It is 1971 and sixteen-year-old Sage Winters accidently learns that her twin sister Rosemary did not die six years before as she had been told. She discovers that her sister has been a resident of the infamous Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York. And now she is missing. Sage heads to the school by bus to find her sister. When she sneaks into the school, the staff believes she is Rosemary and Sage is mistakenly made a resident in place of her sister. Willowbrook, she learns, is not a school. It is a house of horrors where children with a wide range of mental and behavioral problems have been placed and treated inhumanely. Now Sage is not only seeking to learn what happened to her sister but has to try and save herself.
This is a tragic story based on a true place that had existed between 1947 and 1987. Having been raised in New York City, it took me back to when it was revealed in a major investigative news piece what was truly going on at Willowbrook State School. The public was outraged. This was not an easy book to read but was well worth it. Author Ellen Marie Wiseman tells a powerful story of a girl's quest to find her sister. It will break your heart and if you have never heard of Willowbrook, you'll want to learn more.
Many thanks to Kensington Books for the opportunity to read The Lost Girls of Willowbrook in advance of its release.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: August 30, 2022.
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