March 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Review ~ Wakefield by Erin Callahan & Troy H. Gardner

Welcome to my stop on the Wakefield Blog Tour hosted by Reading Addiction Book Tours. Click here for the full tour schedule. 

Title: Wakefield
Series: Mad World #1
Authors: Erin Callahan & Troy H. Gardner
Release Date: October 5th 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Review copy

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Purchase: Amazon | B&N | MuseItUp Publishing


Orphans Astrid Chalke and Max Fisher meet when they're sent to live at Wakefield, a residential and educational facility for teens with psychiatric and behavioral problems. Astrid's roommate cuts herself with anything sharp she can get her hands on and Max's roommate threatens him upon introduction.

Just as Astrid and Max develop a strong bond and begin to adjust to the constant chaos surrounding them, a charming and mysterious resident of Wakefield named Teddy claims he has unexplainable abilities. Sometimes he can move things without touching them. Sometimes he can see people's voices emanating from their mouths. Teddy also thinks that some of the Wakefield staff are on to him.

At first, Astrid and Max think Teddy is paranoid, but Max's strange, recurring dreams and a series of unsettling events force them to reconsider Teddy's claims. Are they a product of his supposedly disturbed mind or is the truth stranger than insanity?

My Thoughts

WAKEFIELD is told from the alternating points of view of Astrid and Max, two new patients who end up crossing paths and becoming friends. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a wide variety of characters who were more involved in the story than I thought they would be.  

Astrid and Max didn't seem like they belonged in Wakefield, especially Max - I couldn't figure out if there really was a misunderstanding or if he was in denial of some issues. Later, the pieces began to fall into place. 

I liked both Astrid and Max. I hated it when Max was tormented by his roommate. I wanted him to stand up for himself so many times! Astrid is perceptive, and I admired that she stood up for Laura against a staff member. That took courage because that staff member could have retaliated against her. 

Teddy was always a mystery even before he begins talking about his powers. When he told Max he can see his words as different colors, I wanted Max to believe him because I could already sense there was more to the story than what was on the surface. And because I knew I was reading a paranormal story, lol.  

There seemed something "off" about Dr. Lycen to me even before patients began complaining about him. I could just imagine him hypnotizing a patient to get what he wants. Two staff members, one male and one female, were just evil to some of the patients. I was impressed Astrid stood up to the female staff member when she noticed unnecessarily rough treatment of Laura.  

My only complaint is that it took a while to get to the paranormal aspect of the story (unless I missed clues before then?), but other than that, WAKEFIELD is well written with believable characters. I liked the paranormal twist involving a residential treatment facility. I've never read a story like this before. There were pop culture references I thought were fun, too. I'm looking forward to the next installment!    

My Rating 4 / 5    

About the Authors

Erin Callahan lives with her husband in the bustling metropolis of Hooksett, New Hampshire, and works for the federal government. She enjoys reading and writing young adult fiction, playing recreational volleyball, and mining the depths of pop culture for new and interesting ideas. A year after graduating from law school, she found herself unemployed and took a job as a case manager at a residential facility similar to the one featured in Wakefield. Though she worked there for just over a year, the strange and amazing kids she met will forever serve as a well of inspiration. 

Troy H. Gardner grew up in New Hampshire and graduated with a B.A. in English/Communications with a dual concentration in film and writing from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He spent ten years working in the banking industry dreaming up numerous stories to write. When not writing, which is seldom, Troy busies himself jet-setting from Sunapee, NH to Moultonborough, NH.

Author Links

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  1. Thanks for the great review, Jennifer!

  2. There is something about throwing a mental institution into the mix that throws a story into overdrive. Did you ever watch 12 Monkeys? What is crazy, right? Some of the staff being evil though sounds tough to read. Great review, Jennifer!

    1. I worked in a facility similar to the one featured in the book, and we tried to keep the setting realistic rather than over the top. That said, some of the staffers' behavior is drawn from experience, so I suppose that doesn't make it any less disturbing than something like 12 Monkeys. :)

    2. @Robyn - I haven't seen that movie yet but want to sometime. It was hard to read, but unfortunately, it also happens in real life. :/ Thank you, Robyn! :)

    3. @Erin - I worked at a residential treatment facility where kids with behavior problems and emotional/mental issues stayed when foster care wasn't an option, and I unfortunately saw a lot of staff behavior that was less than professional and sometimes downright cruel. I only lasted there a month and was about to quit when I was transferred to the visitation center. I worked there a few years and had to report foster parents to the appropriate social services agency. One time, I found belt marks on a three-year-old boy, and he was placed with a new foster parent that night. You guys did a terrific job making the facility realistic. I know that's what made it hard for me to read at times. :)

  3. This one sounds interesting! I love mental institution settings!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. I love them, too, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! :)

  4. Pretty great review. I wish Erin and Troy huge success.

    I found your blog from Book Review Diva's Blog hop.

    Here's mine: http : / /

    1. Thank you, Stella. I wish them the same. I'm off to visit your blog. :)


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