House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Series #1) by Robert Liparulo, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Series #1)
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House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Series #1)

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by Robert Liparulo
     
 

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Dream house . . . or bad dream?

When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old

Overview

Dream house . . . or bad dream?

When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
When the King family relocates from their comfortable suburban home to a spooky house in a remote area, brothers Xander and David quickly discover that the house contains portals into other worlds; upon choosing a door at random, Xander finds himself in ancient Roman times, facetoface with a gladiator out for blood. If the strange portals weren't jarring enough, the King family's consternation mounts when they realize that not only can they venture into the portals, but other creatures can come out. Fastpaced action and thrills abound in this expository offering of a slated sixvolume series. Peppered with moralistic anecdotes that toe the line of didacticism, the narrative emphasizes the ways the family must work together if they are to survive. Typical to most series fiction, Liparulo's work is heavy on action and setup, though otherwise less developmentally substantive. The wholesome family dynamic mixed with a smattering of light horror should fare well with younger readers. Number two, Watcher in the Woods (9781595544964), is due out in June. (Christian horror. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595547279
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Series:
Dreamhouse Kings Series, #1
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
149,274
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


house of dark shadows

BOOK ONE OF DREAMHOUSE KINGS

By Robert Liparulo Thomas Nelson
Copyright © 2008
Robert Liparulo
All right reserved.


ISBN: 978-1-59554-494-0


Chapter One Saturday, 4:55 p.m.

"Nothing but trees," the bear said in Xander's voice. It repeated itself: "Nothing but trees."

Xander king turned away from the car window and stared into the smiling furry face, with its shiny half-bead eyes and stitched-on nose. "I mean it, Toria," he said. "Get that thing out of my face. And turn it off."

His sister's hands moved quickly over the teddy bear's paws, all the while keeping it suspended three inches in front of Xander. The bear repeated, "I mean it, Toria. Get that-"

At fifteen years old, Xander was too old to be messing around with little-kid toys. He seized the bear, squeezing the paw that silenced it.

"Mom!" Toria yelled. "Make him give Wuzzy back!" she grabbed for it.

Xander turned away from her, tucking Wuzzy between his body and the car door. Outside his window, nothing but trees-as he had said and Wuzzy had echoed. It reminded him of a movie, as almost everything did. This time it was The Edge, about a bear intent on eating Anthony Hopkins. An opening shot of the wilderness where it was filmed showed miles and miles of lush forest. Nothing but trees.

A month ago his dad had announced that he had accepted a position as principal of a school six hundred miles away, and the whole king family had to move from the only home Xanderhad ever known. They were going to a place he had never even heard of: Pinedale, almost straight north from their home in Pasadena. Still in California, but barely. Pinedale. the name itself said "hick," "small," and "If you don't die here, you'll wish you had." of course, he had screamed, begged, sulked, and threatened to run away. But in the end here he was, wedged in the back seat with his nine-year-old sister and twelve-year-old brother.

The longer they drove, the thicker the woods grew, and the more miserable he became. It was bad enough leaving his friends, his school-everything!-but to be leaving them for Hicksville, in the middle of nowhere, was a stake through his heart.

"Mom!" Toria yelled again, reaching for the bear.

Xander squeezed closer to the door, away from her. He must have put pressure on the bear in the wrong place: it began chanting in Toria's whiny voice: "Mom! Mom! Mom!"

He frantically squeezed Wuzzy's paws, but could not make it stop.

"Mom! Mom! Mom!"

The controls in the bear's arms weren't working. Frustrated by its continuous one-word poking at his brain-and a little concerned he had broken it and would have to buy her a new one-he looked to his sister for help.

She wasn't grabbing for it anymore. Just grinning. One of those see-what-happens-when-you-mess-with-me smiles.

"Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Xander was about to show her what happened when you messed with him-the possibilities ranged from a display of his superior vocal volume to ripping Wuzzy's arms right off-when the absurdity of it struck him. He cracked up.

"I mean it," he laughed. "this thing is driving me crazy." He shook the bear at her. It continued yelling for their mother.

His brother, David, who was sitting on the other side of Toria and who had been doing a good job of staying out of the fight, started laughing too. He mimicked the bear, who was mimicking their sister: "Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Mrs. King shifted around in the front passenger seat. She was smiling, but her eyes were curious.

"Xander broke Wuzzy!" Toria whined. "He won't turn off." She pulled the bear out of Xander's hands.

The furry beast stopped talking: "Mo-" then, blessed silence.

Toria looked from brother to brother, and they laughed again. Xander shrugged. "I guess he just doesn't like me."

"He only likes me," Toria said, hugging it.

"Oh brother," David said. He went back to the PSP game that had kept him occupied most of the drive.

Mom raised her eyebrows at Xander and said, "Be nice."

Xander rolled his eyes. He adjusted his shoulders and wiggled his behind, nudging Toria. "It's too cramped back here. It may be an SUV, but it isn't big enough for us anymore."

"Don't start that," his father warned from behind the wheel. He angled the rearview mirror to see his son.

"What?" Xander said, acting innocent.

"I did the same thing with my father," Dad said. "The car's too small ... it uses too much gas ... it's too run down ..."

Xander smiled. "Well, it is."

"And if we get a new car, what should we do with this one?"

"Well ..." Xander said. "you know. It'd be a safe car for me." A ten-year-old Toyota 4Runner wasn't his idea of cool wheels, but it was transportation.

Dad nodded. "Getting you a car is something we can talk about, okay? Let's see how you do."

"I have my driver's permit. You know I'm a good driver."

"He is," Toria chimed in.

David added, "And then he can drive us to school."

"I didn't mean just the driving," Dad said. He paused, catching Xander's eyes in the mirror. "I mean with all of this, the move and everything."

Xander stared out the window again. He mumbled, "Guess I'll never get a car, then."

"Xander?" Dad said. "I didn't hear that."

"Nothing."

"He said he'll never get a car," Toria said.

Silence. David's thumbs clicked furiously over the PSP buttons. Xander was aware of his mom watching him. If he looked, her eyes would be all sad-like, and she would be frowning in sympathy for him. He thought maybe his dad was looking too, but only for an opportunity to explain himself again. Xander didn't want to hear it. Nothing his old man said would make this okay, would make ripping him out of his world less awful than it was.

"Dad, is the school's soccer team good? Did they place?" David asked. Xander knew his brother wasn't happy about the move either, but jumping right into the sport he was so obsessed about went a long way toward making the change something he could handle. Maybe Xander was like that three years ago, just rolling with the punches. He couldn't remember. But now he had things in his life David didn't: friends who truly mattered, ones he thought he'd spend the rest of his life with. Little kids didn't think that way. Friends could come and go, and they adjusted. True, Xander had known his current friends for years, but they hadn't become like blood until the last year or so.

That got him thinking about Danielle. He pulled his mobile phone from his shirt pocket and checked it. No text messages from her. No calls. She hadn't replied to the last text he'd sent. He keyed in another: "Forget me already? JK." But he wasn't Just kidding. He knew the score: out of sight, out of mind. She had said all the right things, like We'll talk on the phone all the time; You come down and see me and I'll come up to see you, okay? and I'll wait for you.

Yeah, sure you will, he thought. Even during the past week, he'd sensed a coldness in her, an emotional distancing. When he'd told his best friend, Dean had shrugged. Trying to sound world-wise, he'd said, "Forget her, dude. She's hot. She's gotta move on. You too. Not like you're married, right?" Dean had never liked Danielle.

Xander tried to convince himself she was just another friend he was forced to leave behind. But there was a different kind of ache in his chest when he thought about her. A heavy weight in his stomach.

Stop it! he told himself. He flipped his phone closed.

On his mental list of the reasons to hate the move to Pinedale, he moved on to the one titled "career." He had just started making short films with his buddies and was pretty sure it was something he would eventually do for a living. They weren't much, just short skits he and his friends acted out. He and Dean wrote the scripts, did the filming, used computer software to edit an hour of video into five-minute films, and laid music over them. They had six already on You-Tube-with an average rating of four and a half stars and a boatload of praise. Xander had dreams of getting a short film into the festival circuit, which, of course, would lead to offers to do music videos and commercials, then on to feature movies starring the next Russell Crowe and Jim Carrey, and probably an Oscar. Pasadena was right next to Hollywood, a twenty-minute drive. You couldn't ask for a better place to live if you were the next Steven Spielberg. What on earth would he find to film in Pinedale? Trees, he thought glumly, watching them fly past his window.

Dad, addressing David's soccer concern, said, "We'll talk about it later."

Mom reached through the seat backs to shake Xander's knee. "it'll work out," she whispered.

"Wait a minute," David said, understanding Dad-talk as well as Xander did. "Are you saying they suck-or that they don't have a soccer team? you told me they did!"

"I said 'later,' Dae." his nickname came from Toria's inability as a toddler to say David. She had also called Xander Xan, but it hadn't stuck.

David slumped down in his seat.

Xander let the full extent of his misery show on his face for his mother.

She gave his knee a shake, sharing his misery. She was good that way. "Give it some time," she whispered. "You'll make new friends and find new things to do. Wait and see."

(Continues...)




Excerpted from house of dark shadows by Robert Liparulo Copyright © 2008 by Robert Liparulo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Robert Liparulo has received rave reviews for both his adult novels (Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock) and the best-selling Dreamhouse Kings series for young adults. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their four children.

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