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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Book Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23897947-the-dead-house
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Series: N/A
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 15th 2015
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you've finished reading.

*Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.


I've been trying to figure out a way to adequately express how I feel about this book for a while now. It's really hard to make myself seem half-intelligent when all I can come up with is "OMG I LOVED IT!" But it's true, I did love this book.

This book stayed with me for a few days after I finished reading it. Not in a "book hangover" way, but in a "this made me think about stuff" way. I love when a book can be about a million different things, depending on how you choose to read it. Kind of like a "Choose your adventure" story, only it's entirely up to you how you interpret it.

On one side there's the mental health aspect, which I loved. I liked that there were scenes which showed that the main characters were in therapy, but also that they had seemingly normal lives. I also loved the idea that you kind of don't know who's "healthy" and who's not. I kept wondering if there would be a twist at the end where everyone, including the detective, where all patients, The Sixth Sense style, if you will. I know, I watch too many movies :P

Then there's the supernatural, horror element. I know not many people were scared by this book, but I was. I stay away from true horror books, so this is as close as I could get to being really freaked out by a book. And I don't scare easily either.

Kaitlyn and Carly. Man, I felt so sorry for them. The entire time I was reading their story I kept wondering what had happened to them to  make them live the drama that they were living in. It doesn't matter if you think it's supernatural, therefore they're twins or if it's mental health, and as such there's only one girl with multiple-personality disorder, the fact is that this is a drama. And it's heartbreaking. There are a lot of little details that could make your heart break a little bit for these two girls.

I can also say that this is one of the few books where I didn't trust any of the secondary characters. Anyone could be a villain, anyone could have ulterior motives for hanging out with Carly and with Kaitlyn. I actually loved that the author made me doubt everyone, because, like I said earlier, it made me think about stuff and it made me see the book from different perspectives.

I loved the format of this book. There's diary entries, transcripts of interrogations and detailed descriptions of video and audio recordings. I loved that. In a way, it reminded me of some Hidden Objects video games, which I love, so I really enjoyed the format of the story. On the other hand, I reaaally wanted to know who the storyteller was, who was reading the diaries, who was "seeing" those videos. I really would've enjoyed seeing a glimpse into who that person was.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this story and I am definitely going to read more books from this author!


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