Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel. This tour is being hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
The Castle School (For Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery
Publishing Date: March 2, 2021
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.
The Castle School For Troubled Girls was different than I expected, but also really good.
Moira’s best friend, Nathan, died from cancer and she’s been acting out. She wouldn’t go to school, was losing weight, snuck out often, and got a tattoo. Her parents decide to send her to The Castle School. The school is in the middle of nowhere and it really is a castle. There are only twelve girls there and the rules are extremely strict. School isn’t structured at all, but there is a bedtime and therapy. They also don’t allow clocks or cell phones. While there, Moira starts hearing music outside. She finds that the lock on her window is broken, so she and her roommate, Eleanor, sneak out to see what the sound is. What they find surprises them and they’re not quite sure what’s going on.
A huge part of the book is dealing with grief and depression. Dr. Prince works to get Moira to understand why she was sent to the school and that it’s ok to move on after Nathan’s death. Moira can’t let him go and she feels guilty doing anything that he can’t do. She doesn’t want to make any other friends. It all feels like cheating on Nathan.
The girls are each there for different reasons. They all end up bonding with each other over time and I loved the friendships. But each girl needed a lot of help and the school doesn’t always help everyone.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my review copy.
Warnings: There are a lot of serious trigger topics in the book. Depression, cutting, stealing, parental issues, cancer, death, eating disorders, pulling out hair, addiction. I’m pretty sure there are other things I’m forgetting. Just know that this is a school for girls who need help for something in their lives.
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 favorite thing 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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