CONSTANT READER REVIEW – The Institute by Stephen King

“Great events turn on small hinges.”

Ah, The Institute. Where kidnapped kids go to…well, you’ll have to read it and find out. One day, Luke Ellis is just a normal-ish (heavy on the “-ish”) 12-year-old kid and the next, his parents are dead and he’s been taken. At The Institute, he meets a group of kids in “Front Half” and learns about the dreaded, secretive “Back Half.”

As you can expect, the adults in this are despicable and cruel. The kids? You’ll want to hug them (especially Avery. Oh, sweet Avery) and help them escape the horrific fate that awaits them in Back Half.

“And what piece was he? It would be nice to believe himself a knight, but more likely, he was just another pawn.”

There’s another story interwoven here, and I wanted more details that I ended up not getting. However, everything ties together nicely. This book goes exactly where you think it’s headed – there aren’t many surprises or twists here, and that’s okay. When I learned to stop expecting things from the book, and instead decided just to enjoy it, I found my reading experience to be much more positive.

“It came to him, with the force of a revelation, that you had to have been imprisoned to fully understand what freedom was.”

You’ll cheer when bad things happen to the bad guys. You’ll be angry when bad things happen to the good guys. And you might wonder, as one of our characters does towards the end, what if they’re right? (Again, read it…you’ll find out.)

This might be a good King book for non-King readers. It has some disturbing parts (one in particular will haunt me for awhile – OUCH. and also EW), but overall it’s just an interesting story about a top-secret operation that kidnaps kids for…reasons.

I did notice some bits that reminded me of other King books (I mean, Luke and his friends at The Institute are kind of a modern-day Loser’s Club). And you only have to make it to page 10 to find the ever-present blue chambray shirt.

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