Release: 6th August 2015
Genre: YA, Horror, Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"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’?"
Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good thriller be it YA or Adult. This past year I’ve been on a real thriller kick – I can’t get enough of them! So when I first read the synopsis for The Dead House I knew it was a book I just had to have.
The Dead House turned out to be hands down the scariest YA book that I’ve ever read. The book starts with you finding out that two girls exist within the same body. They see themselves as a sort of twin, Carly exists in their body during daylight hours and when night falls its Kaitlyn’s turn. Neither girl knows where they go when it’s not their turn in their body.
Both girls personify the light and dark that they exist in. Carly is very much the “good twin” whilst Kaitlyn’s personality is significantly darker and more troubled. Their doctor believes that Kaitlyn doesn’t really exist and is a side effect of Carly’s mental state brought on by trauma.
I found the whole idea of your body being taken over by someone else for half of your life really freaky to read. It made me not want to put the book down and fall asleep at night, just in case, which I’m sure was Dawn Kurtagich’s plan to keep you up reading!
A lot of mystery surrounds the book from the very beginning and as a reader I had a lot of questions from the start. The biggest one on my mind was if the girls were some sort of paranormal phenomenon? Or is one twin the creation of a troubled young girl? More mysteries get unsurfaced as you read on and the book grows increasingly more disturbing as the character of Kaitlyn does.
I loved the idea of the story being told through diary entries, camera footage and interview recordings but at times I’d find myself getting confused trying to keep up with all the different formats. I also felt that a lot of the answers and explanations were a little rushed. I’d personally have liked more detail at times.
Overall The Dead House is a creepy and original YA Horror story that well and truly messed with my mind.