[Review] Joanna Wiebe: The unseemly education of Anne Merchant

18357938After Anne’s mom died and her life had been quite depressing in the aftermath, she wants to look ahead. Get a scholarship at a top university, but to reach that goal she needs to attend a better school far away from home. But when she arrives things are just weird. The school is on an island which is divided into school territory and village territory. And all students are consumed by a competition, The V-Race. Becoming Valedictorian. Not only successes in classes are rated but even more how strictly the students stick to a personally chosen theme. All students look flawless and soon Anne’s imperfections seem to vanish.

Things become weirder every day and Anne finds herself yearning for her neighbor who doesn’t seem interested at all.

I started this book knowing only snippets of the content and I think the less you know the better. There are some twists, turns and revelations that keep the reader guessing for quite a while.

This was such a treat! I loved the dark mood of the book, combined with the smart and sometimes daring humor.

For most of the book I was wondering what the hell was going on on that island and in that school. And even once I found out there were more layers to be discovered.

The writing is great, vivid and with a wicked kind of humor at times. The characters were mostly wonderfully drawn, the heroine is captivating. Just the right mix of strengths and flaws. What I didn’t like were those typical bitches who hate the new student for no reason.

The ending is quite open but the burning questions are answered which I loved.

(I received a free digital version of this book via Netgalley.)5-sterne-schw


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