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
Project 17by Laurie Faria Stolarz, Laurie F. Stolarz
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.
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.
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- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- 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 www.lauriestolarz.com.
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