Cover Image: A Danger to Herself and Others

A Danger to Herself and Others

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Member Reviews

Thank you SOURCEBOOKS FIRE and Netgalley for allowing me access to the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. *trigger warning: self harm, eating disorders, mental illness*

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

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

One other note, I understand that the title of the book is A Danger to Herself and Others, and as a mental health professional, labels can stick with a person and shape who they are. However, I feel that the use of the title every time that she is reminded that she's dangerous was redundant. I searched on my kindle and a variation of that whether it was stated by her, in parenthesis, or in her own head was utilized at least 36 times. I think that the reader understands the gravity of her condition and doesn't necessarily need to be reminded, even though the character herself may be reminding herself of it (which may have been the reason the author chose to continuously use the phrase).
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I did enjoy this book although I felt it was a little too long. It did drag a little and I found myself skimming. I liked the story since it took place in an institution.
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I wanted to like this book so much, but it just didn't quite hit the mark with me. Unfortunately, I can't really even pinpoint where or why that is the case. Hannah is interesting and snarky, the setting is intriguing, Hannah was the "it girl," she had everything set in front of her on a golden platter. But the more that time goes on, the more you see that the patina on her life is rusted over. A truly interesting look into mental illness in the college-aged set - an age gap from 18-22 that no one covers as much any more - but it just didn't hit right for me..
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This book is ok. Not great by any means. There are just too many loose ends and errors in the story. There is never an actual diagnosis given and there’s a real chance that the author failed to hit on—both the mental illness and the fact that there was a great opportunity to build more suspense and mystery, but it failed to deliver that as well. As long and involved as this book is, the ending is abrupt and the story feels like it is left unresolved. I can’t see YA readers enjoying the feel of a huge let down after investing so much time in this story. I didn’t like it.
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Advanced reader copy provided by Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

A Danger to Herself and Others is a book I would definitely read again. It leaves your mind soaring to new heights as each piece of the story finally makes sense. It's one of those stories that leaves you on the edge and makes you read further until you realized how much time flew by. 

Fast-paced and thrilling, A Danger to Herself and Others is an eye-opening book narrated by our protagonist with a voice that is just as interesting as her story. Hannah has the voice of an empowered woman and her growth from being a driven girl who believed that she held all the secrets in the world to being somebody who realizes the truth to the realities around her is a tale that lifts the soul, makes amends, and fills it with the acceptance of certain truths.

Although the book is mainly centered around Hannah, we are still able to see the other characters that revolve around her develop. In the smallest of actions, we can see how others view people with mental illnesses. Like Hannah's remarks and commentary, it is subtle yet striking, leaving a mark that is ingrained not only in the emotional wellbeing of our protagonist but in the reader as well.

The only disappointing thing about this book is the sudden decline of pacing. The book, which is divided into three parts, was fast and thrilling at first. Yet as we progress into the last fifteen to twenty chapters, things begin to slow down. The second and third part of the book felt a bit condensed yet slow. Still, Hannah's perspective in these parts makes up for the lack of intensity parallel to the first part.

Overall, I really loved the voice used for this book. The plot is well thought out and narrated by a voice that leaves you on the edge. I recommend this book if you want to read a Young Adult book that gives another angle on how people deal with being diagnosed with a mental illness. If you are fond of confusing protagonists with stories you want to solve, you might want to try this out.
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I was given an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review 

Wonderful, very empathetic story about a girl with mental illness. It was much better than I expected and I didn't want my time with Hannah to end. I don't want to say much about it because I don't want to ruin it, but do yourself a favor and read it. Five stars- a new fave.
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*i received an e arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 
****Trigger Warnings for : purging,  bulimia , self harm, parental neglect (maybe?),  hallucinations, eating disorders

A Danger to Herself and Others follows our main character Hannah as she deals with being in an institution. The story involves Hannah’s best friend Agnes how has been in a accident and is currently in a coma. Hannah is sent to be  evaluated in a mental institution since there is some speculation as to how Agnes was injured. 
Hannah believes it is all a misunderstanding and the book follows her as she tries to act how she believes will allow her to be released home. 

I really enjoyed this book. I got a lot of We We’re Liars vibes. Although I feel as though there were definitely a lot of triggers. (See  above). I felt that the mental health was represented well( though I do not suffer from  hallucinations ). Overall I would recommend to anyone look for a good mental health related read. Four stars
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This book is such a trip that I almost want to read it again just to see what tiny details I missed! 

“A Danger to Herself and Others” sees Hannah in psychiatric care following what she describes as an accident with her roommate Agnes that has left her in a coma. Determined to leave the facility Hannah works to put on a brave face and be the picture perfect patient for her doctors but the more time she spends in their care the more she questions whether or not she deserves to be let out. 

This book benefits from being told in first person and sticking us right into Hannah’s mind as she deals with the issues that have put her in the hospital and later as she undergoes treatment. It sets us up for one of the best unreliable narrator point of view that I’ve ever read as we know only what she tells us and as the book progresses we learn much more about her life and all of her lies. 

I’m not someone who has been diagnosed with mental illness nor have I studied it enough to give a good enough analysis on its portrayal in this book but I will say I really enjoyed how it plays to the true crime element in the way of making you question if she’s a psychopath or if there’s something less sinister at play. 

This is a really good read for anyone looking for a character study wrapped up in a nicely done mini thriller that keeps your head spinning up until the bittersweet end. 

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**
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Part 1 of this book was incredibly compelling, but parts 2 and 3 just sort of fizzled out for me. I’d recommend this if you adored “The Walls around us”.  On a positive note, this book gave a very interesting perspective on mental health.
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Well, wasn't this book unputdownable (is that even a word?)! I began reading it and I just couldn't put it down until I had finished it around two in the morning. It is THAT good. 
We find Hannah, our main character, a girl who finds herself in a mental institution against her will, labelled "a danger to herself and others" as a result of a game played with a friend which has ended with said friend in a comma. Hannah firmly believes it has been some error, and when they find out, she is gonna walk out. Only it seems they aren't finding out it was an error... So, what happened to Hannah's friend? What did she do, if she did do anything?
I don't want to give anything up plot wise, because I think the less you know, the better. Just now the narrative is top notch, the characters are really fleshed out, and when we began discovering what's inside Hannah's mind we are gonna be left astonished, scared sometimes, and wanting to know more. And all the while Hannah keeps being a character we want to know more of, with a story to tell us, a character that is gonna show her layers until we get to her core.
I have to say that I read this book more as a thriller kind of book than a mental health one, it felt better this way. What I mean is, this is not a book to raise mental health awareness -even if it dwells a bit there-, but a book were something terrible happened and as we are reading we are getting insight into what, how and the consequences of that. Probably there are artistic licenses taken in order to provide us with this alluring masterpiece, but this is a book I enjoyed a lot (as you can see from the top notch rating I gave it). In fact, I enjoyed this book so much, that already I am looking through the other books that she has written :)
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Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Fire, for the arc of this book.
A very raw and touching book, very well written.
At the beginning you think Hannah has it all, wealthy parents, holidays, expensive meals etc, only to learn that while she had life’s luxuries she was a lonely vunerable girl, my heart broke for her at the end.
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A thrilling novel reminiscent of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, We Were Liars, and Every Last Word. A Danger to Herself and Others follows Hannah, a girl involuntarily being kept in a mental institution.

During a game of Truth or Dare, Hannah’s best friend and roommate, Agnes, falls from the second-floor window of a building and Hannah is held responsible. However, she doesn’t remember the incident occurring and maintains that she doesn’t belong in the institution and waits for her parents – and their lawyers – to help her escape. Through her ingenuity and cunningness, Hannah uses her new roommate, Lucy, to convince the workers of the institution that she shouldn’t be held there with the others. A Danger to Herself and Others is a thrilling, puzzling story that will always have you questioning the motives and beliefs of the main character. 

The beginning of this novel suffers from an extreme case of explaining instead of showing. We’re oriented into the story by Hannah, where her descriptions seem almost like diary entries as she explains how she’s come into this situation. It’s a very tedious start to the story, but the rest doesn’t exactly get better. The rest of the plot is just as slow; we follow Hannah in her routine at the institution with occasional kinks. Most of the book is set in the room in which Hannah is isolated from others (until the arrival of her new roommate). Therefore, we’re stuck in the head of an unreliable narrator in seclusion from the remainder of society. 

Hannah was an interesting main character to follow. If I could define her in one word it would be: pretentious. I definitely wasn’t a fan of her, but her personal narrative tries so hard to make you sympathise with her. She’s always informing the audience that she’s better than everyone else because she doesn’t belong in the institution or because she reads classics instead of romance books. It’s difficult to tell whether this was intentional to reinforce that she’s an unlikeable character or if it’s the actual opinion of the author. Hannah is also incessantly reminding us that she’s intelligent and smart. Except, she saw no issue in flirting with her best friend’s boyfriend and going as far as hooking up with him. Furthermore, Hannah is a rich, only child that has travelled the world already and gets everything she wants which made her an unrelatable main character. There’s nothing wrong with rich characters, I just felt that this made her even more difficult to connect with. However, I definitely did sympathise with her situation and her parents. 

Something I’m sure will be a deal breaker for others: this novel has no romance. There are some instances where you hear about Hannah’s love life prior to being institutionalised, the majority of the story focuses on her journey to a diagnosis. Normally I would mind the lack of romance, but I found it tolerable with Hannah and Lucy’s friendship, while I think it was important to have the subject of mental illness at the forefront. Also, this means that there was no “love cures all” trope, which is unfortunately prevalent in the Young Adult mental illness contemporary trend. 

I personally had a problem with some of the portrayals of mental illness. I have no idea what the experiences of the author are, but it seems like a new trend to use mental illness as a plot twist. I can’t fully explain this statement to you without spoiling a majority of the book. What I’ll say is: when we say that we want more representation, we mean through characters that are the heroes of their own stories and not just for shock value. Additionally, there were some statements thrown around about eating disorders that made me uncomfortable. I’m unaware if the author thoroughly researched mental institutions or illnesses prior to writing this book, but a lot of the statements felt like they came from a place of ignorance. Therefore, we would have benefitted from an author’s note explaining these choices at the beginning to inform the audience of their purpose, otherwise, it comes across as problematic. I also think there could be trigger and content warnings made available because some of the events in this book could cause harm to the audience. Conversely, I did appreciate the author’s note at the end where it was made clear that some of the content about Hannah’s mental illness was inaccurate and were unrealistic for the narrative. This is something I think other authors should be doing. 

All in all, I thought this was an important novel, though I want to wait for reviews from #ownvoices reviewers to determine if it was well-researched and respectful of the mental illness. Apart from this representation, I thought it was a powerful story with an interesting, unreliable narrator. Even if I found Hannah irritating and pretentious at times, I connected with her journey and definitely related to her at times. I’d recommend this to you if you liked any of the books at the beginning of this review.
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