ARC Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

October 14, 2015 Review 28 ★★★★½

ARC Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genres: 19th Century, Historical, Horror & Ghost Stories, Law & Crime, Mysteries & Detective Stories, United States, Young Adult
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.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


“These are your friends now, Grace Mae. A madman who eats cancer in the dark and another who searches for a different kind of killer, the kind that smiles at you in the light of day. This is your new life. I hope you can stand it.”

McGinnis first impressed me with her dystopian/survival stories in NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. When I found out she was tackling something totally new I was a little hesitant, but excited. Although I had a few issues with A MADNESS SO DISCREET, I have a lot of love for the book, and I might even say I enjoyed it more than NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

A MADNESS SO DISCREET starts off a bit mysterious. Our protagonist, Grace, a seemingly normal higher class girl, finds herself pregnant in an insane asylum and the urge to find out why and what exactly is going on is strong and kept me flipping pages for a long time. I read this entire book in one sitting, and enjoyed every second of it. 

I do have to say that it seemed like this book lost its way a little around the last 20% though.
The story took sort of an odd turn and it felt like new goals were being introduced at the last minute, leading to them being wrapped up a little haphazardly. Still, this section was entertaining and the conclusion felt like a true resolution, even if I disagreed with how some things were handled. That doesn’t stop me from wanting more from this world though, I would absolutely love to see a companion novel HINT HINT.

The writing was absolutely fantastic. It was descriptive and imaginative, but it never slowed down the pacing or attempt to fill the pages by describing unnecessary things. Usually I have trouble finding quotes to share but here I had a problem of limiting myself on which ones to pick.

“Grace had learned long ago that
the true horrors of this world were other people.”

I found Grace and the other characters in this book to be truly refreshing, even the very minor characters. They all had depth and distinctive personalities and quirks, they feel like real people and I loved how unique they were, completely unlike any other characters I could think of.

There is no romance in this book, and it is a welcome change. I don’t think it would have worked well here since Grace is in a vulnerable place. Instead, the book focuses on Grace’s journey and internal struggles and developing friendships. It was so fun to see the different dynamic she had with each character.

There’s humor too! It was somewhat subtle and witty, but there were genuinely funny moments that fit my sense of humor perfectly, and added something extra to the story.

A MADNESS SO DISCREET is another marvelous story by Mindy McGinnis, and one of my favorite reads of 2015. Plus, it’s an especially good read for October.

“They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain,
and we hold to our truths in the darkness.”

Quotes from an eARC and should be checked against a finished copy.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

28 Responses to “ARC Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis”

  1. JennRenee

    I am so excited for this book. I have it coming up soon. I have read in a few other reviews about the last part of the book kind of losing its way but still worth the read. Glad you loved it.

    • Alise

      I’m not a huge fan of mysteries in general but this one really surprised me. The characters just won me over so much.

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I’ll admit that I have yet to read a single book by Mindy McGinnis, despite having Not a Drop to Drink on my tbr shelf since it first came out. I really wasn’t sure if this one was going to be a book I’d want to check out but so far the reviews from trusted blogger friends like you have been promising! It’s piqued my interest of course and now I’m curious about the mystery and the gorgeous writing XD Glad you had fun with this one Alise ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #35

    • Alise

      If you like authentic dystopia I would recommend Not a Drop to Drink first but for some reason I have a feeling that you would really like this one. I really hope you check it out :D Thanks!

    • Alise

      I thought it was building up to a romance the entire time but when it never happened I was like “Okay, I guess that works” and wasn’t too disappointed. I’m glad you liked this one too :D

    • Alise

      I had to look that one up on Goodreads but it does seem like the setting is relatively the same! Hope you read and love it :D Thanks!

  3. Romi

    Okay, so those quotes set a really gorgeous tone and I’m intrigued and interested and beautified (hey, it’s actually a word! Apparently!) by them, but… Romi and the creepy do not go so well together. And it’s probably important that I listen to myself in these situations MORE often. *nods* I have made up my mind! I should stick away from creepy! (It probably won’t happen.)
    I’m happy that you (and many other bloggers, by the sound of it) really enjoyed this! I hope you get your companion novel.
    Beautiful review. (And amazing quote choices!)
    Romi recently posted…Cloud 9 by Alex Campbell…

    • Alise

      I’m so in love with that first quote, it’s the perfect opener. This one isn’t scary creepy, if that makes a difference :P Thank you :3

  4. Olivia

    I agree with a lot of the things you have said here. I read it and really enjoyed it, but I did have one or two issues with things. The writing was incredible and I really liked how much of Grace’s life the story showed us, and how it all concluded to make her who she was by the end and helped her make her decisions after all she had been through.
    Olivia recently posted…Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts (Review)

    • Alise

      Yeah, the character development was great! I think my main issue was how it concluded, the court parts just seemed a little out of place.

  5. Sarah @ The Country Bookworm

    I’ve since finished this… I totally agree with you about the plot. It was like 3 different plots in one. I enjoed them all, but it was a bit strange to feel like I read three different books (the asylum in Boston, her help with crime scenes, and then revenge on her father.)
    I wish it spent more time in the Boston asylum, as that’s what made me gravitate towards this book. I also really disliked how the one patient lied about rape (trying not to give anything away.) I can understand why Mindy wrote it that way, but it didn’t sit well with me.
    Sarah @ The Country Bookworm recently posted…Mini Book Review: Daughters Unto Devils

    • Alise

      That’s a really good way of putting it and you are exactly right-it felt disjointed. I wasn’t a fan of the plot revolving around the rape in general.

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