Title: Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
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.
So I'm in a scary, suspense, spooky mood lately. I've read several books that fall into that genre. I've always loved a good scary book (not so much for scary movies though!). I mean one of my all time favorites is The Shining. So when I sent to the bookstore with my kids and saw this book, I didn't hesitate to pick it up. While my son was in the pool for swimming lessons I dived into the book. I loved it from the beginning. I mean the first sentence is "I wake with a gasp covered in my own blood." How could you NOT love a starter like that. The basic premise of the story is that a group of kids win a contest hosted by their favorite horror director and it's all based on sharing their worst nightmares. And that grabbed me too! Who doesn't have a horrible nightmare. Mine deals with gumballs! The thing is, they need to face their nightmares. SCARY. I liked, or disliked, all the characters as was the plan. This one character Garth Vadar drove me nuts because of his obsession with horror movies and fnding every funny or making fun of anyone who gets scared. It just annoyed me, but he was supposed to be that character so it worked. I really liked the main character Ivy. She's super freaked out to be there, but I liked how it didn't shut her down. She kept moving and thinking and dealing, and I liked that a lot. She didn't play the helpless girl.
Ok so the plot. At first it had this fantastic Freddy Krueger, Friday the 13th vibe going. It reminded me a lot of growing up on those movies, so the creepy factor was super high, and I loved it! I got nervous during certain scenes, cringed when I thought something scary was going to jump out and was relieved when things were ok. Loved it all. The second half of the book is them at an amusement park where they are to face their fears. Super creepy there and enjoyed cringing along with them. I mean their nightmares were scary! And the idea of wandering around an amusement park based on horror movies would freak me out entirely.
BUT THEN..... it fell apart on me. The ending rushed up super fast! I was like WHAT??? it's done? I tore through the prologue wanting more, but it wasn't there. I was completely disappointed. It ended on a note that hinted at a sequel, so I got on Google and searched. Sure enough it's the first book in a series! Had I started the book knowing that I would've been more prepared for the ending. I'm not saying it would've been 100% better because I still think it ended really fast. But at least I would've understood it was a set up to a series.
In the end - I will want to read the next book because I did like the creepy factor. I thought it was well done without having to be overly gory. And I liked Ivy, and I want to know more of what happens. I'm glad I read the book I really am. I just wish I had know it was only the beginning!