Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Asylum is a chilling, creeptastic novel about Dan, a high school student attending a summer program for gifted students at a college in New Hampshire. The college used to be an asylum, and parts of the basement still hosts the old chambers. Dan is geeky and a bit of a loner, so he’s thrilled to meet gorgeous, outgoing Abby, and her friend, Jordan. The three of them form a close bond, and they even take some classes together. But one night they go exploring in the basement of the asylum, and that’s when things start to go wrong.
Dan is tormented by nightmares, people get hurt, and the three of them receive strange messages that could be from the beyond. On top of that, we see a glimpse of Dan’s past, his visits to a therapist, and some reasons are alluded to, but unfortunately never fully explained.
The creepiness is high in this one, and the author does a great job describing the creepier scenes. However, the characters were problematic. Dan has so many secrets shrouding his past it’s difficult to connect to him. For a large part of the book, I thought he would be an unrealiable narrator, and this also kept me distant from him, but at the same time, heightened the mystery. Jordan and Abby felt a little underdeveloped, and their behavior was all over the place – some thanks to the asylum, some of it seemingly random.
I felt like a lot of things weren’t explained yet and some issues could’ve been explored further, but overall, I had a fantastic time reading this. Plus, the photographs gave the book a nice touch.