Thursday, 10 September 2015

Book Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Read: September 8 - 10 Verdict: 4 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

During the day, Carly Johnson seems like a normal teenager. She has friends, she goes to class, she flirts with boys and she writes in her diary. However, at nighttime, Carly is no longer, well, Carly. Instead Carly is Kaitlyn. But who is Kaitlyn, is she an alter-ego made up to cope with the death of her parents? Or is Kaitlyn, as Carly and Kaitlyn believe, a long sister sharing the same body?

This story is so intriguing. Not only is the concept something I've never read about before but the whole story is told through a series of diary entries, police interviews and transcripts of videos. All the reader knows is that there was a fire in Elmbridge High, Carly's boarding school, which resulted in the death of several people. Ten years later, the mystery behind the fire, the events surrounding it and Carly/ Kaitlyn Johnson have never really been understood. Until Kaitlyn's diary is found.

What is amazing about this book is we don't really get told whether this is a story about the darkness of magic, or the darkness of mental health. Is what's happening because Carly is mad, or is it happening because Kaitlyn is possessed by a demon? It threw up so many questions for me and really made me think about how I, and others, think about mental health that's not just depression or anxiety. Is it fair for the reader to dismiss Kaitlyn as someone not real because Carly presumably has DID. I really went back and forth with thinking who Kaitlyn was, and how she was real. I really enjoyed the fact that the reader receives the story, for the most part, through Kaitlyn's words. It made her real, and her struggles made me feel sympathy for her. How could I feel sympathy for someone who wasn't really there? Surely, that in itself proved that Kaitlyn existed.

 This was a really creepy, yet amazingly thought-provoking read. Its definitely something completely different to what I normally read and i'm so gad I decided to delve into it. And if they ever make this into a movie, boy will it be terrifying!

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