Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I identified with Viola's life before PA (she lived near where I lived in Cobble Hill, and many of the stores were ones I'd shopped in; and she had attended St. Ann's, a school I know well) and with her arrival at Perfect Academy (because I was once the new kid at boarding school). The biggest difference was that I had a single, not a quad.
Of course, giving Viola a single would have meant that the author had to work a lot harder to show Viola's learning to live with others, to not always be Princess Snark, to lighten up on her parents (who were filming a documentary in Afghanistan, hence the boarding school) and to start learning about Boys. And, of course, the quad become good friends and by the end of the book you feel that warm, fuzzy feeling about them.
The relationship between Viola and Andrew and Jared felt as awkward as those early "are we friends/going out" relationships do - and both boys reactions are, well, predictable. However, that's not what younger readers are going to feel, because they haven't necessarily been there before. Some of the other relationships, or perhaps I mean the lessons those relationships teach, are more forced, unfortunately.
(Free ARC provided by publisher)
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