A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I had grabbed this one from the BN Book Haul Sale not really knowing what it was about other than the fact that it addressed mental health. A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel is a YA contemporary that follows Hannah after her friend Agnes had a terrible accident. Obvious trigger warnings are needed for mental illness, including psychosis, depression, and eating disorders.

When Hannah's roommate Agnes falls from their second story window and suffers severe injuries, Hannah finds herself in a mental institution. She sees on her file that she is "a danger to herself and others," but how can she be? Agnes was her best friend. She would never do anything to hurt her. This must all be a big misunderstanding. But as days pass Hannah realizes she might be in there much longer than she anticipates. That's when Hannah gets a roommate, Lucy. And Lucy might be just the person to help her through this ordeal.

There was a pretty good twist in this, and it was a very fast read. Parts of this were incredibly intense and I was really invested in what was going to happen. I don't think Hannah was a likable character, but I don't think she was supposed to be. I also heavily disliked her parents, especially towards the end, but again they were clearly supposed to be disliked.

While I've never been in a mental institution, I don't think the one in the book was very representative of real life. The way that Hannah was isolated, was never able to get clean until she was granted privileges to do so, had to do her business in a bed pan because they hardly ever let her out to use the restroom, and was only given fresh clothes every few days screamed patient neglect. There is an authors note in the back that said the author took liberties with some of these things, but I think it's important to portray all aspects of mental health accurately, so I wasn't a fan of this.

I was also not a big fan of the ending. If it had ended a little sooner in the story, it would have been fine and I would have been satisfied. If it had gone on a little longer, it would have been fine. But where it did stop felt jarring and unfinished, like the author didn't want to let go but didn't have anything else of substance to write.

I liked this book enough, but it definitely wasn't as good as it could have been, and taking liberties with something as serious as mental health really rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

12 comments

  1. Great review. Sounds interesting but not amazing. Might pick it up if I see it cheap somewhere.

    www.tbrandbeyond.com

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  2. Great review. I was thinking on picking it up until I read how she portray the mental health facility. I feel if you going to write something like that you need to research more. I'll pass. Thank you :)

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  3. Sounds interesting. Is the time period modern or historical? Before there was reform for mental health, institutions were a mess.

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  4. I would hope that is not representative of most institutions, but also know awful and heinous things do happen to those most vulnerable.

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  5. Great review! Too bad you didn't love it.

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  6. I've not heard of this one. Thanks for the honest review.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

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  7. Oh it's too bad that it wasn't as good as the cover! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Great review. Not good when they manage to get something so poignant wrong and it ruins the book.

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  9. I thought this was going to be a 5 star book from the cover. Sigh. I am disappointed.


    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

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