16 Jun 2014

REVIEW: The Purgatorium by Eva Pohler

Title: The Purgatorium (The Purgatorium #1)
Author: Eva Pohler
Genre: Young Adult.
Publication Date: December 16th 2013
Publisher: Green Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 290
Rating: 5/5

Seventeen year-old Daphne Janus is floored when her parents agree to let her accompany her best friend to a getaway resort on an island off the coast of California. She doesn't know her parents have sent her to the Purgatorium as a last-ditch effort to save their child.

Her best friend and life-long neighbor takes her to a mostly uninhabited island with a wildlife preserve on one side and Chumash Indian ruins on the “haunted” side. The resort might be beautiful, the beach pristine, and the views from the headland amazing, but strange things begin to happen that soon have Daphne running for her life. At first she finds the therapeutic games thrilling: the ghosts that visit her room, the dropping elevator, and the kayak incident are actually kind of fun once she recovers from them. But when her horse bucks her off during a trail ride and she becomes lost on the haunted side of the island, it’s not fun anymore, and she wonders if her parents have sent her there to help her or to punish her.

Let’s just take a moment to for me to catch my breath before I start this review.

Pardon my French, but…HOLY SHIT. I kind of just want to curl up in a ball and just stay like that for a little while. Just, WOW. I don’t even know where to begin. Oh God. I can’t put actual sentences together. Okay…let’s try this. 

This was incredibly different. I mean this in the sense that I’ve gotten so used to Eva’s Gatekeepers Saga, which are incredibly amazing, that I was just not prepared for this. This, to put it simply, is some messed up shit. I mean, it’s amazing, but yeah- incredibly messed up. I was actually terrified during this book and I had all this anxiety as to what was going to happen. I’m actually shaking a little bit after reading this…

Okay, let’s talk more about the actual book. Can I just say Eva is a master creator of stories? From the first page, you get completely sucked into her stories and there’s no possible way for you to escape. Eva doesn’t mess around- the book starts as Daphne arrives on the island, there’s no boring introductory parts, its right into the story. And then, it doesn’t let up. You get into Daphne’s head and you can’t help by think like she does. For example, what the hell is going on? Why does Dr Gray organises all these set ups? Is this even about therapy? It will seriously drive you mad. This will really get to you, and you won’t know which character to believe, if any. While reading this, I couldn’t decide for myself which parts were really and which might have just been dreams or hallucinations. I cannot even begin to describe the anxiety I felt for Daphne while reading this book. 

There is actually a very important message to this book, other than not to trust any of the characters you meet. Our main character, Daphne, is suffering from depression. So as you can imagine, this book can be quite heavy in parts. There are moments that have to do with suicidal thoughts that are quite confronting to read. This shouldn’t turn you off though, I think it’s incredibly important to read and Eva handles it in such an amazing way. Sure, Dr Gray’s whole idea is insane, but the underlying message is still there. From a psychology student’s point of view, it was interesting to read about the factors to Daphne’s behaviour and feelings but it’s still incredibly moving even if you’re not interested in the psychological side of the story. 

All in all, it’s an incredible book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

And in the spirit of this book, I want to say how important it is to talk to someone if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal. I understand how hard it can be, but I really urge you not to keep quiet. I’ve included the links to a couple of websites- Beyond Blue, Active Minds and Mind, but you’re more than welcome to shoot me an e-mail if you ever feel the need to talk.


  1. Thank you for this awesome review!!! Love you girls!

    1. You're welcome Eva, as always! Love you too.

      x Ely (and Chami)