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I Belong

Review: Insanity by Susan Vaught


Title: Insanity

AuthorSusan Vaught

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 18, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1599907844 (Bloomsbury)

ISBN-13: 978-1599907840 (Bloomsbury)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


Never, Kentucky is not your average scenic small town. It is a crossways, a place where the dead and the living can find no peace. Not that Forest, an 18-year-old foster kid who works the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, knew this when she applied for the job. Lincoln is a huge state mental institution, a good place for Forest to make some money to pay for college. But along with hundreds of very unstable patients, it also has underground tunnels, bell towers that ring unexpectedly, and a closet that holds more than just donated clothing….When the dead husband of one of Forest’s patients makes an appearance late one night, seemingly accompanied by an agent of the Devil, Forest loses all sense of reality and all sense of time. Terrified, she knows she has a part to play, and when she does so, she finds a heritage that she never expected.

With her deep knowledge of mental illness and mental institutions, Susan Vaught brings readers a fascinating and completely creepy new book intertwining the stories of three young people who find themselves haunted beyond imagining in the depths of Lincoln Hospital.

Quick & Dirty: I was often confused or bored with Insanity, but there were certain things that pushed the review up one star.

Opening Sentence: There was something wrong with the dog.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This book starts out with Forest in Lincoln, an old asylum from Never, Kentucky. Ghosts and haints and crazy people live in its walls. Readers follow four characters through four main stories, each with a different villain and plotline, each from a different point of view. My feelings are very mixed about this book. The writing style is not bad at all, but sometimes the novel gets confusing with its descriptions of ghosts, shades, ghasts, spirits. I never could keep the different ones straight. I never connected to the characters, either, so it was a struggle to push through the three hundred pages. When I finished I was relieved. Insanity was just not for me.

However, I’ll give Insanity this: when I was reading at night, and the creepiest villain of the bunch appeared, I could not stop shivering. The descriptions of a man’s body with a child’s face, giggling while chasing with a shard of sharp metal, was ruthless in its delivery. I was completely freaked out. This raised my opinion of the book because the reason I didn’t like the villains is we didn’t have enough time to let them develop and grow strong before the attack, and we basically hear about them and then the main battle happens. Bam! At least with “Maman” (villain above) I could get invested in the descriptions and a little more into the book.

First things first, the characters. Part one we follow Forest. She’s a nice character, but not interesting, not with that intriguing factor. The love story between her and Levi moved slowly, and besides that sometimes I couldn’t tell she was even into him. Number two is Darius, and his story confused me often. By the end we get clarity on what just went down, but I was still a little wary. He had a different outlook on life and I enjoyed the refreshing change from the blander Forest. Next, Trina. I have to say that Trina’s section was my favorite of the bunch! We start out with Trina putting her father to sleep with a spell, because apparently she’s a witch, and learning that her father hunts and kills Madocs. Soon her father is heading out to kill Darius, who is also her boyfriend, because she let it slip that he might have some magic. What a start to part three! The pull to read grew more intense, though still I wasn’t really loving Insanity. And the final part, four. This time it’s Levi we follow, the Levi that has a budding relationship with Forest. He helps send spirits into the afterlife and is sometimes referred to as a haint. It was funny, because with Forest you see that she likes Levi, but it seems more friendship orientated than a romance. But with Levi you can really tell how much he loves her, and that scares him. Again, of all the characters my favorite would have to be Trina.

The setting is creepy, Lincoln. During part four especially you get a glimpse of the life pulsing under wood and nail. Since there is a “thin spot” it’s easier to travel from living to the world of the dead, heaven or hell or whatever one person decides. So, basically, the purpose of the gang is to help spirits into the afterlife and stop any bad things that manage to escape back into the world. I guess the idea has a certain charm, but the parts are all separate stories and you never have long enough to grasp the gravity of the last situation before the next happens.

I was stuck between giving this book two stars or three. I didn’t like it, bluntly, but there were parts that I enjoyed more than others. In the end, I decided that since one star is only DNF, and two stars is not enjoyable, but three stars is okay, I’d give it three. I wanted to consider everything and in the end not everything was bad. The writing style is not horrible at all, and certain characters are interesting enough to evoke a little feeling. Again, though. We still have the sometimes fast paced, sometimes confusing aspect. I think you should read the book if it sounds interesting, but if not, leave it alone. We all have different tastes and others may look at my five-star review while giving a one-star one, so others may like this more than me.

Notable Scene:

And behind the dogs-

What was that?

My hands curled into fists as he came toward me. I opened my mouth to yell, but no sound came out.


FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury USA Childrens provided me with a copy of Insanity.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.


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