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Return to the Dark House

(Dark House #2)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  987 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 21st 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Laurie Stolarz In my mind it was going to be a trilogy, but so far just two books. It isn't always just the author's decision. Fingers crossed. Thanks so much for re…moreIn my mind it was going to be a trilogy, but so far just two books. It isn't always just the author's decision. Fingers crossed. Thanks so much for reading them! I hope you'll enjoy SHUTTER, my new suspense, which will be release in the fall.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  987 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Edward Lorn
Dec 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who leave shit unfinished.
I finished this yesterday but waited for today to post the review because I did not want anyone mistaking this for an April Fools Day joke. This book is terrible. No fooling.

How many times have you seen the following premise in popular culture?

Young woman survives traumatic experience only to placed in a mental institution where the doctors don't understand and/or believe her, and then she pretends to be "better", is released, and hunts down the evil/person who drove her crazy to begin? If you a
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"I'm stronger than my fears.
Bigger than this moment.
What I need to accomplish is more important than being scared."

What an amazing book 2. This one was creepier, scarier and gorier than the first one. And it packs a bigger punch, because by now I love these characters. I am rooting Ivy on - hoping and praying she will find everyone alive.

And this one finally answers our questions. What spooked the missing girl? And what did those messages mean? And why? Why is he doing this?

This one absolutel
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, horror, read-2015, wishlist

I recently read Welcome to the Dark House, the first book in this series, and was blown away by it! I've had some pretty bad experiences with YA horror so I didn't have high hopes, but I was pleasantly surprised. So obviously I got the second book as soon as possible and blew through it in less than a day! It did not disappoint.

Return to the Dark House picks up a few months after Ivy Jensen escaped the amusement park, leaving her new friends behind. The first several chapters show Ivy's poin
Oct 14, 2014 marked it as to-read
Omgggg this needs to come out nowwwwwww
Melissa Chung
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars not as good as the first book. If you liked the first one, this is a nice continuation. There is sort of a cliff hanger, so I'm not sure if this is the end of the "series" or if there will be one more. There is some unfinished business.

In the first book there are 6 POV's the contestants that are participating in a once in a lifetime film directed by a cult classic director. The Nighmare Elf is the monster of the films and the cast are going to star along side him. The first book is a g
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
I really shouldn't have even attempted reading this. I thought the first book was pretty cliche and silly but this one is even worse. It took me awhile to read because I didn't want to pick it up ever - I was bored and couldn't have cared less what happened to any of these people. I like Taylor a little but not enough to save the story.

Review to come
Jessica (a GREAT read)
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Return to the Dark House is Laurie Faria Stolarz's conclusion to the Dark House duology and I have to say, it was still pretty spooky! It was eerie and perhaps just a bit more terrifying than its predecessor! Things haven't changed much for Ivy since she escaped the madman who had kept her and the other teenagers hostage all weekend long. And almost a year later, it seems the killer is ready for round 2!

When we open up, Ivy is in a mental hospital after experiencing everything that she did, but
Feb 28, 2021 rated it did not like it
It's so, so frustrating to read the final book in a duology and be given no answers whatsoever. Who's the killer? Dunno. Why was the game made? Dunno. How did they catch him? They didn't. This was a confusing mess and Taylor was such a useless addition. ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Oh! My! Gosh! My heart is still in my throat! I LOVED this book and I REALLY hope there is going to be a third one!!

The characters are all so believable and this book delved more into Taylor's character than book 1. I adored her! :o) Ivy (MC) was absolutely amazing, strong, brave, and somewhat stupid! LOL Several kids faced a killer in book 1 and in this book they (some of them) come up against him again. (view spoiler)
I'm probably the only person who doesn't think this book is as good as the first one in the series.

Unlike book 1, this book was a little slow and at times, boring. I didn't think it was that scary. I missed the multiple POVs in book 1 which back then brought about so many feelings in me.

Overall, it was good, but maybe I had expected too much, that's why I ended up a bit disappointed.
Sep 15, 2014 marked it as to-read
Expected publication: July 21st 2015
Chantel Coughlin
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Laurie Stolarz is brilliant and these books provide so much creepy fun! I can't wait to see what Ivy does next :) ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5 stars

Even enjoyed this more than the first book! It's definitely a loooot more creepy!
3.5 stars, making this one a bit better than the previous book, however due to several things, it still lacked something.

Like all my other reviews I will try to keep my review spoiler-free, but I want to address the things that bothered me as well, so those will be going under the spoiler tags.

Unlike the previous book we don't have a lot of POVs, thank Lord for that. That was something that bothered me in the previous book. But in this one we have Ivy (a lot), Taylor (a bit), Natalie/a (a tiny
Dec 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I raced through this one almost as fast as I did the first one. I found that it started a bit slow, but once we got into the middle and all of the action it flew by. I had to know what was going to happen, and I had to get answers.
Ivy is a really interesting character because she’s so fixated on this traumatic thing, but I thought she felt realistic. The author also did a good job of conveying the strangeness and the terror of the second half. I liked Taylor and I’m glad we got to see more of h
Joyce Goda
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about this girl who is having dreams of this criminal. If you like suspicion, scary, mystery, and many more, this book is for you. The mystery is really really suspicious so if you want to read it then read it because I feel like I told you enough to make you want to read it !
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic mysterious book and I loved reading every page of it!
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

After reading Welcome to the Dark House, I definitely needed to read this book. This was a great conclusion to the duology. I still didn't love it, but it did make an entertaining thriller.

Ivy escaped the Dark House, but it still haunts her. She may be alive, but what happened to the others? What happened to Parker? And the one who orchestrated the game is still out there. When she receives cryptic messages, Ivy realizes th
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
And so, once again I have fallen in love with a book series. Not only is the Dark House series seriously creepy, it has some of the best character chemistry ever. If I wasn't already a diehard fan of this series, this book would definitely have pushed me over the edge and into super fan territory. It reminds me a lot of the Scream series in just how self-aware, meta, and just bloody good it is. I actually wish this series was a TV show, or even its own franchise. How awesome would that be? The a ...more
I hate it when the sequel sucks all of the excitement out, and leaves you with a blah ending.

Honestly, the first book should've been left as it was. That way, the reader could have imagined any ending fit to his/her liking, rather than have to bear with the ACTUAL ending that the author provided us with.

None of my questions about the killer - and his entire fiasco with the Dark House in book 1 - was answered. (Was Midge as crazy as him; his accomplice, perhaps, or just a hired actress??? She was
Yolanda Sfetsos
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved the first Dark House book, so when the library got this in for me, I couldn't wait to read it.

Two months have passed since Ivy survived the nightmarish events that the Nightmare Elf put her and a bunch of other essay winners through. Now she's in the hospital, still unable to forget about the other kids--especially Parker. She believes they're still alive and constantly hounds Detective Thomas because he won't take her seriously and keeps dismissing her theories.

So she decides to behave,
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I gave the first book five stars. I decided to give this book only four stars because of the way the book ended. I loved every other part except for the end.

I felt like the end was rushed into two chapters, and I'm not including the part where Ivy fights the killer. I'm talking about the after stuff. I wanted to see more of Parker and Ivy. The epilogue wasn't tallying great either. I was hope to see if Parker would come back, but that didn't happen.

Another thing I didn't like was that it raises
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scav
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The sequel to Welcome to the Dark House was thrilling and action packed. It picks up a couple of months after the end of the first book. You alternate between a few different perspectives, two of which are Ivy and Taylor. It was nice to get to meet Taylor and learn what she saw in the Dark House that scared her so much that she ran off. You do get to see some of the characters from the last book and the others you learn what their fate was.

The ending was a good one, but did seem rushed. You do
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was so, so intense. I read the first book in this series last October, for Halloween, and I absolutely loved it. I wasn't even afraid that this book would suffer from the Lame Sequel Disease, just because I KNEW it would be amazing. And it was! I just love the main character, Ivy, to death (no pun intended), and the writing style is just so easy to read. Also, this book was insane, and filled with shiver-worthy moments. Two thumbs up. ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gosh, I hope there is a third one of these. Initially I was very hesitant to do a full horror novel, but this series has me enraptured and I am always surprised by the twists that Laurie Faria Stolarz creates. I loved the introduction of Taylor in this one, and I felt that the abandoned building was yet another interesting setting that fit with the story. I hope the publishers pick this up for a third series because I really can't wait to finish this ride. ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really don't have coherent thoughts on this but being a lover of horror this read just like a movie and I loved it. It's a fantastic continuation that doesn't feel like the duology was supposed to be one book that was split into two. It stands on its own well and answers questions from the first that the reader was left with and adds its own cliffhanger at the end.
If you liked the first book, I highly recommend this one.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was an intense sequel to an amazing first book. I was quickly caught up in Ivy's life, struggles, and her horrifying experiences. Ivy was a really strong female main character who continued to hope and strive to find her friends. Taylor was an exciting new viewpoint that you didn't get in the first book. She was also a strong female main character. ...more
R.E. Sharf
Jan 13, 2022 rated it it was ok
Quick disclaimer: This review is spoiler-free for book 2 and has super minor spoilers for book 1. It's also very long. That's how many issues I have for just the non-spoilery parts of this abomination.


I still cannot believe that this is the author of Jane Anonymous. Return to the Dark House was very much the same thing that Welcome to the Darkhouse was, a referential non-slasher with one-dimensional characters and a plot that could have been condensed into one-third of the book's size.

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Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with he

Other books in the series

Dark House (2 books)
  • Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House, #1)

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