Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Aw heck.  I really wanted to like this teen novel, but it fell short of my expectations.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux is similar in look to Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children (which if you haven't read, please do now!).  But unfortunately, the story was a bit jumbled and not compelling enough for me to be super excited over this novel.

Asylum takes place at a college in New Hampshire that just happens to have an old asylum on the premises.  The New Hampshire College is tucked away in a small town and hosts a summer program for high school students to participate in classes and potentially become future students at the college.  It's a beautiful place, but it is surrounded by the evil that took place at Brookline, the asylum, over fifty years before.

Enter Dan Crawford.  He's sixteen, adopted, and is eager to have a fun summer exploring his interests at the summer program.  He soon meets Abby and Jordan, two other students who click with Dan.  Dan's roommate, Felix, shows Dan a few pictures he found in the basement of Brookline:  photos of a man with his eyes scratched out, and pictures of patients.  They are disturbing, and soon Dan is drawn into investigating the basement of Brookline--which is strictly off limits to the students.  Because the regular dorms are undergoing a renovation, the summer school students are housed in Brookline on the upper floors.  It's a bit of a creepy idea, and I'm not sure an actual college would ever do that.  But it keeps Dan, Abby, and Jordan in close proximity to danger.  

Strange notes, texts on Dan's phone, and nightmares begin plaguing all three kids.  What is going on at Brookline?  And is Dan simply crazy, or is the warden haunting him?  

It's all there to be a good novel.  Unfortunately, the action doesn't really move much at all until the last 50 pages.  The photos in the books are interesting, but don't really add too much to the storyline.  And so many questions are left unanswered that it's obvious a sequel is required to answer them.  Which leaves me dissatisfied.  Lots of strings left untied that just left me losing interest.  

Rating:  4/10 for a great idea, but a weak story.  

Available in hardcover and e-book.

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