Thursday, March 18, 2010

Giveaway and Book Review #44: THE CRAZY SCHOOL by Cornelia Read


Thanks to the generous folks at
Hachette Book Group,
I have been authorized to
 give away five (5) copies of
THE CRAZY SCHOOL
by Cornelia Read.

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.



Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Category: Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback
Publish Date: 2/12/2010
Price: $13.99/$16.99
ISBN: 9780446198202
Pages: 352
Size: 5-1/4" x 8"

Description (from the author):
From the acclaimed author of A FIELD OF DARKNESS comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare. Madeline Dare has finally escaped rust-belt Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. After her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. Behind the academy's ornate gates, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

My Thoughts:  Like a lot of protagonists in crime fiction, Madeline Dare is tough as nails on the outside and just shy of marshmallow on the inside. She's smarter than average, and her tendency to think too much gets her into trouble again and again. What is it with smarter than average, tough but tender crime fiction characters that makes their brains turn off and their mouths go into overdrive? I don't know, but thank goodness they do because that's what makes the story.

In Cornelia Read's second Maddie Dare novel, THE CRAZY SCHOOL, we catch up with Maddie after circumstances force her into a teaching position at the only school that will employ her -- a last-stop boarding school for socially and psychologically troubled rich kids. At Santangelo Academy, it can be difficult to distinguish the discipline from the therapy, and everyone follows the same bizarre rules -- students as well as teachers and staff. It's not long before Maddie has her back to the wall as she tries to keep the most disturbed students and faculty at bay while simultaneously trying to isolate victims from victimizers.

I like the character of Maddie Dare. She's smart, but not smart enough to have all the answers. She's got a sharp wit and, like all of my favorite crime fiction heros, she questions herself as well as authority. It's those inner explorations of the character's own mind and motivations that make crime fiction so compelling to me.

Occasionally while reading THE CRAZY SCHOOL, I thought the author went a bit over the top. It wasn't always easy to believe that some of the practices at Santangelo Academy would be allowed to continue for as long as they did. But I told myself to suspend disbelief and just go with it for a while. After all, some truly bizarre "therapies" have been common practice in the past, but I won't give any examples lest I offend anyone who might have benefited from them. (See, I'm not smarter than average -- my mouth barely operates in first gear, nevermind overdrive. Sigh, guess I'll never be a crime fiction protagonist!)

I enjoyed THE CRAZY SCHOOL. It was a nice blend of stimulating and escapist fiction. And I'm looking forward to the next Maddie Dare novel, THE INVISABLE BOY, which is due out this month.



About the author (from the publisher):
Cornelia Read grew up in New York, California, and Hawaii. She describes herself as a reformed debutante who currently lives in Berkeley. This is her second novel. Her website is http://www.corneliaread.com/.

Questions for Discussion

1. Maddie is the only Santangelo Academy teacher who lives off campus. How does this affect her views of what is “normal”?

2. Wiesner tells Maddie she is “too whacked to maintain appropriate boundaries” and has issues with authority. Do you agree? Does anyone at Santangelo maintain “appropriate” boundaries?

3. Maddie claims she hates Mindy because she is so shallow. What does this assessment reveal about Maddie herself? How does the generally negative nature of Maddie’s worldview affect the outcome of this particular narrative?

4. Maddie wants to believe that Santangelo can “fix” her. What is broken in her life?

5. The school uses a lot of phrases such as “firing yourself ” and “doing a turn-in.” Many groups use language to create a shared sense of identity. When can this be beneficial, and when can this be dangerous?

6. What are the author’s views on therapy, as expressed by Maddie? Do you agree with her?

7. Why does Maddie stay on as a teacher at Santangelo? Is it only about the paycheck for her?

8. While he never appears in the novel, Maddie’s father is discussed twice during the course of the story. What impact do you think his mental illness has had on her development and on her issues with “authority”?

9. What might be different about this novel if Dean had a steady job? What do you think of his attitude about drug testing—is he standing up for individual rights, or should he put down the bong and get over himself already?

10. Could Maddie have been a more effective advocate for her students if she’d played by the Santangelo rules? What would this have meant for Fay and Mooney, specifically? Should she have “done a turn-in” with regard to their secret?

11. What impact has the advent of psychotherapeutic drugs such as Prozac had on the public perception of “talk therapy”?

12. Has the influence of such psychiatric authorities as Freud and Jung been diminished or enhanced by advances in our understanding of neurochemistry over the last two decades? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

13. How do you think Maddie will respond when she hears about the events of the final chapter? Did what happened change your perception of Wiesner and Sitzman?

14. Is the final word of the book, uttered by Sitzman, significant? Does its use here tie in with the discussion of campus prohibitions against it in chapter one? How would the novel be impacted if there were no profanity used by any of its characters?


RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 28, 2010.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name. I use Random.org to determine the winners.

Thank you to Valerie
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

104 comments:

Mystica said...

Please count me in for this intriguing book.

I follow.

mystica123athotmaildotcom

Carol W. said...

I subscribe with Google Reader.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Kelsey said...

Oooh, this book sounds really good! I said in my post in your other contest that I'm into Psychology. I'm also into Mental Disorders, and this book piqued my interest.

Thanks for the contest and please enter me.

Kelsey
krae991 AT yahoo DOT com

Carol W. said...

I'd like to win Crazy School.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Kelsey said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/Door2Wonderland/status/10703209635.

Kelsey
krae991 AT yahoo DOT com

Kelsey said...

I'm already a blog follower.

Kelsey
krae991 AT yahoo DOT com

Marilu said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!
lovemykidsandboks AT gmail DOT com

rubynreba said...

I am a follower.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

You did a great review of the book. I would love to read it.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Marianna said...

I love mystery/crime fiction! I would love to read this one!

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

Patsy said...

I would really like to win this book.
mom1248(at)att(dot)net

Marianna said...

I'm a GFC follower.

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

Marianna said...

I'm a GFC follower.

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

enyl said...

Becuase of my never ending quest to find a book acceptable to my bookclub,I would like a chance win and preview The Crazy School.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

Patsy said...

I subscribe.
mom1248(at)att(dot)net

enyl said...

GFC follower.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

e-mail subscriber.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

janetfaye said...

I would like to win!

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

janetfaye said...

I am email subscribed.

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

enyl said...

Tweeted.
twitter.com@enylstil#crazy
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

janetfaye said...

I follow - janetfaye

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

Wise Owl, Editor said...

I love all school stories. This sounds great.

Eileen
wiseowlreviews@aol dot come

Isi and Jas' mom said...

I am a subscriber
mstlee2000 at hotmail dot com

Isi and Jas' mom said...

I would like a chance, thank you!
mstlee2000 at hotmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

I subscribe in Google Reader. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

Please enter me in this great contest. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Jennifer L. said...

I'm a subscriber.
jentam777 AT gmail DOT com

Jennifer L. said...

I would love to win this book. Thanks!
jentam777 AT gmail DOT com

Charleydog said...

I would love to win "The Crazy School."

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

traveler said...

I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

Thanks for this giveaway. This book sounds intriguing. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

xxsquigglesxx said...

Tweet: http://twitter.com/squiggles87/status/10732865110

xxsquigglesxx(At)gmail(dot)com

xxsquigglesxx said...

I am a follower.

xxsquigglesxx(At)gmail(dot)com

xxsquigglesxx said...

Please enter me!

xxsquigglesxx(At)gmail(Dot)com

a real librarian said...

I follow!!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

a real librarian said...

This sounds awesome! Thanks for the chance to win!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Gwen said...

I am a follower too:)
chewdigest(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Gwen said...

count me in!

chewdigest(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Tina said...

This one sounds like a real winner. Please enter me
tbranco AT hughes DOT net

Tina said...

I'm a follower...

tbranco AT hughes DOT net

Tina said...

You're in the contest sidebar on my blog at www.tutus2cents.blogspot.com

tbranco AT hughes DOT net

Jaime said...

email subscriber
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Jaime said...

I'd like to win
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Karin said...

I would love to read it....

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

Tea said...

I would love to win The Crazy School.

teakettle58atyahoodotcom

Tea said...

I blogged about the giveaway in my sidebar. http://readwithtea.blogspot.com

scottsgal said...

I'm a follower
msboatgal at aol.com

scottsgal said...

I've read so many good reviews of this - I'd love to read it
msboatgal at aol.com

Zibilee said...

I also follow your blog!

Zibilee said...

I m so excited about this book and have read several interesting reviews on it, including yours! I would love a chance to win it! Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

zibilee(at)figero(dot)net

etirv said...

Google reader subscriber!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

etirv said...

Google friend follower!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

etirv said...

I would like to be entered!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dawn M. said...

I subscribe by email. (midnightblue)

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Dawn M. said...

This sounds like a great story. Would love the chance to read it. Count me in, please! :0)

Thanks!
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

misskallie2000 said...

This sounds like a great book. Pls add my name to giveaway. Thanks


misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I am a subscriber


misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I am a follower


misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I retweeted (@misskallie2000)


misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

skkorman said...

Sounds great—please enter me to win!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Benita said...

Follower via GFC.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

Email subscriber.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

I'd love to win this book.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dina said...

http://twitter.com/aitmama/status/10849356424

Dina said...

stumbled

Dina said...

faved

Dina said...

follower aitmama {{ta}} gmail {{tod}} com

Dina said...

I would like to win it, too! aitmama {{ta}} gmail {{tod}} com

Anita Yancey said...

I am a follower and email subscriber!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Anita Yancey said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds like a wonderful read. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Debbie F said...

I'm a follower!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

Please include me! Thanks
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Darlene said...

I've got this posted at Win a Book for you :)

Anonymous said...

email subscriber :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

please count me in...thanks

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

Sounds interesting!

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds good!
Please enter me.
RJB
loki304[at]tds[net]

Rebecca O said...

Follower of the blog. bekki1820cb at gmail

Rebecca O said...

Honestly, the cover alone attracted me. Thanks for the chance. bekki1820cb at gmail

Cindy said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds like a great read!

Please include me in the giveaway.

Cindy
Socmom213ATaolDOTcom

Cindy said...

I also subscribe by email.

Cindy
Socmom213ATaolDOTcom

Cindy said...

I follow your blog on Google.

Cindy
Socmom213ATaolDOTcom

Amy said...

I am a follower of your blog via Google and I subscribe on blogger dashboard.


Aimala127@gmail.com

Amy said...

I like the little I have read about Maddie and really want to know what happens with her in this story! Please enter me in your giveaway!

Aimala127@gmail.com

Denny, Alaska said...

Please, count me in; thanks!

denny(dot)gill(at)gmail(dot)com

Debbie Rodgers said...

I would like to win!

tatamagouche AT netbundle DOT ca

Debbie Rodgers said...

I both follow and subscribe

tatamagouche AT netbundle DOT ca

Misusedinnocence said...

I follow on gfc.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I would like to be entered. Thanks! :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Laura said...

I'd love to win. Thanks for the giveaway!

lauragiveaways AT gmail DOT com

Laura said...

I tweeted:
http://twitter.com/couponlover16/status/11098261363

Laura said...

I'm a follower.

librarypat said...

I am a Subscriber.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

librarypat said...

I am a Follower.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

librarypat said...

Why would I like to win this book?
We all need a good escapist read once in a while (or more often). The situation of a closed campus with students and teachers who are in essence prisoner, lends itself to a loss of perspective on the part of the individuals involved. This can tend to lead to them accepting behaviors and practices they otherwise would not.
Sounds like a good suspenseful read. It sounds like a good look at therapy from a very different viewpoint.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

Stumbled A Sea of Books
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

Tweeted the giveaway
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

Subscribed to A Sea of Books in reader
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I would like to win :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

Nancye said...

I would like to win this book. Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I faved you on Technorati

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

email subscriber

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/11225697889

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net