The Purgatorium – Eva Pohler
Seventeen-year-old Daphne Janus is floored when her parents agree to let her accompany her best friend to a getaway resort on an island off the coast of California. She doesn't know her parents have sent her to the Purgatorium as a last-ditch effort to save their child.
Her best friend and lifelong neighbor takes her to a mostly uninhabited island with a wildlife preserve on one side and Chumash Indian ruins on the “haunted” side. The resort might be beautiful, the beach pristine, and the views from the headland amazing, but strange things begin to happen that soon have Daphne running for her life. At first she finds the therapeutic games thrilling: the ghosts that visit her room, the dropping elevator, and the kayak incident are actually kind of fun once she recovers from them. But when her horse bucks her off during a trail ride and she becomes lost on the haunted side of the island, it’s not fun anymore, and she wonders if her parents have sent her here to help her or to punish her.
This book is free for download on Amazon.
Review: I know that I’m in the minority for disliking this novel, but I had a hard time getting through it. There are just too many problems for me to overlook.
Daphne believes that she is going on vacation with her best friend, but when she gets to the island, she discovers that she has been tricked into going to a therapeutic resort for people with mental health issues. She is forced to participate in “games” that confuse and terrify her.
The plot is fast-paced, and the descriptions of the island are beautiful, but the writing is mostly lackluster, and the story isn’t believable. The way that mental illness is depicted isn’t realistic. The “games” are all silly, cruel, or both. I couldn’t understand why Daphne continued to go along with them, especially at the end of the book. Over the course of the novel, everyone she loves lies to her. She’s put in physical danger many times. Her body is altered without her consent. She’s even tricked into committing animal abuse. Why isn’t she angry about this?
I also had a hard time with the number of underdeveloped secondary characters. They were all just names to me. I kept having to flip back through the pages to remind myself who they are.
The premise of this book is intriguing, but the story fell flat for me.