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Project 17 Hardcover – December 18, 2007
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About the Author
Laurie Faria Stolarzis the author ofBleed, as well as the highly popular young adult novelsBlue Is for Nightmares,White Is for Magic,Silver Is for Secrets, andRed Is for Remembrance. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at www.lauriestolarz.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Not knowing what to expect of the hospital, or each other, the characters get sucked into a mystery involving one of the former inmates and the number 17. Their night in the hospital becomes a sort of spooky scavenger hunt as they piece together the fragments of a shattered life that ended at the hospital years ago. Trying to assuage the spirits of the place while facing down their own demons, these six teens will emerge from their night at the hospital changed forever.
Danvers State Hospital, where the book is set, is a real place located in Danvers, MA. Built in 1878, the hospital was operational for over 100 years until its closure in 1992. Since then, most of the hospital structures have been torn down to make way for residential redevelopment. The unusual architecture of the building, a central structure with wings radiating out on each side "like the wings of a bat," was built according to the plans of psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbridge. The staggered wings, a diagram of which Laurie Faria Stolarz includes in her book, were intended to give patients access to light and air. The design was meant to be curative, but like many of the other treatments practiced at Danvers State Hospital --- including the trans-orbital lobotomy --- it has become widely regarded as a monstrosity.Read more ›
"Project 17" starts out with trying-to-reform loser Derik seeing that making a short film for a local news program might be his one shot at getting out of what he sees as a dead-end future of working for and being a future owner of his parents family style restaurant. His idea for his short film is to do some sort reality based project, based on the soon to be demolished Danvers State Hospital, a sanitarium high atop Hawthorne Hill, which has been long rumored to be haunted, and once was the home of the state's sadistically treated inmates, many of whom died while suffering through their cruel and inhuman psychiatric treatments. Derik plans on using some of his freelance commercial filmmaker Uncle's film equipment, and five of his fellow high school acquaintances, deliberately freezing out his friends whom he fears wouldn't take his project seriously, to make his film.
To do this Derik and his crew/actors have to sneak into the sanitarium at night while avoiding the guards. "Project 17" then begins to ping-pong between six separate characters; Derik the desperate filmmaker, Mimi the goth girl, Greta the ambitious wannabee actress, Tony, her boyfriend, Liza, the overachiever hoping to pad her résumé, and Chet, class clown and abused child.Read more ›
What works in this book is the atmosphere: Stolarz does an amazing job of setting up the creepy atmosphere of an abandoned asylum. What makes this so great was that most of the creepiest aspects were the parts that would likely be normal in any other place, like drawings by the inmates. These probably wouldn't attract a huge amount of attention in a still-active asylum but put them in an empty building at night? Creepy. Same thing goes for the murals on the wall in the hydrotherapy room.
(slight spoilers here, nothing major)
However what doesn't work is that the book is a little too choppy at points. We're introduced to various characters that have some pretty deep backstory to them, only for this to be somewhat swept to the side in favor. There's no instalove here for the most part, although I do think that the couples are paired off too quickly and for the most part these are done too quickly. The relationships between them just feel a little forced. The ending especially feels rushed since the epilogue undoes the creepiness of the final bit in the asylum. This is where the pairings felt a little too forced since everything was a little too happydappy-ish of an ending. I think that this was probably due to it being a Disney book since they aren't exactly fans of leaving things ambiguous or having non-happy endings here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great reading for seventh and eighth graders. My class love it and it kept them engaged!!Published 16 days ago by Jayma
It was suspenseful with a surprise ending. Not just another coming of age book. I highly recommend this book for all ages.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Worst book I ever read! I couldn't even finish it. I though it would be cool but it is very bad.Published 12 months ago by jean kennell
I thought this book was very creepy and well written the author captured the true thoughts and feelings of the teenagers and thier decions about thier lives. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Jacome
I'm going to give this caution right at the beginning: If you're creeped out easily (like me) don't read this book. Read morePublished on June 11, 2014 by Anna LaGrois
This book was amazing!!! It had horror, action, and romance all tied together. One of the most suspenseful books I've ever read! I definitely recommend this book to anyone! Read morePublished on February 20, 2014 by dancerlid
I found the story to be too much suspense with not enough plotline. The documentary-like raising questions while giving few answers just didn't appeal to me.Published on February 9, 2014 by Kris