Anne Dowling is popular and happy in her private school in NYC. The only problem is the fact that she accidentally sort-of burnt part of it down. (Oops.) Her parents promptly send her to a boarding school in Boston, in an effort to keep her out of trouble. Unfortunately, Anne has hardly settled in before her roommate is murdered, and the school issues a statement which keeps the students from speaking to anyone.
So, this one is a perfectly nice boarding school mystery, of the light variety. Perfect for Gossip Girls/Ally Carter fans, who are looking for something that has the same readability and boarding school ethos. It’s not really trying to be something deeper, and that’s fine. I suspect there will be quite a few satisfied readers.
On the other hand, it’s exactly what is looks like–there’s nothing to particularly set it apart from any other book of its genre. That both is and isn’t a criticism. On the one hand, everything is fairly predictable. On the other, again, satisfied readers.
I did certainly appreciate the fact that Anne is not as annoying as she could have been. Sure, she’s a privileged white girl whose parents have enough clout to get her into a prestigious boarding school mid-semester. But she’s not a mean girl, although she does instantly form a rivalry with the queen bee at her new school. She actually comes across as very sincere, although certainly more than a bit naive and short-sighted about the rest of the world. I liked her much more than I expected to, which is nice.
So, a mixed bag here, but if you like boarding school stories and/or mysteries, this is a nice way to spend a few hours.
Book source: public library
Book information: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013; YA, mystery
I read this book for the 2013 Cybils. You’ll be able to see all of my Cybils reviews by clicking here.