16-year-old Dan Crawford spends his summer at New Hampshire College Prep. The dormitory he is assigned to is none other than the infamous—converted and newly renovated–Brookline Sanitarium. Soon after his arrival at the college, Dan makes friends with Abby and Jordan, who soon find themselves exploring the abandoned, eerie hidden recesses of the Brookline. Soon after their first midnight escapade, the trio begins experiencing the supernatural. Dan receives mysterious notes and visions, Abby’s mood takes a turn for the disgruntled, and Jordan begins losing sleep over frightening nightmares. The events that unfold beg the question, did these teens choose Brookline, or did Brookline choose them?
Asylum is a great book for those that read and enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Roux employs some really creepy found-photographs to help the reader feel a part of the story. It is a bit of a scary read, but not too scary so fans of the thriller genre may like this one as well as the horror fans and adrenaline junkies.
My Reaction: I liked this book. Ever since Rigg’s book (referenced above), I have taken an interest in books that use “found photography.” I think it is a really neat way to get a better picture of what the characters are experiencing. I also enjoyed that this book was creepy without ever crossing the line which makes it appropriate for a range of audiences. On the negative side, I thought the characters were a little bit flat and there were some loose ends (i.e. strange “coincidences”) that never get fully explained. Maybe you can chalk this up to it being the first in a series, but I doubt it. The overall plot was well-done and the setting was fabulous. I might re-read this one just in case I missed something. Grades 7 and up.
Themes: Ghosts, Haunted, Insane Asylum, Sanitarium, Summer School, Prep School, Mystery, History, Friends