Rummanah Aasi
Description: 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.

Review: The Dead House is a dark, twisty read where the reader is not always sure what is happening. Told in multiple formats ranging from a collection of diary entries, video footage, medical transcripts, and emails makes this book a fast read. At the center of the story is determining the mental health of Kaitlyn Johnson, who allegedly caused the deaths of several teens in a boarding school fire. 
  Kaitlyn is a complicated and complex character, who is not easy to warm up to or to understand as she is always in shut down mode. Things takes an interesting turn when she claims that she houses two souls in her body. By day, the body is inhabited by sweet, shy Carly, while destructive Kaitlyn controls the body at night. The "sisters" have somehow developed a friendship and communicate through journey entries to each other, keeping their two identities secret from all but their immediate family. When their parents die in a car accident, Kaitlyn/Carly are committed to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with dissociation identity disorder. Integration therapy upsets Kaitlyn, who feels it is designed to eliminate her personality entirely. 
  I liked the mystery surrounding Kaitlyn/Carly and their voices were easy to tell apart. I was never quite sure if I believed the "sisters", but the book becomes too convoluted and tries really hard to be clever when it mixes fantastical elements such as black magic into the story, which leads Carly to disappear. Kaitlyn's efforts to locate Carly are hindered by the menacing voice Kaitlyn hears and her nightmares of a haunted mansion. So now we have to determine if Kaitlyn is a reliable narrator, mentally ill, and if the magic actually exists. Of course students die violently and somewhere between all of these plot points Kaitlyn falls in love. I started to lose interest in the last half because there is too much melodrama. The book does end in unclear and unsatisfying ending. After I finished the book, I still didn't understand what happened. Overall, a great premise that tries to do too much.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: The book contains strong language, underage drinking and drug use, disturbing images, and allusions to sex. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy and Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics,
3 Responses
  1. I remember being intrigued by this one but then it fell flat at the end, I was really disappointed in the ending.

  2. My current Netflix obsession, Criminal Minds, has had a couple episodes with dissociation identity disorder. Is that the same as multiple personalities?

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    I've been so hit and miss with this author, some of her books I love and others are just so so. So glad you did like this one. ;)

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