Asylum & A Great and Terrible Beauty


Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

As research for my own novel, Miss Poppins, I’ve been trying to find other YA horror books.

But sadly I didn’t end up enjoying this book as much as I thought I would. From the beginning I wasn’t enthralled with the story. The characters seemed weren’t terrible but they weren’t anything unique or compelling either. They felt very flat. From there the plot was also fairly predictable, though I wasn’t able to predict who ”did it”.

My main complain with the story was it just wasn’t creepy. I was never scared, never got goosebumps, I wasn’t even mildly disgusted. The story just felt like every other murder story that’s set in an asylum. It was old news and boring.

In the end I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads.


Goodreads Synopsis: It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to? 

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I finally had a chance to read this book over the fall, I wish I had gotten to it when I was younger as I might have found myself more interested in the plot then.

I had heard so many great things about this book I think I hyped it up too much in my head. Right off the bat this book is cliche, in the first chapter the main character meets the guy she’ll later be attracted to. It’s one of those ridiculous moments where you can almost see it playing in slow motion and I almost quit right then.

From there I just went back and forth. I liked some of the minor characters in the story, but not enough that I found myself enthralled with the stories. Mostly I just felt bad for them.

My main issue with the book was the racist treatment of all the POC characters in the book and the use of slurs.  The male lead is fetishized for his looks, he’s from India and his dark skin is referred to as “exotic” at least once. It made me very uncomfortable, especially as this book seems to be so popular.

The plot has some twists that I didn’t see coming, and for that I did give the book 3 stars on Goodreads. Every time I thought I would quit the book something surprising happened. But I wish that Goodreads would give half star ratings because honestly this book is more like 2.5 stars.

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