This book was released a couple of days ago and Sarah was lucky enough to get an ARC at YALC! I started it earlier in the week after being stuck in a reading slump for a while, and I think it’s exactly what I needed!
Title: The Treatment
Author: C. L. Taylor
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, YA
Publication Date: 19th October 2017
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Summary: All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.
Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.
Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.
The Treatment is a YA thriller, which to be honest, no others come to mind that I’ve read in the past. I’ve not normally read thrillers like this in the category of YA and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. It was a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately which is why I think it cured me from my reading slump! So I’m very thankful for that.
In this book, we follow Drew, a sixteen year old girl who is trying to save her brother from a secretive, sinister school he has been sent to. A stranger gives her a note written by her brother and she takes it upon herself to discover the truth before trying to rescue him and other children of the school.
I don’t want to spoil the plot too much because of the nature of it. There are quite a few twists and turns, some quite predictable, others not so much. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the protagonist. Drew had some qualities which I found a little infuriating though I put this down to her age. To be fair, at a young age and dealing with the stress she is, I’m pretty sure a lot would act the same way she does! She grew on me the more I read the book and the more I saw her interact with people she loves or gets along with.
My favourite characters were Mouse (her real name is Megan) and Drew’s brother, Mason. I found them both to be interesting characters and the more Drew interacted with these two, the more I found myself liking her. I also liked Israel, another friend of Drew’s, though he wasn’t in it as much as I first thought he would be. There were quite a lot of good, interesting characters and sadly a couple of antagonists who were quite one dimensional but overall I did enjoy the majority!
A few small issues I had mainly have to do with the ending and one part of the writing. There was something about the writing, particularly the dialogue, that I wasn’t a big fan of and I’ll be honest and say I’m not entirely sure why. I feel like sometimes it didn’t sound very realistic to how people would talk (and I don’t mean how the children talk after undergoing treatment, because I know that isn’t meant to sound realistic). The ending I found to be quite full of loose ends. I feel like a lot of the story was either very simply concluded and for a few characters, not much at all was explained. Considering the complexity of what a lot of them went through, I just don’t think the simple answers were enough.
Also (SPOILER) anyone who has read it, could you please comment or tweet me so we can talk about the bit in the ending with the binoculars?! I’m so confused and I don’t know if it was meant to be a strange kind of unsettling moment, if I’ve misunderstood it or if they were hallucinating? It’s really bothering me though!
The story is quite gripping and I read it pretty fast. It gets into the main focus of the story pretty quickly and I do enjoy the sinister and frightening setting of the school. The biggest strength of this book is the setting and how it affects you as you read it. You really do fear for Drew and her friends. There are a lot of tense moments which I think were written very well and very differently from other YA books I have read. I’d be interested to read more YA thrillers, as well as other works by C. L. Taylor. Thrillers are not usually my chosen genre, but I like to keep open minded and this really was brilliant as a change!
On the whole, I enjoyed the book a lot and while the writing style wasn’t necessarily my favourite, I am tempted to try some of C. L. Taylor’s adult novels. It is definitely worth a read for the tense atmosphere and the story is really interesting too!