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Twelve-year-old Amy is having difficulties at home being responsible for her brain-damaged sister, Louann. While visiting her Aunt Clare at the old family home, she discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic—an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved. Her aunt won't listen to Amy's claims that the do Twelve-year-old Amy is having difficulties at home being responsible for her brain-damaged sister, Louann. While visiting her Aunt Clare at the old family home, she discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic—an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved. Her aunt won't listen to Amy's claims that the dolls are trying to tell her something. This leads Amy to research old news reports where she discovers a family secret—the murder of her grandparents. The two sisters unravel the mystery. Amy grows to accept her sister and to understand that Louann is more capable than she had first thought.


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Twelve-year-old Amy is having difficulties at home being responsible for her brain-damaged sister, Louann. While visiting her Aunt Clare at the old family home, she discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic—an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved. Her aunt won't listen to Amy's claims that the do Twelve-year-old Amy is having difficulties at home being responsible for her brain-damaged sister, Louann. While visiting her Aunt Clare at the old family home, she discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic—an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved. Her aunt won't listen to Amy's claims that the dolls are trying to tell her something. This leads Amy to research old news reports where she discovers a family secret—the murder of her grandparents. The two sisters unravel the mystery. Amy grows to accept her sister and to understand that Louann is more capable than she had first thought.

30 review for The Dollhouse Murders

  1. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    Ah, 1987 was a good year. A little Johanna received this book as the summer commenced and she read, oh she read. She read the crap out of this book and then eyed the dollhouse looming in the corner of her shared bedroom with distrust and concern. She decided that she did not wish to get murdered by the inhabitants first, so she pushed it against the wall nearer to her sister's bed. "Poor Becky," she thought, "she is going to have to meet her maker someday, hopefully sooner than later (as Becky w Ah, 1987 was a good year. A little Johanna received this book as the summer commenced and she read, oh she read. She read the crap out of this book and then eyed the dollhouse looming in the corner of her shared bedroom with distrust and concern. She decided that she did not wish to get murdered by the inhabitants first, so she pushed it against the wall nearer to her sister's bed. "Poor Becky," she thought, "she is going to have to meet her maker someday, hopefully sooner than later (as Becky was seriously starting to cramp her Lisa Frank sticker collecting, and unicorn drawing at this point)." It really was too bad...Becky should have learned to read faster and then she would know what the dolls were capable off, and then they could have worked together to move the dollhouse into their brother's room. In the end, the book was finished and the sister lived...but Johanna could never shake the uneasy feeling she felt every time she encountered a dollhouse.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Like R.L. Stine and Mary Downing Hahn, the late Betty Ren Wright weaves a tale sure to terrify any tween. But more than just delicious chills imbues The Dollhouse Murders. Amy Treloar, nearly 13 years old, can’t help resent her 11-year-old brain-damaged sister Louann. Louann’s inappropriate behavior leaves Amy with few friends but lots of anger just under the surface until she finally explodes and runs off to her Aunt Claire, newly relocated from Chicago to the isolated family homestead outside o Like R.L. Stine and Mary Downing Hahn, the late Betty Ren Wright weaves a tale sure to terrify any tween. But more than just delicious chills imbues The Dollhouse Murders. Amy Treloar, nearly 13 years old, can’t help resent her 11-year-old brain-damaged sister Louann. Louann’s inappropriate behavior leaves Amy with few friends but lots of anger just under the surface until she finally explodes and runs off to her Aunt Claire, newly relocated from Chicago to the isolated family homestead outside of town. Aunt Claire intervenes and gets Amy a few days of respite from demands too great for a 12-year-old. In the old house, Amy spies the long-forgotten dollhouse Claire had as a child, an exact replica of the old family home and a gift to Claire from her grandparents, Amy’s great-grandparents. [The orphaned 14-year-old Claire and her 5-year-old brother, Paul (Amy’s father), had gone to live with their grandparents when their parents died.] Aunt Claire had little use for such a gift when she got it as a 15th birthday present and doesn’t appreciate the dollhouse any better as an adult. Soon Amy notices that the dolls in the dollhouse — replicas of the Treloar family of Claire’s teens, grandparents, Claire and young Paul — move when they’re alone and seem to be trying to send Amy a message. When Aunt Claire refuses to intercede, Amy begins sleuthing her family’s history. With the help of Louann, Amy discovers both the secret and an appreciation for a sister she’d seen as nothing but a burden until now. The Dollhouse Murders, a slim mystery novel aimed at tweens, proves scarier than I would have thought, with an ending I never saw coming — and more touching. As the mother of two daughters with autism, I’m always cheered by literature that celebrates the dignity and capabilities of all. Special thanks to Rachel Miller for recommending this excellent book to me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I first picked up The Dollhouse Murders a little around five years ago, when I was a kid. I read it, it chilled me, I moved to another city, and slowly I forgot the title. Somedays the idea of the book came rushing back, and I was frustrated that I could not remember the title to reread it, at least, until I found the title in my brother's book order. The Dollhouse Murders is about a girl named Amy who moves in with her aunt to try and escape some stress at home. One day she discovers a dollhous I first picked up The Dollhouse Murders a little around five years ago, when I was a kid. I read it, it chilled me, I moved to another city, and slowly I forgot the title. Somedays the idea of the book came rushing back, and I was frustrated that I could not remember the title to reread it, at least, until I found the title in my brother's book order. The Dollhouse Murders is about a girl named Amy who moves in with her aunt to try and escape some stress at home. One day she discovers a dollhouse in the attic. Little does she know that the dollhouse represents a terrible event in the past, and may also hold the answers that are needed in solving it. Even still, five years later, when I reread The Dollhouse Muders it chilled me. As I classify it into the 'children's' genre, I found that it was simple and flowed easily, but also had the capacity to pack a punch, to say the least. This is a book that has been--and still will be--one of my chilhood favorites. Rating: 100/100

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Blocker

    When you work at a library, it's not uncommon for discussion to center around books. So imagine, one day, my colleagues and I are discussing the juvenile classics of the 80s. (By the way, this conversation was birthed while browsing the pages of Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss.) From this conversation came a call to read The Dollhouse Murders. I said, sure, why not. Immediately I regretted this. I had far too many books already on my to-read pile. It was Man Booker season, and I really didn't When you work at a library, it's not uncommon for discussion to center around books. So imagine, one day, my colleagues and I are discussing the juvenile classics of the 80s. (By the way, this conversation was birthed while browsing the pages of Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss.) From this conversation came a call to read The Dollhouse Murders. I said, sure, why not. Immediately I regretted this. I had far too many books already on my to-read pile. It was Man Booker season, and I really didn't have time for a juvenile mystery about a dollhouse. But I checked out the book anyway. Fortunately, the copy my library had was the original 1983 hardback. Why was this a good thing? Because it transported me to a very different time. How different? Let's take a look at the novel's description from the flap: Each time Amy goes up to the attic in the middle of the night, the dollhouse is filled with a ghostly light and the dolls have moved from where she last left them. Even though Amy's terrified, she knows the dolls are trying to tell her something. But what? Could their movements be connected to the grisly murders that took place years before? Amy becomes increasingly alarmed when her aunt Clare, who owns the dollhouse, grows angry at her questions. In a spine-chilling climax, Amy and her retarded sister unravel the mystery and liberate their aunt from a terrible burden of guilt. [emphasis mine] That was the 1980s for you. Amy's sister didn't even have a name. (Fortunately, Betty Ren Wright was much more sensitive to Amy's sister than whomever wrote that copy at her publisher's. Amy's sister is named Louann by the way.) I cringed as I cracked the cover. I admit my expectations were low. I can be a little bit of a book snob, and The Dollhouse Murders clearly wasn't going to be “my thing.” What more can I say? I was sucked right in. Taking into consideration the intended juvenile audience, The Dollhouse Murders presents an interesting cast of characters, as well as a story that is chilling and riveting. Sure, it's an absurd plot about dolls reenacting a murder, but it's well-written and compelling. It's a mildly scary mystery, not all that different from your average Stephen King story. Sure, for every part King there's one part Judy Blume, but I consider that an asset. For one thing, Blume is far better at creating believable, multi-dimensional characters than King ever was. No different here. Though The Dollhouse Murders was certainly little more than juvenile escapist lit, it was a very entertaining read. Also a plus, the original author photo: BAM! Check that out. Make no mistake about that cat's expression: he or she is the real writer here.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Venable

    I don't care what anyone says. Scholastic is BRILLIANT for keeping this amazingly bad cover. No revision could be as terrifying and wasn't that the whole point? This was the sort of cover I would have taped paper over when I was little just like I always did when I read THE WITCHES and any Bruce Coville where an adult was taking off their human face to reveal an alien one beneath. Yeah, book covers were so much better in the 80's. All and all not a bad story and certainly freaked the begeebees o I don't care what anyone says. Scholastic is BRILLIANT for keeping this amazingly bad cover. No revision could be as terrifying and wasn't that the whole point? This was the sort of cover I would have taped paper over when I was little just like I always did when I read THE WITCHES and any Bruce Coville where an adult was taking off their human face to reveal an alien one beneath. Yeah, book covers were so much better in the 80's. All and all not a bad story and certainly freaked the begeebees out of this 28-year-old at one point. I would even commend it for a rather decent portrayal of a girl coming to terms with her relationship with a mentally handicapped sibling, but DUDE the ending! THE ENDING! I like cheese and even this was too much for me. I don't care how good a murder mystery is. Without a good ending what's the point?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    Another great middle school read. Perfect for summer!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

    7 out of 10 Okay. Now I want to check other books by Betty Ren Wright. It wasn't that creepy, but it was very believable. Characters acted, thought, felt, and talked just like IRL as if it's not fiction and there actually is a family with dark past, and two sisters have a controversial relationship, but love each other no matter what. The mystery is the weakest part, you can't figure it yourself, 'cause you don't know all the details until it's all revealed. Anyway, nice and fast read. 7 out of 10 Okay. Now I want to check other books by Betty Ren Wright. It wasn't that creepy, but it was very believable. Characters acted, thought, felt, and talked just like IRL as if it's not fiction and there actually is a family with dark past, and two sisters have a controversial relationship, but love each other no matter what. The mystery is the weakest part, you can't figure it yourself, 'cause you don't know all the details until it's all revealed. Anyway, nice and fast read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was definitely a welcomed trip own memory lane!! Reading this book took me right back to middle school where every creak and scratch in an empty house made me jump!! The story of Amy really stood out to me, especially regarding the complicated relationship she had with her sister, Louann. I remember feeling that same guilt Amy did as a child regarding my own special needs sister and trying to navigate my own identity while also trying to spare the feelings of someone who is a bit different. This was definitely a welcomed trip own memory lane!! Reading this book took me right back to middle school where every creak and scratch in an empty house made me jump!! The story of Amy really stood out to me, especially regarding the complicated relationship she had with her sister, Louann. I remember feeling that same guilt Amy did as a child regarding my own special needs sister and trying to navigate my own identity while also trying to spare the feelings of someone who is a bit different. I loved how the author was able to tie these sentiments into an early adolescent murder mystery for preteens. It wasn’t gory or explicit but still just creepy enough!! This is like a cozy mystery starter kit for kids!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eden

    Amy is 12 years old, about to be 13 and she is tired of taking care of her sister. Amy's sister, Louanna, is mentally challenged. One day at the mall, when Amy was supposed to spend the day with her friend Ellen and she was made to bring Louanna, everything goes wrong. Amy has had enough and tells her mother so. But all her mother tells her is that she is selfish, that she is cruel and she is a girl that has everything. Amy becomes so upset that she runs to her Aunt Clare, who is currently stayin Amy is 12 years old, about to be 13 and she is tired of taking care of her sister. Amy's sister, Louanna, is mentally challenged. One day at the mall, when Amy was supposed to spend the day with her friend Ellen and she was made to bring Louanna, everything goes wrong. Amy has had enough and tells her mother so. But all her mother tells her is that she is selfish, that she is cruel and she is a girl that has everything. Amy becomes so upset that she runs to her Aunt Clare, who is currently staying in Amy's great-grandparents house. Aunt Clare can tell something upset Amy and when Amy tells her what's wrong, Aunt Clare gets the idea of letting Amy staying with her for awhile. She works it out with her Amy's parents and for a few weeks Amy will be staying with her Aunt Clare, and Louanna won't be there. Amy is happy to b there and even more happy when she finds a beautiful dollhouse in the attic. It looks exactly like the house she is staying in. It turns out the dollhouse is her Aunt Clare's. It was given to her by Amy's great-grandparents. Amy is fasintated by the dollhouse and loves to look it. But then, strange things start happening. The dolls in the dollhouse are moving! Doors are opening and closing, and the dollhouse lights up all by itself. Amy can't explain the things that are going on and she is beginning to get scared. I decided to read this after reading another book by Betty Ren Wright and liking it very much. The Dollhouse Murders hooked me right away and I couldn't put it down. The first chapter is intense, Amy having a fight with her mom and you can feel the frustration she feels with her mom for not being understanding. And when we get to the dollhouse, the description of it sounds lovely and it makes you wish that you could see it. You can also feel Amy's happiness when Aunt Clare invites her to stay for awhile. As I read more and more, I got wrapped up in the mystery of the dollhouse, the mystery of what happened to Amy's great-grandparents. What is happening with the dollhouse? What is it trying to tell Amy? I didn't know the answers to these questions so I had to keep reading to find out. Overall, The Dollhouse Murders is a page turner, a wonderful intense and sometimes creepy mystery.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tressa

    Found this at a thrift store to add to my juvenile literature collection. I love books about miniature people, and don't have any in my own collection. A teen girl who's feeling overwhelmed from taking care of her brain-damaged sister after school decides to spend a few weeks with her aunt, who is staying in her deceased parents' house and planning to clean it out so she can sell it and return to her life in Chicago. The girl finds a doll house in the attic (natch), and it comes with four dolls: Found this at a thrift store to add to my juvenile literature collection. I love books about miniature people, and don't have any in my own collection. A teen girl who's feeling overwhelmed from taking care of her brain-damaged sister after school decides to spend a few weeks with her aunt, who is staying in her deceased parents' house and planning to clean it out so she can sell it and return to her life in Chicago. The girl finds a doll house in the attic (natch), and it comes with four dolls: her aunt, her aunt's brother (the girl's dad), and their parents. After getting accused by her aunt of continuing to place the dolls in certain positions within the dollhouse that brings back bad memories for her, it is revealed to her that the mother and father were murdered while her aunt was out on a date, and the young boy was spared because he hid in a woodbox. The dolls keep trying to tell her who the murderer is by dropping hints and clues. As is true with all miniature fiction stories, the people don't go insane when they learn that dolls move and talk! This books is about as basic and predictable as you can imagine, but it's not a bad, quick read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I LOVED this book, but somehow had forgotten all about it until I saw someone's review on here. I remember that I had an intense reaction to the conclusion of the story, feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. I don't even really remember what happened, just that the dolls moved around and revealed who the real killer was. Perfect way to creep oneself out before bed! I LOVED this book, but somehow had forgotten all about it until I saw someone's review on here. I remember that I had an intense reaction to the conclusion of the story, feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. I don't even really remember what happened, just that the dolls moved around and revealed who the real killer was. Perfect way to creep oneself out before bed!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    An entertaining mystery for the YA/Middle Grade reader. Somehow I missed this one when I was growing up. It's better than most novels written for young people. The ghost stuff is well done and it has the added element of a young girl becoming a teenager and resenting all the babysitting she has to do for her disabled sister. Highly recommended. An entertaining mystery for the YA/Middle Grade reader. Somehow I missed this one when I was growing up. It's better than most novels written for young people. The ghost stuff is well done and it has the added element of a young girl becoming a teenager and resenting all the babysitting she has to do for her disabled sister. Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

    I received this book from a friend who thought I would enjoy it due to my belief in ghosts and the supernatural. She was spot on! This is a YA genre novel about Amy who is 12-years old and her family, especially her mentally challenged sister, Louann. Amy loves her sister, but is tired of having to deal with her. Amy has to take care of her after school while her parents are still at work and takes her wherever she goes. Amy resents it because she feels she is losing friends or is having a hard t I received this book from a friend who thought I would enjoy it due to my belief in ghosts and the supernatural. She was spot on! This is a YA genre novel about Amy who is 12-years old and her family, especially her mentally challenged sister, Louann. Amy loves her sister, but is tired of having to deal with her. Amy has to take care of her after school while her parents are still at work and takes her wherever she goes. Amy resents it because she feels she is losing friends or is having a hard time making friends. Louann makes them feel uncomfortable. After an incident at a mall involving Louann, Amy has a blowout with her mother and runs away to her Aunt Clare who is living on the outside of town in the house where Clare and Paul (Amy's dad) grandparents were murdered years ago. Aunt Clare actually lives in Chicago, has lost her job, and is back at the house to go through things to get it ready to be sold. Clare is more than willing to take in Amy. She needed the help cleaning the place and getting things ready to go. They are working in the attic when Amy discovers a dollhouse. It is huge with stunning likenesses to the actual house they are getting ready to sell. The miniature furniture is incredibly accurate to the furniture in the house, right down to the needlework on the cushions of the chairs. Amy is enthralled and can't understand why Aunt Clare gets so hostile when it comes to the dollhouse. Therein lies just part of the mystery. The story is filled with suspense, is eerie, and well written. It was so easy to get drawn into it and keep the pages turning just to see what was going to happen next. The characters were believable and likeable, even though I became annoyed with Amy's mom on more than one occasion. Ultimately, the story is about forgiveness and redemption. Fantastic!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Such a wonderful book for young readers. It covers some critical growing up topics and has a light mystery. The book centers around family and friends and what it means to be a friend and the importance of family. The eerie dollhouse and years unsolved mystery makes this a very intriguing story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I forgot how much I loved this book. It was probably the book that started my love with all things paranormal. 12-year-old Amy struggles to make friends as she is often called upon to take care of her 11-year-old developmentally disabled sister Louann. After fleeing to her Aunt Clare, who is currently staying in an old family home to ready it for sale, after an argument with her mother it is determined Amy should stay with Aunt Clare for a while. Amy finds her aunt's childhood dollhouse in the at I forgot how much I loved this book. It was probably the book that started my love with all things paranormal. 12-year-old Amy struggles to make friends as she is often called upon to take care of her 11-year-old developmentally disabled sister Louann. After fleeing to her Aunt Clare, who is currently staying in an old family home to ready it for sale, after an argument with her mother it is determined Amy should stay with Aunt Clare for a while. Amy finds her aunt's childhood dollhouse in the attic during her stay and is immediately drawn to the tiny replica of the family home. The fact that the dolls seem to move on their own is a bit disturbing though and leads her to research the deaths of her great-grandparents. While staying with Aunt Clare, Amy comes to terms with the mix of emotions she feels toward Louann and helps solve the mystery of her great-grandparents murder. While I still love the plot, it is obvious this book is not written in the current era, not because of any dated clothing descriptions or even lack of computers and cell phones, but due to the vernacular used to describe Louann. Early in the book she is referred to as "retarded". You never hear professionals use this word to describe people with developmental delays in the present day. I'm not even sure how often you hear this word used as an insult on the playground any more. Other than that, the physical appearance of the well worn book, and the dated cover illustration, I think the story holds up well to the test of time. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet one day soon and start calling the books I read as a child what they truly are...historical fiction (GASP). For now I'm just going to enjoy sharing a beloved childhood book with my own children.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    I first read this in middle school, and I remember being super creeped out by it but also enthralled. Throughout my childhood I was half convinced that my dolls and other toys came to life when I wasn't there (or awake), a thought that simultaneously terrified and excited me. The idea flourished in my mind thanks to a bunch of books, movies, and TV shows based around that premise, including this one. And, okay, I'm in my 30s now and I was STILL a little creeped out lying in my bed in the dark af I first read this in middle school, and I remember being super creeped out by it but also enthralled. Throughout my childhood I was half convinced that my dolls and other toys came to life when I wasn't there (or awake), a thought that simultaneously terrified and excited me. The idea flourished in my mind thanks to a bunch of books, movies, and TV shows based around that premise, including this one. And, okay, I'm in my 30s now and I was STILL a little creeped out lying in my bed in the dark after finishing it. What can I say, I'm a wimp (though, reading through the other reviews, this seems to be pretty common!). Anyway, the book still holds up pretty well, though it definitely has the feel of an early-'80s Scholastic paperback (and if you read a lot of those you probably know what I mean). Back then, it was enough to say the main character's sister was "brain-damaged" rather than really do anything to explain her disability — in fact, it was usually a good way to win brownie points for being "inclusive" (see also: all the Ann M. Martin books about autistic kids that stick extremely close to a very narrow stereotype). Still, Amy's relationship with her sister is well-explored (probably more so than any other), and though most of the adults in the book aren't given as much development as the sisters, it does a decent job of showing how traumas and struggles can affect people throughout their lives. I'm not sure I really appreciated that part as a kid, but I definitely did this time around.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Addy Browning

    Ok so what do you want to know about? Oh right, the book! It starts off with a girl, Amy, who has a mom a dad and a sister, Louannn, who thinks she is annoying. Her family can be a little bit frustrating, and one time she gets so angry she runs all the way over to a old family mansion, where her aunt is staying for a few weeks. Amy decides to stay with her aunt. When they go up to the attic there is a doll house just waiting with bad memories. Amy finds the old doll house full of mysteries. One Ok so what do you want to know about? Oh right, the book! It starts off with a girl, Amy, who has a mom a dad and a sister, Louannn, who thinks she is annoying. Her family can be a little bit frustrating, and one time she gets so angry she runs all the way over to a old family mansion, where her aunt is staying for a few weeks. Amy decides to stay with her aunt. When they go up to the attic there is a doll house just waiting with bad memories. Amy finds the old doll house full of mysteries. One day Amy's mom drops off her sister Louann, at the old mansion. Louann also has a disability and Amy's birthday is coming up soon. Amy and her Aunt are doing a party for Amy. When the party girl are over, Amy's best friend tell the rest of the girls about the doll house, NOT GOOD! One day the three girls are making cookies and the aunt tells them about the night her mom and dad were killed. And that's all I am telling you. I recommend this book to people who love creepy mysteriess. I like this book because I like mystery my favorite part was when they were making the cookies and she told them the story of the night the Aunt's Mom and Dad were killed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Piepie

    This was one of my favorite mysteries when I was a kid (my copy had a different cover), and I'm glad to see the story holds up even now that I'm much older! I loved the murder mystery, loved the family secrets, and drama. Main character Amy desperately needs a break from "sister-sitting"; her mentally challenged sister, Louann, comes across as more of a burden than anything else. We all know someone like Louann, and we look on people we know like Louann's family and think to ourselves, "How on e This was one of my favorite mysteries when I was a kid (my copy had a different cover), and I'm glad to see the story holds up even now that I'm much older! I loved the murder mystery, loved the family secrets, and drama. Main character Amy desperately needs a break from "sister-sitting"; her mentally challenged sister, Louann, comes across as more of a burden than anything else. We all know someone like Louann, and we look on people we know like Louann's family and think to ourselves, "How on earth do they do it??" I thought the struggles between Amy, Louann, and their mom were very realistic and very well plotted out... and of course you can't help but cheer when Amy finally finds a friend in Aunt Clare. Clare is strong and independent... or is she?? Overall, a fun little story, thoroughly worthy of all its awards and achievements.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Oh Scholastic, you knew how to get me to part with my hard earned allowance. Scary books dealing with dolls coming to life was a pretty common theme in the 80's. This book scared the CRAP out of me the first time around, and I recently found it used for super cheap and it still kind of gave me the creeps. Behind the Attic Wall trumps Dollhouse Murders but barely. Oh Scholastic, you knew how to get me to part with my hard earned allowance. Scary books dealing with dolls coming to life was a pretty common theme in the 80's. This book scared the CRAP out of me the first time around, and I recently found it used for super cheap and it still kind of gave me the creeps. Behind the Attic Wall trumps Dollhouse Murders but barely.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liza Morrison

    Wow, how books have changed in the past 20 years. No one would publish a 120 page book for 9-12 year olds like this anymore. Murder, hauntings, guilt, uptight parents, crazy mood swings - I read this kind of stuff when I was younger and didn't become a serial killer so why are some parents today so worried about letting kids read this kind of thing? Wow, how books have changed in the past 20 years. No one would publish a 120 page book for 9-12 year olds like this anymore. Murder, hauntings, guilt, uptight parents, crazy mood swings - I read this kind of stuff when I was younger and didn't become a serial killer so why are some parents today so worried about letting kids read this kind of thing?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    This was a surprisingly deep read. I borrowed this book thinking that it was going to be about murders and haunted dollhouses (which it is), but I didn’t expect the touching depiction of life with a mentally challenged sister that was also inside. In The Dollhouse Murders, Amy temporarily moves to her Aunt Clare’s home after being exasperated at the fact that she has to take care of her neurodiverse sister Louann every day. But when she discovers the gorgeous dollhouse that Aunt Clare has, Amy fi This was a surprisingly deep read. I borrowed this book thinking that it was going to be about murders and haunted dollhouses (which it is), but I didn’t expect the touching depiction of life with a mentally challenged sister that was also inside. In The Dollhouse Murders, Amy temporarily moves to her Aunt Clare’s home after being exasperated at the fact that she has to take care of her neurodiverse sister Louann every day. But when she discovers the gorgeous dollhouse that Aunt Clare has, Amy finds out that her family is hiding a dark secret, one that hasn’t been resolved. In terms of mystery, this was very straight forward. There aren’t many twists or much of a sense of satisfaction when it came to the big reveal. The dollhouse did play a pretty good role in making the story feel spooky, but if the mystery was the only thing the book relied on, then it wouldn’t have been as good a read it was. What made this book stand out was the character of Amy. Wright accurately captures the complexities of living with a neurodiverse sibling; Amy’s love, guilt, and frustration with Louann was very real to me. The book is really centered around their relationship and Amy’s relationship within her family as Louann has to take on a major caregiver role to her sister. I was pretty touched to see how Amy worked through her feelings and relationship towards her sister through her stay at Aunt Clare’s and her investigation into the mystery. Overall, this is a book with surprising depth. It’s definitely aimed at a younger audience, but the characters were excellently written and, I feel, will resonate with those who have neurodiverse people in their families. This review was first posted at Eustea Reads

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I'm really glad I never had a dollhouse when I was younger because otherwise I would have had to deal with a ghost moving my dolls around to reenact a murderous scene. But seriously. This was one of the (many) books I read half a dozen times or more when I was a tween and one of the (few) books I thought may be worth reading again as an adult. I also wanted to recommend it to my 4th grade daughter but couldn't recall if it would be appropriate just yet or not. The spookiness of the story stands up I'm really glad I never had a dollhouse when I was younger because otherwise I would have had to deal with a ghost moving my dolls around to reenact a murderous scene. But seriously. This was one of the (many) books I read half a dozen times or more when I was a tween and one of the (few) books I thought may be worth reading again as an adult. I also wanted to recommend it to my 4th grade daughter but couldn't recall if it would be appropriate just yet or not. The spookiness of the story stands up against time even if the calling Amy's mentally challenged sister, Louann, "retarded" does not. Good riddance to offensive words we've worked to dispose of. I wouldn't have flinched at it at the time, however, so there is no penalty for it being in there. Even after all these years - and it's been quite a few years - I was still turning the pages wanting to know what would happen next and rooting for Amy to prove to Aunt Clare that she wasn't a liar. The subject matter is a little "older" than I remember, but we also watched ourselves (and other children) at age 8, rarely washed our hands after playing in dirt, and stayed outside for hours upon end without adult supervision when we were kids. Ahhh. The good ol' days. 5 Stars when I was 12 3.5 Stars when I was *cough*35*cough* 4 Stars 'cause math n' stuff

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Because Amy is so tired of caring for her mentally challenged sister, Louann, she goes to stay for a few days with her Aunt Clare who is in town for the summer to close up and sell the house where her grandparents were murdered. Amy finds a dollhouse in the attic that looks just like the house where she is staying, right down to the furniture. Amy places some dolls in the house and enjoys playing with them until one morning, she wakes up and finds that they are in different places than the night Because Amy is so tired of caring for her mentally challenged sister, Louann, she goes to stay for a few days with her Aunt Clare who is in town for the summer to close up and sell the house where her grandparents were murdered. Amy finds a dollhouse in the attic that looks just like the house where she is staying, right down to the furniture. Amy places some dolls in the house and enjoys playing with them until one morning, she wakes up and finds that they are in different places than the night before. Clare becomes very angry when Amy tells her about the moving dolls because she thinks Amy is lying to her and moving the dolls herself into the positions where her grandparents were found after the murder. It is difficult to determine what is going on with the dollhouse in The Dollhouse Murders. Are the dolls really moving themselves or is someone going to the attic each night an moving them? There is also the unsolved murder of Clare's grandparents from years before, making this an interesting and unique mystery.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this story. If in the course of my review I spell names wrong, I do give it my best guess. Wright did an excellent job of describing 12 (turning 13) year old Amy's feelings about always being "stuck" with her brain-damaged younger sister Louann. Help for Amy comes in the form of Aunt Claire who understands Amy's frustration as well as Louann's desire to go everywhere with and do everything that Amy does. When Amy goes to Aunt Claire to escape fr I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this story. If in the course of my review I spell names wrong, I do give it my best guess. Wright did an excellent job of describing 12 (turning 13) year old Amy's feelings about always being "stuck" with her brain-damaged younger sister Louann. Help for Amy comes in the form of Aunt Claire who understands Amy's frustration as well as Louann's desire to go everywhere with and do everything that Amy does. When Amy goes to Aunt Claire to escape from the burden of constant responsibility for Louann, she finds a haven. Aunt Claire even suggests Amy keep her company as Claire cleans out and prepares the old family home for sale. In the attic, Claire shows her the doll house, a replica of the big family home, complete with dolls representing Claire's grandparents, Claire and her little brother Paul, Amy's father. Thus is set the stage for a doll house that lights on it's own and dolls that move. It takes both Amy and LouAnn to solve the case of the doll house murders and bring peace to an old house.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natalie S

    I read this as I had remembered it from my childhood, and finally found the title. However, I think it stuck in my mind so well because of how creepy it had been. I have to admit its a good story though. Heart warming (the family side) and shows empathy and acceptance (through the sister with brain damage). Still not something to read right before bed, even at my age.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Boomers Gems

    I read this book as a child and decided I'd like to revisit my past. I chose to listen to the audio book this time which I enjoyed. It was fun hearing the narrator change her voice for each character. I realized instantly that I didn't remember the story line at all, which made it a mystery til the very end. Definitely written for kids, but easily enjoyable. I also watched the 1992 movie which was totally budget friendly but entertaining enough. It also followed the book to a T, so that was cool I read this book as a child and decided I'd like to revisit my past. I chose to listen to the audio book this time which I enjoyed. It was fun hearing the narrator change her voice for each character. I realized instantly that I didn't remember the story line at all, which made it a mystery til the very end. Definitely written for kids, but easily enjoyable. I also watched the 1992 movie which was totally budget friendly but entertaining enough. It also followed the book to a T, so that was cool

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    2.5 I'm wavering between 2.5 and 3 stars. This was okay. 2.5 I'm wavering between 2.5 and 3 stars. This was okay.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    A good little slice of life book with great spooks along the way! Definitely good for those who are further along with chapter reading skills.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    A childhood favorite 💕 This is spooky and sweet, just like I remembered.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    One of my favorite childhood mysteries. Still just as good now as it was when I first read it. Slightly dated of course, but still a great read.

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