Written by: Emiko Jean
Number of Pages: 280
Average Rating: 3.84/5 stars
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Published: October 2015
Read in November 2017
Summary According to Goodreads
Murder. Fire. Revenge.
That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.
Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.
I think I may need to take a break from novels surrounding mental hospitals, because this one was not in my taste. I was hooked at the beginning and captivated to see where the story was going to go, but once I figured out the plot twists I lost interest. The synopsis gripped me from the very beginning, and I’d taken it out from the library before deciding to purchase my own when I saw it on bargain. I am a sucker for psychological thrillers, but this was yet another to lead to disappointment. I was definitely expecting something much creepier, and instead found myself sucked into teen hormones.
Although this novel needed to be driven by its characters, I felt that they were a little too flat. Alice is an unreliable narrator as her memory of what has landed her in the hospital is hazy. I appreciated her diary entries to gain memories, as well as the way she was very guarded but manic, as it represented her issues well. Above all, Chase was a nice character to read. He is foreshadowed as the “bad boy” but is more rounded than he seems at first glance. I liked his big heart and that he wasn’t afraid to say what he was thinking. He was my favourite character, no doubt about it.
I have a very hard time believing that the hospital staff were naive enough to let Alice get away with everything that she did. From my experience, the staff are highly trained, know many warning signs, and are constantly around observing. So how was she able to leave the hospital undetected? They also prohibited physical contact between patients and steered away from relationships, so the lack of reality made it hard for me to enjoy.
I also have to give credit to Emiko Jean, because I found it hard to believe this was a debut novel. The structure was there, the writing style was there, and the characters were there, it was just a plot that’s been done too many times. The base of this novel was so solid, all of these areas just needed to be expanded and strengthened a little bit more. I can only hope that her next work will show an improvement and be much stronger!
Overall, this was just very plain. I cannot say that I hated this novel, but I didn’t love it either. If this is your first time in this genre, you would probably enjoy this as you wouldn’t know what to expect, and would find more suspense than I did. For me, it was just an easy-ish read that made my breaks at work pass by faster. It followed the same general plot lines, and the characters were not anything unique, just an un-original story. If this author ever publishes another novel I would likely check it out, but for now I’m in no rush.