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young adult book reviews & more

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

The School For Dangerous GirlsHidden Oak is a reform school for dangerous girls. But even if it was founded with good intentions, its methods are questionable, as Angela Cardenas discovers within hours of arriving at the isolated campus. The school is structured like a jail, intended to keep the “dangerous” girls in and intruders out. Physical punishment and strange psychological exercises are commonplace. No one really knows what’s going on, but it soon becomes apparent that there is no escape from Hidden Oak. And even if some of the girls have been deemed capable of getting better, the others’ situations have been manipulated so these girls seem even more dangerous than ever, especially to outside eyes. It’s an endless cycle that feeds itself; it’s a dangerous incarcerating institution—and some girls are inmates for life.

Although The School for Dangerous Girls was based on an intriguing concept, the execution and development of the story were unsatisfactory. Angela’s character is hardly developed, so it was difficult to get any sense of who she was as a person, even from her memories and actions. The only sympathy I could muster for her was linked to the innate wrongness of the school and not because of Angela’s reactions to her situation. Many of the characters weren’t consistent either; they seemed to change for no apparent reason. The most promising aspect of this novel could’ve been the plot, as the ideas behind it were quite interesting; unfortunately, while some of it was credible, the rest of it was either impossible to believe or just didn’t make sense. I think I could’ve overlooked the poor plot execution and character development had there been a strong overarching theme or message, but this story was lacking in this area as well. I felt kind of removed from the story as I read it, and this The School for Dangerous Girls gave me the impression of a wacky psychological experiment gone wrong, and not just because of the story’s topic. Whatever purpose Schrefer was trying to accomplish through this story was lost on me.

I do not recommend The School for Dangerous Girls unless you want to extract some enjoyment from its small amount of plot value. If this subject sounds interesting to you, I instead suggest The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Rating: 3.25

Review copy from Amazon Vine

11 munch(es) :

Lenore said...

I love the premise for this one, and it's in my TBR pile... so I am sorry to hear you didn't like it.

Leigh said...

Excellent commentary, as always, tbm. Very insightful and even tho you didn't care for it, I want to check it out even more! That's the power of a well-done review, good or bad.

Ashley said...

This sounds kind of intersting. Good review.

TheBookworm said...

Darn. I'm getting this book from YA Books Central. I hope I'll like it :)

Alea said...

Regardless of the content that's one sweet cover. I'm a sucker for gothic fonts lately and I love the colors as well!

Anonymous said...

you are so wrong i loved this book and thought it was amazing. i disagree with everything you said about it. I also liked the characters.

kaylautner11 said...

oh i thought this book was fantastic i read it in 2 days haha i couldn't put thee thing down(:

Anonymous said...

Personally I loved the book. They do in fact develop Angela's character in her sessions with Zsilinska.
And even if the plot was lost on you it was still a very good thriller/suspense like novel which I finished really fast.
You probably just have trouble getting into novels.
I thought it was excellent!!

Anonymous said...

Omg, I just gawt done reading the book and it was wonderful. I think that to make the story even better than it was, he could've made Angela into a better person at the end. But nawt a completely better, but just a little more than she was.

Anonymous said...

i am reading this book now and it is ok i guess but it could be better.

Anonymous said...

how could anyone not LOVE this book!!!! it is an amazing read. as stated above..the summoning is also amazing. but if you read the summoning, you have to read the awakening and then the reckoning(the series). but i personally LOVE this book!

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