Friday, July 18, 2014

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

I really enjoyed reading this book. The pictures weren't always overly realistic (as compared with, e.g., Miss Peregrine's Home...), the story had all kinds of holes, and the characters were weak and flat, but the story was quickly paced and creepily presented, and overall, I was very pleased to have read it.  In fact, I immediately put the sequel on my wish list.

So, the story: Dan Crawford is a 16-year-old gifted student on his way to spend several weeks in the New Hampshire College Prep program (located in an old insane asylum). where he expects to finally be surrounded by other overly-smart kids, like himself.  In fact, when he arrives, he is confronted with an overly-overly smart roommate, who is odd and off-putting. Dan finds an old photo in his desk with what appears to be a doctor whose eyes had been scribbled out, and Dan's odd roommate tells him there are plenty more in the "off-limits" portion of the college, where the asylum has not been renovated or even made safe for students.

Dan is curious about the photo and, after meeting hew new friends Abby and Jordan, he sets forward on a plan to discover what he can about the asylum, its doctor, and hopefully anything else that will explain the odd visions and experiences Dan begins to have.

Of course Abby is this perfect little quirky beautiful teen who is (of course) drawn to Dan (who kind of loves her), and Jordan is your somewhat standard genius gay kid who's just looking for a break from the oppression that is his parents. Abby, Dan, and Jordan have a fun relationship that is immediately tested and challenged, and they struggle with loyalties and suspicion when a murderer appears to be on the loose in the asylum.

So yeah, you can probably see from that brief description that there are already some holes that are bound to appear in the plot. But for me, I read through them all very quickly and got myself all nice and creeped out. I think if you read this one too carefully or too slowly (or on too bright of a day ;)), you might find it hard to ignore the flaws, but if you allow yourself the indulgence on a stormy night, you might enjoy the book anyway.

As I said, notwithstanding some of the issues, I *really* enjoyed reading this and I am definitely looking forward to the  sequel. There were definitely some questions left unanswered, which I expect to be addressed in the sequel.

And for it all, I'm intrigued by Roux and will keep an eye on other books she publishes.
FOUR of five stars.

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