Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1901
A thrilling, dramatic debut.
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
With loads of paranormal secrets and high school intrigue, "The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant' is a thrilling, dramatic debut.

Anne Merchant is sent to what she thinks is an elite boarding school for rich kids. She quickly discovers that Cania Christy is more of a reform school, or maybe even a mental institution, for troubled and troublesome teens. Every day at the school reveals more secrets, more mysteries, and even more danger for Anne. Anne must try to follows the strange rules to compete for being class valedictorian her senior year while trying to get to the bottom of Cania's many mysteries and flirting with a hot, fascinating senior named Ben Zin.

What I liked: The setting. Cania Christy Academy is set on a remote island off the coast of Maine, where there is an almost-perpetual fog and the isolation is palpable. It's a perfect setting for the tense, slightly unnatural atmosphere.

The classical, supernatural tie-ins. I can't say too much because I won't spoil anything for you! But there are some interesting classical literature references to supernatural entities. They are a big part of the twist at the end, so you have something pretty awesome to look forward to.

What I wanted LESS of: Anne being judgmental. There are innumerable instances of Anne making snap judgments about people based on their appearance. The most noteworthy is her tendency to label other students by nationality as soon as she sees them. It is very unrealistic that you know just by looking at someone that they are "Russian", "Mandarin", or "Thai." Anne also calls other girls "sleazy", "slutty", "sex-kittens", and other derogatory terms; I found this distasteful and kind of inappropriate.

The cat-fights, drama, and high school competition will appeal to fans of "Pretty Little Liars" and "Gossip Girl," while fans of "Beautiful Creatures" and "Vampire Academy" will enjoy the paranormal mysteries Anne must figure out.
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