Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Paperback, 248 pages
Date Published: June 9, 2009 (Reprint)
Description (Taken from Amazon)
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.
Project 17 is a ghost story. It’s about these high school students who appear to have nothing in common, but all come together to make a movie in an abandoned mental institute that is scheduled to be knocked down. The mental institution sits high atop a hill in Danvers, MA and has a long history of patient abuse and mistreatment. People view the place as being haunted because so many people died there. Derick, a bad boy ‘playa’ who knows he’s going to be stuck taking over his parent’s diner once he graduates, decides to enter a film contest as his final hope of escaping the life he’s stuck in. He recruits five other students to be in his film, all of whom have their own reasons for doing it. They go in a little frightened, but once the night is over, their lives are forever changed.
The story is told from the different perspectives of the teens with each getting their own backstory. I have to say that it was a bit of a slow start, but once the kids went into the mental institute, I was hooked. The descriptions alone were eerie, creepy, and at times, downright scary. You can feel the atmosphere change from Derick’s first step into Danvers State Hospital. Everything becomes more thrilling and more mysterious. It was an exquisitely creepy thrill-ride.
Laurie Faria Stolarz truly knows how to speak teenager. She does an excellent job creating these characters that have such distinct voices and personalities. There is definitely a sort of Breakfast Club feel to everything, but it’s not overdone at all. Each character has a purpose, even if it’s minimal, and they each add an emotional aspect that makes the story that much better.
This was a great read, especially around Halloween.