. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy, and only one that R.L. Stine could come up with. I remembered this episode from the TV show and I usually say the TV show was better, but this story is pretty good, and it let my mind go to some scary places. I liked this book better than the TV episode. The Plot: Jerry or Jerome is 12 and just moved to a new home just before winter. The home is a big two floor with a giant attic. Jerome explores and finds a piano that looks pretty new despite being found in the dusty attic. His dad wants to bring it down to the family room, where Jerome can take lessons. Before the piano can be moved Jerome hears a sad melody from up in the attic. The piano is moved downstairs to the family room. Jerome still heres the same sad melody coming from the piano, he investigates but finds nothing. Jerome starts is own lessons form a Mr. Shreek who despite the name is nice but something is not quite right with him. He has nightmares about Mr. Shreek and wakes up to the piano playing, when he goes down this time he finds a ghost playing, and gives a warning or a threat he can't tell. "don't play anymore!" What I Liked: This is a very plot driven story, there is one scene where Jerry goes to a shrink because he keeps seeing the ghost, that could've been cut but everything else really flows. The horror is more of the mind, but works really well. A sad melody that keeps getting played in darkness, get me out of that house. I also found the hallways of the school that all look the same pretty terrifying. The climax is totally bonkers and outrageous but it fits well with the theme of the story. I didn't mind the jump scares they all sort of fit. What I Disliked: The floor cleaner monster was kind of a stretch. I did feel like the end would have been better if it was sort of a cult then what it turned out to be. Recommendations: If you want a good scary Goosebumps book than this is the one for you. If you also want to scare your kid about asking for piano lessons then this is the book for you. For some reason this is the only Goosebumps book not on Amazon kindle for some reason, so tracking it down will be a little hard but so worth it. I rated Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine 5 out of 5. Here's my full ranking of the 13 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let's Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For... , and Monster Blood.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as a kid, but loved re-reading it now! One of the best titles for sure and a thrilling plot to match.

  6. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    The new kid in town has just talked himself into taking piano lessons...but is the piano haunted? This Goosebumps book doesn't hang together as tightly as previous ones, but it seems to have also wandered the furthest off the trail of common horror tropes of the books so far. I have mixed feelings. I liked it; it didn't wow me; it was different. Recommended if you're a kid on summer break or an adult reading on thier phone while standing in line and getting interrupted all the time. The new kid in town has just talked himself into taking piano lessons...but is the piano haunted? This Goosebumps book doesn't hang together as tightly as previous ones, but it seems to have also wandered the furthest off the trail of common horror tropes of the books so far. I have mixed feelings. I liked it; it didn't wow me; it was different. Recommended if you're a kid on summer break or an adult reading on thier phone while standing in line and getting interrupted all the time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    I'm not sure how R.L. Stine came up with so many ideas for Fear street and his goosebump series. He definitely has a vast imagination, filled with either creative plots from something that makes sense - or something like this, taking the mundane to make it bizarre. The writing is catered to young children, but even then the italics get irritating. Some of the chapters end on the false cliffhangers, but not as badly as some of the other goosebumps. The story was a little silly, even if the roboti I'm not sure how R.L. Stine came up with so many ideas for Fear street and his goosebump series. He definitely has a vast imagination, filled with either creative plots from something that makes sense - or something like this, taking the mundane to make it bizarre. The writing is catered to young children, but even then the italics get irritating. Some of the chapters end on the false cliffhangers, but not as badly as some of the other goosebumps. The story was a little silly, even if the robotics were convenient. Not enough is explained so this one comes off emptier than it should. I did chuckle at Bonkers the cat; reminded me of my own mean cat, Malz, who randomly attacks unsuspecting people.

  8. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    Not bad, not good. Definitely expected more, even from Stine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krissy

    ***Rated by my daughter***

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fuzaila

    This book wasn't anything memorable. It's basically a rip-off from every other goosebumps books. The plot was cliche and totally predictable. Here, - The MC and his family moves to an creepy and old house. - He finds a piano in the attic, and obviously brings it down. - He hears the piano playing by itself at night. (Every. Piano. Cliche. Ever) - His parents insists he should learn to play, so they put him under the tutor of a creepy old guy. - The neighborhood girl and a ghost warns him away from hi This book wasn't anything memorable. It's basically a rip-off from every other goosebumps books. The plot was cliche and totally predictable. Here, - The MC and his family moves to an creepy and old house. - He finds a piano in the attic, and obviously brings it down. - He hears the piano playing by itself at night. (Every. Piano. Cliche. Ever) - His parents insists he should learn to play, so they put him under the tutor of a creepy old guy. - The neighborhood girl and a ghost warns him away from his new teacher and his school. - The stories turn out to be true. And the ending? Uh, no one saw that coming! *eye rolls* Like, it was basically any child's guess. (view spoiler)[ The school is haunted and he was bought there because his hands were 'excellent' duh! And that creepy machine genius? Of course, he turns out to be the mastermind! And the ghost and her friends destroy him... forever? (hide spoiler)] DUH All in all, I wasn't very impressed with this book, even if it was my second time reading it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What's not to love about a Goosebumps book about a crazy piano teacher who replaces kids' hands with robot hands so they never make mistakes? I keep this on my studio bookshelf just for fun. Oops...guess that was a spoiler, huh? Sorry I spoiled it for all of you planning to run out and read it. What's not to love about a Goosebumps book about a crazy piano teacher who replaces kids' hands with robot hands so they never make mistakes? I keep this on my studio bookshelf just for fun. Oops...guess that was a spoiler, huh? Sorry I spoiled it for all of you planning to run out and read it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Highness Atharva

    I've got to say this was an odd book. A seriously old book, no doubt it was interesting enough , I read it in three hours straight (with a lot of distractions). The story is good, the piano setting and the beginning and how the story progresses is also good. But something is very funny and weird and odd in the book. I mean its got a somewhat haunted school, a haunted piano which is associated with a warning ghost, mechanical horrifying teachers and robots, selfish parents, troublesome cats and h I've got to say this was an odd book. A seriously old book, no doubt it was interesting enough , I read it in three hours straight (with a lot of distractions). The story is good, the piano setting and the beginning and how the story progresses is also good. But something is very funny and weird and odd in the book. I mean its got a somewhat haunted school, a haunted piano which is associated with a warning ghost, mechanical horrifying teachers and robots, selfish parents, troublesome cats and hands that type on their own. And its surprising how these characters connect together and form a sophisticated and a reasonable plot. There could be improvements of course. I didn't like the mechanism, the hand musicians, the large robots, the entire musical school was a disaster but just on the other side the piano ghost and the cat was awesome. Its not a surprise that parents do not believe that their child saw something paranormal. (ALWAYS HAPPENS IN GOOSEBUMPS BOOK SERIES) This time try introduce thee kid to a doctor. The ghost that our protagonist sees is trying to help him but he doesn't understand this and keeps freaking out. 30℅ of the book involves Jerry waking up, visiting the piano room and freaking out and then trying to explain his parents what he saw. It was good to involve a secondary character from the school (Girl who plays violin, though she doesn't play a major role). Overall it was a nice and quick read. It could be much better if the setting of the musical school and mechanism weren't involved and if the inventor had a strong back story. I reviewed two Goosebumps today so I'm gonna see my day off. But I'll be reading 25℅ of the next. This series is really interesting. Plot Jerry and his parents have just moved into a new house. Jerry starts out the book by forming clumps of dust into mouse-shapes and then crying that there are mice in the new house, which scares his parents. While exploring the new house, Jerry finds an old piano in the attic. Later that night, Jerry hears piano music playing from the ceiling, but when he goes to investigate, there is no one playing. The next night, he hears the music again, goes to investigate, and discovers nothing. Eventually, Jerry sees a ghost of a woman playing the piano, which has been moved down into the family room. She looks up at him and then her face melts off, revealing a bare skull. He screams hysterically for his parents. Picking up on Jerry's interest in the piano, Jerry's parents enroll him in private lessons taught by Dr. Shreek. Dr. Shreek is a friendly, Santa Claus-looking old man. Dr. Shreek dwells on Jerry’s hands, constantly telling him how wonderful they are. Eventually, Jerry gets invited to take private lessons at Dr. Shreek's private school at the edge of town. When Jerry tells Kim, the Asian girl whose locker is next to his, about his lessons, she freaks out and runs away. Jerry is dropped off at the large, scary looking music school for his lesson. He immediately goes inside and sees a monster in the hall, except, it is a robotic floor sweeper that looks like a monster. Dr. Shreek tells Jerry that the maintenance man, Mr. Toggle, is a wiz at robotics. Dr. Shreek then leads Jerry down the long, winding corridors to the private rehearsal room. Jerry hears piano music coming from every room in the building. As he walks down the halls, he can see the instructors hunched over the pianos, guiding unseen students. After his lesson, Jerry gets lost in the building again and Mr. Toggle comes to his rescue and leads him back to the entrance. He also promises to show Jerry his "private workroom", the next time he visits. Jerry returns home and continues to hear the ghost playing her music. Eventually, he goes down to confront her again, and she raises her arms and reveals bloody stumps where her hands used to be. Jerry screams so hard that he passes out and when he wakes up, his parents tell him they're taking him to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist tells Jerry that he is imagining the ghost, but that he is not "crazy." Jerry is outside shoveling snow when he runs into Kim again. He tries to tell her about the ghost he saw, but she also thinks he is crazy. He asks why she freaked out and she tells him that she heard a lot of spooky stories about the school and that's why she ran away, because she heard some stories. Jerry decides that he does not want to take lessons again. But his parents tell him that since they've already paid for his last lesson, he can go in and tell Dr. Shreek in person that he is quitting. Jerry is dropped off at the school and wastes no time in telling Dr. Shreek that he is quitting his lessons. Dr. Shreek goes berserk and insists that he needs Jerry's hands, grabbing his wrists to force him to stay. Jerry escapes his grasp and scrambles through the school building until he reaches the auditorium, where there is a crushing cacophony of piano-playing. Jerry runs inside and sees row after row of black pianos, each with a head-nodding instructor, and each piano being played by human hands, but only human hands. Dr. Shreek dives through the air and tackles Jerry, grabbing onto his ankles. Mr. Toggle bursts into the room and saves Jerry, by turning off Dr. Shreek with a remote. It turns out Dr. Shreek was a robot. Jerry asks Mr. Toggle to turn off the pianos and he does that as well. Jerry thanks him for saving his life. But as he turns to leave, Mr. Toggle stops him. Mr. Toggle is the one who needs Jerry's hands, he explains. Mr. Toggle is apparently a brilliant “robotician,” but he can't make human hands correctly. So he uses human specimens and using computer technology, makes the severed hands play beautiful music all the time. Jerry tries to escape the auditorium, but he runs right into the ghost girl from his house. She screams at Jerry, telling him that she tried to warn him, to scare him away from taking lessons from the school. The ghost holds up her bloody stumps and then conjures up all of the ghostly spirits from the disembodied hands playing at the pianos in the auditorium. A swarm of ghosts attached to their human hands attack Mr. Toggle in front of Jerry, carrying the robotician off into the forest behind the school, never to be seen again... Months later, Jerry decides to give up on the piano ambition and signs up for the baseball team, after going to a new school and making new friends. He is not only a good batter and runner, but also a good field man. He ends the story with him saying that his friends say he has "great hands.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Grimm

    More like Piano Lessons can be BORING. #burn

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Garrido e Cunha

    When I was a pre-teen and started reading Goosebumps I enjoyed them very much. I started reading the books featured on the Tv Show, and then I got to read this one. Well, it is amazing and made me really love R. L. Stine and truly appreciate him as a writer. This book has it all, a haunted house, a ghost, a piano who plays by itself, a strange music school, a mad cientist and lots of terror. In truth, this is the best book I ever read in the goosebump series. I usually am very critical about Goos When I was a pre-teen and started reading Goosebumps I enjoyed them very much. I started reading the books featured on the Tv Show, and then I got to read this one. Well, it is amazing and made me really love R. L. Stine and truly appreciate him as a writer. This book has it all, a haunted house, a ghost, a piano who plays by itself, a strange music school, a mad cientist and lots of terror. In truth, this is the best book I ever read in the goosebump series. I usually am very critical about Goosebumps, on the lack of originality, absurd twists in the ending and stupid morals (but again, Goosebumps are mostly for kids). However, I find this book to be very well written, posessing a good and interesting plot, doesn't have the usual absurd twists, and is really really scary. It deserves this five stars, and R. L. Stine deserves my congratulations for writting this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Santos

    I took piano lessons when I was a kid so I can relate to this story. Except I didn't have a piano nor did I have "good hands." My hands are so terrible even mosquitoes wont go near them! I'm not really sure what to think of this book. I enjoyed the final few chapters. As in all Goosebumps books, the action picks up right around chapter 20. Love thee twist near the end. The book was interesting, it wasn't boring. It quickly jumps into the Sci-fi stuff, which makes the book more interesting and gi I took piano lessons when I was a kid so I can relate to this story. Except I didn't have a piano nor did I have "good hands." My hands are so terrible even mosquitoes wont go near them! I'm not really sure what to think of this book. I enjoyed the final few chapters. As in all Goosebumps books, the action picks up right around chapter 20. Love thee twist near the end. The book was interesting, it wasn't boring. It quickly jumps into the Sci-fi stuff, which makes the book more interesting and gives you a reason to turn the page. Boy, a man obsessed with a kids hands....aren't there people in jail for that sort of thing? Anyways its not too scary for children/youth, but just enough suspense to get you through it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fox

    To make up for the cool Goosebumps book Be Careful What You Wish For... we now get the atrocious Piano Lessons Can Be Murder. What a mess of a book. I guess this was banking off the idea that most children have taken piano lessons at some point in their lives and disliked it? But the protagonist doesn't even dislike the piano lessons. He just thinks his piano is haunted. Then there's the weird piano teacher, robots, a monster that isn't a monster... it's such a mess. Even the ghost isn't all th To make up for the cool Goosebumps book Be Careful What You Wish For... we now get the atrocious Piano Lessons Can Be Murder. What a mess of a book. I guess this was banking off the idea that most children have taken piano lessons at some point in their lives and disliked it? But the protagonist doesn't even dislike the piano lessons. He just thinks his piano is haunted. Then there's the weird piano teacher, robots, a monster that isn't a monster... it's such a mess. Even the ghost isn't all that compelling. So yeah. There's something ~*spooky*~ about human hands playing pianos by themselves. Even though the robots themselves have hands. I don't know. Why did I read this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Drew Graham

    Yes The Wife gave me a lil stack of Goosebumps books for Christmas (ermagersh) and yes I'm so out of the reading zone it takes me forever to read each one and yes they're kind of great and yes they're also kind of terrible. The writing is so funny and the end-of-every-single-chapter cliffhangers are likewise but for kids (which is what I was when I read them) it all could be much worse. I remember this one as being kinda confusing but also pretty thrilling, mostly because of my background in mus Yes The Wife gave me a lil stack of Goosebumps books for Christmas (ermagersh) and yes I'm so out of the reading zone it takes me forever to read each one and yes they're kind of great and yes they're also kind of terrible. The writing is so funny and the end-of-every-single-chapter cliffhangers are likewise but for kids (which is what I was when I read them) it all could be much worse. I remember this one as being kinda confusing but also pretty thrilling, mostly because of my background in music. Reading it as an adult the premise and big reveal still don't make much sense but hey, run with that master plan, Dr. Shreek et al.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    When Jerry discovers a piano in the new house that he’s family had just recently moved into. He’s parents convince him to take up piano lessons, but when he’s teacher Dr. Shreek stars behaving weirdly, Jerry starts to question if these piano lessons are a good idea after all. An enjoyable entry in the series, piano music is always a great stable in the horror genre. I can vividly remember this one as a kid, it held up pretty well on a nostalgic re-read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darcy McLaughlin

    Jerry or Jerome or Jer or whatever people call him in this book is a 12 year old asshole who's just moved to a new town. I call him that because he is a total dick to his parents. He thinks he is hilarious, and plays all sorts of pranks and jokes on his parents. These great "jokes" include falling down a lot, and scaring his dad to make him drop a full kettle on his foot. What a swell kid. Jerry is busy exploring his new house, having dreams of making the extra bedrooms into a "Nintendo room" an Jerry or Jerome or Jer or whatever people call him in this book is a 12 year old asshole who's just moved to a new town. I call him that because he is a total dick to his parents. He thinks he is hilarious, and plays all sorts of pranks and jokes on his parents. These great "jokes" include falling down a lot, and scaring his dad to make him drop a full kettle on his foot. What a swell kid. Jerry is busy exploring his new house, having dreams of making the extra bedrooms into a "Nintendo room" and a state of the art gym. As he climbs up to the creepy old attic, he finds something mysterious hidden under a big blanket. If you're excited that we're about to Let's Get Invisible again, I have some disappointing news. Under the blanket is a nice piano. Joy! They decide the previous owners just left it for them, and are going to bring it downstairs. Late at night, Jerry can't sleep. He starts to hear piano music coming from upstairs. Of course he decides to go up into the attic and investigate, but there's nobody in there. Spooky! The old haunted piano gag. His parents find him up in the attic and he claims he heard the piano playing but they think he's pulling one of his "classic" jokes. Then Jerry's dad decides to get him some piano lessons, which sets up fantasies of playing "rock piano" and synthesizers because Jerry is a massive nerd. Jerry has a piano lesson with a creepy guy named Dr. Shreek, who apparently looks like Santa Claus. He doesn't really teach him much the first time around, and just obsesses about how wonderful Jerry's hands are. This continues throughout the book and comes off as extremely uncomfortable. Anyhow, Jerry gets one lesson and not much else happens. We are then treated to about half a dozen incidences of Jerry hearing the piano play itself at night, only for him to get caught up by his parents. They don't believe his BS because he's always pulling stupid shit on them. Finally Jerry manages to see a ghost woman playing the piano one night. The ghost tries to scare him, and says it's her piano. This is probably when I would stop using the piano. Jerry of course wakes up his parents and they think he might need some professional help. At school Jerry meets a girl named Kim who happens to live across the street from him. She can play violin, and when Jerry mentions he's going to Dr. Shreek's music school she freaks out and runs away. Odd. Back at his lessons, Jerry starts to get a little weirded out by Dr. Shreek and his hand obsession. Dr. Shreek explains that he wants Jerry to come take lessons at his school, instead of at Jerry's house. This can't go badly at all. Jerry arrives at the creepy school one day, and gets scared by a monster in the hallway. Oh wait it's just a robot floor sweeper invented by the genius janitor Mr. Toggle (yes that is his name). Jerry has his lesson, feeling silly that a little floor sweeper scared him so much. He meets the illustrious MR. TOGGLE, who shows him his crazy workshop with inventions like the self blowing saxophone. While talking about Dr. Shreek's school, Mr. Toggle drops the mother of all foreshadowings (which I won't spoil here) for Jerry, and astute (i.e. not 10 year old) readers will know how this one ends. In the end Jerry decides Mr. Toggle is a pretty cool dude, and heads home. He tells his new friend Kim about the school, and she says there are all sorts of scary stories about it. Monsters living in the basement, kids going missing. The whole creepy shebang. Jerry thinks there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything, and that is there's a genius scientist janitor who creates monster floor sweepers. Nothing odd about that. That night the ghost returns to the piano, and Jerry goes to investigate (yet again). The ghost tells him the stories about the school are true, and she shows him her amputated hands. Scary! Jerry passes out in fear, and his parents find him on the floor screaming. They decide it's time to see a psychologist. Maybe Jerry can get some nice little pills to make everything all better. At the psychologist the doctor tells Jerry he is basically delusional because he's stressed out about his new house. Jerry decides he wants to quit piano lessons because the place is creepy as all hell. His mom says that's fine, but he has to go to his last lesson because damn it, they already paid for the thing. This is where the story flips into a new dimension. Jerry decides to tell Dr. Shreek he plans on quitting piano. This causes him to flip his shit, and try to attack Jerry so he can get his hands on those sweet pre-pubescent hands. He chases Jerry down the hall, and he enters the auditorium. In the concert hall is row upon row of pianos, all playing music. The music is of course being played by disembodied hands, floating in the air somehow. While Dr. Shreek is trying to murder Jerry, Mr. Toggle shows up to save the day. He pushes a button on the wall and Dr. Shreek deactivates. Yes, he was a robot. Jerry is incredibly thankful, and figures out that all of the piano playing hands are robots too. Mr. Toggle explains that even though he's a genius, he can't figure out how to make nice looking hands so he just cuts them off of people and programs them to play piano. He explains that Jerry is the next in line to join the piano party. Suddenly the scary ghost from Jerry's house appears and attacks Mr. Toggle. All of the hands come to life and give Mr. Toggle a serious beatdown. Jerry rushes out of there and hopefully calls the police or something. The family sells the piano and picks up a big screen TV. Jerry decides to play baseball because he's got pretty good hands....get it? LOL Random Thoughts: Wowee wow. This story is all over the place. Half of it is boring as hell because we get about 4-5 scenes of Jerry walking in on a the haunted piano. The last bit is next level crazy, as we go from a typical ghost story to mad scientist murderer story. Who saw that one coming? The ghost explains she was trying to scare Jerry away from going to the school by haunting his house. She was a victim of the school's hand cutting off policy, and thus wanted to save him. I don't know why she didn't just explain everything like she does at the end of the book instead of trying to scare the piss out of Jerry the whole time but hey, who am I to judge a haunting? Jerry is probably one of the most unlikable protagonists so far. He's a huge dick to his parents, and he reminds me of the "funny" kid in your school who really wasn't funny so much as he was an obnoxious asshole. He uses the phrase "the looked like they dropped their teeth!" several times in reference to his parents shocked faces. He's lucky his parents didn't drop his ass in boarding school.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Stalter

    This one was really uneven. The scenes with the ghost and the piano playing itself were genuinely creepy. The first two thirds of the book told a subtle, atmospheric horror story. Then in the last thirty pages, the book skyrocketed into WTF territory. I was reminded of Monster Blood, which had a similar problem of combining two ideas that didn’t really fit. Both books also have villains that defy all kinds of logic. The ending felt less like a plot twist and more like a fever dream. On the plus This one was really uneven. The scenes with the ghost and the piano playing itself were genuinely creepy. The first two thirds of the book told a subtle, atmospheric horror story. Then in the last thirty pages, the book skyrocketed into WTF territory. I was reminded of Monster Blood, which had a similar problem of combining two ideas that didn’t really fit. Both books also have villains that defy all kinds of logic. The ending felt less like a plot twist and more like a fever dream. On the plus side, having a villain who makes some truly baffling life choices does go a long way towards making this book more memorable. I also think this could be considered Goosebumps first serial killer story depending on how much you read into certain parts of it. Overall, it was messy but it gave me a lot to write about. Score: 1.5 stars. Full review with spoilers, snark, and gifs: https://www.danstalter.com/piano-less...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Ika

    In this thirteenth instalment, R. L. Stine tries to combine musical theme with science fiction, which, I think, sounds inharmonious, but still make a good story. I’ve heard that many pianists insure their hands and fingers for sometimes a crazy amount of money, so I guess R. L. Stine is brilliant to come up with this kind of story, which will be very frightening indeed for pianist with incredibly expensive hands! CREEPY PIANO LESSONS “Don’t you wonder who played this piano before you?” he In this thirteenth instalment, R. L. Stine tries to combine musical theme with science fiction, which, I think, sounds inharmonious, but still make a good story. I’ve heard that many pianists insure their hands and fingers for sometimes a crazy amount of money, so I guess R. L. Stine is brilliant to come up with this kind of story, which will be very frightening indeed for pianist with incredibly expensive hands! CREEPY PIANO LESSONS “Don’t you wonder who played this piano before you?” he asked softly. “Don’t you wonder whose fingers touched these keys?” Ever since Jerry and his parents move in to their new house, his life has never been the same. It starts when Jerry finds a piano in the attic, which prompts his parents to offer him taking piano lessons. He turns out to be a good pianist, and maybe he can be a better one, if only his instructor, a weird and fat old man who looks like Santa, is not so obsessed with his ‘amazing and beautiful’ hands. If only the old dusty piano does not haunt him every night with the slow and sad melody. If only the woman ghost doesn’t try to scare him away from the piano and the instructor and his weirder music school and even weirder rumours surrounding it. This book surely gives me goosebumps. I can imagine how I will be freaked out if suddenly my piano plays by itself… in the middle of the night! Not to mention that the melody it plays is sad and slow. Holy moly! This is why this book is so scary, because we can relate with Jerry’s experiences with the haunted piano. I don’t have a piano in my house, but I have a guitar, and I don’t think I can bravely confront the ghost like Jerry does supposing I suddenly hear an eerie melody from my guitar in the middle of the night. I think I will cover myself with my blanket and pretend to sleep until morning and pretend that it does never happen. Though the book contains so many repetitions in which Jerry hears the piano at night, instead of making me losing interest, they make me even more curious. I never expect that the ‘invisible pianist’ will show herself and even frighten Jerry to that extent. Poor boy! To be honest, I kind of disappointed with the truth behind the Shreek School. (view spoiler)[Well, the idea of cutting pianists’ hands and Mr. Toggle’s reasoning doing that is good, but I don’t truly appreciate his workshop and all those kinds of machines and electronic equipment. (hide spoiler)] I feel they are too far-fetched and do not fit with the rest of the story, but what can I say? I’m not a fan of mad scientists and their toys. I love the fact that, once again, (view spoiler)[our hero is saved by a ghost, whose name remains unknown throughout the story, though she doesn’t give an impression of a kind and friendly one at first. (hide spoiler)] And what’s with the ending? It really holds a double meaning. Is it a happy ending, or does our hero falls into another trickery? MEET THE MAIN CHARACTERS I played a pretty mean joke on Mom and Dad. To be honest, I thought I will definitely dislike Jerry Hawkins right after reading this confession, which is, by the way, just the second sentence of the book. Not to mention that several pages ahead, it is revealed that he is not a cat person at all (well, that’s me being a very subjective cat person). It turns out that the cat is a very violent creature who tends to shock the hell out of its humans and always claws them to bleed, so I just forgive him and the rest of the family and be thankful instead since they still want to take care of the cat despite the fact that the cat should be disciplined or something by a cat tamer. And even though he admits that he plays jokes at his parents quite often to the point that the said parents become accustomed to them, I only find two nasty jokes that are not really too nasty for me to hate him completely, and they only happen at the first five chapters of the book, so I’m actually cool with him throughout the story. “I think something has made you very nervous, Jerry. And I don’t think it would hurt to talk to someone about it.” If I don’t know any better, I will just agree with his parents that he is a troubled young boy. Moving to a new home, leaving all his friends behind, and adapting to new surrounding may somehow pressure him without his realizing it. Here I admire Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins trying as best as adults can be to understand their son’s problem. They might be too lenient with Jerry and his misplaced jokes, but they really care for his well-being, or sanity, in this case. Some might argue that their not believing Jerry and sending him to a psychiatrist instead are not the sign of caring parents, but what can be said? Adults are adults. They will think and act like adults. There’s no way they will believe in ghosts. Sending Jerry to a psychiatrist rather than dismissing his seeing and hearing a ghost as jokes is actually caring in my opinion. MORAL VALUES OF THE STORY Whatever school or course or class or lesson you take, no matter how nice or suspicious the name is, make sure that you are NOT the only student there. If you are, it is most likely you just become a victim of something nasty and worthy to run away from. But really, it is safe to stay away from any places with suspicious names, okay? As a cat lover, I’m really worried with the state of Bonkers. There are many reasons why cat become so vicious and violent. And it’s actually not healthy for you and your family to pet a cat which more likely makes you bleed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Farren

    Bah this one sucked and I knew I wouldn't like it. I must have had bad vibes, despite no memory of this story, because this kid is a little shithead who is always wishing his cat would get lost outside or die. He claims to have a "twisted sense of humor" but just constantly plays dumb pranks on his parents. I wonder if they want him to get lost or die? Glad I'll never have to read the phrase "practically dropped her teeth" again! Bah this one sucked and I knew I wouldn't like it. I must have had bad vibes, despite no memory of this story, because this kid is a little shithead who is always wishing his cat would get lost outside or die. He claims to have a "twisted sense of humor" but just constantly plays dumb pranks on his parents. I wonder if they want him to get lost or die? Glad I'll never have to read the phrase "practically dropped her teeth" again!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This one was a little one-note for me (pun intended!). The wasn't much variety or suspense on what the story was (mostly because the (view spoiler)[cover gives it away (hide spoiler)] ), and even had quite a small group of people involved. Not my favourite, but that is okay as it happens in any really long series. The next one looks like it has werewolves and that I'm super excited about! This one was a little one-note for me (pun intended!). The wasn't much variety or suspense on what the story was (mostly because the (view spoiler)[cover gives it away (hide spoiler)] ), and even had quite a small group of people involved. Not my favourite, but that is okay as it happens in any really long series. The next one looks like it has werewolves and that I'm super excited about!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Xander

    Spooky... Good..only if you are a kid. Fear Street books are way better than goosebumps...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Girard

    I haven't read a book from the series in probably 15 + years ! I remember watching the episode of this one. It was good to feel like a kid again for a little bit. I haven't read a book from the series in probably 15 + years ! I remember watching the episode of this one. It was good to feel like a kid again for a little bit.

  26. 5 out of 5

    TheCultureVulture

    Scariest part was imagining having to move a piano down from an attic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aya.

    4.5 this was such an amazing introduction to the stories of R.L. Stein, I absolutely loved this story and I'm definitely gonna be reading more of his goosebumps! 4.5 this was such an amazing introduction to the stories of R.L. Stein, I absolutely loved this story and I'm definitely gonna be reading more of his goosebumps!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bradon Fennell

    Read this to the kids, this is their review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ren

    I mentioned in another review that I like the Goosebumps ghost stories, and I maintain that. However, this ghost isn't one of the best. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy 'Piano Lessons Can Be Murder'--it's fab. It's not even to say that the ghost is bad. But the two elements at play in this story: a haunted piano and a creepy music school, even when sort of tied together at the end, feel disconnected in a way that weakens the impact of the story overall. And that's a shame. Because individua I mentioned in another review that I like the Goosebumps ghost stories, and I maintain that. However, this ghost isn't one of the best. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy 'Piano Lessons Can Be Murder'--it's fab. It's not even to say that the ghost is bad. But the two elements at play in this story: a haunted piano and a creepy music school, even when sort of tied together at the end, feel disconnected in a way that weakens the impact of the story overall. And that's a shame. Because individually, I really enjoyed both the piano plot line and the school plot line; they were riddled with some of the creepiest moments arguably in the entire franchise (the ghost reveal, the instructor's strange, unsettling obsession with Jerry's hands). I just wish they'd each had their own, more fleshed-out (pun intended) books. Heck, one could have even been the prequel for the other. But as it stands, color me disappointed. That being said: the 'the boy who cries wolf' moral works pretty effectively here, and I have to admit that protagonist Jerry needed a good comeuppance.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ketekun Phanith

    Rating: 4.66/5.00 Damn, this Goosebumps book is as beautiful as a musical masterpiece. I honestly love how unexpected the book is as the reader cannot really expect how the story will turn and twist the moment they read it. Additionally, the story proves that sometimes the scariest thing can be the being that ends up saving your life. Overall, a great book that I cannot take my hands off even after I have finished reading it. Oops!

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