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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright » User review

A Paranormal Mystery for Pre-Teens

  • Apr 19, 2009
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Amy is tired of always having the 'burden' of taking care of her developmentally disabled sister. Fortunately for her, her Aunt Clare has recently moved back to town to pack up the house that belonged to Amy's great-grandparents. Amy takes refuge there and finds in the attic an amazing dollhouse that is the exact replica of the house that contains it. Then, the dolls start moving by themselves, re-creating the scene of the great-grandparents' murder. What is the dollhouse trying to tell them?
This was easily one of my favorite books in my pre-teen years. My copy is incredibly worn from repeated readings. Upon re-reading as an adult, I find it holds up well. Amy's conflict with her sister is very genuine and heartfelt. The mystery of the dollhouse is still suspenseful and reveals a satisfying secret. Aunt Clare is a realistic adult and quite three-dimensional. Recommended for any pre-teen girl.

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June 17, 2009
Wow...you totally brought me back to my pre-teen years with this one! I haven't heard this title in AGES! Between you and @LingEatsCake and her review of Sweet Valley High, you two are bringing back some fun memories. Thanks for the memories!
About the reviewer
Emily Charpentier ()
Ranked #695
Member Since: Apr 19, 2009
Last Login: Jun 9, 2009 04:11 AM UTC
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About this book


Wright's taut, suspenseful novel proves a solid choice to kick off the Live Oak Mysteries audio series. The attic is always a great place to look for nuggets of one's family history, but when 12-year-old Amy explores her great-grandparents' attic, she uncovers clues to a chilling family secret. As Amy and her Aunt Claire sift through clothes, trinkets and other memorabilia,

Amy comes across Aunt Claire's long-forgotten dollhouse, a finely crafted replica of the house they are in. Aunt Claire seems unusually distressed about the dollhouse and Amy is determined to find out why. The real fun begins when Amy learns that the dolls in the dollhouse move of their own willAand that they seem to be trying to tell her something.

After a little sleuthing at the local library, Amy learns that her great-grandparents were murdered years ago and that Aunt Claire's fianc? (who died in a car accident that same night) was the prime suspect in the unsolved case. Before long, Amy unravels the mystery, helping Aunt Claire to resolve her feelings about the past. A subplot about Amy's relationships with her parents, younger sister and best friend adds depth and warmth to this crisply paced tale.

Stewart handles the narration with aplomb, using her voice to give listeners a hint of each character's personality. Her portrayal of Aunt Claire, who delivers a few chillingly snappish retorts to Amy, is particularly strong. Ages 8-up. (Mar.)
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ISBN-10: 0823421724 (pbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780823421725 (pbk.)
Publisher: Holiday House
Date Published: August 2008

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