Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

**I received this book from NetGalley for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

My Thoughts:  Anne is 16 years old and has just been sent to Wormwood Island to attend an elite prep school.  She has no idea how her father, who is a mortician, is paying for the exclusive school but is happy to be able to have the chance to start over after her mom passed away two years ago.

Once at Cania Christy, Anne finds out that it's not at all what she expects.  It doesn't take Anne long to figure out that everyone is in the race for the Big V (to become Valedictorian) and will stop at nothing to get this accomplishment.  Anne also finds out that she will be assigned a Guardian and will have to come up with a PT, a statement that students have to live their life by.  Anne's Guardian turns out to be the creepy Teddy who, along with the headmaster, Villicus, will make your skin crawl!

Anne quickly realizes that their is a price more than just money to get your child into Cania Christy and that all is not what it appears.  With hints from her neighbor, Ben, she digs deeper into the background of this mysterious school.  What she finds out is almost more than she can believe.

I have to say, I did not expect the twist in the middle/end of this book.  I think I finally understood the secret of Cania Christy only pages before Anne did.  I am not sure if I was just slow getting it but whatever, I loved that I didn't get it until a few pages before the main character got it.  I'm not big on predictable books.  However, with that being said, I also felt that the book could have ended well before it did.  In fact, I actually thought I was almost done with the story when I figured out the twist and then realized I still had about 150 more pages to go.  

I got annoyed with Anne and her relationship with Pilot, Molly and Ben.  I felt that, with all the warnings about staying away from the villagers, Anne was a little too relaxed about hiding her relationship with Molly.  I was very irritated on the night of the dance with how Anne was with Molly, knowing full well that Teddy was in the house.   

There were so many times when Anne was with Pilot (her one "friend" at Cania Christy) that I thought she was just ridiculously stupid and/or naive!  I could see Pilot's every intention and could not believe that Anne could not see through that.  Maybe she was just desperate to have a friend at the school but she made me want to scream!  

Certain times I thought that Anne was really smart and strong and then I would turn the page and want to smack her upside the head.  Again, her reckless behavior with Molly was disappointing, to say the least.  I did love how she put Teddy in his place several times though.  She wouldn't take any garbage from him and I truly appreciated that.  

I loved the creepiness of this story and I was really glad it had nothing to do with vampires, werewolves, fairies or zombies.  It was just a bit refreshing, in that sense.  The cliffhanger at the end definitely has me wanting to read the next in the series, despite the issues I had with this book.  I would recommend checking this book out and seeing what you think!



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