Two kids, Ashley and James, spend their day at King’s Island, an amusement park that have some pretty badass roller coasters (King’s Island is an actual amusement park, located in Ohio). They ride this surprisingly long roller coaster called “The Beast,” somehow get split up from one another and manage to get locked in the amusement park. Instead of going to a managerial building or finding one of the security guards, they decide to “look into” a ghost story they heard while in line for The Beast.
A couple of teenagers told these kids (pre-teens) that a ghost rides The Beast after the park closes. They meet this old guy who tells them that he tests the ride every night after the park closes and offers to let them have their very own ride. They somehow get transported back in time to when a different park was on that same property to the night of a terrible tornado that destroyed the park. They attempt to tell people what’s going to happen, but no one believes them and take their newfound friend through some rides since he was too poor to enjoy anything except walk around.
Stuff happens, they have to run from security and find their way back to The Beast, get their new friend to hit a button and two security guys hop into the cart behind them. They’re transported back to their time, the security guys who jumped in with them turned to skeletons then dust, and they’re caught by more security guards, who escort them to the front of the park and call their parents.
It’s a fascinating story, the concept is pretty neat. Since I personally have never been to Kings Island, I just imagined it as a different version of Busch Gardens. There was a couple of things I didn’t care for in the book itself, like the inherent stupidity of Ashley who demands all these different flavors of ice cream when, during that time period, they had a very limited selection. How did the kids go from their 30s style clothing back to their original early 90s clothes? Why did the parents of these kids let them run around without supervision in a large amusement park? For hours. And why the hell didn’t one of the parental figures call the amusement park when the kids failed to call them?
And, what I find highly entertaining, is a voucher for like $4 off for any Paramount amusement park like Kings Island or Kings Dominion (which is much closer to where I am at) for 1994. It was a pretty good story and I found myself wanting to read the second one just to see if it was as good or even better.