Crazy House by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The cover alone promises that this book is the next Hunger Games, and it's not entirely wrong to say, especially not when, for this book, Patterson collaborates with the same co-author behind the first Witch and Wizard novel. Like that series, Crazy House has a peculiar dystopian vibe (minus the paranormal elements, that is), set in a Twenty-Minutes-Into-The-Future world where the pop culture is different, small-town life is the way to go, a seemingly all-powerful leader resorts to screaming at you when things go wrong (although this book's Provost ain't exactly The One Who Is The One, not when there are higher-ups beyond him), and innocent teenagers are imprisoned for pretty much no reason other than being teenagers. Well, not really, but I'm not about to spoil the surprises this book has in store. Though a lot of those surprises are pretty predictable, and only marginally help this book's shockingly paper-thin world building, the book is still classic Patterson, a speedy and addictive read. And there are still some surprises you don't see coming - some really heavy ones. Be warned: this book contains allusions to rape.
I've noticed that this book isn't getting much buzz out there - I mean, sure, it's Patterson, and his reputation in the YA community hasn't been the best lately, and that title probably repels a lot of readers for its ableist overtones, but then again, there must be enough buyers of this book out there that it managed to hit #2 on the bestseller list. Though not perfect, Crazy House is a loving reminder, for me, of my high school days when Max Ride used to be cool, when Witch and Wizard was the best, and (though these books came out when I was in college) Confessions of a Murder Suspect was addictive and soapy and sometimes sci-fi-tinged fun.
Though the list of JIMMY Patterson books at the start of this one (including Stalking Jack the Ripper) includes this one under stand-alones, it's clear after reading this book that it's the first in a series, as it ends on a cliffhanger that finally blows this strange new world wide open. To which I say: Bring on Book 2, Patterson and Charbonnet.
View all my reviews