A Danger to Herself and Others

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

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.


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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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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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. 
All I can really say about A Danger to Herself and Others is WOW!! I couldn't put this book down. I needed to know what happened and just couldn't stop. This is a great book!
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I was not able to get to this book in time. I had some family issues arise and now it feels too late to add anything new to the conversation.

Thank you for the opportunity to review. I greatly appreciate the chance to review any advanced copies that I receive.
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Alyssa Sheinmel's A Danger to Herself and Others is the newest, highly dynamic release from Sourcebooks Fire. After an accident in which her roommate is left in a coma, Hannah Gold finds herself involuntarily committed and waiting for things to work themselves out. Marked as a danger to herself and others, Hannah must figure out what's going on in the world around her, as well as within her own mind. I was provided an e-ARC by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Having read books from the Sourcebooks imprint in the past, I was excited to get my hands on A Danger to Herself and Others. Sourcebooks takes pride in publishing books with a strong teenage voice that go further than just a piece of fiction. This shows in each of their books I've read.

A Danger to Herself and Others opened much like After the Fire, with our main character in a psych ward, with the readers left piecing together just what happened in Hannah's life to get her there. However, that's where the similarities between the two books end. Where Moonbeam is nervous and clearly hiding something, she was also genuine. In A Danger to Herself and Others, Hannah is too calm, too collected. As her internal monologue continues, she's also clearly hiding something, but it feels from the beginning that she truly could be dangerous.

At first, this feeling of deception is alienating, but as the story continues, I found myself rooting for Hannah. As much as she's lying to everyone else, she's very much lying to herself. For all that her parents doted on her, she had an immeasurable amount of pressure placed on a child far too young. Being mature for one's age to that degree is usually a sign of something wrong in the nurture process. 

Overall, this was a really great book to read. It approached things from Hannah's point of view completely and allowed us to see her falter. One thing to keep in mind, throughout A Danger to Herself and Others the anxiety level is constantly increasing. At first, it's a low level, something is off, anxiety, but by midway through, it's full level. That said, despite being highly reactive to anxiety reading, by the end I really loved this book and was glad I finished.
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This was the type of book that you had to really get deep into because off how the story developed. What happens when your sanity is called into question and you begin to believe everyone was right all along. This book touches on a subject near and dear to my heart;: struggling with and being diagnosed with a mental illness and how the way people viewed her changed and the belief in her words changed because of that. 
NetGalley thank you for the chance to read this story and write about it to others.
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I like starting a book and not having any idea what it is about and letting it unfold as the author tells it with no preconceived ideas.   well written and i was rooting for the heroine
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Wow. That is the best word I can use to describe this book. I absolutely loved it! It was interesting, got me thinking, important and completely relevant. The author highlights mental illness from the main characters point of view which I loved (especially a mental illness which I feel like hasn't come up a lot in fiction). 

From the first page I was hooked on the story. I wanted to know what was happening. For awhile I didn't realise that Hannah was an unreliable narrator but once I figured it out, the story made a lot more sense. She was a great character and watching her come to terms with her mental illness was completely amazing. 

It was written in a way where you could feel the despair of Hannah, so much so I took it on for her. I have never been so engrossed and utterly connected to. The pacing was great and the story was the perfect length. The setting was also the best place for the story to unravel. 

I can't say too much about it without spoiling it but wow I loved it and I cannot wait to read more of Alyssa Sheinmel's work.
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Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for allowing me to read an e-arc of “A Danger To Herself and Others.” All opinions stated in this review are my own. This YA suspense novel just came out on February 5th & I highly recommend that you check it out, especially if you’re the type of reader that likes to be kept on the edge of your seat!!

In this story we meet Hannah Gold who has been institutionalized after her roommate , Agnes, had a two-story fall from the window in their room. Agnes currently resides in the hospital and is unable to recount the details of that night, but one thing is for sure, her life will never be the same. Was the fall some type of freak accident, did Agnes jump, or was she intentionally pushed? As this twisted tale unravels, you’ll be turning the pages faster and faster to get the answers that you crave.

As soon as I was introduced to Hannah and she stated, “ I’m only here because of a misunderstanding, so there’s no need for me to panic,” I knew that not only was she in complete denial but she would be one hell of an unreliable narrator. I was ready to panic each and every time she associated a missing piece that doctors could NOT wear because they would be dangerous to herself AND others. For example, glasses that “...[She] could use the metal and glass to gouge her eyes out,” or a watch “ [Just] another thing that could be used as a weapon if a patient moved quickly and was ambitious enough.”  Even the food that she ate posed a threat, she thought about how it was only luke warm so that she couldn’t burn anyone else with it. I was truly afraid for Dr. “ Lightfoot” when Hannah wondered to herself why she wasn’t taught in medical school not to turn her back on patients! Yikes! What is this girl capable of!?

I was even a bit creeped out when I started to relate to this unpredictable and reckless character, for I too used to ...” Carry around books the way that other kids carried their baby blankets and stuffed animals.” What’s wrong with me? Am I too smart for my own good, or according to Hannah was I just “bored?”

I must admit that I did see some of the twists coming, especially due to doctor/ patient confidentiality, but I do not feel that the predictability took anything away from the story. It was gripping; quite captivating!

This book lost one star for me due to the ending ... ( A moderate spoiler below...please do not read if you don’t want to know details about the last chapter.) while I can appreciate that the conclusion was realistic and I support Hannah getting better, I really wanted her to spit that little blue pill out on the plane and take matters into her own hands once again. I wanted a second book where Hannah becomes the NEW Queen Bee. It would serve her parents right after acting as if she were a burden all of her life, and now a contagion; someone to be ashamed of. Maybe her parents need just a little tap ( wink wink).

Can’t wait to read more from Alyssa Sheinmel!
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