Author: Mindy McGinnis
Published: October 6, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Description from Amazon
Grace Mae is already familiar with madness when family secrets and the bulge in her belly send her to an insane asylum—but it is in the darkness that she finds a new lease on life. When a visiting doctor interested in criminal psychology recognizes Grace’s brilliant mind beneath her rage, he recruits her as his assistant. Continuing to operate under the cloak of madness at crime scenes allows her to gather clues from bystanders who believe her less than human. Now comfortable in an ethical asylum, Grace finds friends—and hope. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who will bring her shaky sanity and the demons in her past dangerously close to the surface.
This is the second time I’ve read this book; unfortunately, I didn’t remember much from my first reading, so I went for a second reading. I’m so glad I did! This book is fantastic! I originally found this book sitting on the YA shelf in Barnes and Noble, but I don’t believe this is a YA book. I wouldn’t let any younger teens read it at all. There isn’t anything blatantly explicit, but certain themes are not appropriate for younger readers. I don’t want to imply that this is a dirty, ultra-mature book. There is very little language, some “old fashioned” crude humor, and grisly murder scenes. This is another book for the Criminal Minds fan.
Thornhollow and Grace view crimes through the lens of behavior. There’s also the frustration of knowing who the culprit is, but having no physical evidence to confirm guilt. Although Grace’s life is now centered around asylums, they are not actually the center of the story. Grace goes on a journey of self-discovery that is fascinating to observe. The irony of her status as insane while being of exceptional intelligence thrilled my soul. There is also a theme of true feminism during a time in which women were still fighting for the right to vote and fighting against the power of men to do as they please with no consequences.
Unfortunately, this book highlights problems we still have within our American mental health system. Involuntary commitments are still rampant, based on nothing but one person’s word, for whatever reason a judge deems sufficient. And the ending is oh so satisfying!!!!! I completely forgot how the story ended so I gasped out loud when I figured out Grace’s scheme! Totally worth it! I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who likes criminal psychology, historical fiction, mental health issues, or just looking for an awesome story.
Author: Alan Gratz
Published: March 1, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Description from Amazon:
Survive. At any cost.
10 concentration camps.
10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It’s something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?
Such a great book!! Though a work of fiction, this book has all the realistic emotions that memoirs like Night and All But My Life elicit. The perfect book for a teenager to read for a look into the mind and heart of a young Holocaust survivor. Written as a simple record of events, Yanek becomes the teenage everyman of the Holocaust. He’s forced to grow up far sooner than any child or teen should. He is faced with death, torture, hatred and an uncertainty about his future, and all that tragedy colors his world view. That kind of major effect on Holocaust survivors, especially the younger ones, is rarely discussed in books. And with Yanek being so young, kids would be able to identify with him in a way that would be difficult in the books written by adult survivors. I would say every teacher from 6th grade and up should have this book in their library. In fact, had I known about this book when I was teaching, it would have been required reading for every single one of my students. 5 stars, easily!![Top]