The Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards are held annually to recognize excellence in writing by authors residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the category of Children’s/Young Adult Literature, Charis Cotter was the 2022 Winner for her book, The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, presented at the A.C. Hunter Children’s Library on September 28, 2022. Congratulations Charis!
The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story
By Charis Cotter
360 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735269088 | Tundra Books
Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip – the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady. The house is huge, imposing, and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect – not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed – a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse. . . . When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house?
“A cross between Alice in Wonderland and Narnia with some time travel thrown in for good measure. Cleanly and beautifully written, Charis Cotter’s style is consistent and never flags.
Twelve-year-old Alice finds her summer plans upended when her parents suddenly separate. She must go with her mother who takes a job with a mean elderly lady in a creepy old house in a small town far away. When Alice discovers an exquisitely detailed dollhouse in the attic of the house, it provides a portal to people and events of decades past and Alice is drawn into these experiences.
The character of Alice is real and well-drawn. Lily and Bubble, who are developmentally challenged, are sensitively portrayed, adding an extra dimension of sweetness to the story. There’s an even pull of events as the plot unfolds in a gentle fashion.
Like Alice, the reader is unsure what is real and what is imagined. The haunted house within a haunted house concept is unique and original. Scary without being too frightening, an excellent spooky story written to be savoured.“ —The Children’s/Young Adult Literature Jury