Review: ‘The Dead House’ by Dawn Kurtagich

I received this book for free from event in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The Dead House’ by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 15th, 2015
Genres: Horror, Mental Illness, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: event
Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

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.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads




Written from pieces of a journal, the story unravels in a unique way. Mostly there’s journal entries, newspaper clippings and even some video camera screenshots (ones which I found to be creepy!).


There is one main character but this character is also suffering from Dissociate Identity Disorder, which used to be called multiple personality disorder. During the day one identity comes out and during the evening the other comes out. It was a little confusing at times, but you can tell how distinct their personalities were.


I found the details about how their identities change to be the most interesting part of the book. Everything else was just noise. Well I was expecting this huge crazy reason but after I found out about it, it fell flat. The pacing was too dragged out, and the plot took too long to tell the story and the reasoning felt too convenient. Not exactly creepy enough for me. I wanted something paranormal to happen but it really wasn’t all that scary.


Bonus points for the creepy cover which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. Also for the unique way the story was written! Flip through it if you want to see, just watch out for the screenshots.


Isn’t it strange? How another human being can make the quiet seem less quiet, the unreal more real? (83)
You can make yourself believe anything if you lie to yourself long enough. (194)

reading progress






  1. Karen @ One More Page...

    January 8, 2016 at 1:50 AM

    Thanks for this review, Giselle! I also have a copy of this book so I’ve been wondering whether I should read it or not. It looks like maybe I should skip it? There are too many books out there!
    Karen @ One More Page… recently posted…Wishlist Wednesday | Reader, I Married Him Edited by Tracy ChevalierMy Profile

    • giselle

      January 13, 2016 at 12:19 PM

      You’re welcome Karen! I’m thinking you could totally skip it. It didn’t change my life or even scare me one bit. The concept is good but it dragged on too much 🙁

  2. Christina

    January 4, 2016 at 4:53 PM

    Thanks for this review! Not sure this is my kind of book, but I wanted to comment that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the awesome shot of the book that you took!!!! Just amazing. Best wishes for the New Year! Christina @ Ensconced in Lit

    • giselle

      January 4, 2016 at 5:09 PM

      Awww thank you so much Christina! I wanted it to be my type of book even though horror is not my type of genre. Happy New Year!

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