Monday, February 14, 2022

Reading on a Theme: Books Set at Boarding School

What is it about boarding school books that's so appealing? I have books set at boarding schools sprinkled through so many of the Reading on a Theme posts, but the only dedicate post featured Boarding School Thriller. Seeing as one of my favorite books from 2021was set a a boarding school, I decided it was time for another (non-murderous) Reading on a Theme on this topic.

A Long Way from Tennessee:
Cash and Delaney live in a small Appalachian town in Tennessee. It's the type of place that can trap you with its lack of opportunities. However, Delaney is smart and ambitious, and when she discovers a new algae with antibiotic properties, she secures a full ride scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut for both herself and Cash. In The Wild Light is another beautiful book from Jeff Zentner. Cash knows his grandfather he will have to say goodbye forever to his grandfather someday soon. In the end it will be the gift of poetry and a teacher who cares who will see Cash through. This book is raw and beautiful and clever and full of poetic observations about the world. Review copy from NetGalley.


Life After Tragedy:
Meryl Lee Kowalski is starting at a new school, a place to begin again after a tragic accident. Matt Coffin should probably keep running, but oh how he wants to stay put for once in his life. Gary Schmidt's boarding school is full of poignant moments and some truly edge-of-your-seat suspense. There are many fantastic side characters in Just Like That and so many quotable lines. Matt's story is truly tragic, but he finds adults to trust. Meryl Lee is truly a good soul. She's a girl who is a joiner and a fighter, and I loved reading about her becoming Accomplished. This book is a proper companion novel to The Wednesday Wars and Okay For Now, but it also has a little connection to Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, which I haven't read, but now I want to.


How to Compete with the Boys:
Jordan Sun is tired of getting nowhere in the acting program at her prestigious art school. There just aren't a lot of parts for an Asian Alto II. When a spot opens up in a men's a cappella group, she decides to audition, disguised as a boy. I was excited to read Noteworthy because it sounded so fun. A cappella, a girl disguised as a boy, what could be better? I found the book had depths I wasn't expecting and tackled weighty issues. It wasn't the light read I anticipated, but it was rich and reflective. Riley Redgate's Noteworthy has a little bit of everything and was well worth the read. Review copy from NetGalley. 


Boarding School Abroad:
Houston girl, Millie Quint, has dreams of Scotland, and those dreams become reality when she gets a scholarship to a boarding school in the Scottish highlands. She's absolutely shocked when she discovers that her rude roommate, who she called Veruca Salt, is none other than the Scottish princess, Flora Baird. At first Flora and Millie can't stand each other, and then they become friends, and then perhaps more than friends. Rachel Hawkins's follow-up to Prince Charming is just as fun as the first book in the series. I really enjoyed Millie's character. The dialog in Her Royal Highness is top notch. I love the boarding school setting, and the whole thing has a fun escapist, fantasy feel.

Friends Who Will Fight For You:
Chandler is an exclusive boarding school, but no class on campus is as exclusive as The Circle, a writing intensive run by Professor Douglas. Abdi Nazemian's new book follows the five students admitted to The Circle for the 1999-2000 school year. Each has a very particular reason for wanting to be part of these group, but it's what they all have in common that will become their unbreakable bond. Every member of The Circle is holding something back of their authentic selves. The Circle will set that free. The Chandler Legacies deals with some pretty heavy topics and the characters have very real (and not always right) reactions to the issues that arise. Review copy from Edelweiss.

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