Snuggle in and prepare for a long, dark night of reading, because once you meet Delia, the ghostly heroine in Katie Alender's latest horror novel, you won't want to let her go.
16-year-old Delia has inherited a house from her aunt and namesake, Cordelia, and the family is moving there for the summer to fix it up and get it ready to sell. When they arrive they find that the house wasn’t always a house. Founded in 1866, the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females (called Hysteria Hall by the locals) was in operation up until the 1940’s, when it was closed by the state medical board following a rash of mysterious deaths.
Delia becomes the next victim, only to find that even death does not free the souls of the “troubled” women, teens, and children who died within the walls of the house. To protect her family, Delia must discover the source of the house’s evil and destroy it, no matter what it takes.
It’s not often I read a book where the main character dies only seven chapters into the story, but it’s only once she’s dead that Delia becomes a heroine. Piecing the story together from bits and snippets told to her by the other ghosts, Delia realizes that there is something wrong with the house. But it’s not until four years later, when her baby sister returns, that Delia feels compelled to act against the evil that has taken root. The story is at turns sad and spooky, with an intriguing, suspenseful plot and likable narrator. I highly recommend this one.
Alender, Katie. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. New York: Scholastic, 2015. 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are mine alone.