(Hardback and paperback versions, respectively.)
Laurie Faria Stolarz
FROM THE COVER:
High atop Hathorne Hill, just outside of Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992, this abandoned mental institution is rumored to be the birthplace of the lobotomy. Locals have long believed the place to be haunted. They tell stories about the unmarked graves on the premises, and of cold winds felt throughout its underground tunnels. And then there are the treasures found inside, eerie remnants of its former patients: journals, hair combs, bars of soap, even old medical records – all left behind for trespassers to view.
On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their adventures. For Derik, it’s an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents’ diner. For the others, it’s a chance to be on TV, or for a night with no parents. But what starts as a playful dare quickly escalates into a frenzy of nightmarish action. Behind the crumbling walls and down every dark passageway, these high schoolers will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and of the spirits who still might.
My rating: 4 stars.
Think Are You Afraid of the Dark? – you know, that show from the good ol’ 90s – crossed with reality. Danvers State actually existed, and Stolarz conducted research for the novel. It’s still a fictional story, but the essence of Danvers has been incorporated.
Project 17 is thrilling, entertaining, and has a nice pace that keeps the suspense building. Essentially, the six characters fulfill some stereotypical role, but in a way that’s neither annoying nor boring; in fact, the stereotypes work well in the situations they’re given.
Each chapter is told by one of the six characters, in random orders. This, I find, is refreshing and keeps the reader more involved – especially because the characters are not all experiencing the same event, so readers don’t have to read about the same thing from multiple viewpoints.
It’s, at times, predictable. Sometimes even cheesy. And yet, Stolarz introduces the right amount of suspense to keep readers interested.
Imagine you’re watching a horror film in your mind. You may know what’s just around the corner, but you curiously prod forth anyway.