Monday, September 7, 2009

"The School for Dangerous Girls" by Eliot Schrefer

Angie, a teen with a difficult and troubled adolescence who has depleted her mother's patience, is sent to Hidden Oaks, a reform school hidden deep in the Colorado countryside. A former boys' prep school with its own tragic past, the Hidden Oaks campus consists of severaltermined to find buildings surrounded by the ruins of former dormitories, gyms, and classroom buildings. Angie, along with the rest of the "dangerous girls", jockeys for position and standing in a group that suffers minimal interaction with the adults whose mission is to reform them. Once classes start, it becomes apparent that the students have been separated into two "strands" of girls - one whose members remain in classes, and another, whose members mysteriously disappear and are not heard from again.

As Angie attempts to find her place at Hidden Oaks and deal with her troubled past, she is also determined to discover the fates of the girls who have disappeared, and begins to suffer from the cruel and bizarre punishments of the teachers. The threatening setting of the ruined campus and deteriorating weather, coupled with the exploration of the dark side of group dynamics, make this a thriller from start to finish. One can't help but turn the pages to find the answers to the many mysteries embedded in the appropriately named Hidden Oaks.

I'd rate this book four out of five stars.

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