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The Dead House

(The Dead House #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,464 ratings  ·  1,614 reviews
Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diar
Paperback, 440 pages
Published August 6th 2015 by Orion Children's Books
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Wendy The layering and music does comes back in the story at potentially key moments and adds to the experience. In my opinion, the effects do not overpower…moreThe layering and music does comes back in the story at potentially key moments and adds to the experience. In my opinion, the effects do not overpower the story itself, and the different voices and inflections for the characters make this a great listen.(less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  6,464 ratings  ·  1,614 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
A GR friend recommended my re-read of this book on audio and holy crow!! They were right! There are a couple of different narrators and some sound effects. Nothing too major, running, crumpling paper,etc. I immediately added the audio to my Audible wishlist. Loved it!😊

I can't believe this is the author's first novel! I'm in love with this book. It's set up like a crime case. The whole thing isn't like that, seeing as how you have to get to know the characters that play out in this creepy book, b
Hannah Greendale
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, young-adult
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Everyone knows about the Johnson Incident - people died, and one person went missing who was never found. Conspiracy theorists believe the culprit was Kaitlin Johnson. Only problem is, Kaitlin doesn't exist. According to Dr. Lansing, she's just a product of trauma, an alter ego created by Carly Johnson, a girl suffering from dissociative identity disorder.

The Dead House is a collection of transcribed in
Ben Alderson
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it

an extremely unique book. Nothing like I have read before! This will stay with me for a long time!
Steysha Kravits
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-favs

This. Book. Is. Pure. MADNESS!!!

It messed with my brain and left me speechless! I mean, if you`d asked me to retell the story, I wouldn`t have been able to. Just because I don`t know myself what really happened there. This book is a trickster, and we have a very unreliable main character.

Seriously, people, it blew my mind. I don`t even know what to think. This is so messed up. I have no idea what is true and what`s not. If you`re a fan of mysteries, then this story is for you.
Okay, let`s start
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

First let me say I had no idea before I got an ARC of this novel that it would be written in the epistolary style as a collection of mostly diary entries, though it also includes interview transcripts, descriptions of video footage, emails and newspaper articles, etc. Not to mention the huge visual component! I picked up The Dead House because I love horror and I’m also always on the lookout for good creepy YA, but serious
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

You’ve surely heard this before, but here it is again: The Dead House is a very unusual sort of book, narrative-wise. It is a skillfully woven web of diary entries, video transcripts, police interview transcripts, e-mails and instant messages, newspaper clippings and other documents pertaining one horrible event known as the Johnson Incident. The concept itself is a brilliant one, wholly new and original. While it starts with two souls in one body, something we’ve certainly seen before, what
Faye, la Patata
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: this wasn't a scary book. When we say 'scary', that's something I would give to the likes of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics and Girl from the Well + The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. This wasn't even a mind-fuck of a book a la Dangerous Girls

However, that doesn't mean my mind didn't reel from it. Even though this didn't have the quiet or the jumpy horror I am well fond of, how this book delivered a kickass psychological paranormal thriller made me shiver in my boots.

1. Unreliable
Tom Lewis
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you’re thinking about reading this book, go do it! This is about as close to a perfect horror novel as it gets. It reads like a police investigation into a series of unsolved murders, and unfolds through journal entries, descriptions of video footage, and taped interviews with witnesses. The most interesting parts to me were the journal entries. Most of these were written by the crime suspect, Kaitlyn Johnson, who we learn is the “alter” of Carly Johnson. They’re a split personality – two dis ...more
Karima chermiti
In the end, we must decide for ourselves what we believe.

Goosebumps and shivers. The most engaging and scary book I've read this year. I honestly don't know what was real and what was not. I don't know which side to believe. It was the definition of insanity


full review posted

The dead house is not my first book by the author, Dawn Kurtagich. I already read And the Trees Crept in and let me just say that it was not a memorable reading experience so I was hesitant about this one, w
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley.)

“My doctor is convinced that I’m not really here. She keeps trying to convince me of it, too.”

This book was just not for me.

The characters in this were slightly strange as they had one body and 2 personalities, and these personalities could only speak to each other by leaving post-it notes for the other to find.

The storyline in this was just all over
Asghar Abbas
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Well, that was creepy. Checks and double-checks, wow this is a first novel? How is this just the right amount of awesomeness? Work of a pure Wiccan, I am telling you. No, really. Some writers are endowed with raw talent. This book was truly disturbing.

I was so eager to read this. When I got this book I didn't know it was an epistolary novel, I was a little dismayed at first. I wanted more, and oddly enough it was more. And nope, nope, no I won't be mentioning Warpaint in this review. Not this t
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
One thing that can be said about this time of year, is that it is full of wonderful creepy, crazy stories and The Dead House, definitely fits in with that description.

This book was, to say the least, unique in every way imaginable. From the content, to the setting, to the unreliable narrative to the secondary characters that can't be trusted. Where everyone's sanity is questioned and the mystery itself it just that, mysterious and sometimes hard to decipher.

It has been hours since I have finis
Candace Robinson
I seriously love Kurtagich's writing! This is the third novel I've read from her and it was another addicting mystery that I was antsy to unravel!

Katilyn was an awesome lead character! She was pretty much in the gray-shaded area and those are always my favorite! I also liked the glimpses of the romance along with the weird and the strange!

My main complaint is when books are written in case-file format, it's really hard for me to connect with the characters. Example, I liked the side characters b
Cameron Chaney
Whaaaaaaaat just happened? Ugh, this book tore me to SHREADS! I feel like I just lost my own sanity, but it's so good!!! Video review to come.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the story of a girl with two halves. One personality within her is called Carly, she's around in the day time, the other is called Kaitlyn, she comes out at night. All their lives they have shared a body and left notes for one another to fill the other one in on what had happened that day, but the point where we pick up their story is when things are really going rather wrong for them. They are settled in a psychiatric hospital and being treated for multiple personality disorder. They do ...more
Written from pieces of a journal, the story unravels in a unique way. Mostly there's journal entries, newspaper clippings and even some video camera screenshots (ones which I found to be creepy!). There is one main character but this character is also suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, which used to be called multiple personality disorder. During the day one identity comes out and during the evening the other comes out. It was a little confusing at times, but you can tell how distinc ...more
Julie Zantopoulos
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, read-in-2020
Another haunting tale from Dawn. This is her debut novel and the second by her that I've read. Again we get amazing mixed media and accounts prior to and after a fire that we know kills multiple students on a boarding school campus. We follow Kaitlyn and Carly as they navigate the transition between a mental facility and the school.

Told through haunting video transcriptions, diary entries, police and psychologist interviews we get a glimpse into a mind and a world that will probably leave me wi
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
‘I am lucky to be here. The Dead House descended like music curdling into time, and as it did I grew wet and cold, and it was dark and I was so alone… It had devoured me.’
3.5 stars! I liked it--(just outside my usual go-to genre)
For a book that would most likely get shelved in the "Young Adult" section in a bookstore or library, I'd have to recommend this to *anyone* of any age that enjoys certain storytelling devices. Let me elaborate:
Dawn Kurtagich is on to something. I'm quite convinced that
Taylor Knight
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is so weird but I actually really enjoyed how strange it was. It was a really original and unique read and it was also really spooky and creepy. And just completely crazy. This had to be one of the craziest books that I've ever read. I'm still dumbfounded over this book.
This book was told through diary entries, video clips, and interviews so that was interesting but I honestly don't really like that format. I find it hard to follow and I can't really get invested in the characters. I
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Twenty-five years ago, the “Johnson Incident” took place: Elmbridge High burned down, several people were killed and one of the students, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now, a diary has been found that might shed some light into the events: the diary of Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s sister. A sister that doesn’t have a body of her own, a sister that shows up only at night, a sister that doesn’t officially exist.

Dawn Kurtagich’s The Dead House (Little Brown / Orion, September 2015) is yet another tale th
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

This book was awesome! If it weren't for the main plot twist which I saw coming this would have gotten 5 stars for sure.
It creeped me out at times and when I had to put it down I simply could not stop thinking about it. I seriously can not believe this is the author's debut novel.
It gave me major The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer feels which I loved!
To put it simply: it got me out of my reading slump. :D
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, read-in-2017
This would have been a four star read for me, but I felt like the story had a lot of buildup towards a big fiery ending, and then didn't deliver. I still enjoyed the book, and liked the interesting style.
Imagine, for a moment, that you have a sister. A twin sister you communicate with every day, with whom you’re close, closer than close.

You can never speak directly, because you never exist at the same time, but you share a single body. She gets the day, you get the night, and there are always notes waiting from her when you… “wake up”.
When I was five, I asked Carly what they sun felt like, and she wrote: ‘Warm, Katie, so warm. Like a hot bath.’
And then your parents die, and you and your sister a
Aya Hamza
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and some parts were so scary and it is not easy to get me scared!
It is so addictive and easily read in one setting. I have exams so I restricted myself to read it only before bed for 30 minutes or so. If I had the time, I would have finished it in one setting and probably enjoyed it even more.

The only thing that bothered me was that there were a couple of times that I felt confused and didn't get what was going on.. maybe because I was getting tired and sleepy. :D

I re
I felt the book was good in places, and also creepy in that good way, but it was also disjointed and a little too much so. I liked the idea of the journal entries and things. At the end I was left feeling like huh? Maybe it just ended too quick for me, I'm not sure.
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

The Dead House is one messed up book and I say that in the best way possible.It's the kind of book that will mess up your brain to the point where you won't be able to tell the lies apart from the truth.

This book is mostly told in dairy format and for some people that may be a turn off but I thought it was a very interesting way to look at things. We may not be inside the main character’s mind but in a way we are. We sense her desperati
Erin Dunn
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Short Review Summary:
Unique story with great twists and excellent writing.

I am in shock after finishing The Dead House. I am in shock because I can't believe that it's Dawn Kurtagich's debut novel. If I didn't know that this is her debut novel I would have never guessed. It's that well written and the story is that fantastic. The entire idea behind the book is just fascinating and the execution is magnificent.

I LOVE stories that really s
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, you guys, this was hella disappointing. I was so psyched for this book! It’s an epistolary horror novel, beautifully designed – seriously, if you even run across this at the library or a book store, take a moment to flip through it, because the graphical elements and typesetting for the bevy of notes, transcripts, and pictures is totally engaging. Anyway, the premise seemed solid – although as Ollie and I discussed in the last Papercuts Podcast episode, the potential for some mental illness ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debs-books, misc-wins
This was one strange and creepy book. The main character was one body with two people living out of it. She was Carly by day and Kaitlin by night.

The story was told my diary entries, newspaper accounts, doctor's notes, post it notes left between the girls and video taken by the room mate Nadia, but transcribed for the book.

It was like nothing I have read before. As much as I wanted to put it down (due to the different way it was written which was sometimes hard to follow), I couldn't. I just had
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Dawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, THE DEAD HOUSE, was called "an evil and original story" by bestselling author R.L Stine and ""...a haunting new thriller..." by Entertainment Weekly. Her second novel, AND THE TREES CR ...more

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“I've learned, in my tragic little life, that memories are like water. Not solid, like some people think. Once something happens, it isn't set it stone. It can change.

You can make yourself believe anything if you lie to yourself enough.”
“They think I don't exist . . . they think I'm like a disease. I'm infecting Carly.” 11 likes
More quotes…