A Madness So Discreet
by Mindy McGinnis

originally published on October 6th 2015
published by Katherine Tegen Books
young adult | historical | mystery | thriller

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Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

[PLOT] typical | not quite there yet | cute | unique | kicks serious ass | what’s going on?!
[PACING] snail’s pace | slow | just right | fast | holy crap just stop
[DIVERSITY] none :sadface: | some (minor characters) | LGBTQ | mental health | characters w/ disabilities | racial | religion
[ROMANCE] insta-love | realistically paced | slow-burn | love triangle | love square | I am confused | none | it’s complicated
[FEELS] swoons | tears | laughs | cries of frustration | eye rolls | pukes | snores | screams of horror | holy shits
[WRITING] flowery prose | conversational | choppy or cluttered | telling, no showing | boring | info dump-y | simple
[ENDING] cliffhanger | open ending | satisfactory | was that an ending? | want moarrr | didn’t get far enough
[RECOMMENDED?] heck no | eh | to select people | mostly | YAS

Book Review

Am I a fan of bone-chilling thrillers? Yes.
Am I a fan of spine-tingling horrors? YES.
Am I a fan of hair-raising brilliancy? ASDFGHJKL YES.

Was A Madness So Discreet any of those things? Erm… no.

Then what the heck was it?!

Honestly, I’m not too sure myself. If anything, A Mandess So Discreet was weird as fuck. I had no idea what the heck was going on. And if I’m being really honest (which I am), I would have to say that the whole book just felt so pretentious.

First of all, the writing was really stiff (in an attempt to be quirky) and made me incredibly detached from the story and the characters. In fact, there were some points in the book where I’ll admit that I did fall asleep trying to finish a chapter.

The story itself, like I said, was weird. Normally I love weird books, but this book wasn’t entertaining-weird, but more of eh?-weird. It was boring, really. I couldn’t keep myself interested in the mystery at all. The shift between storylines (I mean from Grace’s being stuck in the asylum to suddenly turning into a female Sherlock Holmes) is a bit rough for me as well, and it took a while for my brain to catch up.

I liked the idea of the characters (but like I said earlier, I couldn’t connect to them). Grace was headstrong, focused on her goal, but also had a very vulnerable side. She made some bad decisions, sure, but she did what she believed was right.

Grace’s relationships with other characters were pretty wonderful, too. She became really close with the other women at the asylum, and their support for each other was amazing. She and the Doctor had a hot-and-cold relationship, but I’ll have to admit that I did ship them at one point. (This book has zero romance, though.)

Ultimately, this book could have been an amazing read for me, but the writing just made it so hard to get into.

Skulls 2


Have you read A Madness So Discreet? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, do you want to read it?

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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17 thoughts on “Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

  1. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy the book. I was super excited about the book and based on the cover and the synopsis it sounded like one that had a lot of potential. I’m sure I’ll eventually pick it up but for now I think I’ll just set it aside. Great review.


  2. I kind of want to read this one because Mindy McGinnis?! (And I ADORED her apocalypse book…who’s title I cannot remember at this point and that’s embarrassing. -_-) But asylum books are rarely my favourite, tbh. SO I’LL BE CAUTIOUS. Sad it’s pretentious and unrelatable. Wahhhh.


  3. Bleh, I agree. I was promised madness. Insanity. Thrillers that made it hard for me to sleep at night. And what did I get? A whole lot of “meh.”

    I love it when a character has a chance to be unreliable narrators, and I adore mysteries that scramble my brain beyond it’s normal messed-up state. But this book seemed to be really disappointing in that department. >.<


  4. It sounded like it had so much potential! I would not have picked it up anyway because I thought it would scare the pants off of me, but for those who enjoy thrillers and horrors, this sounded like a good one!
    Great review!


  5. I was skeptical about this one right from the start…and I’m not sure why. I’ve never read anything by Mindy McGinnis but I just had a feeling, you know?! Then I started getting swayed a bit by a few positive reviews I read, but your review here has given me much needed perspective^^ I feel like I’d have a similar experience yours. Sorry it ended up being a letdown for you though *hug* Awesome review ♥


  6. This sounds a bit like We’ll Never Be Apart, which I was sort-of/kind-of fond of. Lately, I’ve been having trouble with thrillers myself. I’ve been predicting their turnouts early and it ends up killing the whole read for me. And the idea of a female Sherlock is a little meh for me, even though I ironically have A Study In Charlotte on my TBR, hahah. Sorry to hear this was a letdown, Aimee! Hope your next read is better!


  7. Sadly this isn’t the first bad review of this book I’ve read. What a shame because I loved her other book, Not a Drop to Drink. I’ll have to be wary of this book. Grest review, Aimee.


  8. Awe, such a shame that this happened. This book sounded so good & that it would be amazing, but I can see that it was far from that.

    It sucks that when you read a book and you have no idea what the hell is going on, but you should. Like, it doesn’t need to be that confusing in any way. Ugh, aggravating!


  9. I gave it a 3. The synopsis made me think it would be something that it definitely was not. If the majority of the book took place in the asylum while Grave and Dr. Thornhollow worked together to overthrow the administration, well then I would’ve enoyed it. I thought it as supposed to be more supernatural maybe? Because the back cover made it seem like she has this gift of photomemory. And the cover makes it seem like it will be creepy, and it is, but only for like 2 pages.
    Also, I really have a big issue with women faking/lying about rape. Huge no no for me.


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