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The crazy school
Cornelia Read
Adult Fiction READ

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From Publishers' Weekly:

At the start of Edgar-finalist Read's gutsy second Madeline Dare novel (after 2006's A Field of Darkness), Dare, a 26-year-old former debutante, takes a job in the fall of 1989 as a history teacher at Santangelo Academy, an unorthodox "therapeutic boarding school" in western Massachusetts dominated by its authoritarian cape-wearing headmaster, David Santangelo. When a student, Mooney LeChance, reveals that his girlfriend, Fay Perry, is pregnant, Dare keeps Mooney's secret while the couple is confined to "the Farm," a punishment dorm in the woods. The book's first half focuses on character-the woefully misguided souls who teach at Santangelo, the students in all their dysfunctional glory-but the action picks up when Mooney and Fay die from drinking poisoned punch after a birthday party at the Farm, and Dare is arrested for her role in preparing the fatal beverage. While some characters, like the social-climbing parents who drop in between vacations, verge on stereotype, Read graphically depicts the depressing underside of a supposedly elite private school. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Read's mystery debut, A Field of Darkness, was well received by reviewers and nominated for an Edgar Award; only a year later, she has an equally compelling new offering. This time Madeline Dare and husband Dean have relocated from Syracuse, NY, to the Berkshires as Madeline has accepted a teaching position at the Santangelo Academy, an alternative school for troubled teenagers. When the book opens, she is slowly adjusting to the quirky rules and therapy regimens required of students and teachers alike. An atmosphere of distrust is pervasive, cultivated by policies that encourage teachers to snitch on one another for such minor transgressions as smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee. Many of the students are prone to violence, and Read does a good job of projecting an air of unease, even before two of the students are murdered and Madeline's own life is threatened. Read's novel is fast-paced; once the action starts, don't even think about putting it down. The motives behind the murders are complex, and the ultimate heroes and bad guys are a total surprise. Strongly recommended for all public libraries.-Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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