A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel
Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…
Seventeen-year-old Hannah Gold has always been treated like a grown up. As the only child of two New York professionals, she’s been traveling the world and functioning as a miniature adult since the day she was born. But that was then. Now, Hannah has been checked into a remote treatment facility, stripped of all autonomy and confined to a single room.
Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. What happened to her roommate that summer was an accident. As soon as the doctor and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can get back to her life of promise and start her final year at school. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.
But then she’s assigned a new roommate. At first, Lucy is the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can make Hannah confront the secrets she’s avoiding – and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.
I have a soft spot for unreliable narrators done well, and for psychological narratives that keep you on your toes. This book ticks everything quite well in those aspects.
We meet Hannah as she’s starting to tell us her story. She’s in a mental facilty as she has been labelled “a danger to herself and others”, after what Hannah insists was an accident that put her best friend in a comma.
I didn’t put down this book, just read thriough it all. We go between memories Hannah has of the time before the accident, some memories around the accident (just little hints, little bits, for some reason Hannah seems to only do bits and pieces around it) and her time at the facility.
The book leaves enough hints so that when the twists come, you don’t feel sucker punched, just punched in the gut. And it does so very well. I kept having a slight idea of “this doesn’t sound right” but I couldn’t put my finger on the exact reason or anything beyond that.
However, as the time in the facility lengthens, the more we learn, the more it makes sense and at the same time, the more it unrabbles. It was a delight to read and I was hooked. And once I finished, I went back to find those parts where hints had been dropped to read them with fresh eyes.
I’d say it is the type of book you need to read twice. Once to get the full shock and to savour that surprise, the second time to find all the hints and see the “oh, so that’s it/why”.
All in all, an ejoyable thrilling read that kept me guessing and pondering and trying to figure out what was the truth and how many secrets hannah was keeping.