A Danger to Herself and Others

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

"Time didn't magically slow down, giving me a few extra seconds to consider what to do next. It happened fast. it wasn't graceful. It didn't look pretty."

The title and cover drew me in perfectly and since its around Halloween time I just had to read this book. I gratefully received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my review.

I absolutely loved Hannah! But who wouldn't, that's her thing.. making best friends. As an only child I can relate with Hannah about growing up faster than your friends and the need/want for children your age. As an only child, its easy to come across as more mature because a majority of your conversations are with adults so its something that comes easy to you. 

Sheinmel, played this story out perfectly. I was not not expecting any of the twists and turns that were thrown in. This book was impossible to put down. I loved every second of it. I have never experienced anyone close to me with this kind of mental illness or anything similar so this was a learning experience for me. Sheinmel really made me feel like I was sitting in the room with Hannah and Lucy.. I mean Hannah ;)

I was proud of Hannah and how she accepted her illness. It was sad and brought tears to my eyes when she finally started to understand what was happening. Her parents were very abnormal for parents dealing with a child who was sick but they were also kind of strange before she started her illness, who leaves a four year old in a hotel room by themselves. 

This book was perfectly done and I will definitely be telling everyone about this title!
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I really don’t know what’s my take on this book when I first started reading it. I admit I want to read it so bad because of the title. I know its kind of like psychological and mysterious and I dig that genre so much. However, it started so slow and so I was confused. Good thing, I finished it because I was not really expecting everything that happened on the later part of the book. I was overwhelmed by the information that I missed! It seems like I was looking at a surprise that didn’t make sense at first but in the end you’ll just be surprised that you missed it.

Read my full review here -> https://ayammazing.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/a-danger-to-herself-and-others-book-review/
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A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS follows Hannah, a seventeen year old girl who has recently been admitted to a psychiatric hospital after an undisclosed accident involving her roommate at the summer program they were both attending. 

And that's all I'm going to say in terms of the plot of this book. The less you know, the better. 

It's a slow burn that I felt was almost too slow in the beginning, which is why I bumped it down to 4 stars instead of 5. The first 30% is a lot of slightly vague exposition and Hannah positioning herself as the smartest girl in the room wherever she is, which becomes tiresome. But the story really picks up about halfway through where some of the most critical reveals are made, and from there I marathoned it through to the end. 

Hannah's voice and experience is so personal, brutally honest, and authentic. Sheinmel does an excellent job of positioning the reader in Hannah's perspective, which offers the kind of insight into mental illness that is so, so important for teenagers and adults (struggling with MI or not) need to experience. For the representation alone, this book is worth a read. 

While the prose is, at times, overdone and a touch melodramatic, it makes complete sense for the context of the narrative and didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.

My one major quibble with the book is of no fault to the author herself, and that's because it has to do with the marketing. I wish the cover and title were a little less edgy, for lack of a better term. This book can easily be misconstrued as a thriller, which it is not, because of the scratchy font and dark graphics; if presented as a genre work, it can can sometimes isolate readership/hinder the book from reaching an audience that might really enjoy this otherwise. Not only that, but Hannah's story is not a thriller - it's a vulnerable and serious discovery of herself that turns the tropey elements of the story completely on their head. 

This is all to say that I really loved the story and I think it's really important, but I am disappointed that, had I not known a little bit about the book going into it, I probably wouldn't have picked it up; I am, however, willing to concede that this could simply be a fault of my own subjective opinions about the marketing of genre work. I suppose I'm thinking of ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE, which incorporates a startlingly authentic account of mental illness into an otherwise common contemporary narrative, which exposes the more serious aspects of mental illness (beyond anxiety and depression, moreso mental illness as it relates to PTSD and other illnesses, such as personality disorders, which are commonly inappropriately represented in the thriller and mystery genres). I'm thinking of this because I'd really like to see, as Honeyman did, discussions and portrayals of mental illness occur outside of thriller-esque narratives. I want to see it in more contemporary stories with people who aren't hurting others and doing crime, which I think this book does really, really well.

Regardless, I think this is a strong book, and I'm excited for it to make it into the hands of readers next year.
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Wow, just wow.  I still having a hard time processing Hannah’s story.  
Hannah is a 17 year old girl whose roommate was in a terrible accident that Hannah May or may not have been responsible for.  Instead of being arrested she is committed to a psychiatric ward for observation where they consider her a danger to herself and others. 
We learn back ground of her life as well as what led up to the accident.  Hannah is unable to determine what is real and what isn’t.  This books shows her journey from her plotting her release to her plotting a way to stay.  
It’s a gripping, emotional look at mental illness and goes beyond bipolar or depression.  Great read.
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Whilst I didn't particularly enjoy the main character I found that this book was really well written.
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This was a weird one for me to read. I thoroughly disliked the main character - manipulative, vain, self-absorbed, and vindictive, she wasn't likable at all and I found myself often struggling to relate to her narrative. That said, I really enjoyed the author's writing - she has clear talent, and I was hooked by the story itself, despite my issues with the MC. I was pulled in with the first few pages, and needed to see it through to the end.
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I requested to read this book via Net Galley and I would like to thank SOURCEBOOKS Fire publishing for accepting me to read this.

I haven't read many books about mental illness before in fact the only other book that I have read would be The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. The cover drew me to this book and I requested it mainly for that reason, I hadn't ever heard of the author before and this is the first book that I have read by her. I rather enjoyed the writing style of this book, I liked the detail and the ramblings that the main character told during her time in isolation. How it told of the present and the past in description so you got a look at Hannah's life before she was put in observation.

It's quite hard for me to really express how I felt after reading this book because the ending wasn't happy and in fact it simply summed up just how much of a struggle Hannah was going to be suffering with now that she was out of Psychotic observation. As someone who suffers with mental health issues (I have anxiety) I found this book interesting, people who aren't suffering with these things like depression, anxiety, psychosis and such don't understand what is going on in people's minds and just think that there will be an easy fix like getting over a cold. It doesn't work that way and it was obvious from the start that Hannah had some mental illness, her behavior was strange and at first I didn't really like her because she seemed over confident, she wanted to influence other people's choices, she was adamant about people becoming her friend, cheating with her best friends' boyfriend. I found it hard to read at first because of all of these little things that made me not particularly like her not to mention she bragged a lot about the fact her parents were rich and she washed her hair with expensive shampoo and wore expensive garments and this and that.

As described in the book, the particular setting of this book made it at times very boring and i did struggle at first with this but after around the 100 page mark it started to pass rather quickly for me. I became aware of Lucy not being a real person a chapter before this was revealed, I think it was a great little twist as I hadn't expected it like with Jonah. It made sense once this was revealed as she was always present with Hannah's meetings with Lightfoot and they never acknowledged her during these visits along with when she was helped to escape and no one noticed she had left.

Overall I think this book was well written, it was about a very important issue and I think the author did a great job at writing Hannah's character. I rated it three stars because of the fact I was slightly bored with it at times and felt That I could be reading something else and also because the ending left me feeling sad and angry for Hannah and how she was treated by her family once she was released. I also wished to know exactly what had happened that night with her best friends accident. Whether Hannah did push her or not. Agnes' condition was also something very saddening but it showed that she noticed that Hannah had issues but didn't try to raise any help for her and instead her parents classed Hannah as someone evil when she was just a very ill person who needed help but instead was branded strange and weird.

Overall a good read, I'm glad I got the opportunity to read this and I would recommend reading this book as it is important and discusses some very important topics.
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I received an ARC of A Danger to Herself and Others from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love a book with an unreliable narrator, and A Danger to Herself and Others gave me that. From the very beginning of the book, you don't really know what happened, because Hannah doesn't really know what happened. As soon as you think you figured out what the heck is going on, you're thrown down another rabbit hole that leaves you with more questions that answers. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the ending. I'm glad that Hannah is coming to terms with her diagnosis, but I really wished she would have stayed in the institute, where she was actually getting the care she needed, rather than going with her parents who didn't actually want anything to do with her. A Danger to Herself and Others is set to be released February 5, 2019, so I urge you to pick up a copy.
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We follow Hannah Gold's thoughts. She's our first-person narrator, we sit in the front seat of her thoughts with her. Her insipid and focused desire to dupe those around her that she's normal and well is something worth examining when it comes to uncovering how narratives offer gaps between reality (truth) and lies. You see, she's been admitted to a mental institution and is under solitary confinement with access to her psychiatrist who she nicknames Dr Lightfoot throughout the novel because she had been allegedly accused of pushing her best friend (and roommate) off from the window of their second-floor room. 

Hannah admits to herself that she's trying to seem normal to her doctor and the orderlies in a bid to get more privileges and to prove, ultimately, that the statement she glanced at briefly from the file the doctor has of her, that she is 'a danger to herself and others' is wrong. Yet, especially at the beginning, she believes that she is normal and that everyone is entirely mistaken in thinking that she's a danger to herself and others. There is a disparity in her understanding of herself and of others. 

The reason this book is emotionally draining is that any diagnosis rings jarring for anyone. But when it comes to a mental diagnosis it's made that much more difficult because we always think that we - whoever that may be - is centred in our thoughts. We are our thoughts. To be told that our thoughts - that our brain, the most me-ish part of me - is not who I am is very difficult to come to terms with.

After her diagnosis, Hannah keeps on second-guessing her thoughts, her sense of imagination, her memories, her very Self. There was a part where she was at court for her hearing, and she realised that no one will see her as Hannah anymore, but that their reactions to her will always be mixed with some sense of pity or even shame. Maybe, even fear. She is not Hannah, but she has been perverted and distorted by her mental illness. 

While we don't get any official diagnosis (we just know she suffers from hallucinations) we know she is mentally ill. We're tackling all the stigmas, here. Especially that she is a danger to herself and others.
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Keeps you guessing!  What is going on with this girl?  Can’t say a lot without giving away the whole plot, but I will say that it keeps you entertained and glued to the story until the end.  Try to guess what’s really wrong with her!
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This book was absolutely fascinating from start to finish. Sheinmel masterfully keeps the reader guessing as to what’s real and what is Hannah’s embellishment of the situation. This book is a masterclass in unreliable narration. I flip-flopped several times, from rooting for Hannah, to hating her, right back to rooting for her. You can feel the uncertainty as Hannah questions what’s happened in her life and how she’s going to cope with the outcomes of her actions. At times she had me second guessing what the right choice was.

This book deals with the parts of mental illness that no one really wants to talk about. A lot of books will focus on the horrors of being institutionalized, and this book briefly touches on that, but more than anything you get a look at what actually happens. The long periods of boredom, waiting for your next appointment, something to break up the monotony. The way basic human activities, like eating in a cafeteria or taking a shower, are suddenly privileges that you may be too fragile to handle. 

This book broke my heart over and over again. I won’t spoil too much, but there are moments when you can feel Hannah’s deep loss and even though you know that the loss isn’t real and Hannah knows the loss isn’t real, you just have to take a moment and shut the book and sit there feeling that loss. This book does a lot of that, making you sit with an uncomfortable reality. 

If you are close to someone with a mental illness, I highly recommend reading this book so you can see the second guessing that happens when you can’t trust your own brain. If you have a mental illness or have ever been institutionalized, I encourage you to read at your own risk. I’ve never been institutionalized but I have anxiety and depression and so much of what Hannah thinks and feels are things I’ve thought and felt, and it was tough at times. 

My one critique is that I don’t think this book took the concept of recovery far enough. I appreciate what Sheinmel did in emphasizing that the recovery process is a long road and that Hannah’s life will never be the same, and I understand why it ended where it did, but I would have liked to have seen the actual recovery process. Too many books about mental illness end with the diagnosis and the promise that eventually things will get better, but they don’t show the recovery process. 

Sheinmel showed some of it, but I wish it had been taken a step further. Hannah’s relationship with her parents has changed dramatically, but we only get a few moments to show that. I wanted to follow Hannah home and see how she copes during senior year, how college apps go, how her parents grow and learn to care for their daughter. I want a book about recovery to show teens that even if they’re diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a different, more difficult journey, but that they can learn to cope and thrive too.

This last bit is a real nitpick, but I do have to say… the repetition of “a danger to herself and others” got to be a bit much by the end of the book. I appreciate what they were trying to do with the recurrence of the message, but I think it may have been taken a little too far in the end.

This book hit home in a lot of ways, and I really enjoyed it. There were some inconsistencies, but frankly with the story that was being told that made the whole thing feel more authentic. 4/5 stars.
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Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there's been a mistake. She didn't need to be institutionalised. What happened to her roommate was not her fault. It was an accident. Now she just needs the doctors and judge to figure that and then she will be out of here. 

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

A really interesting read and not quite what I expected it to be. In a world where mental health is so prominent, we need more books that show and explain different mental health problems with realness and rawness. We need to talk about them and this book does exactly that. Speaking honestly about a mental illness that I have honestly not heard much about, especially in books. Based almost solely in one room you get drawn into Hannah's story and feel her shock and heartbreak when the walls come tumbling down around her. I think it is a brilliant young adult book that is really important in today's society. It is raw and real and breaks down the whole process of coming to terms with a life changing challenge. Highly recommend!
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This book was mentally stimulating and intriguing. It is really hard to leave a review without spoiling it. From a mental health standpoint, I really don't know how accurate this book is. I have no personal experience with mental illness. From a novel standpoint, this book kept me hooked trying to figure out how the story was going to unfold. I loved the way it is written and the mystery behind Hannah's real story. By the time I finished the book I was sympathizing with Hannah, and I felt bad for her situation. How her parents could treat her that way was beyond me.
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I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It kept you guessing the entire time, trying to figure out what really happened between Hannah and Agnes. As the story progresses, it does a great job at having you try to figure out what's real and what isn't. It was intriguing and pulled me in; I barely wanted to put it down. 

As someone who is going into the medical profession, however, I felt that the portrayal of the medical staff was inaccurate and harmful. 

While I was satisfied with the way to book ended, I also found myself wanting a chapter or two more; however, I don't actually feel they are necessary to the story. I just personally want to see a bit more of the after effects of Hannah's institutionalization.
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I received a copy of "A Danger to Herself and Others" from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you NetGalley!

This book is about a teenage girl who finds herself in a psychiatric hospital and believes she is completely fine and doesn't need to be there.  As the story goes on we find out more and more about her current situation and the events leading up to the hospital stay.  I think the author did a great job with the main character and her story.  I don't want to give away many details because I want you to have the experience that I had which was watching this story unfold and layers of the onion being pulled back until you are able to clearly see what is happening.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about mental illness, books set in a psychiatric hospital setting, and YA issues.  This was a quick read for me as I wanted to keep finding out more!
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Very emotional and captivating. Not just a guessing game. Will play mind games with your perception at times.

The blurb said "Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars" and I felt both intrigued and puzzled.
But then I met Hannah on her own pages...and that attitude, that story she basically lives in.

The plot starts like a random end of a rope that you're somehow compelled to pull until it's pulling you and you're so deep in you're not sure what you believe anymore. You're Hannah and you're also not because you're only reading her thoughts.
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Hannah Gould knows that there's been a mistake; she doesn't need to be here, she doesn't need to be institutionalized. Everything that happened with Agnes was just a mistake. The sooner the doctors here figure that out, the sooner she can get back on track. She just has to convince them that she isn't a danger to herself or others. When Lucy arrives, Hannah jumps on the opportunity to show them that she can get along with other people. But her relationship with Lucy reveals more than Hannah ever though possible.

I requested this for review from NetGalley because both the cover and premise intrigued me. And once I started reading, I didn't want to put the book down. There's something about the way Hannah narrates the novel that just makes you want to keep reading; she's unflinchingly honest and is so sure about herself in the beginning; she knows how to manipulate people. The writing style reminded me a bit of Mindy McGinnis, with a not-so-likable narrator that you grow to like as you move further into the novel. Hannah is the reason that I kept reading, desperate to know where her story was going to take her.

The plot itself was a bit predictable to me, but I've also read quite a few texts that deal with mental health. The portrayal of mental health, overall, in this novel is more fleshed out than some, showing that mental health can affect anyone anywhere. Hannah is from a very privileged background; I only wish that we got more interactions with here family because these were most interesting to me. Since her parents value appearance so much, it'd be interesting to see how their family relationships change after the diagnosis.

There's a little bit of a thriller element to this novel as well, as Hannah tries to remember what happens with her summer school roommate, Agnes (who is in a coma at the beginning of the novel). All of these elements work well together to create a novel that will be difficult to put down once you pick it up.
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This title sounded interesting and, even though it is not my normal read, jumped off the screen at me. As I got into the book, I began to get really frustrated, not with the subject idea, but pretty much with everything else. Mental illness is a touchy subject that needs to be discussed and studied. Sheinmel had a great opportunity to showcase the ups and downs, the fear, and the prospects for recovery and acceptance. Unfortunately, this was a mess of a book that would only succeed in making things more complicated.
Hannah, our main character, has been committed for something she didn’t do. She just needs to wait it out and she will be proven sane and set free. Unbeknown to her, this is definitely not the case. Hannah’s character is confident, smart, and well cultured. To the reader, her attitude comes off as bratty, stuck up, annoying, and arrogant. I just could not like her or feel for her, even as she came to terms with herself. She constantly felt she knew better than anyone else around her and, even in the end, never fully accepted her plight. Since this was from Hannah’s perspective, the other characters sort of fell flat as she had to be the most important person in her world. Lucy was the only one that had some personality, yet it was minimal. 
The writing is where I think the book fell apart. The repetitiveness quickly made me feel like I was going crazy (or becoming sick, in Lightfoot’s terms). The title line “a danger to herself and others” is repeated so many times that my eyes hurt from rolling them. “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” will also probably make me feel sick for a while. This repetition wasn’t needed so much and took emphasis away, rather than adding it. Being in Hannah’s mind and learning about what is going on as she does was well placed, yet with her attitude against everything, it was hard to follow along. The pacing was staggered and I found myself putting this down many times only to struggle to pick it back up again.
The ending was very disappointing. There is no real diagnosis for Hannah and that leaves the reader unsure of what she is really suffering through. There is no follow up of how things went or where they might go. It almost seemed as though there was acceptance on Hannah’s part, only to be denied immediately again on the plane. With such a heavy subject on the line, I would have liked to see some aftermath, good or bad. After all we went through with Hannah, some pay out should be awarded.
In the end, this isn’t one I will be recommending. There isn’t enough discussion about an actual disease or what is to deal with it. Even if there was, Hannah’s character doesn’t claim enough of the reader’s sympathy to really understand what she is going through. It did keep me interested to the end, but that only led to a big disappointment.
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I am a little bit confused with the narrative style. But as I read this book, I know where the story will lead to. I love the narrative style in this novel.
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I didn't like this book, but I'm having trouble articulating WHY exactly I didn't like it. I read it fast, it kept my attention, it was an interesting premise, but at the end of the day, I just cannot confidently say I liked it. In an attempt to explain myself, let's dive in. 

Plot
Hannah's roommate Agnes took a tumble out a window and now she's in a coma. By court order, Hannah is being held in a mental institution for observation, because now it's become a question of whether or not Hannah pushed her, and whether or not she meant intentional harm. This book is told first person through Hannah's perspective, which I thought was a really good idea by the author because it allows the reader a look inside the head of someone with a severe mental disorder. Everything Hannah is saying sounds logical and real, but we're all familiar with he concept of an unreliable narrator. The plot really intrigued me and I enjoyed the pace of the story. 

Characters
Characters is a tricky topic to do without any spoilers, so we're just gonna talk about Hannah. Hannah is the type of girl who always had a best friend, who always did exceptional in school, and who was never in trouble. Her parents praised her her entire life for being an easy kid to deal with, and she doesn't seem to have any problems in life. That is, until Agnes falls, and everything shatters. Hannah was an interesting character, especially because you get to watch her find her diagnosis slowly and hard. I could tell from the beginning something was off with her, and I ended up being right about what is was, but I enjoyed seeing it through her eyes so it didn't bother me. 

Now, I think one of my biggest problems with this book was the ending. It ends on a cliffhanger, which is fine, but it's the attitude of the cliffhanger that bothers me a lot. There's no hope, there's no room for happiness of growth. I understand that this may be Hannah's mindset, and there is a reason for writing it this way, but it left a really bad taste in my mouth. I tend to stay away from books about mental health for this reason. Authors seem to have a problem with either demonizing their mentally ill character, or implying that their whole life will forever be awful and they'll never overcome it. In the case of this book, it's the latter, and the way it's framed make it out to be Hannah's fault. She can't deal with it, she's being difficult, she doesn't want to try. This makes it seem as though the author is saying that mentally ill people won't amount to anything if they have a negative attitude, and that's their fault. I know this isn't the message that the author is trying to get across, but it really stuck out to be like this. If you're going to write a thriller where the main character or the villain is mentally ill, you have to be careful not to blame things on them. Yes, they can blame themselves, and the other characters can blame them, but the writing seemingly blaming them is where I have a problem. 

So this book was not for me. It is a good thriller, but something about it just did not work with me. I wouldn't say not to read it, but maybe if you have a mental illness yourself, go into it knowing it won't make you feel any better.
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