A Madness So Discreet (Review)

A Madness So Discreet (Review)
Hey there!
Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author:  Mindy McGinnis
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Published Date: 6th October 2015
Rating: 4 stars
*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*
Synopsis: Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant
mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the
bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark
cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the
new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace
will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the
safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a
life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into
the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate
under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons
in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed
author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores
the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that
exists in all of us.

Review: I have
seen so many brilliant reviews about the other two books by this author called Not a Drop to Drink and its sequel. But
I didn’t really have any interest in reading those books so I was pretty happy
when McGinnis revealed she was going to be releasing a new book. I wanted to
try that one! And before I dig into this review, let’s all take a moment to
admire that cover. So much cover love here. 😀
This had so many things to live up to. It promised to be
a historical young adult thriller. And it did manage to be all those things,
but maybe because it was cramming so many into one novel it did fall short on
some points.
I have to say that this book had a good realistic view of
asylums. It was a bit horrid to read about but in history, the people who were
assumed mad or sent there really were treated
that way. Reading this book I learned they did something pretty horrific to the
patients who were the most mentally ill, and I was shocked to do my research
and find it to be true. I suppose I have to thank this author for being so
realistic and teaching me something new about history as well.
This book also made me question sanity in general, and
what should be deemed as insanity. I liked how it kept on referring to that in
little notions throughout the whole book. As it should do because Grace has
been labelled as insane, and it refers to the title as well. As soon as you
understand the title properly you have a huge OH moment. You think you understand
it all the way at the beginning, but it actually happens at the end. And title
love as well!
As for the characters, it was hard for me to relate to
them. Especially Grace the main character. And I think that is because her
character changes too soon and too quickly. At the beginning of the novel she
is a desperate and loss woman who is begging for her life to end while she is
the asylum. But then suddenly she becomes a clever and very intellectual person
who could even be snarky sometimes. That sudden change without there being a
particular reason for it made it hard to understand her.
Thornfellow was the other main character, but he was
mostly weird and hard to pin down because of that.
There were a few bumps in the story as well. It seemed
like the author jumped through the book and I could really cut it into stages.
One moment Grace is meeting this lady every week, and then said lady is
forgotten and she focuses on letters. After that there is no mention of letters
for a long time, and then they are suddenly in the focus again. The story
doesn’t run smoothly and it was like she remembered that there were supposed to
be letters a while later and then includes them again.
I liked this book, but it did just need that little bit more to make it wonderful!
But this was still generally a good book! There’s the
mention of abuse in here, and there is a murder mystery which isn’t the main
focus of the novel but it was interesting to follow the clues and see it become
solved. Oh, and it is one of the few books which is romance free! A good read
overall, despite a few hitches.
Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

New Video! A book review of Revised Orders by Irene Helenowski!

Olivia’s Question: What book title do you really love?

Olivia-Savannah x 


38 thoughts on “A Madness So Discreet (Review)”

  • Another great review Olivia! The cover art is indeed eye candy. I noticed reviews for this book have been floating around quite a bit and am glad to get your perspective on the story. I enjoy dark and haunting stories of the fantasy kind. Do you think this one borderlines close to psychological horror?

    • I think they are coming because the release date just passed! I wouldn't quite label it is a horror. Horrific things happen but it doesn't follow that theme all through the book. more so a psychological book though.

  • This sounds really fairly neat, but… way too creepy for me, I think. I love/am terrified by the idea of stories told in asylums. I mean, often the history of those places, like you say, are abominable, and it's horrifying enough to read the true elements of what went on, but a lot of the time the stories are just of scary intentionally, in addition to that, and I don't go so well with scary! I mean, when I saw the hands at the bottem of the cover, the first time, I was sorta terrified.
    It sounds super interesting, though, and I'm glad it was a fairly good experience, overall! xx

    • It actually took me forever to notice there was hands at the bottom of the cover until another reviewer pointed it out xd But yes, sometimes scary reads are a bit too creepy even for me. And the more elements of truth they have in it, the scarier it is…

  • I absolutely agree with you! I LOVED that it made us question what "sane" even is! And of course, back then, any old person could be thrown in an asylum for the most ridiculous of reasons (like Grace!), and I thought that the historical and mental health parts were done SO well. But like you said, I did feel a bit of a disconnect with Grace at times. It was a 4 star for me as well! (Incidentally, I LOVED Mindy's other two books too!) Great review!!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    • Yes! Books that make me question things almost always go on my favourites list because it is making me rethink my outlook on the way I perceive things. It's crazy how asylums were DD: I am going to have to check out those other books as well!

  • Cool review Olivia 🙂 Asylums really were horrid places. This book sounds very interesting but I'm not sure if I would really enjoy a book with a MC who's personality doesn't seem very consistent. Also, the Anne Rice geek in me totally approves that Claudia gif XD

  • I'm another person who loved McGinnis' other reads! It's a shame that you couldn't fully connect to the characters in this one, that's a big thing for me so I'm worried I will have the same problem. The main character changing like that suddenly would definitely take me out of the story too. Great review!

  • Such a good review Olivia! I am sooooo ready to read this! I'm addicted to thrillers, anything set in creepy boarding schools or asylums, so I knew that I would pick this up as soon as it was released. I haven't read her other two novels either, mainly because they didn't jump out to me, so I'm hoping A Madness So Discreet lives up to it's hype! Oh to answer your question, I really like the book titles The Girl From Everywhere, Sleeping Giants, and Reawakened!

    • I hope you will like it just as much as I did! It really did live up to that hype to me, but it can be scary to jump in and start. Ooj, and if all that creepiness is up your street then this is perfect for you. All those titles you mentioned? I love them too <3

  • I actually saw this book online not too long ago and fell in love with that cover, it's beautiful!! But I didn't know what the book was about, this sounds amazing! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even though it didn't run smoothly, as you mentioned.

    In one of my favorite video games you actually get to be an asylum patient for a little while. I think I got a lobotomy done, if I remember correctly. So this book does sound really interesting to me!

    Lipstick and Mocha

  • This book was great! I had a hard time to rate it. I kept going back and forth between 3 and 4 and ended up settling on 4 because it was pretty unique. Also, I tried reading Not a Drop to Drink once and ended up not finishing because it wasn't my thing at that moment.

  • This one sounds a bit rough around the edges but I've always been interested in learning about asylums and the women committed there.

    I really recommend Not a Drop to Drink. It wasn't something I would normally read either, but the character development was lovely.

    • It is a bit rough, but still worth the read in my opinion! It did give some good information grounded on fact, so you can learn from it. I now have Not a Drop to Drink on my TBR so I will let you know whenever I get around to it x

  • I think that Grace's intelligent side was overshadowed by her experience in the asylum. Remember, she tried to shut her brain down because she remembers everything with perfect clarity. And then, she has the opportunity to get away, so she had to show her worth to the person she was trying to get her safely away from Boston. I enjoyed it, but the ending didn't sit well with me. I hate injustice, no matter if the person receiving it deserves to be behind bars. Just do it the right way. In this case, it couldn't be done the right way because of Grace's situation. Still, enjoyable book. Great review!

    To answer your question: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is one of my favorite titles. The cover is simple, but colorful also.

  • Asylums were the worst. Jeez, I kinda had to learn about a few when I was studying Psychology and some of the stuff they did to people was horrifying. Worst of all, it wasn't so long ago…. some techniques were done 50 years ago or less and I'm pretty sure there are places around the world where these kinds of things are still done today. Human beings can be horrible when not understanding what they have in front of them and mental illness is sadly, one of those uncomprehensible things sometimes. Good to know you liked it but not so sure about the bumpy jumps. I don't mind a book that goes from one point to another just because but I prefer when it's done smoothly you know?
    And I don't know what book title to include in here. I love a lot, especially those with alliterations such as The Lies of Locke Lamora or the likes hahaha

    • I have definitely learned that they really were and I agree with you – I am sure some dodgy things still do go on in some asylums around the world somewhere. It can be shocking how recent this all was, and I think it is good tat McGinnis included this in her book as well.

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