What is Going on at the Eerie Blackwood School in the YA Classic 'Down a Dark Hall'?!

What is Going on at the Eerie Blackwood School in the YA Classic 'Down a Dark Hall'?!

Thursday, 3 September, 2020

The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.

This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.


This weekend, take a bookish getaway to a boarding school that will make you feel quite grateful to be an adult. I read this book when I was a teenager and again recently. It still packs an enjoyable spooky punch while perfectly capturing the uncertainty and frustration of that age between childhood and fully-functioning adult. — Melissa

Being a teenager is a tough business! There’s the changing hormones and the raging self doubt and the fact that adults make all of your decisions for you.

Plus they never ever ever hear what you’re trying to tell them.

When Kit Gordy finds herself sentenced to attend a private school at Blackwood Hall, she’s angry at her mother, anxious about her new fellow students, and heartbroken to be leaving her best friend behind.

And then everything gets much, much worse.

At first, it’s easy to reason away the weird dreams, nonexistent cell service, letters to family that go M.I.A., and the shadows that lurk in the dimly lit hallways of the creeky old mansion. The stress of the new environment and the academic pressures are surely to blame. But rumors that the school is haunted swirl around the students.

creepy piano with a candelabra
Photo courtesy of Richard Ludwig/Unsplash.

Soon, Kit and her classmates begin to exhibit previously undemonstrated talents. When and how did Kit learn to play the piano like that?! It’s unclear to her and her friends just what is happening, but she knows she doesn’t like it — and she’s terrified that she won’t found out what’s going on before it’s too late.

This novel by Louis Duncan — author of the YA horror classic I Know What You Did Last Summer and dozens of other books — is moody, unsettling, rich with atmosphere, and populated with relateable teens. The headmistress Madame Duret and her creepy cohorts are chilly and chilling villains you won’t soon forget.

Dragging in her breath, Kit did the only thing that she could do. She closed her eyes and screamed. — Lois Duncan

Down a Dark Hall

by Lois Duncan

This YA suspense novel (240 pages) was published in April of 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The book takes you to an isolated boarding school in the country. Melissa read Down a Dark Hall and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

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Down a Dark Hall


Top image courtesy of Drew Beamer/Unsplash.

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