Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

The Treatment


Author: C. L. Taylor
Publisher: HQ
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 0 008 24056 1
Publication Date: 19 October 2017

At sixteen, Drew would rather be left alone with her thoughts, an attitude which makes her the butt of bullying at school, but Drew has a lot going on under her silent surface. Her father disappeared nearly ten years ago, people say he is dead but Drew cannot bring herself to believe this. Her mum has remarried to Tony and there is something about this guy that she does not trust. On top of all of this her brother has been sent away to a specialist school as his bad behaviour excluded him from normal schools. Out of the blue she is accosted by a stranger who presses a letter into her hand, a letter from her absent brother...

The Treatment (2017, 297 pages) is a young adult psychological thriller from writer, C. L. Taylor.

Set in the near future it tells the story of Drew’s attempt to rescue her brother from a school which she believes does not just rehabilitate young offender but changes them beyond all recognition. Her belief is bolstered by a chance encounter online with a girl, who she boyfriends, who went in rebellious and can out dull-eyed and compliant.

The story is told from Drew’s perspective, so we spent the vast majority of the novel seeing the story unfold from her perspective. As a protagonist she is relatable. Taylor is able to combine a mixture of strengths and emotions, in her central character, which makes Drew believable. Although she may be asked to do extraordinary things she does this from a position of being a normal young woman with all the self-doubt that goes with her age.

She is forced to confront her own fears and spur herself into action when the mysterious Dr Cobey hands her a note from her brother suggesting that he is in danger. The need for action is further cemented when Cobey is run over. Reported as an accident, Drew knows that she was murdered and instantly fears that the note from her brother is true. She cannot confide in her stepfather, Tony, as there is something weird about him. Taylor does little to hide the fact and his description is not one of the usual issues that can arise between step fathers and their step children. As readers we are left in no doubt that there is something very wrong with Tony above his ability to seemly control her mother.

Drew finds a way of getting excluded from school and is sent to the same place as her brother, Norton House. Seemingly an idyllic location where kids can play and get therapy to address their antisocial behaviour, but why no personal objects and why are the kids locked up in a place which is little more than an attractive prison?

So, there is much to recommend the book, which is well written although the style of storytelling is a little simplistic, but then it is aimed at a younger group.

The main problem is with the central idea of how Norton House works and why it exists. I think that this must have been in the mind of the author as she specifically has her main charter tell the audience that this is not A Clockwork Orange when in fact both the aims and the aversion therapy are exactly the same. I don’t think that this is likely to be a big problem as the film is quite old and the majority of the target audience is unlikely to have seen it to be able to draw a comparison.

The ending felt rushed and the introduction of an ex machine character seemed to have been included only to provide the ending with a credible adult in the belief that no one would have believed Drew and her brother.

So a book which will be suitable for the ten to twelve audiences, as it provides lots of thrills while avoiding violence sex and swearing.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Kindle edition
iTunes GB
Digital Download