Review: The Dead House

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published: September 15th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Three students: dead. 
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace. 

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere.

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

They think I don't exist... I'm a symptom. They think I'm a disease I'm infecting Carly.
After a month of not reading because of school, The Dead House was the perfect book to get me back into my mojo. I was extremely sad that I could not read any spooky books during October, so when I finally had a chance to read I jumped at the opportunity to read this one. The Dead House pulled me in with its haunting cover and I could not stop thinking about it throughout October when I was deprived of books.

What stood out to me the most when I started reading was the weird relationship between Carly and Kaitlyn. I was really confused at who Kaitlyn is because the summary did not give me any clues. I assumed that Kaitlyn is the evil twin. However, the more I read the more I could tell that something was wrong between these two girls. They are not twins. After their parents die in an accident, Carly and Kaitlyn are brought to a mental institute and diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Carly and Kaitlyn are one person.

The unique feature about their case is that the alter egos have regular, timed intervals of consciousness. Carly is the girl in the morning; she is bubbly, quirky, and the representation of the light. In contrast, Kaitlyn is violent and rebellious. She is the personification of the night. Kaitlyn has really dark thoughts but I still rooted for her because I understood why her behavior is harsh. She has never felt the warmth of the sun and has to find her own definition of what 'life' is when she is always alone and in the dark. Kaitlyn craves attention and secretly jealous of Carly's experiences during the day that she takes for granted.

The book is told through newspaper clippings, videos, interviews, and mainly journal entries. I was wary of the format in the beginning because I thought there would be a disconnection between the reader and the characters. While it was hard to sympathize with side characters, I had no trouble connecting with Carly and Kaitlyn because a majority of the book is told through Kaitlyn's journal entries. The entries were raw with emotion and realistically showed their descent into madness.

Without revealing too much, because my most favorite part of the book is how it catches you off guard, The Dead House slowly creeps up on you. It is absolutely crazy. Some parts of the book is predicable but the way the author intertwines horror and psychology makes the story super interesting. I do not get scared from books easily, but I honestly felt like someone was breathing down my neck during this book. This book has made me afraid of mirrors and phone calls (this one scene when Kaitlyn was on the phone *shudders*).

Overall, I think this book is amazing. It is really hard to come across quality horror books that actually scare the readers. Even if you are not a fan of horror books, I still would recommend this book because of it's unique plot. Get ready for a story that goes in strange directions and jump-scares!

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