Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 15th 2015
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Young Adult
Three students: dead.Amazon •
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.
Supernatural October Review #6 is here! Today I bring to you a delightfully witchy tale called The Dead House. It’s one of those where you just can’t tell if it’s a job for Sam & Dean or just send the lot of them to the looney bin. But I guess it can work both ways; just use it as a cautionary tale not to get involved with witches… or be careful who you believe. They might be a little crazy.
Carly and Kaitlyn are either sisters who share the same body or Kaitlyn is Carly’s alter personality. Boom. Hits hard right at the start, right? Carly lives in the day, and Kaitlyn lives in the night. The reader learns at the very beginning of the book that there was a fire at a boarding school years ago in which a few teens died and Carly went missing, and the book contains broken bits of her/their story.
The Dead House is written in a series of diary entries, videos, doctor reports, police reports, emails, newspapers, and a few other mediums. I love it when book are written like this, but I also feel like this one needed a go-between for the mediums and the reader, especially since there were videos involved. I think I may have liked it better if a detective had reopened the case and was going through all the old evidence and that’s how the videos were described to the readers. The pictures really didn’t add anything to the story for me. They weren’t all that creepy and just seemed to be there to be “there”.
So what’s with The Dead House? Something starts coming for Kaitlyn and Carly, and of course Carly is bffs with a Scottish witch named Naida. Typical teen supernatural plot of kiddos playing around with things they shouldn’t be touching, or is Carly/Kaitlyn’s doctor right and she’s just getting worse and dragging down an already disturbed girl with her? Oh my. Naida was an amazing character, though I wish we could have seen more of how people responded to her…uniqueness.
I do have to say that the guy characters absolutely suck in this book, unless you like them to hang around for pure eye-candy. They basically did nothing unless it was time to screw up something or make kiss-y faces. I like strong female leads but not at the cost of roasting the guys and serving them up on silver platters with their dignity fried to bits. Can’t we all just get along?
The best part of the book is the guessing! Some of Carly/Kaitlyn’s friends believe her, some think they should get her help. Do you believe your best friend or tell them they’re crazy and send them off to the looney bin? Gah! There’s a few dozen red herrings thrown into the mix, none that I feel that I can reveal in a review, but there’s enough twists and turns to keep the reader entertained even though you might pick up and a few of them.
I’m usually all for mental illness horror books. It doesn’t bother me the slightest. But what does bug me is the author making it seem like the meds and the Doctor are evil. I didn’t take any points away for this, it’s more cautionary than anything, because sometimes Doctors & meds can be evil, but more often than not a mental patient really needs his/her meds to function and it can be really trying to keep taking them.