Author: Adriana Trigiani
Published: HarperTeen, September 1, 2009
Genre: Realistic fiction
Cover Score: A-
Overall Grade: B+
Viola Chesterton, proud New Yorker and future filmmaker, is living her worst nightmare. While her own film-making parents jet off to Afghanistan to work on a documentary, she is being forced to leave her best friend Andrew, her old school, Brooklyn, and city life in general to take up residence in a middle-of-nowhere boarding school amidst the corn fields of Indiana. Now Viola's living with three new roommates, making movies, meeting boys, missing home, and discovering parts of herself....But the real question is: will she be able to survive her first year of boarding school?
My thoughts: I was so, so excited to read this book, and luckily, it was worth it. To start off, the characters were awesome: Viola's three roommates, resident advisor, and her glamorous grandmother, Grand, were my favorites. All were well-developed and life-like with their own issues and quirks. But at first, I couldn't stand Viola. She came off to me as a whiny brat who took pride in being negative and blocking herself from trying new things. But she began to grow on me, and by the end, I was really enjoying her personality and voice. I loved how unique she was--a character who loves making movies! It was cool to see how passionate this character was.
The plot flowed very smoothly, and clearly chronicled one year through a skeptical fourteen year old's eyes. While, to me, there was no real climax, it seemed this didn't negatively affect the story, seeing as it was a "year in the life of" story. Plus there were changes in the end that told the reader that it was clearly a journey for the characters. There was always something new that Viola was experiencing, or some conflict that made it interesting.
I was really disappointed with the "ghost" aspect of the plot, though. I wished that it had been a bigger part of the story, maybe even a little mystery. I feel that that would've given the plot more depth, and the aspect of a ghost in the story just kind of died.
Overall, this was a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read that I'd recommend to readers 11 and older. Fun and a read that I couldn't put down, I'm hoping to see more of Adriana Trigiani in the YA genre, and perhaps maybe even a sequel!
Must-Read! Check it Out!!! Don't Bother
* Thank you so, so much to Sarah of GreenBeanTeenQueen for picking me up a copy of Viola at the ALA Conference!