Sunday, October 07, 2007

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz

This book is currently on order. When it arrives, it is definitely one to look into if you like creepy novels.

Derik is destined to work in his parent's diner, but that's not what he dreams of doing. He wants to be a filmmaker and finds the opportunity of a lifetime in a reality TV film contest. With the soon to be demolition of the towns mental institute, Derik decides to film a group of teenagers spending the night there. Each volunteer has his/her own agenda. Liza joins to have more team activities on her college applications, Tony and Greta see this a chance for publicity in Hollywood, Mimi wishes to connect with her Grandmother - a former patient, and Chet wants a night away from his alcoholic father.

Upon first entering the asylum, Liza admits to having odd feelings that the place doesn't want them there, that things aren't right. Needless to say, things are a little creepy in the asylum, particularly how they keep finding things related to one patient. Could she be trying to contact them beyond the grave? If so, what does she want? And why does she have to find freaky ways of communicating?

This was a book that I couldn't put down. I became just as invested in the patient as did the characters. I wanted to know her story. The creepiness was also nicely done. It wasn't too over the top, but enough to give you chills as you read. At the same time, the novel wasn't just about the ghosts. Part of it was about the characters figuring out themselves and connecting with each other. The characters explore whether or not they are victims of past behavior or if the images they present to the work are their true selves. Also, people who wouldn't normally associate grow close and there even are a few budding romances. It's a subtle social commentary, but it's enough to do the trick. It was nice to see how this book, initially sets out to scare, offers more in terms of character development.

This book is definitely worth the read. It isn't a blood bath horror fest, but sometimes scary is more than blood and guts. It's a psychological thriller that even forces you to think about yourself.

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