A Danger to Herself and Others

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

A Danger to Herself and Others: by Alyssa Sheinmel represents mental illness and shows how it can affect anyone. The focus of this novel is Hannah as she is placed in a mental facility after her friend has an “accident”. Hannah is the main suspect. Hanna seems to be a very damaged character but she appears to be more intelligent than everyone around her. This made her so very interesting to read about. I enjoyed this authors writing style. Hannahs thoughts are scattered, which made it hard for me to figure out what's going at first. I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it. I will be reading more of this author. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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This book. Wow. 😩

This book is dark, eerie,  atmospheric and outright freaky. I haven't read a mystery/thriller that got under my skin so much in the last 10 years. 🙃

A Danger To Herself And Others focuses around Hannah and her trying to survive in a mental health facility she's been sent to after being framed for putting her best friend in a coma and crippling her. 

Hannah is fiercely intelligent and has been her whole life and we see her brain in work as she desperately tries to prove her innocence and discover what's really been happening behind the scenes. 🤓

I will warn anyone who has or knows people with mental health issues this book can be incredibly confronting. It's raw, emotional and at times freakishly accurate portrayals of the darker sides of mental health struggles may rattle you. Like I said, this book got under my skin. To me, this makes it a phenomenal book. I was feeling. I was self reflecting. It was a hell of a journey but I'm so glad I read this book. It's not gratuitous about anything, it's honest and real and very much worth the read ❤

PS. It's very different to All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven but if you enjoyed that book and wanted a dark, mystery version of that style story READ THIS.
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The Quick Cut: A girl is institutionalized by court mandate after an incident at her summer program. She's convinced it's all a mistake until a roommate appears and chaos breaks out. 

A Real Review:
 Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 Mental disorders can be some of the most difficult ailments a person will struggle with. Whenever your sanity and sense of self suddenly is put into question, everything about your past and future come a big blank. Hope becomes lost and worlds you knew well are now undefined again. It is in that internal battle that this story focuses on with Hannah. 

 With perfect grades, great decisions, and a litany of traveling to make anyone jealous, Hannah has it all from a glance. That is until an incident leaves her summer program roommate irreversibly changed and with her in a court mandated mental institution. It was just an accident, there's no reason for her to be here right? However, as the days drag on and her doctor continues to insist on Hannah focusing on the present work instead of her desire to go back to school - is something else going on? 

 This story starts out making you feel like everything is fine and Hannah's being wrongly held, but the farther in you get... The more you realize pieces are missing. It is interesting to watch the mental conversation occur within Hannah at first and then to see what happens once that branches out to others. Her breakdown happens about halfway to two-thirds of the way through, which I really appreciated because it gave plenty of time to really watch the aftermath of that. 

 Hannah is relatable in her struggle to understand what's happening to her. From her perspective, she didn't do anything wrong and this was all an accident. She doesn't see the inconsistencies in her narrative or how traumatic her past is. Truth be told, her parents are neglectful and ignored her from a young age while traipsing around the globe. How does that not change you? 

 What happens to Hannah isn't her fault, but you get to see the grieving process she goes through happen before your eyes. The topics covered in this book are heavy too including self harm (which made me sick I'll admit), eating disorders, depression, and psychosis (including intensely realistic hallucinations). Not all of these are Hannah, but it can be hard for some to read about so be aware of that going in. 

 I did have some issues with this book though. As much as I got wrapped up in what happened to Hannah, I couldn't help but feel a bit of skepticism for how the doctor treated her at times. While I understand she was in a sensitive state, a professional would have done differently. Also, it bugs me that they never say what condition Hannah has. I have my theory (I won't spoil it), but they won't put a name to it and this bothers me. The avoidance strikes me as unnecessary.

 With a bold story about mental illness, the tale of Hannah is one that will stay with you long after the pages have ended.
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I have read a lot of books that are set in mental hospitals and so many of them feel the same that I almost didn’t want to read this one. But something really drew me to this title, probably the title itself. Rather than reading about someone who is merely mentally ill, the title tells me that the main character is also dangerous, which I found to be different than most other novels written about mental hospitals. Sure, most of the characters that I read about were dangerous themselves, but others? No. This book seem to offer something more than I was used to.

Hannah was an interesting character to read about. She was manipulative and a bit cocky, believing that she was smarter than everyone around her. She was a very imperfect character, which made her so much fun to read about. A Danger to Herself and Others is written in first-person, which is crucial for understanding Hannah’s character arc because you see the story and events from her point of view.

The writing feels deeply personal. The amount of details given make the story come to life and feel tangible. The setting is typically one that may become boring, but it didn’t because of the way that it was written. Any novel set in a mental institution has the possibility of becoming monotonous, as the same thing happens every day. There is so much more to the story than that though. There is an interesting plot and a very important character arc.

A Danger to Herself and Others represents mental illness and shows that they can affect anyone. Hannah is a brilliant wealthy girl from the Upper East Side. She isn’t poor or dumb. She isn’t living under a bridge. It is also showed what it is like to come to terms with a diagnosis from the patient’s point of view. It showed the fear that the diagnosis might change how people looked at her and treated her. This representation is important because mental illness isn’t always understood.

This novel manages to stand out among the many other books with similar settings. The writing feels so personal and Hannah is a character that is fleshed out so well that the novel grabs you. After reading I feel as if I know Hannah and have walked this journey with her. The writing really takes this novel to a whole other level. With this book being my first read by Alyssa Sheinmel, I want to check out her other books. I believe that her writing could bring any story to life.
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Something is definitely up with Hannah (our narrator). Right from the beginning I felt uneasy and creeped out while reading this. I wanted to believe there was a misunderstanding that has Hannah locked up. It’s easy to think that must be the case because she is so smart and clever, pretty, well educated, wealthy. I know those things don’t mean anything when it comes down to mental heath but I was hoping she was just a bit of a spoiled brat...

There are clues to what is happening and some of it I was able to figure out, some not. In looking at reviews after the fact many people couldn’t stomach her parents. They were definitely narcissistic, entitled people but I’m sure the reactions and emotions about the diagnosis would be similar to most people, at least initially. It’s scary stuff. 

I am sad there was no actual diagnosis label - I’m guessing schizophrenia but what do I know (not much outside of after school specials). I think it’s helpful for people to read about things that ail them and see some type of silver lining which I think this somewhat provided. I wish we had even a glimpse of the transition after her plane touched home, an epilogue. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for a copy in exchange for a review.
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(I received an ARC of this book thanks to Netgalley, but my opinions are my own!)

When Hannah finds herself in an institution after an accident, she knows it's a mistake. Her best friend is in the hospital, in a coma. They say Hannah may have pushed her. But why would she do that? Agnes was Hannah's best friend. And, okay, there might have been a little thing with Agnes's boyfriend Jonah, but that doesn't mean Hannah wanted to hurt her-- does it? 

When Lucy arrives, Hannah is determined to show the staff she can play the game. No more losing her temper with the doctor, getting along with her roommate, and sharing what she knows they want to hear. She has more important things to do: senior year is starting, and she's sure Jonah is going to break up with Agnes to be with her. Besides. There's nothing wrong with her.

Right?

I called the twist long before it happened. I'm not even saying this is a bad thing, as it made me wonder what else might be... twisty. 

But let me start off by saying that I hated Hannah. She was whiny, entitled, and thought she was better than everyone. She wasn't someone I could sympathize with at all. I thought she probably should be locked up, with her easy manipulation tactics, and her snobby "I can play people, I know better than doctors" mentality. 

That said, the book was engaging. I wanted to know what would happen next, even if I didn't really care about Hannah's plight. And I was pretty happy with *how* it all happened, too. Maybe not so much the medical side, but that's easy to get past. (Like, would a few days on medication really have that much effect? Who knows!)

All in all, the first half dragged a bit, but the second half sucked me in.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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4.5

I’m very intrigued by psychology and mental health so when I saw this on NetGalley I had to request it and I’m so glad I did! 

After an accident involving her roommate, Hannah is institutionalised. She knows there has been a mistake. She just needs to wait it out until everyone else realises. Because everyone else will realise - won’t they? 

Hannah is first portrayed as close to perfect as possible. She’s smart, from a wealthy family, travels and is popular. She had to be mature from a very young age, which made me feel really sorry for her, every child should have those years of simply being a child. As the story goes on we learn with Hannah, we discover with her and we feel the emotional turmoil and struggle she goes through. 

Hannah’s parents were awful! I understand that dealing with mental disorders, whether you have the disorder or are the family, is difficult. As someone with a mental disorder, I know better than most. However, the way they acted around her was appalling and the last thing someone who is recovering and living with mental health issues needs. 

One of my favourite things in this book was the ending. Even on the last page Hannah’s mind was all over the place, denial and acceptance, struggling with her diagnosis. It didn’t just automatically get better, it was very realistic in that sense. We were also left with the questions Hannah had. Did she push Agnes? Was it her fault? Did she hurt anyone else? 

This book is very difficult to review. It felt so raw and authentic and realistic. The way it was written was so intricately and very well done. It grabbed my attention from start to finish and I didn’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys mental health reads. 

*I was provided with an E-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.*
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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.
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