Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
2015 – YA – Horror
The Story: Delia inherits a house after her great-aunt passes away, so her parents decide to move into the house for the summer to clean it up and get it ready to sell. When they arrive, however, they learn that the “house” is actually the shut-down Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females – an old insane asylum used to lock up girls ranging from actually mentally ill to simply strong-willed or defiant. Right from the start, the house wants to add Delia to its collection of ghosts.
The Opening Line: Every fairy tale starts the same: Once upon a time.
Thoughts: This is my first official R.I.P. X read of the year, and I’m pleased that I seem to be on the right track. The book doesn’t pull any punches, starting off fast and strong. The supernatural horror element ramps up quickly, with a major plot twist occurring in the opening chapters of the book. This sets the stage for a more prolonged look at the horrors of the house, where the spirits trapped inside may not be exactly as they seem.
I love books with boarding school settings, as I’ve mentioned before, but I also love books with insane asylum settings. It’s almost like an inverted boarding school, but with a super creepy element. The house here has taken on a life of its own and now its singular purpose seems to be trying to lure in and trap young women, troubled or not. The ghosts inside consider the house home and don’t really see a reason to fight against the house, but Delia’s arrival in the house shakes things up completely. There are creepy bits, touching bits, funny bits. It’s just a good book all around – easy to read and digest, but with a compelling story, characters, and setting.
I’m moving on to other R.I.P. X reads in the coming days – I’m hoping that my selection stays strong!