Mental health awareness wrapped in a captivating storyline.

THE CASTLE SCHOOL (FOR TROUBLED GIRLS)

High school senior Moira Dreyfuss is sent to a remote boarding school known as the Castle.

After the death of her best friend, Moira’s dismal school attendance and late-night graveside visits coupled with a new tattoo push her worried Jewish parents over the edge. Moira is banished to the Castle, a school for troubled girls where psychiatrist Dr. Prince believes removing young people from their current environments will help them confront their problems. A day at the Castle for the 12 girls in attendance begins with breakfast and group therapy followed by low-effort classes and individual therapy. Moira isn’t happy about being sent away and knows she’s disappointed her parents, but she also senses that the Castle is not what it seems. When she notices her window’s broken padlock, she and her roommate, Eleanor, begin to sneak out and unravel the secrets of the institution and its leader, the enigmatic Dr. Prince. Moira’s character growth unfolds gradually and is satisfying to read; her fellow classmates prove that they’re far more than their diagnoses. Told with an air of mystery and populated with raw, struggling girls, this novel encapsulates themes such as grief, mental illness, addiction, and the value of friendship in times of suffering. It offers a haunting portrayal of the real mental, physical, and emotional challenges that adolescents struggle with. Characters are diverse in ethnicity, family background, and sexuality.

Mental health awareness wrapped in a captivating storyline. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-098-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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