It’s Halloween!!! So we decided to read something spooky to match the time of year, Our choice was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. To find out what we thought of this book, keep on reading!
The Dead House is 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’?
Candyce: The cover is rather creepy looking especially with the two sentences at the top. Orange and black are the perfect Halloween colors.
“I’ve learned, in my tragic little life, that memories are like water. Not solid, like some people think. Once something happens, it isn’t set it stone. It can change. You can make yourself believe anything if you lie to yourself enough.”
Isabelle: I really like the colors of the cover as well, and as Candyce said those sentences at the top are pretty creepy! The cover really fits the content of the book as well.
Candyce: The plot to this book really interested me. A school fire, a couple dead and a few kids missing. And no one knows what happened! The perfect creepy story for Halloween. I have to say it took me awhile to get into the story. This book is told through police reports, diary entries and reports from therapy sessions. While I think this is interesting, I think this is a reason why it took me some time to really get hooked. In the beginning the dates change back and forth as well and it makes it confusing at times. This book was creepy though and I did enjoy the ending. I think it would’ve been better for me if it started out with some normal chapters before diving in all the reports and diary entries.
“I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.”
Isabelle: I actually really enjoyed the way the story was told, it gave the whole book something extra. But unfortunately it was one of the only things I liked about this book. I really had to push myself to keep going and the fact that this was a buddyread and this review was waiting for me is probably the only reason I kept going. I didn’t really care about any of the characters and thought the book was just way too long. It wasn’t that interesting anymore to read about Kaitlyn and the things she was experiencing. A lot of it was just the same over and over and I got more annoyed than creeped out. The plot twist wasn’t that surprising either and aside from that I also can’t say I really cared that much haha. I guess this just wasn’t a book for me.
Candyce: I thought the worldbuilding was done pretty well. Between the school, the hospital and her one trip to London it covers a lot of the time. There are certain legends in this book that make you wonder if it’s that at work or if it’s just Kaitlyn all along. This book had me doubting who it was the whole book. Just when I thought I knew, it turned out to be different. The author did that very well. She kept me guessing!
“One box, and it holds a whole life of love – almost every letter Carly and I have ever exchanged. Seeing it here, all together, three big bundles of paper…is that all we were? Dying pages, fading ink?”
Isabelle: I agree with Candyce that you’re wondering if it’s an urban legend or something really creepy that’s going on or just Kaitlyn’s disturbed mind but like I said I just couldn’t bring myself to care all that much. I did like that you didn’t know for sure what was going one. It was clear that Kaitlyn had mental problems but was that all or was there also something else going on? And what exactly happened with her parents?
Candyce: I thought Carly and Kaitlyn were very interesting. I have read a lot about this disorder during college and it’s still a weird idea that someone can have more than one personality. Either to protect themselves from something or for some other reason. I would’ve liked to see more of Carly though. You really only read about her through other opinions or diary entries. Near the end I felt bad for Kaitlyn. She really isn’t sure what to believe anymore or what to do. Kaitlyn talks to Dee a lot. I’m still not completely sure who that is. That wasn’t clear to me at the end of the book. I liked Naida. She’s Carly and Kaitlyn’s best friend and believes them about everything. We get a lot of information through her recordings. She doesn’t have the best ending in this book, but she sticks by them. Ari is the new student and he seems to be sweet and caring. He is really interested in Kaitlyn and wants her attention. I liked him. He seemed sincere. John came in later in the book and is the only one that knows Carly/Kaitlyn from the beginning and knows more about what happened to her parents. For some reason I didn’t trust him. They are an interesting set of characters together.
“They think I don’t exist . . . they think I’m like a disease. I’m infecting Carly.”
Isabelle: I thought the dual personality thing was very interesting, I learned about it during my studies as well and liked seeing it in a book. I thought it was done quite well too but like Candyce said I would’ve liked to see more of Carly to be able to care about her more too. Naida was interesting as well and I wasn’t sure if she was trustworthy, which is a good thing in a book like this! I didn’t like the male characters that much, apart from John actually! He was a nice addition.
For the first time with our buddyreads we have two different ratings!
This wasn’t the best book we have read, but it was rather interesting and perfect for Halloween. Have you read any spooky books this month?