Top critical review
5 of 5 people found this helpful
on February 17, 2005
I think this book would appeal most to a junior-high or high school student with an interest in sci-fi, although anyone could appreciate it. The way Sleator throws strangers together in a controlled and increasingly desperate situation is reminiscent of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. House of Stairs lacks the strong writing, characters or originality of Golding's book, but that is not to say it isn't worth reading. The story is essentially a study of operant conditioning applied to humans--what if humans were treated as the lab rats were in BF Skinner's behavior studies? I appreciate the book now with this psychological perspective, but it is certainly enjoyable and genuinely unsettling to a reader who does not have this background.