The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)

Alyssa Sheinmel. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-7282-2098-7
Following the death of her best friend, high school senior Moira Dreyfuss skips school, sneaks out at night, and gets a tattoo. Frustrated, her parents send Moira to the Castle School in Maine, a talk therapy program that provides new circumstances to “troubled” girls. Moira’s distrust of therapist Dr. Prince is heightened by his rules, including a strict curfew and no phones or junk food. As the semester progresses, Moira becomes friendly with the 11 other girls at the school, and with roommate Eleanor, she uncovers a mystery—a second castle housing 12 boys also in treatment but living with little supervision. While Moira’s viewpoint guides the novel, Sheinmel (What Kind of Girl) sensitively explores the reasons that brought each girl to Castle School, including addiction and kleptomania, emphasizing conversations between the healing schoolmates and between Moira and Dr. Prince. Despite a lengthy wrap-up, Sheinmel’s introspective story skillfully illustrates the weight of grief, the difference between adaptive and nonadaptive reactions to trauma, and the healing power of radical acceptance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, Creative Artists Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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