Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
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Place(s) Traveled To: Somerset, England
First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.
THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.
THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.
Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.
Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.