Asylum by Madeleine Roux
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.
Thoughts before you started reading Asylum?
CHRISSI: I wondered whether this book was going to freak me out. I have a very vivid imagination, so it doesn’t take much to spook me. I’m exactly the opposite to Luna with what scares me.
LUNA: Excited, I’ve been holding on to this for in the run up to Halloween so I’d have a spooky read.
What did you think of Dan, Abby & Jordan?
CHRISSI: I didn’t think they were amazingly well developed characters, if I’m completely honest. I found Dan and Abby intirguing, but they’re not overly memorable.
LUNA: Honestly they felt kind of flat. 😦
CHRISSI: I enjoyed reading the letters/emails that were left…
LUNA: See “favourite character/moment”
CHRISSI: I felt at times the scenes in the story were dragged on more than necessary. I think it could have been a much more fast paced, shorter story which would have had more of an impact.
LUNA: The pictures. They do not add anything to the book. I’m not sure that the point of them was.
For example the picture of the girl on the bed at the end of chapter 24, there is no mention of a female patient in that chapter. Or the church picture? (Chapter 32) It’s a building, the picture is just a black and white photo of a church – nothing spooky about it. Or the girl on the cover? Again, she does not feature in the story. Most of the photos have little impact and they aren’t unnerving, they feel like an interruption to the narration.
CHRISSI: The moments when they were in the old room together. It felt creepy and atmospheric.
LUNA: When they found the stairs behind the panel. It had a good set up of ‘this is going to get good i.e. harrowing…‘ I was picturing the room differently from the photo (see above question). I think this is part of why I didn’t get on with Asylum. My imagination was making it way darker than the photos and they would then try to correct me. But anyway I enjoyed the build-up in that scene, the ‘what is going to be lurking’?
Was Asylum what you expected?
CHRISSI: It was less creepy than I had expected!
LUNA: Sadly not. I know it’s a long-running joke/thing that I’m ‘un-scareable’ but based on the blurb I thought Asylum had a good shot as being atmospheric, spooky or at least a little bit unnerving. Someone none of this seemed to happen.
Would you recommend it?
CHRISSI: Yes, but not if you’re looking for a terrifying Halloween read.
LUNA: Not sure. I know there is a sequel, but I’m not tempted enough to find out how this story develops.