In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…
Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.
But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.
And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.
Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.
But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.
From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness. (Source)
Plot: When it comes to horror novels, plot lines can be a bit predictable. Especially when ghosts are involved. I picked this book up at random- never having read from Alender before- and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the plot line wasn’t completely new and inventive. It is about a girl moving into an ex-insane-asylum-turned-house. From there, you can only imagine where the book is going to go. Except, it takes a completely surprising turn I did not see coming! Rather than the book being about her trying to fend off ghosts or trying to rid them from her house, she actually is killed off almost right away. Then she herself is the ghost. And from there you think she’ll spend the book trying to reach out to her family, except that’s not the case either! Because her family moves away out of grief and she is left alone. It’s such an interesting twist you don’t see coming. Rather than being the stereotypical ghost story, it shows you what happens once she is actually killed. I don’t want to give away too much more than I already have, but it’s definitely not a predictable book. And I wouldn’t even call it “horror” but it has just enough thrills to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Character(s): Delia- There were times I was annoyed with her and there were times I loved her. She can be a bit of a “whiny teenager” about the move and things like that. However, a lot of what she’s feeling is fair and justified. And when she tries to tell her mom something is wrong with the house, they make her out to be this dramatic teenager when she’s not. I think that Delia is a fairly relateable character in this way though. She has her flaws and there are times I think she could be better, but she is doing what we all would probably do in her situation. One thing I will say is that all of Aldender’s leading ladies from her different books all seem very similar.
Cover: It’s a pretty standard thriller/horror book cover, but I do like it. Nothing special, but enough to give you the feel of the book.
Closing Thoughts: I had never read a book from Alender before and it’s safe to say she has a new fan. Her books are simple, but compelling. I picked this up because I really enjoy books with insane asylums (a weird fascination) and was not disappointed. I loved how she took such a simple story idea and ran with it and made it something unpredictable and fun. It isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but I loved every second. There are just some books that for whatever reason can get me back into reading. This was one of those books. After reading this, I went back to the library and read everything else she had (reviews to come soon). I think I can safely say this was my favorite of her books and I highly recommend. It’s spooky and chilling but not terrifying. She does a good job of keeping you up at night, but not enough to give you nightmares. I know I give out a lot of As, but I think this definitely is worth it!
Where to find Katie Alender: