For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
So we follow the story of Dan Crawford as he spends his summer attending a college prep program in New Hampshire, and it turns out that the building that he will be staying in, just happened to be an old asylum. Now this story wasn’t exactly scary, which is what I had been hoping given the cover and description; however, the twist and turns that this story took kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! A lot of the time there where more questions than answers, but in the end everything was wrapped up very nicely, though there were a few things that where never explained that where annoying. I can only hope that these questions will be answered in the next book of the series.
Asylum take place in the small town of Camford, New Hampshire, though most of the story centers around Brookline Sanatorium, which is where the college that the main character is staying at is housing the College prep students. There was a surprising amount of world building considering the length of the book, not only for Brookline, but for the small town as a whole and it never felt like there was too much.
There were a surprising number of characters in this book and pretty much every single one of them had a role to play in the story, either big or small. Now while usually I would say this is a good thing, because of the length of this book I feel like we didn’t quite get the character development that I was hoping for. The main character Dan for example, we don’t learn much about his past outside of the fact that he was in foster care, and was eventually adopted. A few of the other characters suffer this way to, and I think that if the book had been longer that it could have allowed for a lot of really interesting character development.
This was an enjoyable book, though I can’t say it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. The plot was interesting enough to hold my attention, but the characters where just a little flat, not really getting the development that they both needed and deserved. The setting was very interesting, and the fact that like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Asylum had creepy black and white photographs definitely made the book much more interesting.