Monday, February 3, 2014

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
by Joanna Wiebe

Anne Merchant is used to living near the very rich.  Her dad is the mortician in a small, wealthy community and Anne is his "weird" daughter with the crazy, bipolar, dead-by-suicide mom.

Two years after her mother's death, Anne is sent to Cania Christy, a boarding school on a small island, dedicated to the education of the children of the ultra-wealthy.  Anne has no idea how her father can afford the tuition, considering his lack of funds, and she has no idea what the tuition would even be for a school where the students all wear the most trendy clothes from the choicest of designers.

What Anne does know is that there are secrets at Cania Christy.  Every student has a guardian who watches them 24/7, grading them on every tiny decision and mistake.  Every student has a PT, or "theme" that guides them through all of their classes.  The student who succeeds the best at achieving his or her PT is the Valedictorian of the class.  And being Valedictorian is what everyone wants... everyone.

So Anne must now find out the truths that everyone else seems to know, before she gets expelled from what could be her last chance.

Final thoughts: I liked it as I read it, but now have questions after it's done.  Some of those questions are spoiler-ish, so I won't go into them here, but they are bugging me.  It also ended on a kind of cliffhanger that felt kind of forced and like the author wants a guarantee that the reader will be back, instead of making the reader want to come back with an excellent story.  Anne was OK.  Ben was a snooze.  Villius was evil incarnate.  And the rest of the students were caricatures and stereotypes.  The mystery itself was actually quite mysterious, though.  Don't look deep at this one as you read and you could really have a good time.

Rating: 3/5  (4/5 as a read it... but the questions... the many questions...)

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