Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Point
Pages: 336

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In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.

As you may know, I am always on the hunt for my next favorite horror novel - I'm a horror junkie, after all. I'll admit I was a little bit skeptical of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, just because I didn't know quite what to expect from the description. Still, ghosts and asylums... yes, please! Know this: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is not really horror. At least, it isn't scary. It's a little creepy, yes, but I never found myself actually scared. That isn't to say it wasn't a good story, because it totally was!

The heroine of this story is Delia, the proud new owner of an insane asylum. She's pretty much your average teenager with her own little bit of angst, which is to be expected in a YA novel. I liked her character a lot because she seemed real. She wasn't one of those annoying protagonists who isn't afraid of anything and walks into danger just because she's such a total badass. Instead, Delia spends a lot of the book totally confused and occasionally terrified (as she should be). I also really enjoyed several of the other ghost girls! They each had distinct traits and were able to reveal information without being info dumpy.

One thing I feel is slightly misleading about the description is the inclusion of Theo. From the synopsis on the cover, I got the impression that there would be a romantic aspect to this story, but there really isn't. Theo is still an interesting character who adds another level of mystery, but he's certainly not the romantic interest I was anticipating.

The story itself was pretty interesting. Honesty, it's more mystery than horror. I liked the unique elements that Katie Alender added to the classic ghost descriptions. For example, the way time moves is different for the ghosts of Hysteria Hall. Ultimately, I felt like I was left with some unanswered questions and there were a few contradictions throughout the course of the book that I had a hard time overlooking.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is a good, mysterious ghost story with some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. While I had a few problems with it, they weren't enough to detract from the fact that I did enjoy this book. I'd definitely recommend this one to those who are looking for a lighter horror novel!