A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Paints a disturbing picture of how the medical establishment sometimes victimized patients in earlier times.
The mentally ill deserve safe treatment and respect.
Positive Role Models
Ricky Desmond has a hard time disguising his sarcastic demeanor, but he learns to keep his rebelliousness hidden. He feels compassion for his fellow inmates.
Violence & Scariness
Much of the violence in Escape from Asylum is implied rather than shown. In one disturbing scene, a patient is lobotomized. Ricky and other patients are hosed down with freezing and scalding water. Others undergo shock treatments against their will.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ricky is bisexual and sometimes recalls encounters he's had with other boys, though not in graphic detail.
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About a dozen uses each of "hell" and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Ricky takes prescription drugs as part of his treatment but does not enjoy their effects. In one party scene, adults drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Escape from Asylum is a historical prequel to the Asylum horror series by Madeleine Roux. Set in a mental institution, the book details mistreatment of patients at the hands of medical practitioners. Violent scenes include a lobotomy and patients being violently hosed down with freezing and scalding water. Swearing is limited to a dozen or so uses of "hell" and "damn." The volume contains illustrations based on photos from actual asylums.
Is It Any Good?
Sometimes a prequel to a popular series can add something enlightening to what's gone before, but this supposedly stand-alone volume doesn't offer much for the interested newcomer. In Escape from Asylum, Ricky, Kay, Nurse Ash, the warden, and the other denizens of Brookline are interesting characters, but they are also somewhat static. The plot seems to repeat itself, serving up creepy dream sequences, foreboding encounters, and cryptic clues without making a break into fresh territory. Readers familiar with the series may appreciate the tidying up of some loose ends, but the uninitiated may feel left in the dark.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.