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Asylum Hardcover – August 20, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: Asylum
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition first Printing edition (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062220969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062220967
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

MY TOP 5 ASYLUMS By Madeleine Roux

While writing ASYLUM, I turned to some of the following hospitals and institutions for inspiration, to bring in that real world touch. Some of the stories and histories I stumbled across were almost too intense and gruesome to be believed.

I. Norwich State Hospital for the Insane

Preston, Connecticut 1904 ― 1996

When most people think of an asylum, they probably picture a giant looming mansion that looks something like Norwich State Hospital for the Insane. It has one of those iconic, red brick exteriors with columns and a steep roof. The hospital is also notable for its maze of underground passageways. It’s considered by creep and ghost aficionados to be extremely haunted. Several shows have featured the hospital, including the popular series Ghost Hunters.

II. Whittingham Asylum

Lancashire, England 1869 ― 1995

Whittingham Asylum, charming and even quaint on the outside, makes the list if only for its sheer size. Whittingham was virtually a miniature city, and its expansive grounds included a brewery, post office, and even its own brass band. It was also the sight of some seriously scary allegations, with an inquiry in the 1960s that included reports of cruelty and fraud, complaints that were kept quiet with threats. Reportedly, some wards were infested with vermin, while others were left freezing cold. There were even rumors of a “wet towel treatment” involving a cold, wet towel wrapped around the patient’s neck until they passed out.

III. Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Louisville, Kentucky 1910 ― 1962

The architecturally stunning Waverly Hills was built to house a sudden influx of tuberculosis patients in the county, but closed after only fifty years when medical advances rendered the facility obsolete. Considered to be one of the most haunted hospitals in the eastern United States, it has played host to scores of reality TV shows about the paranormal, including Scariest Places on Earth and Ghost Hunters. It gets creepier―there are currently plans to renovate the hospital into a hotel for those looking to have a spooky spot to stay.

IV. Lier Mental Hospital

Buskerud County, Norway 1926 ― 1986

Perhaps the scariest thing about Lier Mental Hospital is its murky involvement in experimentation linked to pharmaceutical companies from the United States. This postwar hospital was used for experimentation and research into lobotomies, LSD, electroshock therapy and more.

V. Topeka State Hospital

Topeka, Kansas 1872 ― 1997

Topeka State Hospital may look cute and charming on the outside, but on the inside it was home to some unbelievably dark rumors. By far the creepiest allegations leveled against the hospital? (Brace yourself, it’s pretty gross.) There are stories of patients strapped down for so long that their skin began to grow around the straps. Yeesh. Nowadays, you can sometimes hear music playing from inside the abandoned hospital and spot shadows peering out at the windows.

Heather Brewer Interviews Madeleine Roux

HB: The imagery was so vivid in ASYLUM and the photographs throughout were just gorgeous―was it based on anywhere you’ve visited personally?

MR: The admittedly limited travel I’ve done in Europe included some incredible ruins and castles. There’s a feeling you get in those places, a sort of wonder and terror that you just don’t feel in new buildings. I tried to draw on those memories for Brookline. I also grew up in an old Victorian farmhouse, and . . . I don’t want to say it’s haunted but there were certainly times it felt haunted. To this day, when I visit my parents, I feel eyes on me at night in the hallway. The hairs on the back of your neck go up and you can sense there’s history there present with you. I wanted that same feeling to come through with Brookline.

HB: I felt really connected to Dan Crawford, your main character. What part of your fabulous mind did he come from?

MR: I was kind of a weird kid. I loved school. I wasn’t so much a loner as a gigantic nerd, always with my nose in a book or writing my own scripts and stories. There’s a good bit of my own insecurities and childhood memories in Dan; that same geek pride mixed with a constant fear that maybe life would be easier if I veered more toward the mainstream. Writing a male perspective is intimidating in the sense that I wanted it to feel authentic, so I would stop every once in a while and ask a friend if it was reading correctly to them. Having honest buddies helped, it always does for writing. They weren’t shy about saying, “I’m sorry but no guy would do/think/act that way, try again.”

HB: Has horror always appealed to you? If not, why now, why this story? If so . . . well . . . same question.

MR: The first two novels I did had a certain creep factor, too, since they were about zombies and survival. The irony here is that I’m a huge wuss when it comes to scary movies. I spent most of Cabin In the Woods whimpering in someone else’s lap. I’m not good with scary movies or gore or anything like that, but I find myself drawn to that kind of story again and again. It’s like I know it’s going to keep me up all night but I can’t help myself. I think that’s probably common, though . . . . We all test ourselves now and again, see where our boundaries and limits are. I get a kick out of pushing those limits for myself and exploring the darker parts of my imagination. My life isn’t all that adventurous, so writing darker stories gives me a chance to indulge in the more morbid thoughts that cross my mind.

HB: I know you probably get asked this a lot, but what’s your favorite piece of writing advice for the writers out there?

MR: It comes from Neil Gaiman and is infuriatingly straightforward and simple. “How do you do it? You do it. You write. You finish what you write.” And it’s true. As I’m sure you know, there’s no magic button. Sometimes you can’t write a sentence and other times you can’t stop, but just sitting down and making yourself do it is the key. You have to practice. You have to do the work, over and over. He also has another great piece of advice somewhere (I’m an unabashed Neil fangirl, I can’t help it) about getting out and living life, and not feeling upset or pressured if you don’t have a huge well of experience to draw on. The best inspiration comes from falling in love, falling out of it, getting your heart broken, just being present and showing up, you know? You won’t have anything to draw from if you guard yourself too closely. You have to risk life changing you in order to have something there to write about.

HB: What’s next from the shadowed mind of Madeleine Roux? What are you working on, and when can I have it? :)

MR: I’m notorious for starting new projects and then abandoning them, but I’ve had a gritty YA fantasy series cooking in my head for a while now. I’ve been taking down tons of notes for it and I’ve even started a few chapters, so right now I hope that has wings and takes off. You can have it the second I manage to get it all down!

From Publishers Weekly

Horror author Roux makes a strong YA debut with this creepy tale of a haunted asylum and the teenagers who are drawn to it. When Dan Crawford attends a summer program at New Hampshire College, he ends up housed in Brookline, a former asylum now being turned into a dorm. Along with fellow students Abby and Jordan, he starts exploring the basement of the dorm, where (conveniently) old records are stored. As they investigate, the students are plagued by horrifying dreams, and Dan starts to have blackouts, discovering strange unsent texts and emails and learning about conversations that he doesn't remember. Students are being attacked in the dorms, and as Dan begins to unravel his own ties to the asylum, he wonders if he might be responsible for the crimes. Roux (aided by unsettling photo illustrations of abandoned asylums and tormented patients) creates an entertaining and occasionally brutal horror story that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma and terror on a place. Open questions at the end invite a sequel, though there's also a good sense of closure. Ages 14-up. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

More About the Author

MADELEINE ROUX is the New York Times Bestselling author of the ASYLUM series. She received her BA in Creative Writing and Acting from Beloit College in 2008. In the spring of 2009, Madeleine completed an Honors Term at Beloit College, proposing, writing and presenting a full-length historical fiction novel. Shortly after, she began the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt Is Trapped. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, bringing a unique serial fiction experience to readers.

Born in Minnesota, she lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

This book is an easy read and is very interesting.
The story line had lots of potential, however there was little to no character development and it felt as though I were reading a teenager's text messages.
The pictures through the book added a more creepy feel to the story, but then again abandoned asylums for criminally insane creep me out regardless.
lily love

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris VINE VOICE on October 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After some bad bouts in "adult" horror novels, I was intrigued to jump into this YA suspense/thriller. Asylum is set in a mental-hospital-turned-college. It is summer and instead of being filled with college students, the asylum/college is being used as a summer program for gifted high school students. As promised by the synopsis and the creepy art scattered through the book, a suspenseful ghost story thriller ensues. The book was also touted as a "photo experience" with a number of "vintage" photographs and images from the asylum to increase the creepiness factor. The concept really drew me in and I was excited to read this.

The first few chapters went pretty smoothly. The writing definitely felt like it was aimed for younger readers, potentially even middle graders, in spite of the heavier/scarier topics promised to come. I quickly decided it wasn't a book for terribly young readers when the teenage characters started swearing with moderate frequency. I acknowledge that teenagers do swear and many of them do so awkwardly as they experiment with it almost as a form of rebellion, but I'm not going to pass a book to a youngster if it's got swearing. Just my personal taste.

Aside from their language, the characters seemed interesting at first. The main character is a boy named Dan. He's smart (a requirement for this school program) and a bit of a loner. He also has some undisclosed psychological problems for which he seems to have a therapist on speed dial. This doctor is referenced numerous times but never called. On arriving at the school Dan meets his roommate for the summer, a boy named Felix. Felix is also smart and definitely socially awkward. Dan immediately feels a bit put off by Felix and his semi-neurotic tendencies.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By jen719 on August 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had heard wonderful things about this book and I was very impressed with Asylum from the very beginning. It is a dark, creepy and dramatic book about a young man who lives in a renovated mental hospital and finds that after mysterious circumstances that his dorm has developed a life of its own. Dan Crawford is a typical teenager who spends too much time involved in his studies of science and history but jumps at the opportunity to experience college life at the prestigious New Hampshire College prep program for the summer. He finds that the school was just what he was looking for and immediately starts to make friends with fellow students, Abby and Jordan. One night, they decide to investigate the abandoned basement of their dorm that used to be Brookline's main office and holds case files of the asylum's infamous residents. After their midnight excursion, strange things start to happen with no logical explanation and Dan finds that some secrets should have stayed locked away in Brookline's abandoned rooms.

Madeleine Roux's Asylum is a haunting novel that provides a thrilling mystery and creepy locales that will keep you up at night. The pictures that are laced throughout the novel are a perfect addition to the story and will make the reader feel as though they are there with Dan and had me jumping at every noise that I heard. Asylum is a well-written novel that I know people will enjoy and is now one of my top books for 2013. I'm looking forward to reading more from Ms. Roux but it will be awhile before I sleep without the light on.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lydia TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a pansy when it comes to scary stories. I will readily admit that. The book can be even not well written and I'll still be pansy. Add pictures into the mix and yeah, I'll be sleeping with my light on for at least 2-3 nights after finishing the book (and sometimes during if I just can't finish the book in one setting). Asylum was one of those books - I was so tired and haunted by the images in the book that it was a two night read for me...and the result was I spent a few nights restless in my sleep due to having to have my light on.

I don't know about you, but the idea of an old mental asylum is only second to an abandoned carnival ground on a terror-ranking list. When I was in my late teens, I accompanied a boyfriend and my sister to an abandoned penitentiary in eastern Wyoming. It was Halloween and the workers had a blast filling each room with re-enactments of terrible things that may have happened. Asylum provoked the memory of that experience through the medium of the included photos. Not to mention - anytime I see a picture with eyes scratched out on it I get massive heebie-jeebies.

That's not to say that Roux wrote a story that could have creeped me out. In fact, without the addition of the pictures, I think I might have been a bit bored by the story. It was a pretty typical one - group of kids get locked up, essentially, in a creepy old building and start investigating its history. I got some massive Scooby Doo vibes from it. But Roux did take it a step darker, which was necessary, with the inclusion of the photos. The photos (and their credits are included at the back of the book) are a story in themselves. So much horror contained in each, it is worth picking up the book just to examine them.
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