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Down a Dark Hall

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  6,662 ratings  ·  722 reviews
Why does the exclusive boarding school Blackwood have only four students?

Kit walks the dark halls and feels a penetrating chill. What terror waits around the next corner?
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Laurel Leaf (first published September 1st 1974)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,662 ratings  ·  722 reviews

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Joe Valdez
The first Young Adult novel I've read as an adult is Down a Dark Hall, the supernatural mystery by Lois Duncan first published in 1974. This revised edition released in 2011 modernized the novel by introducing cell phones, texting and the Internet; "Why don't those girls call 911?" or better yet, "Isn't there an app for that?" being considerations for the suspense author of today. Antiquated usages like "Mother" were also updated, but what I was thrilled to find preserved was a sense of Gothic d ...more
Actual Rating: 1.5 stars
I didn't like this book.

I am actually surprised I managed to finish it. Half the time I found it boring, the other half it was just not credible. The behaviors and dialogues between the characters made little sense, they were unconvincing to me. (view spoiler). The tolerance that the girls, specially Kit, have for th
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 creepy branches - I would describe this as a "cozy horror novel" in that it felt like a creepier version of Nancy Drew. My biggest complaint is that I wish it didn't move so quickly. Video review of the book and movie will be up tomorrow!
This was one of my "Halloween" reads for this year. It's a YA novel that was originally published in 1974 and written by the accomplished author, Lois Duncan. I know had I read this as a teen in the early to mid 1980's I would have enjoyed it very much. In 2011 the author updated the book by modernizing some phrases and including such things as cell phones, and texting. While the writing style felt a little dated compared to today's standards, I must admit that I enjoyed it immensely. The change ...more
i had never read anything by Lois Duncan before. I got this from chirp for 3$ and some change. and listened to it on my commute. i was really hoping for witches but we get mediums instead. thats ok, that can be cool too. the characters were ok, and i'm sure in 1974 the story was 5 stars. i didn't guess who the girls were channeling until it was revealed and sorry girls, but i'm so on Madame Duret's side. If these girls had been smarter and arranged for a portion of the sale of their works, they ...more
Moonlight Reader
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this one for the Chilling Children square! It would also work for Ghost, Haunted Houses, Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Gothic, Terror in a Small Town and Classic Horror.

I am giving this book 3 1/2 stars (rounded up to 4 for GR) based upon my enjoyment of the book this time around. If I had been rating this book circa 1976, two years after it was published and I was 10, I would've given it one million stars, once I emerged from my hiding place under my comforter. Because this book scared t
Richard Cardenas
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I read plenty of YA horror books when I was younger, I never got to read a Lois Duncan book. I'm happy that this was my first and I really enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of classic gothic horror films like House of Usher and House on Haunted Hill and I loved Lois's writing! There were scary parts, edge of your seat moments, and a twist I never saw coming. Since this came out in 1974, it felt super original for that time and even now I feel like it still holds that originality. I'm ...more

Lovely 'vintage' gothic written for young adults but can be enjoyed by all. This story immediately brought "Haunting of Hill House" to mind and it continued to be reminiscent of it throughout in my opinion. That's a good thing because I liked it a lot, as well.

It has the trademark Lois Duncan creepy ambience and great descriptions of the house, environment and characters. Loved Kit and her fellow schoolmates. They were painted so vividly and the paranormal experiences made me feel like I was th
Jan 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: For a GOOD LAUGH
This is one of the first full length novels I read. I remember it serving as one of the seminal moments in my literary formation. I remember it being suspenful and full of immagery.

This book was republished in 1990, but was originally published in the late 70's. I read it in 5th or 6th grade.

While studying children's literature as part of my Masters program, we had to choose a book that we had read in elementary school. The assignment instrcted us to look at our influential book with adult eyes
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kit Gordy was accepted into Blackwood boarding school and she was really looking forward to it when she thought her best friend Tracy would be accepted as well. But Tracy wasn't accepted and as much as Kit tried to get out of going, she couldn't.
Kit's mom and stepfather are going away on their honeymoon, but before they leave, they take Kit to Blackwood themselves. Kit isn't thrilled about going and when they actually arrive, Kit does not want to be there. She thinks the place feels strange. The
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
YA gothic/supernatural novel set in a creepy, secluded boarding school. A real page-turner that's lots of fun to read.
Steve Wiggins
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the perks of being married is discovering the secrets of your spouse. Mine happens to be a well-adjusted, normal person who grew up in a family with no obvious issues. She eventually introduced me to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, which I was surprised to discover, could be classified as "horror." It's actually more of a gothic romance, but as with Dark Shadows, we see that these genres bleed into one another. So as we were moving house and I was unpacking boxes of books, I found Down a Dar ...more
Elba Horrocks
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lois Duncan, YA novel that is eerie and very imaginative. I read the updated version with the cell phone and internet references inserted randomly in the text. Really would have been just as good without the update, but I see she is trying to reach young readers of today. Also there is a movie version starting Uma Thurman that I am going to check out...looks way scary..
Liza Fireman
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book. My daughter and I did a team reading on it, since she needed to read a book and discuss it for school. I am so happy that she picked this one because I would probably never get to it without her.

Kit Gordy is a high school student that is going to a boarding school. Her mother just remarried and she was accepted to an elite school (or so she thinks) called Blackwood School for Girls. The school is located inside an antique castle, which is beautiful. But for Kit one word
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a teenage favorite of mine, and I was reminded of it a few days ago by another book. So, when it came up as a suggested book on the library's website, I considered it fate and grabbed it to reread. I remember I used to think of Kit's dad, and hoped that mine was watching over me just like hers watched over her.

I really wish Ms. Duncan hadn't updated these books! In doing so, I really think she added some plot inconsistencies that weren't there in the original edition.

If I were a teen, u
“I feel now as though I’ve been sitting all my life inside a box, and suddenly someone is lifting the lid and I can look up and see the stars.”
― Lois Duncan, Down a Dark Hall

This is actually a frightening little tale. I did not enjoy it as much as some of her other books but fans of horror and ghost stories might want to read this.

It is a scary book! The whole concept freaked me out and I'd say this is one of, if not the most, scary of her books.

The whole "I'm alone at boarding school" thing is
Sheila Beaumont
Eerie Gothic thriller, first published in 1974, that still holds up well today: Blackwood School for Girls is an isolated boarding school, in a dark, castle-like mansion with an aura of evil, that admits only four students, all of whom mysteriously and suddenly find themselves with unexpected, extraordinary talents. Suspenseful, engrossing, and atmospheric; recommended for readers who enjoy spooky paranormal mysteries and thrillers.
Sarah Hadd
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Okay book, for one that is probably more of a middle grade story. The beginning had some creepy moments and it was an original idea. I could see it being madd into a so-so creepy made for TV movie, that’s the best way I could describe it.
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, especially since it connects to music.
Oct 05, 2009 rated it liked it
3 or 4 stars....a very interesting concept, and hard to put down! I felt there were a few unanswered questions at the end, but mostly I found it intriguing.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story follows Kit Gordy,a young girl who has been accepted to a very exclusive girl's boarding school when newlywed mother and stepfather go on their honeymoon.The Blackwood Hall is a tall, gothic and all around creepy place and to her utmost surprise only four students were selected for the academic session. Right from the beginning we are introduced to the paranormal presence and the strange people from the Blackwood. Everyone over here was hiding a dark and haunting secret and Kit's uneas ...more
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
~ Pop Sugar 2019 Reading Challenge - A Ghost Story ★ ~

I don't read paranormal stories that often anymore, but what made me interested in this one was its setting in the mysterious boarding school. Overall, I thought that it was a good and intriguing idea, that I haven't really seen in any other book. However, I felt like there wasn't enough tension or build up in it for an horror book, so it didn't fully engage me.

I also noticed that apparently this book has been re-issued with some changes, to
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in fourth grade when this book made its debut. A classmate read the book, and the rest of us checked it out as soon as the previous person returned it. This book, along with Phyllis Whitney's Window on the Square led to my reading lots of gothic romance and romantic suspense novels as a middle schooler. I noticed its availability as a Kindle e-book a couple months ago and decided I wanted to re-read it. Kit's mother and step-father enroll her in Blackwood Hall, a very selective boarding sc ...more
It was OK. Not as scary as I expected.
Lauri Saplad
As you may gather from the title, this is a dark little book. Could you imagine being sent to boarding school as your mom leaves for her European honeymoon with her new husband? Kit is feeling more than a little abandoned when they drop her off and leave her. The school is big, elegant, foreboding, empty, and she can't help herself -- she keeps thinking the word 'evil.' It doesn't help that the other students won't arrive for another day.

You may think this will be a typical ghost story, but it'
Lisa Leon
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Effectively chilling little shocker for Young Adults by Lois Duncan. The sense of isolation, entrapment, and betrayal experienced by the young protagonists (at the hands of the adults around them) is palpable and disturbing. But the pacing is waaaay off. I don't mind the gradual build up. But just when we and the protagonists realize what their situation really is....just when the conflict becomes really interesting and is all of a sudden resolved. And then to make matters even w ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dear Miss Kalwanaski,
This week I'm writing about the chilling characteristics in "Down A Dark Hall", written by Lois Duncan. I'm writing about this book again because I've not had enough time to start another one. Last week I told you what I enjoyed about the book. This week I will be telling you why I enjoy these chilling characteristics.

I enjoy these chilling characteristics for multiple reasons. I find chilling characteristics to be the heart and soul of a book. Chilling parts of a book i
Jia Hui
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This has always been my favorite Duncan, and the only one I've reread several times since I was a teenager. When Kit Gordy enters a private school, she's shocked to discover that there are only three other students, and she's disturbed by the school itself, whose atmosphere she immediately feels is evil. Eventually, Kit makes a chilling discovery about why she and the other three girls were the only ones selected; I don't want to reveal this, as it would be a massive spoiler, but this aspect of ...more
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz) was an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Saraso ...more

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