why i wanted to read it: because i met the author at last year’s montgomery county teen book festival and LOVED her. she is one of the friendliest authors i’ve had the pleasure to meet. of course, i’d interviewed her prior to having attended this thing, so that could’ve had something to do with it. you can read her responses here. so she’s lovely, right? she’s also got a pretty damned fine idea for a story. i don’t normally like historical fiction, but the more she talked about this novel, the more i wanted to read it.
a school for unusual girls
what i liked: hope does not shatter all at once (page 30).
“even so, she’s a mere girl. new to the school.” sebastian crossed his arms. “what can she possibly know of chemistry and ink formulas? chemistry requires an understanding of mathematics. in my experience, girls’ heads are full of fripperies and trinkets. their weightiest calculations are deciding how many ruffles they want on their next ball gown.”
fripperies? ruffles? i curled my fingers around a decaying timber. what an arrogant jackanape. i’d like to hit him over the head with a calculation or two… “for your information, i have never given a single thought to the number of ruffles on my ball gown. ever.” (pages 37-38).
“although she must have bumped her head. she keeps going on about ruffles.”
“i do not. and for your information, a ball gown doesn’t have ruffles. it has flounces.”
“see what i mean?” sebastian shook his head mournfully. “poor thing is delirious” (page 39).
“put me down, sir.”
“lord wyatt is a viscount, georgiana. one must address him as my lord, rather than sir.” miss stranje instructed me as if i were a complete simpleton. “thus you would say, ‘kindly put me down, my lord.’”
i didn’t care whether he was a viscount or a fishmonger (page 40).
“no, no,” i ordered. “spread them out. they need to dry thoroughly for the test to be accurate.”
“tsk, tsk, you must address me properly, as my lord, remember?” he mimicked miss stranje’s scolding voice as he spread the papers. “thus you would say, my lord, would you please be so good, and kind, and tolerant, and forbearing, as to spread out the test papers so that they might dry thoroughly? at this point, if you were a well-schooled young lady, you would flutter your long lashes and demurely add, if you would do me this one kindness, my lord, i will be forever in your debt.”
my mouth opened in search of an appropriate response, but nothing came (page 212).
i love these characters. all of them. even the nasty ones are well-conceived, as is the story. sure it follows the formula a bit. and it’s cheesy at times, and while i am normally not a fan of the queso, i don’t mind it here.
it’s fun and clever. good stuff. it’s a very fast read.
what sucked: it’s been a while since i read it, but i can’t really think of anything that bothered me so much that it bears mentioning here.
having said that: i was so eager to read the sequel, and i’ve not been so excited to read a book all year.