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The Dollhouse Murders

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,661 ratings  ·  665 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, 160 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1983)
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Johanna
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
...more
Maggie
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
...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
...more
Rebecca McNutt
I used to love this book when I was a kid, and for a middle-grade fiction novel is really deals with serious issues in a surprisingly in-depth and understanding way. The main character is a young girl left looking after her sister who suffers from brain damage, and things only get more intense when the dollhouse comes into the picture.
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
Tressa
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:
...more
Alicia
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!
Rebecca
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
...more
Amanda
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.
Eden
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
...more
Erin
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
...more
Ashley
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
Erica  Skrine
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this as a little girl and I love it now just as much as I loved it then! I would definitely recommend this for adolescents to read. It is a murder mystery/coming of age story all rolled up in one.
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.

One
...more
Piepie
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
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?
Jen
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.
Monique
Finished this old school creepy book the other night to recommend as hey its copyright 1983 but its on my shelves, its Halloween and I haven’t read it yet I was super curious LOL..Okay so the story of Amy and her life with her mildly retarded sister Louann which in itself is a powerful topic for a novel at the time however there is something bigger at play than Amy’s growing resentment towards her sister’s outbursts and need for constant attention. With Amy losing friends and needing time away f ...more
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
Cindy
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.
ThatLittleShibaKate
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amy decides to live in her Aunt's country house for while, her curiosity lead her to the attic and she discovers a pretty, valuable dollhouse. She adores it as much as anyone who would have this in sight. But little does she know, the dollhouse along with the dolls hides a deep secret from her Aunt that she wouldn't tell...
orton41290
The Dollhouse Murders is equal parts "Mystery that you aren't meant to collect little clues and solve on your own before Sherlock does" and ham-fisted, saccharin "everyone is important, so love for all." Amy lives with her mother, father, and her developmentally disabled sister Louann. Amy is 12 year-old and is sick of having to take care of Louann. Louann is constantly making a scene and causing Amy to have a hard time making and keeping friends. Amy's aunt Clare is in town, clearing out Amy's ...more
Hannah Wagner
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amy's small sister Louann has a mental disorder and Amy has to take care of her most of the time, because both of their parents work the whole day. Many of Amy's classmates know about that she has to take care of her little sister, so Amy doesn't really have friends. When Amy is really sick of her responsibility and has a big fight about Louann with her parents, mostly her mum, her aunt Claire takes Amy under her wings and suggests that Amy could live with her for some time. The only problem is ...more
Celeste
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
Brenda
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book about a young girl named Amy, who upon having a argument with her mom over her sister Louann, which is brain-damaged, runs to her aunts house and is invited to stay awhile. Upon staying there she finds a dollhouse, which is an exact replica of the house her aunt lives in now. Her a friend find some dolls that go with the house and then leave it to go downstairs. Later that night just before supper, she remembers she forgot to close the dollhouse and goes to close it, only to realize on ...more
Taylor Morrissey
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this way back in early grade school- it was one of my first introductions to horror along with the Goosebumps books, and made me fall in love with the genre (also might have contributed to my fear of dolls it's fine). It randomly crossed my mind today and I thought I'd give it a read for nostalgia's sake. Did not disappoint.

The book dealt with some darker/more grown up themes than I remembered, but it's perfect for upper grade/middle school readers still. A little too short in my opinion
...more
Josiah
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
The Dollhouse Murders stands up well as a good mystery, decades after its first printing.
Betty Ren Wright has done a commendable job on constructing a different sort of mystery story that is successfully multi-dimensional in its thrust. I think that the temptation in many such stories is to focus almost exclusively on the eerieness of the supernatural events that occur, but The Dollhouse Murders stands tall on several more levels. The author has taken the time and effort to form a family that
...more
Ann
The Dollhouse Murders was one of my absolute favorite books as a kid. My love of spooky stuff almost completely stems from this, and it still creeped me out as an adult! It was a pleasure to revisit it after so many years.
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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.
“Louann is ours, Amy thought. That’s it. We know what she can do and what she can’t do. We don’t need any Mrs. Peck trying to change things.” 0 likes
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