Rachael's Reviews > The School for Dangerous Girls

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer
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's review
Oct 30, 2008

it was ok

Hidden oak is a reform school for dangerous girls. But even if it was founded with good intentions, its methods are questionable, as Angela Cardenas discovers within hours of arriving at the isolated campus. The school is structured like a jail, intended to keep the “dangerous” girls in and intruders out. Physical punishment and strange psychological exercises are commonplace. No one really knows what’s going on, but it soon becomes apparent that there is no escape from Hidden Oak. And even if some of the girls have been deemed capable of getting better, the others’ situations have been manipulated so these girls seem even more dangerous than ever, especially to outside eyes. It’s an endless cycle that feeds itself; it’s a dangerous incarcerating institution—and some girls are inmates for life.

Although The School for Dangerous Girls was based on an intriguing concept, the execution and development of the story were unsatisfactory. Angela’s character is hardly developed, so it was difficult to get any sense of who she was as a person, even from her memories and actions. The only sympathy I could muster for her was linked to the innate wrongness of the school and not because of Angela’s reactions to her situation. Many of the characters weren’t consistent either; they seemed to change for no apparent reason. The most promising aspect of this novel could’ve been the plot, as the ideas behind it were quite interesting; unfortunately, while some of it was credible, the rest of it was either impossible to believe or just didn’t make sense. I think I could’ve overlooked the poor plot execution and character development had there been a strong overarching theme or message, but this story was lacking in this area as well. I felt kind of removed from the story as I read it, and this The School for Dangerous Girls gave me the impression of a wacky psychological experiment gone wrong, and not just because of the story’s topic. Whatever purpose Schrefer was trying to accomplish through this story was lost on me.

I do not recommend The School for Dangerous Girls unless you want to extract some enjoyment from its small amount of plot value. If this subject sounds interesting to you, I instead suggest The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
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