Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 3.82
Published: Feb. 2nd, 2012
by G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents believe Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.
What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her new found friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.
Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.
This book is just plain weird. In a good way? I am still on the fence on that. I saw so many excellent reviews on the book, so I thought "ugh, maybe this book will be kick ass (even though the cover isn't my favourite)" but after reading it, I was more looking for the 3-4 star reviews, because to be completely honest I was confused for the most part of the story, with the story line and how the things, like the hallucinations, were taking place, and I just didn't seem to take full enjoyment out of the book.
It has some very good qualities to be sure, but it also has some very annoying and potentially unpleasant features. Let's start with the good and work our way to the bad.
The good: The ending is pretty exciting, and getting to learn what the hell was going with the story was my favourite part (even though after all the explanation I was still a little confused on the particulars, but oh well). I also liked the major twist at the end of the story involving the main two characters, that was interesting. The dangerous sort of connection between the main two characters was exciting to read about, though...
The Bad: I didn't connect with the characters. I didn't connect with Faye, the main girl character, because her thoughts were so fragmented and I just didn't get what the hell was going on in her head or why. There is a line between keeping things hidden and mysterious and keeping them so hidden that you can't connect with your main girl because of it. The guy, Kel, was made to be the bad ass character, but he seemed to have more than 5 personalities at the same time. His past and his present didn't seem to connect that well, and at some point was even discarded and forgotten about (actually, this happened with every character's past). As to the rest of the supporting characters, I liked Nami (the rebel girl) and Damion (the Marine guy with issues and the hots for Nami), they seemed super interesting, too bad we don't get to hang out with them that much. Another interesting character was Rita, a young girl who seems to hang out around Holbrook Academy, but we get to see too little of her at the beginning and then she comes back and she is all changed. So, character disconnect. As I said before, I also had trouble with the plot line. I understood the main point of the story, I just got a bit lost in getting there. There was just so much happening at the same time that I guess getting to the end was like a battle and not a battle I enjoyed.
All in all, I finished it, but it wasn't a fave. The whole story seemed to work for a lot of readers, just not this reader.
PS; Do you like the new black background? I am trying to slowly make a new layout for Bloody Bookaholic, but I am not good. Just found that pattern and thought it was pretty cool.