Spooky, Scary Stories: A Review of the Spooky Twisties Series by Terri Bertha
Think back to when you were a mess of raging hormones as a pre-teen. Such an awkward, cringe inducing time. But think back to that time in your life when all that mattered were sleepovers with friends, parties with classmates, and making sure you dead twin didn’t rise from the grave to take your place. Such a fun, simpler time; much like the Spooky Twisties series by Terri Bertha.
Last December, I had the pleasure of running social media for a local bookstore. One of the first events I covered for the store was a book signing with six authors in attendance. If you remember all the way back to the inaugural week of Reading Has Ruined My Life, then you may remember me talking about this event in my review on The Widow Next Door by L.A. Detwiler. During this event, I also had the pleasure of meeting Terri Bertha, the author of the Spooky Twisties series.
Spooky Twisties I, II, and III are collections of spooky stories for middle grade readers which are similar to books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the Goosebumps series. The Spooky Twisties series follows a group of friends who find themselves in odd, creepy situations time and time again. These situations range from fighting an ancient succubus who lives down the street to babysitting a baby vampire to having a terrifying Ouija board experience. The horrors in these books aren’t just supernatural evils either, there are horrors that stem from people too; which are honestly much more unsettling than any supernatural event that occurs in the series.
These books are filled with bullies, almost drowning, and the idea of technology turning on humanity just to name a few things. A word of warning, there is a pedophile in Spooky Twisties I who does get his comeuppance by the end of the first story he appears in. The first book in general has a much darker feel than the other two. Bertha isn’t scared when it comes to killing children or families, there’s also the pedophile like I said, but the author does try to keep everything light hearted for the most part. Books two and three have a much lighter tone. The stories focus a lot more on supernatural elements, and topics aren’t as serious.
Thinking back to middle school me, I can see myself being into this series had it been out back in my day.
I can’t kid myself, middle school me would have definitely been super into Spooky Twisties growing up. Part of me has always liked horror and horror adjacent books and media. Nancy Drew was one of my favorite book series growing up and she had her horror adjacent cases, I loved ghost hunting shows- I still do, they make great background noise for when I write- I watched reruns of Goosebumps when I was a kid during the Halloween season; horror has always been part of my life in some way shape or form.
The best part about these books is the fact that they are a series, but each book can be a stand alone. Spooky Twisties I, II, and III are collections of short stories; each book has 13 stories within its pages. All these stories, situations, and characters all exist within the same world; within the same town to be exact, but there isn’t much of an overarching story other than something odd is going on in this town. Bertha does reference situations that happen in other books, but this does not hinder the reader’s experience.
Out of all three books, there is only one story that is continued between multiple books. The opening story of Spooky Twisties I has a continuation/finale in Spooky Twisties III. This is the only exception within the series, but it doesn’t hinder each book acting as a standalone. Bertha explains everything the readers needs to know about this story. At times it can feel like an exposition dump, although it could feel that way to me because I am many years removed from reading middle grade books.
At this time, Bertha does have plans to continue the Spooky Twisties series. Instead of another collection of short stories though, Bertha has plans to write a chapter book following characters of the first three books. No release date has been set for Spooky Twisties IV, but Spooky Twisties I, II, and III are available now and only take a few hours to read through if you’re looking for a new read that’s in a similar vein to horror stories you may have read growing up.