Welcome to the Dark House

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9781423181729: Welcome to the Dark House

What's your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it's the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it's bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it's their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake's latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn't even like scary movies, but she's ready to face her real-world fears. Parker's sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It's bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group-the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; "Mister Sensitive"; and the one who's too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.
By the time Ivy and Parker realize what's really at stake, it's too late to wake up and run.

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About the Author:

Laurie Faria Stolarz (www.LaurieStolarz.com) is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons, as well as Project 17; Bleed; and the highly popular Blue Is for Nightmares; White Is for Magic; Silver Is for Secrets; Red Is for Remembrance; and Black Is for Beginnings. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. Laurie lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 6–9—A fun, scary ride. Readers are introduced to seven teen "superfans" of the horror film director, Justin Blake. They have all won tickets to meet the director and preview his new film, and as if that isn't enough, all of their expenses are included. The teens are also promised "special fun" based on the nightmares that they submitted as their entries to the contest. Once they arrive, they find that all of Justin Blake's horror films are being reenacted; especially the Nightmare Elf (a Freddie Krueger—esque character who forces victims to live their worst nightmares). Pretty quickly, creepy things begin to happen, and the teens start to disappear one by one. Stolarz writes a wonderfully eerie story, one that will appeal to readers looking to graduate from R. L. Stine. The characters are nicely drawn, and the plot is a great big campy mix of "don't go in there!" anxiety, alternating with groans of reluctant laughter as comic relief is interspersed. The unreliable narrative, which switches between six of the seven viewpoints, makes readers as confused as the protagonists, but it works. Savvy readers will pick up on the clues much faster than the characters, but won't be able to stop until the final page. Unfortunately, the ending is a bit rushed and without a completely satisfying resolution. Still, this title will have huge teen appeal and is terrifying enough without being overly bloodthirsty. Perfect for middle schoolers looking for a quick, thrilling read.—Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

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