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The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)

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When Moira Dreyfuss's parents announce that they're sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn't fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she's been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart When Moira Dreyfuss's parents announce that they're sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn't fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she's been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn't interested in getting over Nathan's death or befriending her fellow students. On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside...and learn that they're not so isolated after all. There's another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too. Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.


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When Moira Dreyfuss's parents announce that they're sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn't fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she's been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart When Moira Dreyfuss's parents announce that they're sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn't fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she's been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn't interested in getting over Nathan's death or befriending her fellow students. On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside...and learn that they're not so isolated after all. There's another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too. Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.

30 review for The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I want to congratulate the author for her realistic, objective approach to multiple mental illnesses young people carry on their shoulders bravely and her amazing characters whose names and tragic stories are already imprinted on my heart! Those girls’ though fights, struggles to adjust in the real life, their pure pains, challenges they face shook me to my core. Starting from grief, chronic depression, self-harm, eating disorders, loss of speech, trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), alcoho I want to congratulate the author for her realistic, objective approach to multiple mental illnesses young people carry on their shoulders bravely and her amazing characters whose names and tragic stories are already imprinted on my heart! Those girls’ though fights, struggles to adjust in the real life, their pure pains, challenges they face shook me to my core. Starting from grief, chronic depression, self-harm, eating disorders, loss of speech, trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), alcoholism, drug addiction to PMS, we’re introduced so many different types of mental illness categories and those young hearts who are trying to survive as they have no idea how to deal with their pain. Moira Dreyfuss just lost her best and only friend who got beaten by cancer. Her grief hold her back to live her life. She left her classes, giving up her college applications, fighting incessantly with her parents, having problems with her mother. She thinks she can never please her so she’s punished by being sent to a boarding school for the troubled girls located in Maine but it is actually and literally a gothic castle in the middle of nowhere. And ironically Dr. Prince the highness of castle in charge of the place. She reluctantly flies to Maine, welcomed by Randy ( later she finds out he’s Dr. Prince’s son, homeschooled, lived in the very same castle with them), driven to the place, accompanied to her dark, cold, isolated room without any plugs to charge her phone. The place already gives her chills with its disturbing and isolated vibes, makes her thing she’s going to be prisoner and her parents punish her for not being the daughter they dreamed of. Then she meets 11 other girls who suffer from different inner demons by showing different ways to handle them. ELEANOR- her roommate, finding her relief by cutting herself MEI-pulling her hair because she doesn’t want to be defined by her beauty. She’s more than that. VIRGINIA- suffering from ADHD. She has hard times to concentrate and be the daughter her parents want. GREY- just like her name she sees everything grey, suffering from chronic depression ALICE- cannot be happy about her appearance, fighting with anorexia. RYAN- wants to keep her special treasure by suffering from kleptomania. RAINA- stopped talking after witnessing something so tragic and she never feels safe to come clean. REVA- she cannot stay at the same place for a long time. She’s at flight risk. She cannot restrain her uncontrollable instinct of running away. BETH- her sports injuries resulted with drug addiction. HALSEY- her desire to get approval of her inner circle pushed her to be an alcoholic. CASSANDRA-having problems with authorities, she cannot be told what she’s going to do. Those girls are also the MCs of the book. We read all of them’s back stories. We easily empathize with them, understanding their compelling fight, aching for their heartbreaks, suffer, sadness, despair. Moira thinks the castle is a prison and Dr. Prince keeps his own secrets. He’s not reliable. He cannot cure her. She doesn’t need to be healed. She deals with guilt feelings about Nathan’s -her only best friend’s death. Then one night she realizes the lock of her room window is broken and as she climbs down and walk around the castle, she discovers another castle at the south side belongs to the boys. But that castle is not dark, bleak, cold like the place they stayed. The boys seem like happy, dancing, cheering. They don’t look like they’re troubled ones as like the girls she connects at the north side. What was the mystery behind the two castles? And why Dr. Prince’s son Randy didn’t stay with the boys at the castle? This is emotional, poignant, heartbreaking but also thought provoking, well written book with memorable characters and presents great psychological approach to those brave fighter/ survivor girls! I enjoyed the conclusion. It’s about mental state, families, grief, true love, resentments, forgiveness, second chances. It’s truly one of the best works of the author. Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for sharing this incredible arc with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    Not what I expected! I picked this one out because it sounded a bit different and it turned out it really was. The main character was a seventeen year old girl from Manhattan, New York named Moira Dreyfuss. Moira recently lost her best friend Nathan to Cancer and has been acting out, skipping meals and school, the last straw was a tattoo on her arm. So her parents send her to The Castle School (for Troubled Girls). Nathan was Moira’s only real friend and they were true best friends. They did every Not what I expected! I picked this one out because it sounded a bit different and it turned out it really was. The main character was a seventeen year old girl from Manhattan, New York named Moira Dreyfuss. Moira recently lost her best friend Nathan to Cancer and has been acting out, skipping meals and school, the last straw was a tattoo on her arm. So her parents send her to The Castle School (for Troubled Girls). Nathan was Moira’s only real friend and they were true best friends. They did everything together. Moira always got the feeling that she was a disappointment to her parents and was often at Nathan’s place rather than her own. She liked his parents and they treated her as a family member. During Nathan’s long bout with Cancer, Moira would often skip school to stay with him in the hospital and after he died, she didn’t feel like going back even after what her parents considered a timely mourning period. The Castle school is actually in a real Castle in the wilderness of Maine and it is cold, dreary and they take away her phone and laptop. There are no clocks, no electronic devices and the rules are very strict. They don’t have fires burning in the rooms for warmth and the girls are always cold. They see Dr. Prince (a.k.a. The Prince) every other day for therapy and Moira also meets his son, Bertrand (a.k.a. Randy). Randy lives in the castle but isn’t allowed to have much interaction with the girls. The school is a joke, Moira thinks it is pretty ironic that her parents sent her away for skipping school and this school is pretty much non-existent. She also thinks a lot of things about their situation is really strange and starts to wonder if it is all some elaborate psychological experiment that The Prince is doing on behavior or something like that. Moira notices the bars on her windows are loose and along with her roommate, leaves during the night to investigate music they have been hearing late at night. They find a very similar Castle nearby with boys which is run by Maura Prince (wife or sister of The Prince). However, the boys have much more freedom and Moira can’t figure out what is going on. As the story goes along, each of the girls Moira is with in the castle has a chapter with their own POV which goes on to show a bit about their life prior to getting sent to the castle and what was the primary reason for them being sent to the castle. They range from OCD to addiction and just about everything in between. The story was a bit slow, but good and the ending is fabulous. There were quite a few mysteries and I found myself wondering along the way why Moira didn’t come right out and ask about some of these things. But I guess I can see why she didn’t. In some cases the questions were too intrusive and not really any of her business and in others, the questions would give away the fact that she knows about the other Castle and its inhabitants. So like in most books, we just have to wait for Moira to find out more. I just really liked the story and how it all turned out. Mysteries are rarely revealed like in this book. It was a breath of fresh air. I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Instagram|Twitter|BookBub

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Moira Dreyfuss is skipping school, skipping meals, and can only communicate in either tense silent stretches or a raised and furious voice. A fake ID and a very real tattoo are the final straws for her parents and The Castle School brochures start arriving not long after. The castle boarding school is set upon an isolated stretch of Maine coastline and is perpetually permeated with chill and misty air. It is the perfect setting for every Gothic novel ever written and is now home to twelve 'troubl Moira Dreyfuss is skipping school, skipping meals, and can only communicate in either tense silent stretches or a raised and furious voice. A fake ID and a very real tattoo are the final straws for her parents and The Castle School brochures start arriving not long after. The castle boarding school is set upon an isolated stretch of Maine coastline and is perpetually permeated with chill and misty air. It is the perfect setting for every Gothic novel ever written and is now home to twelve 'troubled girls'. What plagues each of them differs but they are united in their struggles from grief, unhappiness, loneliness, and never feeling like they quite fit in in the outer world. I'll never not be intrigued by an isolated academic setting, but I grew to appreciate the focus on mental illness just as much as the chilling (in every sense of the word!) setting. These twelve brave and resilient individuals were created with differing and diagnosed mental illnesses and addictions. Sheinmel portrayed their struggle with both authenticity and sensitivity and I highly appreciated the insight garnered into each of them. Both the pain and suffering, the relapses into past habits, the coping mechanisms deployed, and the stories behind each were focused on, leading this to be a far more emotional novel than I was anticipating. Each girl immediately had me empathising with their struggle whilst loving their individual personalities and my interest swayed from boarding school drama to the rawness and honesty they all exhibited. I may have only been introduced to them mere pages before, but this author's writing had them immediately entering my heart and had me earnestly wishing the best for each of them. I received a copy for this book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the author, Alyssa B. Sheinmel, and the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for this opportunity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it's still a very good book. I assumed The Castle School (for troubled girls) would be a thriller, but it's really more serious contemporary fiction about mental health with a slight mystery element. Moira has been acting out since the death of her best friend and getting a tattoo is the last straw for her Jewish parents. They announce they are sending her to a boarding school where she and the other girls will get therapy and a chance to heal. But thi This wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it's still a very good book. I assumed The Castle School (for troubled girls) would be a thriller, but it's really more serious contemporary fiction about mental health with a slight mystery element. Moira has been acting out since the death of her best friend and getting a tattoo is the last straw for her Jewish parents. They announce they are sending her to a boarding school where she and the other girls will get therapy and a chance to heal. But things seem strange to Moira, they have little to no contact with the outside world, and then they discover another school through the woods where there are only boys. (See why it sounded like a thriller?) But there's really not that much tension or mystery. Instead this follows the journey of a girl grieving and in pain, alongside other girls with their own struggles. It gently tackles issues of mental health and trauma, offering not only the external, diagnosed perspective but also the internal one and complicated reasons for things. I thought it was a really beautiful book about pain and healing and overcoming your own biases. Note that there is semi-graphic material dealing with a variety of issues involving different girls including depression, self-harm, disordered eating, addiction, grief, pulling out hair (I know there's a term for this, but don't recall it), running away from home, and cancer. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    "We can't keep the people we love alive by putting our own lives on hold. In fact, we can't put our lives on hold at all. Time marches on, even when we don't want it to." The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) follows Moira, after her parents have decided to send her to a boarding school specialising in therapy and recovery from mental illnesses. But the school has an air of mystery to it, and the more she learns about it, the more things seem odd to Moira. After having no contact with the outsid "We can't keep the people we love alive by putting our own lives on hold. In fact, we can't put our lives on hold at all. Time marches on, even when we don't want it to." The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) follows Moira, after her parents have decided to send her to a boarding school specialising in therapy and recovery from mental illnesses. But the school has an air of mystery to it, and the more she learns about it, the more things seem odd to Moira. After having no contact with the outside world- Moira discovers another school across the woods that houses only boys. This synopsis makes it sound like the book will be a thriller, or at very least a mystery. But the overarching themes were of grief, recovery and friendship. I think these misplaced expectations made my experience a little tainted- mostly because I would have preferred the story if it followed a bit more of the thriller/mystery path. I spent the first half to three quarters of the book questioning everything, was the school a cult? a crazy medical experiment? a hallucination? but things were much less sinister than I was assuming. This isn't intended to spoil the story- but rather prevent you from spoiling it for yourself. If I had known going in that this wasn't a thriller, I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more. That being said, I still really liked this book. Its exploration of mental health was nuanced and didn't resort to stereotypes- as I have come to expect from Alyssa Sheinmel. One of my favourite aspects of the story were the short chapters telling the backstories of some of the other girls interspersed throughout. Everything from kleptomania, anorexia, OCD, selective mutism and drug addiction addressed, and more. The sheer amount of issues might seem overly ambitious for such as short novel, but I thought they were each given an appropriate amount of time and not glossed over. It take me a while to sort out who each of the girls were, but that was bound to happen in a book with such a large cast. I can't help but be a little disappointed in this book because the summary sounds so good. I adore boarding school stories, found family tropes and the twelve dancing princesses (with which this book has some slight parallels). Unfortunately, my misplaced expectations brought down my enjoyment a little- but I would still without a doubt recommend it. The writing was good, characters nuanced and plot intriguing. It could have done with a little more development, but overall it was an engaging and important book. ★★★☆☆.75 Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for this ARC Release Date: 2 March 2021

  6. 5 out of 5

    birdie

    i hate to be the one to ruin the party by being the only one to rate this one star, but i'm not gonna beat around the bush: this was not good in my opinion. i really wanted to like this book. it has lots of mental health representation which is so important, but despite there being some good things about it, i just didn't like how this story handled it and, well, where this should've been a very emotional story, i felt nothing. no tears for me this time. something i did appreciate was the way this i hate to be the one to ruin the party by being the only one to rate this one star, but i'm not gonna beat around the bush: this was not good in my opinion. i really wanted to like this book. it has lots of mental health representation which is so important, but despite there being some good things about it, i just didn't like how this story handled it and, well, where this should've been a very emotional story, i felt nothing. no tears for me this time. something i did appreciate was the way this book didn't treat mental illnesses like they were a taboo. that's really important because it shouldn't be a taboo at all, of course! the thing for me is, though, that the characters were written as if they were their mental illness. yes, i wanted a story about mental health, but i didn't sign up for characters whose only characteristics had to do with their illness. their entire story, their entire being...it all revolved around the same thing. it was as if they were just walking illnesses to be honest. i guess there were just too many characters for the characters to be well developed, but that doesn’t take away my frustration. this book really tried and i don't think the author had any bad intentions by this, but for me? it just didn't sit right with me and i expected a lot more in other areas of the story too. i will not go into detail with that because, well, to be really honest, there's not much to say except for the obvious fact that i'm disappointed. so yeah, that's that? i feel like i'm being too harsh because this has raving reviews, but it's just how i felt. i literally had the nicest chat with the author though (before i read her book and decided i didn't like it...) which you can read here! let's hope she won't find this review because i'll actually cry... thank you to the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review! this did not affect my opinions in any way. blog | bookstagram | more

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paula Phillips

    Recently Moria's best friend Nathan died and ever since then she has been living life in a trance and heading down a downwards spiral as in her mind since Nathan isn't here to enjoy life, then why should she as to her it feels like everything she does in life including making new friends is a betrayal to Nathan. Her parents are at their wit's end and have decided to send her to a boarding school called "The Castle School " Each semester the school picks 12 girls that they think they can help fro Recently Moria's best friend Nathan died and ever since then she has been living life in a trance and heading down a downwards spiral as in her mind since Nathan isn't here to enjoy life, then why should she as to her it feels like everything she does in life including making new friends is a betrayal to Nathan. Her parents are at their wit's end and have decided to send her to a boarding school called "The Castle School " Each semester the school picks 12 girls that they think they can help from all walks of life but each of them, their parents are at their wit's end. At the school, Moira will soon adjust to the way of life, and one night she hears music and along with her roommate Eleanor who is in for self-harm, they discover a school just like there but for 12 boys. This Castle School though seems like a happier and freerer version than their one but soon they will learn that things are not always as they seem. If you are looking for an edgy read that has a heavy focus on Mental Health and other issues then check out The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel. I love these books as I am a big fan of edgy fiction as I have always found Mental Health books fascinating and this was the second book I have read from Alyssa Sheinmel that has featured Mental Health issues. One of the diseases that was mentioned in this book - trichotillomania ( obsessive hair pulling) touched me on a personal level as I suffered from this from aged 7 - 11 years old. It got so bad for me that I didn't even know I was doing it and I would wake up and have clumps of hair on my pillow in the morning, during this too when I was 7+, I went through a stage where I told my parents that I didn't want to live anymore - so Mei's issues I could fully understand and recognize.

  8. 4 out of 5

    여리고

    I'm confused as to why this one hasn't been added yet. I can't wait to have my grubby hands grab a copy! 💕 I'm confused as to why this one hasn't been added yet. I can't wait to have my grubby hands grab a copy! 💕

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Let me start this review with a small warning: This book was entirely different from what I had expected it to be. I was in a mystery mood, and even more in a boarding school mystery mood, and I found this book on Netgalley. I was quite happy when I got the e-mail that my request was accepted and that I could start reading. However, this is NOT a mystery. It's something much better, hence my rating, but it might not be much better for everyone. As a certified therapist this book touched me at my Let me start this review with a small warning: This book was entirely different from what I had expected it to be. I was in a mystery mood, and even more in a boarding school mystery mood, and I found this book on Netgalley. I was quite happy when I got the e-mail that my request was accepted and that I could start reading. However, this is NOT a mystery. It's something much better, hence my rating, but it might not be much better for everyone. As a certified therapist this book touched me at my core. Quite often therapy and therapists in general are not being portrayed positively in media, especially not in media that targets young adults. However, in this book we finally get to see what a good therapist can accomplish. Or, maybe better phrased, how a good therapist can help their client to accomplish a lot. And yes, therapy hurts and it's not always fun, but if it's done well it works and it helps and it changes lives for the better. And Moira, the heroine of this story, does need some nudges in the right direction and a hand helping her find her way back to life again. I don't want to spoil anything in this review of course, but Moira's journey is one of the most touching I've ever read. I think it portrays mourning and the complexity and difficulty of it in a brilliant way. We spend most of the book in Moira's head and not only do we discover her past with her, but we also get a glimpse of the future waiting for her after this adventure. Although none of the girls are at this school without reason, this book really portrays them as girls. Not once does Sheinmel turn any of them into stereotypes, not once does she forget that these are people. In between Moira's journey we get a brief chapter on how each of the girls ended here, in this place. And all of those stories seemed real and respectful. All those twelve girls are just examples of how one can slowly lose oneself (and the ones you care about) and how it can happen to anyone. If you're looking for a mystery or thriller, this is surely not your book. However, if you're looking for a touching read (I cried. A lot.) that really handles complex issues teenagers might deal with in a respectful and realistic way, this book is what you want and need.

  10. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Raccoon

    The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel is a young adult contemporary novel about a teenage girl grieving a loss so large her parents send her to a therapeutic girl’s school in a castle in the woods of Maine. Alyssa is a factoid loving Manhattanite who has spent months in deep mourning. Without consulting her her parent’s hire a duo of bodyguards to escort her to a mysterious school called The Castle School run by Dr. Prince. At first, Alyssa is predictably reluctant to partici The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel is a young adult contemporary novel about a teenage girl grieving a loss so large her parents send her to a therapeutic girl’s school in a castle in the woods of Maine. Alyssa is a factoid loving Manhattanite who has spent months in deep mourning. Without consulting her her parent’s hire a duo of bodyguards to escort her to a mysterious school called The Castle School run by Dr. Prince. At first, Alyssa is predictably reluctant to participate in any of the opportunities at the unusual school but finds herself drawn into the personalities of the other eleven girls residing there and the mystery of the matching boys castle on the other side of the woods. The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) is partly a literary novel about what unchecked trauma looks like in teen girls but also with a mystery with hints of a modern day retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. From the point of view of the other girls we see struggles with compulsive stealing, cutting, excessive drinking, anorexia and drug abuse. As Moira explores the two castles, she learns more about her new roommates and discovers more about what method of healing they are supposed to be practicing at The Castle. I think readers will enjoy Moira and her researched facts into the everyday words and expressions we use. It adds a little extra to the novel and elevates the text. She is deeply affected by her loss but still interested enough in the people around her to move the story forward. The lessons she learns about grief, forgiveness and life after loss are something we can all apply to our own lives and I found it really relatable. I recommend this novel to readers of all ages. 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 My copy of The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel was provided by NetGalley and the publisher for review purposes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    Not my cup of tea. Alas, the author's repetitive writing style slowed the action for me. The author "belabored the point" for just about each and every thought, action or idea in this story. She took one premise and stretched it out like bread dough. She presented all the variations of the one idea in the same paragraph. Aha: see what I did? I used a similar writing style to show you exactly what irked me about this novel. The author has some interesting ideas about grief and about Moira's inabil Not my cup of tea. Alas, the author's repetitive writing style slowed the action for me. The author "belabored the point" for just about each and every thought, action or idea in this story. She took one premise and stretched it out like bread dough. She presented all the variations of the one idea in the same paragraph. Aha: see what I did? I used a similar writing style to show you exactly what irked me about this novel. The author has some interesting ideas about grief and about Moira's inability to accept or come to terms with the loss of her best friend Nathan. All that bottled up and misdirected anger! Great writing: all the variations on the same theme were often impressive - but maybe she should have saved some them for another book on a similar subject? I'm giving this one a 3 out of 5. My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    I received a pre-publication copy of this book from Netgalley. This book was stunningly good. Moira is being sent away. Her parents are sending her to The Castle School. Moira has never heard of it, but her parents have a glossy brochure to show her. They've also made certain that she's escorted to the airport by rather burly guards. They know that she won't want to go. Moira knows that whatever this school is, it's a punishment for getting a tattoo. When she finally lands at the airport in Maine, I received a pre-publication copy of this book from Netgalley. This book was stunningly good. Moira is being sent away. Her parents are sending her to The Castle School. Moira has never heard of it, but her parents have a glossy brochure to show her. They've also made certain that she's escorted to the airport by rather burly guards. They know that she won't want to go. Moira knows that whatever this school is, it's a punishment for getting a tattoo. When she finally lands at the airport in Maine, a van from the school is waiting for her. The side of the van clearly reads The Castle School. Barely visible, in painted-over shadow letters, is the phrase "for Troubled Girls." The Castle School is not a reform school, but it's also clearly not a place where anyone wants to go. Moira is the last of the 12 students admitted that semester. Each girl is there for a different reason. The book shares brief chapters from the point of view of each of the other students, allowing readers to see the story that brought them to the school. One is an addict, one is an alcoholic. One has trichotillomania, although it is never given that name. (Trichotillomania is a compulsive behavior disorder where individuals pluck their hair. I had it as a young teen, although it was never diagnosed. Seeing it in a book was a remarkable sensation, as I have never seen a book treat this disorder with any sensitivity, and this book does. I wish I had had a book like this when I was young.) Her first night at the school, Moira hears music in the distance. Her second night, she realizes the lock on her window has busted, and the third night she climbs down. Moira and her roommate discover that there's another Castle School nearby, this one for boys. They are invited inside, and it's completely different from their school. At the girls' school, it's cold and barren-feeling. The girls have a bedtime. Here, there's a fire in the fireplace, and the boys keep late hours. A boy invites Moira to dance, and it's only here that she can finally relax. Soon, the rest of the girls are joining Moira, heading out to dance every night at the boy's school. Each of the girls has been sent to the Castle School for a reason, and the dancing is not helping them. In fact, it may be making their problems worse still . . . There's a great deal going on this book, and all of it is wonderful. The fairy tale echoes, the mystery of Moira's story, the mystery of the school . . . it's all very compelling. I started reading and didn't really stop until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. In some ways, it reminded me of one of my favorite books from my childhood, Life Without Friends by Ellen Emerson White. In that book, Beverly is recovering from recent traumatic events. Part of her path to healing is through regular conversations with a therapist that helps her talk about those events. Dr. Prince, the therapist in charge of The Castle School, reminded me of Beverly's therapist at times, although they had slightly different methods. (I can't imagine Dr. Prince offering Moira a cigarette, for instance. Ah, the 1980s were a different world.) I don't know if this book will stick with contemporary readers the way that Ellen Emerson White's book stuck with me. I rather hope it does.

  13. 4 out of 5

    McKenzi

    The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) synopsis drew me in from the start. I am a sucker for boarding school settings and I went into this book excited for that. In the start of the book we quickly find out why Moira’s parents are sending her off to Castle School – an all-girls school. She believes she is being sent because her parents can’t handle her actions anymore, the staying out at all hours of the night, skipping school, and just doing whatever she can to not be home after her best and on The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) synopsis drew me in from the start. I am a sucker for boarding school settings and I went into this book excited for that. In the start of the book we quickly find out why Moira’s parents are sending her off to Castle School – an all-girls school. She believes she is being sent because her parents can’t handle her actions anymore, the staying out at all hours of the night, skipping school, and just doing whatever she can to not be home after her best and only friend Nathan passes away. The author does a great job describing the setting, having us relate to Moira and seeing her new school through her eyes. We quickly learn as readers that the school is more than a school for trouble students but instead so much more. We quickly learn that each student in attendance was sent their for what others may deemed troublesome behavior but in reality are real life issues that anyone can struggle with from depression, to addiction, to authority issues. This book dives into these different topics and as a reader you get to realize there is much more to these characters and that each character has their own story to tell on why and how they landed at Castle School. This book was simply amazing and by the end of the storyline, I was full of emotions. I could feel each emotion that Moira felt and couldn’t help but relate to her. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the growth of the characters and the friendships that were gained. On another note I do want to take time to state this: It is being marketed as a mystery but to me there was no mystery at all but I still highly suggest this book. Thank you to SourcebooksFIRE and Edelweiss for granting me this e-ARC.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Martina

    This book was not what I was expecting at all. I assumed based on the blurb that this was a thriller/mystery. But The Castle School (for troubled girls) was much more than that. I only put this here so people can know what they’re reading. I would hate to see bad reviews because someone was expecting a thriller. Moira Dreyfus has been acting out since the death of her best friend. Her parents decide to send her to a boarding school where she can get therapy and start to heal. This book was deep. This book was not what I was expecting at all. I assumed based on the blurb that this was a thriller/mystery. But The Castle School (for troubled girls) was much more than that. I only put this here so people can know what they’re reading. I would hate to see bad reviews because someone was expecting a thriller. Moira Dreyfus has been acting out since the death of her best friend. Her parents decide to send her to a boarding school where she can get therapy and start to heal. This book was deep. I really enjoy books that touch on mental health, the author did a great job of showing different mental health issues. It’s so important for YA readers to read books like this one. I sped through this one, I found myself so invested in all the girls from the school. This is a story about grief, loss, friendship, and more. If you’re searching for a book with lots of mental illness rep, this is definitely the book for you. Super grateful to Sourcebookss Fire and Netgalley for the eARC of this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Singrey

    The name of the school’s on the van, but someone tried to paint over the words “for troubled girls.” On Moira’s first night at the Castle School, another girl rattles off all the reasons her classmates are there - kleptomania, cutting, anorexia, depression, drug addiction and more. By the end of the book, each girl’s had a chapter telling you what led her to The Castle School. Moira’s convinced her mother sent her away because she was disappointed in her, for cutting class, losing all motivation The name of the school’s on the van, but someone tried to paint over the words “for troubled girls.” On Moira’s first night at the Castle School, another girl rattles off all the reasons her classmates are there - kleptomania, cutting, anorexia, depression, drug addiction and more. By the end of the book, each girl’s had a chapter telling you what led her to The Castle School. Moira’s convinced her mother sent her away because she was disappointed in her, for cutting class, losing all motivation to go to college, but most of all, for getting a tattoo. When Moira and her roommate hear music late at night, they realize that the school may not be as isolated as it seems. They discover a second Castle School, but this one’s filled with boys. The book hints at a bit of mystery with the two schools, but that ends up not being a big part of the story. Instead, it’s a story of all the reasons we have to live and all the ways we try to give up. It’s a story of the kind of pain that takes over a life and changes it forever. And it’s a sweet, sensitive story of damaged girls learning to care for each other. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I’m not totally sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but it wasn’t what I found. That being said, I loved this story and once I got a few chapters in I could not tear myself way. It was sweet and heartbreaking (tears may have been shed), A truly honest look at grief and healing. Moira is taken by surprise when two goons show up to escort her to a private school for “troubled girls.” The school isn’t what was she was expecting either, but solving the mystery of what exactly it wa I’m not totally sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but it wasn’t what I found. That being said, I loved this story and once I got a few chapters in I could not tear myself way. It was sweet and heartbreaking (tears may have been shed), A truly honest look at grief and healing. Moira is taken by surprise when two goons show up to escort her to a private school for “troubled girls.” The school isn’t what was she was expecting either, but solving the mystery of what exactly it was will force her to see the whole picture of why she was sent there in the first place. I loved that there were single chapters from the other girls so you got a glimpse into their lives and not just what they presented to Moira.

  17. 4 out of 5

    the_reading_devices

    4.5/5 Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I picked it up I had no expectations other than that of reading a light YA boarding school story, so I knew nothing about either the plot or characters going in, and man, was I so pleasantly surprised by it all! The characters are well developed and full of hidden layers, and even though the story is centred on the main character and her story towards recovery (as we see everything throug 4.5/5 Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I picked it up I had no expectations other than that of reading a light YA boarding school story, so I knew nothing about either the plot or characters going in, and man, was I so pleasantly surprised by it all! The characters are well developed and full of hidden layers, and even though the story is centred on the main character and her story towards recovery (as we see everything through her first-person perspective) I really appreciated how we still got to see a little deeper into all the other girls through their focus chapters. Needless to say, the mental health representation in here is astounding, and even though I personally cannot talk to the accuracy of most of it, I definitely felt close to all the girls and their issues felt even more real as they strayed from stereotypes and were thus still very relatable to some degree. At the very least, it contributes to opening up a conversation about destigmatizing mental health issues, which is something that I always love to see in books. The portrayal of grief and especially its consequences, both for those directly involved, like the protagonist, and those around them, i.e. her immediate family, was very well done and it was amazing to see how it progressed and developed together with Moira's own little adventures at the school. As far as the plot is concerned, I felt it was really well structured and it managed to keep the pacing just right. Indeed, considering the heavy subject matter (see trigger warnings if you need them) this book could have been really difficult to get through otherwise, but the mystery/thriller aspect perfectly managed to balance all of that out and make the book super engaging as well as quick to get through. This is certainly one of those books that will keep you up all night reading because you just need to read one more chapter! All in all, it was a great read for me, with perfect pacing and perfect length and I would 100% recommend it even to people that don't generally pick up contemporaries, like me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Gartner

    This book wasn't at all what I was anticipating. I was predicting it would be a dark academia novel, where sinister things happen to the girls at this school in the middle of nowhere. It took some unexpected turns, and I love how the author gives the girls' backstories throughout the novel. Even though it was different than anticipated, I really loved the story and how the characters changed over time, especially Moira. This book wasn't at all what I was anticipating. I was predicting it would be a dark academia novel, where sinister things happen to the girls at this school in the middle of nowhere. It took some unexpected turns, and I love how the author gives the girls' backstories throughout the novel. Even though it was different than anticipated, I really loved the story and how the characters changed over time, especially Moira.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caroline David

    I don't know what I expected from this book but it wasn't this. However, that's not a bad thing. I really liked Moira and I found a lot of the book to be suspenseful but it ended so beautifully and the theme of "everything is not what it seems" was really great. I really liked the short chapters and Alyssa Sheinmel's writing. Definitely well done. I don't know what I expected from this book but it wasn't this. However, that's not a bad thing. I really liked Moira and I found a lot of the book to be suspenseful but it ended so beautifully and the theme of "everything is not what it seems" was really great. I really liked the short chapters and Alyssa Sheinmel's writing. Definitely well done.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darya

    Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooksfire for sending me an arc of The Castle School (for Troubled Girls). All thoughts & opinions are my own. I love this book. I love this book. It quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read and I mean that with every ounce of respect, admiration and sincerity. I usually start with a brief explanation of the book and its premise, but I'm currently sitting in my room in a blanket cocoon with tear-filled tissues surrounding me and I can't help but want to ho Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooksfire for sending me an arc of The Castle School (for Troubled Girls). All thoughts & opinions are my own. I love this book. I love this book. It quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read and I mean that with every ounce of respect, admiration and sincerity. I usually start with a brief explanation of the book and its premise, but I'm currently sitting in my room in a blanket cocoon with tear-filled tissues surrounding me and I can't help but want to hold this book in my arms for hours and hope I can absorb every word into my very soul. (TW: While my review is TW free, this book does contain references of grief, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, loss of speech, trichotillomania, alcoholism, drug addiction, selective mutism, cancer. While it is a beautifully written book, please take this into account and practice self love/care and reach out if you need help. You are loved.) The Castle school follows high school senior Moira Dreyfuss as she tries to come to terms with the loss of her best friend all while her parents ship her off to a castle (yes, you heard me, a CASTLE) in harsh Maine. At the Castle School (for Troubled Girls) she meets the enigmatic Dr. Prince (yes you heard me again, his name is Dr. Prince... he runs a castle! I was half expecting a fairy or evil queen to pop out in the beginning!) along with 12 other girls all battling their own demons as they try to ward off their isolation. Opportunity sparks as one night, Moira finds her uncertain escape in the form of a replica castle school but instead, filled with boys. I was expecting a boarding school mystery or maybe a parallel universe and I think it suffices to say I've never been more shocked yet ecstatic at where this book took me. Not only was every character fully fleshed out, but they all also brought such dynamic and realistic approaches to the story in such a fresh way. It would have been all too easy for Sheinmel to throw away the side characters to focus on advancing Moira's plot but the dedication to creating a wholistic world and even giving a chapter dedicated purely to each girl in the school was such a literary genius touch. More than a cliche love story, more than a big mystery and more than a satirical approach, we see a girl grappling with her loss and the idea of what it really means to move forward. This was without a doubt one of the most realistic portrayals of grief I have ever read and as someone who has been through things incredibly similar, my heart aches for Moira and felt such a deep connection to her struggle and in the end, her resolutions. Sourcebooks Fire never (and I mean never) ceases to amaze me with the books they publish not only in the talent of the authors but in the choices they make to showcase authentic, realistic and vulnerable stories. I truly cannot wait to see what they publish next and read more of Alyssa Sheinmel's work

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nia Dragin

    Originally reviewed on Cyn's Workshop What an excellent novel The Castle School by Alyssa Sheinmel is a remarkable novel about dealing with grief but also dealing with illness both mental and physical. What is exceptional about this novel is the way that Sheinmel addresses disorders and mental illness. She does it in a very thought-provoking, emotional, and empowering way. Intensely Written The Castle School follows Moira, who is dealing with her grief at the loss of her best friend to cancer. As h Originally reviewed on Cyn's Workshop What an excellent novel The Castle School by Alyssa Sheinmel is a remarkable novel about dealing with grief but also dealing with illness both mental and physical. What is exceptional about this novel is the way that Sheinmel addresses disorders and mental illness. She does it in a very thought-provoking, emotional, and empowering way. Intensely Written The Castle School follows Moira, who is dealing with her grief at the loss of her best friend to cancer. As her only real friend to her, the loss has hit her hard and put a strain on her relationship with her parents, her mother especially. After getting a tattoo, her mother sends her off to boarding school. The Castle School is a place for troubled teens and Moira has no interest in making new friends. However, what the school and Sheinmel explore thorough this novel is that the school is more than that; it is a haven for those suffering mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sheinmel highlights the struggle some people go through. What is impactful is how she highlights how people suffering is not just suffering in one way but that the physical, mental, and emotional are intermingled. As readers, we forget that and only see one, but through this lens, Sheinmel gives readers an emotional and insightful read. Sheinmel builds the story and explores whom these girls are without casting shame on the characters. Sheinmel does not make the characters less because they have addictions or harmful addictions; instead, she highlights the struggle these characters go through, making them intense and relatable. As a story, The Castle School moves at an incredible pace. It is easy to get lost in the story as the reader gets to know who these girls are and how they are suffering. Yes, the story follows Moira as she grows and learns to understand her grief and anger, but Sheinmel breaks up the story, without breaking the pace, but introducing these segments about Moira’s classmates. Sheinmel gives enough information to let the reader understand the characters, strengthening character dynamics. Final Thoughts The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) is a remarkable novel. There is so much depth to the story and it is truly emotional, highlighting the depth of what these girls are going through. Sheinmel addresses illness in all its form in a way that does not shame but instead tells them they are not alone. See more reviews at Cyn's Workshop and follow me on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Spotify Podcast | YouTube | BookBub | Goodreads+ | LinkedIn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fatirah Murtaza

    (Spoiler free review) Realistic yet an enthralling read. The title does really give away a little bit of fairy tale ambience whereby the school is structured like a castle hence the glorious description of turrets and being stranded in the middle of the woods say it all. To put it more peculiar, this school is specifically built for troubled girls whose parents are finally at the end of their wits in curing their children. Well fret not, the mission of the Castle School is to ensure that every t (Spoiler free review) Realistic yet an enthralling read. The title does really give away a little bit of fairy tale ambience whereby the school is structured like a castle hence the glorious description of turrets and being stranded in the middle of the woods say it all. To put it more peculiar, this school is specifically built for troubled girls whose parents are finally at the end of their wits in curing their children. Well fret not, the mission of the Castle School is to ensure that every troubled girl has a second chance to find the better versions of themselves and here’s the odd, only 12 girls are admitted into the school. We follow Moira, one of the troubled girls, who finds herself dreading at the thought of being sent and staying in a sullen atmosphere with strict rules that she must abide by. No Wi-Fi, no proper library, and they freaking have lights-out time. Sounds like a prison to her, not a castle. She wouldn’t be in this predicament if her best friend, Nathan, hadn’t succumbed to cancer. We get to see her life slowly falling apart after that. Each problem faced by the girls is really intense and well-delivered by the author. The author managed to take us on a multifaceted view and psychological approach towards the backstory of how the girls first acquiring their problems, then struggling, fighting and surviving through them. Some problems are unable to stay still (ADHD), eating disorder (anorexia), refuse to talk (selective mutism), can’t resist the urge to pull out their hair (Trichotillomania), depression, flight risks, an OCD person, a kleptomaniac and others. Paradoxically, with these brooding problems going on, these girls who think they are misfits to society slowly finding themselves intertwining a special friendship amongst them. Expect humour and warm fuzzy feeling coming your way. The excitement doesn’t end here though. Unbeknownst to Moira, she’s discovered another hidden castle but all boys. What has befuddled her is that why the boys are treated in a better and lively environment compared to the one she and the other girls living in? The mystery about having the two castles will be unveiled and the unexpected presence comes tumbling into Moira’s life making her all feverish will soon be declared. Such a poignant yet rivetingly beautiful story that makes you delve into friendship, family, and lastly the real struggles that'll make your knees wobble at the thought of them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    This book is a beautifully written heartfelt tale about a girl dealing with her grief and the loss of her best friend. This book is so good and written so well. The author really put a lot of thought into mental illness and it definitely shows. This book wasn’t what I was expecting at all but I really enjoyed it. It helped me to look at the grief I’m experiencing myself in a new way. Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of the arc in return for an honest review!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna Jackson

    I'm not sure what I was expecting - maybe more of a thriller with a backdrop of emotional dysfunction? Anyway, whatever I was expecting, The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) was not it. But it was SO MUCH MORE! I think by the description I was expecting less depth and more action, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. While I may not have picked up the book knowing I was going to be wrestling with my own demons of grief, I definitely appreciated the subtle (and also "in your face") t I'm not sure what I was expecting - maybe more of a thriller with a backdrop of emotional dysfunction? Anyway, whatever I was expecting, The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) was not it. But it was SO MUCH MORE! I think by the description I was expecting less depth and more action, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. While I may not have picked up the book knowing I was going to be wrestling with my own demons of grief, I definitely appreciated the subtle (and also "in your face") therapy sessions that filled many a page. The absolutely beautiful, empathetic, and realistic views of girls with trauma and mental illness was refreshingly honest, yet brought almost a different point of view to the topic of mental health in teens. And unlike most YA tear-jerkers, this one followed up the "kid with cancer" trope by dealing with the very real and horrific aftermath that so many teens face - the death of a friend isn't something easily overcome. Overall, I cannot say enough good about this book. As someone who lost a friend (not to cancer, but to a house fire) when I was 13, I feel like this book reopened some old wounds, but was such a balm, that I feel like they might heal better than ever now. I highly recommend! So thank you Alyssa Sheinmel and thank you Edelweiss for the the ARC.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Thanks to @netgalley and @sourcebooksfire for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a lot different than I was expecting. I love boarding school books! I love the gossip, the drama. I didn’t really get that with this book. I thought it was going to be more of a thriller or suspense. It ended up being a pretty sentimental read about grief and growth. The therapy sessions between Moira and her doctor were very interesting and in-depth. I found the ch The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Thanks to @netgalley and @sourcebooksfire for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a lot different than I was expecting. I love boarding school books! I love the gossip, the drama. I didn’t really get that with this book. I thought it was going to be more of a thriller or suspense. It ended up being a pretty sentimental read about grief and growth. The therapy sessions between Moira and her doctor were very interesting and in-depth. I found the characters and their variety of illnesses a bit cliched, but can forgive this as it is a YA read. The ending was really sad, but in a positive way, and definitely brought a few tears to my eyes. “The thing is, mom’s right about one thing: I deserve to be punished. She’s just wrong about why.” The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) comes out 3/2/21.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I will save everyone the trouble and just tell you now that there IS NO MYSTERY. This is NOT a mystery or thriller. It's not a dark psychological contemporary. It is just a contemporary YA novel about grief. I spent this entire damn book waiting for a twist or a mystery and didn't get it. I think I would have liked the book more if I hadn't been mislead with the cover (the red ink just screams BLOOD!) & the blurb. I will save everyone the trouble and just tell you now that there IS NO MYSTERY. This is NOT a mystery or thriller. It's not a dark psychological contemporary. It is just a contemporary YA novel about grief. I spent this entire damn book waiting for a twist or a mystery and didn't get it. I think I would have liked the book more if I hadn't been mislead with the cover (the red ink just screams BLOOD!) & the blurb.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

    Jumping into this book, I wasn't sure what I would feel. I knew this story was about a girl who lost her best friend. I knew that this girl was so devastated that her parents couldn't feel like they could give her what she needed to heal. But as I read more, I realized that was only part of this story. One thing I loved about this book was that it included scenes from the other girl's POVs. We get a view at teenage alcoholism and drug abuse, self harm, depression, anorexia, trichotillomania (pul Jumping into this book, I wasn't sure what I would feel. I knew this story was about a girl who lost her best friend. I knew that this girl was so devastated that her parents couldn't feel like they could give her what she needed to heal. But as I read more, I realized that was only part of this story. One thing I loved about this book was that it included scenes from the other girl's POVs. We get a view at teenage alcoholism and drug abuse, self harm, depression, anorexia, trichotillomania (pulling your hair out), selective mutism, grief, and more. In this home of twelve girls, even though Moira is our main point of view, we get to see the other girls stories and understand why there were at The Castle School as well. Following along with Moira, her journey with grief gave me a lot of insight on my own journey with grief. Unfortunately, everyone will lose someone in their life. Someone they love will die and while some deaths are easier to accept, others will devastate us. I have felt that devastation before. That feeling that the death wasn't fair and somehow, someway, if something was different, maybe this wouldn't have happened. But it did. Watching Moira learn about her grief and come to accept that she not only wasn't at fault, but that she can enjoy life after losing her best friend, made me really emotional. I was tearing up a lot at the end. I loved the message of this book and while it was interesting to see the dichotomy of the two schools, I was more invested in the girl's journey of healing. I was so happy for Moira at the end, after she felt like she had some closure, and while I was sad for another character (no spoilers), I felt like the book ended on a sounding note. This is what it is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    4.5 STARS Moira, drowning in grief following her best friend Nathan’s death, is sent to THE CASTLE SCHOOL (formerly The Castle School for Troubled Girls) where she, along with eleven other classmates/patients undergo therapy with Dr Prince while sneaking out to visit a neighboring boy’s school, run by Dr Prince’s ex-wife. Alyssa Sheinmel writes beautiful prose and has done her research on different mental illnesses and how they present in patients, rather than just how they look in the DSM or an 4.5 STARS Moira, drowning in grief following her best friend Nathan’s death, is sent to THE CASTLE SCHOOL (formerly The Castle School for Troubled Girls) where she, along with eleven other classmates/patients undergo therapy with Dr Prince while sneaking out to visit a neighboring boy’s school, run by Dr Prince’s ex-wife. Alyssa Sheinmel writes beautiful prose and has done her research on different mental illnesses and how they present in patients, rather than just how they look in the DSM or an article. She wrote twelve different characters with different presenting problems. THE CASTLE SCHOOL is her best work to date. I liked Moira and how her character grew throughout the book, developing insight incrementally. I enjoyed the other characters, particularly each chapter from a different character’s third person point of view. The cover and blurb for THE CASTLE SCHOOL do the book a disservice by presenting a story that appears to be a mystery/thriller instead of a character study grief and mental illness. For me, if I purchasing a book of one genre expecting something else, I usually feel disappointed. THE CASTLE SCHOOL had a slower pace than I was expecting, which isn’t my favorite type book during the pandemic, which is why I rounded down to 4 rather than up to 5 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amberlyn Foti

    This book wasn’t what I expected and it’s still a good thing because it was amazingly written. I enjoyed every minute reading this book. I felt like I could really relate to the characters and I really liked what the author did with the plot. It sorta keeps you guessing as to what’s really happening in the story because it’s coming from the point of view of Moira who is figuring everything out at the Castle school and thinks that there’s something not quite right about what’s going on at the sch This book wasn’t what I expected and it’s still a good thing because it was amazingly written. I enjoyed every minute reading this book. I felt like I could really relate to the characters and I really liked what the author did with the plot. It sorta keeps you guessing as to what’s really happening in the story because it’s coming from the point of view of Moira who is figuring everything out at the Castle school and thinks that there’s something not quite right about what’s going on at the school. We don’t really know what truly is going on until nearly the end of the book and it definitely takes your mind on a trip psychologically. I’m giving it 5 stars, loved it, was here for it. Everyone should give this book a read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Your Books Are Calling

    I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. THIS BOOK CONTAINS MAJOR TRIGGERS I will list these triggers at the end of the review, as I try to do, but be aware that I will be discussing mental illnesses, eating disorders, addictions, and other potentially triggering topics. I will avoid details where possible, but the book is set in a school for “troubled girls”, so it may not be possible to avoid completely. I have read one other book by this author (that I am I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. THIS BOOK CONTAINS MAJOR TRIGGERS I will list these triggers at the end of the review, as I try to do, but be aware that I will be discussing mental illnesses, eating disorders, addictions, and other potentially triggering topics. I will avoid details where possible, but the book is set in a school for “troubled girls”, so it may not be possible to avoid completely. I have read one other book by this author (that I am aware of) - A Danger To Herself and Others - and boy, was that a ride. While attempting not to give away spoilers, I picked up on something relatively early on in that book, which was later confirmed, but it in NO WAY detracted from the overall beautiful, heart-wrenching majesty of the story. So once I knew that The Castle School was by the same author (which, admittedly, was AFTER I started reading it), I knew I was in for a time. As I start writing this, I’m only about halfway through. I was past the point of no return on my way to work this morning when I realised I had forgotten my Kindle… but it’s ok. I have the Kindle app on my phone (and the NetGalley one as well come to think of it), so I will be able to read on my lunch break. Yay! The first note I wrote while reading (this is still something that is new to me; taking notes as I read. Maybe if I had done that when I was studying…. NO! No what ifs). It wasn’t something I thought I would like - as a kid (and adult) I tend(ed) to inhale books, not putting them down for dinner let alone to write notes! (The skills I have developed of holding the book and being able to turn pages all with my non-dominant hand serve me well both eating and note-taking!) That said, I have started to enjoy it. It’s nice to have a scribble of thoughts of things I can look back on and solidify; a list I can use as a springboard when it comes to talking about the book to others. No-one else needs to see my scribble, 90% of the time it makes a little sense to me, but not always! Okay, we’ll try that again! The first note I wrote while reading this book was “this book has so much trivia, I love it!” Our main character has a habit of filling silences with trivia. ***** insert trivia***** The premise is (so far), simple. Our main character, Moria, has been sent away to the Castle School. Following the death of her best friend, her parents are at their wits end, and decide she needs more help than they can give. Moira is escorted to The Castle School by two bulky men - bodyguards, tasked with making sure she doesn’t run away - and lands in a place which is far different than she imagined. The Castle - a literal castle - somewhere (maybe) in Maine, is cold, damp, and dark. Her driver - son of the headmaster/doctor/owner of the school - tells her that it is after lights out, and that she needs to go to bed. Moira soon discovers that the school has an odd timetable - they don’t have a TIMEtable. The girls (there are 12) are woken, fed, ‘taught’, therapied, exercised and returned to bed without knowing what the time is, what the day is, or even where they are. The other 12 girls have a mix of conditions. We get to know each girl briefly, and we get a little more information about them in between chapters, with a section of each girl and how/why she ended up at the school. I won’t say much more, it’s too hard to rave without giving away important parts. Just know it is beautiful, and potentially triggering at the same time. I will note here that if you don’t like books which are ‘slice of life’ or you only read books which are filled with adventure, this is not that. I won’t say you won’t enjoy it, or should avoid it, because it IS SO GOOD. Content Warnings: discussions of addiction, drugs, self hard (cutting mostly), OCD, assault, trichotillomania, death, dying, mental health, therapy, family issues, selective mutism, eating disorders, scars, inpatient. There are probably more, but just be aware going in that the author doesn’t hold back. Overall Rating: FIVE STARS

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