Recommended for ages 12+
There’s always a sequel. Survivor Girl has to come back.
In last year’s Welcome to the Dark House, we met a group of contestants that agreed to appear on a reality show in the hopes of getting their big break in horror. Well, they did… sort of. In Return to the Dark House, we meet Ivy – the Survivor Girl – who’s still tormented by the events that took place at the Dark House, Parker, who she left behind, and more importantly, what the killer knew about her life.
But the killer’s not done with Ivy yet. He wants his sequel.
Ivy’s frustrated with what she sees as a lack of interest in her case by the police and even her guardian parents, Apple and Core. When messages and texts start showing up, Ivy decides to take matters into her own hands, joining forces with Taylor: the girl who ran away from the Dark House before it all began. But can she trust Taylor? Can she trust anyone?
I LOVED Welcome to the Dark House. It blended the ’80s slasher flicks that I grew up with into a reality TV environment that kids today have grown up with. Return to the Dark House reminds me a bit of the Scream movie series, with its meta-references to horror tropes and scream queens, and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Never humorous like Scream, Return to the Dark House is straight-up skin-crawling as we follow Ivy’s narrative and see her putting the pieces of her shattered life together. Taylor is one of those characters you kind of want to thump on the head, asking, “can someone be that vapid?” and then you remember from other books and movies that yes, yes someone can. Feelings for Taylor will start out sympathetic only to plummet into frustration and suspicion, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to play out.
If you love horror, and haven’t read this book already, make this part of your Halloween season reading. It’s a worthy sequel that makes you hope for the almighty horror trilogy.