Friday, January 4, 2008

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Have you seen the movie Session 9? Did you like The Blair Witch Project? If so, you need to read Project 17.

Derek wants to be a film maker and he has come up with the perfect subject for a movie. He is planning to enter his film about teens spending the night inside the haunted Danvers State Hospital into a contest. The only thing he needs now is a cast.

Mimi is a goth chick. She begins helping Derek plan by drawing story boards for possible scenes and showing him the ways to get into the hospital at night without getting caught by the security guards that are always on duty. Mimi has a special reason for wanting to see inside the abandoned mental institution and has been thinking about it for a long time.

Liza is a straight A student hoping to get into Harvard. She has done everything she feels is in her power to get in. She is class valedictorian and devotes all her spare time to studying, but when she hears from her guidance counselor that being admitted isn’t a sure thing, she begins to panic. The only advice her counselor can give her is to get involved in extra-curricular activities, but at the end of the school year, there isn’t much to choose from. Once Liza hears about a student movie being shot, she decides it might be her only chance to show a little diversity in her school career.

Chet is Derek’s best friend. Basically he decides to tag along so he doesn’t have to be at home. Chet’s father is an alcoholic and sometimes knocks Chet around when he’s had too much to drink. Chet uses humor to hide his pain and embarrassment. He intends to be the comic relief for the night.

Greta and Tony are a loving, romantic couple that both are majorly into acting. They are members of the drama club and look for any chance to be in the spotlight. Tony’s main passion is directing, but Greta definately wants to be an actress. They use Derek’s film as an excuse to prepare for their future in the business.

Together, these six teenagers sneak past security guards and enter Danvers State Hospital. Tension fills the pages right from the start. Through the dark tunnels, in the run down hallways, and behind the doors to rooms where lobotomies and other frightening medical procedures took place, the kids learn about themselves, eachother, and the people that inhabited the walls of Danvers State Hospital.

Project 17 isn’t a book to read in the dark if you are easily creeped out. The weird occurances that take place while the kids are inside make you believe there are ghosts living in the hospital. Your heart will pound until you get to the last page - and maybe even after.

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