I received a proof copy of this book at YALC.
I was intrigued by this book at YALC, not only because of the author being there and signing copies of it, but also because of the very creepy cover art. The idea of a correctional facility for wayward kids being more than it seems isn’t new – I know I’ve read a few before, and I have some from Source Books which are based on a true story, which is, frankly, terrifying, but the idea of one set in England was interesting, so this was one of the first books I picked up to bring on my summer holidays. The Treatment will be published on October 19th.
Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed meets Never Let Me Go in the pulse-pounding YA thriller from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of The Escape.
“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”
All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.
Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.
Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.
Before it’s too late.
You might think that a dark and twisted story of wayward teens being moulded into perfect citizens in a correctional facility which seems too good to be true would be an incongruous match for a summer holiday of sun, swimming, and sightseeing in Santorini (I love a bit of sibilance). But actually I read most of this on the plane, so the enclosed, claustrophobic environment was perfect for this tense and twisted thriller.
Drew, the main character, is on a mission to save her brother (annoying though he is) from the Treatment in the reform academy he’s been sent to. Accosted on the street in the first chapter by a mysterious ‘Dr Cobey’ who passes on a secret message, Drew must decide whether to act on this message from Mason. He may well be an annoying and disruptive sod, but he’s still her brother. So Drew begins to infiltrate the Academy to save her brother.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, largely because it wasn’t entirely predictable. Although Drew goes in with a plan, like most times when you’re jumping straight in, there are many factors that can’t be predicted, and so lots of improvisation has to be done. Drew was smart and resourceful, but still only sixteen years old, and in an environment which was way outside of her comfort zone. Pleasingly, she made plenty of mistakes, and reacted in ways which seemed utterly believable.
If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that too many coincidences centred around Drew and Mason’s family and friends. Too many characters who were briefly mentioned in the beginning showed up later with bigger roles to play, which made the whole thing seem less believable.
There was also an unexplained moment in the final scene which might have been designed to leave the reader unsettled, but just left me frustrated and confused, as it wasn’t fleshed out enough (I felt) to actually mean anything.
But overall, this was a hugely entertaining read, and I will definitely look out for more by CL Taylor.