Madeleine Roux is the author of the experimental fiction blog "Allison Hewitt is Trapped" and "Sadie Walker is Stranded." She is an up-and-coming author, and ASYLUM is her debut novel for young adults.
An old psychiatric ward in New Hampshire is turned into a college prep facility and houses gifted high school students for a summer program. Dan Crawford is dreading his arrival at the school, and he is nervous about making new friends. Eventually, he settles in and becomes very close with Felix, Abby and Jordon. All three are interested in the psychiatric ward’s history, and they are even more interested in finding out what mysteries it holds.
"If you’re looking to settle in with a good mystery novel, then get ready to solve the eerie cases of ASYLUM."
Dan notices he is having reoccurring, vivid nightmares on a regular basis and wakes up in a haze, not knowing where he is. Strange letters with poetic messages are appearing in random places, like Dan’s sweatshirt pocket and in front of his dorm door. Cryptic text messages are also being sent to Dan, but he is afraid to tell his friends in case they think he may be going insane. The number 3808 constantly appears and Dan thinks this may be a room number that will lead him to the answers of the mysterious ward. But Dan isn’t the only one who is experiencing these visions and omens; Abby also starts to act differently. She is drawing disturbing pictures of a little girl with black holes for her eyes, nose and mouth. She also finds out she may be related to a former patient.
ASYLUM holds many secrets that the reader has to figure out. Are these instances happening by coincidence, or are they actually being relived through the lives of three normal teens? Roux leaves the reader guessing what will happen next. This book has many surprising twists that will appeal to a large audience. However, Roux’s writing style can become wordy at times, and this may deter the reader from the main plot. If you’re looking to settle in with a good mystery novel, then get ready to solve the eerie cases of ASYLUM.
Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski on May 29, 2013