The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published by Spencer Hill Press (10.22.2013)
ARC, 296 pages
Source: From Publisher
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A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields–a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus–she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne’s heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now “Persephone,” and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they’ll be safe.
But if they play it wrong, they’ll die.
I had been really looking forward to reading this one. Sadly, I was disappointed.
I made it all of 25 pages before I’d had enough. I hate to give up a book so early, but I just couldn’t take it anymore!
The setting was pretty cool: Seven houses on one side of the street and seven houses on the other, but in the middle of nowhere. Just a little piece of street and nothing else. I could easily picture it in my head. But that’s as far as the coolness went.
The dialogue was awkward and the happenings were just plain ridiculous. Cheyenne wakes up who knows where and is just tossed onto this street, aka The Elysian Fields, where the teacher, Teo – that she is in a relationship with – tells her to “pick a house.” First of all, I was disgusted by the relationship that Cheyenne kept envisioning. He’s her teacher for crying out loud! She’s 18, sure, but he’s probably at least mid-20’s. Um, ew. Every time she thought about their ‘kisses’ and ’embraces’ and ‘secret touches’ I wanted to blow groceries.
Putting that aside, Teo’s request was pretty damn simple. But for the next fifteen pages we have to suffer through Cheyenne’s awful inner monologue about her options and the people in the houses. She immediately pulls a stake out of the ground for a weapon. Why? That seemed completely inappropriate for the request given. How is that even relevant? Like I said, the events and dialogue in this book was absurd.
I feel like I’m on a stage – the theater lights shooting straight into my face. It makes me want to do something dramatic, like flash the men.
When people are looking at you, you flash them. Who wouldn’t?
Do not concern yourself with the ninnies, [Teo] would say of the girls who snickered at my choice of books.
Because any self-respecting teacher would say ‘ninnies.’
A short, black dress hugs her body so tightly, it’s like her curves are about to pop. Two curves in particular – it’s obvious she’s had those puppies enhanced.
Those…puppies? She has puppies in her dress? OHHH, you mean her breasts! Because if a woman has large breasts, they’re obviously fake! Especially if she has other curves!
Then she goes on to make fun of the woman in the dress:
“Hot date?” I ask, mostly because she so obviously flaunts everything. Black eyeliner extends past the diva’s eyes and ornate beading weaves through her jet-black hair. “Funny,” I say, crossing my arms, “I didn’t know the Egyptian style was in.”
Catty bitch much? Cheyenne’s attitude grated on my nerves. Then, she almost ‘opens her mouth to tell her she looks like a streetwalker in that dress’ but gets interrupted. So, because she ‘must look like crap’ in her jeans, t-shirt, and ponytail, the beautiful curvy woman is a tramp. Rude. Her constant snide commentary on everything made me want to punch her lights out. Plus, she was ignorant and had NO common sense.
A sound I don’t recognize comes from nearby. A whoosh, crisp and neat, catching the wind. But quicker. And close. Just beside me in Marcus’s front lawn lies a foot-wide hole in the ground, which wasn’t there before.
Curious, I step cautiously to peek inside the hole. Maybe Teo is sending me something. A note, or water, maybe.
Through a hole in the ground?! Why wouldn’t that be weird?! Then she starts freaking out because it’s hot and no one will let her inside.
So maybe I’ll knock and announce that I’m not leaving until they let me inside. I’ll bring the stake again and threaten to use it if I must, because Teo is waiting on me. I need to prove that I can do this.
Do what? He clearly said “pick the right house,” not “force your way inside someone’s house.” She made it WAY harder than it had to be!!
“Have no fear, my dear,” he says. “You shall feel much better once you are clean.” And it’s true. I want him to find me beautiful, let me again feel those soft lips. I can’t expect him to want me looking like this. Especially in a neighborhood with someone like Cleo. [the curvy woman with supposedly fake “puppies”]
If he truly loved you, it wouldn’t matter what state you were in. And you must not have that great of a relationship if you’re so worried about Cleo. Cheyenne idolized Teo and kept talking about how he would test her in class and blah blah blah. Constantly. Okay, we get it. And this:
Let down your hair, girls, he once said. Not for aesthetics, but to relax your brains so you can better think.
Like OMG, did you guys know that if you’re ponytail is too tight, it will squeeze your brain and inhibit thinking?! This explains SO much!! And here I thought my ponytails were only causing minor hair damage…I can’t believe I’ve been so wrong!
Finally (25 agonizing pages later), I’d had as much as I could take. Maybe the book gets better, but I won’t be the one to find out. I’d like to keep my sanity (and all of my hair), thank you very much.