ARC Review: The Castle School (for Troubled Girls). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Castle School: For Troubled Girls by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Expected Publication 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)

Not what I expected!

I picked this one out because it sounded a bit different and it turned out it really was. The main character was a seventeen year old girl from Manhattan, New York named Moira Dreyfuss. Moira recently lost her best friend Nathan to Cancer and has been acting out, skipping meals and school, the last straw was a tattoo on her arm. So her parents send her to The Castle School (for Troubled Girls).

Nathan was Moira’s only real friend and they were true best friends. They did everything together. Moira always got the feeling that she was a disappointment to her parents and was often at Nathan’s place rather than her own. She liked his parents and they treated her as a family member. During Nathan’s long bout with Cancer, Moira would often skip school to stay with him in the hospital and after he died, she didn’t feel like going back even after what her parents considered a timely mourning period.

The Castle school is actually in a real Castle in the wilderness of Maine and it is cold, dreary and they take away her phone and laptop. There are no clocks, no electronic devices and the rules are very strict. They don’t have fires burning in the rooms for warmth and the girls are always cold. They see Dr. Prince (a.k.a. The Prince) every other day for therapy and Moira also meets his son, Bertrand (a.k.a. Randy). Randy lives in the castle but isn’t allowed to have much interaction with the girls.

The school is a joke, Moira thinks it is pretty ironic that her parents sent her away for skipping school and this school is pretty much non-existent. She also thinks a lot of things about their situation is really strange and starts to wonder if it is all some elaborate psychological experiment that The Prince is doing on behavior or something like that.

Moira notices the bars on her windows are loose and along with her roommate, leaves during the night to investigate music they have been hearing late at night. They find a very similar Castle nearby with boys which is run by Maura Prince (wife or sister of The Prince). However, the boys have much more freedom and Moira can’t figure out what is going on.

As the story goes along, each of the girls Moira is with in the castle has a chapter with their own POV which goes on to show a bit about their life prior to getting sent to the castle and what was the primary reason for them being sent to the castle. They range from OCD to addiction and just about everything in between.

The story was a bit slow, but good and the ending is fabulous. There were quite a few mysteries and I found myself wondering along the way why Moira didn’t come right out and ask about some of these things. But I guess I can see why she didn’t. In some cases the questions were too intrusive and not really any of her business and in others, the questions would give away the fact that she knows about the other Castle and its inhabitants. So like in most books, we just have to wait for Moira to find out more. I just really liked the story and how it all turned out. Mysteries are rarely revealed like in this book. It was a breath of fresh air.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


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