The Lost Girls of Willowbrook Book Review

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook

A heartbreaking novel of survival based on a true story

By: Ellen Marie Wiseman

Publish Date: 30 August 2022

Publisher: Kensington Books, Kensington

New Adult


100 Book ReviewsProfessional Reader

I would like to thank both NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Good Reads Synopsis:

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 . . . 

Book Review:

I gave this book 5 stars. It is a hard read in some places. This book will give you all the feels. This is a historical fiction story that is set in 1971 in New York.

This is about two twins Rosemary and Sage. Rosemary is a little different from her sister Sage. They get along great even though Rosemary has some issues. Then one day Rosemary is gone. Her mom and stepdad have taken her to see the doctor and she never returns home.

Sage is told that her sister is dead. Fast forward a few years and the mom has passed and Sage is living with her stepfather because she doesn’t know where her real father is and thinks he doesn’t care. Then one day Sage overhears a conversation between her stepdad and one of his friends and discovers that Rosemary is alive and missing. He finally tells her that they put in Willowbrook Stat School. All the kids know about this school, and no one wants to be there. Sage is so upset that she decides to go to this school and help them look for her sister.

When she gets there, she is mistaken for her sister and the horror begins there.

The story that unfolds at this point is terrible and what she goes through and how she even survived is outstanding.

So many wrongs and the length of time it took to right those wrongs. That is all I will say because you really need to read this book to get the full effects of the story.

Published by debbierpayne

Mother of six and Grandmother of 7. I enjoy reading, sewing, cooking, and crocheting. I am an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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