Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers on September 2015
Genres: YA Horror, YA Mystery, YA Thriller
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”
I don’t want to say too much but it is about: a reopened case about a suspicious fire at a school 20 years prior, a discovered diary that talks about the tragic night , a girl who claims she really is two people (Carly who lives in the day, Kaitlyn who lives at night), the people who believe her and the people who don’t, a disappearance and a sinister dark house — all told by a mishmash of diary entries, police interview transcripts, video transcripts, notes and more!
Wow, I could NOT put it down. Reminded me of how I loved horror and stuff like this as a teen. Everything was so interesting to me and the mystery thrilled me, I loved the format and, while not scary, the creepy & sinister vibe was totally rocking my world. And then things at the ending happened (the ending itself + some parts really started dragging) and I don’t know how I feel it. I’ll get to that in a spoiler section further below but first we will get to the good.
Here’s what kept me reading on the edge of my seat:
1. The format: I love interesting and unique storytelling and especially when it integrates visual stuff. The book was told in diary entries, police reports, transcripts of video footage, interviews with various characters with the police. The diary entries definitely added to how I felt reading the story because we are in Kaitlyn’s head and I felt just as paranoid and trapped as her. Having all these things helped put me in the story as if I were trying to figure out the mystery myself. I was pouring over all the evidence.
2. The way the mystery kept me flip-flopping what I thought was going on the whole time: So the main character Carly? For as long as she can remember she has had another soul in her, named Kaitlyn, and Carly exists in the day and then at night they switch and Kaitlyn lives. So, as a reader, it’s like okay — does she have this dissociative disorder in which she her mind has created this alter ego like her therapist thinks plus maybe some other underlying mental disorders? Or is there something evil going on inside her? Is everything she says real? Is it not? The unreliability of Kaitlyn/Carly adds to the flip-flopping I did plus some of the other characters seemed a bit unreliable as well. Is it all in her head or is something happening? Because if everything was really true than WOWSER some truly sinister stuff. Did she have the disorder or not? What happened to make her create Kaitlyn and why has she said she was always there? THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH TO COMB THROUGH WITH THIS MYSTERY. I kept doubting my instincts. I’d start to believe something but then doubt it all.
So now it’s time to talk about where some things fell apart for me but it’s all spoilers soooo:View Spoiler »UGHHHHH I am all for ambiguous endings but this ending killed me. Like on one hand, I kind of dug that we have to figure out what we believe to be true in all this but on the other hand I’m like REALLY…that many pages to be just plain old confused about EVERYTHING. I feel like I needed more answers about certain things to even be able to come out of the story with a conclusion that I would believe to be true. There was just so many things introduced and not a lot of answers. Unless I missed something….Also I expected a big twist or SOMETHING. Ari being the baddie? Didn’t really shock me. That whole thing was weird. CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THEORIES IF YOU HAVE READ IT?!?! I would LOVE to discuss them. I think something sinister happened but then I’m like okay but we don’t even get any answers one why Carly/Kaitlyn existed like that in the first place…or maybe they didn’t? Maybe she did have DID but then later something sinister did happen? UGH where was Carly? Why are people disappearing in present day? What was up with John if he wasn’t the bad guy bc she was still creeped by him? What were the SEEDS? What really happened to cause the accident with Carly’s parents? WAHH I JUST WANT SOME ANSWERS TO SOME THINGS because this was the most fascinating book ever but oh my god too many loose ends for me to be truly happy with an ambiguous ending. « Hide Spoiler
Re-readability: No, though I’d be tempted to reread the beginning to see if anything makes more sense to fill in some holes
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No
The Dead House was just what I needed for my Halloween reading — creepy, dark and sinister (wish it had been a little scarier) and unique storytelling that really hooked me and made me eager to put together the pieces from the diary entries, video transcripts, interviews and police reports. A compelling book but I’m still really unsure about how I feel about the ending which definitely was a minor buzzkill to my overall feelings toward the book.
* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THEORIES IF YOU READ THIS. Please mark spoilers!