Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PROJECT 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz


by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7868-3856-1
Publisher: Hyperion

For Derik, there is something eerily compelling about the abandoned campus of the old Danvers State Hospital. His filmmaker instincts have always urged him to do something there, but on hearing that it’s scheduled to be razed, he can no longer wait. Intending to make a docudrama, Derik involves the thespian wannabe couple Tony and Greta, clown Chet, Goth-type Mimi and straight-A superachiever Liza. Since it’s illegal to be there and guards patrol the place, the six high-school students have to sneak in and keep their investigations secret. Gradually a connection emerges to Christine, a patient who has left a journal and other evidence of her presence. Especially for Mimi, it seems that Christine’s psychic presence is making itself felt for a reason. Facts of how miserably the institution had been run and how decayed it is now are revealed simultaneously. While the project may call to mind The Blair Witch Project this is nowhere near as scary, hypnotizing or memorable as it would like to be. Characters seem like stock types and their interactions never carry much validity. With three boys and three girls, the romance appears conventionally and almost provides more interest than the unexplained occurrences. Bland and unconvincing, even film students won’t find this intriguing, as the camera is even less present than the supposed ghosts. (Fiction. YA)