Jayla Walters isn’t sure what to expect when her father’s job uproots her and her brother, Dion, to Estes Park, Colorado. But right away, something doesn’t seem right with their hotel. Jayla soon discovers that their home for the week, Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, is the most haunted place in all of Colorado. Barely asleep the first night, Jayla watches a ghostly woman walk toward her bed. And the ghost visits her room every night. What does the ghost want? And what happens when Jayla and Dion get in her way?
- Title: Trapped in Room 217
- Series: Haunted States of America
- Author: Thomas Kingsley Troupe
- Illustrator: Maggie Ivy
- Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
- ISBN: 1631632159
- Publication Date: September 1, 2018
- For Ages: 8-12
- Category: Middle Grade
- Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? ☠️ Scary.
I’d like to thank Jolly Fish Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have a confession to make: I only picked this book up because of its setting. The horror fans among you are nodding knowingly right now, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Stanley Hotel, let me explain: it’s the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining and Stanley Kubrick’s subsequent film adaptation of the same name. Thomas Kingsley Troupe slips in a few clever nods to those works, but Trapped in Room 217 is definitely its own story. Troupe is more interested in one particular tale from the Stanley’s haunted history than in hedge mazes or bloody elevators.
The majority of the story focuses on the ghost of Elizabeth Wilson, a former maid at the Stanley who is by and large a benevolent spirit. Her appearances are still quite eerie, though; when Jayla wakes up to see the apparition at the foot of her bed, Troupe makes the reader feel like they are right there with Jayla, trying to hide under the covers and make sure they don’t make eye contact with the spirit. The scariest encounter, however, occurs when Jayla and Dion meet the other ghostly inhabitants of the hotel. I don’t want to spoil that part for you, so let me just say that I read that part in bed with the lights off, and I was so creeped out that — even in 90-degree weather — I ended up with a heavy blanket over my head.
The story is compelling and the characters are interesting, but the climax of the story was incredibly frustrating for me. Jayla thinks Elizabeth is trapped in the Stanley, so she tries to help her spirit move on to a better place. However, the way Jayla plans to do this makes absolutely no sense. She ends up wreaking all kinds of havoc that never would have occurred had Jayla taken any logical action. I must admit it diminished my enjoyment of the book a bit. Still, it was a fun, spooky read, and I always enjoy hearing stories about the Stanley.
Trapped in Room 217 is a quick, enjoyable book for fans of history, horror, and the paranormal. There was no artwork available in the e-galley I read, so I’m afraid I have no opinions to give on Maggie Ivy’s illustrations. But it’s a fun ghost story with a creep factor enhanced by the fact that it’s based on a real-life haunting, and I’m curious now to check out the other books in the Haunted States of America series.
All work and no play….well, you know. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 coffins.