Book Title:
The Dead House
Book Author:
Dawn Kurtagich
Publishing Date:
September 15th, 2015
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
August 27th, 2015


Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller!

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.

My Review

Right now I’m going through a “horror and thriller” phase when it comes to books – I just want to read creepy stuff (yeah, and then comes the problem of not being able to sleep at night, but hey, small price to pay for a good scary book, right?), and when I came across The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, I knew I had to read it.  The cover is creepy, the title is creepy, and the synopsis promised quite a thrilling, interesting read.

Let me just say that The Dead House follows through on those promises.  It’s creepy, it’s weird, and it’s one of the most original books I have ever read.

The Dead House isn’t like your average, ordinary novel.  No, this book is made up of interviews, police reports, therapy session notes, diary entries, and camera footage notes.  The entries, reports, and notes are dated, and you get to see what goes on before and after the accident in question.  While the beginning of the book seems a little bit confusing, and it can be hard to figure things out because of the different format that’s going on in this book, it really does make for a better story.  It’s creepier, and I couldn’t imagine this book being written any other way now that I’ve read it.

In the beginning of the book, we learn about a horrifying event that occurred at the Elmbridge High that caused several deaths and many injuries to the students there.  While the case has never been solved, and no one knows exactly what happened, the notes, records, diary entries, and e-mails in this book will pretty much paint a picture that gives an idea of what may have happened and who might have been responsible.

We move on to hear about the story of Carly Johnson, who is a student at Elmbrige High.  She is currently receiving treatment for an eating disorder, and while she is there, she kept a diary – a diary that didn’t belong to her.  It belonged to Kaitlyn Johnson, and the majority of entries are only at night.  But why, and how is this even possible?

Well, it turns out that both Carly Johnson and Kaitlyn Johnson exist – and they both exist in the same body.  Yes, that’s right – two souls in one body.  If that idea doesn’t seem crazy enough, reading this book might make you question your own sanity – it’s just that good.  There is so much weird stuff going on in this book, and at times it’s utterly unbelievable.  Ms. Kurtagich creates a very compelling and frightening story that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re really part of it.  This book definitely satisfied my need for a horror novel, and I know I’ll end up reading it again and being just as impressed!

The Dead House is an absolutely mind-blowing thrill ride that will pull you in right from the start and have you wanting more when it’s over. 

Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars
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