Posted in Fiction, Horror, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Welcome to the Dark House: where reality turns deadly!

darkhouseWelcome to the Dark House, by Laurie Stolarz (Hyperion, July 2014). $16.99, ISBN: 9781423181729

Recommended for ages 14+

Imagine your favorite horror movie director emails you about a contest – where YOU can be in his next movie. All you have to do is tell him about your worst nightmare. For six winning contestants, it’s the chance of a lifetime. For the seventh – a girl named Ivy Parker – it’s the chance to finally rid herself of a real-life nightmare that’s haunted her since she was a child.

Seven fans of horror director Justin Blake find themselves part of his next movie, based on his Nightmare Elf series. They all have secrets – some darker than others. That’s the price of admission. But shortly after settling in and getting to know one another, the group starts experiencing strange things – one member has gone missing. There are strange messages and bloodstains showing up. This is all part of the movie, right?

I loved this book. It’s a great, old-school slasher movie brought to YA, updated with a splash of reality show drama. We get a good backstory for each of the characters (within reason – read the book to see what I mean) – their personalities, their motivations, their secrets – and their interactions with other characters. These folks don’t gel together and become instant BFFs; there are personality clashes and internal issues that affect their actions and interactions. Set within the larger-scale story of Justin Blake’s contest, it’s a great character-driven story. Not all the characters are likable or even sympathetic. I appreciated that.

The book is a horror novel, so expect violence and mind games. If you’re a horror fan, you’ll love this book. If you’re an old school slasher movie fan like I am, you’ll recognize a lot of the tropes that make those movies (and the experience of watching them) so much fun. The book’s ending will hopefully leave you like it did me – wondering when we’ll find out more.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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