September 17, 2014

Review: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz


What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

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Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House #1)
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publication Date:  July 22, 2014
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion

Available for purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!


** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013Just the title of author Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Welcome to the Dark House was enough to get me interested in reading. I’ve been meaning to read Stolarz’s Blue is for Nightmares novels and getting the chance to read Welcome to the Dark House seemed like a good chance to see what her writing is like. After getting past the description I knew immediately that this was a novel that I would eat up in one sitting. My attention was caught, my curiosity was piqued and (thankfully) this is one of those reads that I don’t regret reading at all. It was a mash-up of all my favorite things horror and left me with chills.

Welcome to the Dark House is the story of six teenagers, all from various backgrounds, who are about to have the trip of their lives. After entering a contest for Justin Blake, a horror film director with a major cult following, and writing about their worst nightmares—six characters are brought together to face their ultimate fears. For Ivy Jensen, it’s an opportunity to educate herself. For the other characters it’s the chance to meet their idol Justin Blake himself. But what once looked like a simple vacation suddenly turns sinister when the teens are trapped in an amusement park where inability to face their fears means sudden death.

Welcome to the Dark House is a novel unlike any other that I’ve read. I’m all for novels that are potentially about killers or slashers. That adrenaline rush is the best thing ever. Welcome to the Dark House is a horror movie turned into writing. With Welcome to the Dark House you get a novel that is very SAW meets Final Destination meets reality TV. It is such a unique idea that will reel readers in and keep them interested until the very last page.

The novel has a strong opening that keeps you hooked. The writing for Welcome to the Dark House was very impressive. It takes a lot for a novel to keep me turning pages without getting bored or noticing that I’m going through it so quickly. I absolutely loved every second of reading Welcome to the Dark House and was more than satisfied with its ending.

Usually any novels that have more than three main characters leaves me iffy. Half the time the characters personalities all blend together and I forget who is who. Not the case in Welcome to the Dark House. The characters are all very different. The fact that their stories are all told in the first person could have potentially been a disaster but it wasn’t. I loved these characters to bits and watching how they handled entering the Dark House was very entertaining.

The plot for Welcome to the Dark House is straightforward at first. A group of teenagers sign up for a whole lot more than they bargained for and suddenly they’re in a fight for their lives. What Welcome to the Dark House lacks is some realism. I’ll admit that while reading I ignored a lot of the plot holes that showed up but afterward, I was left with a handful of unanswered questions and doubts toward the plot’s credibility.

For a novel that kept my heart-pounding from start to finish and left me saying “Oh my god,” every dozen pages, I have to say that Welcome to the Dark House was a read that surprised me with how awesome it was.

I would recommend Welcome to the Dark House to any readers who are looking for a novel that will keep them on the edge of their seat. Any readers who are big fans of horror or want a novel that is all about not-dying while also facing some scariness should definitely give this novel a look. Plus, with it being fall and Halloween coming up, this is the perfect novel to get you in the spirit.



Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance. The four novels in the “BIFN” series have sold over 500,000 copies collectively.Stolarz has also announced a graphic novel entry into the series titled Black is for Beginnings, which she published in summer 2009.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. traci16

    Sounds like a great book that I’m sure I would enjoy…gonna go check it out!!! Thanks for the great review, made me want this book…awesome job

  2. Morgan Hoskins

    To be truly honest i absolutely fell in love with this book. Welcome to the Dark house is definitely a book for people who love a bit of a scare. although at the very end of the book it made me upset with the cliff hanger i still love this book and i am deathly excited to read the next book. i really give lots of thanks to laurie farrie stolarz for writing this book and i am going to start read more books publised by laurie. thank you laurie and please keep writing.

  3. Joelhyn

    Is there foreshadowing, metaphors, similes or any other kind of literary device in Welcome to the dark house. If so which ones and where. Thx

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