The Dead House
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, YA
Publication date: September 15, 2015
by Little Brown BfYR
Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.
Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere."
Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.
Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.
Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.
-A copy was provided by Little Brown and Company for review-
Disclaimer: this wasn’t a scary book. When we say ‘scary’, that’s something I would give to the likes of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics and Girl from the Well + The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. This wasn’t even a mind-fuck of a book a la Dangerous Girls
However, that doesn’t mean my mind didn’t reel from it. Even though this didn’t have the quiet or the jumpy horror I am well fond of, how this book delivered a kickass psychological paranormal thriller made me shiver in my boots.
1. Unreliable narrator? Check.
2. A book majorly in a dairy format, showing us the thought processes of our heroine, therefore giving us an intense sneak peek of the insanity of the situation? Check.
3. Notes, transcription of videos, medical reports, letting us also see other sides of the story, that may or may not be challenging the authenticity of the narrator’s end of events? Double check.
This is what made this book amazing to me – the fact that we are seeing one side of the story from one person, and at the same time, we get to see another side of the story from other sources, and how they pretty collide in our own minds. Yes, in the grander scheme of things, the thriller aspect here was kind of predictable, but at the same time, the journey to getting there was incredible. This is the kind of book that allows the reader to interpret the flow of events, the form their own conclusions based on what they have read and what evidences have been presented. It never confirms or denies anything – it’s simply a cast of characters talking about their own side of a particularly messy situation.
And that my friends, is its beauty. Because even though it is one, a little predictable, and two, not-so-scary in a DEMON! GHOSTS! MURDERER ON THE LOOSE! kind of way, how we were able to get the story made it exciting and thrilling. It would make you wonder who is telling the truth: is it the girl and her friends and the doctor is just blinded by her own bias? Or is the doctor and her team of specialists and our friends are simply stuck in their own out-of-this-world delusion?
How about you read this book, my friends, and tell me what you think?