Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: Horror, thriller
Released: 26 August 2014
Series: Asylum #1
Once you get in, there's no getting out.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he find that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing the students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm - formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here... secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum's dark past. Because it turns out Brookline was no ordinary psych ward. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring haunting found photographs from real asylums, this mind-bending reading experience blurs the lines between past and present, friendship and obsession, genius and insanity.
An asylum-turned-dorm, with a sealed-off office and basements - it's just screaming to be explored by students in the college prep program. And as the creepiness increases, it's just a matter of time before someone it admitted.
Dan Crawford arrives at New Hampshire college for summer, taking part in the college prep program. It's an exciting time, except for the prospect of the accommodation being an old psychiatric hospital. When Dan finds a creepy old photo in his desk draw, his roommate kicks off Dan's obsession and intrigue about the building - there is a locked office filled with more old photographs, except it's actually unlocked. Upon entering with his new friends Abby and Jordan, the trio begin to uncover the true horrors that took place at the Brookline Asylum - extreme medical experiments that attempted to 'fix' murderers, all at the hands of the warden. As they continue to explore into the depths of the basements, Dan, Abby and Jordan realise they are more closely connected to the asylum's history than any of them knew, and that the past is trying to get revenge on the present.
Let me start off by saying this book was not exactly what I was expecting, but it was still amazing. It may have not gone down the path I thought it would, but where it went was still so creepy and had me sitting on the edge of my seat. For the last half of the book I could not put it down, and was left wanting more when it finished.
I really enjoyed the addition of the old photographs, although I felt some were just randomly placed, rather than relating to what was happening in the story. Either way, they definitely added to the creep-factor and added a new element to the story. Imagining these photos and old wings of the asylum is one thing, but actually seeing them makes the story feel so much more really and scary.
What I particularly enjoyed was that Madeleine slowly increased the mystery and creepiness of the book, only giving the reader enough to pull them into the story more before backing off and returning to the 'normal' lives of the main characters. As the story progressed, you got a little bit more each time until everything came to a head in the final few chapters and things got hectic. And just when you think the book is wrapped up enough to allow you to patiently wait for the next book to arrive in the mail, the final page pulls you back in and now I'm sitting here waiting for the mailman to arrive!
Overall, this book was such a thrilling read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys falling into the world of creepy old asylums. I can't wait to dive into the rest of the series, because I desperately need to know what on earth is going to happen!