Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Asylum (Birch Harbor Series #1) by Kristen Selleck

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Across the country, hidden in plain sight, are the forgotten remains of a once-great psychiatric movement: the asylum. These crumbling castles all share a common appearance and history. They inspire curiosity, fear, and even a few urban legends.

Chloe Adams came to Birch Harbor, a small college town in the U.P., to escape the stigma of mental illness. Her new roommate Sam Klingeman, came to drink her weight in vodka and find a hot guy with a trust fund. Between Chloe's developing relationship with campus hockey hero and floor RA, Seth Maird, trying to be the voice of moderation for Sam, and her new position as teacher's assistant for the eccentric Dr. Willard, she's stayed busy enough to keep the past firmly behind her.

But the voices return...and this time, she's not the only one that can hear them.

The beautiful old dormitory she lives in is hiding a secret. A secret that will uncover a dark plot 200 years in the making. Will Chloe be able to hold onto the new life she's worked so hard to build, will she relapse into a world of her own making, or will she, perhaps, fulfill the legacy she was born into?
My Thoughts: Holy smokes. This was one good book. There are secrets and ghosts and scary things that go bump in the night and more secrets. *shiver* It was exactly what I wanted when I picked it up. I mean, you all know about my desperate love for abandoned places, right? It doesn't matter what they are... cities, asylums, catacombs, houses... I love the darn things. While technically the building in question here isn't abandoned, the idea of these moldering, broken, forgotten buildings that housed such terrible atrocities in their time is chilling.

Kristen Selleck took this idea and built it into something wickedly readable. Chloe's past isn't all sunshine and roses. She's trying to rebuild herself and live normally. She can push the voices she hears down but they're always there. Yet... she manages. She manages very well. Yes, she's quiet and has appalling self-esteem (and after meeting her mother you'll understand why) but she's finding a balance. In different ways, Seth and Sam are both good for her. Sam forces her to come out of her shell and be social. Seth just likes her. He likes her for being her. It's sweet, really.

Now, Chloe's stunted social growth is all fine and dandy but there's also a matter of some pesky going on in their dorm building. And by "pesky goings on" I mean things that can possess you and ... are dead. I really enjoyed the buildup of tension and how we never knew when the next scary thing was going to happen. The entire mystery of who the ghost was and why they were doing what they were doing was well done. We got answers (a lot of answers) but we were also left with a lot of questions. Frankly, I got to the end of the book and I was staring wide-eyed at it because I wanted MORE!

Wonderfully atmospheric and sometimes downright creepy, I was drawn to Chloe's aloneness from the beginning. As we began to find out why she keeps herself apart from those around her, the story just sunk its claws in deeper. I really am looking forward to see where Kristen Selleck takes us next.

More books by Kristen Selleck

Reading challenges: Ebook Challenge
Asylum was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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