Even In Your Sleep (Down a Dark Hall – Book Review)

Down a Dark Hall
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1974

On Goodreads

Down a Dark Hall

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

The terror is real only in her dreams.

Kit is dropped off at Blackwood School for Girls along with others. Each of them possess unique traits. Strange things begin happening around the grounds. Kit is having weird dreams and sleep walking. With each passing day, it gets stranger. She knows evil lurks down the dark halls, but she only sees it when she’s asleep. How can she escape? How can she get free if no one will believe her when her fears are only in her dreams? Or are they?

Like Duncan’s other books that I’v read, this was pretty good. She brought the supernatural element again to one of her novels. The dark halls of Blackwood are chilling and creepy. There are many unexplainable instances. Sleepwalking. Dreams of dead people. And becoming oddly talented and skilled at something you typically aren’t.

Kit experiences all of this and she’d love to run away. Her parents dumped her on the doorstep of this private school and didn’t look back as they to go on their honeymoon. Jerkfaces. Lucky for Kit, she made some friends. I really like the story. As you progress, the story intensifies until BAM! Everything breaks loose and Kit is feeling helpless.

With supernatural forces at work, I’m a little unnerved. Losing control is scary. It’s a feeling that can make anybody go over the edge, which is exactly what happens with Kit and her friends.

I found the characters to be quite like-able…except for Headmistress Madame Duret. She can go jump in a ditch because there is a special place for a person that lets ghosts possess teenagers. Kit was a strong-headed girl and has no time for bullshit. She also doesn’t leave her friends behind, which puts her in a high place on my list.

Each of the girls were having different things happening to them that were unexplainable. Kit was hearing music everywhere. Her closest friend, Sandy, was creating poetry, which doesn’t seem all that bad, but it was in foreign languages. The other girls, too. It was alarming and I wanted to figure this book out more. When I did, I was surprised. They weren’t just experiencing supernatural events but were pulled into them, getting possessed by ghosts. And being in the front seat of that was crazy!

This also just came out as a movie. I’m kind of intrigued. Ghosty movies are always chilling to me and I would love to see the differences between it and the book.

Down a Dark Hall

The style Duncan has with her books is one that I love. Incredibly simple and attention grabbing. She knows all the tricks to make a person go investigate the dark and creepy places, though they probably shouldn’t. There’s bread crumbs of curiosity behind with a twist of scary. And the TWIST! There always a twist, and Duncan did NOT disappoint. It gets me going and like it. This was also a quick read. Her novels aren’t usually long.

Overall

While I can’t say this is some epic literary piece, it was pretty epic. Period. She really approached the teen slasher/supernatural genre with great skill. These are instant classics in my opinion. A fun read to indulge in when you want goosebumps, like a story you tell around the campfire.

Quotables:

“Somewhere in the quiet dormitory someone had shrieked, In pain? In terror? Perhaps only from a nightmare, and yet, perhaps for some other reason. For—help?” (p. 42)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Help I’m Alive by Metric

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Come to the Dark Side…I Have Cake (If There Be Thorns – A Book Review)

If There Be Thorns
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1981

On Goodreads

ITBT

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

They hide the shocking truth to protect their children. But someone who knows their dark secret is watching.

Jory is fourteen and on his way to being an amazing ballet dancer, just like his mom. Bart has a wild imagination for a nine year old, always going off and having amazing adventures. Then came Cindy, a gift that Cathy has been wishing for for years.

Years have passed, Cathy and Christopher have finally found love in one another and married. They have a lovely home with their children and it’s what they have always dreamed of, but then an elderly woman completely veiled in black and her strange butler move into the large house next door that’s been empty for a long time. Soon, Bart is lured over and starts to spend most of his time with her. He changes with each visit, growing angry and violent with his family. Jory watches on, trying to figure out how he can help his little brother, but then he overhears Mom and Dad talking about an attic and how they can’t relive those days, leaving Jory with even more questions.

 

This was a good turn in The Dollanganger series. I really enjoyed this! It was a new take in it and really changed things up. There’s a brand new story, but still, the dreadful past remains at The Dolls’ heels, haunting them and now their children.

First things first, I loved that this was from a new set of POVs. Jory and Bart are the next generation of The Dolls and they have their own story. They’re not the same as Cathy and Chris, but they also have their own tribulations because of what they did in the past. It was refreshing and just absolutely fantastic. I felt as if the story was beginning to feel stale, but this helped revive it for me.

The setting was new, there were new characters and I was just as invested as I was with Flowers in the Attic. You really believe that The Dolls are going to have the happy life they deserve after everything they’ve been through. Of course, it’s short lived. Though I won’t give away spoilers, I will say that there were a lot of twists and turns I didn’t expect. Redemption was found and what was once burned and buried came back to get The Dolls in the worst way, through their children. It was heartbreaking and actually scary because tiny humans are easily manipulated.

ITBT

The remnants of Foxworth Hall still follows The Dolls and you feel that heavily as Bart grows close the old woman in black. As it turns out, she knows The Dolls really well and can tell Bart the truth about them. While this made my eyes bulge out of my head in horror, the true enemy is John Amos, the butler who secretly sways him down a dark path. The old man was seriously creepy and kept the dark Foxworth name alive by whispering in Bart’s ear, turning him against his family. Doing that to a child who’s already feeling like an outsider is a really nasty thing! As if The Dolls didn’t have enough problems! Leave the babies alone!

ITBT

The book was pretty good. I started to lose interest after the last book, but this pulled me right back in. The story moved forward and I love a story that can move forward, but keep it in the family. This still kept with the uneasiness and dark twists that is very central to this series, but showed that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Quotables:

“Blind means black as pitch. No colors. No music. No nothin. Dead is silence.” (Bart to Jory, p. 33)

“Nobody could like me, for I didn’t belong here, and I didn’t belong there. I didn’t belong anywhere.” (Bart, p. 94)

“Crooked days make crooked ways.” (Bart to Jory, p. 155)

“Jory, take lesson number one in my philosophy course: Nobody ever does anything for anyone else unless it gives them even more.” (Marisha to Jory, p. 263)

“Life is always like that—twenty minutes of misery for every two seconds of joy.” (Marisha to Jory, p. 318)

 

more to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Unwell by Matchbox Twenty.

 

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Stalker Much? (I Know What You Did Last Summer – A Book Review)

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1973

last summer - amazon

My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Four teenagers make a pact after a devastating car accident, promising to never talk about that night. A night when their lives changed forever. A year later the teenagers start receiving letters that remind them of what they did and worse, what they didn’t do. Being haunted and stalked, they try to figure out who is behind it all and what to do before one of them or all of them end up dead.

I know

First things first, this book is nothing like the 1997 film, which was a horror and went off of the urban legend of the man with a hook for a hand. There are so many differences between the book and movie from what the characters look like to what actually happened that made them form a pact of silence. Also, the body count was much lower in the book. However, both cover the theme of revenge and guilt very well.

This book is quite accessible as it read on a 7th-8th grade level. And I realize it took me two months to read, but in my defense, it sits right beside my pillow as my bedside reader. It wasn’t heart attack inducing or anything of the sort. Nonetheless, I found the story to be quite enjoyable.

Books like these are rare these days. The build-up and curiosity reeled me in. These kids had ordinary lives and now what should be the best time of their lives—going to college, getting an amazing job—is actually riddled with anxiety and dread. But I think what really surprised me was that it was both predictable and unpredictable. I discovered who the antagonist was. It was easy, but I certainly didn’t expect the plot twists and in depth explorations behind the accident. Lois explored each angle, detailing each family and showing how each of them struggled. It really opened my eyes about the varying relationships between parent and child.

I know

One of my favorite things about this is the consistent tone of the story and the way the language magnified the time period when pot and alcohol was revered as major gateways to a low life. That you wouldn’t go anywhere in life if you partook in these things. You were breaking all kinds of rules if you were out partying all night. The vocabulary itself showed just how much language changes over time. We certainly don’t talk like the way they do in the book anymore. It’s so light and simple compared to the complexities of today’s ever-growing language. These days we’ve even added emojis to our language base.

This book is an instant classic and it’s one worth reading again. One certainly gets a feeling for what it’s like to harbor terrible secrets. Definitely earned five bolts from me.

I know

 

Quotables:

“It’s like something out of a move. You think of things like this happening in New York and Chicago and places like that, not in peaceful towns with normal people.” (Elsa, p. 108)

“Something bad is going to happen and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.” (Julie’s mom, p. 268)

“The heavy blackness was all around her. And she knew at last what it was like to be alone in the night.” (Julie, p. 195)

 

More to come soon…

K.

 

P.S. Song today? Eighteen by Creed.