Friday, February 26, 2010

Giveaway of The Crazy School by Cornelia Read

Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway of Cornelia Read's The Crazy School!

The Crazy School

About the Book:
Recently settled in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Madeline Dare now teaches at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. But behind its ornate gates, she discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy's very heart. Now cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students - kids who, despite their troubled grip on reality, may well prove to be her only chance of survival.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Cornelia Read knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother's family to live on Oyster Bay's Centre Island. She was subsequently raised near Big Sur by divorced hippie-renegade parents. Her childhood mentors included Sufis, surfers, single moms, Black Panthers, Ansel Adams, draft dodgers, striking farmworkers, and Henry Miller's toughest ping-pong rival.

At fifteen, Read returned east, attending boarding school and college on full scholarship. While in New York, she did time as a debutante at the Junior Assemblies, worming her way back into the Social Register following her expulsion when a regrettable tantrum on the part of her mother's boyfriend's wife landed them all on "Page Six" of the New York Post.

Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan's Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment is proudly displayed at the back of Read's tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California. She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed. They have twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism. Learn more at Cornelia Read's website at

Reading Group Guide:

1. Maddie is the only Santangelo Academy teacher who lives off campus. How does this affect her views of what is “normal”?

2. Wiesner tells Maddie she is “too whacked to maintain appropriate boundaries” and has issues with authority. Do you agree? Does anyone at Santangelo maintain “appropriate” boundaries?

3. Maddie claims she hates Mindy because she is so shallow. What does this assessment reveal about Maddie herself? How does the generally negative nature of Maddie’s worldview affect the outcome of this particular narrative?

4. Maddie wants to believe that Santangelo can “fix” her. What is broken in her life?

5. The school uses a lot of phrases such as “firing yourself ” and “doing a turn-in.” Many groups use language to create a shared sense of identity. When can this be beneficial, and when can this be dangerous?

6. What are the author’s views on therapy, as expressed by Maddie? Do you agree with her?

7. Why does Maddie stay on as a teacher at Santangelo? Is it only about the paycheck for her?

8. While he never appears in the novel, Maddie’s father is discussed twice during the course of the story. What impact do you think his mental illness has had on her development and on her issues with “authority”?

9. What might be different about this novel if Dean had a steady job? What do you think of his attitude about drug testing—is he standing up for individual rights, or should he put down the bong and get over himself already?

10. Could Maddie have been a more effective advocate for her students if she’d played by the Santangelo rules? What would this have meant for Fay and Mooney, specifically? Should she have “done a turn-in” with regard to their secret?

11. What impact has the advent of psychotherapeutic drugs such as Prozac had on the public perception of “talk therapy”?

12. Has the influence of such psychiatric authorities as Freud and Jung been diminished or enhanced by advances in our understanding of neurochemistry over the last two decades? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

13. How do you think Maddie will respond when she hears about the events of the final chapter? Did what happened change your perception of Wiesner and Sitzman?

14. Is the final word of the book, uttered by Sitzman, significant? Does its use here tie in with the discussion of campus prohibitions against it in chapter one? How would the novel be impacted if there were no profanity used by any of its characters?


To enter, please just share why you'd like a copy of this book.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on March 21, 2010.
Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!


  1. Having been involved with schools and education all my adult life, I think this is a novel I'd really enjoy. That's why I'd like to win a copy of this book.

    I am a follower via GFC.


  2. I'd like to read this - what a cool premise for a book - not sure I've read anything like this
    msboatgal at

  3. already a follower
    msboatgal at

  4. I hope I am lucky #1, please count me in
    on this exciting giveaway. I have never read
    a book by this author.

    I follow by google reader.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  5. I read the first Madeline Dare novel because it was set in Syracuse, where I lived at the time. I'd love to continue Madeline's story. Please enter me to win!


  6. I visit the Berkshires every Summer so this will be extra interesting.

    I'm a follower.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  7. As a teacher, I know I'd find this interesting.


  8. I'd love to win this because it sounds like something I would like to read.

    I follow on GFC.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  9. I would like to read this because I have never read any of her books and this has good reviews.
    I am a follower.

  10. I would like to add this to my classroom library; the majority of the books in my library are related academics,I like to keep a few fun reads on the shelf. Google Frind Connect follower.

  11. I am a high school mathematics teacher at a Title 1, at-risk school. I would really love to read this book and see how The Crazy School compares to the place where I work. It should be interesting.

    Thank you,


  12. Please count me in.

    +1 Follower

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  13. i have read several wonderful reviews for this book...please count me in...thanks


  14. Honestly, want this book because I like the cover (:


    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I just think this one looks like a good read.

  16. I would love to read this. ( I follow. )

  17. I like that this story is set in a beautiful spot and the book sounds creepy but also entertaining. After reading the synopsis, I really want to know how Maddie fares, too!

    Thank you for another great giveaway!

    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

  18. I like books with high school settings

  19. I almost picked this up at the bookstore. I love creepy books and bizarre premises and characters. I also sense some suspense in this book too. Would love to have a copy.

    Google Friend Connect follower, name is Bani.

    wakeupangel at gmail dot com

  20. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now. It sounds like a good suspense story with out being too scary or graphic. And I like that she has to join together with the students instead of the other adults to survive. Nice twist.

    I follow.

    Thanks! :0)
    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  21. Hi Gaby :) What a wonderful book, I've been dyin' to read this one since I first heard about it!

    I think what makes it desireable to me are the conditions under which the plot unfolds - deliciously creepy without being over the top ~

    Thanks for the chance to win =D

    Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  22. I'd like to read this because it sounds suspenseful :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  23. I would like to read this book, because I have been reading some great reviews on it. It sounds great. Please enter me. Thanks!

    I am a follower!


  24. This book sounds like it would be full of suspense and drama. The cover art is amazing to boot. Thanks for the chance. bekki1820cb at gmail