Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
Genre: Paranormal // Young Adult // Ghosts
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher 

Delia's new house isn't just a house. It used to be an insane asylum, a place to lock up "troubled" young women long ago. And a restless, wicked spirit is still at play--and it doesn't want defiant girls like Delia to go anywhere.
So the house kills her.
Now Delia is a ghost, trapped in her creepy home forever. As she meets the other ghost girls who haunt the narrow hallways, as well as the handsome ghost boy on the grounds, she learns shocking truths about the house's history. Delia also realizes that her alive and grieving sister might be the house's next target. Can Delia unlock the mystery of the old asylum, save her sister, and free herself (goodreads)?

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall surprisingly had a lot of heart for a book about a dead girl. 

Plot: Delia Piven has just inherited her great aunt's home which just so happily turns out to be the ruins of an old mental institute for "troubled" young women. After an act of teenage rebellion, Delia's parents decide that they should spend the summer at the spooky old institute for some good old family bonding. 

Obviously Delia is immediately killed by a supernatural force and she spends the following years learning how to come to terms with her new state and aids the other ghosts in uncovering the mystery as to why none of the young women who died at the institute are unable to cross over. 

For a book about ghosts, I felt hat The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall was missing a certain level of creepy that I have come to expect from Katie Alender. I think this is because the ghosts communicate with each other like normal people which really humanized them for me. 

Besides the whole ghostly aspect, family is a big theme in this novel and I really enjoyed Delia's memories and revelations about her younger sister who starts off as a brat and grows into her own woman. 

Characters: Delia is your standard teenager. She breaks the rules, slams doors and has her moment of brooding. It was interesting to see Delia put her human life into perspective after her death which made me reflect on the little things in my own mortality. There are plenty of ghosts that haunt the interior and exterior of the Hall but only a handful of ghosts truly help push the story forward. I would have liked more exploration of the ghosts how they met their grisly ends. 

World Building: Hysteria Hall is both huge and spooky; however Delia doesn't really use much of the space. I would have loved a map (maybe we'll get one?) to get an  idea of the landscape. 

Short N Sweet: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall has a lot of heart and a lot of ghosts, unfortunately, it was missing the creepy factor. 


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