Title: Project 17
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal
High atop Hathorne Hill, near Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992, this abandoned mental institution is rumored to be the birthplace of the lobotomy. Locals have long believed the place to be haunted. They tell stories about the unmarked graves in the back, of the cold spots felt throughout the underground tunnels, and of the treasures found inside: patients’ personal items like journals, hair combs, and bars of soap, or even their old medical records, left behind by the state for trespassers to view.
On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their adventures. For Derik, it’s an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents’ diner. For the others, it’s a chance to be on TV, or a night with no parents. But what starts as a playful dare quickly escalates into a frenzy of nightmarish action. Behind the crumbling walls, down every dark passageway, and in each deserted room, they will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and the spirits who still might.
Best known for the Blue is for Nightmares series, Laurie Faria Stolarz also brings us a ghostly story called Project 17.
With the Blair Witch-esque plot I was super interested to read this. However after finishing this book I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Every time it started to get good I was somehow disappointed by one thing or another.
This book takes place in the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital, following six teenagers making a documentary each for their own reasons.
Derik is the brains behind the project. He doesn’t want to spend his life working at his parent’s diner and the only way out is by entering into a film contest.
Mimi is the Goth of the bunch. She’s knows the most about the hospital and has her own personal reason for being in the hospital which will slowly be revealed.
Liza is the braniac and needs an extracurricular activity to look good on her application.
Chet is Derik’s best friend and the class clown who uses humor to hide his pain.
Greta and Tony are a cheesy romantic couple and also are drama geeks who are looking to making it big in the acting world.
This book was told in six alternating points of view of all of these characters. The characters, though are all different, are one dimensional, stereotypical and all had the same narrative voice. I found myself going back to the beginning of the chapters just to see who was the narrating at times.
The thing that I did like was that through the journal they found from a former patient, you can really get a feel of how it was like for the patients to be there. A lot of people in mental hospitals back then were unjustly admitted and were treated inhumanly. Laurie represents that effectively. That fact is what gives this book its creepy factor yet that’s also where the creepiness ends as well.
All in all, this was quick read; I finished it in one night. If this book was longer I probably would have marked this as a DNF. It was disappointing and not scary and did not live up to my expectations.
I give this book 3/5 spooktacular ghost!