Your heart is pumping, your gasps for air coming shorter and shorter as you traverse through the dark corridors, descending deeper and deeper into earth. The smell of rotting earth mingles with the lingering scent of death when the dark history of the nightmare you are exploring  invades your thoughts. Hundreds, if not thousands of people died within these walls, who’s to say you aren’t next. You reach for the mold riddled door in front of you. Your heart is beating so fiercely, you are afraid it will pound out of your chest. One more step, one more second and you will be face to face with the fear you have been denying. One deep breath more. Your eyes stutter open when suddenly…

Your phone rings. Yeah, you were just reading. Reading a book that was so well written, so riveting, that the emotions of the characters quickly become your own. In Madeleine Roux’s ASYLUM, Roux is able to take you on a heart pounding, mind bending journey that you never want to end.

“For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline’s twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum’s dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.”

Now I would like to provide a little background about myself that may help anyone reading this to understand why my review is the way it is. When I was a young, impressionable fifth grader, yes I said fifth grader, my dear sweet mother (also the owner of this beautiful website) decided that is was a good idea to have me watch House On Haunted Hill, the remake with her. In her defense, (I had to put this in since again, she owns this website), it was the edited version on TV. Now what is the natural response of a fifth grader after watching a scary movie? Nightmares. Horrible nightmares. After I finally got over the fear and realized just how terrible this movie was, my mom thought it was a good idea to watch it again, but this time, with my sister! Yeah… no. After making me physically ill, thanks Mom, I have been terrified of asylums since. So when I saw this novel at the bookstore, the masochist in me had to get it.

ASYLUM could have taken the classic horror route, quick scares, cheesy endings, and usually expected turns. Instead, Roux was able to keep me engaged with an interesting plot and twists and turns I genuinely wasn’t expecting. The nice thing about this book is that it doesn’t doubt your intelligence. It assumes that you are smart and clever enough to figure out at least some of the plot before it is all revealed to you. It is first and foremost a detective story. It is truly creepy throughout the book, but what you are really the most interested in is figuring out what is happening. Who is sending these notes? Why is she so invested in this picture? Why does no one talk about the old asylum? These questions swim through your mind as you read, making the story even better than what you could imagine. And when you are finally giving the answers to your ever present questions, new ones surface, teasing you with the unknown even through the final pages of the book.

When I reached the end of the book, the questions that were left, made me wonder if I wanted to reach my own conclusions of the book, never really knowing what happened, each theory more insane and ridiculous than the next, or if I wanted a sequel.

Honestly it wasn’t much of a battle, a sequel was needed. And, lucky us, SANCTUM: AN ASYLUM NOVEL will be released August 26, 2014. And yes, the wait is killing me.

Please support the author by purchasing her book:


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About the Reviewer

Tierney Linton
Tierney is a teacher, student, nanny, babysitter, writer, and avid reader. She is attending University of Utah pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education that she can use to enhance her teaching at Dancing Moose Montessori School where she works currently. She also nanny's three amazing children, and reads and writes in her spare time. You can find her at