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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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