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A Danger to Herself and Others

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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.

341 pages, Hardcover

First published February 5, 2019

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About the author

Alyssa B. Sheinmel

12 books707 followers
Alyssa Sheinmel is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels for young adults, including A Danger to Herself and Others and Faceless. She is the co-author of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl and its sequel, The Awakening of Sunshine Girl. Alyssa grew up in Northern California and New York, and currently lives and writes in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @alyssasheinmel and Twitter @AlyssaSheinmel or visit her online at www.alyssasheinmel.com.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 1,133 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle .
880 reviews1,283 followers
February 11, 2019
Hannah was away at summer school when her dorm mate and best friend, Agnes, suffered serious brain damage after falling out of their 2nd story dorm room window.

Hannah now finds herself institutionalized because she's a danger to herself and others . Hannah is certain that this is all a very big mistake. She would have never of hurt Agnes. She loves Agnes. It will only be a matter of time before they realize that she's innocent and has been locked away for no reason.

Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months and Hannah finds that she is not any closer to freedom. Why are they keeping her here?

I was so hooked from the very first page trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I love unreliable narrators and Hannah is right up their with the best of the best of them. As the story progressed I found that I wasn't actually reading a YA thriller/suspense (as categorized on Edelweiss) but that this is very much a character study of a young woman's battle with mental illness. It was an interesting view into Hannah's mind but wasn't what I was hoping for. 3.5 stars!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Alana.
665 reviews1,266 followers
February 7, 2019
tw: eating disorders, mentions of suicide

Just a heads up, this review is going to be on the shorter side because there is A LOT that I can't talk about without spoiling the story!

Holy unreliable narrators!

There is nothing that I love more in a story than an unreliable narrator, and Sheinmel has created one of the best ones yet. *queue all the We Were Liars vibes* Hannah was such a compelling and complex character that I devoured this book in one sitting. Which is easy to do considering reading this is like unraveling your favorite piece of candy from it's wrapper. A Danger to Herself and Others is a powerful story about mental health that will have you second guessing yourself up until the very last page.

I knew that I was really going to enjoy this book the moment Hannah told us she was lying about something she had said earlier in the book. Her sentence of "I was lying earlier" set the entire pace of the story and you instantly know this girl is not to be trusted. I couldn't read this fast enough to try and determine what was the truth and what was a product of Hannah's mental illness. I was extremely empathetic towards Hannah and her parents neglect towards her, but at the same time Hannah isn't necessarily a lovable character and I think that worked so well to the advantage of the author's story.

I did find some of the bigger plot twists to be rather predictable, but it still didn't take too much enjoyment away from the story. Ever since I read We Were Liars I've always been extremely skeptical around unreliable narrators and continually question what is real and what is not. So, I think me figuring out the plot twists is mainly due to how much I tend to overthink the plot of a book with an unreliable narrator. I also enjoyed the open ended-ness of the book and loved that this makes you think about the stigma that comes with mental illnesses. The author handled the topic in a professional and thought provoking way. The only thing I would have maybe liked to see a tiny more of was Agnes being involved in the story. The parts with Agnes' hearing were very brief and think could have added just a touch more to the story.

Favorite Quotes

"Reset. Like I'm an appliance that needs tinkering, a frozen laptop that needs to be rebooted. I don't think Ctrl + Alt + Delete is going to cut it here."

"If I'm not responsible for my words and actions, then I'm nothing. No free will, no self."

"The orderlies don't understand that a pill can be more invasive that a shot. Taking the pill implies that it's your choice. Willingness to swallow what they hand you suggests that you agree with them: There's something wrong with you; you need to take your medicine. If they force a shot on you, at least you're taking a stand."

Overall, this is great psychological rollercoaster that I think will appeal to many readers. I loved how dark and mysterious this story got at times. And I will definitely be looking into reading more of the author's books in the future!

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Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books353 followers
August 16, 2019
Without getting into spoilers… this one kept me guessing! You wake up locked in a room. You’re sure you shouldn’t be there. No one will listen. It’s all a mistake. Or is it? As one could probably guess from the subject matter, kind of a tough read that raises some hard questions. Many twists. Thoroughly interesting and kept me turning pages.

Trigger Warnings:

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
256 reviews292 followers
December 15, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,960 reviews485 followers
February 15, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
This YA novel about a young girl struggling to come to terms with her mental illness was highly engaging and deeply moving.I cried my share of tears at the end of this one. Hannah as a character was highly relateable and the narrative made me consider how many prejudices still remain. This is one 2019 read that you won't want to miss!

Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
209 reviews127 followers
February 12, 2019
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, via NetGalley for an honest review.


My heart just cracked wide open.

This book is beauty and sorrow.


Hannah has just been institutionalized for something she didn’t do. Soon they will realize that this is all a mistake, that she’s innocent, and they will let her go home, right? After all, Agnes was her best friend. She would never do anything to hurt her. Well, not intentionally anyway. It’s all just a big misunderstanding. Hannah is a straight-A student after all. She might even know more than the people that work in this institution, but she has to be smart. If she wants to get out, she must follow along with their tests and show them just how sane she is. They will see the truth when Agnes wakes up. It was all just an accident….wasn’t it?


A Danger to Herself and Others is everything, and nothing, I expected it to be.

Hannah is the most fascinating character I have come across in SO long, and it’s precisely because of the multitude of layers and substance that she possesses. As soon as you think you have this girl pegged, you will be told to keep listening. As soon as you think if she is innocent or guilty, you will be told to be quiet and to sit back down. As soon as you think the last sentence of each chapter is a tell-all for what the point of this story is…well. You’d just be wrong.

I love nothing more than a blindside, and A Danger to Herself and Others is just that.

Hannah is every single opinion and idea I had for her while reading, and that is EXACTLY how she was designed to be. I found her to be slightly arrogant and a know-it-all, but also humbled for the extravagant life she had led before the institution. She is focused and sharp, but is easily pulled into her thoughts and fantasies. In one instance she comes across as incredibly rational and straightforward, but in the next she is breaking apart and analyzing things in a highly erratic way and repeating phrases over and over in her head. Every time she would say or do something, my opinion of her innocence and person would change. She’s innocent and sane, she’s guilty and insane. Back and forth, back and forth.

But what I can say is true for Hannah, is that she is BOTH of EVERY side.

She is sane and insane.

Rational and irrational.

Content and irate.

Morbid and Neutral.

Happy and Miserable.

Lonely and comforted.

She is all these things and none of them. And as soon as you figure that out, you start to wonder just how different and not so different you are from her.

Because Hannah is every single one of us, and none of us at once.

She is the victim, and she is the villain.


The author, Alyssa Sheinmel, has a gift for entwining suspense into this story and making me question every single aspect of it. She would beautifully make a statement from Hannah or Dr. Lightfoot that sounded factual, whilst turning it with a flick of her wrist so you questioned every single sentence thereafter. I couldn’t help but dissect EVERYTHING that was said, because I was completely caught up in finding out the truth as quickly as possible. I kept comparing myself to her, thinking about what I would do or say in her situation, and then usually coming to the conclusion that she’s being framed or she deserves to be there. I didn’t actually believe the outcome until the book finished.

Making a reader continually question a book until the end takes SERIOUS talent.

As I read through my notes on this book, I am noticing every single instance where my opinion is thrown around, and every time I question something I thought I knew was true. But as I move down my notes of wishy-washy-ness, it comes to a sudden halt at the bottom when I realize that this isn’t the mystery/suspense story I thought it was. Because suddenly my notes change from accusing Hannah of WHAT and WHO she IS, to only this:

I think this just broke me.


Hannah at the end of A Danger to Herself and Others is…heartbreaking. I kept saying “oh honey..” out loud and wanting nothing more than to reach into the pages and hold her. I think it can be quite easy for an author to make a reader love and care for a character. But to make the reader feel empathy, loneliness and sorrow when the character feels those things?

That’s just magical.

At the beginning of this read the publisher has a letter to the reader, in which they state how they only strive to publish books that change lives. I can confidently say this book has shifted my thoughts and being into one with much more compassion and love. This story isn’t just a work of fiction, it’s a message and an alarm clock to wake you up.

Read this.

And to Sourcebooks Fire I say this:

You succeeded in your goal.
Profile Image for Anja H..
733 reviews449 followers
January 31, 2019

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.
Profile Image for Hilly.
702 reviews1,265 followers
May 29, 2020
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.

I received an advanced reader copy through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,662 reviews5,144 followers
March 6, 2019
It was just a mistake. One big misunderstanding, that’s what landed Hannah here in the Institution, and soon enough, her best friend’s parents and the doctors and the judge will all realize it. While she’s stuck here, though, Hannah’s going to do what Hannah does best—persuade people.

Mystery books aren’t my top preferred genre—not even in my top 5, really—but the fact that Danger is more of a mystery shrouded within a story of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness was enough to sell me on the synopsis, plus we don't get a ton of Jewish rep in contemporary stories and Hannah is a young Jewish girl.

It wasn’t my fault. Accidents happen.

Right from the start, I felt like Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s narrative voice suited the story perfectly, as there’s something a little rough around the edges about the way she tells a story (and I mean this as a good thing). She really managed to immerse me in this world Hannah’s living in while she’s there in the Institution, despite the fact that it’s established early on that we can’t be certain Hannah’s telling the truth in her descriptions.

If you enjoy unreliable narrators, you’ll love Hannah, because she thrives on keeping the reader in the dark as she recounts her memories of what happened to land her in this place to begin with. She’s an extremely manipulative (and fairly narcissistic) character, and the most intriguing part of that is how she manages to extend that manipulation into the storytelling, too.

There’s not much of anything I can say about the plot without risking spoilers, because there are twists scattered throughout the story that you’ll want to meet for yourselves. All I’ll say is that I thought Alyssa B. Sheinmel is a tremendously enjoyable writer and I will happily be coming back for more of her work in the future.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Cortney -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach.
826 reviews112 followers
September 29, 2020
I love a story with an unreliable narrator, and A Danger to Herself and Others was no exception! Right at the beginning, Hannah tells you that she is lying about something inconsequential, so I spent the rest of the book questioning everything she stated as fact... which I'm sure was the author intended. Really good story and writing!
May 8, 2019
I absolutely loved this book! I didn't expect to like it. But I do! I'm so glad I stuck with this book. It was so good the characters, everything about it was amazing.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,740 reviews223 followers
August 27, 2018
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 :)
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,316 reviews215 followers
March 21, 2020
I loved the audio version of this!

A Danger to Herself and Others was so freaking good! No idea why I never dove into it before but maybe I was just scared? Again, no idea. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters throughout this book. They were all likable even and somewhat relatable.

For example, you will meet Hannah. She was a whirlwind throughout the entire book and definitely had be guessing everything in each chapter. There was so much happening in this book and it was highly entertaining and interesting.

Now this book had it's ups and downs. Whether it was Hannah's parents or what was actually happening at this institution. Some of the doctors were okay but others I just couldn't trust them. Hands down, this book was good.
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews154 followers
September 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Julie Parks.
230 reviews63 followers
October 19, 2018
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.

Profile Image for ☾.
225 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2022
as much as i enjoy an unreliable narrator, i would have enjoyed this so much more if the psych major in me hadn’t died a little with every page
Profile Image for Rae .
301 reviews74 followers
January 5, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Anna 'Bookbuyer'.
665 reviews78 followers
December 1, 2020
I would like to thank Edelweiss and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5-49. stars.

This book was amazing! I am obviously feeling stingy this year as really this should be a 5 star but for some reason I can't click that last star.

I really loved this story. Hannah was for the most part a very relatable character. She had me guessing from the beginning what was happening and eventually what was wrong with her.

I felt so bad for Hannah. Her parents are obviously not good parents. Probably a lot of people would see them as good parents because they took care of her financially but obviously they lacked in a lot of other areas. :(

I wasn't keen on the doctor at first. 'Lightfoot'. She seemed uninterested and not caring. But she grew on me.

Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,074 followers
Shelved as 'own-tbr'
March 19, 2021
The problem with my boss being a book lover is that every pay day she’s like - have you treated yourself to some books? And I’m like I will now!!
Profile Image for Amy.
500 reviews77 followers
February 5, 2019
"Hannah Gold doesn’t belong in a place like this. Hannah Gold wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Okay, I have to say it, if you’re going to describe a book as Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars… You really need to bring it. Those are both very dark stories and to be a combination of the two, you really need to take a chance and just go for it. Mess with our heads a little. And I just feel like this story is far too safe for that description. And that’s not to say I didn’t like it. I did. I just thought there could be more.

After a tragic accident this summer leaves her roommate critically injured, Hannah finds herself institutionalized. 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.

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.

“I smile again, this time for real. It was so easy when I was five, to manipulate my parents’ friends into being ashamed of their own children, into thinking I was so much better.”

Hannah is DIABOLICAL. I found her to be very interesting and as someone who really enjoys dialogue WAY more than inner monologues, I still found her POV to be very engaging. I loved how Hannah seems like your ordinary overachiever, but you can sense something is not quite right.

“Luckily, I know how to become someone’s best friend. It’s a skill I’ve honed since kindergarten.”

Her parents are garbage. Honestly, THAT was one of the more tragic parts.

I really liked the beginning. It is so strong and so well paced. The beginning is a beautiful slow burn, with little crumbs of the truth peppered throughout, just enough detail to know something is not quite right, but not enough to really guess what’s going on. It was so truly amazing.

The second half felt way too rushed. The beginning is so wonderful, but then it felt like trying to fit a lot of story into not enough pages.

Overall, I liked this story. I liked the characters and the plot. I liked the way the author was able to slowly show something just isn’t quite right without being too apparent, just seeds of doubt...

I thought the ending was too rushed but with an extra 50 – 100 pages (there is that much that could have been really delved into), the story could have gone from a 3 star to a 4 star for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hallie.
112 reviews314 followers
February 16, 2019
"Reset . Like I’m an appliance that needs tinkering, a frozen laptop that needs to be rebooted. I don’t think Ctrl + Alt + Delete is going to cut it here."

I haven't read a lot of books with unreliable narrators - mainly because most of them turn it to be bad. Mara, from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, for instance, war once such unreliable narrator I didn't enjoy reading about. But this one clicked and will stay with me forever. It was good from the very first sentence, and I can't express how much I enjoyed it.

"You’re never really too old for games. The games just change."

Hannah was sent to summer school in California, and there she met her best friend, Agnes. They barely knew each other, but she considered her as her best friend, and claimed she knew everything about her. An accident happens, leaving Agnes injured and in a coma, while Hannah is sent to a psychiatric institute - concerns arising that she is a threat to both herself and others. An intriguing tale unfolds as Hannah tries to convince the staff she is fine while the doctors try to figure out what went wrong. It has a mysterious aura surrounding the story because Hannah believes this is all a misunderstanding and that she would never hurt Agnes. But did she?

"If I'm not responsible for my words and actions, then I'm nothing. No free will, no self."

Hannah is a messed up character. She is the accurate portrayal of an angsty teen locked up in a mental institute. She is smart, egocentric and brags about her good grades a lot. Her parents lawyer sucks since he couldn't manage to keep her out of the place. She wants to get out by September 7th so that she can attend school, go to college, and carry on with her life because she is certain that what happened to Agnes was not caused by her.

"Luckily, I know how to become someone’s best friend. It’s a skill I’ve honed since kindergarten.”

Maybe she lost Agnes after her parents grew to dislike her for hurting their daughter, but she gained a new friend at the institute - Lucy. A girl with an eating disorder was assigned as Hannah's roommate, and she cynically believed that Lucy was a test - a doctor disguised as a patient to check on her. She later discards the theory, but believes that being friends with her will get her the ticket out of the place. Their relationship is simply beautiful. Then there was Hannah's doctor, "Lightfoot", who constantly annoyed her by using improper grammar, and simply not believing that she was all good to go.

"I’m only here because of a misunderstanding, so there’s no need for me to panic."

Hannah's narrative is truly compelling. Her thoughts, her feelings, her actions - everything was so relatable. I just loved her. She noted every action of Lightfoot and thought something to say that goes along the lines of being taught the etiquette at medical school. Throughout the book, I was Hannah. I felt her, I knew what she was doing, I could put myself in her shoes. It was so realistic I could not put down the book.

"Being locked up is absurdly boring. The monotony is enough to drive a sane person crazy."

Candidly, the book was fairly predictable. I could guess what would happen later in the first few pages, so it didn't remain much of a mystery. There were no major plot twists and events that pop out to shock or ruin the experience. However, it was enjoyable. It was interesting and could hold my attention even though nothing surprised me. The whole story just flowed smoothly.

"They needed someone to blame, and I was the only available scapegoat. "

The depiction of mental illness is not wholly accurate, and the author acknowledges that. It is a work of fiction - a brilliant work of fiction. There were inaccuracies here and there that were mended by the author's creativity. It's too much to ask because the book is already so good, but if those were right as well, this would have been perfect.

"It was so easy when I was five, to manipulate my parents' friends into being ashamed of their own children, into thinking I was so much better. It's still so easy."

I absolutely abhor her parents. Hannah is "mature" and barely lived a life. Constantly, we are reminded of the fact that they often took her along and left her alone in hotel rooms. They expected her to behave as a grown-up, never saw her as a child, and to top that, are least supportive. They suck. I've been told that I come off as 'mature' or 'appear older than my actual age', but my parents for one were fine with me being a baby. They expect her to be an infallible adult, and it's messed up, reminding me about the stringent expectations to be "immaculate" in the eyes of the society.

"I've been labeled a danger to myself and others."

The ending was simply beautiful. That last chapter just wrapped up the story so wonderfully. It was just impressive. Further, Hannah also touches upon the need to remove the social stigma surrounding mental illnesses:
"Of course, there’s one way my classmates could find out the truth: I could tell them. I could make an example of myself—the young patient fighting to remove the stigma that surrounds mental illness."
Since time immemorial, people with mental illnesses have been considered 'crazy' and 'not normal'. With the rising number of cases and more knowledge about these, people are becoming slowly more supportive and understanding, but there are still a lot of people struggling with ones they care and love unable to understand. "Just suck it up", "get over it", "happens to everyone", "well, it's your fault" - phrases are still being thrown around carelessly, and it is important to erase the stigma and actually understand.

"But can you really call it sanity when it isn’t real, it isn’t natural, it’s chemically induced?"

It's a wonderful book, which I'd definitely recommend. After Challenger Deep of course. It's marvellous and definitely a compelling page-turner, and sheds light on so much I haven't thought of. It doesn't offer the mystery that might be expected after reading the blurb, but it certainly does offer an educated opinion on battling with mental illnesses.
July 3, 2019
Kinda boring and anticlimactic. I dislike first person point of view and this character has very limited dialogue throughout the book. She's snotty, entitled and conniving. I almost DNFed but figured it was a quick, easy read so I trudged through. The idea was OK and could have definitely been expanded with more detail, complex situations and thrill. The writing was mediocre and simple. Overall, I didn't hate it to the point of burning it but I'm only glad I continued to read it because I'm trying to DNF less books this year.
Profile Image for Alexa.
Author 5 books3,204 followers
January 14, 2019
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.

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.
Profile Image for Lost in Book Land.
543 reviews98 followers
April 1, 2019
Like a day or so again I finally finished my ebook ARC copy of A Danger to Herself and Others (this book is already out, I am just a little behind on my reading due to work which is why this break has been so exciting)! I started this book not that long ago but I was able to finish it in about a day and a half once I started my break from work. I am glad I had the chance to read it and I feel Hannah’s story is interesting and in a way taught me a lot but I also feel like it may have been missing something.


Hannah Gold is away from her parent’s for the summer at an academic summer camp at a university before senior year starts. She has always been very into academics and this camp and senior year are important to her getting into a good school after high school. For this camp Hannah is out west, in California, she is from NYC and things are all new for her. She has a roommate named Agnes and the girls get along great, spending their nights staying up late talking and sharing things about their lives. That is until one night they are playing a game of truth or dare (turned dare or dare) and Hannah dares Agnes to stand out on the ledge of their window. This is where things go very wrong, Agnes performs the dare and falls (or was she shoved)? The fall leaves her in a coma, with brain damage and a long recovery in front of her and Hannah finds herself in a mental institution. From here Hannah meets Lucy a girl in the institution for an eating disorder or so Hannah thought. Hannah also encounters a long journey of earning privileges, learning about what could be wrong with her, and why she is labeled a danger to herself and others.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting story and I found myself constantly wondering did she shove Agnes? Sometimes, I was certain she did not then other times I was certain she did. I definitely did not catch on to the larger picture of what was going on with Hannah until it was revealed and then as a reader, I was looking everywhere for it. (I do not want to spoil what it is so I am not going to say what to look for or not look for). I gave this book three and a half stars on Goodreads.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,306 reviews219 followers
May 10, 2021
Hospitalized against her will, Hannah struggles to figure out why her doctor thinks she’s “a danger to herself and others.” Hannah’s roommate lies comatose in another hospital following an accident that led to both teens’ hospitalizations. Hannah needs to tell the judge keeping her is a mistake, but she’s not allowed phone privileges, even to call her parents. When the truth of that night comes to light, Hannah’s life will never be the same.

Alyssa Sheinmel crafted an intriguing story about psychosis and mental illness, which unfortunately doesn’t come close to resembling how psychosis actually works. Sheinmel’s research seems to have been primarily reading, but diagnoses look different on people than they do in books and articles. Having studied schizophrenia, I thought I understood the diagnosis. It wasn’t until I did an internship at a state hospital and witnessed the different ways patients manifested the illness did I truly get it. Auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations are products of a disorganized mind with misfiring synopses. Patients don’t create new people with fully fleshed out personalities who are constant companions. The voices and visions are usually people in their lives of historical figures. Sometimes patients think they are someone else. We had a few Jesuses and the Dali Lama among others. Sufferers hear voices in their head or ears. Many books and movies go with hallucinations as an actual “normal” person until the big reveal. Sheinmel did do a good job equating physical and mental illness. I wish she had interviewed practitioners and patients with psychotic diagnoses to get a better handle on the disorder. Reading as a sole means of research gives a one dimensional understanding of conditions.

DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS is a slow read, more character study than plot. I did like Hannah’s acerbic wit and voice in her narration. Sheinmel’s word building was clever and enjoyable. The story ended with a whimper rather than a bang.

Because of the positive representation of mental health, I do recommend DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS with the caveat of the unrealistic representation of psychosis.

ETA: the audiobook elevates story.
April 3, 2019
Yay for unreliable narrators

Nay for ambigious disorders and throwing a gumbo of symptoms instead of naming the former. As someone living mental illness, I would have preferred her disorder named. If her brain works differently, like mine, why the shame in naming what makes her brain differ? Do the research and stick to a disorder.

We like to see our disorders named to erase stigmas. Ambiguity helps no one.

2/5 because of a mediocre beginning where I almost DNF'd, but stuck to the story as the pace picked up in the second half, along with the other two aforementioned.
Profile Image for Carlos.
588 reviews289 followers
August 25, 2019
3.5 stars
I listened to this book , I think it was a good representation of mental illness, I think the book proceeded in a nice flow but I was able to predict the twist as soon as it was presented so when the twist was finally revealed I didn't feel fazed. I think this book deserves more discussion.
Profile Image for Katie.
273 reviews38 followers
October 17, 2018
The ending was really dismal and kind of terrible, definitely not a favourite.
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