“Welcome to the Dark House, where you’ve come to stay, and we hope you’ll play!” –Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Hello Goodie Two Shoes!
Take a good look at that cover, because I’ve got a story to tell.
This really started with Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. I had never heard of the book before, but while perusing the library, I saw the title, and I was immediately intrigued.
I pulled it out, loved the cover and the title font.
My first thought was “thriller”.
Upon reading the book, I discovered that it was, in fact, not a thriller.
It’s a horror book. The first modern horror book that I’ve read, and the first book that scared me.
I loved the book so much, I bought it.
I have the most emotional connection to that book that I have ever had with any book. Heartless was probably first.
I don’t like admitting that this is probably my favorite book. At least, the first part of it. The characters are just so perfect. There’s a struggle inside of it. The end drags, but other than that, it’s fantastic.
Anyway, I showed the cover to my dad, and he told me that the font screams horror.
I’m just really bad at figuring out the genre by the cover, font, etc. I just don’t think about it that much.
It’s a very distinct font, and now, I look for it everywhere.
Welcome to the Dark House has the same font.
I found it in the YA section of my library, and like Imaginary Friend, I didn’t just read the library copy. I bought my own.
Ivy Jensen was in her parents house when they were murdered.
The serial killer came into her room, saw her decorations, and threatened her life.
If the cops hadn’t arrived in time, she would not be here today.
But she still lives in fear that he will return, despite the fact that she’s changed her name, her family, everything about her life.
But she’s sick of fear. Instead of letting it control her life, she wants to learn how to live with it.
So when she finds a contest that claims to take away one’s nightmares at a weekend horror movie camp, she enters. Ivy doesn’t watch the horror movies it’s themed after, but she’s got a nightmare that she’d like to get rid of.
She wins, and off she goes to free herself of her nightmares.
Little does she know that she and six other contestants are only walking into another one.
I have two main complaints.
The first is that I really like Ivy and Shayla’s characters as they were introduced at the beginning of the story, but then their character’s seemed to change during the rest of the book.
Ivy was a really cool character. She didn’t want to let fear control her life any more, even after living through a horrific experience. I was so proud of her.
But then she got to the horror house and lost that spark.
Shayla was similar. I liked her at the beginning and then I liked her less during the rest of the story.
Garth was actually like that too. He seemed fun at first, and then he was like stereotypical teenage guy who doesn’t have a good release for pent up tension (like boxing or something), so he makes fun of everyone else and uses excessive language.
I ended up hating him.
Also I just remembered that I didn’t like Ivy taking forever to tell Parker (her love interest) about her past. I get it, but at the same time, it felt forced.
I think it would have been so much better if we didn’t have so much of Ivy’s history upfront and we got to learn it piece by piece with Parker.
As for the book and plot itself, It was a little wonky, but I thought it worked well.
I saw another review say that it’s written like a horror movie, so if that’s your vibe you’d like this.
The last thing I didn’t like was the pacing at the end of the book. The climax and HATMOV felt rushed, but then after that the story kind of dragged.
That could have just been me as I was tired while reading the rest of the book and just wanted to be done.
I took a nap in between reading the last pages.
This book didn’t work perfectly, but it worked well.
Better than some other books I’ve read.
Excessive language, but no f-bombs. A couple kisses. Basically a PG-13 movie rating.
I really enjoyed my first ya horror!
There are lots of cliffhangers! But the second book is out so there’s nothing to fear. You know, except all the scary things that are going to happen. Serial killers, nothing major.
There were some twists that I loved finding out. I think there were some gasp and laugh out loud moments, which I love in books.
The romance was so cute. So cute. Though because the ending was rushed I didn’t feel as many thing when the stuff happened at the end (trying not to spoil anything).
I’m so excited to read it and see how everything gets wrapped up!
The book in the pic above is the library version of book one.
Book 2 is called Return to the Dark House.
And this threw me for a loop but there’s a third book titled: Enter the Dark House.
Enter the Dark House is a paperback copy of the whole duology, and this is the copy I bought.
Because it’s a chunky paperback, the spine, unfortunately, will not come through a reading unscathed.
But, I’m already reading book two, and guys, we get Taylor’s pov!!! Iykyk.
That’s all I’ll spoil for now.
I’ll have a review for book two soon and then maybe do a whole post on the duology??
If you want to check out all the books here are the affiliate links:
Welcome to the Dark House (kindle version)
Enter the Dark House (paperback is on sale right now!)
Thanks for reading!
Stay fun! I’ll see you in the next one.