Project 17

Project 17

4.3 133
by Laurie Faria Stolarz, Laurie F. Stolarz

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High atop Hathorne Hill, near 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. On the eve of the hospital's demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their experiences. For Derik, it's an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and


High atop Hathorne Hill, near 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. On the eve of the hospital's demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their experiences. 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 a night with no parents. But what starts as a dare quickly escalates into a nightmare. Behind the crumbling walls, down every dark passageway, and in each deserted room, they will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and the spirits who still might.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

An abandoned mental institution serves as the setting for this mildly scary novel, sort of a Breakfast Clubmeets Blair Witch Project. Senior year of high school finds Derik (La Playa) LaPointe (from Stolarz's Bleed) making a film in hopes of winning an internship at a reality-TV network. Derik assembles a cast of students from different cliques, then, with help from a classmate similarly obsessed with the Danvers State Hospital, sneaks everyone inside the condemned building and plans to film there overnight. Most of the characters are barely acquainted, and each has a different motive for participating in the project (the straight-A student needs to round out her resume to improve her chances at Harvard; the drama geek wants stardom; the outcast hopes to find traces of her grandmother, who died at Danvers). Exploring how these figures interact is the meat of the novel: they mature over the six or so hours encompassed in the book, pairing off and eventually becoming a team, looking out for one another and united in purpose. Although the action reads like a laundry list for a PG-13 horror movie-the timely discovery of a journal, rats, floors giving way when people step on them, etc.-a soupçon of mystery combines with supernatural overtones to move the plot along rapidly. The familiar story arc and devices comfortably contain the chills, entertaining the target audience without hitting any nerves. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
High-school senior Derik LaPointe's parents have his future planned for him. They expect him to take over the family business, a diner, which has been in the family for three generations. Derik, however, has other plans-he wants to be a filmmaker. Derik's ticket out of the "grease bucket," as he sees it, is by winning a filmmaking contest sponsored by a reality television show. The winner of the contest gets a summer internship. His idea is to create a film about Danvers State Hospital, an abandoned mental institution long-rumored to be haunted and about to be demolished in a week. Derik recruits five classmates, a motley cast of characters, to participate in his film. With camera in tow, the seniors break into the hospital late one night and their unforgettable escapade begins. This book contains many elements that have the makings of a good, bone-chilling story-an allegedly haunted, abandoned insane asylum and an adventurous, dissimilar group of teens. Rather than being scary, though, this title ends up being a clichTd bonding story, in which the incongruous characters connect because of this purportedly haunting experience. The characters, who tell the story from individual perspectives in alternate chapters, are flat and generic and beg to be more fully developed. The setting of the story is also lacking in development, as the spine-tingling sensation of being in a dark and forbidding environment is nearly void. Readers who expect a frightening story will be disappointed, as only the most fainthearted will find this book even remotely scary. Reviewer: Domina Daughtrey
School Library Journal

Gr 8-10
In this eerie, evocative ghost story, Stolarz sends five teens into that most beloved of horror-genre locations, the haunted house; here, however, it has been updated into a mental hospital, a change that enlivens the tale and contributes to its truly spooky tone. Each teen begins the overnight expedition with his or her own motivation. Derik hopes to make a film that will win a documentary competition, which might mean a ticket out of a life spent toiling in his parents' diner, and he enlists several classmates to participate in it. Class-clown Chet thinks exploring the hospital might be good for a few laughs-plus, it provides an escape from another night spent with his abusive, alcoholic father. Greta and Tony think only of being cast in Derik's film, which they hope will propel them to stardom. Bookish Liza needs to diversify the extracurricular activities on her college applications, and hopes the film project will fit the bill. And Goth-girl Mimi wants to uncover some evidence relating to her grandmother, who was committed to the institution years before. These motivations fade into the background, however, when the group begins to suspect that something-or someone-is trying to communicate with them, and that the hospital won't let them leave until they listen. Although the characters veer close to stereotypes at the outset, Stolarz infuses them with depth and complexity, revealed as each teen narrates in alternating chapters. Page-turning action, genuine scares, and a satisfying conclusion should make this a hit with teens, particularly those who enjoyed the suspense of Stolarz's "Blue Is for Nightmares" series (Flux).
—Meredith RobbinsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Project 17 and Bleed, as well as the highly popular young adult novels Blue Is for Nightmares, White Is for Magic, Silver Is for Secrets, and Red Is for Remembrance. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at

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Project 17 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
mixolydian320 More than 1 year ago
For me, this had a lot of elements that I think make a really good book. Many YA books I get are unfortunately lacking quality writing, but I thought this book was pretty in, there were no moments where I cringed and thought 'bad fanfic.' Another thing I liked, though I know some people probably won't, was the fact that it wasn't G-rated. There was swearing, sex jokes, etc., which I actually appreciated. Many YA books concerning teenagers skirt around these things. As a teenager who regularly hangs out with other teenagers, I thought the non-G rating made it a little more believable. Some people said the characters were stereotypes...I disagree. I think they *could* have easily been stereotypes (the player, the goth, the brain, the clown), if the book was only in one person's POV. But I thought the multiple POVs provided insight into each of the characters that gave them depth. No, the book is not super-scary or gory, especially for horror-movie fans like myself, but it is suspenseful; once or twice I got so sucked into the tension in the book that little noises around me made me jump. Basically, if you're looking for a good, quick read, with good writing, plot, and characters, I recommend this book.
Natcole33 More than 1 year ago
GREAT BOOK. Project 17 has a great mixture of humor and scariness. The characters all have a different personality which works great and gives the book variety. I love how each chapter is a different character cause you get to see what the character is thinking and whats going on from their prospective instead of just one character telling the story. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. IF YOURE LOOKING FOR MORE BOOKS BY LAURIE FARIA STOLARZ I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: THE TOUCH SERIES THE BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES SERIES
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok im a twelve year old girl and this book is AMAZING! If you're looking for a scary mysterious book that you can't predict whats gonna happen next, then read this book. I was never able to put it down. I read for three strait hours! But i have to warn you, there is some pretty bad language, thats what i had realized when i was reading it, but it was spectacular book overall !! :)
EstherSwift More than 1 year ago
Six typical teenagers spending the night in a Mental Hospital. For one purpose to: film a movie. The secrets that they discover inside the Hospital will bring them into their past and future. Derik, a typical high school senior wants more of life than his low-average life of helping his parents with their diner and barely passing high school. He decides to enter into a "real-reality film contest" for a bigger and better picture for his future. He gathers five of the most diverse teenagers in his school and brings them altogether to shoot a taping for the reality film contest during midnight. The six teenagers just expect to walk around the hospital's hallway discovering traces of the history of the patients who resided there, but what they discover is more than their eyes can bare. A chilling and suspenseful page turner, the characters and the mystery of a seventeen year old girl named Christine Belle who had once lived in the Hospital brings all six teenagers closer to themselves and each other. They will not leave until they discover the past of Christine's life, their own, and what their future beholds.
untiltheend More than 1 year ago
I was honestly astonished at the number of four and five star reviews here, raving about how wonderful "Project 17" is. Okay, so the idea of it is great. A haunted asylum that six kids break into to film a movie about their know the story by now. It could be terrifying. The book has the potential to be extremely scary......but it's not. The setting isn't very well defined, and the "scares" are few and far between and not exactly that scary. And I'm very, very easily scared - I cannot watch horror movies of any sort without being a nervous wreck for the next few nights, or even weeks. The characters, like the setting, had the potential to be great. But they were rather two dimensional and not well developed. All the subplots about their relationships don't exactly help the story along. Definitely not a book to buy. Borrow? Maybe. But if you want scary, this isn't it. This is a drama with a bit of a mystery. (I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could rate with half stars here.)
BookShelfReviews More than 1 year ago
I love a good scary story, so when I read the summary for Project 17 I was, needless to say, intrigued. I was hoping for a funny horror movie in paperback form. When I started reading, I quickly realized that I was going to have to lower my expectations a bit in order to enjoy this story more. One thing about YA fic is that things are often a watered-down version of what they could be. But once I got past that and really got into the book, that’s where the fun began. Derik is a high school kid whose future is starting to look a little grim. Not the best student, his options are to work at his family’s diner when he graduates or… actually, that’s it. So when he finds out about a film contest that might give him another way out, Derik leaps at the chance. His idea? To film a low-budget horror flick à la Session 9 at the old, deserted Danvers State Hospital, aka the Danvers Insane Asylum. He and five other kids from his school agree to spend the night at the old asylum and film a few scenes. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that things aren’t exactly going as planned. Stolarz gets points for crafting some genuinely spooky scenes. There’s a particular page towards the beginning of the book that involves a talking doll that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand right up. And two thumbs way up for the setting: a creepy abandoned, possibly sentient, probably haunted asylum is always a good go-to horror destination. As for the characters, I was a bit disappointed with their characterization. They fall right into their prescribed stereotypes and although there’s development that tries to make them more three-dimensional, it fell a little flat. The ending, as well, was a bit anticlimactic. Quite short at about 250 pages, Project 17 was a quick little read that is a great way to pass the time without getting too emotionally invested in the story. I definitely learned a few common sense things, like 1. Don’t go into an abandoned building in the dead of night and 2. Don’t go into an abandoned building that is also a former insane asylum that might be haunted and 3. Just don’t go into abandoned buildings in general, especially the former asylum ones that might be haunted. People who get scared easily might want to read this one with the lights on!
Emma_97_Reader More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing. So great that U could not put it down.It took me only a few hours to read it. I loved how you got a first person perspective from each of the characters. It was a thrilly and always had me on edge. Great setting+great characters+great writing= great book. I recommend this book for anyone up for a spooky and thrilling book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, at first it took me awhile to get into it then I kept reading and fell in love! I love all the scary thrilling parts and the made me want to keep reading and not set the book down!1 I would reccomend it to maybe 13+ or 14+ because of the setting and lauguage, But everything eles was outstanding I would reccomend this book to anyone!
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This sounded good. The writing I loved. But then near the end it was a little disappointing. You're expecting something but then its something else. Still, the characters, well each of them, go through something so I guess there's that. The setting was especially good. Reminds me a little bit of Supernatural, well the new cover. Old one is good and creepy.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Project 17 was a great book but i dont recommand it for anyone under about eleven maybe. It had a lot of language especially in the beginning and i was tempted to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutley love this book! Must read!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RidicuoIousllyawsome a hard hitting drama with a hint of romance. ¿¿?{{{}}} O_o
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book its one of my top 5's I recommemd it for teenagers and older
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story makes you real think twise about what you believe in. It kept me on my toes until the last word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved loved loved this book, it was a real page turner and had me shrieking a couple of times. It starts out kind of annoying, i had to get used to how it was written in all the different POVs but i got over it. It was actually quite interesting to see into each characters mind. Unfortuantly the pairing was quite pretictable and the characters quite shallow, but the mystery and adventure they had kept me satisfied. Some may not like because of how immature she makes the teenagaers, i didnt really mind though. In the end the pros outweighed the cons and i enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book and read the summary I expected it to be more of a thriller or at least sort of scary. However after reading it I didn't think it was all that great. The characters are interesting and have unique characteristics. Also it was well written compared to most books, but the author could have made this book alot more scarier and she could have made the story better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling!!! Couldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read!
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