Project 17

Old-schoolers like me may recognize the author Joan Lowery Nixon, who wrote YA back in the day (80's, for all you youngsters). One of the few books I read as a kid that scared me mindless
was JNL's A Deadly Game of Magic. (Trust me, this is going somewhere.) The story was set in a regular old house on a side street. No maniacs and mood lighting or mysterious rusty high-chairs. The premise of the story and the character development was a bit predictable,  but the point that got driven home so hard it went through the back wall was YOU WANT THEM TO GET THE @^$# OUT OF THERE.

Fast-forward to Project 17, wherein a group of equally mismatched teens break into an abandoned asylum to make a film for a reality-show contest. Wowsers. Originality was apparently too expensive, so stereotypes came in at half-off.

You get the same vein for character development but it's completely exsanguinated of anything to create reader empathy or at least more than passing interest. This "how will these wildly different social classes ever mesh?" thread is so dominant that it overshadows any hope of pants-wetting.

There were so many contrived factors in this book that tried - and failed - to really scare anyone, that I'm hoping *this* book will get buried under something in the Ornithology section, where nobody will have to endure it.  Not that I've ever done that with a book.  But if you've read Bret Easton Ellis, I'm sure you'd understand the need.

The characters make several references to a movie about the asylum, in which a cleaning crew hired to remove asbestos goes insane just from walkin around in there. Blips and blots of mental instability begin to appear within the group, but ultimately turn into zip. Nobody gets crazy; they don't even seem to get concerned about falling through floors, until somebody actually does.

Please, just go back to books that don't need overhyped settings or wireless technology. I promise you, missing a text won't seem half as dire as the seriously creepy-good things you'll find.

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