Title: Asylum | Series: Asylum #1 | Author: Madeleine Roux | Publisher: HarperTeen | Pub. Date: 2013-8-20 | Pages: 317 | ISBN13: 9780062220967 | Genre: YA Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased
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.
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.
I think I’m done with photo-novels. I’m obviously not meant for them. I liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children well enough (at first at least), and the pictures portion of it was a novel idea (pardon the pun) but ultimately just felt forced. However, I was willing to give it another shot, especially when I heard about Asylum. The synopsis was fascinating, and I loved the front cover. Plus, I’d heard lots of good things. And, given that I can appreciate a good YA horror ever now and then, it was worth the cost (I thought).
Unfortunately, Madeleine Roux’s Asylum was almost impossible for me to finish. While it started off strong, by halfway through, I was telling myself “Come on, you paid for this. You need to finish it.” That thought kept me pushing on long past the point I would have laid it aside otherwise. But my opinion of this book wavered between ‘utterly bored’ and ‘mild to moderate distaste’. The characters annoyed me. The story felt like it plodded along. The only thing that kept me from abandoning it in the end even though I didn’t particularly like Dan, I was curious about the changes the author was showing in him. When I finally turned the last page, though, I just sighed and wrinkled my nose.
The ‘haunting found photographs’ aren’t really haunting, either. I mean, some of them are mildly creepy. Kind of. A little. If you tilt your head and narrow your eyes just right. (Or maybe I’ve just read and watched too much horror. I’m fully willing to admit that’s entirely possible.) I found nearly all of them to be average ‘random’ photographs that felt about as real as found footage films, ya know?
Overall, I wasn’t a fan of Asylum. I can’t even recommend it as ‘horror lite’ for beginners. If you’re looking for something creepy in the YA territory, try Beneath Claire’s House by Corey J. Popp or Shutter by Courtney Alameda instead.