The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I just finished reading The Treatment and am feeling lots of emotions right now. I picked it up yesterday morning for my bus journey to work and I struggled to put it down. I had to sit at my desk with my book in my bag for eight hours, and it was calling out to me. I was itching to pick it back up again.

From the very first page I was hooked. The premise alone caught me. I found myself in a whirlwind of frustration, anger, disappointment and astonishment while I was reading. The spinning psychological aspects of the plot made me hungry for more and Drew’s descent into danger and lack of control made it all the more enticing.

Drew Finch is an interesting character to read through, and so easy to relate to when delving into a YA thriller. C. L. Taylor gives us a character to root for, the girl who is so used to her bullies that she just puts up with it and is more content with her own company and her online friends. She’s ridiculed by her parents for being a ‘loner’. Her school has failed to stop her bullies from abusing her. Is there any easier way to break into a Teen novel than through a character that is so open to us with experiences that we’ve all probably had?

And then we’re confronted with the prospect of a reform academy, a school that fixes delinquents and then sends perfect teenagers back to their disgruntled children. God, just the thought of it is icky. A society that wants to stamp out individuality, creativity, a little bit of rebellion against the society that tries to box you into different categories. I was enthralled by the prospect of bringing it all down. I wanted to follow Drew on her journey to save her brother from the school that seeks to brainwash kids and transform them into compliant, submissive members of society and bring it all crashing to the ground!

In a reality where our school systems are failing kids, ignoring individuality and excluding creativity from curriculum, this book is all too possible which makes it all the more chilling. Parents want ‘normal’ children and ignore their complaints and worries because it’s easier to write them off as just being typical teenagers with bad behaviour. Bullies and psychopaths and the bullied kids and the loners who have enough and lash out  are all grouped into the same category of dysfunctional teens. And anyone who doesn’t conform to the norm of a conservative society needs to be ‘cured’.

It was fascinating to experience the different personalities and the hierarchal structure of the school. The pace was slow but suspenseful, building just right to the twists and turns of the book. I really enjoyed this and would highly recommend it to anyone that fancies a YA thriller that echoes 1984 and Clockwork Orange, and all those brilliant, classic utopian novels.


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