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Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

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Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 26 Sep 2017, 11:43

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Freeing Linhurst" by Al Cassidy.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy is a young adult mystery with paranormal elements. While doing research for a class assignment, ninth-grader Jack Alexander becomes curious about Linhurst, an abandoned state school and hospital for the mentally challenged. Some people think the old place is haunted and others would rather forget the stain of an institution where the residents were mistreated. When Jack starts asking questions, the locals get nervous and warn him away from investigating what happened there. Even Mr. Thomson, the school’s principal, may have something to hide as he intervenes and changes the topic of Jack’s assignment. Linhurst is scheduled for demolition in a few days. Armed with a map of the buildings, will Jack and his friend Celia discover what the town has been hiding before the secrets are buried forever?

Jack is a likable science geek who is intellectually curious and assertive toward adults when the need arises. The friendship between Jack and his friend Celia is realistically written and their characters are well drawn. Mr. Moseley, the school janitor, is an intriguing supporting character. He used to be a doctor at Linhurst and provides Jack and Celia with important details about the institution. On the other hand, some of the supporting characters are one-dimensional and almost seem cartoonish.

The author has done a fine job of crafting a fresh, creative mystery with vivid setting descriptions. The story has a nice blend of interesting themes – local politics, mental institution abuse, environmental, and paranormal. Placing key parts of the plot on Halloween night was an effective way to ratchet up the spookiness.

In the first third of the story, the pacing is slow with high school routines and long explanations of the tragic history of Linhurst. Then Jack and Celia sneak into the abandoned property on Halloween and the suspense kicks into high gear. The scenes inside Linhurst feel a bit choppy and rushed at times. That may have been the author’s intention, but I found it dizzying as the characters darted around the property. Still, the imagery is clear of the eerie sights and sounds as the teens make their way through the different buildings and underground tunnels.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is an enjoyable read, despite a slow start. I found it particularly interesting that the author was inspired by a real-life mental institution in his Pennsylvania hometown. Although the main characters are in ninth grade, the writing style and characterizations seem more suited for tween readers rather than high schoolers. I would recommend this story to readers ages 11-13 who enjoy mysteries with a mix of paranormal and social themes.

******
Freeing Linhurst
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#2 by gali
» 26 Sep 2017, 22:25

Sounds like a nice young adult mystery. It is indeed interesting that the author was inspired by a real-life mental institution. I am glad you enjoyed the book despite the slow parts. Great review as always! :)
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#3 by kislany
» 27 Sep 2017, 01:18

Great review. I am curious about the paranormal elements. Were they ghosts lurking about? Or poltergeists? Or was something else entirely? I love YA books, and this now caught my attention.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#4 by The Researcher
» 27 Sep 2017, 06:47

Great review! The book looks interesting for the young readers.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#5 by kandscreeley
» 27 Sep 2017, 07:49

It sounds like quite an interesting story to me. I know that there are some negatives, but maybe the author can do some revision and make this really stand out! Thanks for another really good review! I always enjoy reading yours.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 27 Sep 2017, 10:21

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. It's refreshing to read a young adult book that include drugs, sexual situations, etc.

-- 27 Sep 2017, 11:22 --

kislany wrote:Great review. I am curious about the paranormal elements. Were they ghosts lurking about? Or poltergeists? Or was something else entirely? I love YA books, and this now caught my attention.


Thanks Kislany. The paranormal scenes have ghosts that were people that either worked or lived at Linhurst decades earlier.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#7 by Zelinda
» 27 Sep 2017, 17:19

Thanks for your review. I actually was thinking it was a book I'd like to read, but when it got downgraded from YA to tween I decided not to. My granddaughter might like it, though. Even though you only gave it 3 stars, it sounded like you thought of it as a four star.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#8 by Elle Howard
» 27 Sep 2017, 19:09

This sounds like a really good book and I love the cover art. I enjoy a good suspense thriller but I don't think this is the one for me. I enjoyed reading your review. It is very well written and makes a lot of strong points about the book.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#9 by CatInTheHat
» 27 Sep 2017, 20:55

I think this would be a great book to get my nephew to read, at the same time I read it. It would be fun to discuss it with him later.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#10 by bookowlie
» 27 Sep 2017, 23:04

Zelinda wrote:Thanks for your review. I actually was thinking it was a book I'd like to read, but when it got downgraded from YA to tween I decided not to. My granddaughter might like it, though. Even though you only gave it 3 stars, it sounded like you thought of it as a four star.


Thanks Zelinda. I struggled a bit with the rating. The book was a solid read, but I found the plot took too long to move forward in the first third of the book. Then other parts were too rushed and I found myself rereading certain parts for clarity. As far as the age range, I would say it's still a young adult book, but the way the main characters acted, they seemed young even though they were in ninth grade. The writing style also seemed less sophisticated and more suitable for tweens and early tweens.

-- 28 Sep 2017, 00:05 --

Thanks Elle Howard and CatintheHat for the nice feedback. It was an enjoyable read.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#11 by juliusotinyo
» 28 Sep 2017, 20:28

I've never read from this genre before. Mystery books wasn't my thing either, till I tried out a few titles. Thanks for an insightful review. Might just look into this one​.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#12 by MsTri
» 29 Sep 2017, 00:31

I love both YA fiction and the paranormal/supernatural, so this certainly sounds like something I'd like to try out. And thanks for the forewarning about the dizzying pace during the latter part of the book.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#13 by bookowlie
» 29 Sep 2017, 11:02

juliusotinyo wrote:I've never read from this genre before. Mystery books wasn't my thing either, till I tried out a few titles. Thanks for an insightful review. Might just look into this one​.


Thanks for the nice feedback! I love mysteries although the ones with paranormal themes sometimes creep me out. :)

-- 29 Sep 2017, 12:05 --

MsTri wrote:I love both YA fiction and the paranormal/supernatural, so this certainly sounds like something I'd like to try out. And thanks for the forewarning about the dizzying pace during the latter part of the book.


Some people might like the dizzying pace in the scenes that take place inside Linhurst. For me, it was too busy.
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#14 by Amagine
» 02 Oct 2017, 16:59

This sounds like a book in the middle grade genre and lately that genre has become my favorite. Even though the beginning of the book is slow, the plot still seems fairly interesting. I'll have to give it a read.

Great Review! 👻
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Re: Official Review: Freeing Linhurst by Al Cassidy

Post Number:#15 by bookowlie
» 02 Oct 2017, 17:19

Amagine wrote:This sounds like a book in the middle grade genre and lately that genre has become my favorite. Even though the beginning of the book is slow, the plot still seems fairly interesting. I'll have to give it a read.

Great Review! 👻


Thanks Amagine for the nice feedback. The plot is certainly original and creative. By the way, your seasonal profile picture is so spooky!
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