Cover Image: The Hawthorne School

The Hawthorne School

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Member Reviews

This was a great read. It was a non traditional thrilled with grade A atmospheric writing that had me intrigued from start to finish.
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Single mother, Claudia, loves her son but has a difficult time with his behavior. When he’s accepted into the mysterious and prestigious Hawthorne School she is thrilled. As she and Henry get deeply involved in the school, she starts wondering if there is something off about the castle. 

This is definitely an entertaining read that kept me interested but it turned out to be predictable. There weren’t any surprises for me and the climaxes felt obvious. It kept my attention and I enjoyed the ambiance and atmosphere of the story. The main kid in the story was really annoying and I found it difficult to feel for him or his mother. If you want an entertaining read that doesn’t require too much in depth thinking and has dark ambiance in the school setting, this would be good for you. 

“They’d been given an opportunity, and she was going to be grateful.”

The Hawthorne School comes out 12/7.
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Another one that had me wondering why they would write a character that was so clueless and unrelatable. I did enjoy the atmosphere that was written - anything gothic and I am drawn in write away. But, it was a totally predictable read with a main character who wasn't someone I enjoyed reading about.
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This was a FANTASTIC read. The author did a wonderful job of making the reader feel the suspense of the characters and be immersed in the actual Hawthorne School. I felt anxious with each page I read and wanted to quickly  finish so that I could know how it ended. It was well written with incredible detail. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who asks!
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Thank you so much for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

I love a good psychological thriller with a gothic theme and a convoluted plot. The idea of this book had me very intrigued so I was glad to get the ARC. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think this was for me. I tried so hard to like it but there were too many elements that made this story difficult to enjoy. Claudia was clueless most of the time and I understood that because of her characterization, her need for assurance and approval but her not seeing the obvious got really frustrating, 

The writing also just didn’t do it for me. The story fell flat and the sentences felt a bit blunt.
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I was very excited to read The Hawthorne School after reading the description.  And while the book wasn't really bad, I wasn't blown away by it.  There was such potential for a really creepy gothic tale but it just failed the mark.  The main character, Claudia, was very unlikable and too naive and clueless.  The first half of the book was slightly dull but the second half was way more entertaining, almost like another person wrote it. This book was just ok.
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Claudia, a single mom to extremely difficult Henry, has found support in The Hawthorne School. Embracing nature and letting children learn at their own pace, Henry's behavior at the school has vastly improved. He's eating better, not tantruming, and has become, basically, a much more likeable child. Claudia has finally found the place for them.

Or has she?

Between the creepy old lady director, the little green juice drinks, and the rules the school imposes not only on children but on parents as well, this is a recipe for disaster. Too bad Claudia is so desperate for acceptance that she misses EVERY SINGLE RED FLAG thrown in her face. Seriously, Claudia....you visit a school once and they say hey, come here for FREE? And what about the weird juice? Like....that's not a thing. 

This was a fantastic, creepy, gothic, albeit somewhat predictable, psychological thriller. I quite enjoyed it and the ending. Those Night People really came through, huh?
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Sadly I did not finish this book. I found the description of the book intriguing, but  could not really get into it.
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2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

THE HAWTHORNE SCHOOL by Sylvie Perry follows single mother, Claudia, as she tries to take care of her troublesome toddler, Henry. When the Hawthorne School accepts him as a student, everything changes…

I wanted to like this book SO bad, but I honestly found the story too obvious and quite dull and repetitive.

Claudia could have become a character to root for if she wasn’t so oblivious to everything happening around her or if she had some self-confidence or self-esteem. She consistently made poor decisions and was in an endless cycle of “I’m a bad mother.” There were also just so many side plots and interactions thrown in that felt unnecessary and didn’t act as any sort of realistic red herrings.

This book wasn’t all bad. The spooky atmosphere and setting were spot on and I did find the ending to be quite enjoyable and fast-paced, however, most of everything leading up to that was a bit of a let-down…

Not sure if “fans of Riley Sager” will be fans of this one, but if you’re new to the thriller genre, maybe check this one out. 

Publication Date: December 07, 2021

*** special thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
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Life as a single parent isn’t easy. Especially with a child like Henry, who’s always getting in trouble and spends more time at school in time-out than actually learning. Claudia, the 4-year olds mother, is understandably happy when she learns about the Hawthorne school, A private school for children with a nature approach, and that she may just have a shot at getting her son into said school.

The book for me was an okay read. For the most part I felt like it was just washing over me without too much debt. I couldn’t connect to the characters, especially Claudia, who was way too trusting with people to a point where a lot of things just went over her head, which she could have noticed much sooner.

The school setting really intrigued me. Which kid doesn’t want to go to a school in a mysterious castle?

The writing style of Sylvie Perry wasn’t for me, at some points it felt like it was written like a childrens book with short sentences and everything being pointed out for the reader. At other times I had the impression the book tried to be bigger than it actually was. Both things clashed a lot and made the reading for me unpleasant.

My biggest problem was the ending, without spoiling anything, it felt rushed and sudden. There are still some questions that weren’t answered and some twists were just taken without ever being questioned by Claudia. After slowly, really slowly, building up to the climax it was just done in the blink of an eye.
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A creepy gothic school and a clueless protagonist!

I did enjoy the atmosphere with the enormous, gothic, castle-like Hawthorne school which is what drew me to this one.

The protagonist, Claudia wants the best her four-year-old son, Henry. He is getting bad reports at his current school when she hears about the Hawthorne School. She visits and is in awe of the curriculum and warm welcome that she receives from the head mistress.

I could see what was happening a mile away, but the clueless Claudia did not! She had her head in the sand and needed a true friend to help her figure out the obvious! Not a friend in sight to slap some sense into her.

Nothing she did made sense which made for a flat, predictable and overall inconceivable read. I don't mind stretching the believablity factor if I'm enjoying the ride, but I wanted this one to end quickly.

2.5
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4.5 stars

Young single mum Claudia enrols her troublesome four-year-old son Henry in an alternative school that seems perfect for his academic and behavioural needs. Unable to afford the school fees, she's offered an arrangement whereby she can pay off part of them via volunteer work. Claudia has some nagging doubts about certain aspects of the school curriculum, and finds some of the staff a bit strange, but Henry seems so happy at the Hawthorne School that she's reluctant to pull him out.

The Hawthorne School is an atmospheric page-turner that will appeal to readers who enjoy unusual school settings and dark academia as well as fans of suspense novels. The fact that readers can see what's really going on behind the 'alternative curriculum' facade while Claudia tries to squash her misgivings about the school adds to the suspense element. A very entertaining, creepy read!

Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read the ARC.
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The creepy, insidious nature of the plot combined with the really stunning descriptions of the building's Gothic architecture made for a great, spooky read. The atmosphere was really cool.

There was just something about this story that I never connected with. I can't even say anything bad about the book because I really think this is a true "it's not you, it's me" situation.

I have no actual criticisms. I think this would make a great Halloween read. I just wasn't gripped and on the edge of my seat for whatever reason.
Sometimes we just don't connect with stories, not matter how good they are.
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If you like creepy school settling for a book, this is one for you. I’m not a big fan, but I did want to try this one. This book did not disappoint! It was suspenseful and the writing was magnificent. There was family drama, strife and turmoil. 

Thank you for the author, publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy for my honey opinion.
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The Hawthorne School is an intriguing suspense thriller that hooked me immediately with the setting of an other-worldy school, the main character of Claudia – a young single mother who wants the best for her child – and the gothic style of the writing. The pull to keep reading only built as the story developed, as I saw the danger the main characters were falling deeper and deeper into and wondered how it would end for them. The Hawthorne School starts with Claudia, a single mother struggling with the sense that she is failing her four-year-old son Henry, who is a handful at home and at preschool. When she hears about the Hawthorne School and finds it is a beautiful haven encouraging children to develop in their own time while they immerse in outside play, music and art, she knows it is where Henry needs to be. Then the head of the school makes it possible with the generous offer of reduced tuition fees in return for Claudia giving volunteer hours at the school. She grabs that offer with both hands, shifts Henry, and his behaviour immediately improves. So much so that Claudia initially ignores her instincts that something is off with the school. When she can’t ignore it any longer, realising the school is in fact a dangerous cult, they are already in too deep to simply up and leave. Then it’s a life-and-death race to the finish… I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this gothic-style suspense thriller. 4.5 stars.
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I enjoyed this story but found it a bit predictable. I found myself figuring out what was going to happen quite early on. It was an enjoyable enough read but felt it could have been a bit more suspenseful to keep the reader engaged.
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Aside from the astonishing naïveté shown by Claudia, and the, to my mind, lack of interesting characterisation I quite enjoyed this book. The ramblings into the world of spirit guides etc left me underwhelmed and the somewhat obvious conclusion annoyed me. I think somewhere in the book is the making of a good story (and a potentially good film) but I feel that the author should have tightened the story line and somehow made it more exciting. 

Nonetheless my thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.
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Thank you to netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Claudia is struggling, she has recently lost her mom and is finding life as a single mom of a difficult child very over whelming. She meets a new friend in her apartment complex who’s daughter is the complete opposite of Henry and Maggie swears it’s the school she attends! 

Claudia tours the school and is immediately taken with the caring nature of the head mistress as well as the teaching and enchanting old building. 

She soon discovers things are not as they seem and sets out to uncover the truth! 

A Quick read and fairly fast paced. Although I found the plot and twists quite predictable; it was a good read. The ending happened quickly and was very sudden, expected it to be a little more involved than it was.
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This books combined elements I’ve never seen addressed in one book, without taking on too much at the expense of quality. It had dark academia (I’m automatically on board) and whether you can relate to the struggles of having a child that some schools don’t know (or care to learn how) to support, the author makes the universal stress of wanting to offer your child the support they need abd the best possible educational setting, and the anxiety that as parents we are never doing enough or getting it right. Those anxieties set the stage for an excellently crafted mystery with unexpected elements and a lack of annoying, over the top plot resolutions. Really enjoyed this one!
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THE HAWTHORNE SCHOOL by Sylvie Perry is a psychological thriller for fans of creepy schools and cults.

Claudia is a young, single mother with no family for support, only one friendly acquaintance, and Henry, her out-of-control four-year-old son. After constant run-ins with Henry’s pre-school over his behavior, Claudia’s at her wit’s end. Until Maggie, the acquaintance, tells her about The Hawthorne School, a private, non-traditional school.

When Claudia visits the Hawthorne School - its focus on nature, music, and art seems perfect for Henry. Zelma, the director of the school, explains that Claudia can volunteer in exchange for Henry’s tuition. It seems all too perfect. At first.

Then Claudia notices that things seem off. But Henry’s doing so well that she’s afraid to leave.

An isolated, former convent in the woods gave the perfect unnerving atmospheric vibe for the slowly increasing tension. Secret tunnels, locked rooms, shadowy figures, forbidden woods and hidden ceremonies are the perfect creepy contrast with children in classrooms.

Zelma’s turns of being the kindly grandmother stand-in, then the emotional manipulator felt scarily authentic. The scenes where she gaslights Claudia were unnerving.

I wish the author had leaned harder into the Midsommar/Rosemary’s Baby vibe. Discovering what the school really is won’t shock the reader. It’s clearly telegraphed early on in the story. So discovering why it exists is the intriguing part of the plot and I’m not sure that the actual reveal is enough of a payoff. No spoilers but I wish the book had ended a bit sooner on a more ambiguous note - all of the ends neatly tied up felt unsatisfying. And the final sentence just made me roll my eyes with its cheesiness.
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