Tag Archives: boarding school

Teen Reviewed: And We Stay

And We StayTitle:  And We Stay

Author:  Jenny Hubbard

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Emily Beam is sent away to a boarding school in Massachusetts after her boyfriend shoots himself in the school library.  When she gets to Amherst School for Girls, she finds out that the town of Amherst is where Emily Dickinson spent much of her life. In the spirit of the woman who shares her name and birthday, Emily starts to write poems herself as she tries to cope with what she has been through.  Slowly, she begins to find her sea legs as she gradually develops new relationships and explores her changed existence through writing.

I started reading because:  I liked the concept, and I liked the idea of a novel written in half prose, half poetry.

I kept reading because:  the writing was incredible.  Every word was beautiful and used very intentionally.  I also loved how the characters slowly unfolded themselves throughout the book.

If Emily were in a yearbook, she would be voted:  Most Talented.

I would recommend this book to poetry lovers, and anyone who would like to do some contemplating of the big questions. While this book did make me laugh at times, it should be noted that it deals with some heavy subject matter and controversial issues, so it is not suitable for everyone.

–Hannah, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

One last Banned Books mention…

bannedbooksweklogo1Banned Books Week just ended, here’s my review of one of the challenged books.
Looking for Alaska by John Green is the story of Myles Halter, a quirky, friendless guy, who would rather be sitting reading about people’s last words than going to social gatherings.  When Myles wants to go to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama, his hopes are to go and find his “great perhaps,” a great adventure that will make his life more interesting and fun.  When he arrives, he meets the confident, moody, and very attractive Alaska Young and her group of prank-playing friends.  Through harsh life experiences, and adventures like no other, Myles’ life may never be the same again.
looking for alaskaThis book was an amazing novel.  Myles is such a relatable character.  He is the exact definition of a teenager: awkward, shy, and self-conscious.  His experiences help him grow and change from the friendless and shy student to the confident, rule breaker who learns to “let loose”. From study of religion to the meaning of death, Myles experiences what all teenagers wonder about.  It’s this inner dialogue that separates this book from many other realistic novels.  Many aren’t able to capture what it means to be a REAL teenager.  And not just the carefree, non-stressed kid whose worries doesn’t extend past homework.  But the teenagers that also have to deal with the meaning of mortality, and mistakes, and learning to forgive.
It’s these things that John Green was able to capture brilliantly over the course of the book.Worth the read if you’re looking for a pretty heavy realistic fiction novel.  I recommend this book for ages 14+.
Happy Reading! 🙂
Ailsa H, Ballard Teen Blogger

Lean Mean Teen Reviews: Prep

Title & Author: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Three Sentence Summary: Lee, 14, is enrolled in an über-prestigious East Coast boarding school—not because her parents want her to, but because she filled out the application herself. A perfectly manicured campus, rigorous academics, and a class of privileged and aloof peers. Once she arrives, Lee feels completely alone. She is a hilariously subtle observer of the beautiful and rich, and identifiable in her friendships, boyfriends, and just being-a-teenager angst.

If I were trying to get a friend to read Prep, I’d be sure to mention: that Lee is the best.protagonist.ever. Without trying to, she makes me laugh hysterically at how she describes her classmates and her surroundings in general; she’s so real that it makes the strange boarding school world seem that much more pompous.

If I could give Lee some advice, I’d tell her to: have more fun with it. Sometimes she got so down because she didn’t feel very connected to anyone at first, and I wish I could have told freshman Lee that everything will work out! I would also tell her to ditch her boyfriend (who’s not really much of boyfriend) senior year…although I loved reading about her relationship drama!

If I were stuck with Lee on a deserted island, I would probably: end up listening to all her woes, and then laughing about them.

I would especially recommend this book to readers who like: boarding schools and wittiness. If you enjoyed E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, then you would fall in love with Prep. Smart girl, mean girls, good-but-not-so-good guy. Plus some interesting socio-economic stuff, which you can skip if you want to.

The cover was awesome because:  emblazoned across it is the epitome of prep- pink + green + stripes, all on a belt to wear with your matching polo.

Bonus factor: I don’t know about you, but ever since I was 10 and saw this film, I was mildly obsessed with attending a boarding school. I’ll admit that this dream was altogether thwarted by Sittenfeld’s novel, there’s still something about the image of an ancient, ivy covered prep school that gets me every time.

–Greta, 15, Teen Center Adviser