288 pages, Paperback
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Summary from Simon and Schuster
Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at Prefect Academy, 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 what seems to be the sherbet-coloured-sweater capital of the world. Ick.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 being at Prefect. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.But boarding school is nothing like Viola thought it would be, and she soon realises that 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.
Admire the pretty pink cover. The butterflies on the front, are at the beginning of every chapter too! The cover probably gives it away, but this a lovely, girly book about friendship and discovery.
In 95% of books about boarding school, the protagonist usually wants to be there. This made Viola's view of Prefect a refreshing one. It's interesting how her pre-existing views about the school affected how she interpreted her room mates personalities. They could have shunned her resistance to fitting in. Yet they didn't. I think they sensed that Viola was a nice person, who was just feeling very unsettled about being away from her parents, who were on a job in the Middle East.
Viola isn't as alone as she feels. She has friends to keep in touch with by email. Her grandmother is a pillar of support. I liked the happy-go-lucky nature of her new friends. They drag Viola into happiness, support her during a new relationship with a boy at a neighbouring school. They show Viola the true spirit of Prefect. In return Viola shows that the things she notices through her camera lens. Her passion for filming leads to discovering some paranormal activity in the school. The ghostly encounter stimulates Viola's creative side, giving her an idea for an entry to a filming competition. The competition results provide a big lesson to Viola about her relationships with everyone she knows.
Adriana Trigiani can be found on her website.
If you liked this school story, check out Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (YA fantasy) or School Friends: Dreams at Silver Spires by Ann Bryant (Children's, 9+, includes filming!)