Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Horror, Paranormal Mystery
Release Date: August 20, 2013
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Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
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.
I read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children back when it first came out and fell in love with the mixing of historical photographs with a fantasy/paranormal story, so when I heard about a similar concept coming out set in a spooky old mental hospital I knew that I wanted to read it in October when I like to overdose on horror books. While I really like the idea behind this book, I felt like my expectations might have been set too high. It’s also one of the few times I’ve branch out into a male POV story.
Dan Crawford is looking forward to being surrounded by people that love school and learning as much as he does at a college summer prep program in New Hampshire. Since the school’s main dorms are under construction during the summer the kids are put up in the old insane asylum purchased but the school after it was shut down.
Right away there are signs to Dan that something about this place just isn’t right, but he keeps these thoughts to himself over most of the book. Even after he makes friends with Abby and Jordan, proceeds to lose their friendship and gain it back again, he keeps so much of himself locked away that I don’t see how Jordan and Abby can stand to be around Dan.
I’m not sure if it’s because I was expecting Dan to act a different way, but almost all of his interactions with Abby, and the romance parts were very annoying to read and seemed to dumb down what little suspense parts there were. If the book had focused itself more on the mystery and background while mixing in the romance there would have been a better flow and balance to the writing.
Asylum is one of those books where lots of things happen while nothing really happens overall. The characters don’t show any significant growth or change by the end, instead they merely survive even though many plot points haven’t been wrapped up. I haven’t figured out if there’s supposed to be a sequel but that’s kinda what this ending felt like it was leading up to. Despite my negative tone so far, Asylum is still a good, quick read great for this time of the year.