Cover Image: A Danger to Herself and Others

A Danger to Herself and Others

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Hannah Gold has somehow ended up in a secure unit and is labelled a danger to herself and others.  Hannah and Agnes were only playing a game or truth or dare; how did it come to this?  Stuck in a tiny cell with only daily visits from Doctor Lightfoot - so called because she wears ballet slippers and can barely be heard on the floor - to keep her going.  Hannah cannot leave the room; she has not earned those privileges yet.  One day, Hannah is joined by Lucy, a ballerina with an eating disorder.  Slowly Hannah comes to see that Lucy is her ticket to freedom in the hospital - the ability to eat in the canteen or to not have to shower alone.  Hannah comes from a jet set lifestyle with parents who have flown her all around the world and stayed in the best hotels and eaten in the best restaurants.  How did she end up in here - medicated and monitored all day long and not even knowing what day it is?  The answers to these come to us slowly and are just as shocking to us as they are to Hannah.

What I enjoyed most about this was Hannah.  She is a fascinating character and narrator; always full of intrigue and ideas but sympathetic at the same time.  Hannah could easily have come off as manipulative in how she works to use Lucy to gain more freedom but she really doesn't.  You are actually willing these things to happen for her - such as helping to sneak Lucy out for her dance audition or responding far better to Lightfoot and learning just what is going on.  What comes as a shock is just why she is there and just what happened.  I don't want to reveal anything at all or indeed give away any spoilers so I am keeping this review as ambiguous as I can - it would simply spoil the whole thing and I don't want to do that.  What I will say is the way this book is written is incredibly engaging and interesting; you learn at the same rate Hannah does.  It's not like she's withholding a big reveal, she genuinely doesn't know, and when you learn it together it becomes all the more surprising and exciting.  

Hannah becomes a far more sympathetic character as the story moves on.  You feel her frustrations, her sadness, her shock and you end up rooting for her far more than you thought you would to begin with.  She comes across as unpleasant at times, admitting she stole Agnes' boyfriend from under her nose, and more friendly at others in how she supports Lucy in achieving her dream and taking a lot of risks in the process.  As her treatment progresses what we learn becomes clearer - almost the same rate the fog in her mind is clearing.  I liked this aspect of the narrative a great deal.  You followed the journey with her.  The more you learn about Agnes, Lucy and Jonah the more shocking things become.

Definitely one of the better books I have read that deals with mental health issues with a sympathetic and interesting narrator.  I would say I enjoyed this one almost as much as something like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; a story with a character you sometimes really like, sometimes get frustrated with, and sometimes wonder what on earth she is doing and why!
Was this review helpful?
Sheinmel masters the art of suspense in this novel.  She takes the reader on a journey on what seems like a descent into a psychotic state, but is actually just the opposite.  The reader is carried along by the suspense, fear, and anxiety Hannah experiences in confinement to a institution for psychiatric observation.  Sure that her confinement is a misunderstanding after her roommate falls off a window ledge resulting in a coma, Hannah waits to be released.  Slowly, she begins to realize her reality is not the same as those around her.  

Readers of We Where Liars will be enthralled with this novel.
Was this review helpful?
Predictable but still a very interesting look into one girl's experience in an institution setting. Even though I guessed why she was there I still couldn't put it down. I wish I had a look at the 'after' - Did she take her meds, did she have any more hallucinations, who else did her mind 'create'? I hope there's a second one with more to Hannah's story! Maybe even some side stories of Queen Bee/Cassidy, and what made her so eager to behave and get out too, like Dr. Lightfoot said.  I can’t remember if her disorder was directly named, but I appreciate the addition of NAMI’s information.
Was this review helpful?
When we are first introducted to Hannah, it is made clear that she is a rather unreliable narrator -- her thoughts are all over the place, and she has been confined to a mental health hospital for reasons that are unclear -- just that she is "a danger to herself and others." Hannah is arrogant, conceited, and her narrative keeps you turning pages as quickly as possible to uncover what in the world happened to her.

Halfway through the book, I had to rush back to the beginning and begin reading again to try to find all the clues I had missed. Sheinmel has certainly written a very gripping book that left me absolutely surprised and had me feeling very sorry for Hannah by the final chapters. This book is very difficult to put down because you just need to know what is going on and what happened. I would fully recommend this to anybody looking for a gripping read with a twist.
Was this review helpful?
For the first few chapters, I wasn’t overly engaged with the novel, but then so many twists and new characters were involved within the story and I couldn’t put this novel down!
I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book and would recommend it to anyone who can get their hands on it!
Was this review helpful?
Alyssa Sheinmel is one of those authors who I would love to meet and pick her brain about where she gets the ideas for her books and how can write novels that are capture living with a mental illness perfectly. This book did not disappoint and if you have loved her past books it's a must read.
I had no idea what to think of Hannah at the start, she was a confusing character to the say the least  though a part of me felt mad on Hannah's behalf and how she was being treated. But as the book went on my feelings started to change about Hannah and how I felt about her and as much as the book was a journey about Hannah it was also a journey of my feelings regarding Hannah and her situation. I had no idea where the book was going and I honestly don't know what to write about this book as I feel that describing it won't do it justice and you really must read it for yourself to get the full experience.
This book is a must read and while it is dark in areas, I am so glad I read it and I have no doubt that this book will stay with me for a long time.
My one complaint is that this book needs a sequel with more of Hannah's story, I just feel like Hannah's story isn't complete yet.
Was this review helpful?
A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel is the sort of book you enter with a mild curiosity. You're introduced to the rather strong personality of Hannah immediately as she opens her thoughts to you regarding the reason for her confinement in a mental health facility. She knows she does not belong there, that her captivity is a mistake, and she is just waiting for the doctor--whom she nicknames Lightfoot--to come to the same conclusion. Almost instantly we are introduced to a character who knows what has happened and what is going on as a result, however we are left in the dark about the details and events that led up to Hannah's imprisonment. This was such a fascinatingly effective tool for the author as it kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the course of the novel. I grew more and more desperate to learn what had happened to Hannah's friend Agnes as the story continued.

Hannah's voice is a powerful one, filled with a singular perspective that leaves readers feeling completely captivated by her story. Though we spend very little time outside of the hospital, every moment of Hannah's experience is thoroughly engaging. We follow her through her initial days and the start of her therapy and experience her every thought during that time. I was constantly back and forth between whether or not I liked Hannah, her thoughts alternating between the sort I could empathize with and the sort that made me feel she was an awful human being. It was a fascinating reading experience, one that I don't have very often. Despite myself, I found that I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. She’s a flawed character in many ways, but it is that fact which makes her so fascinating.

Much of A Danger to Herself and Others is shrouded in the mystery of one’s own reality, what that means, and resultingly the reality of others. The truth is opened up to readers in a slow, but enticing manner. You’re left at the edge of your seat, devouring each page with an odd need for more. In the strangest of ways, I could sometimes see myself in Hannah’s position, feeling as she was feeling. And in a character as dark as she is, the fact that the author managed to evoke such feelings from me was shocking and extrordinary. It’s certainly a reading experience that I am unlikely to ever forget.

A Danger to Herself and Others isn’t a book that I’d go out of my way to buy nor one that I see myself reading a second time. But that does not take away from how raw and exemplary the first reading of it is. I definitely am glad that I had a chance to read this book and I believe others should definitely read it themselves. The writing was superb, capturing the internal thoughts of a girl dealing with a significantly difficult to grasp change in her life, the slow burn of her realization about who she is and what that means. I would 100% recommend this book for the initial experience alone.
Was this review helpful?
Meet Hannah, a teenage girl who is very intelligent, comes from a wealthy family, and has a perfect life.
Or does she....
Hannah has been placed in a mental facility after her friend has an “accident” and Hannah is the main suspect.the relationship Hannah has with her parents is very hard to read. They definitely struggle with her having a mental illness and react to it in a very ugly way. 
Hannah has to come to terms with her diagnosis and we are all left wondering what really happened?
Was this review helpful?
A Danger to Herself and Others
Written by: Alyssa Sheinmel
Genre – Young Adult, Psychological Thriller
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Release date: February 5, 2019

	Hannah is an intelligent young lady, who makes all straight A’s. Her parents often joke that Hannah was “born mature” and that she was “a precocious child”. Being such a strong student, Hannah is invited to spend her summer at a college dormitory, where she has an opportunity to earn college credits early. While there, she befriends her roommate, Agnes. 
	One evening while the girls are playing childish games, an incident occurs. Agnes ends up in the hospital and Hannah in a psychiatric ward for teenage girls. Why can’t her psychiatrist see this was an accident? She just wants to go back to her wealthy lifestyle. Thankfully, Hannah is able to make a friend out of her new roommate, Lucy. Maybe her new roommate is an opportunity to prove to all that she isn’t “a danger to herself and others”.
	This book discusses mental health, giving us a deep look into some of the issues those who suffer from mental illnesses experience and the consequences that one might endure. I did not like Hannah’s family. It was difficult to understand their point of view. I felt so bad for Hannah. This book was written like a psychological thriller, without the thrill. I felt there were a few loose ends, like almost finishing a puzzle to realize 3 pieces were missing. That being said, the author did an amazing job placing us in Hannah’s mind. I didn’t love or hate this book, I would recommend it to some, but not all.
Was this review helpful?
In "A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS" readers meet Hannah Gold who presents as a typical teenager. She may seem a bit arrogant, but I found that trait easy to overlook. 

Hannah has been sent to a mental institution after her roommate was injured in an accident. She knows she isn't like the other residents, she is only there because of a misunderstanding. 

It is the way that Hannah comes across initially that makes her such a memorable character. Even after the book ends, Hannah's journey will stay in the hearts and minds of readers for a long time. 

Once in awhile a Young Adult book is published that actually provides an authentic look at the lives of a segment of the teen population that  has been largely ignored by the majority of authors. This lack of diversity is finally being charged with the publication of books like this one. 

While mental illness is starting to be talked about more and more - with such movements as the "You Are Not Alone" and events such as "Mental Health Awareness Week" we still have a long way to go before the societal stigma attached to mental illness is a thing of the past. 

That is why books like this are not only entertainment. They are also eye-opening and help people to identify with the person rather than the illness. 

In Chapter Seven, Dr. Lightfoot says: "We need to wait until my evaluation is farther along before making any changes to your treatment plan." In her head, Hannah thinks: 
"Further, not farther, I think. They could at least give me a doctor who knows basic grammar. It's not exactly comforting that my fate is in her hands." 

I had already begun to like Hannah's character, and her reaction to the doctor cemented it for me. I like this girl. 

I barely knew anything about her yet, but somehow the author has created a sympathetic character that I could relate to. Other readers will likely have the same reaction which means they will become invested in the outcome of her incarceration, making it likely they will not want to put this book down. 

I rate "A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS" as a full 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I believe this book will not only be on the 2019 Bestsellers List, but will also win multiple awards. 

Thank you very much to the Publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
3.75/5

Overall I quite enjoyed this book, it was something new and different, which is always nice to encounter in the YA section.

As someone who also enjoys reading books about mental illness I thought this was done "well enough" although there were a few details that didn't ring true to a real 'institutionalisation' to my knowledge- however the author does acknowledge this in the authors notes.

Overall I enjoyed Hannah (our main protagonist) as a character, I liked that she was so smart and how that impacted her views on herself and others throughout the book. 

I also liked the development and commentary on Hannahs relationship with her parents.
What at first seems like an enviable lifestyle and relationship with her parents really develops into something a little more sinister and toxic throughout the novel. Along with this Hannah's relationship with her parents pre and post- diagnosis is also really interesting to see, and I think this is a very important theme that has been broached in this novel. How diagnosis' affect those close to the patient or person and the relationships with the patient/person thereafter.

Only main points for improvements would be more character building of Lucy, Jonah but especially Agnes.
I would have liked the middle to end section with a bit more pace, and for it to not end so abruptly, a few loose ends left at the end, I would have liked to follow her story for a bit longer.
It would have been nice to have narrative from the parents POV or the Doctors POV and that might have added a nice elements of layering stories of the same scene on-top of one another and confusing the reader a bit more into figuring out what is real and what isnt.

Overall a good read that offers unique subject matter to the YA genre, I think readers will find this very enthralling and interesting
Was this review helpful?
Hannah is incredibly intelligent, a year away from entering an Ivy League College, and, as her parents have always said, 'born mature'. So this must clearly be a mistake. Why would anyone want her locked up in a psychiatric facility for teenage girls?  After all, Agnes' fall was an accident. She has to make her psychiatrist realize that. She has to get out of here. When Lucy arrives to the facilities, Hannah sees the chance she had been waiting for: she will befriend the girl and prove to everyone that she is not, as her file states, "a danger to herself and others". 

A Danger to Herself and Others is a compelling story that gives a very interesting perspective into mental health, its consequences to the people who suffer from a mental disorder, as well as the consequences for the people around them. Sometimes directly and sometimes through Hannah's memories, we learn about her childhood, her family's dynamics, and how those change during this ordeal. 

Accompanied by exceptional narrative, the story combines very good character building with smart twist plots. Hannah is a very intelligent person, which makes it all the more difficult both for her and for the reader to accept that something is, indeed, wrong with her. Many thriller aspects along the way make this book all the more intriguing, and the unanswered questions will make you want to read this in a day! Strongly recommended for fans of ya and thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
I was really curious about this book just based off the synopsis alone. I have a weird fascination with mental health institutions. I was definitely hopeful that I would enjoy this book, but considering I've DNFed a previous book by this author, I was also very apprehensive. That feeling did not last long as I was hooked almost immediately. Love that feeling! 

2019 is going to be an amazing year for YA. I'm writing this review in September and I've already read 3 2019 books and all of them have been awesome & have exceeded my expectations. Immediately upon picking up this book, my brain started to question things and I questioned things throughout the entire book. Was it really an accident? Was Hannah really as smart as she was portrayed? And what about her parents? Were they really as disinterested in her as they appeared to be? And the most important & broadest question: What the hell was going on?

Hannah struck me as very odd. Especially when it came to her talking about Agnes & Jonah. She seemed to have every excuses in the book about her betraying her friend for a boy. I struggled to feel anything but contempt for her. How could she rationalize what she and Jonah were doing to Agnes? See, told you there were questions all through this book. I love books that have me questioning everything at every little turn.

Hannah was labeled "A danger to herself and others" on the paperwork when she was admitted into the institution, which of course lead me to believe that they didn't believe the incident was an accident. Because of her label, Hannah was allowed no privileges. She was in solitary confinement and the only time she seemed to have people in her room was when the doctor, Lightfoot, Hannah called her, came into the room. The doctor was usually accompanied by a man named Stephen. Honestly, I kept expecting Hannah to explode and rage out on Stephen.

And then there was Lucy. She was fascinating for more than one reason. I found her as captivating as Hannah, but I didn't feel nearly the amount of contempt for her as I felt for Hannah. Lucy was there for her own reasons, reasons I suspected early on. She didn't seem afraid of Hannah, which struck me as odd. Maybe she didn't know the reason Hannah was there.

This book was so creepy and captivating. It actually reminded me a lot of Girl, Interrupted, which I loved. A book like this has to be character heavy, which this one was. I wanted just a bit more character development for all of them. I wanted more specifically for Hannah's parents, who seemed very child-centered at first, but then as certain things unfolded, I realized they were pretty distant parents.

Final thoughts: If you want a book where you'll be questioning everything, all the time, pick this book up next month.
Was this review helpful?
A Danger to Herself and Others follows the main character, Hannah as she is placed in a mental facility after she was court ordered by the judge as she was deemed to be a danger to herself and others based on an accident that happened to Hannah's roommate Agnes that lead Agnes into a coma. Throughout the story line Hannah says it was an accident and does everything possible to be able to get released and go on back in her life as it was before she was sent there. We end up finding out what really happened to Agnes as Hannah starts to think and replay that day out. Agnes' accident was neither Hannah's or Agnes' fault. Eventually, Hannah does get released towards the end of the book after her appearance in court.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I just couldn't put it down. It was an easy read as the chapters didn't seem very long. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars was because I would have wanted to read how her life would have been after being home and following up with her new doctor. It kind of just left it open with no actual ending as to how Hannah and her parents get through with her mental illness and figuring out ways to make Hannah's life better, as well as their relationship.
Was this review helpful?
A Danger to Herself and Others starts off as a story of a conceited teenage girl who finds herself wrongly placed in a mental institution after being involved in a friend’s accident. Hannah is so mature, so sophisticated, and so intelligent. She certainly cannot belong in this crude and inhumane mental hospital under the watchful eye of countless orderlies and the condescending and unethical Dr. Lightfoot. 
A Danger to Herself and Others immediately pulls you in and grips you tight as Hannah navigates her new surroundings and routine inside the institute while you slowly learn the truth of what happened to put here there in the first place. Hannah is eventually diagnosed with a mental illness and placed on medication. As her symptoms subside, she’s forced to reckon with her experiences of the past few months as well as what being mentally ill means for her future outside of the walls of the institute. If you’re looking for a novel that offers deep analysis of mental illness, this isn’t the book for you. Although it doesn’t really offer any profound ideas about mental illness, A Danger to Herself and Others is captivating and well written with a narrator who you can’t help but wish the best for as she starts a rocky new chapter in her life.
Was this review helpful?
What an incredibly unreliable narrator, and I mean that in the best way! Without going into too much detail and spoiling the story for someone else, I loved that I never knew if I could trust Hannah. Were the events taking place real? Was she lying...again? Since Hannah isn’t even sure of this, it really left the reader trying to put the pieces together.

This was a very quick read for me. The beginning was so captivating. I had trouble putting the book down because I needed answers. I also feel like the author did a great job with shining some light on mental health and the stigma that comes with it. The ending fell a little flat for me and I found it to be a bit abrupt, but I still give this four stars. I’m curious to see what else this author has written.

Thank you NetGalley, for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.

For the most part, I found this a fast paced, thrilling book.  Lots of wondering what the hell is going on and then  pieces of the story slot in to place and things begin to make sense . . . or so you think and that’s just the first part of the book – unfortunately, it begins to slow down in parts 2 and 3, which is a real shame. 

Hannah is our protagonist.  She has been hospitalised against her wishes after a game that she was playing with her best friend goes wrong – but it’s ok.  It’ll all be sorted out soon and everything can go back to normal.   But until then, Hannah has been labelled “A danger to herself and to others” and must be kept in isolation. 

There are some really well thought out characters in this book who I really wanted to know more about but I accept that if other characters had been allowed to develop, it would have taken the focus away from where it needed to be. 

I don’t want to go into any more detail, for fear of giving the plot away but I gave this book a 4 star review on Goodreads. 

Many thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Can you say CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT? Hannah Gold is in a psychiatric facility after her roommate at an advanced summer school program falls from their second story dorm room and goes into a coma. Hannah believes she didn’t do anything wrong and that the whole situation is a big misunderstanding. At the start of the book Hannah is so convinced of her intellectual superiority that she tries to manipulate her doctors into thinking she’s fine. She reminisces about her time at summer camp and the boy she was hooking up with there. As time goes on, we learn with Hannah that she has been hallucinating - that the boy from camp wasn’t real and neither is her current roommate in the institute. 
Hannah struggles to differentiate what in her life was real and what was hallucinated. 
At the beginning of the book I did not like Hannah, but as she grew and showed remorse for the things she’d done, I couldn’t help wanting the best for her. This was one of the best books I’ve read all year, 5/5.
Was this review helpful?
Received this ARC from Netgalley. 
I enjoyed this book. I found it to be a page turner and couldn't wait to see how the story played out. I couldn't decide if I liked Hannah or not,  though.  In an accurate display of mental illness she didn't come off as a sympathetic character.  
The ending was a bit slow, yet it did end abruptly so that part was a bit unsatisfying. 
I would recommend giving it a try, though..it was a quick, easy read.
This review is on Goodreads.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you SOURCEBOOKS FIRE and Netgalley for allowing me access to the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. *trigger warning: self harm, eating disorders, mental illness*

This book follows the main character Hannah and her stay at a mental institution after an accident with her roommate. As a mental health professional, I am intrigued by books about mental illness and I felt that this did not necessarily portray an accurate account of what would happen when you are ordered for an inpatient stay while awaiting a legal issue. The ending was abrupt and did not leave the reader with much closure.

I think the overall idea of the book was good and YA readers that are not familiar with psychosis will find this a fast read that they cannot put down. I think younger adults will enjoy the thrill of wondering if Hannah deserves to be there or not.

One other note, I understand that the title of the book is A Danger to Herself and Others, and as a mental health professional, labels can stick with a person and shape who they are. However, I feel that the use of the title every time that she is reminded that she's dangerous was redundant. I searched on my kindle and a variation of that whether it was stated by her, in parenthesis, or in her own head was utilized at least 36 times. I think that the reader understands the gravity of her condition and doesn't necessarily need to be reminded, even though the character herself may be reminding herself of it (which may have been the reason the author chose to continuously use the phrase).
Was this review helpful?