Published by Harper Children's on August 20, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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 love horror movies, even the bad ones… well, not the truly bad ones, but I’m pretty open to all horror movies. Asylum is a lot like a horror movie, a good, if not great one. Characters do inane things that, in a movie theater setting, would have you throwing popcorn at the screen and yelling, “Don’t go in the basement!”. If common sense ruled the day, then most horror stories wouldn’t last beyond a page or two. The characters go in the basement because deep down inside, we want them to go to the basement, while we safely watch from our cozy couch or favorite reading chair.
What sets Asylum apart is that the book is full of nerds. Math nerds, art nerds, book nerds, etc. It’s kind of wonderful. Who else would be excited to go to school during the summer, on purpose, in an old insane asylum? Well, I would, but I’m not normal. I loved the setting, I loved the creepy photos, the scary nightmares and the intense emotions of the three main characters.
Is this a perfect book? Nope. You will need to suspend your imagination quite a bit. Other than Dan, the characters are a bit one-sided. However, it kind of works in a scary novel. The story unfolds in just a few short weeks, there really isn’t a lot of time for depth and character study. This is just a good, creepy tale. And even though some things were completely predictable, there were some surprises at the end.
Dan Crawford- our main nerd, er, character, in a nice twist, he’s a adopted foster kid with good adoptive parents.
Abby– a girl who blends nerd with eccentric artist. A bit of a manic pixie girl, but in a more realistic way.
Jordan– an attractive, full of common sense, gay nerd. He’s our voice of reason. He was definitely my favorite character.
Felix- Dan’s roommate, hard to pin down nerd. He’s socially awkward, but very much into girls and exercise.
Sal Weathers- investigator, hobbyist, ghost hunter. Runs a website about Brookline asylum, theorizing that they created, rather than treated, the insane.
Dennis Heimline- Brookline patient, serial killer known as The Sculpter. *shivers*
Joe- cute red-headed hall monitor.
Yi- Jordan’s cello playing nerd roomie.
Prof. Reyes- History of Psychiatry professor, very interested in the history of Brookline.
Pastor Ted- holds some information on past residents of the asylum.
Warden Crawford- ran Brookline, Dan discovers some of his journals.
Okay, I’ll try to explain without giving a spoiler… the midnight moment for me came when a certain character finds writing in his or her notebook that does not match their handwriting. Kind of freaked me out.
Stop the Clock
I think Asylum makes for a good, spooky Halloween read. It’s not going to change your world, but it will entertain you. Like in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, it uses creepy pictures to set the tone. You know that 24 Hour Readathon coming up? This would make a good book to add to your pile.
Asylum gets a Midnight Book Rating of: