The cover illustration depicts a vulture's claw cutting into a birthday cake. The table beneath it appears to be toppling.
Unhappy Birthday to You!
Lee Hargrove only wants one thing—to win a scholarship to Summer Sports Camp. His school is holding a competition and the winner gets to attend the camp for free. Lee is one of the favorites to win along with his friend Cory "Lucky Duck" Duckworth and another athletic classmate, Laura Grodin. Laura is good . . . for a girl, but how can anyone compete with Cory's good-luck streak? Lee has an idea and he's about to give Cory an unforgettable birthday present that will really get the party started!
The Story-Keeper welcomes a boy named Lee into the Hall of Horrors, who is holding a rabbit's foot. Lee says he has some bad luck lately, especially after his friend's birthday party. Lee starts his story.
Lee Hargrove wants a scholarship to Summer Sports Camp, but faces competition from his friend Cory Duckworth. Lee resents Corey for being incredibly lucky, as everything seems to go his way and he is better than Lee at everything, including sports. Laura Grodin, another of Lee's friends, is also competing for the scholarship but he is more worried about Cory. One day, Lee gets a package from an unknown sender that claims to contain a good luck charm, but he dismisses it as a prank. During a tennis game the next day, Lee loses to Cory and throws his racket in anger, accidentally hurting the coach.
After that incident, Cory remembers the package and decides to open it, discovering that is is a vulture's claw. Soon after he opens it, Cory finds out he won a free dinner at a pizza restaurant, and starts to believe the package's claim. Lee also gets a game he wanted as a present from his dad, and gets all A's on his report card. The next day, Lee's dog Arfy slobbers all over the claw and soon after, Lee hurts his ankle. Lee tries to do work on his laptop when it suddenly bursts into flames. He also starts to have nightmares about the claw, and has hallucinations about it during the day.
Lee loses the next game for the competition to Cory, while Cory's luck continues. Lee realizes that his luck changed after Arfy slobbered over the claw, and is about to get rid of it when he realizes it would make for a perfect gift so Cory's upcoming birthday. At the party, Lee gives Cory the claw, but he reveals that he already has one and that's why his luck has been especially good lately. Cory's birthday goes wrong anyway, as Lee accidentally throws a Wii remote at his TV, and he falls into Cory's birthday cake and Mrs. Duckworth calls Lee's parents over to pick him up.
Lee tells Cory what is going on with his claw, and he tells him that Lee should have read the instructions that came up with the Claw. The instructions state that the luck it gives will turn bad if it is kissed. It's also been giving him the strange hallucinations. Cory adds that his came in a mysterious package, just like Lee's. Lee apologizes for trying to give Cory the bad luck claw, and he finally throws it away, in hopes his luck will finally improve. It does, but it being close leads to small bad things, such as Lee choking during dinner, while Laura is over.
The next day is a football game that will decide who gets the big scholarship, so Lee kisses Cory's claw so that will give him bad luck to even things out. During the game, the two accidentally headbutt each other and get knocked out. After they awaken and have to leave, Lee looks into his backpack and discovers that the vulture's claw is there. The next day is an awards ceremony at school, and Lee, Cory, and Laura are picked as the finalists for the scholarship. Before they go up, Cory gives Lee his vulture's claw, not knowing that Lee kissed it.
Suddenly, the two turn into vulture monsters and start attacking each other. However, turns out to be another hallucination and a week later, Lee and Cory are having a laugh about the whole situation. Lee is telling Cory that he threw away both claws, when they spot Laura, who has won the scholarship due to the boys being disqualified after their fight. She reveals to them that she sent the claws, and kisses them both beforehand, and assumes it just takes a while for the bad luck to kick in. She also took the claw from Lee's trash can and put it in his backpack. She climbs onto the bus to camp, and wishes them an awesome summer.
The Story-Keeper thanks Lee for his story, and promises he will keep it in the Hall of Horrors, where it belongs.
- The pre-release cover art has features not seen in the final cover art. The lighting was brighter, and the cake's designed was completely different.
- The title of the book can be viewed as misleading, as the book only has one scene where it took place at a birthday party, and the birthday party was not the origin nor the beginning of the events that happened in this story.
- The story has similarities to Locker 13, a book from R.L. Stine's The Nightmare Room series. They both center around an object that starts out as a good luck charm, but later gives the owner bad luck. Both contain a scene where the protagonist gives the bad version of the charm to someone they dislike, and the twist is also similar to a plot point in the earlier book.
- This book references the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii.
|Goosebumps Hall of Horrors series|
|#01 Claws!||#04 Why I Quit Zombie School|
|#02 Night of the Giant Everything||#05 Don't Scream!|
|#03 The Five Masks of Dr. Screem||#06 The Birthday Party of No Return!|