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The Dollhouse Murders

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  7,681 ratings  ·  775 reviews
Twelve-year-old Amy is having difficulties at home being responsible for her brain-damaged sister, Louann. While visiting her Aunt Clare at the old family home, she discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic—an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved. Her aunt won't listen to Amy's claims that the do ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  7,681 ratings  ·  775 reviews

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Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ah, 1987 was a good year. A little Johanna received this book as the summer commenced and she read, oh she read. She read the crap out of this book and then eyed the dollhouse looming in the corner of her shared bedroom with distrust and concern. She decided that she did not wish to get murdered by the inhabitants first, so she pushed it against the wall nearer to her sister's bed. "Poor Becky," she thought, "she is going to have to meet her maker someday, hopefully sooner than later (as Becky w ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Rachel Miller
Like R.L. Stine and Mary Downing Hahn, the late Betty Ren Wright weaves a tale sure to terrify any tween. But more than just delicious chills imbues The Dollhouse Murders.

Amy Treloar, nearly 13 years old, can’t help resent her 11-year-old brain-damaged sister Louann. Louann’s inappropriate behavior leaves Amy with few friends but lots of anger just under the surface until she finally explodes and runs off to her Aunt Claire, newly relocated from Chicago to the isolated family homestead outside o
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: december-09
I first picked up The Dollhouse Murders a little around five years ago, when I was a kid. I read it, it chilled me, I moved to another city, and slowly I forgot the title. Somedays the idea of the book came rushing back, and I was frustrated that I could not remember the title to reread it, at least, until I found the title in my brother's book order.

The Dollhouse Murders is about a girl named Amy who moves in with her aunt to try and escape some stress at home. One day she discovers a dollhous
Chris Blocker
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you work at a library, it's not uncommon for discussion to center around books. So imagine, one day, my colleagues and I are discussing the juvenile classics of the 80s. (By the way, this conversation was birthed while browsing the pages of Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss.) From this conversation came a call to read The Dollhouse Murders. I said, sure, why not. Immediately I regretted this. I had far too many books already on my to-read pile. It was Man Booker season, and I really didn't ...more
Colleen Venable
I don't care what anyone says. Scholastic is BRILLIANT for keeping this amazingly bad cover. No revision could be as terrifying and wasn't that the whole point? This was the sort of cover I would have taped paper over when I was little just like I always did when I read THE WITCHES and any Bruce Coville where an adult was taking off their human face to reveal an alien one beneath.

Yeah, book covers were so much better in the 80's.

All and all not a bad story and certainly freaked the begeebees o
Another great middle school read. Perfect for summer!
Katerina  Kondrenko
7 out of 10

Okay. Now I want to check other books by Betty Ren Wright. It wasn't that creepy, but it was very believable. Characters acted, thought, felt, and talked just like IRL as if it's not fiction and there actually is a family with dark past, and two sisters have a controversial relationship, but love each other no matter what. The mystery is the weakest part, you can't figure it yourself, 'cause you don't know all the details until it's all revealed. Anyway, nice and fast read.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely a welcomed trip own memory lane!! Reading this book took me right back to middle school where every creak and scratch in an empty house made me jump!! The story of Amy really stood out to me, especially regarding the complicated relationship she had with her sister, Louann. I remember feeling that same guilt Amy did as a child regarding my own special needs sister and trying to navigate my own identity while also trying to spare the feelings of someone who is a bit different. ...more
Amy is 12 years old, about to be 13 and she is tired of taking care of her sister. Amy's sister, Louanna, is mentally challenged. One day at the mall, when Amy was supposed to spend the day with her friend Ellen and she was made to bring Louanna, everything goes wrong. Amy has had enough and tells her mother so.
But all her mother tells her is that she is selfish, that she is cruel and she is a girl that has everything. Amy becomes so upset that she runs to her Aunt Clare, who is currently stayin
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Found this at a thrift store to add to my juvenile literature collection. I love books about miniature people, and don't have any in my own collection.

A teen girl who's feeling overwhelmed from taking care of her brain-damaged sister after school decides to spend a few weeks with her aunt, who is staying in her deceased parents' house and planning to clean it out so she can sell it and return to her life in Chicago. The girl finds a doll house in the attic (natch), and it comes with four dolls:
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book, but somehow had forgotten all about it until I saw someone's review on here. I remember that I had an intense reaction to the conclusion of the story, feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. I don't even really remember what happened, just that the dolls moved around and revealed who the real killer was. Perfect way to creep oneself out before bed! ...more
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An entertaining mystery for the YA/Middle Grade reader. Somehow I missed this one when I was growing up.

It's better than most novels written for young people. The ghost stuff is well done and it has the added element of a young girl becoming a teenager and resenting all the babysitting she has to do for her disabled sister.

Highly recommended.
Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill
I received this book from a friend who thought I would enjoy it due to my belief in ghosts and the supernatural. She was spot on!

This is a YA genre novel about Amy who is 12-years old and her family, especially her mentally challenged sister, Louann. Amy loves her sister, but is tired of having to deal with her. Amy has to take care of her after school while her parents are still at work and takes her wherever she goes. Amy resents it because she feels she is losing friends or is having a hard t
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful book for young readers. It covers some critical growing up topics and has a light mystery. The book centers around family and friends and what it means to be a friend and the importance of family. The eerie dollhouse and years unsolved mystery makes this a very intriguing story.
I forgot how much I loved this book. It was probably the book that started my love with all things paranormal.

12-year-old Amy struggles to make friends as she is often called upon to take care of her 11-year-old developmentally disabled sister Louann. After fleeing to her Aunt Clare, who is currently staying in an old family home to ready it for sale, after an argument with her mother it is determined Amy should stay with Aunt Clare for a while. Amy finds her aunt's childhood dollhouse in the at
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
I first read this in middle school, and I remember being super creeped out by it but also enthralled. Throughout my childhood I was half convinced that my dolls and other toys came to life when I wasn't there (or awake), a thought that simultaneously terrified and excited me. The idea flourished in my mind thanks to a bunch of books, movies, and TV shows based around that premise, including this one. And, okay, I'm in my 30s now and I was STILL a little creeped out lying in my bed in the dark af ...more
Addy Browning
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok so what do you want to know about? Oh right, the book! It starts off with a girl, Amy, who has a mom a dad and a sister, Louannn, who thinks she is annoying. Her family can be a little bit frustrating, and one time she gets so angry she runs all the way over to a old family mansion, where her aunt is staying for a few weeks. Amy decides to stay with her aunt.

When they go up to the attic there is a doll house just waiting with bad memories. Amy finds the old doll house full of mysteries.

This was one of my favorite mysteries when I was a kid (my copy had a different cover), and I'm glad to see the story holds up even now that I'm much older! I loved the murder mystery, loved the family secrets, and drama. Main character Amy desperately needs a break from "sister-sitting"; her mentally challenged sister, Louann, comes across as more of a burden than anything else. We all know someone like Louann, and we look on people we know like Louann's family and think to ourselves, "How on e ...more
Oh Scholastic, you knew how to get me to part with my hard earned allowance. Scary books dealing with dolls coming to life was a pretty common theme in the 80's. This book scared the CRAP out of me the first time around, and I recently found it used for super cheap and it still kind of gave me the creeps. Behind the Attic Wall trumps Dollhouse Murders but barely. ...more
Liza Morrison
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Wow, how books have changed in the past 20 years. No one would publish a 120 page book for 9-12 year olds like this anymore. Murder, hauntings, guilt, uptight parents, crazy mood swings - I read this kind of stuff when I was younger and didn't become a serial killer so why are some parents today so worried about letting kids read this kind of thing? ...more
Eustacia Tan
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nlb-ereads
This was a surprisingly deep read. I borrowed this book thinking that it was going to be about murders and haunted dollhouses (which it is), but I didn’t expect the touching depiction of life with a mentally challenged sister that was also inside.

In The Dollhouse Murders, Amy temporarily moves to her Aunt Clare’s home after being exasperated at the fact that she has to take care of her neurodiverse sister Louann every day. But when she discovers the gorgeous dollhouse that Aunt Clare has, Amy fi
I'm really glad I never had a dollhouse when I was younger because otherwise I would have had to deal with a ghost moving my dolls around to reenact a murderous scene.

But seriously.

This was one of the (many) books I read half a dozen times or more when I was a tween and one of the (few) books I thought may be worth reading again as an adult. I also wanted to recommend it to my 4th grade daughter but couldn't recall if it would be appropriate just yet or not.

The spookiness of the story stands up
Because Amy is so tired of caring for her mentally challenged sister, Louann, she goes to stay for a few days with her Aunt Clare who is in town for the summer to close up and sell the house where her grandparents were murdered. Amy finds a dollhouse in the attic that looks just like the house where she is staying, right down to the furniture. Amy places some dolls in the house and enjoys playing with them until one morning, she wakes up and finds that they are in different places than the night ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this story. If in the course of my review I spell names wrong, I do give it my best guess. Wright did an excellent job of describing 12 (turning 13) year old Amy's feelings about always being "stuck" with her brain-damaged younger sister Louann. Help for Amy comes in the form of Aunt Claire who understands Amy's frustration as well as Louann's desire to go everywhere with and do everything that Amy does.

When Amy goes to Aunt Claire to escape fr
Natalie S
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as I had remembered it from my childhood, and finally found the title. However, I think it stuck in my mind so well because of how creepy it had been. I have to admit its a good story though. Heart warming (the family side) and shows empathy and acceptance (through the sister with brain damage). Still not something to read right before bed, even at my age.
Boomers Gems
I read this book as a child and decided I'd like to revisit my past. I chose to listen to the audio book this time which I enjoyed. It was fun hearing the narrator change her voice for each character.
I realized instantly that I didn't remember the story line at all, which made it a mystery til the very end. Definitely written for kids, but easily enjoyable. I also watched the 1992 movie which was totally budget friendly but entertaining enough. It also followed the book to a T, so that was cool
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disability

I'm wavering between 2.5 and 3 stars. This was okay.
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good little slice of life book with great spooks along the way! Definitely good for those who are further along with chapter reading skills.
Mary Alice
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A childhood favorite 💕 This is spooky and sweet, just like I remembered.
One of my favorite childhood mysteries. Still just as good now as it was when I first read it. Slightly dated of course, but still a great read.
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Betty Ren Wright is an author of children's fiction including The Dollhouse Murders, The Ghosts Of Mercy Manor and A Ghost in The House among others.

She was born June 15, 1927 in the U.S. and she is currently working on her 26th novel. Ms. Wright lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with her husband, George Frederiksen, a painter.

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“I like the country, too," she agreed. "Look! Did you see that bird swoop across the yard?"
"That bird was a bat," Aunt Clare said. She chuckled as both birds ducked their heads.”
“She was halfway up the stairs, the flashlight beam bobbing on the steps in front of her, when she heard a small sound. Mice. Please let it be mice. A funny thing to wish, considering how much she hated mice.” 0 likes
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