A Danger to Herself and Others
Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape… Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there's been a mistake. She didn't need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn't a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

A Danger to Herself and Others Details

TitleA Danger to Herself and Others
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
ISBN-139781492667247
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Health, Mental Health

A Danger to Herself and Others Review

  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Tl;dr: A Danger to Herself and Others is a first rate and gorgeously written contemporary young adult novel.The description of A Danger to Herself and Others makes it seem like your typical girl in institution (aka unreliable narrator) deals with her issues and her roommate.Go into it like that. Because it is so much better than that. So so much better.Hannah is a brilliant, egocentric, soon to be high school senior staying in California for an intensive summer study program who finds herself in Tl;dr: A Danger to Herself and Others is a first rate and gorgeously written contemporary young adult novel.The description of A Danger to Herself and Others makes it seem like your typical girl in institution (aka unreliable narrator) deals with her issues and her roommate.Go into it like that. Because it is so much better than that. So so much better.Hannah is a brilliant, egocentric, soon to be high school senior staying in California for an intensive summer study program who finds herself in a mental hospital after her roommate, Agnes, falls out of their doom window and is severely injured.Hannah is annoyed by the whole situation--she and Agnes were friends, best friends even, and locking her up for no reason other than to satisfy Agnes's parents is totally unfair. But her parents' attorney, who has no experience in anything except maybe wills, seems to think it's okay and her parents are off to Europe so she decides to get through it and get home to school.The doctor "treating" her, Dr. Lightfoot, is an idiot who doesn't even use proper grammar and is forever dragging an orderly in during her visits because Hannah has been deemed a danger to herself and others because of what happened with Agnes and it's so stupid because she liked Agnes a lot. Except that she also really likes Josh, who she met first but who ended up with Agnes even as he and Hannah kept hooking up. Still, it's not like she didn't know that Josh really liked her too. (Yes, Hannah is an obviously unreliable narrator. Stick it out.) Dr. Lightfoot won't talk about when she can leave, and Hannah knows the first day of school is coming and she can't afford to miss it. She likes school, she has plans for college, and her parents are so proud of how smart and mature she is--plus, she's used to being independent and not being stuck in a grimy room wearing paper clothes.So, when she's finally assigned a roommate, Lucy, Hannah decides she'll make friends with her, showing Dr. Lightfoot she's fine and not a danger to herself or anyone and then she can go home and back to school.And A Danger to Herself and Others is exactly this story but also more. And because of spoilers I won't say anything else except two things:1. I had to take a short break from reading this about halfway through because I felt as restless as Hannah did because the writing is that good and then because I felt like I'd been dropped on my head (and in the best way, the "Oh--wait?! $#×=/!" kind of way).2. The last chapter is so amazing. It's beautiful and horrible and perfect. I'm still thinking about it. I will be thinking about it for quite a while.I did receive an ARC of this, but preordered it at the halfway mark because yes, it is that damn good and kudos to Ms. Sheinmel for writing this gorgeous and unflinching book. It releases in February 2019, and is already on my best of the year list. Very highly recommended.
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  • Mari Yeung
    January 1, 1970
    Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s latest book, A Danger to Herself and Others, is a young adult dark contemporary book about mental health, about people’s prejudices, but also about gradually learning to accept yourself as you are.Hannah Gold has been wrongly accused of hurting her best friend from summer camp and sent to a mental health institute to be diagnosed, even if she’s sure she shouldn’t be there with real patients. Of course, the other patients are here because there’s actually something wrong with Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s latest book, A Danger to Herself and Others, is a young adult dark contemporary book about mental health, about people’s prejudices, but also about gradually learning to accept yourself as you are.Hannah Gold has been wrongly accused of hurting her best friend from summer camp and sent to a mental health institute to be diagnosed, even if she’s sure she shouldn’t be there with real patients. Of course, the other patients are here because there’s actually something wrong with them. I’m only here because of a misunderstanding, so there’s no need for me to panic. However the reader knows something’s up from the first chapters of this novel. Hannah is in fact an unreliable narrator, and the book is told exclusively from her perspective. That’s why reading A Danger to Herself and Others was interesting, entertaining, and a challenge in itself. I gaze out the window. […] There are redwood trees as far as I can see, and when the fog gets thick, it condenseson the needlelike leaves and drips onto the roof. It sounds like rain, but it isn’t. It’s not true that I can only see a few plants from here. We’re actually in the middle of a forest.I was lying before. This book has an excellent mental health representation. The main character spends almost all her days inside a single room and has daily meetings with her therapist. This way the reader gets to really understand how Hannah’s head works and why she has certain goals in her life. At the beginning she can even come out as a creepy character, for example when she seems determined to make new best friends with every girl who has something in common with her.She is also calculative, determined to obtain what she wants, and she is not scared to use other people in the process. This is why the institute assigning her a roommate, Lucy, seems like a bad decision. However, her friendship with Lucy is going to end up influencing Hannah’s recovery in unexpected ways.The represented mental illness is finally seen with different eyes in this book. A Danger to Herself and Others: there’s a reason behind the title and you’ll be reminded about it quite a lot (maybe too many times), but in the end it’s there to explain you that people with mental illnesses are not “crazy” or “not normal”. Their brains just work in different ways, and it’s not because of that that we should treat them differently and have prejudices against them. Ignorant people are scared of what people with mental illnesses could do to them, but it turns out they are more a danger to themselves and they are confused about what they should feel. As a result, they should be loved more than ever. But can you really call it sanity when it isn’t real, it isn’t natural, it’s chemically induced? When it doesn’t technically belong to me because I wouldn’t have it without the pills they keep giving me?Maybe I’ll never know for certain what’s real, what’s madness, what’s the medication. All the characters shine in this book. All of them have their round personality and goals. I particularly found Hannah’s closeminded parents to be very unlikeable and vexing, but that’s why they stood out so much.I also enjoyed the writing style a lot, as it was quick and simple, but not too much. It really showed Hannah’s personality.The plot was the weakest part of this novel, instead. While the mental illness representation and the acceptance process were really well done, the rest wasn’t as exciting. The reader is left with Hannah’s thoughts for the entirety of the book, and only a few major plot points happen. Sometimes she wanders a bit too much with her thoughts when there’s no reason to be given that information. This can lead the reader to feel bored, even if the writing style never lets you put the book down. The “mystery” also wasn’t exactly a mystery as it was advertised.In conclusion, this book is highly recommended to people who are tired of seeing mental illnesses romanticized and want to see good YA representation instead. That’s just my imagination, not a hallucination.That’s okay. Thank you to The Nerd Daily, Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for this ARC.
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  • Anja
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5 MENTAL STARS*My first book about mental illness and set in a mental hospital and I gotta say this was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before.Hannah was a very unreliable narrator and I loved that. At first you don’t realize that there’s something wrong with her and you start doubting your own (in)sanity because she seems so normal, until about halfway through, things in her story start falling apart and the reasons for her being institutionalized start making sense. We’re in Hanna *3.5 MENTAL STARS*My first book about mental illness and set in a mental hospital and I gotta say this was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before.Hannah was a very unreliable narrator and I loved that. At first you don’t realize that there’s something wrong with her and you start doubting your own (in)sanity because she seems so normal, until about halfway through, things in her story start falling apart and the reasons for her being institutionalized start making sense. We’re in Hannah’s head the entire time and really go through the process of thinking there's been a mistake, realizing that she is sick, and coming to terms with it (more or less).Though I did find the topic and the setting very interesting, I was kind of bored reading this. Not a lot happened during the story aside from Hannah going through the days, and I felt like they could’ve done a lot more with it. I personally expected more intrigue and suspense, but it was nice to have an inside look of Hannah’s mind. The title of the book is mentioned a lot, to the point of becoming a bit repetitive.This would be a good book for you if you’re interested in the mental aspect of mental illness, or don’t know much about it like me.Received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Alana • thebookishchick
    January 1, 1970
    If you love unreliable narrators PICK THIS UP.You can thank me later.RTC.Blog | Twitter | Instagram
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....I have read a lot of books that are set in mental hospitals and so many of them feel the same that I almost didn’t want to read this one. But something really drew me to this title, probably the title itself. Rather than reading about someone who is merely mentally ill, the title tells me that the main character is also dangerous, which I found to be different than most other novels written about mental hospitals. Sure, mo You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....I have read a lot of books that are set in mental hospitals and so many of them feel the same that I almost didn’t want to read this one. But something really drew me to this title, probably the title itself. Rather than reading about someone who is merely mentally ill, the title tells me that the main character is also dangerous, which I found to be different than most other novels written about mental hospitals. Sure, most of the characters that I read about were dangerous themselves, but others? No. This book seem to offer something more than I was used to.Hannah was an interesting character to read about. She was manipulative and a bit cocky, believing that she was smarter than everyone around her. She was a very imperfect character, which made her so much fun to read about. A Danger to Herself and Others is written in first-person, which is crucial for understanding Hannah’s character arc because you see the story and events from her point of view.The writing feels deeply personal. The amount of details given make the story come to life and feel tangible. The setting is typically one that may become boring, but it didn’t because of the way that it was written. Any novel set in a mental institution has the possibility of becoming monotonous, as the same thing happens every day. There is so much more to the story than that though. There is an interesting plot and a very important character arc.A Danger to Herself and Others represents mental illness and shows that they can affect anyone. Hannah is a brilliant wealthy girl from the Upper East Side. She isn’t poor or dumb. She isn’t living under a bridge. It is also showed what it is like to come to terms with a diagnosis from the patient’s point of view. It showed the fear that the diagnosis might change how people looked at her and treated her. This representation is important because mental illness isn’t always understood.This novel manages to stand out among the many other books with similar settings. The writing feels so personal and Hannah is a character that is fleshed out so well that the novel grabs you. After reading I feel as if I know Hannah and have walked this journey with her. The writing really takes this novel to a whole other level. With this book being my first read by Alyssa Sheinmel, I want to check out her other books. I believe that her writing could bring any story to life.
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel was an absolute whirlwind of a book. Featuring great representation of mental illnesses, this book kept me guessing the whole way through!In A Danger to Herself and Others, Hannah finds herself in an institution after her school roommate falls out of a window. Hannah knows it's a mistake though--she didn't mean Agnes any harm! So Hannah bides her time in a small little room, waiting for the truth to come to light. While waiting, she's given a new A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel was an absolute whirlwind of a book. Featuring great representation of mental illnesses, this book kept me guessing the whole way through!In A Danger to Herself and Others, Hannah finds herself in an institution after her school roommate falls out of a window. Hannah knows it's a mistake though--she didn't mean Agnes any harm! So Hannah bides her time in a small little room, waiting for the truth to come to light. While waiting, she's given a new roommate at the institution. Lucy! Through Lucy, Hannah starts down a slippery slope of self-discovery.I adored A Danger to Herself and Others! This book exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. Fast-paced and interesting, I could have easily read this book in a single sitting.A Danger to Herself and Others was told from a unique and interesting perspective. I had no idea what to make of Hannah when I first started reading the book. She seemed so smart and level-headed. As the book went on and Lightfoot, Hannah's therapist, was introduced, I started to question what I was reading and what I was seeing through Hannah's eyes. I loved that the book played with my perceptions and forced me to question Hannah's reality. The events had my mind spinning with so many questions!The ending was sad. I don't think it was meant to be sad, but I found it sad because I didn't care for Hannah's parents. They didn't seem like they really wanted a child. They wanted a trophy, something worth of bragging about. Hannah's childhood, though painted through the lens of a pamper and spoiled life, felt very austere and cold. Nothing about Hannah's parents seemed warm and fuzzy, and to me, that's sad.That said, the characters in the book were brilliantly written. Hannah was amazing. Lucy was fun. Lightfoot was intriguing. And Hannah's parents were nicely portrayed, even though they didn't have starring roles in the book. I fell in love with the cast of characters, especially Hannah. Hannah was a puzzle in the book, and I was keen to figure her out.I enjoyed this book immensely, and hopefully you will too! Do yourself a favor and add this one to your TBR.Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    Well, wasn't this book unputdownable (is that even a word?)! I began reading it and I just couldn't put it down until I had finished it around two in the morning. It is THAT good. We find Hannah, our main character, a girl who finds herself in a mental institution against her will, labelled "a danger to herself and others" as a result of a game played with a friend which has ended with said friend in a comma. Hannah firmly believes it has been some error, and when they find out, she is gonna wal Well, wasn't this book unputdownable (is that even a word?)! I began reading it and I just couldn't put it down until I had finished it around two in the morning. It is THAT good. We find Hannah, our main character, a girl who finds herself in a mental institution against her will, labelled "a danger to herself and others" as a result of a game played with a friend which has ended with said friend in a comma. Hannah firmly believes it has been some error, and when they find out, she is gonna walk out. Only it seems they aren't finding out it was an error... So, what happened to Hannah's friend? What did she do, if she did do anything?I don't want to give anything up plot wise, because I think the less you know, the better. Just now the narrative is top notch, the characters are really fleshed out, and when we began discovering what's inside Hannah's mind we are gonna be left astonished, scared sometimes, and wanting to know more. And all the while Hannah keeps being a character we want to know more of, with a story to tell us, a character that is gonna show her layers until we get to her core.I have to say that I read this book more as a thriller kind of book than a mental health one, it felt better this way. What I mean is, this is not a book to raise mental health awareness -even if it dwells a bit there-, but a book were something terrible happened and as we are reading we are getting insight into what, how and the consequences of that. Probably there are artistic licenses taken in order to provide us with this alluring masterpiece, but this is a book I enjoyed a lot (as you can see from the top notch rating I gave it). In fact, I enjoyed this book so much, that already I am looking through the other books the she has written :)
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  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    There aren't enough mental health books out there that put psychosis in a sympathetic light. Characters with this illness are usually portrayed as dangerous, maniacal, and sure, this book does come with some thriller elements. The words "a danger to herself and others" are repeated ad nauseum. Hannah Gold's best friend is in the hospital, and Hannah may or may not have put her there. Things are not how they seem.But A Danger to Herself and Others is also very much about Hannah's road to recovery There aren't enough mental health books out there that put psychosis in a sympathetic light. Characters with this illness are usually portrayed as dangerous, maniacal, and sure, this book does come with some thriller elements. The words "a danger to herself and others" are repeated ad nauseum. Hannah Gold's best friend is in the hospital, and Hannah may or may not have put her there. Things are not how they seem.But A Danger to Herself and Others is also very much about Hannah's road to recovery, finding a treatment that fits her, finding the right diagnosis - and then what? It shows how important therapy and medication can be. I can't say how accurate this was, but I appreciated reading the story from Hannah's point of view and how she saw things, how things made her feel.Overall, it's a quick and engaging read, I think especially for readers who don't know much about psychosis.Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy
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  • Gaby (lookingatbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    I can’t wait to start this one. It sounds so intriguing...
  • Julie Parks
    January 1, 1970
    Very emotional and captivating. Not just a guessing game. Will play mind games with your perception at times.I received the copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Their blurb said "Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars" and I felt both intrigued and puzzled.But then I met Hannah on her own pages...and that attitude, that story she basically lives in.The plot starts like a random end of a rope that you're somehow compelled to pull until it's pulling you and you're so de Very emotional and captivating. Not just a guessing game. Will play mind games with your perception at times.I received the copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Their blurb said "Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars" and I felt both intrigued and puzzled.But then I met Hannah on her own pages...and that attitude, that story she basically lives in.The plot starts like a random end of a rope that you're somehow compelled to pull until it's pulling you and you're so deep in you're not sure what you believe anymore. You're Hannah and you're also not because you're only reading her thoughts.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    The ending was really dismal and kind of terrible, definitely not a favourite.
  • Jordan (Rashell Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of A Danger to Herself and Others from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love a book with an unreliable narrator, and A Danger to Herself and Others gave me that. From the very beginning of the book, you don't really know what happened, because Hannah doesn't really know what happened. As soon as you think you figured out what the heck is going on, you're thrown down another rabbit hole that leaves you with more questions that answers. The only thing I didn't enjoy I received an ARC of A Danger to Herself and Others from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love a book with an unreliable narrator, and A Danger to Herself and Others gave me that. From the very beginning of the book, you don't really know what happened, because Hannah doesn't really know what happened. As soon as you think you figured out what the heck is going on, you're thrown down another rabbit hole that leaves you with more questions that answers. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the ending. I'm glad that Hannah is coming to terms with her diagnosis, but I really wished she would have stayed in the institute, where she was actually getting the care she needed, rather than going with her parents who didn't actually want anything to do with her. A Danger to Herself and Others is set to be released February 5, 2019, so I urge you to pick up a copy.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    A Danger to Herself and Others is a YA novel that deals with mental illness and coming to terms with a diagnosis. The book is part mystery, part thriller and is a compelling and fast read. I recommend it and I plan to read Sheinmel’s previous books. A Danger to Herself and Others grabbed me with the very first sentence: When I first got here - when they brought me here - a man with blue pants and a matching shirt, both of which looked like they were made out of paper, asked me questions.We soon A Danger to Herself and Others is a YA novel that deals with mental illness and coming to terms with a diagnosis. The book is part mystery, part thriller and is a compelling and fast read. I recommend it and I plan to read Sheinmel’s previous books. A Danger to Herself and Others grabbed me with the very first sentence: When I first got here - when they brought me here - a man with blue pants and a matching shirt, both of which looked like they were made out of paper, asked me questions.We soon learn that our protagonist is Hannah Gold, a 17 year old high school student is in a mental institution after her roommate Agnes is in a terrible accident and she is a suspect. Hannah keeps reminding herself and the reader that it is exactly that — an accident. She wholeheartedly believes that her “imprisonment” is a huge mistake and is determined to correct it and get back to school.A Danger to Herself and Others keeps the reader guessing and it’s not clear what’s real and what’s not. Is Hannah a reliable narrator? I was intrigued by Hannah’s description of the hospital’s setting the end of chapter 1 and the end of chapter 2, which led me to suspect that she is an unreliable narrator:I stand on my tiptoes to look out my small window and wait for the few plants and trees I can see to dry out and die. (end of ch.1)It’s not true that I can only see a few plants from here. We’re actually in the middle of a forest. I was lying before. (end of ch. 2)One gets to know Hannah well through her internal thought process. Some of her thinking is pure stream of consciousness which I enjoyed reading, like at the beginning of chapter 5 when she looks at and contemplates the sky, then the ceiling, then the walls, and then the ceiling lights. From there she imagines what would happen if the bulbs stopped working. Would they let a maintenance worker come in her room to fix them, considering that they have labelled her “a danger to herself and others?” Would they send her outside? There is a lot more detail to these thoughts in Hannah’s mind. Sheinmel writes Hannah as witty and clever, which makes A Danger to Herself and Others a more entertaining read. For example, she nicknames her psychiatrist Dr. Lightfoot because she wears ballet slippers and taps the floor as she walks. Also, Hannah doles out interesting tidbits to ponder along the way.I suppose your name is the first thing that ever really belongs to you, but when you think about it, it’s not yours at all. Your parents chose it.They needed someone to blame, and I was the only available scapegoat. Their daughter was my best friend. Playing the scapegoat was the least I could do under the circumstances.Being locked up is absurdly boring. The monotony is enough to drive a sane person crazy.Some of Hannah’s thinking is amusing, which endears herself to the reader. She is a likable protagonist and I found myself rooting for her.I know a bedpan is supposed to be humiliating, but I have to disagree. There’s something oddly luxurious about not having to leave the bed to pee. And about the fact that someone else has to take your waste away. You don’t even have to flush it yourself.I don’t feel like talking. I don’t feel like thinking, either. Thinking means doubting, and doubting means Lightfoot has gotten under my skin like a rash that won’t stop spreading. Doubt means I’m beginning to believe what she says about me. I wish there were an antidoubt drug I could take instead of whatever Lightfoot gave me.Hannah alludes to a classic psychology experiment in the early 1970s in which a psychologist and others easily get themselves admitted to a mental hospital after claiming they heard voices saying empty, hollow and thud. Once they are diagnosed and admitted, these pseudo patients explain that they are not insane and act normally. However, now that they have been labelled, all their subsequent behavior is viewed thru the mentally ill filter. For example, they take copious notes since this is a research experiment but such behavior is considered obsessive-compulsive by the hospital staff. The conclusion was essentially that one cannot differentiate between the sane and insane within the confines of a mental hospital.“Whoa there,” he says, reaching out to catch me. I want to shrug off his touch, but I don’t. He might report it to Dr. Lightfoot. I imagine her noting the incident in my file. Hannah Gold doesn’t like to be touched by nameless strangers. Out in the real world, that’s good common sense. In here, it’s a symptom.Well, I understand everything. I understand that Dr. Lightfoot is lying to me, playing some kind of game, enjoying a sick power trip. Maybe she’s still mad at me for getting locked out of my room the other day. Maybe she wants to remind me that she’s the one in control, that as long as I’m in this room, the truth is whatever she decides it is.But that is Hannah’s mission, as she sees it, to prove to them that she is completely fine, this has all been a terrible mistake and what happened to Agnes was an accident. But does she know what she is really up against? Is her thinking in fact faulty and is she irrational?Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Sha
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. This review will contain both a spoiler-free and a with-spoiler section. I do not recommend looking at the latter if you plan on reading A Danger to Herself and Others because a major plot point in the book would be ruined.<&g Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. This review will contain both a spoiler-free and a with-spoiler section. I do not recommend looking at the latter if you plan on reading A Danger to Herself and Others because a major plot point in the book would be ruined.<><> SPOILER-FREE REVIEW <><>The beginning of A Danger to Herself and Others didn’t draw me in right away. The narrator and our main character, Hannah, describes her arrival at the psychiatric hospital from processing to placement in her room. The action happening in front of her (which would help physically situate the reader, things like a man asking her name, or her walking down a hall) was drowned out by her very scattered, seemingly random thoughts. I quickly realized this is how Hannah likes to be, that she processes what is in front of her and thinks deeply about everything before reacting. Getting used to her character took a moment, but once I knew that she was a studious and serious girl, I began to dig deeper into the book.Hannah accepts her term at the psychiatric hospital with grace: she’s not supposed to be there, so of course her time will be short since soon it will be discovered that she was placed by accident. Hannah knows why she was accidentally placed: it’s left to the reader to uncover this information and if the decision was truly an accident over the course of the novel. Even though Hannah is calm about being placed, she still shows her dislike of being confined, of being told when to shower, of having someone else choose when and where she eats. Her bursts of panic washed over me when she walked into her room — eight feet by seven as she had measured by pacing back and forth — to see the small space she inhabited and could not leave.Hannah’s days follow a close routine: meals and talk-therapy with “Dr. Lightfoot.” (Hannah nicknamed the doctor based on ballet shoes the woman would wear.) Dr. Lightfoot’s portrayal in the book is what truly made this reading both thought-provoking and unforgettable. (Not that Hannah’s journey is anything to dismiss.) The doctor does not come to each session ready to crack open Hannah’s secrets. She is not a wealth of happiness and joy, promising Hannah everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows. Dr. Lightfoot works steadily to see why Hannah is at the psychiatric hospital, becoming neither a friend nor an enemy. Just a doctor. Which was exactly what Hannah needed.I don’t know what I can say about Lucy other than her friendship with Hannah truly ruined me.<><> SPOILER-(ish) REVIEW <><>If you are reading this, I really hope you have either already read A Danger to Herself and Others because going into this book already spoiled will ruin a lot of the climax.I want to touch on one great and grand thing that I find Sheinmel did very well with this book. A hands down reason that I believe this book needs to be shared with friends, with libraries, with teens suffering from mental illness.Alyssa B. Sheinmel depicted a mental health institution positively. Out of context this does not make sense, so allow me to explain. I have never visited a MHI nor have I researched them. I have no knowledge on how they are run. The most information I do have comes from, surprisingly, YA fiction. And none of those depictions are positive whatsoever. I have read a book where an underage teenager is committed against her will without any medical reasons and immediately force-fed unnamed medication by the staff until she breaks out days later. I read a book where a character recalls a past trip “in the loony bin” where she lived strapped to a table. These representations tie together to create a fear of mental health institutions, places where you will be mistreated, misdiagnosed, and abused.I do not want to deny these things can happen. But when YA books are written for teenagers who suffer so very often from mental health issues, and then mental health institutions are depicted so terribly when for many, it’s actually a life support, well, it’s maybe more than disconcerting?In A Danger to Herself and Others, Sheinmel showed Dr. Lightfoot and the mental health institution as a place Hannah needed to be. At the beginning of the book, Hannah is confused but certain she should not be at the facility — in response, Dr. Lightfoot gives her space. Hannah begins to talk more, and Dr. Lightfoot listens. Hannah is given medication when the doctor knows what medication is required. Hannah is informed what the medication is for (though she does not have a choice in taking it, because she is underage).I am not going to say Sheinmel’s representation of a MHI is positive as in “happy”, because that is not the case. Hannah suffers. She is uncomfortable with her lack of privacy and she loses rights she had “on the outside.” But Sheinmel shows how a MHI can help someone with a mental illness.This book made me shocked. This book made me sad. This book made me think more on things that I already think about, and didn’t think I could think more on.I do want to throw in Sheinmel’s disclaimer that she did not write this book to educate anyone on mental health/illness. As I said before, I myself do not know how accurate her depiction is to the current state of psychiatric hospitals today. All I do know is I think teenagers need more healthy representations of mental health and this book does that.I could go on about this book for sooo much longer. I could talk about Hannah’s recovery process, and how the way she longs for Jonah and Lucy (particularly in the bathroom scene) really got to me. The way her parents dismissed Hannah’s way of viewing the world as “just imaginary friends.”My only true gripe with this book is how rare Hannah’s form of mental illness is. Not only is she in the twenty percent for having it, she’s in the one percent of the form she has. (*Forgive me if my percentages are off, I forgot to bookmark the page.) But this, of course, just goes to Sheinmel’s disclaimer that she is not writing to educate and not once in reading this did I feel like she used mental illness as a plot device or hook. YES, Hannah’s discovery is a turning point in the book, but Sheinmel doesn’t use this for shock value. Sheinmel instead shows how it can be surprising to learn you have a mental illness, and to see how much it affects your daily life.I rate this book at 4.5 with a hiiiiigh recommendation rating. On any websites that don’t allow .5 expect to see this as a 5. I knocked off a point because I do find that with some of the topics covered in this book, personal experience or intensive research is required. But this is a personal opinion! (And maybe there is/was, it just wasn’t mentioned.)Join me on my book journey!
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, A Danger to Herself and Others was page-turning, compulsive reading experience. Once I reached the twist around the middle, it was hard to put the book down. Ultimately I read it in less than 24 hours--always a good sign with a thriller! The writing was engaging, and I felt immersed in the world and characters. And, well, the characters, particularly the main & POV character Hannah... there were times I really didn't like her, but I think that was the point? I like that I didn't lik Overall, A Danger to Herself and Others was page-turning, compulsive reading experience. Once I reached the twist around the middle, it was hard to put the book down. Ultimately I read it in less than 24 hours--always a good sign with a thriller! The writing was engaging, and I felt immersed in the world and characters. And, well, the characters, particularly the main & POV character Hannah... there were times I really didn't like her, but I think that was the point? I like that I didn't like her. :)Content warning: those who are triggered by eating disorders and presentations/discussions of them (and the occasional joke) might have issues with some content in A Danger to Herself and Others. I am not an ED sufferer/survivor myself, but having friends in recovery, I was struck that it's possible some individuals might have difficulty with a few passages in the early part of the book. (a major side character suffers from an ED and is institutionalized for it; the MC observes and passes comment on other girls who suffer from EDs)From here, I will give a spoiler warning, as I think it will be tricky to discuss/review the book properly without getting into some spoiler territory.(view spoiler)[Ultimately, what rendered this a very solid 4-star read for me was the balance of my expectations and experience of Hannah's character vs. the reality of her as she's ultimately presented, and what I see as a potential blindspot in the narrative. Meaning, my reasons for knocking off a star are ENTIRELY subjective, but might speak to something other readers might experience with the book, as well.So part of the issue here is going into a twisty book looking for the twist--a hazard of the genre. Whenever you start a book like this just based off back cover copy, the first part of the reading experience is about settling into the book's tone, style, and the characters as presented. As I read the first part of the book I became so thoroughly convinced that Hannah was a sociopath, and that that was the "twist," that I am unable to shake that expectation and that read on her character from my view of the book as a whole.Because Hannah Gold is a sociopath. 100%. She has every hallmark of one, and until the twist in the middle, I was ready to commend the author for nailing her portrayal (save for a few quibbles I had, re: the childhood anecdotes, though those were partially rebutted later). And here's the thing: the author may not know it, but she nailed Hannah as a sociopath. She is one. So really I can still commend the author. It's one of the best portrayals of a sociopath I have read.And so the reason I was just slightly disappointed is that ultimately the book doesn't seem to be self-aware of this, or at least never delivers it on the page, and so the latter half really lacked the complexity I was hoping for, re: addressing her sociopathy. Now, I think Hannah's diagnosis and the twist is legit. I am not a mental health professional, but it felt like a well-researched and considered portrayal. I absolutely felt sympathy for Hannah and what she was going through.But also I felt no sympathy because HANNAH IS A SOCIOPATH. She just also has what I believe is meant to be schizophrenia, though it is never named in the text. Essentially, what I had hoped for was a killer finish and twist-twist where Hannah was also diagnosed as a sociopath, and both she and others would have to deal with the ramifications of both. You can't cure sociopathy. (hide spoiler)]BUT! Still thoroughly enjoyed the book, all the more for how ruthless Hannah is as a character. Recommend to fans of this sub-genre of thriller--the MC wrongfully (or rightfully?) committed and having to figure out what really happened.Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing an ARC for review.
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  • simeon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a DRC of A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel.This book had me gripped from the start. The fast-paced plot makes for a quick read (although I did get confused in parts) and the twists and turns are perfectly planned. It is easy to see that Alyssa is a seasoned writer. Yet, that's also my main complaint.Alyssa follows a very strict model. Her mid-turn point, for example, is exactly in the middle of the book (almost d Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a DRC of A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel.This book had me gripped from the start. The fast-paced plot makes for a quick read (although I did get confused in parts) and the twists and turns are perfectly planned. It is easy to see that Alyssa is a seasoned writer. Yet, that's also my main complaint.Alyssa follows a very strict model. Her mid-turn point, for example, is exactly in the middle of the book (almost down to the page). Now, this is a great technique and is probably why I finished the book in one sitting, but it made it feel plastic in a way because I could almost predict when something was about to happen (though I couldn't always point exactly what it would be) so the surprise aspect of a thriller was lost and the tension almost shot in the foot by it. All in all, I whizzed through the book and enjoyed it lots. I just can't exactly say that I loved it. It didn't conjure any major reactions in me, although I longed for it to resonate with me. It has a strong plot, only it lacks emotion.The disclaimer at the end about how parts of the book may not be entirely accurate (though makes a fair attempt at depicting it as well as possible while still making for an interesting and moving plot) is good. Perhaps it could've been made more obvious? Many people don't read the acknowledgements.I have never read any other of Alyssa's books before reading this one. However, now, I may consider checking out some of her other works.4/5Want more?Read the full review of ADTHAO on my website.
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  • Siobhan
    January 1, 1970
    Let this thing play out. Just until everything passes. Hannah is remanded into custody at an institution for psychiatric evaluation after an accident occurs at the summer programme she's attending. She's sure it's all a formality and will all blow over, because she can't be to blame for what happened, can she? I loved this book. There's nothing I find more entertaining than an unreliable narrator. Contradicting herself from one line to the next, can we really trust her judgement on any of this Let this thing play out. Just until everything passes. Hannah is remanded into custody at an institution for psychiatric evaluation after an accident occurs at the summer programme she's attending. She's sure it's all a formality and will all blow over, because she can't be to blame for what happened, can she? I loved this book. There's nothing I find more entertaining than an unreliable narrator. Contradicting herself from one line to the next, can we really trust her judgement on any of this story? Luckily, I know how to become someone's best friend. It's a skill I've honed since kindergarten. Hannah is so confident in her abilities and intelligence, she thinks she is a step above other people. As an only child, her parents have raised her to be mature from birth, and it's interesting to see what effect this has on her psyche. I would recommend this book to fans of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and obviously Girl Interrupted. There are parallels to be drawn, but this stands apart as an excellent piece of fiction that explores the world of teenagers striving to meet expectations and living with mental illness.
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  • Janet Robel
    January 1, 1970
    This book captivated me right from the beginning. There's this need to know how Hannah got to be where she is in her present situation. The story unfolds as you dive in to the pages and rapturously devour them. Given what we do know and discover about Hannah, we wonder what motivates her to this point. But don't worry, all is revealed in good time. I didn't realize this is a YA novel going in, but I absolutely loved it. Teens can definitely relate to this because it deals with a serious issue. i This book captivated me right from the beginning. There's this need to know how Hannah got to be where she is in her present situation. The story unfolds as you dive in to the pages and rapturously devour them. Given what we do know and discover about Hannah, we wonder what motivates her to this point. But don't worry, all is revealed in good time. I didn't realize this is a YA novel going in, but I absolutely loved it. Teens can definitely relate to this because it deals with a serious issue. it's been a while since I've read YA, but this just renewed my interest again.
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  • Caitlin Smith
    January 1, 1970
    4.5I’m very intrigued by psychology and mental health so when I saw this on NetGalley I had to request it and I’m so glad I did! After an accident involving her roommate, Hannah is institutionalised. She knows there has been a mistake. She just needs to wait it out until everyone else realises. Because everyone else will realise - won’t they? Hannah is first portrayed as close to perfect as possible. She’s smart, from a wealthy family, travels and is popular. She had to be mature from a very you 4.5I’m very intrigued by psychology and mental health so when I saw this on NetGalley I had to request it and I’m so glad I did! After an accident involving her roommate, Hannah is institutionalised. She knows there has been a mistake. She just needs to wait it out until everyone else realises. Because everyone else will realise - won’t they? Hannah is first portrayed as close to perfect as possible. She’s smart, from a wealthy family, travels and is popular. She had to be mature from a very young age, which made me feel really sorry for her, every child should have those years of simply being a child. As the story goes on we learn with Hannah, we discover with her and we feel the emotional turmoil and struggle she goes through. Hannah’s parents were awful! I understand that dealing with mental disorders, whether you have the disorder or are the family, is difficult. As someone with a mental disorder, I know better than most. However, the way they acted around her was appalling and the last thing someone who is recovering and living with mental health issues needs. One of my favourite things in this book was the ending. Even on the last page Hannah’s mind was all over the place, denial and acceptance, struggling with her diagnosis. It didn’t just automatically get better, it was very realistic in that sense. We were also left with the questions Hannah had. Did she push Agnes? Was it her fault? Did she hurt anyone else? This book is very difficult to review. It felt so raw and authentic and realistic. The way it was written was so intricately and very well done. It grabbed my attention from start to finish and I didn’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys mental health reads. *I was provided with an E-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.*
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    This book is such a trip that I almost want to read it again just to see what tiny details I missed! “A Danger to Herself and Others” sees Hannah in psychiatric care following what she describes as an accident with her roommate Agnes that has left her in a coma. Determined to leave the facility Hannah works to put on a brave face and be the picture perfect patient for her doctors but the more time she spends in their care the more she questions whether or not she deserves to be let out. This boo This book is such a trip that I almost want to read it again just to see what tiny details I missed! “A Danger to Herself and Others” sees Hannah in psychiatric care following what she describes as an accident with her roommate Agnes that has left her in a coma. Determined to leave the facility Hannah works to put on a brave face and be the picture perfect patient for her doctors but the more time she spends in their care the more she questions whether or not she deserves to be let out. This book benefits from being told in first person and sticking us right into Hannah’s mind as she deals with the issues that have put her in the hospital and later as she undergoes treatment. It sets us up for one of the best unreliable narrator point of view that I’ve ever read as we know only what she tells us and as the book progresses we learn much more about her life and all of her lies. I’m not someone who has been diagnosed with mental illness nor have I studied it enough to give a good enough analysis on its portrayal in this book but I will say I really enjoyed how it plays to the true crime element in the way of making you question if she’s a psychopath or if there’s something less sinister at play. This is a really good read for anyone looking for a character study wrapped up in a nicely done mini thriller that keeps your head spinning up until the bittersweet end. **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**
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  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    So, I’m not in any position to tell if you this exploration of mental health issues is accurate.I can only tell you that the story and character were fascinating and that this was a book I didn’t want to look away from.As I read this, I wasn’t sure what was and wasn’t accurate – which was the point. I only knew that I simply had to know what happened to Hannah and how everything would end.The book is both sad and compelling and very much worth the read.*ARC Provided via Net Galley
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel is the sort of book you enter with a mild curiosity. You're introduced to the rather strong personality of Hannah immediately as she opens her thoughts to you regarding the reason for her confinement in a mental health facility. She knows she does not belong there, that her captivity is a mistake, and she is just waiting for the doctor--whom she nicknames Lightfoot--to come to the same conclusion. Almost instantly we are introduced to a character A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel is the sort of book you enter with a mild curiosity. You're introduced to the rather strong personality of Hannah immediately as she opens her thoughts to you regarding the reason for her confinement in a mental health facility. She knows she does not belong there, that her captivity is a mistake, and she is just waiting for the doctor--whom she nicknames Lightfoot--to come to the same conclusion. Almost instantly we are introduced to a character who knows what has happened and what is going on as a result, however we are left in the dark about the details and events that led up to Hannah's imprisonment. This was such a fascinatingly effective tool for the author as it kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the course of the novel. I grew more and more desperate to learn what had happened to Hannah's friend Agnes as the story continued.Hannah's voice is a powerful one, filled with a singular perspective that leaves readers feeling completely captivated by her story. Though we spend very little time outside of the hospital, every moment of Hannah's experience is thoroughly engaging. We follow her through her initial days and the start of her therapy and experience her every thought during that time. I was constantly back and forth between whether or not I liked Hannah, her thoughts alternating between the sort I could empathize with and the sort that made me feel she was an awful human being. It was a fascinating reading experience, one that I don't have very often. Despite myself, I found that I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. She’s a flawed character in many ways, but it is that fact which makes her so fascinating.Much of A Danger to Herself and Others is shrouded in the mystery of one’s own reality, what that means, and resultingly the reality of others. The truth is opened up to readers in a slow, but enticing manner. You’re left at the edge of your seat, devouring each page with an odd need for more. In the strangest of ways, I could sometimes see myself in Hannah’s position, feeling as she was feeling. And in a character as dark as she is, the fact that the author managed to evoke such feelings from me was shocking and extrordinary. It’s certainly a reading experience that I am unlikely to ever forget.A Danger to Herself and Others isn’t a book that I’d go out of my way to buy nor one that I see myself reading a second time. But that does not take away from how raw and exemplary the first reading of it is. I definitely am glad that I had a chance to read this book and I believe others should definitely read it themselves. The writing was superb, capturing the internal thoughts of a girl dealing with a significantly difficult to grasp change in her life, the slow burn of her realization about who she is and what that means. I would 100% recommend this book for the initial experience alone.I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.| Twitter | Reader Fox Blog | Instagram |
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    I read this in one sitting, emotionally engaged with it from the very first words, pretty much down to the vibrant, lyrical main protagonist voice – Hannah is quite simply brilliant, alive on the page and about to face a battle against everything she thought she knew.A Danger To Herself And Others is a beautifully written tale with a focus on mental illness and sense of self that is hugely thought provoking and genuinely authentic in that sense and feel. It has the benefit of being quirky and un I read this in one sitting, emotionally engaged with it from the very first words, pretty much down to the vibrant, lyrical main protagonist voice – Hannah is quite simply brilliant, alive on the page and about to face a battle against everything she thought she knew.A Danger To Herself And Others is a beautifully written tale with a focus on mental illness and sense of self that is hugely thought provoking and genuinely authentic in that sense and feel. It has the benefit of being quirky and unpredictable, you discover things as Hannah does, you take every step of the journey with her, the highs, the lows and everything inbetween.It is melancholy and often unsettling, the supporting characters are cleverly interwoven and you come out the other side of it feeling really quite tearful.Whilst the author allows, in her afterword, that some likelihoods and timings are not necessarily accurate, the heart of the story is right there and full of the truths that matter- Hannah is one of the most memorable characters I’ve read in fiction for a while and this is a novel that will stay with me for a long time.Lots of love for this one. Paced with dignity, pitch perfect character driven drama that digs deep.Highly Recommended.
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  • Rachel Hinton (rachelisreading)
    January 1, 1970
    i thought about DNFing this book so many times i just didn’t like it at all. it felt like nothing had happened the entire book even in the big plot “reveals”. i could never get attached to any of the characters, mostly because i feel like none of them were strong enough as characters for reader to form an attachment to them which i HATE. also, the overuse of parentheses was TOO MUCH FOR ME every page had like 3 sets. but over all my biggest problem about this book was the mental health rep (or l i thought about DNFing this book so many times i just didn’t like it at all. it felt like nothing had happened the entire book even in the big plot “reveals”. i could never get attached to any of the characters, mostly because i feel like none of them were strong enough as characters for reader to form an attachment to them which i HATE. also, the overuse of parentheses was TOO MUCH FOR ME every page had like 3 sets. but over all my biggest problem about this book was the mental health rep (or lack there of). hannah was basically labeled by herself and everyone else crazy and that was just the end of it. her “diagnosis” (which we never actually learned) was just referred to as a “disease”, like it was something that could be caught or cured. i feel like the institution she was in was very unrealistic as well. overall, this book just rubbed me the wrong way. almost everything about it bugged me and i kinda wish i didn’t waste my time on it.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    A very eye opening book for those who don't understand mental illnesses. I felt like I was losing my mind reading this book.
  • Jessica Smith
    January 1, 1970
    This review and all my others can be found at my blog, www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com I received a copy from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Hannah Gold was born mature. This is what her parents have always said. As a baby and a toddler, instead of being settled with babysitters, she was attending the theater, fancy restaurants and even travelling abroad with her parents. And she was always given her own hotel room, even at four years old, lef This review and all my others can be found at my blog, www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com I received a copy from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Hannah Gold was born mature. This is what her parents have always said. As a baby and a toddler, instead of being settled with babysitters, she was attending the theater, fancy restaurants and even travelling abroad with her parents. And she was always given her own hotel room, even at four years old, left to her own devices while her parents went places that little girls are not allowed, the casino, bars, etc. She's also incredibly smart and witty, and has no problems making friends, she's had numerous best friends over her lifetime, it's always so easy for her. She's going to get into Harvard, or Yale, or some other Ivy league school once she finishes high school. Money's never a problem, and she lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, she likes to go shopping with her mother, and reading books that are college level. Everything's going perfect, until Hannah finds herself being admitted to a psychiatric facility in California, having been torn away from her summer program. Not a summer program for struggling student, a summer program for students to start earning credit towards College, a summer program for the smart kids. Her best friend and room mate Agnes has been involved in an accident, an incident, and the judge has court ordered Hannah Gold to undergo psychiatric observation, however, it's all just a big misunderstanding, and everything will be fine once it all gets straightened out, won't it? I don't know what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I don't think it was what I got. This is not a bad thing, this book blew me away. I almost read it in one sitting, I started reading it last night before bed and only stopped because my eyelids were protesting for sleep, otherwise I surely would've finished it in one sitting, no doubt about it. When the story opens, we are introduced to Hannah Gold as she is sitting in the administration part of this building, with an orderly writing her information down on a clip board. She is soon taken to her room, stripped of her civilian clothes, and the door is shut. We don't know much about Hannah except that she is confined to her room, in solitary, that her best friend Agnes has had an accident, and she's been court ordered to the facility as she is deemed a danger to herself and others.We follow Hannah on her journey as she finds out more about the accident that has left Agnes in a coma, why she is in the facility in the first place, and as she gains and loses privileges while trying to work out why they've given her a roommate called Lucy, especially if she may be a danger to herself and others. Hannah is a perfectly imperfect character and I loved how she was written, everything in her life is perfect, her parents and their friends have always said so, it also gives way for the reader to think about, is her life really perfect? Who's life is perfect? And also raises questions about one's perception of themselves compared to what other people perceive them to be. This book deals with mental health issues such as eating disorders, suicide, depression, psychosis and a myriad of other things. I think this book piqued my interest because of the mental health tag, I myself suffer with mental health issues, not on the scope that I believe this book deals with them, but mental health issues nonetheless. This is the third book ever that has brought me to tears, and it wasn't because of attachment to a character who dies, or anything like that, it really hit close to home with how some of the characters deal with mental health issues. One of the characters is struggling with adjustment, and other characters are afraid of them. This broke my heart. I know myself, that a massive part of being able to live and function with mental illness is to not be ostracised because your brain functions differently to "normal" people, that mental illness is not contagious, and that majority of the time a person with mental illness is more likely to hurt themselves than someone else. Having people around who are open enough to try and adapt with you is imperative to adjusting to living with a brain that is misfiring or a brain that is not producing enough of some chemical, especially when one decides to take the leap and accept medical help, whether that is in the form of medication or therapy, or both. It's not easy accepting yourself as having a brain that functions differently, and having people around you that can help with this is important. So yes, this book hit me hard, not because I've gone through what this character did, but purely because I am so lucky that I've never had to go through dealing with family being scared of me, worried that I'd pass on my crazy to them. I've always been supported, especially when I need it most. So it was upsetting to realise that, not everyone has this in their life when they need it, even when they don't. People go through something so life shattering by themselves, with no one around who understands. And I've gotten WAY off topic haha. So the pacing of the book was fantastic, and the story flowed brilliantly. The way the author has written the narration really gives a feel for a frantic brain, and you can sympathise with Hannah and what the characters are going through. The author does state that this is not meant to be an accurate representation of mental illness, as medication and diagnosis effect people differently, nonetheless, it was brilliantly written. Definitely goes into the category of a sure fire unputdownable book.
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  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Hannah Gold has been wrongly institutionalized, for something that was obviously an accident; her best friend Agnes took a horrific fall (pushed?), ending up in the ICU, her life forever changed. But Hannah’s life is forever changed too, she has been sent away to languish in an institution, missing valuable time before school starts, being evaluated at a judge’s order by a doctor, and with nothing but time to figure out how to get herself out of there.Hannah has been deemed ‘a danger to herself Hannah Gold has been wrongly institutionalized, for something that was obviously an accident; her best friend Agnes took a horrific fall (pushed?), ending up in the ICU, her life forever changed. But Hannah’s life is forever changed too, she has been sent away to languish in an institution, missing valuable time before school starts, being evaluated at a judge’s order by a doctor, and with nothing but time to figure out how to get herself out of there.Hannah has been deemed ‘a danger to herself and others’.The novel starts with Hannah just arriving at ‘the institute’ and the book follows her entire experience there, told in first-person and very much as though it’s comes from deep within Hannah’s complex, non-stop brain. All her anxieties and questions spill out constantly, her thinking is erratic, and she darts back and forth from the present and past as she tries to make sense of what is happening. She is highly intelligent so she knows that if she make friends and gets certain people on her side, maybe she can gain privileges and shorten her stay. Her roommate Lucy understands her, and it seems Dr. Lightfoot is going along with her plan. This starts out feeling like a thriller, but we gradually are caught up in Hannah’s convoluted thought-processes, and it’s a novel about what it looks like when a young girl’s mental illness takes over and how her unraveling takes hold, even when she thought she was in control.This book is one of the most artfully brilliant books written with regards to what mental illness can look like, and I really felt gripped by every page because of it. Author Alyssa Sheinmel has done more than write a YA novel, she has written an experience on paper. People fear mental illness, and right they should. It’s scary. I read this book and at times I felt like I was losing grasp of things just like Hannah was. And I have also been in that place myself before. Not to the extent she does but I’ve been through my own personal trials that have led me to therapy, to panic attacks, to struggle with depression, anxiety, self-harm and twice (many years ago now) having a stay at the hospital for my own good after traumatic events. It’s frightening to feel like your mind is not your own, and to feel like you need help. In Hannah’s case, she doesn’t even realize it. And then she becomes A Danger to Herself and Others.Mental illness has SUCH a stigma to it and it needs to change so that people will reach out to get help, offer help, and make help more available. People need to be able to talk about it and not turn away. Sufferers shouldn’t be getting more ill or even dying because they can’t or won’t get help. Mental health treatment is also woefully expensive in this country and often not covered by insurance.This is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching read, and it will surprise you as much as it will keep you guessing. It left me with tears in my eyes and I hope that this will encourage more understanding and compassion for those affected by mental illness. *I gratefully received this ARC as part of Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program. Thank you!
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    "Especially when what happened was so obviously an accident. Or anyway, they can't prove that it wasn't an accident, and isn't that the important part?"I loved this book. I CANNOT wait until it was out so that I can recommend it to students. It was described as Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars, and I have to say that it lived up to and exceeded those expectations.A brief summary: Hannah Gold comes from a wealthy family in New York to spend the summer in a student program in California, and "Especially when what happened was so obviously an accident. Or anyway, they can't prove that it wasn't an accident, and isn't that the important part?"I loved this book. I CANNOT wait until it was out so that I can recommend it to students. It was described as Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars, and I have to say that it lived up to and exceeded those expectations.A brief summary: Hannah Gold comes from a wealthy family in New York to spend the summer in a student program in California, and while there, meets her roommate, Agnes. They have a quick, fast friendship... or do they? When Agnes is severely injured in an "accident" with Hannah, people wonder whether Hannah had something to do with it, or if it truly was just an accident. Hannah is sent to a mental institution for observation while they try to piece together what actually happened. Did Hannah push her roommate out the window, or was it truly an accident? Is Hannah a danger to herself and others, or is this all just a big misunderstanding?Things I Loved:- The unreliable narrator -- "Which, I have to tell you, is absurd. Not because I wouldn't try anything (I can't make any promises- who knows what being trapped in a room could drive a person to do?)" - I loved that I got to constantly question the narrative point of view and wonder if she did or didn't do it. The first person point of view allowed me to wonder how many times she was lying to me and how many times she was telling the truth. Hannah also had moments like the one above, where she would directly address the reader, that made her character jump off the page. - The character development -- Most of the characters felt well developed and believable. I liked Hannah, Lucy, and Lightfoot a lot and found them to be round, believable people.- The unique storytelling devices with flashbacks -- Sheinmel doesn't tell you exactly what happened but instead gives the readers the opportunity to fill in the pieces with what happened the night of Agnes' incident.- The plotline in general -- It felt very well developed and didn't rush to its conclusion. The pacing felt appropriate without feeling slow.Things I Didn't Like:- The ending -- Without spoiling it, because the twists in this book are actually really good, I do wish the ending was a little different. Hannah's mom intervenes with Hannah's initial decision, and I wish Hannah hadn't listened to her mother. I know this is very vague, but I suppose I would've liked a more bleak ending. Sheinmel was building to it with most of part three, but at the last second pulled away from it. (***Again, I'm trying to keep this spoiler free, so apologies for the vagueness ***)Overall: This book was AWESOME, and I will definitely be adding it to my classroom library. The unreliable narrator is believable, complex, and even relatable at times. I will also say that I did in fact like this more than We Were Liars! I received a complimentary copy of this book from SourcebooksFire through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The book will be published on February 5, 2019.
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "People talk about their hearts (my heart broke, my heart sank, my heart healed), but our brains are in control. When we fall in love, it’s a chemical reaction in our brains, not our hearts. The heart’s just a muscle. Even when our hearts pound because we’re scared or nervous or excited- that’s our brains telling our hearts to do that."People keep comparing this book to We Were Liars and I really wish they wouldn’t. WWL was dull and I never want to talk about it again. But this one was amazing a "People talk about their hearts (my heart broke, my heart sank, my heart healed), but our brains are in control. When we fall in love, it’s a chemical reaction in our brains, not our hearts. The heart’s just a muscle. Even when our hearts pound because we’re scared or nervous or excited- that’s our brains telling our hearts to do that."People keep comparing this book to We Were Liars and I really wish they wouldn’t. WWL was dull and I never want to talk about it again. But this one was amazing and I want to tell everyone about it. It was so beautifully and emotionally written that this can’t be compared to anything else. It’s perfect to stand on its own. Hannah finds herself in quite the predicament. She is being walked into a center to be institutionalized but she hasn't the slightest clue on why she is. She was in California for a summer course at a college and her roommate is in the hospital fighting for her life. But the strangest thing is that she doesn't know why she is where she is and how her friend is doing. As pieces start to line up and her memories slowly come fading back, and dark deep secrets float to the surface. A new roommate at the institute helps her along the way to uncover certain situations. Now she must use her persuasive skills to get herself out of this place and save her mind for good. This was one crazy masterpiece. A lot of the secrets that were unraveling were predictable (to me) but it took nothing away from the story. It was so well-written and that's the biggest draw-in. The last couple chapters blew my mind and they certainly keep the story glued together. Alyssa takes her story to an entirely new level with its crazy, perfect setting. A Danger to Herself and Others is a well-thought-out puzzle that has so many twists and turns that you won't know what to think. Your mind will be working overtime to read Hannah's thoughts as she comes to terms with what is going on in her life. Just remember to play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board with people that you trust!
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  • Azzurra Nox
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been a recent trend lately where the female protagonists are named Hannah (think Thirteen Reasons Why, Pretty Little Liars, Hanna Fell From The Sky) in novels, and both films and shows haven’t been immune to this phenomenon either (think Girls, Hanna, and recently The Exorcism of Hannah Grace). So when I started reading this novel I noticed that the protagonist’s name was Hannah, I somewhat groaned. I hope you five me, but I’ve overdosed on Hannahs as of late.On the upside though, is that t It’s been a recent trend lately where the female protagonists are named Hannah (think Thirteen Reasons Why, Pretty Little Liars, Hanna Fell From The Sky) in novels, and both films and shows haven’t been immune to this phenomenon either (think Girls, Hanna, and recently The Exorcism of Hannah Grace). So when I started reading this novel I noticed that the protagonist’s name was Hannah, I somewhat groaned. I hope you five me, but I’ve overdosed on Hannahs as of late.On the upside though, is that the author writes with such clarity and poise that I could forgive her naming the protagonist Hannah. And it helped that the story was narrated in the first person, meaning that the name would be used even less.Apart from my dislike of the name choice, I really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book immensely. I don’t know what it says about me that I LOVE books that take place in any sort of mental institution whether it be contemporary fiction, nonfiction, or historical. I really enjoyed having the story being told by Hannah’s point of view. She’s smart, sarcastic, and somewhat manipulative. This is probably why the reader initially may believe Hannah into thinking that she has no place being in the mental institution, after all, her best friend Agnes falling out of the window could’ve been an accident, right? The majority of the book focuses on Hannah being stuck in the institute and finding a way to get out (but not as in breaking out but proving to the doctor that she’s sane). The reader receives hints and flashbacks and those are compelling enough to make one want to know what exactly happened the night that Agnes fell. Was Hannah to blame or has she been placed in the institute by mistake?Some of the twists in the book I suspected, while others completely took me by surprise. It was one intense wild ride. If you’re into books about mental illness, asylums, deception, and unreliable narrators, then this book is right up your alley.*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
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