The cover artwork shows a brain with strange, purple liquid being poured onto it.
Nathan and Lindy Nichols are step-siblings with a reputation for being the stupidest kids in school. While visiting their uncle Dr. Frank King, they ask if he has anything that will help them become smarter. He fools them into drinking normal grape juice to get them off his back. This actually turns out to be 'Brain Juice'. Soon however, the two become the smartest kids in school -- so much so that their principal, Mrs. Lopez, has them kicked out for being too smart.
Surrounding their expulsion from school, Nathan and Lindy are soon hounded by news anchors who are reporting the controversy over the two being kicked out of school, agents who want to make them famous, and government scientists who want them for experiments. After a while, Nathan and Lindy get so terrified at the thought of being famous.
As Nathan and Lindy run away from home, two aliens, Morggul and Gobbul, finally catch up with them and reveal that they planted "Brain Juice" in the grape juice at their uncle's lab so they can take back two Earthlings to be slaves to the emperor of their home planet. Nathan and Lindy are abducted and taken to Gorbbl and Morggul's home planet to be presented to the emperor, but the effects of the Brain Juice begin to wear off and Nathan and Lindy soon act stupid again. Gobbul and Morggul are disintegrated, while Nathan and Lindy are sent back to Earth. In a twist ending, it's revealed that Nathan and Lindy were only pretending to be stupid so they won't be slaves to the alien emperor and must keep pretending to be stupid in order to return to their normal lives. Dr. Frank drinks to the children's tale, but Nathan asks him what he's drinking. He says it's the same grape juice he gave them, which he's been drinking eight times a day.
- In France, this book is the 63rd book of the original Goosebumps series. Its title was translated into "Concentré de cerveau", which means in English "Brain concentrate" or "Brain extract".
- Unlike most books in the series, this book starts with a prologue.
- In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, R.L. Stine said that, of all the books he's written, this one was among his favorites, but it was often overlooked.
- The tagline for this book, "A mind is a terrible thing to drink," is a reference to UNCF's slogan, "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste."
- This slogan had already been referenced by R.L. Stine in the 1995 Fear Street book, Switched.
- The cover artwork displayed on Scholastic's website for this book is slightly different than the actual cover art. Their version uses the tagline, "This is your brain. This is your brain on juice." This tagline is a reference to This Is Your Brain on Drugs, an anti-narcotics campaign led by Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
- The title of this book was teased in late-1996 — prior to the release of Beware, the Snowman. Stine mentioned the title in 1997; however, at the time, he hadn't yet decided on a plot. The book was reportedly finished by March of 1998.
- This and Slappy's Nightmare are the only Goosebumps Series 2000 books to be written in the third person.
Reference in other Goosebumps media
- This book is referenced in Goosebumps: The Game as an achievement called "Using Good Ol' Brain Juice".
- ↑ Read this, not that: 'Goosebumps' author R L Stine on his summer book recommendations (mirror)
- ↑ Scholastic: Goosebumps 2000 #12 / Brain Juice / By R. L. Stine (mirror)
- ↑ "The Bumps" — "Brain Juice, but that will be something over #60." (archived)
- ↑ "The Bumps" — "Ask R.L. Stine!" October 14 (archived)
- ↑ "The Bumps" — "Ask R.L. Stine!" March 16 (archived)