The Lost Entwife, December 2, 2013 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I am a pansy when it comes to scary stories. I will readily admit that. The book can be even not well written and I'll still be pansy. Add pictures into the mix and yeah, I'll be sleeping with my light on for at least 2-3 nights after finishing the book (and sometimes during if I just can't finish the book in one setting). Asylum was one of those books - I was so tired and haunted by the images in the book that it was a two night read for me...and the result was I spent a few nights restless in my sleep due to having to have my light on.
I don't know about you, but the idea of an old mental asylum is only second to an abandoned carnival ground on a terror-ranking list. When I was in my late teens, I accompanied a boyfriend and my sister to an abandoned penitentiary in eastern Wyoming. It was Halloween and the workers had a blast filling each room with re-enactments of terrible things that may have happened. Asylum provoked the memory of that experience through the medium of the included photos. Not to mention - anytime I see a picture with eyes scratched out on it I get massive heebie-jeebies.
That's not to say that Roux wrote a story that could have creeped me out. In fact, without the addition of the pictures, I think I might have been a bit bored by the story. It was a pretty typical one - group of kids get locked up, essentially, in a creepy old building and start investigating its history. I got some massive Scooby Doo vibes from it. But Roux did take it a step darker, which was necessary, with the inclusion of the photos. The photos (and their credits are included at the back of the book) are a story in themselves. So much horror contained in each, it is worth picking up the book just to examine them.
I don't know of many kids that could handle the level of creepy that Asylum boasted - the photos might just have been a little over the top. But I leave that judgment up to the parents. For me, those photos were enough and I won't be able to get through a night in the near future without having that one little thought in the back of my mind that something might just happen once I click my light off for the night.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program�"it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum�"a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity. (Synopsis provided by goodreads)
I struggled when deciding if this was a 3 or 4 star book. 3 seemed too low and 4 seemed to high, so I did 3 1/2.
It was creepy and wonderful, but there were a few things I felt were left unanswered, which is what dropped it down from a solid four stars.
I want to say that I find asylums completely creepy! The fact that this book had pictures of asylums gave the book a higher creepy factor. I liked the characters a lot Abby was great, Jordan was fun and kinda an ass. Felix was always kind of a question mark, which I liked.
There were a few things that were very predictable, but there were a few things that surprised me. I would have liked to have seen a few things fleshed out a bit more and I really wanted a few answers that I never got. (I believe this is a stand alone novel.)
The writing never seemed fake, by that I mean the characters always felt genuine and it always felt like they were being true to themselves. I also never felt like the relationships in the book between the characters were ever forced.
I really wanted to know more about Dan's past, but we never really got that information. Would have nice to know more about Lucy as well, but again we never really get that information.
Aside from that, I did really enjoy the book. Fall is almost here and that means Halloween, the perfect time to read this book. If you like creepy books then I would suggest picking up this one and giving it a read.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Horror author Roux makes a strong YA debut with this creepy tale of a haunted asylum and the teenagers who are drawn to it. When Dan Crawford attends a summer program at New Hampshire College, he ends up housed in Brookline, a former asylum now being turned into a dorm. Along with fellow students Abby and Jordan, he starts exploring the basement of the dorm, where (conveniently) old records are stored. As they investigate, the students are plagued by horrifying dreams, and Dan starts to have blackouts, discovering strange unsent texts and emails and learning about conversations that he doesn't remember. Students are being attacked in the dorms, and as Dan begins to unravel his own ties to the asylum, he wonders if he might be responsible for the crimes. Roux (aided by unsettling photo illustrations of abandoned asylums and tormented patients) creates an entertaining and occasionally brutal horror story that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma and terror on a place. Open questions at the end invite a sequel, though there's also a good sense of closure. Ages 14 – up. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Heather Brewer, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod,
“Days after reading Asylum, I'm still haunted by the images that Madeleine Roux's words conjured. I just want to curl up inside her skull and exist for a while in its dark, twisted magnificence. Brilliant!”
“Page-turning. Fans of ‘found footage' horror will enjoy this visually creepy take on the haunted-institution setting.”
“The plentiful illustrations both advance the story line and immeasurably contribute to the spooky atmosphere. With its abundant jump scares, horror readers and fans of the TV show American Horror Story will delight in the fast-paced plot.”
by Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA),
“Illustrations used in this book are from actual asylums, and the author builds the tension nicely as Dan receives what may be messages from an inmate. A good choice for readers who enjoy books with scary situations that lead to a solid climax.”
“Madeleine Roux's Asylum takes the fondest dream of our collective nerdy childhood and handily turns it into the scariest collective nightmare.”
“I started reading this one at my desk in broad daylight and still got goose bumps.”
by Harper Collins,
Once you get in, there's no getting out.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, a summer program for gifted students is the chance of a lifetime. No one else at his high school gets his weird fascinations with history and science, but at the New Hampshire College Prep program, such quirks are all but required.
Dan arrives to find that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline dorm — formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here... secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum's dark past. Because it turns out Brookline was no ordinary psych ward. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring haunting found photographs from real asylums, this mind-bending reading experience blurs the lines between past and present, friendship and obsession, genius and insanity.
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