Book Review: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook
Fact, fiction, and urban legend blend in this haunting story about a young woman mistakenly imprisoned at Willowbrook State School, the real-life institution later shuttered for its horrendous abuses.
Sage Winters always knew her sister was a little different even though they were identical twins. They loved the same things and shared a deep understanding, but Rosemary—awake to every emotion, easily moved to joy or tears—seemed to need more protection from the world.
Six years after Rosemary’s death from pneumonia, Sage, now sixteen, still misses her deeply. Their mother perished in a car crash, and Sage’s stepfather, Alan, resents being burdened by a responsibility he never wanted. Yet despite living as near strangers in their Staten Island apartment, Sage is stunned to discover that Alan has kept a shocking secret: Rosemary didn’t die. She was committed to Willowbrook State School and has lingered there until just a few days ago, when she went missing.
Sage knows little about Willowbrook. It’s always been a place shrouded by rumor and mystery. A place local parents threaten to send misbehaving kids. With no idea what to expect, Sage secretly sets out for Willowbrook, determined to find Rosemary. What she learns, once she steps through its doors and is mistakenly believed to be her sister, will change her life in ways she never could imagined . . .
I have never heard of Willowbrook but this expose by Geraldo Rivera was before I was born. After reading this book, I did research more about the tragic events that took place at Willowbrook. They are so sad. The residents did not deserve the inhuman treatment that she had to endure.
Reading this book, does showcase just how very important mental health is needed. It is a topic that is getting more spotlight attention shown on it but there is more to be done.
Instantly, I imagined the horror and fear that Sage might have felt when she entered this facility in search of her sister. With each new day, Sage uncovered so many secrets. I really could not believe what I was reading but at the same time I could not stop reading. Having finished this book, I will be checking out more books by this author.