Summary (from Goodreads):
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. On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their experiences. 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 dare quickly escalates into a nightmare. 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.
This book wasn’t what I was expecting. The summary makes the story sound much better than what it really is. I thought I would be reading a thrilling page-turner horror-type story. I don’t read horror that often so I was excited for a ghost story.
But there wasn’t much “ghostly” activity going on. Aside from the occasional locked door and one room that had writing on the wall, all the paranormal acts were caused by the group of teenagers trying to spook each other. So, for a haunted insane asylum, this was pretty anticlimactic.
I enjoyed Derik, Liza, and Mimi as characters. Derik is the protagonist and as he’s the driving force behind all of this. However, the plot slowly moved over to Mimi and it seemed as though the story should have been all about her.
Chet was annoying, but he amused me. So he’s okay in my book. Tony and Greta… I could definitely do without them. They were a couple and only agreed to go on this journey because they thought they would be made movie stars. But they were just snobby and annoying.
I enjoyed the writing style of the book. Each chapter was told in first-person of a different character. So each chapter had a unique voice and I got to see inside all of their heads. What they think about the other characters, the asylum, why they were there in the first place, etc.
This was a quick read and an interesting concept about going after your dreams and getting to know others without judging them, but the overall plot was a little disappointing.
Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz gets 3 out of 5 stars.
“This place is definitely intense. Part of it pulls you in. Another part wants to spit you out.” –Laurie Faria Stolarz, Project 17