A Danger to Herself and Others

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

This was a quite unique book, with some serious themes and a little bit of suspense, I like it a lot and I recommend it to the ones who are fond of this genre and kind of story!
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Like a day or so again I finally finished my ebook ARC copy of A Danger to Herself and Others (this book is already out, I am just a little behind on my reading due to work which is why this break has been so exciting)! I started this book not that long ago but I was able to finish it in about a day and a half once I started my break from work. I am glad I had the chance to read it and I feel Hannah’s story is interesting and in a way taught me a lot but I also feel like it may have been missing something.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Hannah Gold is away from her parent’s for the summer at an academic summer camp at a university before senior year starts. She has always been very into academics and this camp and senior year are important to her getting into a good school after high school. For this camp Hannah is out west, in California, she is from NYC and things are all new for her. She has a roommate named Agnes and the girls get along great, spending their nights staying up late talking and sharing things about their lives. That is until one night they are playing a game of truth or dare (turned dare or dare) and Hannah dares Agnes to stand out on the ledge of their window. This is where things go very wrong, Agnes performs the dare and falls (or was she shoved)? The fall leaves her in a coma, with brain damage and a long recovery in front of her and Hannah finds herself in a mental institution. From here Hannah meets Lucy a girl in the institution for an eating disorder or so Hannah thought. Hannah also encounters a long journey of earning privileges, learning about what could be wrong with her, and why she is labeled a danger to herself and others.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting story and I found myself constantly wondering did she shove Agnes? Sometimes, I was certain she did not then other times I was certain she did. I definitely did not catch on to the larger picture of what was going on with Hannah until it was revealed and then as a reader, I was looking everywhere for it. (I do not want to spoil what it is so I am not going to say what to look for or not look for). I gave this book three and a half stars on Goodreads.
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Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of A Danger to Herself and Others.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

The latest trend in YA fiction is to use an unreliable narrator to keep the reader guessing.  Hannah Gold, a teenager institutionalized after her roommate from a summer program has a horrible accident, is given the moniker "a danger to herself and others".  As the doctor continues to push Hannah to come to certain realizations about herself, will reality set in?

The author does a good job of highlighting the complexities of mental illness, giving a voice to those who are placed in similar situations like Hannah's every day.  Where the book falls short, however, is the conclusion.  In what feels like a rush to finish the novel, the author scarcely pays attention to the reality of Hannah's life.  Considering how closely Hannah is scrutinized by the doctor, I find it hard to believe that the events in the ending would unfold in such a manner.  Readers who like YA realistic fiction with an emphasis on an unreliable narrator may like A Danger to Herself and Others, but I thought that the author missed the mark because of the ending.
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in a danger to herself and others, about-to-be-high-school-senior hannah gold finds herself in a mental institution after an accident pegs her as the reason for another girl's severe injuries. except hannah knows this is all a misunderstanding, that soon everyone will realize what a mistake this all is. and then lucy, hannah's roommate, arrives, and things start to change for hannah. 

i'm a little conflicted about this one. on one hand, i really, surprisingly liked it? it was engaging, interesting, and hannah is definitely an unreliable narrator, which absolutely contributed to the engaging factor. i liked the writing a lot too! i think overall, this was a good book for me, i just didn't supermega love it.  

i can't say much on the portrayal of hannah's mi, as i don't know enough about her diagnosis (which is never mentioned by name, i don't think) to do so, but i did enjoy getting to see different sides of mental illness than books usually portray, and sort of the imperfect-ness of it? i don't know entirely how to word my feelings on it, but i think it showed an ugly face of mi's that aren't usually potrayed in ya. whether this was realistically done, or not. 

i wasn't a huge fan of the ending though, it felt very unfinished.
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After an accident happens at summer school, Hannah is institutionalized for "being a danger to herself and others." She knows she doesn't belong, that this is all one big mistake. Eventually someone will realize she doesn't belong and she will get to go home, but as time passes she starts to wonder "why are they keeping me here?!" 

This book was great. A little rough at times, but I loved it! I was constantly like, whyyyy? What is going on?!  

**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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Well written and engaging, this story kept me hooked the whole time. There were enough hints provided throughout that the reveal of the plot twist didn't seem outlandish and the unreliable narrator was deftly used. I especially enjoyed the way Hannah's reality was respected. Although she was institutionalized, the staff treated her with respect, keeping the story from becoming yet another sensational tale of abuse in the mental health system.

The only thing that kept this from being a 5-star read for me is that I felt like it ended too soon. So much time was spent leading up to Hannah's revelation that the ending was too rushed. I would have liked to see how she managed and navigated the world with her parents after her release. I would definitely read a sequel that follows Hannah through more of her life.
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Really enjoyed this one! I’m not a huge thriller book fan, but this one may have changed my mind! Will definitely keep my eyes on this author!
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A Danger to Herself and Others was captivating right from the start. A fascinating story about mental health. I was immediately drawn in and the MC was a very unreliable but believable narrator. I believed her even though in hindsight it was obvious that something wasn't right. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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Loved this book. Very different from other thrillers. 
Definitely will be reading more from this author.
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Marking this one as DNF.
I tried a few times, but the voice on this one sounded too immature. As an adult, I still enjoy YA, but this one was just not for me.
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I really enjoyed this book. I liked the main character's personality and felt like I was in the situation with her. I was rooting for her the whole time.
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I was pretty intrigued to where this book was going to go and it did not disappoint. I really loved how the author made a full circle with Hannah's life. When she was up into institution I was thinking oh my homegirl is crazy plain and simple. Then when Lucy came I started thinking why is she in the same room as Hannah? Normally they wouldn't put someone who might have harm someone with another person but I could have been wrong. As everything starts to come to light I really like how Hannah learned to embrace what was going on with her even though at first it was hard to accept. I really felt for Hannah at the end as her parents didn't seem to care all that much, the ending was great though. The story flowed nicely and was easy to follow along. The author did a great job of bringing awareness to mental illness and how it may be in one person.
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While I really liked how unreliable the narrator was, I don't think that the representation was all that great in this. It really didn't seem like the author did a massive amount of research or has any first hand knowledge of being in a mental hospital. I feel like that aspect of the story could have been done and handled way better. I did like the mystery aspect of what actually happened to Hannah in the hospital in the first place. Overall, this was just an okay read for me.
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Mystery books aren’t my top preferred genre—not even in my top 5, really—but the fact that Danger is more of a mystery shrouded within a story of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness was enough to sell me on the synopsis, plus we don’t get a ton of Jewish rep in contemporary stories and Hannah is a young Jewish girl.

Right from the start, I felt like Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s narrative voice suited the story perfectly, as there’s something a little rough around the edges about the way she tells a story (and I mean this as a good thing). She really managed to immerse me in this world Hannah’s living in while she’s there in the Institution, despite the fact that it’s established early on that we can’t be certain Hannah’s telling the truth in her descriptions.

If you enjoy unreliable narrators, you’ll love Hannah, because she thrives on keeping the reader in the dark as she recounts her memories of what happened to land her in this place to begin with. She’s an extremely manipulative (and fairly narcissistic) character, and the most intriguing part of that is how she manages to extend that manipulation into the storytelling, too.

There’s not much of anything I can say about the plot without risking spoilers, because there are twists scattered throughout the story that you’ll want to meet for yourselves. All I’ll say is that I thought Alyssa B. Sheinmel is a tremendously enjoyable writer and I will happily be coming back for more of her work in the future.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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When I read the summary of this book, I was immediately interested. I thought that this would be a thriller that would leave me breathless. It did, but not in the way that a thriller would.

Hannah begins her story in a institution, pacing her tiny room while she wonders when her parents are going to take her out of there since she very obviously does not belong. Sure, her roommate fell out of a window and Hannah was the only one there, but that doesn't mean Hannah pushed her. So she's stuck in this institution with no way out, but then Lucy arrive and Hannah knows that she's her out. Hannah can use her to show the doctors what a great friend she can be, and then they'll send her right home. It's the prefect plan, except for one thing: Lucy is the key to everything that will unravel Hannah.

It's so difficult to talk about this book without giving away anything. I guess let's lay down the basics: this is about mental health, Hannah is very troubled, and none of the horrifying situations that happen in this book are her fault. As her story unfolds, we learn about a rich Upper East side girl, the kind of girl that Gossip Girl had been made about. Her parents traveled all over the world, taking Hannah with them and leaving her for hours at a time in her own hotel room. She's always had best friends, girls that she can mold into anyone she wants, and she's never been the type to take no for a first - or even second - answer. Hannah is strong-willed and brilliant. Hannah is also beginning to understand herself better.

****SKIP TO THE END IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED****

When writing about the things that the brain does - and can do - to us, there's this fine line of creating believable situations that will remain believable once the twist comes. In this case, once Hannah learns about her diagnosis, the reader goes back through the book to see the hints, like we're trying to pick it apart so we can point to a black hole and tell the author that Hannah couldn't have created these friends because look right here! But then you notice the fact that Lucy never speaks to anyone else. The doctor seems to ignore her completely when she walks into the room. Lucy escapes the hospital with little fanfare and makes it back inside. Even Jonah, who we only learn about through Hannah's memories, doesn't seem to interact with anyone other than her, even when he's with his supposed girlfriend. Hannah has created a world so whole and real that there are no black holes that we can point to.

This was beautifully written, and not just the prose. Alyssa Sheinmel approached this topic with care, and never once did it seem like she was being unnecessary cruel to Hannah or her illness. She wove the story about Hannah and her illness, creating situations that seemed real and honest, while still remaining faithful to mental health. Hannah was not a cliché. She was the kind of teenager that we might encounter at Starbucks or see at school. But she's sick, and that doesn't always show outwardly. Does that make her different? Yes, but it doesn't make her the kind of monster that others thought she was.

Basically, if you're ready to cry and want to figure out a mystery at the same time, A Danger to Herself and Others is for you.
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A danger to herself and others is a great book about a girl with a mental illness. It was written very beautifully! It caught my attention immediately. I think Hannah is a special and interesting main character. She has a lot of confidence, and she thinks that she is smarter than anyone else. I would definitely recommend it!
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I wanted to love this one, but unfortunately, I didn't..
Let's talk about the good first. I very much enjoyed Hannah's character development as well as some side characters, they were pretty developed as well. I LOVED Hannah as an unreliable narrator, even if I didn't necessary like her character, which I don't think we're supposed to. The writing was smooth and made this for a quick read, even if I wasn't able to get to this book as quick as I'd like.

Now for the bad. I really disliked the representation of mental institutions in this book, the author did make mention in her note at the end but I really thought it could've been done better. Instead, she knowingly made it pretty bad. Bothered me just a bit. I also didn't care for the ending, it all felt very rushed and just wasn't necessarily the ending I was expecting and it left me wanting more, since we really didn't get much from Hannah's ending (or new beginning).
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🌟🌟🌟💫/5

I was provided with the ARC by netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

"Just a little tap, just to see what would happen"

✅Psychological Drama
✅Intriguing protagonist
✅Interesting look into mental illness
❌Ending felt rushed

Hannah was a very interesting charecter to read about, she was institutionalized for a crime she didn't commit and seems like a totally normal (if not spoiled) teenager. Her story was told mostly through inner dialogue and was highly emotional, i was blindsided by the plot twist! The ending though fell short for me, i finished feeling like I was sure i missed a chapter because there seemed like so much more that needed to be delved into. Also the repetition throughout the book became frustrating, maybe I was supposed to feel that way? I did really enjoy the writting and the plot was great.

TW: mentions of suicide, eating disorders
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I have mixed feelings about this book. 
In the beginning, I was hooked. I totally love unreliable narrators. But Hannah wasn't always my favorite character. It was very interesting to be inside her head and having a picture of what was happening. I liked Lucy and the relationship between them. I was curious to know what was happening in Hannah's head. But as the story went along Hannah was starting to get very annoying and by the end, I was just skimming it. It started to lose my attention to the point where I didn't care how it ended. I definitely feel like the first half was stronger than the rest.
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What I got was not what I was expecting from A Dang er to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel. I was expecting a bit of a mystery and then maybe a happily ever after once the mystery was solved. That was definitely not it.

The story follows Hannah as she is put into a psychiatric facility after her best friend at a summer program has a tragic accident and she is blamed. Hating her stay, but trying to pretend she’s doing everything she is suppose to so they will let her out, Lucy moves in to her room. Instead of a little company, Lucy ends up being the one person that might help Hannah come to terms with everything going on inside her.

Twisty. That’s one word I would describe this book as. Alyssa Sheinmel had me fooled for a good chunk of this book, and then when I thought I figured it out, I was convinced my mind was just playing tricks on me and I had it backwards yet again. Hannah is weird and Sheinmel wants you to feel that way I think. She’s the awkward kid in school and she can make people uncomfortable with her smarts, her over-achieving ways, and the oddity that just seems to be Hannah. That plays over for the reader. The characters leave much to be known, but give just enough away to make you yearn for more and want to know more about their lives. The only little issue I had was that sometimes it flowed slower than I’d like, which caused my interest to wain. It would always pick up after a bit, I just wanted it to maintain the intense suspense like the majority of the story.

A Danger to Herself and Others is a true psychological thriller that will have you guessing your own sanity along the way. Alyssa Sheinmel wrote a steady flowing mystery that kept me wanting to know what the end outcome was going to be. Anyone would enjoy this story and should pick up a copy. I’ll be checking out more from Alyssa Sheinmel.
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