Madeline Dare has finally escaped the drudgery of backwoods Syracuse, New York. But when her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie is forced to work as a teacher at Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for emotionally disturbed teenagers in the Berkshires. Behind the ornate gates of the academy, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers must abide by the dean's bizarre therapies.
From her first day, Maddie doubts Dr. Santangelo's credibility, and she's not afraid to voice her concerns. The response she receives is even more alarming - many of her colleagues are devout followers of the dean. A chilling event confirms Maddie's suspicions, but leaves her feeling trapped within a school full of crazy people. Shut off from the outside world, Maddie will form unlikely alliances with a small group of rebellious students, whose inclination to resist authority may actually be her salvation.