Saturday, 10 July 2010

School Friends: Party at Silver Spires by Ann Bryant (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

March 2010, Usborne
120 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Tissues needed

Summary from Usborne

Nicole is so proud to be starting at Silver Spires boarding school, but she can’t help worrying that her new friends will realize that she doesn’t really fit in. After all, they have expensive clothes and amazing holiday homes, while she couldn’t even afford to come to the school without her scholarship. And now there’s an ultra-glam welcome party and she doesn’t have anything to wear… How is she ever going to look the part, and stop her friends from discovering the truth?

First of all I have to admire the pretty pink cover, and the cute flowers that decorate each chapter title. These features add to the girly feel of the book. Just like with the other books in the series, this story focuses on one of the students' life. Life at Silver Spires sounds like a good mixture of fun and hard work. There's also the girls' personal lives, which are far from worry-free. Nicole's worries about money are highly relevant to the current world we live in. I feel that a lot of readers may relate to Nicole on a personal level: either directly by having less money themselves, or indirectly by having friends with little money.

Fitting in with the crowd can be a big issue with girls growing up. It's hard being an outsider, and like many girls, Nicole will do almost anything to try and fit in. This is only half of the story though. Her worries has a small effect on the friendship circle she belongs to at Silver Spire, but the more important issue is her friendship with the new Italian student, Antonia. Well, there's actually a lack of friendship, and a bit of hostility which really bothers Nicole. When everything comes to a head, I was crying over the book. How the two girls sorted out their issues was touching, and a really good idea. I cried again at the end when all the friends discussed what had happened. It's a fine demonstration about how you can really misjudge a person.

I think my only grumble (as usual with books like this) is that it isn't any longer! But there are plenty more in the series to keep me occupied. These include Dreams at Silver Spires and Success at Silver Spires.Ann Bryant has created a wonderful series - go read it!

You can find out more about the girls at the Silver Spires website.

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