Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Summary (goodreads.com): 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.
Asylum was everything I wanted it to be and more. The cover caught my eye one day and even though I knew I shouldn’t borrow it because of my school workload I did anyway. It lures you in with the vintage asylum photos and keeps you interested with its suspenseful, well written but simple story. I think the reason I like Asylum is the fact that the main character, Dan is staying in an Asylum turned College Dorm. I think this is ironic because there is an abandoned haunted asylum next door to my college and they REALLY want to buy it and make it into dorms. I am seriously considering just giving them a copy of this book and see if they rethink their so-called “brilliant” idea.
The story of Asylum was exciting, intense, and creepy at times. The action was spaced out nicely throughout the book so it felt believable and the mystery was intriguing. And yet, I felt as if I was just watching the action unfold instead of being inside the story with Dan and his friends. The best thing about this book, however, is the pictures. Scattered periodically throughout there is a mixture of real vintage photos found in asylums and images (such as the photos of the letters from the story) that were made specifically to enhance the experience of the action while reading the book.
Asylum was a quick, fun read for me during my school semester because it was such a change from what I was reading in my classes at the time (primarily research criticism, philosophy of ethics, Presidential biographies, and novels with fashion and sex as major themes). It helped me escape academia for a brief shining moment and I am grateful for it.