Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

  • Method of Obtaining: My copy was obtained at my local library.
  • Published by:  HarperTEEN
  • Release Date:  08.20.2013

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.

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My Review:

I am a pansy when it comes to scary stories.  I will readily admit that.  The book can be even not well written and I’ll still be pansy.  Add pictures into the mix and yeah, I’ll be sleeping with my light on for at least 2-3 nights after finishing the book (and sometimes during if I just can’t finish the book in one setting).  Asylum was one of those books – I was so tired and haunted by the images in the book that it was a two night read for me…and the result was I spent a few nights restless in my sleep due to having to have my light on.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of an old mental asylum is only second to an abandoned carnival ground on a terror-ranking list.  When I was in my late teens, I accompanied a boyfriend and my sister to an abandoned penitentiary in eastern Wyoming.  It was Halloween and the workers had a blast filling each room with re-enactments of terrible things that may have happened.  Asylum provoked the memory of that experience through the medium of the included photos.  Not to mention – anytime I see a picture with eyes scratched out on it I get massive heebie-jeebies.

That’s not to say that Roux wrote a story that could have creeped me out.  In fact, without the addition of the pictures, I think I might have been a bit bored by the story.  It was a pretty typical one – group of kids get locked up, essentially, in a creepy old building and start investigating its history.  I got some massive Scooby Doo vibes from it.  But Roux did take it a step darker, which was necessary, with the inclusion of the photos.  The photos (and their credits are included at the back of the book) are a story in themselves.  So much horror contained in each, it is worth picking up the book just to examine them.

I don’t know of many kids that could handle the level of creepy that Asylum boasted – the photos might just have been a little over the top.  But I leave that judgment up to the parents.  For me, those photos were enough and I won’t be able to get through a night in the near future without having that one little thought in the back of my mind that something might just happen once I click my light off for the night.

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