The Darkhouse

244p. Cormorant/Dancing Cat. May 2017. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781770864788.
Gr 7–10—This debut novel sees teenager Gemma reach her breaking point as she discovers who she is and where she is going in life. It takes place on an old, sleepy, small island in New Brunswick, with a detour to Maine. The limited first-person point of view adds to the tense mood as the protagonist struggles to uncover the mysteries surrounding the lighthouse and her father Jonah's obsession with amateur science experiments. Jonah keeps his projects secret in a storage shed behind their house. Mysteries abound as things just don't sit right with Gemma. Who is her real mother, and will she ever see her again? Why does Jonah keep his science experiments hidden? Some mysteries are left unresolved, such as why Gemma refers to her father as Jonah and why she has conversations with her doll Adria. Though satisfying, the climactic conclusion is not neat and tidy.
VERDICT A dark work that should find interest among mystery fans and those who enjoy Lois Duncan's books.

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