The Castle School (for Troubled Girls), Alyssa B. Sheinmel

I normally don’t do two posts in one day because let’s face it, I’m normally so buried under my TBR that I just plug along at a steady pace. But this weekend I found my bed my more preferable than the outside world and I got a metric ton of reading done. And so now I’m buried in reviews instead of books. (that won’t last long).

Picture a school-esque atmosphere for teen girls suffering from such issues as depression, suicide attempts, anorexia, drug addiction, and more. It’s not so much a school, but an atmosphere to bond with your peers, to find a healthier way to cope with life’s stressors, and break the cycle of bad habits. Moira has lost her best friend, her only friend, really, and she’s depressed. Though, as she tells it, she’s at the school for getting a tattoo. Stuck in a castle in Maine of all places, in the middle of nowhere, with the good Dr. Prince, she’s discovered they aren’t so isolated after all. Now that she can hang out at night with the guys, this place may not be so bad after all.

“What if I cry until I’m drowning, like Alice in Wonderland?”
Moira needs to cry, but she knows once she starts, it won’t stop. As you get older, you realize that crying can make things feel better. It doesn’t solve your problems, but it’s cathartic. “There was a type of crying that was invisible, that happened beneath the surface.” As you can see, Moira is incredibly insightful, and she’s in a lot of pain. I liked how she related to the other girls in some way, be it great or small. While the story is primarily in Moira’s POV, each girl gets a chapter to show what brought them here.

I expected this to be more of a mystery/thriller regarding what the doctors were hiding. It’s definitely neither genre, and I feel the blurb is misleading in that aspect. Sheinmel did a wonderful job letting us see the hurt, pain, and struggles the characters were going through. I finished the book with a small pile of tissues by my side but a wonderfully warm feeling inside. Nicely done. Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire, for sending this along.

Read and like this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

The Castle School is available on Amazon for $13.49.

When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died—and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students.

On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby—this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too.

Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief—and the real reasons her parents sent her away.


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