...it was okay. Highly readable but dayum, not as mysterious or thrillerish as the cover blurb would indicate. Took waaay too long to get to the mystery. And the mystery got wrapped up so quickly, so pattly, like a Nancy Drew book.
And the never-ending ending!
But still, it wasn't so bad I couldn't finish.
Madeline Dare has moved with her husband, Dean, to Massachusetts to teach at Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for difficult teens. (It quickly becomes apparent that this is actually the second book in a series, though that knowledge doesn't make it more difficult to read.) But the whole atmosphere of the Academy from the teachers to the students to especially the headmaster, is strange. Eventually (seriously, this happens like halfway through the book!), two teenagers are poisoned, and Madeline gets accused of their murder.
So I suppose I should write a full review of this, though it's one of those books where you end up feeling "meh" about it and really have very little to say. It's a book where I opened it up thinking it would be one thing, seeing it was something else, and really just leaving at the end feeling not quite satisfied but not discontent enough to really rage.
I found this book at Borders (God, I miss that place!) when I was going through my mystery/thriller kick (it's weird how I do that - it was mystery/thriller, then old scifi, then fantasy, then urban fantasy, then YA...and now it's just whatever I already own). Then I promptly placed it on a bookshelf and pretty much forgot about it except when I was culling. Somehow this book survived a move and at least two cullings, before I picked it up on a whim. The back intrigued me JUST ENOUGH to keep it but I always wondered if I would like it.
When I did start reading, one of the things I did actually appreciate was how "readable" it was. It is a very smooth read, with a good steady pace, one that keeps you moving forwards - even if at the end of a chapter you wondered where the hell the story was going. Also, I kinda liked Madeline; she was kinda cool.
Tepid compliments, but that's how I feel.
The cover blurb I feel is very deceptive.
Cover Blurb: She discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen.
Reality: Madeline has actually been working at this school for some time. She's not even the newest of the teachers - Pete is.
Cover Blurb: A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions...
Reality: This "chilling event" is a double homicide, which occurs almost halfway through the book.
Cover Blurb: ...leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy's very heart.
Reality: And this is the last 20 or so pages of the book. Which you can pretty much predict after the murders occur.
Cover Blurb: Now cut off from the outside world...
Reality: HUH??? Madeline was never "cut off" from the outside world. She was always in contact with her husband, Dean, and she had numerous friends she could trust.
Cover Blurb: ...Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students.
Reality: Madeline gets help from two of the students on a couple of occasions. Yes, they are violent and rebellious, but geez, don't make it sound like she forms a small milita!!
It's just so...off! A person might think this book is one of those creepy thrillers you watch at night near Halloween, but it's really not. It's disconcerting, sure, but it's not really creepy. (How can it be creepy when the headmaster, the supposed "creepy" leader of this cult is barely in it and when he is, he's in a pink flight suit learning how to fly a heliocopter?!) It's not really a thriller (there were no "edge of your seat" scenes whatsoever), not really a mystery (sure, there's the "who killed the kids" but if you have two brain cells to rub together, you'll figure it out moments after it happens), not really contemporary. Just a modest book about a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking teacher living in this super-repressive school, and it being somewhat disturbing.
And really, that's about all I can say about this book. The book was readable, wasn't so disturbing I had to stop, wasn't so enticing that I was enraptured by it, and had a very deceptive cover blurb.
I hate writing these types of reviews!