From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King whose “storytelling transcends genre” (Newsday) comes “another winner: creepy and touching and horrifyingly believable” (The Boston Globe) about a group of kids confronting evil.
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.
As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is “first-rate entertainment that has something important to say. We all need to listen” (The Washington Post).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Stephen King has always floored us with his ability to tell scary stories from a child’s perspective. Toward the beginning of The Institute, 12-year-old Luke is kidnapped and placed in a facility for kids with psychic powers, where the physical abuse they endure pales in comparison to the brutal psychological manipulation. As he did in It and Firestarter, King perfectly captures the combination of terror and resilience that makes his young characters feel real and compelling. We felt fiercely protective of Luke and his ragtag crew as they slowly uncovered the truth about their captors’ plans. The world King has crafted gave us all the chills.
King wows with the most gut-wrenching tale of kids triumphing over evil since It. In a quiet Minnesota neighborhood, intruders kidnap 12-year-old prodigy Luke Ellis and murder his parents. When Luke wakes up, he finds himself in a room identical to his own bedroom, except that he is now a resident of the Institute a facility that tests telekinetic and telepathic abilities of children. Luke finds comfort in the company of the children in the Front Half: Kalisha, Nick, George, and Avery. Others have graduated to the Back Half, where "kids check in, but they don't check out." The Front Half are promised that they'll be returned to their parents after testing and a visit to Back Half, but Luke becomes suspicious and desperate to get out and get help for the others. However, no child has ever escaped the Institute. Tapping into the minds of the young characters, King creates a sense of menace and intimacy that will have readers spellbound. The mystery of the Institute's purpose is drawn out naturally until it becomes far scarier than the physical abuse visited upon the children. Not a word is wasted in this meticulously crafted novel, which once again proves why King is the king of horror.
This is Stephen King at his best. I could not put this book down. Don’t start reading it if you have plans in the near future.
It’s been probably 15 years since I’ve read a Steven King book, and this is the first I’ve read in his far-spanning catalog that isn’t considered a classic—but I’ve no doubt it will one day be looked upon as a classic.
One of the best books I’ve read in a while
Could not put it down. You’ll fall in love with these characters. Such a good book!!