Left to rot in boarding school . . .
Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.
There's no way Viola's going to survive the year--especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.
Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.
But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.
Trigiani (Big Stone Gap) takes the familiar boarding school milieu and gives it some welcome nuance and a refreshingly grounded feel in her debut YA work, first in a proposed series. To her horror, 14-year-old aspiring filmmaker Viola Chesterton is forced to leave her family, her funky Brooklyn neighborhood and her "Best Friend Forever And Always" Andrew to spend her freshman year at Prefect Academy for Young Women in South Bend, Ind. But Viola soon finds much to like in her new roommates and rural campus, chronicling her experiences in a video diary. While the story of Viola's blossoming may seem slow to readers used to students who are training to be spies or developing crushes on vampires, Trigiani offers a realistic look at the ever-shifting bonds of friendship and the adjustment to one's first taste of life away from home. Viola's reflections on the sisterhood of girlfriends and the importance of girls standing up for themselves are resonant but never cheerleaderish. Trigiani uses Viola's droll humor and a colorful supporting cast to great effect, ensuring that readers will want to know what happens to them in future volumes. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
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August 30, 2009
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