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Draw the Dark

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  908 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
There are things in Winter, Wisconsin, folks just don't talk about. The murder way back in '45 is one. The near-suicide of a first-grade teacher is another. And then there is 17-year old Christian Cage. Christian's parents disappeared when he was a little boy, and ever since he's drawn and painted obsessively, trying desperately to remember his mother. The problem is Chris ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Carolrhoda Books (first published August 1st 2010)
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Jul 13, 2011 karen rated it liked it
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya
this is one of those three-star situations where i am giving it three stars for me, karen, and not for the larger world. i liked her writing a lot, and i liked the premise, but i have been around the literary block a few too many times for this story to own me. i am certain its audience; those far younger and less handled by literature, would like it more.

it would have made a fantastic amazing stories episode. (you see how old i am??)

without giving too much away, i think that some of the element
Reading this book was kind of like riding the TGV train in Europe. It starts off kind of slow, just chugging along, until it gets it footing in wide open fields and starts barreling at its full potential: ramming down the countryside at 200 miles per hour and you're sitting there wobbling with the carriage enjoying the ride but somewhere deep in the back of your mind you're hoping the brakes are good.

This was such an amazing book. The more I read, the more I wanted to devour. I didn't want my lu
Jan 13, 2012 FasterKillFastPussycat rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 28, 2010 Chibineko rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Sometimes first impressions can be misleading. When I first took a look at this book, I have to admit that I passed it over in favor of other flashier titles that were out there in the YA categories on NetGalley. I kept coming back to it though- the idea of the book just sounded interesting. I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes some of the best books can be the most unassuming.

Christian would like to tell you that he's just your average teenager, but that'd be far from the truth. From
Dani Harper
Jul 28, 2013 Dani Harper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. To explain why I loved it so much is difficult, perhaps because I don't quite know myself. All I do know for certain is that I couldn't put it down, I cared about the characters, I didn't see the twists and turns coming, and the end was amazing. I could not ask any more of any story. Because I'm an author myself, perhaps the best compliment I can give is to say that I wish I had been the one to write it. Draw the Dark will have a place of ...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Review for this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED book is below the PSA. The PSA does not reflect this book or the author (who is lovely)

 photo Goodreads_zpsfd34dfc1.jpg

Draw the Dark is gritty, original and unnerving. I'm going to be honest with you. It's been a couple of months since I've listened to the audiobook. I hate myself for procrastinating this review. However I really liked this book and want other people to read it so I'm reviewing it anyways.

Christian Cage is a bit of an outcast. After both his parents disappear, he turns to a
Mar 06, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, ya
Christian is a great protagonist, someone who can keep a reader's sympathy while he flails around out of his depth. He's trying to prove himself like any normal teen, he has a hard time fitting in, but if he could just learn how to use his abilities, he could be the most powerful of any of them. He's a genius who hasn't come into his own, but somehow his genius makes him more relatable. Maybe it's because he's very aware of how "weird" he appears to everyone else, or maybe I just have a fondness ...more
Aug 06, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: age-ya, horror, 2010, arcs
Pretty much from the moment I first saw this cover I wanted to read this book... and lucky me got the chance via Netgalley (it doesn't come out until October). Somehow the red barn looked really creepy.

Ever since his mom disappeared into the sideways place, Christian has been drawing on his walls, drawing things OUT. People in the small town of Winter, Wisconsin are leery of him since that incident with his first grade teacher... and his Aunt Jean... and now he's being blamed for painting a cryp
Laura Lulu
Jan 12, 2011 Laura Lulu rated it really liked it
A dark & creepy story about a 17 yr old boy with strange "powers", along with a great murder-mystery from 1945. I don't think this is YA--except for the protag being a 17 yr old boy, the story reads like a suspense novel, with some added creepy paranormal goodies. So if you're not a fan of YA, don't let that deter you from this story--it was a good one, with barely any teen angst.

I might have given it 5 stars, but for the 1st & last chapters. They were about his missing parents & a "
Asher Allen
Mar 22, 2016 Asher Allen rated it really liked it
Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick is a creepy fiction model about a boy named Christian who can see other people’s past experiences in dreams and do things unconsciously with no recollection of ever doing it. Naturally, that is never a good thing. Christian ends up painting anti-semitic symbols on property that doesn’t belong to him and other mischievous activities. Throughout the story, Christian tries to get help, but nobody can believe his stories because of how absurd they are. I can relate to ...more
Angelina Justice
May 26, 2011 Angelina Justice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I loved this book. It was a supernatural, history mystery. The characters are engaging. The story stays tense without being melodramatic and the plot resolution wraps up loose ends nicely while still allowing the readers imagination to fill in the blanks. I learned some things I didn't know about past, foreign prisoners of war on American soil. I love it when a book teaches me something new, while also telling a great story.

The ending also lends itself to a sequel. One can only hope it is forthc
Jul 26, 2015 Autumn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, pbwkendread
The cover is what drew me to the book I didn't even read the synopsis at all until I went onto Goodreads to add this book to my current reading list.

This wasn't as scary as I thought it would be with the title being Draw the Dark. Mostly this book is about a young boy who ends up solving a murder that happened back in 1945. The murder is something that has been kind of swept under the rug so to speak.
Christian has had a rough childhood both of his parents have disappeared when he was little and
Dec 18, 2011 Bry rated it did not like it
I was just so slow. I do not remember the last book that I read this slowly. I kept saying another 20 pages and it has to pick up but it didn't. I got about 100 pages in and decided since it was due back at the library I was done. I an just not going to pay late charges on a book I am having to force myself to read.

Who knows maybe for other people this book held their attention. But it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Mar 31, 2016 Joshua rated it really liked it
I am reading Draw The Dark by Ilsa J. Bick, is it a fiction book. I found out the book is about boy this kid named Christian and how his parents somehow found this "sideways," place. His parents disappeared when they so called found this place and Christian's Uncle Hank and Aunt Jean basically adopted him. What the weird thing is though Christian likes to paint and draw, which really isn't weird but what he draws tends to die right after. He also sleeps in the basement and has a whole wall cover ...more
I'm a bit unsure what to think about this book, on the one hand the mystery surrounding the town of Winter, and what happened during WWII drew me in and the outcome genuinely surprised me. However the writing it's self was hard to get through. I'm not sure if it was because it was Christian narrating (which felt disjointed at times likely due to his memory problems) or just the style it's self.

Christian himself was a decent character, and a pretty rare one too, he see's himself as the archetyp
Nov 20, 2010 Anna rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this one, I really, really did. I am, after all, a northwoods girl, & I been to many a b-ball game in Winter, WI. And, somehwere, buried deep, there appears to lurk a great story...
I just couldn't find it -- the book cries for a tighter editing job.
Champaign Public Library
Oct 17, 2015 Champaign Public Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: staff-recommends
Recommended by Rebecca K.

One of the reasons I love this author is that she legitimately scares me in a way no other author ever has -- especially her book "Draw the Dark". It starts with a creepy supernatural premise (teen boy can draw your thoughts, and then they become portals out from nightmare worlds), spreads into personal horror (people accidentally die around him, so he has to go INTO these nightmare worlds to prove his innocence) and revelations transform it into global terror (did you k
Scott Freeman
Oct 12, 2011 Scott Freeman rated it it was amazing
Far and away the best YA book I have read this year.
Jul 17, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it it was amazing
Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick
Carolrhoda Lab, 2010
337 pages
YA; Fantasy
4.5/5 stars

Source: Received a free e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At first I found this book really hard to get into. Christian lives with his uncle in Winter, Wisconsin as both of his parents have disappeared into a sideways world and he feels that it is his responsibility to figure out how to join them. This is derailed when he wakes up, having defaced a prominent wealthy businessman's barn while sleepwa
Dark Faerie Tales
Feb 17, 2012 Dark Faerie Tales rated it really liked it
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick and Dirty: The mysteries that surround Winter, Wisconsin and Christian Cage make this an interesting and surprising read.

Opening Sentence: So. Everything I need to leave is here: My brushes. Paint. The wall.

The Review:

Christian Cage wakes up one morning after an intense dream about a kid pleading with his father with red paint covered hands, but no notion of how it got there. After being accused of vandalizing a barn with Nazi imagery despite not remembe
Jun 30, 2010 Ian rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fantasy
I wanted to like this book a lot more, but I had two major gripes with it. But let's start with the good: the story is both an accurate portrayal of the growing pains of an outcast boy, someone who doesn't 'fit' with the mold and actually has odd seizure-like episodes, and an interesting murder mystery from the past, 1946 to be precise, dealing with the relatively unknown history of the US using German POWs as cheap labour during and after WW2.

That said, I still don't know what to make of the p
E. Anderson
Aug 16, 2010 E. Anderson rated it it was amazing
Christian Cage lives with his uncle, the town sheriff, since his parents disappeared when he was young. He's an outsider, picked on at school for being the weird kid. He's socially awkward and his only release is his art. He's an amazing artist, but he has a secret -- he believes his art is responsible for some of the bad things that have happened to him and his family.

Lately Christian has been having vivid dreams, so vivid that they almost seem like visions. When he sleepwalks himself out to th
Aug 25, 2013 Giselle rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
The cover of this book was a little . . . I don't know, it evoked scary things that were behind the door, and I thought Christian would be going into the door very quickly and start getting owned by monsters, just barely escaping with his life each time.

Wrong. And I'm glad to be wrong. This book was way better than that.

It had a sort-of time travel mechanism, which I loved (a little bit like King of Shadows, which I also loved) and the mystery that threaded itself between the past and the pres
Alisha Marie
Aug 15, 2010 Alisha Marie rated it it was amazing
Draw the Dark is a fantasy young adult novel unlike anything I've ever read. No, seriously, the idea behind it was just so unique that I really couldn't help but want to get back to this book immediately. Does it really get any better than a guy (our hero) who can draw your death? Okay, so realistically I'm sure it must suck for the drawee and it definitely must suck to be the drawer since he has no idea what's going on with this power most of the time, but for us as readers, it's really pretty ...more
Jason (RawBlurb)
Shelved as a Young adult novel, I feel it is incorrectly categorized, instead it should just be standard dark fantasy. The only aspects of this that make it YA is the 17 year old protagonist and the heavy handed coming-of-age vein, other wise it is “King/Koontz-lite”.

Winter, Wisconsin. Murder. Nazis. Dead Bodies. Ghostly visions. Fatal fires. A boy who can draw people’s nightmares. All of these topics are discussed on the cover liner notes. What is not discussed is how well put together it is. I
La Coccinelle
Mar 18, 2014 La Coccinelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
When I first read about this book, I thought it sounded pretty interesting. And it was. It was pretty different from anything I'd read before, not least because the narrator is a 17-year-old boy (an unusual choice in young adult fiction, it seems). But I quite liked Christian and his take on what was happening around him. He seemed pretty real, and I was impressed that a female author could take on the voice of an adolescent boy and have it ring true.

As for the story, it was engaging enough to k
Jun 29, 2011 Wonderbunny rated it really liked it
Single sentence summary: Christian has drawn a mural on his bedroom wall with a door without a doorknob and Christian is scared that if he draws the doorknob he too will die like others have done when he has drawn the dark.

I don't know why, but have been sitting on this book way too long. My galley copy was for my computer and not my kindle, which makes me a little slower about reading it. I forgot about this book but saw it the other day as an audio and without remembering about the galley, I p
Apr 06, 2011 Sarai rated it really liked it
It's taken me a while to write my thoughts on this book. I gave it four stars because by the end things had mostly been explained and wrapped up so that the book made sense to me, but I struggled through the first few chapters kind of wondering what I was reading. Are these real wolves? Werewolves? Or just people being called wolves? A child's nightmare turning a person into a wolf? Those were just my questions about one issue. I had lots of questions about other things.

I did kind of like the ma
Jun 14, 2013 Carien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Draw the Dark is a beautiful and intriguing story.
The mix of history and the paranormal is done really well and I was drawn into the story from the start.

Christian starts seeing scenes from the past in his dreams and during his waking hours as well. Intrigued and confused by what he sees he starts digging into the past only to discover that there are those who'd do anything to let the past stay buried.

I was very intrigued by the glimpses into the past. Bick used historical fact to create a re
Jan 25, 2013 Mandy rated it it was amazing
Christian Cage isn't a normal seventeen year old. He knows it and the town of Winter knows it. What he can do frightens people. They don't understand him. They shun him. So he is alone, most of the time. Except for the voices...

A small town just wants to forget, but something keeps haunting Christian. Visions of blood, the smell of hay and the cries of a child. What does it mean?

Christian's parents disappeared when he was a little boy. Ever since, he's drawn obsessively: his mother's face...her
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Draw the Dark 3 14 Feb 18, 2014 12:03AM  
English 11 1B/D: Draw the dark 3 7 Oct 04, 2012 05:59AM  
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Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I'm supposed to write things like, "Ilsa J. Bick is ." Except I hate writing about myself in the third person like I'm not in the room. Helloooo, I'm right here . . . So let's just say that I'm a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right)as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe (meaning I did an internship in surgery an ...more
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“Follow your heart. Just don't get lost.” 49 likes
“I am a ghost in a land of phantoms and forgotten nightmares.” 12 likes
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