Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: The Crazy School

From the acclaimed author of A FIELD OF DARKNESS comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare. Madeline Dare has finally escaped rust-belt Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. After her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. Behind the academy's ornate gates, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. From day one, Maddie feels uneasy about smooth-talking Dr. Santangelo but when she questions his methods, she's appalled to find that her fellow teachers would rather turn on each other than stand up for themselves, much less protect the students in their care. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, then hints at an even darker secret history, one that twines through the academy's very heart. Cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students-kids whose troubled grip on reality may well prove to be her only chance of salvation.  (summary from goodreads)

My thoughts...For me, reading The Crazy School was a bit like riding a roller coaster.  It has its ups and its downs.  Let me start with what I liked about the book.  The plot of this story contains a huge mystery to be solved.  This mystery is written in a way that you have no idea who can be trusted, who is lying, or manipulating everyone in the story.  I second-guessed everyone.  The characters were interesting.  It is my understanding that the school portrayed is based on an actual institution.  In today's society it seems to be a stretch that places like this exist, however the book takes place in 1989.   While shocking at times, I found it believable, scary but believable.  

The Crazy School has quite a bit of shock value.  I was shocked by the way the students and the teachers conversed.  I was shocked by the language and innuendos.  Initially (mainly due to the cover), I thought this was a YA story.  It's not.  I stumbled through parts of the story because I wasn't sure if certain parts were an attempt at crude humor or a display of the twisted reality of this school. 

Overall, I liked the book.  Cornelia Read has a unique writing style that won't appeal to everyone, but would entertain a wide range of readers. 

For more information, including links to purchase this book, visit Cornelia Read at her website.


Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I have this book, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Can you read this as a standalone, or would you need to read Field of Darkness first do you think?

Elie said...

Leanna, The Crazy School could easily stand alone. I didn't realize there was a previous title. Good to know!

Alessandra @Out of the Blue said...

Pretty cover. I love books with butterflies on the cover!

Blog designed by TwispiredBlogdesign using Joifa Design's Innocent Imagination kit.