Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead HouseTitle: The Dead House 
Author:  Dawn Kurtagich 
Publisher:  Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Publishing Date:  September 5th 2015
Pages: 432
Genre: YA Psychological Horror
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC
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.

I really enjoyed this book. This book was creepy, unique, crazy, mysterious. It was pretty unbelievable. This book is an unreliable narrator read and it is...well... crazy insane. It was written well, I was completely immersed in the story. The mystery was done well, the characters written well. And by golly I had no idea, completely no idea what was real and what was not. It was good. 

The main character is one body... two souls. Kaitlyn and Carly Johnson. Thier parents have died, they have have been living in a  treatment center for quite some time now and they are about to embark on life in a boarding school. Freedom.... They are also being treated for dissociative identity disorder (DID). The story is about their treatement, their past, their present, and their escape. 

I love a good DID story. I know that must sound strange. But DID is something that just fascinates me. I have read many things fiction and non fiction on the subject and just love a good fiction story with characters with this disorder. You kind of know real quick that this character or characters are being treated for DID and you know it s a very strange case. But you go into the story knowing it's DID. Somewhere in the middle... it's a unsure thing. In fact pretty much everything is an unknown.The only think I left this book was crazy and I felt a bit crazy after being in this girl's mind.

So unreliable narrator- check

The story has a great creep factor. It was creepy and I mean don't read alone at night creepy because you may think something is watching you, crawling on you, stepping on your grave, eerie creepy. I don't get this feeling much from books but it was creepy. Written well.

So creepiness- check.

The characters were interesting. I like the main character- Kaitlyn,This is the personality or the soul we are in the head of. We only see her other personality- her sister- through letters written to Kaitlyn. Carly is a bit more of a mystery than Kaitlyn but we see her some. Both girls are completely different. from their thoughts down to their handwriting. It was fun well kind of fun being in her head.

All the supporting characters were cool too. There were the best friends of Carly and of Kaitlyn, a love interest, the police, students from the school, the doctor. They were all an important role and I did get a feel for their characters. All uniquely different but good for the story.

Great cast of characters- check

The story is actually told in letters, journal entries, therapy session recordings, police reports, articles, and so on. I really enjoy books told in this unique fashion and thought this one was done extremely well. Event though I wasn't really in anyone's head per say.... I got a real good feel for the characters, the story, and the complete overall sense of the story.

written well and unique- check

So all was wonderful for me except for the ending. I like strange endings and all and this one was strange. It was great for the wow factor but I didn't feel it was all wrapped up and I needed more. It was just not as satisfying for what I wanted or needed. It was fitting for the story yes so that was good, just my brain needed more. Sometimes the realty of the story left up to the reader to question is good but sometimes I need a more concrete ending.

This is where my 4 hearts instead of 5 comes in. That is it.

A great psychological horror, creepy, mysterious, strange. If you are into that this book is for you. If you don't know if you are... try this one. 

Dawn KurtagichDawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, The Dead House, is forthcoming from Hachette in 2015.
By the time she was eighteen, she had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city and in the desert.
She has been lucky enough to see an elephant stampede at close range, a giraffe tongue at very close range, and she once witnessed the stealing of her (and her friends’) underwear by very large, angry baboons. (This will most definitely end up in a book . . . ) While she has quite a few tales to tell about the jumping African baboon spider, she tends to save these for Halloween!
She writes over at the YA Scream Queens, a young adult blog for all things horror and thriller, and she is a member of the YA League and Author Allsorts.
Her life reads like a YA novel.


  1. Oh, I didn't realize that about the main character! That is interesting...makes for an unreliable narrator, which I love.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. Oh nice! I'm hearing all sorts of good things about this truly unique book! I can't wait to read it once it releases and then make time for it! LOL! Sounds like a perfect read for October! ;) Great review!

  3. This sounds like a really good fall read! :)

  4. YES YES YES. ALL OF IT YES. Seriously, I so, so loved this one. And same, I just love stories about DID, so facinating and so many unpredictable tings can be done with it. The whole thing with the "one" disappearing, I was figuring out just before it was revealed and was just like KNEW IT. So, so GOOD. And holy crap, it scared me, haha.


Imagination Designs