The Hysterical Girls of St. Bernadette's

The Hysterical Girls of St. Bernadette's
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Release Date
September 24, 2024
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An all-girls school is struck with mysterious cases of screaming hysteria in this chilling dark academia thriller haunted by a deeply buried history clawing to the light.

For over a hundred years, girls have fought to attend St. Bernadette’s, with its reputation for shaping only the best and brightest young women.

Unfortunately, there is also the screaming.

When a student begins to scream in the middle of class, a chain reaction starts that impacts the entire school. By the end of the day, seventeen girls are affected—along with St. Bernadette’s stellar reputation.

Khadijah’s got her own scars to tend to, and watching her friends succumb to hysteria only rips apart wounds she’d rather keep closed. But when her sister falls to the screams, Khad knows she’s the only one who can save her.

Rachel has always been far too occupied trying to reconcile her overbearing mother’s expectations with her own secret ambitions to pay attention to school antics. But just as Rachel finds her voice, it turns into screams.

Together, the two girls find themselves digging deeper into the school’s dark history, hunting for the truth. Little do they know that a specter lurks in the darkness, watching, waiting, and hungry for its next victim…

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The Hysterical Girls of St. Bernadette's
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St. Bernadette's is a stellar school with an equally stellar reputation. It also has a dark secret. Girls who scream. Khadijah is silent after a traumatic incident. Her friends look out for her. Rachel is an overachieving girl with an overbearing mother. Both find their fates intertwined as they look into the school's past after Khad's sister becomes the next victim. Add to this a school cover-up after one of the screamer girls goes missing. Now it's up to Khadijah to find the truth before her sister shares the fate of the girls in the past.

What worked: Wow. Just wow. This book handles the sensitive subject of abuse in such a way that is sure to resonate with readers. In the past women and girls that have been abused have been brushed off as being overdramatic and hysterical. In this novel, sensitive girls end up screaming. And for some, girls with a history of abuse, are the ones to fall victim and also the ones that are told to get over it and go back to school.

I really liked how the author weaves in a paranormal element to this novel. Look up who St. Bernadette was. There actually was a school with this name in Malaysia, where this story takes place.

The story starts off slow but builds once readers follow silent Khadijah and then Rachel. Khadijah, though silent, is observant and looks out for her younger sister. Rachel's mother is overbearing and finds fault in everything Rachel does. Perfectionism is her overall goal and her intensity drives Rachel to rebel in subtle ways. It also opens her up to the darkest within the school.

Since I'm not familiar with Malaysia, I did Google searches on numerous food, clothing, and sayings. Plus, I did look into the school with its fascinating history. I love stories with diversity and this one with a subtle horror feel is perfect.

Moving thriller that explores such issues as abuse, trauma, and mass hysteria and the places that fail those in need. Unique concept of giving a voice to those who have long been silenced or brushed off whenever they sought help.
Good Points
1. Compelling contemporary thriller
2. Paranormal element
3. Abuse
4. diversity
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