Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…
…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.
But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?
The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.
The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The Dead House is weird, bizarre, and disturbing in the best way. Full of police reports, diary entries, and interviews, The Dead House is a chilling, mixed media mystery that will leave you guessing until the bitter end.
READ THIS BOOK IF:
- You like crime fiction and horror.
- You’re obsessed with films like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister.
- You can handle seriously disturbing images.
- There’s a twisted, Scottish form of voodoo mixed with paganism that is totally invented but so detailed it seems real. Creepy beyond measure, filled with ritual and magic, you’ll question whether demons truly exist or insanity is the true culprit. Some sections left me starring, shocked and nauseated, absolutely terrified of the events that occurred. Ouija boards (no matter what variation on them) are ALWAYS a poor choice.
- The style is unique. Kaitlyn’s diary entries read like poetry. The beautifully emotional and occasionally detached way she describes her situation is addictive and mesmerizing. Look at this: “We were superior creatures, up there in the darkness while everyone else slept, so when he put his hand on mine, I felt our purposes-our existences-united in that moment. That contact.”
- Kaitlyn’s desolation and fear is heady. You can feel every bit of her panic and desperation. She wants to fit, tooth and nail for her sister, for herself but the darkness is overwhelming and all consuming. There’s a cloud of evil that hovers over the story, you feel it like a chill, like it’s alive and watching from a shadowed corner.
- The Dead House is TERRIFYING. The oozing blood, the decaying bodies, that horrific girl in the dress, holy hellfire and brimstone, get ready for nightmares.
- Some scenes are sharp, unexpected explosions of chaos. You won’t see it coming and not everyone makes it out unscathed.
- The relationship between Kaitlyn and Carly is not only unhealthy but catastrophic. You have to guess Carly’s feelings, inferring from post it notes and word of mouth. You won’t know whose side she’s on.
- Kaitlyn and Ari. They just fit. They’re perfect together. They’re quirky and weird but he gets her and the way she sees them is…SWOON.
- Carly is boring and it’s hard to feel a connection even close to the one shared with Kaitlyn. Her importance is significant, she functions and plays a huge role in the story and yet, her involvement and any semblance of a personality is barely mentioned or trumped by Kaitlyn.
- Some secondary relationships were kind of typical, the scorned boy, the unhinged mystery guy, the jealousy.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: