•Title: The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
•Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
•Length: 400 pages
•Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
•Read Date: January 14, 2021
•Publication Date: March 02, 2021
•Type Read: Digital Arc (via NetGalley)
•Genre(s): Contemporary YA, Dark Academia, Grief and Loss, Mystery, Mental Health
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.
TOP 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:
1• Read this if you love books set in remote boarding schools – this is set deep in the woods of Portland, Maine.
2• Read this if you love a good head-strong main character who goes through an incredible amount of growth throughout the book – Moira is dealing with a lot of anger and grief at the start of this book and we get to see how she begins to grow as a person and understand her emotions better.
3• Read this if you enjoy a fun and diverse cast of secondary characters – this is an all girls boarding school and we meet a bunch of girls that Moira is schooling with along with the reasons for which they, themselves wind up at this school.
4• Read this if you want to enjoy hard-hitting topics while the writing remains accessible – this book deals with a lot of different hard issues but is still a relatively easy read!
5• Read this if you enjoy a bit of mystery because that is what you will be getting in this book – soon after her arrival, Moira hears music in her room at night and discovers, not only a broken lock on her window, but a whole other school set in these woods, where things are done quite differently.
The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) is essentially a story about loss and grief. A depiction of what happens when a young girl is so blinded by her sadness and grief that she cannot and does not want to see past it to any sort of growth.
Moira is not too happy to learn that her parents are sending her away to the Castle School, an all-girls boarding school in Portland, Maine, but there really is not anything she can do about it. Her parents have had enough of her antics, but after the death of her best friend, Nathan, there is not much that matters to her anymore. She feels that they just do not want to deal with her anymore.
Meeting a varying array of other troubled young women attending the school, Moira has no intention of making any new friends. She only ever needed Nathan. And she has no interest in her sessions with the odd Dr. Prince. She is so closed off and has no plans to change that any time soon. But, when she hears music at night and then discovers a broken lock on her window, she and her roommate sneak out only to learn that there is another school close by, and all-boys school. While it seems freeing at first to be able to sneak away to this other school, she ultimately comes to a different conclusion. And, slowly, Moira begins to open up and accept the things around her that she cannot change.
I really enjoyed this book. This is not my first Sheinmel novel and it will not be my last because I love her hard-hitting while accessible writing. I loved the school setting in this book and all of the different girls that attend with her. They all struggle with such different afflictions. I loved how fiercely Moira loved Nathan and I felt the heartbreak in her when she simply could not let him go. But I did not like what ultimately happens with the schools. It felt wrong in relation to the rest of the story.
About the Author:
Alyssa was born in Stanford, California, and even though she moved across the country to New York when she was six years old, she still thinks of herself as a California girl.
She still remembers the very first chapter book she ever read—The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, by Judy Blume. Before long, reading was her favoritething in the world. She loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, she wrote my own stories just to give herself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, she just made up stories in her head.
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